Friends & Photoshoots & Why You Need Both in Your Life

I’ve written good bit about friendship on my blog because it’s not only dear to my heart but it has been one of the strongest sources of strength while navigating this growing up thing I’m doing right now. Friendship is a ride with ups and downs as you grow into your own person and they grow into their own person and surprisingly growing up isn’t exactly the most glamorous thing.  Sometimes it’s all euphoric and you and your people share the same beliefs, other times your differing beliefs and opinions create canyon size spaces between your hearts. It’s so annoying. Can’t we all just share the same perspective, food choices, and pants size (preferably Amy’s if we need to be specific here)????????

Instead the good, the bad, challenging, and exposing all collide together and sometimes you’ve got a mess to sift through and other times you realize this beautiful masterpiece has evolved. My friends and I are a perfect masterpiece like you see in the picture below. 5 girls turned into women in the blink of an eye, all beautiful and dolled up and lovely with picturesque smiles and clothes that flawlessly adorn our earthly bodies which we love with every morsal of our being. We’re like magical humans spreading our cheery glitter dust over all the people we encounter.

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Calm down. I’m just kidding.

If you had heard the commentary that led up to this pic, we’d have probably been given our own reality tv show and possibly a free trip to a therapist. We were H-O-T, sweaty, and fighting monster size thoughts all of which we just say out loud because that’s where we are in life that we’re just not skinny enough or positioned right or hate that side of our face (But for real, I do have a prettier side)….the list goes on and on. To make matters worse the air in my BRAND NEW CAR stopped working mid concert Amy and I were performing in so the last 15 minutes of the drive WAS SO HOT. Thank God no one documented. Just thank God. Of course, the air promptly started working after we finished pics and it had cooled off.

We’re a glorious mess of a bunch of women. That’s cause despite the fact we had a really awesome photographer (Annette -find her info below) we are just REAL women.

Amy is not really patient and is always right.

Ashley doesn’t believe us when we tell her how beautiful she is. She also has this budgeting/currency deal she lives by that we don’t understand.

Jordan demands order and structure and doesn’t like when plans change and like Amy she is also always right.

I (Renee) am bossy and too busy and like Amy and Jordan I am also always right.

Emily….well, we think she might be perfect. If God lined the 5 of us up as possible birth mom’s for Jesus, hands down he would pick Emily as the new Mary. As for the rest of us, well we’re just glad we were born in the 80’s. (Good call, Jesus, REALLY good call)

I had planned to write this sappy post of how much I love my Fab5 and tell you what I loved about them and us, but then I decided you have probably already fabricated some perfect ideal of us thats way cooler than we really are. So instead of honoring whatever ideal you have created, I’m just gonna give you an inside look into our real selves. We’re really normal, we just happen to thrive off of each others mad skills which is why we are able to pull off photoshoots like this.

Without further ado, here are the ladies of the Fab5 in all our human glory and a few fun, random facts about us that prove we’re just real people like you.

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1) Laughing is our favorite. We love it so much and we are so good at it. We find each other h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s which is probably why we’re friends to begin with. We use to say we laughed till we cried then certain people started having babies – so now some of us laugh till we cry and others laugh till they pee. Either way, it’s a win.

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2) Our talent knows no bounds. We’re like real bossy. This is great because the only thing more awesome than 1 bossy person in a group is 5 of them. The cool thing is since we have a friend flow, we’ve learned when to let each other lead. We all have different passions and we are all better than others in different areas. It’s just become a natural thing to know when to step back and be a follower or when to step up and be a leader.

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3) Our ages are 31, 30, 30, 28, & 28. You can decide who is who.

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4) We collectively have a nutrition degree, two business degrees, masters in business, masters in organizational communication, phd in baby making, we fill roles as professional singers, motivational speaker, pastoral counselor, health couch, creative goddess, personal trainer, interior designer, furniture refinisher, master of online sales, phd in couponing, actress, own two businesses, run a few more, and still we all could literally care less about the above list. When we walk into a hangout, we’re just normally tired women who are so happy to be wearing workout clothes, eat a healthy dinner together (cause when you get older you cook healthy at hangouts!), catch up on life, and just hang with each other. We leave our credentials at the door. Unless there’s a funny story, of course. We are not the sum of the roles we fill, we are still those high school girls with big dreams – some fulfilled and some still waiting to explode.

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5) One time we got stuck in a ghetto car parade. Like it was actually a GHETTO CAR PARADE along the coast. We went out for a birthday night and were looking for dessert (duh!) and turned into this c-r-a-z-y traffic when we realized we turned into a parade and were surrounded by people along the road yelling at the ghetto souped up cars driving in front and behind us. We were in a souped up Honda Accord so obviously we fit right in next to the 1983 Toyota Corolla with a missing front bumper, doors on hinges, and a camera TAPED to the trunk of his car. We have never in all our life laughed so much for so long as we did that night.

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6) A few months back we had a women’s night at church and Emily asked us to help her run the table for Trafficking Hope, an organization she is actively apart of helping rescue women and girls from local sex trafficking. We were responsible for informing people about the mission and selling the products they have available. We – owned – that – table. I was so proud watching these friends of mine own their friends passion as their own. That’s life at its finest.  On that note, we’re helping put on a race in Nola in a few weeks to raise money for TH and we need you to show up. Register HERE. No, really get some friends and come hang with Fab5. We’ll be the 5 funny/bossy people making the event happen.

Just weeks later, I was speaking to the college/young women in their 20’s at the church for a sisterhood night. My ladies showed up and sat in the back smiling at me with those “HI FRIEND I SEE YOU” smiles. The best.

When one of the ladies had her heart shattered into one million horrid pieces for what felt like the one millionth time, we prayed for her again and again and again. We said, “No More. Enough is Enough.” We offered our fighting and investigative research services, because let’s be honest, 5 women can find out a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. We just can. And we will fight with momma bear powers that can actually withstand anything to make sure we are always winning at this very hard road of life. It’s easy to be included in the good, it’s an honor to be allowed in the trenches of life. Glad these ladies and their navy seal level skills are in my trenches.

When one of us decided to make a random career change, despite our confusion as to what it would look like (other than hollywoodish), we said “Go for it!. We will vote for you and start fan club and sell your face 1000 times over again and find every old pic and sell it for cash money!!!!” And then we made a list of all the things she has to buy us when she makes it big.

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7) Some of our biggest life announcements come out at our birthday night celebration – new boys, lovers, jobs, babies, houses, and dreams. Nothing like telling your secrets over dessert with the worlds best foodies around.

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8) We met at church. Yep, we all met at church. In youth group or college ministry and we have clocked thousands of hours together making church happen. Ashley is the skit master/dance team coach, Amy is the worship leader, Emily is the counselor, I am the event planner, and Jordan is the director of communication and organization. I love that our memories revolve around something bigger than the things that fade (status, careers, proximity, money, season). Our group was formed from a common mission to love Jesus and love people. I think that’s why no matter how different our lives look, we’ve not allowed that to set the tone for our Fab5. One day if we all 5 start a church together, we hope you can come visit it or be a part. Best. Church. Ever.

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I blew this sucker up on a canvas the size of china for my house. Because when you’re 28 and own your own house you can do things like that.

9) We’ve just gotten better together. I don’t really know how else to say it, but I speak for us all that we’re better because of each other.

Amy makes me feel like I”m going to be a great wife and marriage is going to be a lot of fun. Her honesty and realness has made me always feel so welcome into her world despite the fact our lives haven’t looked the same for over a decade now. I genuinely want her to know everything about my life because it just makes me feel better. And I want her to be next to me for all those important life events. She is smart and funny and grew me the cutest lil blonde headed boy love I’ve ever seen.  She also raps which is very cool. She is the best.

Ashley reminds me life is so fun and not to take things so seriously. She has taught me to trust God and the value of debit cards vs cash. I’m working on teaching her to increase the life currency she lives by. She is also really honest about life and her dreams and I’m just so proud of the strong woman she is. I love how good of a mom she is and I have no idea how she lost so much weight but I just think she is the coolest chick around for being so committed to her goals. Her name in my phone is Snooki and even though she is the worst texter in the universe – nothing lights my day like when Snooki calls or text me. She is passionately committed to finding me a boy/lover/husband and has found my husband approximately 20 times by now. I love hearing about who my next husband is. She is the best.

Emily reminds me to never give up and to stay so rooted in Jesus and focused on today. She is so good at being grounded and faithful and disciplined, all things I am so not good at. I adore the peace on her life. And I owe her probably $10,000 worth of coffee for all the sleep I robbed her of in college because of some idea I had or event I wanted to plan for the girls in our ministry. No lie when I say my Jesus and ministry foundation was laid with this girl right next to me. She always believed in me even when I definitely didn’t believe in me. Her trust in me healed some broken parts of my heart and gave me courage to keep going. We fought hard to survive and thrive during some dang good years followed by some harder ones, but oh how I love that through hard seasons we learned to trust God so deeply. She is the best.

Jordan is my homegirl and neighbor and same age friend turned sister. She was inducted into the Fab5 much later on, we use to be a Fab4. We’re still not sure how she made it in, but it’s proof of her superhuman powers. Jordan is very smart and her love of order and structure means very little will out of place and everything will be accounted for. You must be thinking we’re twins, huh 🙂 In many ways we are so similar and in so many we live on the opposite end of the spectrum, but she has been such a faithful, sweet, caring, and intentional friend in my life during my rockiest, soul-searching, vulnerable, and snowglobe (my reference for when your life gets shaken up -over and over and over and over again) seasons. I can always count on her – always. She will be gracious and fun and honest.  I just love watching her own her space in life whether that is as a wife or business woman or student or teacher, she is great at anything she focuses on and she deeply values doing things well. She is my mother reincarnated. She is the best.

I’m so glad we stopped life for this photoshoot. We had thrown around the idea and like most ideas we toss around we just opt to go for it. We just really wanted one or two good pics of us together. Our magical fairy of a photographer blew us away though.

Growing up is weird. Finding and learning to love yourself is hard as you realize how imperfect you are, but it’s a lot easier when you have friends who know you inside and out and they still love you. As a woman it’s so easy to critique everything we don’t like or love about ourselves, especially now that I’m a bit older and single, it’s easy to want to blame something on the things we don’t understand. That’s why it’s important we work to have friendships that remind us those things don’t matter. Through our good years, our prettiest days, our fattest days, our ugliest days, our meanest/grumpiest days, our most insecure days, it’s amazing how I never think through the filter of if they will still like me or love me – somehow my heart just knows that love can’t go anywhere.

The 5 of us are just REAL people with real lives and real problems and real victories and real families. If the Fab5 can encourage you in any way, it’s to take your makeup off, let the real you shine bright (weaknesses included) and let people around you see you and love you. Be a lover of the people around you. In their messiness and inconvenience, love them so much. When celebrating them reminds you of what you don’t have, celebrate them anyways. We’re not a rare group of women or special, we’re just not willing to give up! I love hearing stories of women decades older than us that are surrounded by their own Fab5. It’s encouraging to know we’ll have our Fab5 forever – on both sides of heaven we’ll be together. If you’re looking for us in heaven, we’ll def be in the dessert station though!

I love you, my Fab5!

Here’s to making people think the 30’s are the most beautiful, adventure-filled years of life!

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WHAT? You don’t wander around bookstores reading with your friends? Well, maybe you should.
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Amy was really not impressed with the book. Ashley LOVED it. I was asking Amy a question because she has the answers. Emily was intrigued how she’d respond and Jordan must have been on a different page discovering some secret keys to staying young forever.
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I seriously love us laughing. We must look so ridiculous all the time.

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I told you laughing was our favorite.

All of these pictures were taken by Annette Mershimer. She is a camera goddess as seen by the amazing pics she took of us 5. She wore the cutest headband (i love headbands) and she was patient and kind and gentle with us. If you’re looking for pictures, call her, text her, email her, facebook her! She is the best, you will love her. She is just getting started with her photography business so snag her now while her rates are pretty gosh darn lovely!

Annette Mershimer  

Annette.mershimer@gmail.com

724-992-8526 (iPhone)

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