I'd like to introduce you to my oldest and longest-running best friend, Ellen Elizabeth Mundy, although she's been better known to me as Ellybeth for too many years to count.
She's special every day, but today she gets extra attention because it's the twenty-third celebration of her day of birth. That means that it's been exactly twenty-three years since the world received one of its most precious gifts, and we are beyond blessed to share this place with such an incredible woman. As I'm writing this, she's probably single-handedly taking over Nashville, her new home as of a year ago. She lives roughly six hours away from me, giving me reason after reason to miss her tremendously, but our once-every-few-months dates always mean that much more because of the distance.
I distinctly remember meeting her for the first time when we were in second grade. She had just moved to Greenville, and I was one of the lucky girls she decided to talk to in her endeavors to make new friends. Out of all the girls I grew up with, believing with all my heart that we would all be friends for a lifetime, she is the only one who stuck. That's fifteen years with this girl right by my side. From sleepovers to proms to endless Pete's dates to weddings, she's been one of the very few people I can truthfully say have never let me walk through this life alone. I don't deserve a friend as true and honorable as Ellybeth, but you can bet that I never get tired of thanking the Lord for her.
So, happy birthday, Ellen Elizabeth!
May these next three-hundred and sixty-five days be filled with smiles and laughter and favor from the Lord and more blessings than you could possibly know what to do with and lots of love. I'm excited to watch you continue to make your mark on this world, and you can bet that no one will be cheering for you louder than this girl. I love you with all my heart, plus some!
"Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend."
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow