Happy Birthday, EKP

When Emma Kate and I were in college we used to sit in our room and talk about how maybe one day we’d get married and have kids and live on the same cul de sac. Since both of us grew up in the country, our only frame of reference for cul de sac living came from Knots Landing, and that is precisely what we wanted: to walk out of our front doors each morning and see our kids off to school and stand in the street drinking coffee just like Valene Ewing and Karen MacKenzie.

Only without all the arguing. And disappearing spouses. And split personalities. And whathaveyou.

We just wanted to live close to each other. We wanted our children to know each other. We wanted our husbands to be buddies. And we wanted to have pretty houses filled with – and I quote – “LOADS of stripes and florals.”

Remember, it was the 90s. Pink cabbage roses were all the rage, people.

The years since those days in the Chi O house have been filled with all sorts of highs and lows: grad school for me, OT school for her, two marriages, four kids, seven cities, untold tears, countless laughs, innumerable prayers. There have been several times when we’ve called each other and vowed we couldn’t stay married EVEN ONE MORE DAY – only to decide by the time we hung up the phone that we just might make it after all. We’ve walked with each other through Serious Life Junk, we know each other’s struggles, and as much as we act like sixteen year-olds when we’re together, we don’t hesitate to get in each other’s business. If one of us says, “NOW LISTEN HERE, MISSY” – well, you know somebody’s about to set the record straight about something.

It’s been a mighty long time since we were roommates, and we still haven’t made it to the cul de sac. I’ve eyeballed the land to the side of EK’s new house and thought that maybe we just need to build us a cul de sac, but that’s pretty improbable since we don’t exactly live, you know, IN THE SAME TOWN. Our kids don’t get to see each other very often but have big fun when they do, and our husbands are in fact buddies, which just delights us to no end. Odds are you could walk through both of our houses without finding a single floral anything – our tastes have changed a wee bit since the early 90s.

And our friendship is stronger than ever.

This past weekend I went to hear Beth Moore in New Orleans, and she asked us to make a list of the five people who have been the most influential in our walk with God. Before I even put pen to paper, I knew that EK was one of my five. She has been utterly patient with me at every single stage of my adult life (especially during what I like to refer to as The Trainwreck Years), and when she’s spoken a hard truth, she has flat-out smothered that truth with love. EK’s example and her faithfulness – her love for God’s Word and His people – have encouraged me more than she will ever know.

EK has a deep and abiding affection for chocolate chip cookies and slapstick comedy (sidenote: JUST BECAUSE SOMEBODY FALLS DOWN DOES NOT MAKE A MOVIE WORTH SEEING, EK). She has an enthusiasm for MSU football and basketball that makes me so happy and a fondness for procedural medical dramas that knows no bounds. She has, as my daddy would say, more common sense than you can shake a stick at, and she can organize anything if you’ll just give her a little peace and quiet so she can make her lists and find the right storage baskets. She loves her family – deeply – and she is fiercely loyal. She’s competitive as all get-out. She’s as tenderhearted as they come. She’s sassy as can be.

I just love her to pieces.

And if you knew her, you would, too.

Happy 40th, EKP!

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  1. “Before I even put pen to paper, I knew that EK was one of my five.” This made me cry! Sounds like you have a Gulley, kind of friend. Everybody needs a Gulley.

    And this–“when she’s spoken a hard truth, she has flat-out smothered that truth in love.”–made me smile, for the word smothered makes me think of chicken fried chicken smothered in gravy :0)

    I love you much, Sophie! Happy Birthday Emma Kate!! What a blessing you are!

  2. Oh, what a treasure….ya’ll are very very lucky to have one another!!!


  3. So sweet! I have an EK in my life too. Everyone needs a best friend! Happy birthday to yours!

  4. That’s awesome you have a friend like that! I have one too! And she’s simply the best!!

  5. What a blessing!

  6. She sounds like a wonderful friend. I have one just like her, and her name is the same as mine. Linds. We met in first year at university and now, good grief, I just counted….. 37 years later, living on opposite sides of the globe, we are as close as ever. I live in the UK and she lives in NZ. And you know what? We just spent an hour on the phone chatting tonight. Friends like this are rare and precious. You know that, Sophie, and so do I. Thank God.

    Happy Birthday EK!

  7. I just left my “Emma Kate” in Pennsylvania and it has been just as hard as I thought it would. Sigh….

  8. Melissa Fitzpatrick says:

    Hey girl! This post was so sweet… made me want to cry and I really don’t know either of you two. I just wanted to drop in and say hello- since I’ve been off Facebook I feel so detached. Which is a blessing in so many ways- but I haven’t gotten to say hello- so, Hello! You must let me know if you ever come to the ATL- I would love to do coffee or something. I know you don’t live too too far away from these parts so holla!

  9. You should get her the book Emma Kate by Patricia Polacco. It’s a good one!

    It’s so great to have good friends who just know you!

  10. My best friend and I turn 25 this year and have many of the same dreams for our lives. Right now many miles separate us, but we can hope and dream.

    Your friendship is a special one. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    Happy Birthday, Emma Kate!

  11. What a blessing to have such a friend, close in heart if not close in miles.

    Happy Birthday EK!

  12. Okay, now I have my very own best friend whom I’ve loved since 3rd grade and I wouldn’t leave if you paid me.


    Now I want an Emma Kate, too!

  13. Oh, where would we be without our “Now listen here, Missy” friends? Not where we’re supposed to be, I’d be willing to bet!

    Praise the Lord for your beautiful friend!

  14. Such a beautiful friendship. God is so good to bless us like this isn’t He? I just wrote about my best friend from childhood and my best friend from college this week… treasure chests of memories!

    Happy birthday to your dear one.

  15. If Emma Kate isn’t the cutest name I ever heard. Happy Birthday, Sweet Friend O’ Boo’s!

  16. I have one of these, too. Her name is Christie.

  17. Emily Massey says:

    Oh Happy Birthday to my Fine Feathered Friend! Love those Chi O days!

  18. Oh, to have friends who know your story, who knew you before husbands and kids and who fill in the blanks when your mind begins to slow down. My friend of 33 years has a son…who recently married my daughter! (That was an easy one!) Now we really are family in a very sweet way.
    Happy Birthday, Emma Kate. I know you and Sophie have shared loads of laughs over the years!

  19. How wonderful to have that strong a friendship after all these years. What a sweet blessing!

  20. It’s my daughter’s birthday today too…and her name is Emma! So happy birthday to best friends named Emma :) (I know, you’re not supposed to be best friends with your daughter, but I am…)

  21. Emma Kate says:

    Thank you so much sweet LOVE!!! It has been an absolutely wonderful day and this — well it’s just the big ole cherry on top!! I love you with every ounce in me — Missy!!

  22. What a sweet tribute to your friend! I was dying over the LOADS of stripes and florals.

  23. What a precious gift you are to each other! Sweet, sweet, sweet.

  24. Loved the truth smothered in love comment — and trainwreck years. Girl, I know trainwreck, hurts my heart to even think about it.
    The florals and stripes — what was up with that era of ugly? Almost as bad as the blue goose stage of the 80s.

    This post blessed my heart and made it ache just a little.

    Thanks for sharing EKP with us.

    Happy Birthday Emma Kate — embrace the 40s. It’s one rockin’ decade to live!!

  25. We all need a EK in our life :)

  26. Love this!

    Is it any wonder that Diane and I wanted to live in yours and EKP’s old room?! :) You left behind such good karma! :)

    Happy birthday, Emma Kate!

  27. Your post made me tear up a lil’ bit. I have a best buddy like that too. We live several miles from each other and our oldest girls are best friends (3 months apart). Our second babies are just days apart. You should never laugh at your friend for being pregnant!

  28. This is such a beautiful post! I think that these written notes are the best. gift. ever. You are so frtunate to have such a wonderful friend!

    Happy 40th EKP!

    If you have time, would you consider popping by my blog today? I participated in a Chick Chat and they’re looking for new participants. I think you’d like it!

  29. Happy Birthday EKP!!! How luck you both are to be friends!

  30. What a great friend! She sounds just like my best friend:) Isn’t there a quote or something about “a friend is someone who knows all of your flaws….but loves you anyway”?? I’m grateful for the gift of friendship.

    Happy 40th, EK!! My “baby” turned 17 on the 8th. His birthday made ME feel really old! He should be 10 or something like that.

  31. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful friendship. Happy birthday, EK!

  32. I loved this post–we are so blessed to have friends like this.

  33. You know I love this. We need to have a BM/EK/BM/Gulley girls weekend sometime!

  34. Jennifer says:

    So nice! I think I want EK as a friend… can I live on the cul de sac, too? :)

  35. Kay Martin says:

    Loved your post about EK. I am old enough to be her mother, but I consider her a very special friend and we are sisters in Christ. I have loved her from the time we met and have enjoyed watching her grow in her Christian life. She always adds sunshine to my life when I see her. Thanks for writing a special tribute for our special friend! I read your blog, but have not commented before -just couldn’t pass this one up.
    Kay Martin

  36. Fellow Chi-O here! Now you’ve got me reminiscing about the good ole’ college days. I suddenly feel the need to phone a friend….

  37. That just made me cry. What a gift you two have. Happy Birthday to her and I bet you shower her with some fun, funnies, and a side of mushy too!!!

  38. My daddy shakes sticks, too! ;)
    What a precious friend! Happy Birthday!

  39. My own EK emailed me the link to this post. You nailed our friendship.


    It’s a print and keep.

  40. Cindy Mc says:

    I have the privilege of knowing Emma Kate and loving her too. You are lucky to have been friends with her for so long. What a sweet tribute to a truly remarkable woman.

  41. I think you said it all. And I’m so blessed to know her, too! She is a jewel! Happy Birthday, sweet Emma Kate!!!

  42. Samantha says:

    Happy birthday, Emma Kate.

    Sophie, you need to post some college pics some time. I feel like I knew you, but I’m trying to place you. I was in a different house, but I was there at the same time. I wonder if we went to church together…

    Anyway, thanks for sharing about your sweet friendship! What a wonderful tribute. I just love the insights that I get from a good Beth Moore study. I was at Women of Faith that weekend and I thought about you while I was singing with Mandisa. :-)