The Trait Project : Allison Michelle

Prior to this Trait Project, I have written about people who I have known for a long time. However, I sometimes find the brightest of gems in people I just meet or whom have barely graced my years yet.

Allison is one such person.

Allison Michelle Coble.

My sweet friend Allison and her husband, Kyle.
Isn’t she stunning? ūüôā

I remember the first time I ever saw her.
I was in Washington, DC right after we lost our little Veronika’s adoption in Ukraine. Through a series of emails and trying to figure out who I needed to talk with to ensure V’s safety, I was paired with The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. They were able to connect me with the Congressional members and other organizations I needed to speak with.

I scheduled a meeting with them and I joined them in their DC offices one afternoon to discuss my story.

As we gathered around their conference room table, the staff mentioned to me that one more person may join us later.

A few minutes later the cutest gal walks in, in a hurry, trying not to disturb our meeting and scurried to her seat as she said, “Hi! I’m Allison! I’m so sorry I’m late!”
She eagerly sat down and proceeded to catch up, as she could, with what I was saying.

I remember her so vividly that day because she was so intently listening to what I was saying. Not only was she listening intently, she was positioning her heart in a way to attach to mine. I could see it in her eyes and read it in her body language. She was diving into my story and wanting to reside with me.

I have rarely seen this – someone who listens so closely because they are opening their heart to help and hurt with you.

Allison did that for me that day so it is no wonder she has made a huge impact on me. She joined my heart in all the joys and hurts and wanted to be there with and for me.

I can count on both hands the amount of times we have actually been in the same city spending quality time together – however, I would consider her one of my closest friends.

Every time we are together, we make sure that we have dinner or time to catch up a bit.

Allison is a living, breathing, form of compassion and empathy. Her heart is a rarity; her kindred spirit unmatched. And the amazing thing is – I have only scratched the surface of who Allison is. There is so much more to discover about who God has created her to be – and I hope we have many years of friendship for me to get to know her better.

a picture showing Allison’s heart and her work with CCAI

She is going through some big things in life at this moment and I really hope she feels that I show up for her. I  hope she knows I would go to any depths of emotions with her because I really value her.

I pray my sons can grow up with a touch of Allison in them. I hope to take her heart for others and emulate that for my boys so that their hearts can attach to people who are hurting and help them in the healing process.

Allison, I know that I can’t physically be there with you during this time, but I hope you know how much I love and admire you. My phone is always waiting when you need me. I love you so much. Thank you for loving me well.

-KR

The Trait Project : #6 {Kelsie Reed}

‚ÄúRare as is true love, true friendship is rarer.‚ÄĚ -Jean de La Fontaine

I have found this quote above to be immensely true in my life. The Trait Project has been my way of honoring those few gems on my journey. This post is no exception. This post is about the biggest surprise of a friend I have received in years.

In January, I will celebrate living in Nashville for 5 years. {Which is the longest I have lived anywhere my entire life and I am going to have a party to celebrate‚Ķ.I just have to}¬†My husband had already¬†lived in Nashville for a number of years,¬†but our entire relationship was long distance so I moved to Nashville once we were¬†back from our honeymoon. Not long after I was settled in, my husband kept mentioning that he wanted me to have a really good friend in Nashville; that was his hope for me. I kept dismissing it because it didn’t matter to me. I had spent much of my life moving around and sometimes had a good friend to show for a certain place and sometimes not.

Before I knew it, I had a really good friend in Nashville. Her name was Kelsie.
Kelsie Reed Peskett Snowden.

The funny thing about Kelsie is that the first time I ever met her was¬†at my wedding. We had a small wedding in Virginia. I wanted ONLY 50 people there and my requirement was that I had to believe that I would still be speaking to you in¬†15 years if you were invited. We invited mostly family and very close friends in Nashville to attend, one of those friends being a band mate of my husband’s. His name is Phil.
Phil was on a gig with¬†my then boyfriend, Jared, when Jared went to buy my engagement ring. The same week they bought my ring, I was visiting them at the venue of their gig and Phil began to tell me about Kelsie; his not so girlfriend¬†‚Äúgirlfriend‚ÄĚ. I could see his face completely change when her name was mentioned. I knew she was special.

Fast forward a few months. Jared proposed, I said yes, and we began to put a wedding together in four months. I wanted Phil to be¬†a part of the 50 and I asked him to bring Kelsie along. He told me Kelsie was really apprehensive about it because she didn’t’ know us and truthfully I can understand her feeling this way; she would literally be the only person at my wedding that I wasn’t really good friends with. That can be intimidating. I admire her though because she came.

Jared and I took pictures with everyone who came and I look back at that picture with Kelsie and Phil and I never knew God had me standing next to the girl I would ask to be my child’s godmother.

Snowdens & Ribbles @ Ribble Wedding
Snowdens & Ribbles @ Ribble Wedding 2

I can’t tell you what one event pivoted us into great friends. Maybe Kelsie can say what it was, but I remember just looking up from my life one day in a coffee shop and Kelsie was sitting across from me as one of the most familiar things in my life.

As we continue this journey into adulthood, I think we find friends for reasons we never believed we would. I look back on what I needed in my life back then, and even more so now, and I see why Kelsie and I clicked. I, like every other woman (if she will be honest with herself) need a friend who I can be 1000 % honest with. This type of friend is the needle in the haystack.

We as women put on a front.
We hide behind Facebook profile pictures of happy marriages that show a lie to everyone who sees them.
We hide behind snapshots of our kiddos laughing and words describing them as the most beautiful angels when we want to cry and scream because life has been so difficult as a mom.
We hide behind Instagram photos of just our neck and face smiling because we actually spent twenty minutes in the bathroom that morning distraught by our figure.
This is what we do.
We create what we want the truth to be and we choose friends who can’t get close enough to know all the crevasses.
We seek women who are doing the same things so we never have to get too close and be uncomfortable.
And you know what I say to this?? I say we are all kidding ourselves into thinking this is an ok way to live.
We are depriving ourselves of one of God’s greatest gifts in a person if we seek this type of friendship only. We are depriving ourselves of honesty.

When God gave me Kelsie, he gave me a girl that I can tell anything to. And I mean anything. I can not begin to explain the wonderful emotion I have knowing I have complete sincerity¬†with another girl friend. I don’t have to hide behind profile pictures or tell fibs at the coffee table about my days. I can lay all of my raw emotion before her, bleeding and pleading, she accepts every ounce of it for what it is and loves me.

Kelsie & Phil’s Wedding, Coronado Island, CA

kelsie and phil wedding

I saw this picture the other day of a tote bag someone had that said, ‚ÄúMother Teresa didn’t walk around complaining about her thighs‚Äst she had {stuff} to do.‚ÄĚ There are a million reasons I love this, but one of them is in this statement, I see so¬†much of my relationship with Kelsie. When I am with her, I can complain about those things if I want to, but our friendships pushes us both to focus on the best of us both.
Our friendship listens to the inadequacies, calculates their worth in each other, then computes the truth for us both to take from that table with gusto.

____________________

In just the fashion I would have encouraged her to do, Kelsie moved to California this year to pursue some lifelong dreams. I have never once lied to her about my feelings about this move. I have been so excited for her and at the same time devastated. I no longer have a couple of days a week of coffee meet ups with her or evenings of shared dinners with our families. We will from here on out count on one hand the times we see each other in a year. That’s difficult for me to type. But its the truth and she is doing what is best for her family, as I am mine.

I decided a long time ago I wanted to ask her to be my child’s godmother. In the denomination I grew up in spiritually, we never practiced naming of godparents. For me, I wanted to bestow an honor similar to ‚Äúaunt‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúuncle‚ÄĚ on a friend who isn’t blood already. The main reason for picking Kelsie was that I want to convey to my son, that if there is ever a time he cannot come to me; if there is ever a time he feels he can’t come to family for help or share something with us, I want him to know his Aunt Kelsie is that person. She will welcome him as her own and I trust her with his soul. I know she will not lead him astray.

As you are reading this, Kelsie just found out last week that she is my son’s godmother. Aiden took this picture below as his way to ask her. I wrote a note to her about all the things I want Aiden to know about her and my trust in her, and we gave her a bracelet with Aiden’s birthstone to commemorate her role in his life.

Aiden's Godmother Picture
This is a picture of her face as she realized what we were asking her:

Kelsie Finding Out She is a Godmother

My wish is for every girl to have a Kelsie in their life that they can tell absolutely everything to. My wish is for every woman to have a Kelsie whom they can point their child to knowing if they can’t come home, they have a safe place to land and an honest heart to welcome them.

Kels & Krys

I don’t really know if Mother Teresa complained about her thighs, but if she did, I hope she had a Kelsie to talk to about it.

Kels, I love you more than these words can ever adequately describe. As we have joked many times, you are my Right Arm. The miles will never define our friendship. Thank you for always being a safe place for me to land no matter where I am coming from. I love you forever and always.

The Trait Project : #4 {Casey Rachelle}

The great Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”

When I think of Casey Rachelle Slagle (Now Casey Sheffield), I think of the one person I know who is remotely even close to the perfect virtue that Confucius speaks of.

Casey Sheffield{Isn’t she gorgeous?? :)}

I could tell you how much she would dislike me saying this about her, but this is my blog and I get to write the story so she can’t dictate how I brag on her. Ha!

I met Casey when we were working for a summer youth camp that we both had attended as students previously. She was shy and quiet and I was, well…. let’s just say I am not really shy and quiet. However, when I met Casey, I saw in flesh form some qualities I did not know a person could possess on such an incredible level.

Casey & Krystal @ Camp{Back in Our “camp” days. Holy short hair Krystal. Ha!}

Up until this point in my life, I had not really had a bunch of good girlfriends that I could count on to be in my life forever. Remember Magan? Yeah that was kind of the last strong friendship I had and then when I moved, nothing every gelled quite as strongly; until I met Casey. 

The very first word I think of when I think of Casey is¬†kind. She possesses kindness on a level of dynamic proportions. I have always been convinced she did not have an unkind bone in her body. She is sweet and loving and sincere. She is so perfumed in kindness that if I ever had a bad day, all I had to do was look at her or call her and the tilt of my world’s axis was corrected again. It’s that powerful.¬†

She has the ability to show you with her personality, the kind eyes that you imagine Jesus looks at you with. I have always been convinced that when I look at her, I am seeing a trait of Jesus in human form. 

When I came across the quote above from Confucius, I was astounded at the points he made because I feel they fit Casey so well : ¬†“gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”¬†

Gravity : experiencing a person of gravity is experiencing someone with the ability to be very serious when needed. I always imagine these people as knowing the proper weight of a circumstance and acting accordingly.
Among Casey’s traits, she has¬†the ability to see situations for their breadth and respond¬†appropriately. Its something most people really want to possess when a close friend experiences a death or a loss of some kind; you always want to say the right things, to comfort the right way. Casey does this impeccably.¬†

Generosity of Soul¬†: My favorite definition of generosity is “plentiful.” This is usually used in describing food portions, however, in my friend Casey, her kindness is plentiful. In all the years I have known her, she has been a constant in multiple areas and one of those has been her generosity. I have always been able to count on her giving spirit if I ever needed it, and most of the time, she was giving when I never knew I needed it or never even asked.¬†

Sincerity : I have never questioned her motives or actions. They have always been above par and exceeded an expectation I could have imagined. When she does something for you or says something to you, it is coming from the depth of who she is and is the most truth you will ever see exhibited in a person. 

Earnestness : Being earnest means being seriously zealous. I have seen Casey pursue her friendships, her family, and her Lord with a serious zealous intention that is so honorable and inspiring.

Kindness : I mentioned this before. Her kindness is astounding. Thus, every one of these qualities is magnified because of her kindness.

Krystal Wedding Day{One of my favorite pics from Casey helping me get dressed for my wedding.}

Not only do I long to possess even just an ounce of these qualities, I want my son to be like his Aunt Casey. I want him to know how to speak life into hard situations appropriately. I want him to be sincere in his intentions and zealous in his pursuits. At the core of his being, I want him to be a kind man.

Casey's Wedding{I had the extreme honor of standing next to Casey on her wedding day this past May.}

I am so thankful every single day for you Case. God gave me the ultimate gift when He gave me you. I love you.

-KR

 

Blog Collaboration with Noonday Collection

I have the extreme pleasure of being a freelance writer for many different publications and sites. I will do my best to post links here to those articles.

Noonday Collection is one company that I do some work with not only as an Ambassador for their brand, but as a blogger for their site.

Today I published a story with them about Adoption, Connection, and Sisterhood.
Its a great reminder to love on the sweet gals God has given us as friends and to find people to share life with who move you towards being a better person seeking bigger causes.

I took this opportunity to brag on my sweet friend Melaney.

Go read my blog HERE. Add some sweet jewelry to your wishlist. Then call your gal pals and tell them how much you love them.

You can thank me later. ūüôā

-KR