[prelude] nate & justine

Sunday, June 17, 2012

thankful to be a cat herder. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

I wear a lot of hats during the week...mom, wife, office manager, photographer, friend, daughter...
but this hat is one of my favorites to wear.
the one I wear when I get to be these girls small group leader.
yup, get to.
I say small group and laugh just a bit...two dozen girls.
(yes, that is a shameless plug for those of you on the fence for serving...24 is not a small group...I love it and wouldn't change it for the world, but trust me - you're missing out.) :)

the only thing I can compare being a high school girls small group leader to is if you were to herd cats.
yup, herd cats. (p.s. herd is a funny word.) :)
cats aren't led around on leashes, they're opinionated, they're moody, they scratch if you make them angry. :)
but cats are soft, they're loyal to a certain extent and you can't help but love them.
yup, I'm a cat herder. (herder is a slightly funnier word.) :)

this last weekend I got to go away to san diego with these girls.
I got to hear their hearts when they chose to let me.
I got to laugh harder (albeit mostly about poop - sorry kayla) :) than I have in the past five years with these ladies I absolutely adore.
I got to see them be pretty competitive at java java, mega box wars and the sc games. (I seriously thought kim was gonna win.) :)
I got to see one of them meet Jesus for the first time ever.
I got to walk with them on their journey's for a bit.
I got to add their memories to the many echo's I hear when I go there and smile knowing peace.
I got to. :)

and in keeping with tradition of last year, these are our power animals - super hero this year... :)

the lamb. :)
her animal is fitting, somehow.
but only if you think lamb's are slightly shy-er, incredibly beautiful, witty power animals. ;)
and she is...I'm genuinely excited to get to know this girl better this year!

the mole. :)
you met her last year and I'm happy to say that SHE IS OWNING her power animal.
she's seriously cool, fly's a little on the downlow, is sarcastic, and has a HUGE heart.
I LOVE having her in group and love seeing her grow. :)

our brown bear. :)
it just fits her.  yup, it just does. :)
she's got a HUGE heart and LOVES the girls and she just. makes. me. smile. :)

she is a baby wooly mammoth. :)
I know, you totally just laughed out loud a smidge...I did too. :)
why wooly mammoth?
ummmmmm, because she has gorgeous hair and could pretty much kick your butt if she wanted to...but God left that bone out of her body when he made this gorgeous girl.  :)
and she is gorgeous, but she's more than that...she challenges me and encourages me at the same time and I love having her in our group. :)

the swan. :)
she's new to the group but I have a feeling that I'm going to seriously like this girl over the next four years.
we picked swan because she's a dancer...obvious choice. :)
but like a swan I think it's going to take some time for her to open up fully with our herd of cats. :)
I got to see pieces of her this weekend and like I said, pretty sure I'm going to seriously dig this girl! :)

ahhhhh, our house cat (crazy house cat because she thinks she's a lion.) ;)
I LOVE this girl.
she challenges me...she's brutally honest and she makes me laugh HARD at her sarcasm.
God is going to do something big with this girl and I'm glad I get to watch her on part of her journey. :)

bambi. :)
I loved my golf cart chat with this girl this year.
I got to see another piece of her heart and see a softness in her that was just simply encouraging.
she loves deeply.  she's very loyal and I love having her in our group. :)

perry the platypus.
yeah, she owns this...and she can do the perry noise AWESOMELY! :)
I like that this girl. she isn't afraid.
she's intelligent, is easy to laugh and isn't afraid to speak what's in her heart. :)

the polar bear.
again, it just fits.
polar bears can go for looooooooong times looking for food - they're patient.
polar bears are great teachers to their kids - they have the gift of teaching.
polar bears are tough and can take on antartica (that's where they're from, right?!) ;) - they're tough.
this girl is all those things and more...I seriously loved my gcc with her and loved that I got to know her just a bit better this camp...seriously encouraged by her. :)

the gazelle.
new to the group this year, I'm excited to get to know this one better.
she's quick to laugh and I can tell she's listening to the others when they share what's in their hearts.
another four years with this girl is going to be fun and super encouraging. :)

chipmunk. (or if you're her, you swear you're eleanor from the chipette's...I can kinda see it.  kinda.) ;)
I like this girl a lot.
you can't help but laugh hard at/with her somewhat admittedly flightiness in the way she talks.
but it's so dang endearing that you don't care and can't wait to hear what's going to come out of her mouth next.
I saw her be soft this camp and think some deep thoughts...
and I seriously can't wait to see her grow and I'm genuinely glad she's in my group. :)

the seahorse.
three more years with this girl is going to be a good thing for me.
she reminds me so much of my friend tonia d. it's kind of funny...in a totally good way. :)
she's loves to be a part of the group...not necessarily front and center...but loving it in her own way.
she's funny and her laugh is contagious.
yup, three more years is a good thing for me. :)

the kangaroo.
I got to watch this girl interact with the other girls and it made me smile.
she's going to be money...just see if I'm wrong.
her heart is sweet but there's a strength and foundation there.
she is going to be a good friend to these girls and I'm excited to get to know her better. :)

the starfish.
she. surpises. me.
she's seriously witty and isn't afraid to talk a little smack to a senior.  um, brave...and points in my book. :)
I like that. :)
I learned just a smidge more about this girl and I like her and am so excited I get to be her leader for the next four years! :)

ahhhhhhhhhh, flower.
I. Love. This. Girl.
she graduated this year and this was my last camp with her...the last of seven I got to spend with her.
you can't see me, but I'm smiling as I write because I know what she's going to say to me when she see's what picture I picked as a favorite, "I'm the only one not looking at the camera!"
and nope, you're not, lex...and I like it. :)
because your smile is real in this picture...you just got done laughing at something stupid I did and you're happy. :)
this is how I will remember you.
you have challenged me the most...in a most definite good way.
my prayer life has grown because of you.
my own character has grown because of you.
my hope has grown because of you.
and the side I saw of you this camp just makes me smile...you love these girls. :)
I saw it in your eyes when they made you laugh,
I saw it at the games when your competitiveness came out.
and I see it in this picture...done laughing at me and just being happy.
I love you, lex...and I always will.
He's not done with you...I know it.

the labrador retriever.
I can't think of flower without thinking of her...
seven years with this girl...and I'm pretty sure I'll get at least seven more with her.
this is a girl whom I love tremendously.
it's funny, she and I are so very different outside looking in - but still so very much the same in a lot of things. :)
the things I love most about her is her heart when she's soft,
her faithfulness to the people who she genuinely loves - she teaches me about loyalty,
and her ability to find "fun" in almost anything...pretty sure she learned her lesson about silly string though. :)
her gcc's are a huge blessing to me...as well as our porch chats at home.
yes, I love her and I'm glad I get to call her my friend. :)

ahhhhh, sam I am.
I LOVE getting to be your small group leader.
you crack me up...outside looking in - you're SO the bunny...little do people know that the hulk that lies underneath your small-ish exterior. ;)
God is teaching this girl how to be meek.
what is meekness?
strength under control.
something that few people honestly have and I get to watch this girl be refined by God.
best seat in the house. :)
she is a faithful friend, she has wisdom built on a foundation that I know is sound and built on truth.
I get a whole nother year with this one and I could. not. be. more. happy. about it! :)
she is my sam I am...who also happens to be our bunny. :)

and then there is my luci.
who is a phoenix burro.
yup, we had to go mystical on her because no animal fits her just right.
and that's just right.
burro because she's stubborn and hard working.
phoenix because she's just beautiful and God let her rise from the ashes...deep, I know for a power animal.
but it fits her. :)
she's not one of my girls...she's my co-leader now. (ask her, she'll flash you her "badge") ;)
I love her.
where some people are wired to be "steady eddie's"...she's the most amazing roller coaster of a girl.
her high's are higher than any I've ever experienced and it's contagious when she is...
she's passionate, she has the gift of teaching and she loves sooooooooo deeply.
and honestly?  her low's are just as exhilarating to witness.
God. always. meets. her.
in a room full of people, He whispers to her...and it makes me smile. :)
I am privileged, abso-freaking-lutely privileged, to be her friend and to get to be on this journey with her.
she challenges my character...and I love that He uses her to do it.
I love her.
today and always.

I have more power animal girls...the white tiger, the koala bear, the sugar glider, the squirrel and more...but like I said,
I'm a cat herder. :)
I'll introduce you to them another time.

but tonight, I'm thankful.
thankful for new echo's at a place that is becoming more familiar to me than where I grew up.
thankful. :)

a beautiful ride. :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

parenting is just like the poster...a BEAUTIFUL ride...much like a good roller coaster ride that you tell all your friends to go on with you at six flags, it has wicked ups and downs...it's what makes it interesting, breath-taking...fun!
but do you remember life when your kids were small?
I do.
soooo like it was yesterday... :)
the smell of their little heads as you rocked them to sleep after bathtime...sigh.
I SWEAR johnson & johnson put SOMETHING addictive in their shiny yellow bottles . :)
never mind the bonus memory of the necessary "boppy" wrapped around your middle so your arms didn't fall asleep at two in the morning as your head does the weird roll back "I'm awake!" thing.
or the little feet dangling off the potty during potty training time singing twinkle, twinkle little star in their a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. small voices...double sigh.
again, ignore the bonus memory of washing fourteen pairs of underwear previously in the day and the fact that the "treat m&m's" are a distant memory slowly digesting in your stomach. :)

these memories filled my head when these friends asked for a photo session with me,
needless to say I was genuinely excited. :)
yes, he is one of my husband's close friends...and he makes me laugh.  hard.  sarcasm is gift of his.
but he loves God tremendously, his passion is contagious and I LOVE to listen to him preach.
and his wife?  I admire her VERY much.
she creative, a great mommy, a sassy funny conversationlist & fashionista and yeah, she's kinda stunning. :)
but it's the fact that these two are on the young rollercoaster of parenting that had me excited.
yes, their little girls are STUNning!  just like their mommy. :)
they're funny, they're high energy, they have adorable curls, they have crazy gorgeous eyes,
they have funny unique personalities and they simply LOVE their parents.
and these parents LOVE them.
is parenting hard and challenging?
you bet it is.
but for these two, the privilege and joy SO outweighs whatever challenges come in the day to day.
definitely a beautiful ride.
and definitely a privilege to have gotten to join them for an afternoon...
it brought back so many of my own memories.
memories I simply wouldn't trade for the world. :)

 p.s. never take cake away from this sweet little girl.  that is unless you selfishly LOVE her giant alligator tears and "I love you" fingers...I know, I have issues...but she is just too stinking cute! :)