Although I could probably find THOUSANDS of quotes to define what my F.I.T. girls mean to me, the quote above does a great job of summing it up! They are my family! My sisters! My friends!
Last weekend I was over-joyed that we all got to share our SECOND weekend together...but this time in my hometown, O-L-A-T-H-E. For those of you who may not be familiar with Olathe [o lay' tha], it's the fourth largest city in the state of Kansas and it's name comes from the Shawnee Indian name meaning "beautiful!" It lies along what was formerly referred to as the Mill Creek & Santa Fe trail. What better place to take a Spring vacation than right HERE! :)
My friend Val said that whenever her friends back home in Georgia asked her where she was going, she didn't know the proper pronunciation so she would reply, "O-L-A-T-H-E." You'd be surprised at how fast she can spout off that spelling. You all now have one up on her, it's simply "o LAY' tha."
If you ever decide you need a pretty "happenin'" city to vacation to, allow me to be your tour guide of our beautiful city! (even though we will likely end up in our Kansas City, MO metro area to enjoy our downtown entertainment venues, but you can SLEEP in our more peaceful, sub-burbian quarters - o LAY' tha! Within 20 minutes of many amazing attractions.
Now let's backtrack a bit? Where did I meet these amazing, "family, sister, friends" you may ask? Based on my connection with them, some may think them childhood friends, others college roommates, or maybe a great group of "knitting buddies" <---hahahaha....NOT, (nothing against knitting of course). Or some of you may have noticed the statement that this was only our SECOND weekend together, meeting in person that is.
Back around July of last year we all met through blogs & facebook not long after each starting our own weight loss journey's. With all of us weighing in near or well over 300 lbs, we had individually decided to stop watching everyone else gain their lives back while we sat doing nothing. Each of us had (or was near having) our "ah ha" moments where it just made sense, NO ONE was going to lose this weight for us, we have to make it happen.
From there, we began developing friendships that went deeper than the occasional status comment or "like" photo on facebook. We began challenging one another and encouraging each other to press our limits and go farther than we had in our last workout. Conference calls became a regular occurrance for us to touch base and check in with one another. Calling these girls a "support group" would limit their impact on my life although I've received undeserved support from them that I cherish. In what felt like overnight, I gained some incredible girlfriends who have left impressions on my heart.
Our FIRST "girls weekend" was back in October when we all travelled to Wisconsin Dells. It is one of the oddest placest if for no other reason than the fact that the city is essentially a WATER THEME-PARK located in WISCONSIN! I don't know if someone caught "spring fever" and decided to create a utopia in what they "thought" was Cancun or what, but needless to say - in October, a WATER THEME PARK in the middle of Wisconsin is...well...BIZARRE!
All jokes aside though, we had a great time actually "meeting" each other for the first time and that trip proved to test the strength of our friendships. There was a lot taken from the trip - some amazing, some unfortunate, but ALL I believe helped us learn a little more about ourselves & each other. For me, that weekend is when the depth grew tremendously in the individual relationships I have with these girls.
I think that is part of what made this visit from them so exciting to me. Not to mention, how cool is it that the closest travelled from Knob Noster, MO - 1 1/2 hours away and the farthest from Dahlonega, GA to share a weekend and celebrate Ali's birthday (whom lived in Indiana and since all of our lives connecting, is NOW my roommate here in Kansas). How many of our friends just hop in their car for hours or catch a flight on a whim like that to visit people they've only seen in person maybe one-two times with no "official" vacation plans. Furthermore, our Georgia friend (and her husband) are deathly afraid of planes, but that fear didn't keep them grounded, we welcomed their company and they graciously accepted.
Am I painting a clear picture as to WHY I love these girls so very much? I've already been through A LOT with them as a "group," their individual lives, my personal life and so on. From weight gains, triathalons, financial struggle, faith, relationships, Reality TV show auditions, love, emotional struggles, milestones, relocating, job loss, adoption, mistrusts, divorce, parenting, anxiety & death - we've walked with each other through so many of life's experiences in less than a year.
I'm thrilled that our reunions don't appear to be dwindling by any means either, we are already planning for some southern hospitality with Trip #3 to GEORGIA (did someone say home cooked meals???) followed by sunny FLORIDA next year (bring it on Disney Princess HALF marathon)!!!
They say, "The road to a friends house is never long," I now understand first hand what that quote truly means! We may be pretty scattered across the US, but the distance doesn't keep us apart..."You call & I'll be there!"
Verse(s) of the Day:
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching."