Let me tell you about my friend Stephanie.

Ahh friends!  I’ve been excited to write this blog post for a really long time, and the day is finally here.  Tomorrow my best friend Steph is getting on a plane and headed to Prague to student teach abroad, and I am SO thrilled for all of the adventures she is going to have there!  And I thought, what better way to show her a little love and encouragement before she heads out than to share with y’all a little bit about how great she is?!

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First of all, Stephanie has such a sweet heart for serving the Lord and makes that known in whatever she does.  Her blog, Young & Full, always encourages and inspires me to keep writing my own stories in a way that glorifies God.  She also has the gift of being real and relatable on social media and is super intentional about maintaining that – I don’t go a single Monday morning without checking out Steph’s #mondaymorningstrides on Instagram!  I’ve also gotten to watch her trust and rely on God in some really big ways, and I love talking through Scripture and what it means to have faith with her, because I know I’ll take away a new insight and be pointed back to Jesus from the conversation. She’s down-to-earth and can always offer me a solid perspective to learn from, but she also isn’t afraid to laugh like crazy and crack jokes at the best moments!

That’s a lot of words about who and how she is in the world, but let me tell you what that looks like in action.  Stephanie and I met this summer through the family friends I was staying with during my internship.  The very first day I was in Springfield, she came over and helped me unload my car and put everything away – that is, in theory.  Everything got put away eventually, but we also wound up sitting on the floor of my new room telling each other our life stories for about five hours surrounded by all of my stuff.  And that’s the most beautiful thing about our friendship: from the very beginning, we were both willing to be raw and real and vulnerable with each other.  Not only did we have lots in common, like music and movies, or that we’re both studying education, or that we both love Jesus, as Steph would say, a whole stinkin’ lot, but we were both really looking for a person to do life with, tell stories to, and walk in faith alongside for the summer.  And that’s exactly the kind of friend Stephanie has been to me.  I could tell you tons of stories from this summer in Springfield – that time we got caught in a hailstorm, spontaneously stopped at the river to watch the sun set, spent wayyyy too many hours in Old Navy (but is there really any such thing?), handed out scratch-off tickets to strangers at a fundraiser, blared Sparks Fly at a red light with all the windows down and sang along at the top of our lungs, watched Monsters University and ate tortilla chips, floated in the pool talking about Jen Wilkin and SheReadsTruth – the list goes on and on!!

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This summer would not have been the same at all without having such a tried & true friend sharing my love for Taylor Swift and Qdoba and having my back. And the best thing of all is that none of that has changed since we’ve both been back at school – God has continued orchestrating our lives so that our friendship plays an awesome role in them.  I can’t wait to hear what adventures you have in Europe, Steph, and I can’t wait for all of our crazy adventures to come!  Thanks for being you, travel safe, and love you lots!

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