When You’re the One Who Stays: An Honest Letter to My Long-Distance Friends

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” – Elizabeth Foley

Hey, friend. It’s been far too long. ♥

Long-distance friendships are truly the worst. I think we’ve both told ourselves the same little things to make ourselves feel better – like “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” and “It’s never long distance between friends” – but the truth is that it completely sucks. Living in a college town has made me even more aware of how much it sucks. I hated being the one who left my group of people in Shawnee after I graduated, but in a way, it’s even worse to be the one who stays while everyone around you leaves. Since I moved here three years ago, countless friends have moved away for all kinds of wonderful reasons – seminary, new jobs, grad school, church-planting in Europe, so many kinds of growth in new directions. But even when it’s for a good reason, it’s never easy. Now more than ever, I am painfully aware of how much I miss you.

I miss being able to spontaneously call you up and hang out. It used to be so easy. Those quickly-planned brunches or afternoon road trips were so much more important than I realized at the time. I love that you were always within five minutes of coming over. Even though, when you come over, all we did was sit on the couch and half-watch a movie while our husbands argued about which animal would be more difficult to arm wrestle.

I miss sharing the boring stuff with you. Remember when we could sit and talk about nothing and it didn’t feel like wasted time? Now, I feel the need to cram in all of the “big” things that have happened since we saw each other, and I want to hear all of your “big” things too…but weirdly, it almost makes me feel left out. Sometimes I feel a little behind since I get your updates all at once. It’s not that we didn’t share the big stuff before, but I miss having the luxury of sharing things as they happened instead of months later.

I miss your kids. It took me a long time after Daniel and I got married to even be a little okay with the idea of having my own kids. And your kids were a HUGE part of my heart change. Do you realize that? In the midst of panicking over having kids, I fell in love with yours, and they will forever carry a piece of my heart. I will never not love them. Thank you for giving me the privilege of loving them.

I miss being around people I don’t have to ‘entertain.’ Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE making friends and inviting new people into my tribe. As followers of Jesus, that’s our every-day mission. But there is something so profoundly awesome about spending time with friends who melted into the deepest layer of your comfort zone a long time ago. Friends who you don’t clean your house for. Friends who you don’t have to offer something to drink because they’re already digging through your cabinets. Friends who just get you.

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Sometimes though, my brain stops just missing you and starts worrying. I worry that we won’t see each other for a year (or longer). I worry that you’ll find a better friend than me. I worry that we’ll stop having things in common and forget how to be friends with each other. I worry that we’ll get too busy and slowly lose touch over time.

I try not to minimize those worries, because…I think they’re normal. I think every person has had one of those fears at least once. But honestly? Those fears seem silly when I remember that I have someone to miss. I’m thankful that I’m able to miss cups of heavily sugared coffee with you, dreadful Insanity workouts with you, silly study sessions in the car with you, ridiculously competitive game nights with you, wasting hours of time on Pinterest with you, and late night life conversations with you. How incredibly lovely it is to love someone enough to miss them when they aren’t around.

I know we’ll stay friends. We have the kind of friendship that isn’t threatened by distance or time; I know this. We might have to go years without seeing each other, but when we DO see each other, we’ll go right back to where we left off the last time. We’ll watch each other grow and learn from a distance, through text messages and Facebook updates and the occasional phone call – but we’ll live in each other’s hearts, no matter how far away we may move. We’ve shared too much life with each other already.

I hate that we live apart. But I love you with all my heart, nonetheless.

XOXO – Laura

The Next Hendrickson Home

I still can’t quite believe we’re moving.

We’re moving.
We’re moving.
WE’RE. MOVING. It still tastes weird, no matter how many times I say it.

It happened so fast! Remember my satirical post back a few months ago about the stressful and funny back-and-forth of looking for a new house? That was August 27th. We were about to give up on ever finding a home that fit what we were looking for as far as size, price, location, and condition. I was tired of finding a place, falling in love with it, then being disappointed when it was either more expensive than our budget, was in worse condition than we expected, or was stolen out from under us by another buyer. Who knew that in two very short weeks, an incredible house would fall in our laps.

Built sometime in the early 1900s, this beauty is jam-packed with character. It has so many of the same things that made us fall in love with our current house: high ceilings, a fireplace, original wood floors….it’s a dream!

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I already know I’ll cry buckets when we spend our last night in our current house – because it was our first real home. We lived in an apartment for the first six months of our marriage, but we’ve been here ever since. That’s almost three years of memories – dinners with friends, bible studies, movie nights, birthday parties, and hundreds of conversations. Three years of laughing, crying, fighting, forgiving, building, learning, growing, hosting, and just being. It won’t be easy to leave a place that’s been such a blessing to us.

But what a great blessing it will be to enjoy our new house! I’m even looking forward to the packing and unpacking. Our memory-making days are far from over, and I can’t wait until this new house feels just as much like home as our current home does.

Oh, before I forget – thanks in advance to all of our friends and family who have offered to help us clean, pack, move, and unpack! We will repay you with love dollars, and pizza or Asian Gourmet if you’re lucky. ;)

All photos are from the house’s current owners’ public listing on Trulia.

My Norwegian Fall Break

Oh, Wisconsin. What a beautiful fall break we spent together! I fall more in love with you every time I’m there.

This trip was heritage-themed, organized by some of Daniel’s family members with the intention of exploring the Norwegian background of and stories surrounding his mom’s side of the family. We stayed in a charming B&B lodge on Lake Ripley, and I wish we had gotten more time to enjoy the view! Our days were full to the brim with dozens of activities, including:

  • the dairy farm on campus at the University of Wisconsin (including ice cream from their creamery!)
  • a fancy-pants evening at a dinner theatre with incredible food and West Side Story
  • Norskedalen, a Norwegian heritage center in the mountains
  • a traditional lutefisk dinner at Daniel’s great-grandma’s old church
  • a trip to Ridgehurst, the Ross family farm
  • tons of delicious meals involving more cheese and ice cream than any normal human should consume

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Can’t wait to go back again!

P.S. Have you been waiting impatiently for more “new house” news?? Keep an eye out for a post about our future home (including pictures!) very, very soon!

Wisconsinspiration

Sorry for the silence, guys! It’s recruitment season, which means I have next to no computer time – but I haven’t forgotten about you all! I’m especially psyched for this week because it’s FALL BREAK. And I work for a school, meaning I actually get to celebrate it for the first time in years. WHAT. UP.

We’ll be spending part of this week in beautiful Wisconsin with some of Daniel’s family for a little family reunion of sorts. We got to visit last fall and guys….I am completely in love. It is one of the most beautiful states I’ve ever seen. All the farmland and rolling hills out in the country looked like a patchwork quilt. Everything was so well kept, there were flowers everywhere, the leaves were turning, and the weather was perfect! The travel bug has been biting since I got back from Chicago in July, so I’m very much looking forward to a mini-getaway.

I’ve been impatiently waiting for fall weather to get here, so I’m almost literally jumping for joy that we are going to 50 to 60-degree weather. I’m so ready to bust out my sweaters and coats!

 : from Babble.com

toggle coat, Hunter boots: from Classy Girls Wear Pearls

plaid shirt: from Society of Chic

striped top + garnet scarf: from Classy Cathleen

AHHHH. So ready to pack my bags and get on that plane. Can’t wait to show you pictures of the gorgeous Wisconsin countryside! Happy Monday!

What’s inspiring you this fall?

Why I Drank the Kool-Aid

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I actually did it. I drank the MLM Kool-Aid, and I’m still laughing about it.

I used to hate MLMs. For years, I was completely over seeing a newsfeed full of marketing for products I supposedly needed but couldn’t care less about. And yet somehow, miraculously, surprisingly, weirdly…….I drank the Kool-Aid. I drank the Kool-Aid, and now I have my own hair products business.

Why did I do it? Lots of reasons! Something MONAT encourages you to do is figure out your ‘why.’ Your ‘why’ is what motivates you, something that helps you keep pushing when you want to quit, something that makes all of your work worth it. I had a hard time choosing my ‘why’ because I have too many of them. More on that later.

I resisted the opportunity at first, as I have so many others before it, but for some reason, MONAT kept coming back around. After months of back-and-forth, I finally made a spontaneous decision to do it, which was both exhilarating and terrifying! It’s all thanks to my former boss and friend Juli, an angel who took a chance on the world’s biggest skeptic.

Here’s my story, with every bit of sincerity my heart holds. Please keep in mind two important things: (1) First of all, as I said before – I’m the world’s biggest skeptic and the very last person who would ever get into this kind of business. This decision wasn’t made lightly. The fact that the company was still intriguing to me after all my research and cynicism is nothing short of a miracle. And (2) second of all, I’ve been approached by no less than 20 different people from all kinds of MLMs and even tried some of the products, but THIS is the one that finally got me hooked.

For those of you who have never heard of MONAT, here’s a few bullet points:

  1. It’s a brand new debt-free hair products company that was founded in 2014, and the only network marketing company that deals exclusively with hair care products.
  2. The product line is botanically based, pure, and toxin free (which means no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, glutens, or harmful fragrances or colors).
  3. The products work for all hair types: fine, thin, coarse, thick, dry, oily, and everything in-between.
  4. The major results of the products include crazy good shine, volume, strength, healing/smoothing, balance of oils, and even regrowth!

The company also offers the opportunity to be part of a million-dollar company in its first few years in business, which is what I did. This is a huge deal. The hair product market is already a multi-billion dollar industry because hair products are consumable: you use them up and need to buy more. Most people try dozens of different hair care lines in their lifetime and either get bored or frustrated because the products stop being effective. This happens because most products are tailored specifically to one type of hair issue. My products tackle them all.

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The first time I heard about MONAT, I didn’t get what the big deal was, and I wasn’t impressed even after trying a few samples. I never had major problems with my hair, so my first experience wasn’t all that special. It didn’t bubble up when I shampooed (which I found out was a bad indication of my hair’s health!), but because I was expecting lots of bubbles, I thought the shampoo didn’t even work for my hair. Another friend of mine had extra samples, however, and she gave them to me to try. I made those samples last for two weeks’ worth of hair washes, and by that point, I knew MONAT was something I had to check out because I was disappointed when I had to go back to my normal shampoo and conditioner. My results were very noticeable after only five washes, too good to overlook. My hair was infinitely stronger, and a months’ worth of split ends had vanished. I used to get out of the shower and wonder how I had any hair left (I shed like a cat!), and I noticed less shedding with each wash. And the SHINE. It was unreal. I thought my hair was shiny before….! No. Nothing compared to this. I was blown away by how healthy my hair looked and felt in such a short period of time.

Even with tangible, noticeable results, I still wrestled with choosing whether or not to join the business. I didn’t want to make the wrong decision, and I didn’t want money to become my primary focus in life. If I’m totally honest, my biggest fear was what people would think about me. I didn’t want to be one more obnoxious friend trying to sell something. After a few weeks of prayer, I felt confident that God was telling me ‘no.’ I didn’t want His answer to be ‘no,’ but it was. I respectfully declined Juli’s offer, and a sense of calm and relief came with that ‘no.’ I knew that even though God’s answer wasn’t what I wanted, I was still willing to be obedient and step back.

Fast forward about a month.

I hadn’t stopped thinking about MONAT. I was sure of my choice for the time being, but it was still in the back of my mind. I considered it a very likely part of my future, especially if I stayed home with kids someday. I wanted a way to contribute to our family even if I wasn’t working a full-time job, and during my year of thinking through different ideas, MONAT stood out the most. I imagined myself in the business, dreaming about the events and the networking opportunities and the fun and the financial strength I knew others were experiencing. In a moment alone in my car, I said, “Lord…I’m not sure why I’m still thinking about this. Was your answer a ‘not yet’ instead of a ‘no’?” I kept thinking about it for the next week, praying for peace. The last day of September, that peace came. I got in touch with Juli again, putting the ball in her court and trusting God with either answer – and His answer was a resounding ‘YES.’ My brain has been a wild party ever since.

Since taking that leap, I’ve learned a lot about myself. For example: I panic way too easily. I don’t like change, even good change. I talk myself out of things constantly. I give up on things too quickly. But this business commitment is changing me. In my mind, I’ve almost psyched myself out – but I’m not quitting. I’m in this. I committed, and I’m sticking with it no matter what, because of my multiple ‘whys.’

My first why? Haha…I just wanted to make my initial investment back, and I did! I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, that the opportunity was worth the time and money I invested. But once I met that goal, I developed other bigger reasons to keep working:

  • I want to be obedient to the Lord’s ‘yes’ and use my talents to honor Him.
  • I want(ed) to finish paying off our student loans (which we did!!).
  • I want to support our church more.
  • I want to send more college students to do mission work.
  • I want to buy my husband something expensive, just because I can and I love him.
  • I want to save money every couple of months on hair products that I actually like.
  • I want to go on an Alaskan cruise for our 5th year anniversary.

I have a WEALTH of reasons, and they dwarf my fear of failing.

This is NOT just selling shampoo (even though it’s really baller shampoo). It’s the chance to stay home with my kids, whenever I have them. It’s the opportunity to have financial freedom. My goal in the beginning wasn’t to make a million dollars. It was to make $500 by December (a goal that I met, and then some!). What I want is to build a team of people who want the same things I do and are willing to take a leap of faith just like I did.

At the end of the day, MONAT or not – God sustains me. God knows what I need, and He’s always taken care of me. That said, I believe this opportunity fell into my lap at a unique time, and I know He’ll use it for His glory and for my good. I trust Him with my life, and any work I do is to glorify Him, including MONAT.

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Want the healthiest, best version of your hair that you’ve ever had? Me too.
Interested in owning your own small business without going bankrupt? Me too.
Want to pay off your student loans or credit card debt? Me too.
Want to save up for a vacation or a house or a car? Me too.
Want to be able to financially give more to your church? Me too.
Let’s be honest…could you just use a few extra dollars each month to make ends meet? Me too.

If you want to kick it with me MONAT-style, I would love to tell you more about it. Here’s my website if you want to take a look, and if you have questions, just ask! If the business side isn’t for you, give the products a try! No pressure to participate, seriously. But I can promise you this: once you see the difference it really makes on your hair, you’ll never want to use your old stuff ever again.

P.S. I will mention MONAT now and then, but not to worry – it will not become the focus of this blog, as it was not and never will be its original purpose. I’ll keep the quality stuff coming. :) 

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