Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to You!

I am blessed to have many friends. I have friends that I have known for years. I have relatives that I consider friends. I have recently acquired friends that I can't imagine life without.

Today, however, I would like to reminisce about my dear friend, Karen. Today is her 43rd birthday.

Karen and I met in the Fall of 1986 - or Spring of 1987. We quickly connected, and realized that it would be fun to live together. So, we became roommates our Junior Year, and were also roommates our Senior Year. Then she got married, and I was lucky enough to be the Maid of Honor in her Wedding. And ALSO lucky enough to have her BACK at ORU for my Second Senior Year.

So many memories. We really loved God. We made a few pacts. One of them was to be as "Iron sharpens iron" (Proverbs 27:17) - we agreed that if one person came in and started speaking of another person in frustration, we would ask each other if they had spoken to THAT person about the situation, already. If they hadn't, we would ask the other to please not speak about it to us until it had been dealt with. We didn't want to fuel each other's fire, nor did we want to create an offense against someone out of "loyalty." It worked. We really did it. I love that about Karen - her passion and commitment to what's right. Her desire to know more of God, and walk out His commands - because she loves Him.

Of course, there was the time we decided that our room (which was the largest on the wing) would be better suited to bunk beds, so we switched our BIG beds with the bunk beds in the smallest room on the wing - well, not on OUR wing, we wouldn't do that to girls we KNEW... it was a very hot, humid day in August, and the AC wasn't on at ORU yet... those beds were HUGE. HEAVY. But we did it, and were so happy. Until the next day when the RA came and told us we needed to move them back... it probably WASN'T a good move for the Chaplain to steal someone else's beds...

At ORU EVERYONE has Hall Meeting EVERY MONDAY NIGHT. Everyone. Boys and Girls. We just thought we'd add some spice to ours. With Sandra Nelson and Shelly Cairns.

Another rule we had was that we wouldn't spend more time getting ready in the morning than we did with the Lord. Therefore, we both can get ready in 20 minutes - and still do, on a regular basis. Oh! And also that once you looked in the mirror in the morning, you didn't look again for the rest of the day. THIS, my friends... could be a clue into why I didn't have many dates in college...She obviously looked a lot better than I did without a lot of help.

Perhaps we shouldn't explain this. Except to say, we weren't REALLY going to the bathroom. It was a game we played... I know, bathroom games are just supposed to be for boys.

With our buddy, Erik Kibler. Hey - mustaches were in.

And Karen would frequently take my camera and take self-portraits which I would receive as a present when I got my film developed...

Like these, for example.

There was a Back-to-College/RA Day at the Lake, and we went boating. But, we couldn't be normal.

Or maybe that IS normal for us.

There was Suzie Stewardess. There was Joe Henry, the Chameleon. There was the Rain Dance. There was Spineless.

On my 21st Birthday she "kidnapped" me.

And drove me around the parking lot at ORU. And when we arrived we were ACROSS the parking lot in "The Depot". With lots of fun and friends and the Spanking Machine. Yes, I went through - Karen's bossy and scary...(in heels, no less)

A week after my Birthday is Mitch's Birthday, and his friends decided to rent a Limo, and have a fancy "Black Tie" event in Fireside. Karen had these dresses, and we thought it would be really funny if we dressed up in them - like Prom Dresses, pretending we didn't know how to really get dressed up... WE thought we were hilarious. No one else got us. Well, Terry did...

At a party. No idea what she was thinking. This picture just makes me laugh, because it is typical Karen. Darling and silly at the same time.

Our dorm room in Frances had a balcony. You weren't allowed to go out on them. $50 fine. Safety and all.


Back in our room, safely. Whew...

Possibly these are our Guilt over breaking the rules faces?

No idea why she wrapped herself in a curtain. I just like her facial expression.

PIDC (Party in Dress Code) was this REALLY fun event - it was over Fall Break, and was for the entire week. About 40 of us would caravan down to Destin, Florida. We played all week long. NO ALCOHOL in those cups - no one drank. We laughed, played Sand Volleyball, had Devotions at night, played Freeze and Improv literally until 3 in the morning.

This particular year we had a Miss PIDC PAgeant. Karen was Miss Mississippi. This was the Talent Portion of the pageant. She was doing a dramatic reading of "To Be or Not to Be." I was Miss Michigan, and one of the Emcees. (Since, I'm doing the posting, there will be no pictures of me as Joyce Reed.)

A trip to the Mall.

This dress is TOO SHORT!

Sporadic roommate pictures. These bunk beds were LEGAL, and we paid good money for them. This was the morning after she got engaged to T, and we were celebrating... (and I dislocated my shoulders?...)

My best bet on this is that she had given me a Steam Roller, and I was getting her back. Notice she looks BEAUTIFUL in every picture. That's why I picked this one - she's so full of life and light and joy.

I think this was Tom Harden's Senior Recital? But that doesn't seem right, because there was a dinner before hand.

At the Church during the Wedding Rehearsal.

Getting ready.

With my lovely friend - over 21 years ago.

throughout our 20's our communication was sporadic. She was having babies. And babies. And babies. And they are all really delightful people now, but this post is about their MAMA! There were a couple of times we saw each other. We wrote a few letters. She was really good at that. I started leading Tours in 1998, and would try to get out to see her and the family if a tour ended in NYC, once a year, if I could.

And then, really, it was in the Fall of 2004 that our friendship re-kindled. We had an ORU Girl's Reunion. It was 15 years since we had seen each other. It was so much FUN! But, even better was re-connecting with Karen. I LOVE those girls, but it seems the Lord knew how much we would love and enjoy each other, after all those years.

It was her 40th Birthday that weekend. She thought the weekend was just for her...

Lovely, lovely friend.

A newer, more improved version of the Rain Dance, possibly entitled the Vine Climb? At 40, particularly impressive that we are still causing a scene wherever we go.

A year later, same girls, another reunion, this time in San Fran. (Good thing I told you, the Bridge in the background would have given you NO indication as to where we were)

And now, if I go more than a week or two without talking to her, I'm sad.

SO many more photos I could share, and so many pictures in my head that only I get to see.

She is wisdom. And laughter. And honesty. And compassion. And patience. And craziness.

She speaks the truth in LOVE. She cares about people - deeply and passionately.

She has taken the time to get to know herself, being willing to go where it could even hurt, because she is a woman of courage and great value. This of course is a benefit not only for her, but for others. As she is her true self more, she is able to help others look for that, as well.

She points others to God, but never pushes them that way.

Dear friend, I love you. You bless me, and I am ever grateful for who you are in my life. Love and hope and joy and peace and grace in abundance to you, today, this year and always.


  1. what an amazing post! oh my, those college years look so much more uplifting, wholesomely rebellious than most!

    you two are blessed! happy birthday oh KOOL ONE!

  2. Awwwwww--SO"HELL"AH (that's my affectionate name for her). I LOVED THIS!!! I cracked up all the way through. You are the bestest friend. We were such a riot at school... still are. I miss you.

  3. So loved this Sohailah! I only know Karen through the blogasphere and mutual friends . . . this kind of filled in the blanks. I enjoy peaking into her world now and then through her blog . . . she is the funny, faithfilled, woman to be admired that you describe. The two of you together just crack me up!

    Happy Birthday, Karen! Close friendships like yours are so rare—what a gift Sohailah is!

  4. What a beautiful, fun post and what a beautiful, fun friendship. You are both blessed.

  5. Neither of you has changed one bit! Two wild and wacky women! Appears you are the reincarnation of Laverne and Shirley!

  6. She is the best, and this is the least I could do - so many memories - what a gal she is!

  7. BTW - all of it was always Karen's idea - well, all of the bad stuff. I was generally to be found praying... for her... tucked away in the laundry basket in my closet - or was that when I was hiding from the girls in my room who were there for me to lead them in Devotions when I was a Chaplain... I was just too tired to do it, that night...