A Letter to Lauren -

Dear Lauren....

Maybe you thought I forgot to blog about you today. Well I didn't. I just had a lot to do. But here I am now, and I've decided to write you a real (sort of) letter. I'm listening to Alison Krauss and now I'm in the perfect mood to spill over and talk to you. :)

You are an incredible friend. I'm not saying that because this is my blog or because it's your birthday, but because it is true. I'm constantly amazed by your patience and willingness to help me in whatever I'm needing help in. You show your servant's heart with every answered question and e-mail and research and HTML and all the things that make me hyperventilate.

God was blessing EmilyBrower and I (and so many others) when He thought of us as friends!!!

You are quick to share your heart with me, and whether that's about dogs or the way the air felt and smelled or a funny thing that happened (stealing signs, cough cough), or the way the Lord is leading you, you talk to me, and include me in your life. Long e-mails go back and forth and short ones too, and I love being connected and a part of your life. Your fascinating, no-olives-for-you, busy life. ;)

One of the things I love about you most is that when something is funny, you LAUGH with your whole heart, whole self. You stand there, with your nose scrunched up, or you bend over and slap the table and there can't be anyone who doesn't laugh because something is so. funny. apparently.

And sometimes things are just so funny, we laugh about it for years. Even if we have no idea what the connotation for it was in the first place. It is easy to laugh with you, and I love that. I love laughing with you.

At Catan Night, Feb. 2013

Another thing that has always stood out to me that is special about you, is that you love encouraging and being friends with girls of all ages. Sometimes when I'm just not sure if I want to get into 9 other relationships, I look at you, and think "Ah well. Why not. Lauren is." and go on over and meet someone new. (I know it's strange to think I'm not outgoing 100%, but it is true sometimes)

You are a patient teacher, and you always make me feel wanted! Especially at volleyball and events.
I know I'm welcome and I've always felt like family at your house and with you. I know you love me, and I am myself, knowing that. That is a special gift to show to people, and I hope I continue to emulate that!

Lauren & Shannon in March at Volleyball

You love to laugh about curly haired problems with the rest of us curly-haired people, and talk about what our sweet pups are doing, and love to discuss anything photography related. When I'm freaking out about something photography, right away, I just write you and EmilyBrower. I know one of you will have the answer. My own personal photography sounding board/answer forum. :D

You are real and open and sometimes just too lovely for your own good. Especially lately. hahaha.

Barberville Spring Frolic, April 2013

Seriously. Stop it. Go away. This is ridiculous!!

I remember the first time I met you, I met your whole family at once....as I stood there beneath the palm tree and you all smiled back at me and didn't say a word, I thought "Oh no. They are quiet. Lord, I don't know what to do with quiet people.". Well. We got rid of that idea real fast. ;) hahaha.

We can talk up a storm, you and I, and never seem to run out of things to say.....by the way, doesn't this picture BUG YOU, because look. (down below) The picture frame is crooked. gaaaah. it's crooookedddd. no no no. *breathe*

What was I even saying? Oh yeah. I mean, we don't even need Starbucks (I mean, of course we need it), we just sit together and off we go. Or we are separated by states and just have to talk on the phone, and now. Hah. Cracks me up so much. But I love it. I love being your friend, and being, well...special.

I feel special when I'm with you. I hope you feel special with me too, because you so are.

You are special, kind, gentle, competitive, amazing at photography, generous, ready-to-laugh, eager to learn, much more brave than I am, a coffee lover, and most of all these and more - You love the Lord.

I mean really. I need a big stick to hit random men over the head with.

"No!! She is my best friend! Be better at life! Get it together and get on with life! Whack, whack!" 

aaaaaand I'm thinking I should stop blogging at night. This gets dangerous. (I'm sure there are perfectly fine men out there, hello to you all)

Although. If I give up the stick-whacking, you are going to have a whole long line of gentlemen ready to protect you. Those three on the left will do a great job. Actually, all the girls will pitch in too.

Because we love you, babe. 

Hey. If I get to be called Piglet, then we should call you Arwen. I am a geniusI mean, look at the resemblance. But this does mean that you don't get to marry Thorin Oakenshield. Oooooh. Mr. Thornton is mine! All mine! YAY.

Genius genius genius. 

This really is THE most random birthday letter ever.

Random like this photo of you eating dates at Barberville. But look how CUTE you are.

Ohmygracious, I don't think I've said Happy Birthday yet. Happy 25th birthday, Lauren!!!! 

I'm not sure what else to say that I haven't already said, but let me just run through:
....faithful, sweet, loving, generous, patient, fun, funny, lovely, mischievous....
my curly-haired, dark- eyed, dear bestie named Lauren

I am so, so blessed. Can't even tell you how much I'm blessed.

This C.H. Spurgeon quote describes friendship so perfectly -
"Friendship is one of the sweetest joys in life. 
Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend." 

I was immediately struck by how true that is, especially in light of these past years. We've been at funerals together, or you've prayed me through one, from states away, or written me back when all I need to hear is that someone is sorry for how my heart is breaking ... that means the world to me.

You've held me when I've broken down in tears for the 90th time, and don't try to fix it. You just hold me and let me cry and smile gently while I try to pull myself together. You let me be broken. You love me anyway. There is so much the Lord has led us through that has ached our souls for others.

I remember coming around the corner at Shannon's funeral, and just going straight for you and sobbing into your shoulder. It was too much, and there you were, my friend who could comfort me. Such a special, sad moment. So thank you for all the times you've comforted and listened and let me cry.

I remember all of them, and thank God in great joy for His love in giving me a friend like you.
I love you so incredibly much.

Wherever we are next year, the year after that, and 10 years ahead....
I hope I'm always friends with you. 

My prayer for you this year is that you will joyfully and clearly find His will in your life, and look more and more until the Day when you will see our God as He is, and who you are in the light of His love for you. We know that we are His beloved children, and that His will for us is more than we can dream!

"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,
but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." 
~ 1 John 3:2-3 ~ 

Happy 25th birthday, Lauren....I can't wait to see you and spend time together next week!
With much love always,
~ Jean Marie ~


  1. My dear sweet Jean,

    This is probably the sweetest, most thoughtful birthday letter I have ever received. It me grin and laugh and cry in turns. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it and edit all of those pictures (some I never knew existed)! I love you to bits and cherish our friendship more than you know! Wherever we are in life- and no matter how far apart- I know we will always be friends.

    I thank the Lord for you! Here's to being a quarter of a century old- together.

    All my love and twenty-five hugs,

  2. Lauren is such a gift... and your words fit her *perfectly*. :) You two are treasures in my life.... Oh, God is so good~

    Love you!
    {Happy Birthday sweet Lauren!}

  3. Happy Birthday Sweet Lauren (a little late). Thank you for your friendship and for just being you. Hello to your special Mama!!
    Mrs. Fambrough

  4. Such a fun post! Birthday blessings to Lauren. (By the way, you look so much like my aunt)


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