it’s over. and I wonder, where did you go?! between the long days, the laughter, the friendship, the living, the learning, the loving– all I see is Glory and the blessing of my confidants!
It was one like no other, really it was– everyone says that, but I really mean it. As I sit here typing, I am floored at the fact that I don’t know where it started and where it ended. Just when I needed it most, my Lord saved me once again by sending me that forever friend– the one who has been with me through thick and thin– the one who picks me up when I am down– the one who loves me and goes the extra mile to show me she cares. My Sheree-ree! Literally, she went more than just the extra mile. That girl went 1200 miles and then some just to carry me through what seemed to be one of the loneliest times in my life.
She arrived on May 18- and from then on, the summer was in full-gear. Work is always so busy, but to get things started and to put my mind at ease, we joined Mark & Cindy and fam for a relaxing weekend in VA Beach. So many memories! Highlights: Sheree karaoke-ing to Under the Sea, the wierdo guy at the bar who just got through a divorce (I still pray for him).
MAY 29! HUGE DAY for me– ran my first 10K with my BFFF (that means best fat friend forever–it’s an inside joke, no insults, I promise!). Loved every moment of it. I remember starting to get a little tired at the halfway mark… but just then my dad and Sheree were right there cheering us on! AMAZING feeling of encouragement and pride as the whistled and cheered us on. I also remember wanting to stop for just a second towards the end. I knew if I stopped then, I’d never finish it! But I did– and right as we turned the corner coming into the finish line– there were Sheree and Dad once more rootin’ for us! Aside from graduating college, I’ve never felt a bigger sense of self-accomplishment!
When we got back, we launched right into summer ministries! My kids LOVED her, who wouldn’t?! I so appreciated the love and support that she gave to each one of them. Sheree came on TGE in North Carolina with us. We had a great time White-Water Rafting, Worshiping, and Beholding the very presence of God in not only our own lives, but the students lives too! TGE remains on of the highlights of my ministry at CPC. It was bittersweet, this summer, I graduated my first 6th grade class- they’re in high school now. I feel like a proud (and very emotional Mama– what will I be like when they start college?!)
On the Fourth of July, we went into DC for the fireworks and ran into friends from GU! What were the odds! Ivan was one of the first people I met–he even helped me move into my dorm room (my mother of course remembered him quite fondly)! Cindy and I were going to be summer roommates…and go on the Mexico EDGE trip together. I’m so fortunate to see how God still uses experiences like those to really appreciate friendship.
I was so appreciative of my friends that embraced Sheree-ree. Again, God so just stuck me in the moment to see what amazing people He has blessed me with. We went to a Nats game– even Pam and Kate G. got to know Sheree and loved her just as much as I did.
ROAD TRIP! 8 States in 5 days! We started in Baltimore, went to Philly. Drove to New Jersey for a night before the Big Apple (where we nearly died!). I even ran in Central Park–one of the things on my “bucket list.” After NYC we went onto the Gilette Castle in Conneticut. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL place– so quaint and peaceful. The weather was perfect. Our favorite place was Newport, RI. (I in every bit of seriousness want to move there– or at least have a vacation spot there). Our next stop was Massachusetts. We spent two nights there. We got to see Plymouth Rock, The Salem Witch Museum, and went whale watching in Boston. I want to go to Boston again, and NOT drive. We spent the next day on the beach in New Hampshire and a night in Portland, MN (other places I HAVE to go back to!). Our last stop was Ocean City, NJ. An all-time favorite.
Sheree left at the end of July. It was a hard good-bye. Yet so different than ones before. I couldn’t help but behold the glory and hope and comfort that He gave me just by bringing Sheree to me when He did. And it let me know things were going to be okay. I am SO FAR from being alone here– and though she was leaving me, she left me in the arms of friends that loved me so much they loved her before even knowing her. That’s more than a blessing, it’s a miracle and honor to be loved that much!
The mission trip was the next week– Niagara Falls (I liked you better this time than the first when all I did was fight with Matt). To be humbled to tears by having my feet washed, and then to humble my students by washing their own feet and praying for them while letting tears fall–God that was yet another gift of beholding your presence in my life!
Great highlight! We got back from the mission project on Aug 6. Justin was waiting for me because we were going to ride to the Prock’s lake house together for the weekend… we were running late and Jus decided to go on without me. I was so tired, I decided to just leave in the morning, but then he said “You can’t do that, you have to come– if you come tomorrow, then you’ll only be there for like.. 36 hours. I’ll just wait for you.” So he did and when we got there, SURPRISE. Yet another sign from God of how loved I am. It was wine-themed (PERFECT–especially after a week of 24-7 work!).
My actual birthday was great too– The Craigans were in town; had a party at the Settle’s and embarrassingly enough (loved me) to the point to get everyone to sing “Happy Birthday.” And I was happy.
The theme was God showing me the gift of friends that I have been blessed with. All along they were right in front of me –and I never thanked Him, never rejoiced at the blessing, never smiled at the thought of being so loved, UNTIL now….