I met Laura Boggs when Philip and I were engaged. Our husbands’ parents have been friends since before either of them were born, and, in marrying Philip, I quickly realized something rare and important and very beautiful: I hadn’t just become an Ivester—I’d been ushered into the warm, lively, committed circle of the Boggs family, as well. It wasn’t until a chance conversation at one of my (exceedingly old-fashioned) Christmas parties, however, that I realized Laura was my long-lost soul twin.

As I remember, it went something like this:

Laura: “Hey, I like your dress. Did you know that when I was a little girl I once asked my mom if I could cut the blades off my ice skates so that I’d have boots like Laura Ingalls Wilder?”

Lanier: (inwardly) “That’s Laura Ashley she’s wearing or I’ll eat my lace mitts.” (outwardly) “Really? Can we be bosom friends for as long as the sun and the moon shall endure?”

Fortunately for me, Laura said yes (in so many words). And over the last decade and-a-half, I’ve come to admire more than her impeccable taste and fanciful sensibilities. I love her sass, her intrepid enjoyment of life, her razor-sharp wit. But most of all, I love her heart. Life’s dealt Laura some blows, but she’s dealt back with beauty, honesty, valor, and faith. She’s truthfully one of the bravest people I have ever known, and I am honored to call her my friend.

Laura and her husband Luke live in an adorable white farmhouse they built themselves (before white farmhouses were trendy) with their special-needs daughter Sadie and HSD (highly sensitive dog) Hazel. Come holidays and some weekends, they’re only too glad to welcome home college-age Maggie and Emma, as well. Gardener, gourmet, and incomparable hostess, Laura is also an accomplished writer–think Madeleine L’Engle meets E.B. White meets Anne Lamott meets Barbara Brown Taylor–with a real New York City agent and three manuscripts under her belt. (I’m telling you—it will be a grand day for YA literature when these books hit the shelves.)

Laura thinks deep, loves fiercely, asks hard questions, and makes a mean coq au vin. What’s more, she’s got high church leanings and excellent taste in literature. I love her dearly.

You can follow Laura’s journey at Huckleberry Friend, and also over at Huffington Post, where she’s a regular contributor.

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