Valiant Thieves- 02
We met on a cold March day and have since bonded over cake, Elvis movies, loss, Kate Spade, and our trip to the desert. Today, I'm chatting with my dear and hilarious friend Ellen. If you want to listen to our laughter-filled conversation you can find it below!
Obsessions: Pugs, Friends
Must Watch List: Scandal, Game of Thrones, New Girl
Secret Talents: picking the perfect champagne, giving the best gifts, online shopping
When I think of my closest circle, the people I call when something goes wrong, Ellen is at the top. While we don't see each other as often as you would think, our friendship is rich with honesty, prayers, laughter, and depth. We have a running joke that I forced my friendship on Ellen. She is, by nature, extremely introverted and consistently busy with her wedding design studio. What can I say? I saw something in her I liked and I knew I wanted to be friends.
Recently, we met at a local bakery and she let me record our conversation. Can I give you a piece of advice? If you find a friend who will eat gluten with you, who will choose dessert first and always be ready for cake, HOLD ON TO THEM. They are precious like rubies. We ate multiple types of sweets filled with flour and had the best time.
As we talked, Ellen brought a unique perspective to friendship. As usual, her words were speckled with wisdom and nuggets of truth. Over the past few years, I have seen Ellen grow into a fierce friend who offers hospitality, hope, and hilarity to those that are lucky to know her.
When I first met Ellen, she was in the midst of a scary decision. Her days were filled with working full-time but at night she was building a successful business. When we met, she was at a crossroads of going full-time with Westcott Weddings. The decision would affect every part of her life. As she and her husband debated the next step, Ellen said she was deeply terrified to move forward. "It meant adjusting income and expectations and it had financial and emotional implications. However, the best thing that happened was that I had a handful of people who were in similar situations who were supportive and encouraging."
I vividly remember this season of our friendship. On the day Ellen went full-time with Westcott Weddings we had a little brunch with our close girlfriends to celebrate. I wrote a little note and put it in a frame that said "we believe in you. - your people" When I asked her for her best advice for people in tough seasons her response was brilliant and funny, just as I expected, "You have to find your people. They don't have to be like you, they just have to be able to empathize, guide you, speak truth, and let you know when you are overestimating or being ridiculous. You can't only have people around you who tell you that you are awesome. "
Ellen's people share a few traits; they are authentic, sarcastic, hard workers, and love Jesus. And while they differ from her and each other, they are united by similar priorities and passion. We laughed as we mentioned needing to find people to call you out. There have been many conversations where we have told each other to pull it together or stop being dramatic. This is usually when we ramp up the drama and enter into over the top.
I asked her what she had learned about adult friendship, one of my favorite questions to ask, "Friendship is hard work but it doesn't have to be impossible work. It's ok to have a handful of really close friends and then have a lot of acquaintances who you are friendly with when you see them. " As adults, it often feels like maintaining friendships truly is impossible. Between jobs, bills, packed schedules, and daily to-dos, adding another phone call or coffee date seems daunting. But what I have learned from this consistent and kind-hearted friend of mind is that you don't always have to show up physically as long as you are showing up emotionally. Ellen has taught me that the trips to the nail salon (which we do try to make happen once a month) are not near as important as the text or phone call when something goes wrong, the prayers when the world feels like its crumbling, the cheers for success, and the beauty of knowing you are not going through life alone. We have low expectations of each other when it comes to physically showing up because what ultimately matters are the times when people show up in spirit. There is a phrase I have heard that says, "you can recover from saying the wrong thing but you can not recover from saying nothing" So we say something every time, even if it's messy and awkward, and that has produced a depth that coffee cups and shopping trips can't match.
Our conversation over cake was filled with speckles of faith, stories of God's generosity, and advice for our younger selves. But it was also filled with the light-hearted bits that add harmony and interest to relationships.
As we looked back over 2016, it was amazing to see just how successful Ellen's business Westcott Weddings had become. Seriously, she knocked it out of the park. But the best part of the year was finding out that they would be welcoming a baby boy to their family. He may already be the most loved little kid ever. Plus we cried laughing over the time their pug, Trixie, passed out during a walk. It's worth the listen, I promise.
Then we looked ahead, placing hope in the coming year. Ellen spoke of becoming a mom and the upcoming challenge of learning balance as a business owner and new parent. As the year progresses, it will be beautiful to watch her create new rhythms and flourish in both areas.
Ellen's schedule is always packed so I asked her one trick that keeps her life simple. Her genius move is keeping different deserts on hand (break and bake cookies, chocolate, ice cream, brownies) so that no matter what the emotional emergency, she is prepared. There are sweets tucked in every corner of her home, must in case. This invention may rival Tomas Edison's discovery of the lightbulb.
And as a successful individual, I asked her what she DOES NOT do in order to make room for the things that matter. Her response? "No eye makeup, no working out, no cooking" So if you are feeling overwhelmed with the year or wondering how to make your goals happen, pick a few things to not do and cross them off your list. You will most likely be happier, more productive, and create more time for your friendships.
If you take away one thing from Ellen, can I suggest it be her example of friendship? You don't have to be extroverted, know a ton of people, or block off giant squares in your planner. You just have to find your people and be there for them. And Ellen? She shows up emotionally every time.
You will definitely want to follow Ellen. I guarantee you will be inspired by her styling and her heart. Ellen, thank you for welcoming me into your life (even if it was unwilling) and for always showing up. You are a rare and true friend who endlessly points me to Jesus. You are also the only one I would call when I'm scared to take a laxitive. Love you deep.
Listen to our conversation and try not to laugh!