"How can you creatively celebrate the birthday of someone whose love languages are gifts and words of encouragement?" This is the question I started pondering in late October, and immediately, the idea of a blog tour came to mind. I thought it would be fun to have several friends post something special on their blogs to celebrate this sweet Friend's birthday. And thankfully, I found volunteers who were willing to participate, despite how crazy-sounding my idea was. So without further ado, here's the first stop on the birthday blog tour celebrating my friend TJ's birthday, which is on December 3.
Who agrees to give a ride to and stay overnight in a hotel with a gal she barely knows? That would be you back in September 2007. You graciously agreed to let me go with you to the North Texas Christian Writers' Conference, and I not only gained a writing mentor but also a friend. You gave me pointers before the conference (i.e., that I might want to take notecards to write thank-you notes to speakers while there and hand deliver them), guided me through the conference, and helped me process what I had learned as we made the trip back. When life resumed on the Monday after the conference, I realized how lucky I was to have had one-on-one time to pick your brain on writing, being a wife and mother, and doing daily life.
I came away amazed by how wonderfully you balance being a wife to Corbin and a mother to Branson, Hudson, Basden, and Esther. I love how you are intentional about taking time for you and Corbin to get away and how the two of you, as a couple, are intentional about making your kids feel special by spending time with them individually.
But most of all, these past two years as we've been in a writers' group together, I have been inspired by your obedience, both in using your writing talent and in raising your kids. I know that the urge to write must overwhelm you at times. But you have strived to make your family a priority and sought God's will on how and when you could utilize your writing talent without neglecting your family. Similarly, it has been a joy to watch as you have been open to God's leading on how best to educate your children. You have been willing to reevaluate each year and to try new alternatives when the status quo was no longer working as well as you wanted.
As I watch you live out your faith, your obedience to Christ blesses and encourages me. I am grateful God has given me the opportunity to be mentored and befriended by you, and I look forward to seeing what He does through you in the years to come.
Happy early birthday, Friend, and look for the Birthday Blog Tour to continue tomorrow on Nikki's blog!