Valiant Thieves- 01

Welcome to my absolute new favorite thing- a series on the women in my life, the friends who have altered my world over the years into a more colorful, peaceful, and hope-filled place. The original name suggested for this new venture was "hoes before woes." It didn't make the cut. 

Valiant - adj. brave and determined

Thieves-  noun. people who steal

These women are all dauntless. While it may not always feel natural, they consistently choose boldness and courage in the midst of day to day life. 

As for people who steal? These are the women I would want on my side if I ever decided to rob a casino Ocean's Eleven style. We are as thick as thieves, sharing secrets, life tips, late night chats, and sometimes insurmountable obstacles. Perhaps, we are actually robbers too, thieves who have stolen bits of each others time, lives, and hearts. I'd gladly be burglarized by them any day.  

So welcome to Valiant Thieves 01. I'm starting with my original partner in crime, my sister, Madeline, who incidentally has actually stolen my green vest. If you want to listen to our full conversation, you can find it down below.

Obsessions: Red Pandas, Specialty Toothpaste

Must Watch List: Sherlock, Parks and Rec, A Series of Unfortunate Events

Hidden Talents: Impersonations, making playlists

My earliest memory is the day Maddy was born. I vividly remember seeing my mom laying in the hospital bed and the grape juice the nurses gave me. Naturally, the snacks made the greatest impression. Not to be outdone by delicious juice, from day one Madeline has filled my life with joy, adventure, and humor. I'm thrilled for you to get to know her.

While we lived in the same house, we were never forced to be friends. It happened naturally, over Barbies, car rides, late nights, and back-yard games. As we have grown older, we have grown together, allowing one another to change and encouraging each other along the way. Madeline's greatest strengths, her spontaneity, selfless heart, zest for life, and encouragement, they cover my weaknesses. As we discussed our friendship, we realized that we bring out the best in one another. She pushes me to be lighter, sillier, and more kind. And while she may have hidden my books, given me a black eye, and accidentally set my yard on fire, she is also the one who drops everything when I'm crying, believes in me wholeheartedly, and prays without ceasing over our family. Balance is important in life and I'd say she's nailed it. 

Madeline is not only my best friend, she the best friend a person can have. She invests deeply, loves lavishly, and brings a heavy dose of fun into every situation. Needless to say, she was surrounded by people who loved her all throughout school. (She lived with 5 other girls. FIVE. and they all still adore her. WHAT A CHAMP) Post-college, Maddy loaded up her car and headed to Nashville, brave and alone, to pursue photography and non-profit work. A new city brings uncharted territory. Friendships became an unexpected challenge to navigate as she settled into unfamiliar neighborhoods.  "While it's good to have people to fill your time, guard your time as well. People will come if you are patient, prayerful about it, and looking in the right places. College friendships are based off of convenience. But in order to find people in the real world you sometimes have to sift through the sand to find the gems" It wasn't easy for her to wait. Those first months in Nashville were filled with loneliness, awkward group dinners, and a lot of frustration. But as she waited, she prayed. And as she prayed, people came out of the woodwork and by the time she left to move back to Texas, there was a large group of people who were sad to see her go. 

As she recounted learning about friendships in a new city, Madeline said, "The thing that makes a good friend is mutual effort. Someone who picks up the phone, initiates coffee dates. It's a two way street." Over the past few years it has been incredible to watch Maddy grow in her approach to friendships. Her job keeps her moving, often she is never settled in one place for more than two weeks. Even with the constant upheaval, she pours into her friendships while holding them with an open hand. I've never met someone better at letting go of expectations and simply delighting in the moments they are given with the people they love. It's a lesson Madeline continues to teach me, patiently reminding me to let go, accept, and enjoy. 

Our conversation turned to hard seasons and I asked what advice she would give someone who was struggling. Her answer was a perfect picture of her heart, ever focused on Jesus and others. "Remember the One writing our story is so much better than the story itself. Give yourself grace to know it's just a season, the wilderness doesn't last forever. And when it gets hard, look upward and outward. Jesus is faithful and he is always worth choosing."

Being Madeline's friend is one of the biggest joys in my life. It's an honor to be her big sister, to get to walk through life together by blood and by choice. If you listen to our conversation, you will realize how often we laugh together. Our relationship is rich, full of honest talks, dancing to the Fitness Marshall, and the daily decision to stay invested. If you need an example of a friend, she is the best. 

We wrapped up our time together by easing into our daily flow, discussing TV shows,  favorite things, and funny memories. Madeline is always good for a new discovery, she finds amazing music and brunch spots every week. As we chatted about  tips and tricks she shared her two best finds- the Nike Training App and mini cinnamon brooms. Seriously, the broom is amazing. She put them in our cars and they smelled like Christmas Cheer for weeks. BEST EVER. 

You will definitely want to connect with Maddy and follow her brilliant photography and color-filled life. She is a dime who has a heart we could all learn from. Madeline, thank you for being my friend, beautiful, brave, and always ready for a heist. 

Where to find Madeline:  Website, Instagram (business), Instagram (personal)

Listen to our laughter-filled conversation and ignore our weirdness: