They say, “Cousins are the very first friends you make”, but I’m not certain that’s true, and here’s why… I come from a large family. My sweet Grandma Tillie (Grandpa Alden) had seven children: Connie, Cara, Cheryl, Candace, Kirk, Brent, Tianne. I can honestly say, without a doubt, that it’s so much fun coming from such a large, amazing group! Holidays, spontaneous weekends to Bloomington, Illinois, privilege to take family vacations to different resorts in different states; it’s just a whole entire deal. However, some of the most special memories I have, include three special cousins, Whitney, Tara, and Kait.

Whitney. Just two years younger than me, this girl and I were instant pals. One of the first memories I have of her, was when we began pen paling. (I’m not even sure if it lasted more than one or two letters) She loved horses and drew me these unique but impressive pictures that I wish I still had, today (she was like maybe six years old drawing horses, come on) I, on the other hand, would dig in the bottom of my mom’s purse to put an old stick of gum in Whit’s letter. Because, when you don’t have artistic ability, food, right? Her and I were the Whit and Britt duo; always together at every event our family had. Out of the two of us, this girl had a heart that never questioned. She always stuck to her guns, and when I was being an ornery little turkey, she never wavered, and was always true to herself and what she believed in. And, although my orneriness didn’t catch on with her, we still had the best times exploring and adventuring, having thought provoking conversations about life, or just being comfortable in each others presence—not saying a word. She was my equal, my confidant, and someone that I can still pick up right where I left off, even if it’s been months since I’ve seen her.

Tara. I struggle to come up with words for Tara, only because I’m not sure how to describe someone I’ve looked up to, all my life. I still remember thinking how awesomely cool this gal was, back when I was just her obnoxious cousin, hanging with her little sister. She had the coolest clothes, the best hair (still does #goals), was driven, but incredibly intimidating until you get to really talk to her the first time. I used to just watch her on family vacations thinking about how cool it would be, just to be in her inner circle (that sounds creepier than I mean it to be) and although Tara and I didn’t get close until we were older, we’ve continued to catch up for a childhoods’ worth of memories when we are together… mainly because, all we do is laugh. You know how you just meet those people that have absolute hearts of gold and they just make you feel so loved, so appreciated, and so glad to be near them? That’s Tara, still to this day. Her heart is driven, she’s less intimidating now, but still, she has one of the most beautiful hearts in the whole world and I’m so lucky that God chose us to be cousins.

Last, but certainly not least, Kait. When we were younger, Kait was the younger cousin that hung out with my little brother, so we weren’t particularly close, However, about a year and a half ago, I began tossing ideas around to move out of Northwest Indiana. I needed a change. It was Kait that suggested I look in Nashville for jobs. Today, I’m a proud Nashvillian and owner of a 900 square foot box on the East side. I’m even an honorary member of “Be Our Guest” guest room, at Kait and Phil’s house haha. When I first moved to Nashville, I was cynical and tired. Kait gave me some of the biggest gifts. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, she opened my eyes to a new world of faith, and she helped restore something in me that seemed broken by just being there for me, listening to me, giving me advice, but always speaking to me in love and that’s Kait! She loves with her whole entire heart, she wears her heart on her sleeve and she loves fiercely. Kait touches lives in more ways than I can even count, just by being herself and that’s pretty dang cool.

So, when these ladies asked me to write the blog for Royal + Reese, I wanted you all to know how much these beautiful women mean to me, right off the bat, because I want you to see them through my eyes. The words, phrases, and examples I’ve used above, don’t even come close to showing what an impact they’ve made on my heart and in my life. And to whomever they are that say, “Cousins are the first friends you make”, well they’re wrong, because I believe wholeheartedly that my cousins are the BEST friends I’ve ever made.

Be on the lookout for tips and tricks, favorite recipes, fun stories and more! Welcome to my own little adventure. :)



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