My intrigue with Lyda began on Instagram. I was so caught up in the liveliness of her photos as I scrolled through her feed; it was as if each one had a story that was just dying to pop out of my screen and come to life. I immediately messaged her asking if she would like to collaborate on a project. Delighted to get a response only a few moments later, Lyda and I set up a time for a photo shoot. We later met at a local gelato shop in Austin, Texas. I was new and visiting the area and will never forget the way this sunbeam of a girl lit up the room with her smile as she welcomed me to share her ice cream. In just a few minutes, we were drawn into one another's stories and giggled with elation over our newfound friendship. Our photo session took less than 10 minutes because we worked so seamlessly together (And for my other blogger gals out there, you know this is impressive record time!)

Since we had so much time left over Lyda offered to take me to a delicious brunch spot in the heart of downtown Austin. In the most organic fashion, we bonded over authentic conversation, opening up on our personal joys and struggles as women navigating the crazy chaos of life. Fast forward several appetizers and main courses later and I was in full rejoice-mode; thanking God for my new sister! Our meeting could not have been more perfectly timed and orchestrated; Lyda and I had both individually been searching and praying for a community of women to do life with! We meshed so effortlessly in only a few hours; it felt as though we had known one another our whole lives! Before saying goodbye we made sure to set up a follow up date to meet again later on in the week.

I believe that one of the reasons my short stay in Austin has been so rich is because of Lyda's friendship. In the limited time I have been here, we have ventured to all the trendiest food trucks, danced around the city until our feet hurt, and even went on a family mini-trip to Houston! I'll never forget when Lyda mentioned that she prefers to stay behind the scenes rather than in the spotlight. That her passion has and always will be helping tell stories through her camera lense because each person's testimony is so precious and should be shared with the world. To this day when she explains her heart for photography her whole being lights up with an electricity that can only come with a God-given calling.

This week marks the end of my time in Austin and I'm sorry Lyda, but I really must put the spotlight on you for a moment! I remember you packing your camera for our Houston trip and marking all the colorful walls to potentially shoot because you know how I have a bit (okay, fine...a lot!) of an obsession for street art. I asked you to let go of work for the weekend; to put down the camera and step out from behind the lense to really take in and enjoy your surroundings! You were so surprised at this request because as I have learned in the time we have spent together, that's just the kind of selfless heart you have. Always seeking to serve and put others before you. 

Friends, I think too often we enter into relationships with a hidden agenda. In this success-driven day and age we are taught to always ask the question: What can you do for ME? What is in it for ME? This self-absorbed mindset is not only expected; it is celebrated. The problem is that we begin to lose authenticity with those around us. Even our day to day one-on-one relationships begin to morph from personal to business seeking. We think, "I wonder what skill set this person has that can compliment and benefit me?"

When is the last time you allowed a new friendship to blossom naturally without any hidden agenda or pretense? When was the last time that it didn't matter how wide that person's network was in relation to your private goals? What would happen if we just cut the bull crap and were intentional with one another; genuinely hearing and honoring our respective journeys? I believe that friendships are so precious because when two people are committed to edifying one another in honesty and love, both parties slowly but surely become refined like gold through fire.

I challenge you this week to step out of your comfort zone and find "a Lyda" (I can already feel her squirming in her seat reading this- sorry boo, you just have to receive this. It's on you for being such a spectacular example!). In other words, consciously remain open to the possibility of new friendships in any and every season of your life. And when a gem of a person (side note, we are ALL priceless!) comes into your life, learn to appreciate him/her for nothing more and nothing less than exactly who they are. Be available. Don't just listen but actually hear. Respect the path he/she is on. Get comfortable giving. Be humble in learning to receive. 

As we get older, friendships tend to ebb and flow with increasing distance and time apart. I believe that while some friendships are meant for a short season and others are ordained for life, each is a gift freely given and not to be taken for granted. While I must say goodbye to my friend for the time being, I am confident that God will continue to nurture and deepen our sisterhood, adding more powerhouse women to our growing "girl tribe"! I believe the same is true for friendships in your life! You may be reading this with a big smile on your face and warm fuzzy feelings as your current besties come to mind. Or perhaps the thought of friendship stings on the surface while underneath you long for true companionship. 

Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, I want you to know that God cares deeply about the friendships in your life! He isn't finished yet! I am inviting you to join me in believing in God-ordained possibilities, specifically in friendships. We serve a BIG God who is so invested in life-giving, wholesome relationships that He is fully able to orchestrate your next life changing encounter in a place as spontaneous and ordinary as a local ice cream shop.

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you." -Winne The Pooh


For Lyda.


Xoxo, Diwa Doll


Featuring Santa Marguerite


Lyda McIver Photography