from bunk beds to cheesesteak to weddings (or, a birthday blog celebrating mistimas)

Today, Misti Bailey Ellis turns 26. It’s hard to believe that time has flown by this fast. I’m thankful that our birthdays are four days apart. Partially because it means we celebrate together: with trips to Boston and singing Augustana in the T at the top of our lungs, with funfetti cake and Beezers and laughter with all of our friends, with Skyping and texting, with cards and letters, with birthday roadtrips (that may have involved one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given…a book written just for me by my birthday counterpart!).

I’ve written quite a few of these blogs over the years, celebrating Mistimas. In some ways, you’d think I might run out of the things to say. Or, at least, things that I am allowed to write about in our friendship (let’s just say that there are quite a few Facebook chats and texts and Skype chats that should never be unearthed or seen ever again…and hopefully NSA agrees).

26 is on closer to 30 than 24. I realize this partially because I am also slowly encroaching on 30 (and am almost a year ahead of my dear friend). And partially because my body feels weird and ancient when I wake up in the mornings. And partially because I’m halfway decent at math, so the difference is clear there. So, in these last eight years, there have been a lot of pretty sweet memories made between the two of us. Here are a few of my favorites especially worthy of sharing and celebrating:

Meeting each other, becoming friends, and finding out we were co-workers within the span of a week. Working in the nursery at St. Andrews was fun, and delightful, and a blast. I loved rocking those babies and making memories with my friend.

Serving together in BCM – there are lots of things I could mention, but here are a couple: doing wakey wakey together on fall retreat in Charleston, weekly lunches at Paul’s Philadelphia Eatery to talk about ministry and life (and sometimes boys too), all of the leadership moments serving together, going through the summer missions process together (and Misti sharing with me how much our Kid’s Connexion team basically ruined the summer missions budget thanks to our little, uh, wreck), dealing with injuries (of all types), and laughter and tears and everything shared in between.

Camp connections and having mutual friends – and that time Misti special-teamed in Charleston and was my roommate for a week – it was like college all over again! Lovely.

Having a friend that you can share anything with – the good and the bad. Everything from talking about girl doctor appointments (weird, I know), to boys (we had a lot of those discussions – at least these days her love life is considerably more developed and, well, stable than mine), to family (and having one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had with someone about family things in the Dunkin Donuts on Forest Drive), to weird dreams we were both having at the same time while in our senior year, to shopping at Goodwill for wedding table decorations and eating Beezers and watching random movies together and quoting Harry Potter and John Calvin, sometimes in the same conversation.

I say it every year, but I’ll say it again – I’m so grateful for the time I got to that fall retreat in 2010 late, because of some misguided directions, and that Misti Bailey Ellis shared her bunk with me and let me sleep on the bottom bunk. Looking back, it was a pretty sturdy foundation for a friendship.

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