We headed out to a new-to-us coffee shop for a friend date, which is turning out to be normal life these days because I live here now and we get to do so much together. We order our drinks, a latte for you and a caramel latte for me, because I'm fancy like that (WINK), and then grab a seat by the window.

I'll say I can't believe we have known each other for ten whole years this summer. We'll joke and laugh about our high school days and rate our awkwardness on a scale of zero to the Voldemort/Draco Malfoy hug (That's a Harry Potter reference, for all you muggles.) Ten years later, and I'd say I'm still up there on the awkwardness scale most days. You'll giggle because you know it's true.

We'll talk about living in the same city and how fun it is that it's actually a reality after all of these years. I'll say one of the things I love about this is learning more and more how we each react to different situations. We are so similar in many ways, and different in others. We both love having a plan but react differently when those plans change, and that's okay. It's just something we are learning to be sensitive towards for each other. That's one thing about friendship. We, as individuals, are always growing and learning and changing, and as friends, we need to be aware of those things so that we can grow and learn and change together and so we can be respectful to each other in our differences.

Something I learned a long time ago about friendship is when we hurt each other, we should be quick to genuinely apologize and quick to forgive. I love that you and I do that. That's another thing about friendship. The ability Jesus gives us to see one another as we truly are, to see the bad and the ugly and the brokenness of our hearts, and to be able to look past that and say "You are precious, and beautiful, and worthy of love, and I am honored to be your friend." To realize none of us are perfect, to stop the comparison game, and to be each other's biggest cheer leaders. That is a beautiful thing.

There is a quote I came across recently that I wanted to tell you about. It says, "Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort, of feeling safe with a person; have neither to weigh thoughts or measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away."

That is was a true friend does for you. They take all of the lies and unkind words you have told yourself, gently scoop them up and away from  you, and toss them to the wind, hoping that they will never find their way back to you. Thank you for being a friend who is brave enough to share insecurities, for being vulnerable and open, for sharing your heart and your life with me, knowing that this friend of yours will always strive to use gracious and honest words to build you up and encourage you.

Today I am turning twenty-seven. My heart has the warm fuzzies because I know you've made plans for friends and dinner and games tonight. Thank you for speaking my language and for taking the time to make sure I feel valued and loved. You know all this past year has held for me. All of the ups and downs, and you have had a few of those yourself. It was a hard year in many ways, but a gift nonetheless. We both learned a lot about trusting Jesus with some very big requests and about facing the unknown with courage. A wise lady once told me that just because God calls you to something or to some place, doesn't mean that change will be easy. One thing I know, He has brought us this far, and he won't let go now.

You are a sister I never had, and I'm so glad you are a part of my Colorado family. This year, let's laugh more (it's hard to believe two people could actually laugh more than we do, but we can rise to the challenge), try new things, adventure until we can adventure no more, believe what Jesus says about us (that we are precious and honored and loved in his sight), and love each other and those around us well. It is fun walking through this journey of life with you, best friend. Let's rock the socks off of twenty-seven.