Xi best Jersey pal!

I love my friends. I absolutely cannot say that enough…I know I would not be the person I am today without them. Over the years, I have been very lucky to have a solid group of friends that have been my rock through the good, the bad, and the ugly, and even though we are all very busy individuals, it is always like we haven’t missed a beat whenever we do get the opportunity to talk. I value them for so many reasons…not only are they incredible people with hearts of gold, but they are successful, talented, witty, and ridiculous human beings who enhance the lives of so many, not just mine.

During my sophomore year of college I made a decision. A decision that I know my parents were leary of…my dad will probably still say he did not approve of it. I decided to join a sorority. I had always been the type that was anti-sorority. I do my own thing, I conform to no one, and did not need to “buy” my friends. Sororities aren’t for those who march to the beat of their own drum (or so I thought). Still, when I was approached to join Alpha Xi Delta, I had to accept the invitation to their sisterhood. Over the course of the year I had met many of the girls and realized how awesome and unique they all were. I figured, what the heck, and gave it a shot. The minute I accepted the bid I began to question myself. Did I make the right decision?

Yes, yes, yes I did! I can honestly say that making the decision to join that group of women was by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. So many of those women…the ones from the very beginning of my Xi adventure…are those that remain closest to me today. As we are told so often, a sorority is so much larger than just your collegiate chapter..there are hundreds of chapters nationwide. For many sisters, they never get to meet the wonderful women outside of their own chapter. I, fortunately, am not one of those people.

My junior year I was elected President of the chapter and was lucky enough to go to Purdue University for a fancy little conference called TLC ( also known as The Leadership Conference). I went by myself, had no clue what to expect, and hoped I would have a fun time. Not only did I have an amazing time, I became friends with a sister named Kelly from Rider University. Unfortunately for those around us, we had the same personality and deliciously sarcastic/ borderline offensive sense of humor…I don’t think the others found our references to horticulture quite as humorous, but oh well. That conference was over ten years ago, and Kelly remains one of my dearest pals to this day. While she lives on the East coast in Jersey, we still find time out of our busy lives to make each other laugh or be there when the other needs it.

My jersey sister, Kelly, and I at a conference in 2003.

My jersey sister, Kelly, and I at a conference in 2002.

This summer, as Hurricane Sandy decided to surface, I received a text message from Kelly letting me know she was being evacuated and heading to another home several hours away. We’ve had natural disasters before, but honestly, I didn’t focus on them nearly as much as I should’ve….as bad as it sounds, I didn’t know anyone who they directly impacted. Kelly and her family ended up losing the majority of their belongings and home to water damage. I thought maybe this was a sign she needed to move closer to hang out with her fellow Steelers fan, but she didn’t and worked to rebuild and adjust to a new life. Had this situation happened to me, I can’t imagine how I would act. I’m pretty sure I would be angry and erratic and bitter, but not Kelly, and that is why I love her. Not once have I heard her complain or act out with anger about the situation. She has remained positive and upbeat and her witty self. Kelly’s attitude and fabulousity inspire me to be a better person, not just when bad things happen, but every day.

Last week I mailed off a present to Kelly to cheer her up. Not only did she survive Sandy in 2012, but she had to overcome some other not so pleasant happenings. Since I couldn’t see her to bake her some cupcakes and give her a big hug, I decided to mail her a Katie hug in a box. Insert Pinterest and exciting craft ideas. I’ve been eyeing up this project for some time (my dear friend, Whit, also made them near Christmas and motivated me to make them). I present you with “long distance friend mugs.”

I had such a blast making this little care package for Kelly. It was easy to make and inexpensive (not that you aren’t worth a million bucks, Kel), and fun to receive. If you have a long distance pal, this is a great gift option…you could pair with coffee, tea, even liquor! That’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Love you, Kelly Geeeeeeeeee! Chin up…2013 is going to be your year!

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