Ode to Friends: A Birthday Blog


friendWell, today is my birthday and I wanted to blog something special. So I decided to do this piece about my friends, of which I have thankfully acquired quite a number of in the past year or so. In particular, I want to take this time to thank the friends who have made an especially big, important impact on my life, both recently and in the past.

I’m doing this in alphabetical order so that no one can complain they are #1 or #30 or #1,000,000 or whatever. Yeah, I have my favorites. But I love you all, and there’s no fighting allowed on my birthday.

This is also gonna be a free-write. Whatever first pops into my head about you is what you get, yo.

So here goes.


Aaron: The oldest friend on the list (uhh…that’s “oldest” as in “have known him the longest time” not as in “old fogy”).


Well, to start off with, Aaron was my first super big crush. I was in love with this kid for more than seven years!! So I will thank him for that, for introducing me to romance and passion, if only in my dreams, and thus a great deal of writing material.

But to get more serious, Aaron is a really great friend. He continued to be a friend and always put up with me despite my over-obvious crushing. He is a very considerate soul and always has encouragement when I need it. He is also an awesome poet though he may deny this at times.


Aerelis: The most awesome character designer EVER.

Aerelis is one of a couple of friends on this list that I have never met in person—but that will all change when I make my trip to Texas in the fall!!

Truly, not only has she designed awesome covers for me like Lily in the Snow, but she is also coming up with the character designs for my graphic novel series, D.N.A., and thus far they are super AMAZING. I thank her for helping make the magic of my stories come alive.

I also thank her for becoming my friend!! We have talked in email form and I am excited to meet her in person. We have a lot of things in common—even our birthdays!! So it’s like we’re twins.


Andrea W.: My new writer friend!!

She is a kindred spirit in terms of her passion for writing. She is one of my newest friends and we have yet to meet in person, but I am eager, especially to attend a musical with her this summer!!


Ben: “Hi, Ben.”

‘Nough said.

Nah, I’m just kidding. I’d like to thank Ben for helping me loosen up and have some fun. And for all those times he has listened to me blubber about boy troubles…and girl troubles too. Ben tries to act all tough and macho and certainly likes to stir the pot of drama now and then, but he also really does care, you know? And I thank him for that.


Christopher: Ah, the Magical Mister Christopheles…where to even begin?

Well, I suppose a good place to begin would be with my birthday last year. A year to the day (okay, actually it would be a year to the day yesterday), he gave me a wonderful day filled with adventure and happiness. An adventure in St. Louis involving the City Museum, guitar music on Art Hill, and then back to Illinois for Applebee’s with friends. It was my first birthday where my allergies weren’t entirely haywire. And it was honestly the best birthday I can remember ever having—in fact, it’s the first I remember having since my high school years. I really want to thank him for that.

friend2But I would like to thank him for more than just that single day. Christopher has given me many things. He reignited a passion for adventure and travel that had too long lay dormant—in fact, I find myself going a little stir-crazy at times, I think I’ve adopted his crazy energy. He ignited other passions I had long thought dead. It’s been a while since we hung out, but when we did, he always seemed to understand my need—not a want, but a need like air or water—to see the world and try new things. “New experience” is a common phrase of his that I have since adopted into my own life.

He has also been such an encouragement to me as an author. He challenges me to push myself; he’s that one friend who doesn’t just think I am awesome and praises my writing left and right. He wants to see improvement, new things from me. He once said that I am an author and if that’s what I am going to be, I must call myself that, introduce myself as such—embody it fully. It must be my identity. I have truly adopted this mindset from him as well.

Christopher actually came to me in a time of great need, and I want to thank him for that as well. When we became friends, it was a most tumultuous time in my life. I had lost a close friend due to betrayal. Coming to work at Trinity Services did provide a safe haven for me, a place of healing and new beginnings and new friends…but Christopher played a key role in that. He helped me open up, be more crazy and wild and free-spirited (even though I was often too shy to display this actually in front on him); he helped me realize this side of myself. Even to this day I will do things like play rock music while zooming over a favorite rollercoaster hill out in the country-side and it makes me think of him (okay, I know that’s not too crazy…but for me it is lol).

Another great thing about this guy is that he is always positive, upbeat, and full of compliments. And I believe his compliments are sincere. He wants to help make everyone be in a good mood and feel good about themselves.

He also totally gives chewing gum a new meaning for me, as well as me using the word “dadgum.” Gah, just can’t get away from the teasing…I wonder if he felt this way growing up…

At any rate, Christopher is also just one of quite a few Geminis on my list. If it’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s my affinity to be attracted to air signs, especially Geminis, be they guys or girls, friends or love interests. Maybe it’s their loud, outgoing, boisterous personalities—opposites do attract. They also tend to be very friendly, kind, and adventurous, all of which I think fits the bill for this guy. So yeah. Let the Age of Gemini continue.


Holly: My fellow poet.

Thanks to Holly for being such an encouragement to me as an author!! I feel like she is one of my biggest fans and she hasn’t even gotten to read any of my books yet, lol. Keep working at your writing, Holly!! Remember, small goals, and the rest will follow.


Jonathan: Also known as Snugglemuffin, ‘cause he brings the cozy.

There is so much that could be said for Jonathan and our long-standing friendship that it’s hard to know what to say. That’s always the way, isn’t it? The people you’ve known the longest, you just get used to them and take things for granted. But I am gonna think of some stuff.

Like the way that, as my current roommate, he cooks great meals for me that work around my allergies. Including coconut muffins…ah the muffins. Or how he is great at budgeting our grocery money. Or how we can enjoy watching any kind of film together, from mainstream to independent, any genre though fantasy and drama and foreign films are favorites.

friend3But these are just fluff responses, just touching the surface. I don’t think I always give him credit, but he is responsible for a large part of the freedom I have today, the independence I have created for myself. He was also my first kiss, my first…well…a lot of things, and I can say from experiences since then that he was quite the sufficient teacher. He brought me through many difficult years, often as my sole companion. We used to be very codependent and have since moved on to a healthier relationship, but at the time, it was necessary to have him to solely lean on; he didn’t even have a car most of the time, but if I needed something, he was on the bus or walking to help solve the issue. That’s just what kind of friend he is, not just to me but to anyone. Truly the kind of guy who will be homeless but still give the shirt off his back.

He is also truly a very affectionate soul. Selfless, giving, self-sacrificing, and certainly a dreamer but someone who is totally capable of bringing big dreams to fruition. One’s imagination will never be lacking for ideas around this old, wise, but creative soul!!

Jonathan has also helped me be a lot more open-minded about a lot of things–or rather, I have always been a free-spirited, open-minded person and he just helped me realize this more.

Jonathan continues to be one of my best friends, and I truly hope he always will be.


Julie: Thanks to Julie for just always being so damn happy!! What a positive influence. And for singing and dancing with me way too much on the Party Bus. I mean, “Uptown Funk” is totally where it’s at!!


Juxica: The badass Lolita photographer. She also always has lots of awesome fruit stocked in her fridge. Jux, we still need to hang sometime!!


Kayla D.: The red-headed wonder. Okay, I give credit to Shay later on for introducing me to board and card games, and I mention Dominion…but technically, though Shay founded game night, it’s the lovely Kayla who brought Dominion to us!!

But of course I love her for more than a card game. Kayla is a smart cookie; I always enjoy our conversations…even though they always turn into a debate of some sort. Kayla knows how to stimulate both the mind and the morals and is always well worth a chat.

I will come visit you up north someday, Kayla!!


Kayla F. The Ice Queen.

Nope, once again, this is NOT an insult!!

Her last name is “Frost,” and I’m sure she gets teased a lot, but as a fantasy author, I mean this as a compliment. She has the loveliest blonde hair and blue eyes and snowy skin and could totally pass as an ice fairy or something.

Anyway. Kayla was one of my companions at SWIC. I got to work with her and she always did a better job helping folks in the Success Center than I did. She’s a great mom and an enthusiastic friend; though we never saw each other a lot and still don’t, when we do she is always happy to see me and very sweet.

I am in the process of catching up with a LOT of people. We will have to hang sometime, Kayla!!


Kiana: The One and Only Aquarius.

It’s honestly hard to know where to begin with Kiana. She is a unique, creative individual, a powerful force, and in some ways mysterious; just when you think you’ve got her figured out, surprise!! She is one of those friends with whom I have since lost touch, but that still doesn’t lessen her importance in my life and history.

friend4Despite the dramatic quarrels we were always subject to at times, she truly was one of the dearest people in my life at the time. My childhood was chaotic to the point that making friends was a difficult thing. Once I moved out on my own, I didn’t know where to really find friends or how.

After Jonathan (who is a guy and also was initially a romantic interest) Kiana was my first true, good, close girl friend since the seventh grade. I kid you not, even though I was in my twenties—that’s how long I had been isolated, lonely, and longing for someone to share that close, best friend, even sisterly bond with.

Kiana was that. Just like in Anne of Green Gables, she was my bosom friend, my kindred spirit. No doubt I overwhelmed her at times, but only ever out of love and admiration. She taught me what it means to love someone so dearly again, an idea I had almost feared was lost to me. She taught me independence and inspired more creativity than any other being I had yet met at the time. She is a beautiful person whose sheer company could cheer me on the saddest day. I want to thank her for that and all the other little things I’m probably not even thinking of right now…like introducing me to great indie artists and bringing me tiny oranges from home and going on that awesome walk with our Gandalf sticks and going to the Edge with me and Nick that one time we all took that ridiculous “Sweet Sixteen” pic, lol…the list of memories could go on and on.


Kira: Editor. Co-author. But ultimately, beautiful confidante and friend.

Kira has done an amazing job in the past several years helping to transform my stubborn ass into a flexible author who is open to new ideas, changes, and improvements. As a result, my writing is better than ever and still improving!! Thanks to her, I can now successfully edit short stories on my own. I still need lots of help in those longer series with longer overarching plots. But that’s cool, because she has even gone so far as to become a co-author for the old Hero Chronicles, to be renamed A Shadow Beyond Time once we are ready to publish.

But Kira has become more than an editor and fellow author. She has become a dear friend and confidante. Much older than me, she is also much wiser. I thank her for her friendship as well as her wisdom in both author and life things.

I will come see you in New York someday, Kira!!


Kristopher: The Other Kris.

Nope, I don’t mean that as an insult!! He just, well…I knew him second. So that really does make him the “other” Kris, you know??

Kris is a really fun guy to work with. He also hasn’t been scared away yet by my asking advice on guys or, umm, any of our stranger conversations…he knows what I mean…so I appreciate that! I always appreciate a friend I can be open and honest with, you know? Just be my weird, over-the-top self.


Molly: The Lovely Molly.

Another friend I have hardly met in person… I met her once at a Lolita meet up. She was the one person I was instantly drawn to. I like how unique and creative she is; she is her own person and doesn’t care what others think of her. We still need to hang out for real sometime, which I am working on!!


Nick: Also Nicolas…but we’ll called him “Nicolai” ‘cause that just sounds cooler.

Nick is sort of like the older brother figure I always wanted but never had. He is a laid-back, protective soul who always has sound advice whenever I am being my over-emotional self. He is one of very few friends who, in a very difficult time in my life, was my friend because he genuinely liked me and didn’t expect anything from me in return. He is a good and loyal friend, no drama and no strings attached. I thank him for his friendship, for all the good times we have had, and look forward to more such times to come.


Rachel: Lover of horses and great literature.

I lost touch with Rachel as I did many high school friends due to my home life at the time. However, I want to thank her for the friendship and joy and many story inspirations she brought me during the time we got to be friends. She was a most loyal friend, and that is something that can be rare to find.


Rebeccah: That awesome Nigerian chick.

We never hung out a lot and I haven’t seen this lady in ages!! But I remember her giving advice to me and my beau at the time, helping us sneak around…and that one awesome get-together where we all painted her apartment. Thanks for all the encouragement and always being so fun to be around!! One of these days our paths with cross again and we’ll catch up.


Sarah: Nutcake, also known as Elia also known as Grishilde the Red also known as…screw it. The list would be way too long.

So remember how I said before that Kiana was my first close friend since, like, seventh grade?? Well, that friend way back in seventh grade was the lovely Sarah. We lost touch for a while but have since started talking again a lot more. But back in the day, we were certainly partners in crime! Writing all sorts of crazy stories together, stories involving flying dog people and purple nose hairs and hippy elves—you name it, we wrote it. Our best and worst was a classic we titled “Miracle Cat.” Sarah, if you’re reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I want to thank her for all those fun, crazy times. And for our letters during the time we were penpals; they made checking the mail actually have meaning.


Sascha: A most creative soul with that cool older sister who totally looks like Alice from Twilight. Sascha was one of several people in our college choir that I always wanted to hang out with but never got much of a chance due to home life situations. But we have kept in touch her and there and I am determined to come pay her a visit in New Orleans one of these days!! Plus I just found out she is a Taurus-Aries mix like me, which is totally rad.


friend5Sean Alan: The Vampire. No, forreal. This guy is Edward Cullen In. The. Flesh.

Sean is a much newer friend on my friends list, so I am still learning a lot about him and figuring him out, which is fun.

What I will say is this: I love texting this guy. For one, he listens a hell of a lot better than a lot of other guys I know. But secondly, his writing is fluid, charming—sometimes I swear he sounds like a character from a Jane Austen novel. It’s truly lovely talking to him. He is also an encouragement whenever we speak, as I hope I am to him. He’s quite the creative sort as well, which is always great to have around.

Sean is also one of those people who came into my life at a difficult time (wow, I keep saying that…I swear I am a really positive person!! Just a lot has gone down in the past couple of years). I believe God does everything for a reason and with perfect timing. Sean came to me when I really needed a close friend and confidante, and he has provided that.

But moreso, as my initial description dictates, he is truly like a vampire!! Of the Twilight variety. There are obvious things like beauty and intelligence. He also has Edward’s brooding, somber personality. He can be very sweet and affectionate, but don’t be fooled by the short stature!! This guy is hella strong and fast like a vampire too. A good protector and a gentle soul…but still, if you piss him off, I’m betting he can probably take you out. Which I guess would make him a good body-guard—just like a vampire. He also has Edward’s intensity. More than intimidating as it might be to Edward haters out there, I find it rather entrancing. Sean is also very physical in the sense that he is always moving—walking, running, you name it. I mean, the Cullens have cars but you’re more likely to see them zipping about the woods on two feet. Finally, while typically shy, he can have a surprisingly passionate side as well. Just goes to show how multi-facted people always are. Oh, and he’s one of those annoying people who say they can’t play the piano very well and then just sit down and start playing one of their amazing original compositions…ugh, Edward.

He’s also a very encouraging person…I know I already said that. But it’s different with him than with some people. He gives compliments without really flattering you, but in a way that makes you feel really special because you know he is being sincere. He is a humble person and really likes to see the good qualities in others and show appreciation for them.

Sean is also one of several Virgos on my list, and I’ll say this about Virgos: In my experience, they are all quiet, shy, quirky little people (and I mean the “little” literally, all the ones I have known are generally petite). All of them can have a slowness to trust but the friends they choose they will defend to the death. Most of all, they are very gentle souls. They wouldn’t harm anyone for anything; because of this, they can be easily taken advantage of. So play nice!! Anyone hurts my Virgos and I will have to use my Aries flames and Taurus bull horns on them.


Shaylin: The game-master. I met Shay through Jonathan and have known her nearly as long. She even introduced me to Trinity, my amazing current day job. What more can I say? She’s also a great mom, and she hosts a mean game night at her house. Dominion and Ticket to Ride are two of my faves this lady and her friends have introduced me to.


Stephen: That cool, be-bopping cat.

Lol, I know that’s a ridiculous description. Stephen is actually pretty chill as opposed to “be-bopping,” but it cracks me up whenever he describes other people using that word, so I had to.

I thank Stephen for being a kind soul and just an overall great supervisor. Not only is he patient and compassionate, but he also really listens to my ideas and helps as much as he can to bring them to fruition. Thanks to him I finally have my art class again!! That means the world to me.


Susan: The chef version of Mrs. Fleming…dadgum there are a lot of “S” peeps on this list.

When I went to SWIC, I had the most brilliant choir teacher, Dr. Gail Fleming. Both she and Susan are the cutest little blonde-haired, blue-eyed things, very smart and calm and creative, both Virgos even. So Susan sort of reminds me of Dr. Fleming.

friend6At any rate, Susan also being older gives her that wiser edge. I thank her for her advice and encouragement in all things—especially when it comes to relationships. I also thank her for being able to hang with the younger crowd and enjoy our company!! And I thank her for making some of my first experiences at Trinity so enjoyable; she was a great blessing to all who were there and taught a mean cooking class! She is greatly missed as both our culinary teacher and as a friend down at the Farm.


Tracy: Another brilliant confidant and friend. And an excellent teacher of sign language!! Tracy, if you’re reading this, I do so adore our talks. Even when we realize we have been talking in the Trinity parking lot for three hours and all hope of supper or proper bed times is far beyond us.


Well, I think that about covers it…or I really hope it does!! If I forgot you, I swear it’s not from lack of love. Feel free to shoot me a ranting email or Facebook message…just don’t expect me to answer it till tomorrow.


Love you all!!


~ Christine