Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

If my blog is anything, it's inconsistent, but I have blogged about both our Easters and Christmases since we have been married, and I am not one to ruin a tradition!

Friday we went to the Good Friday Atlanta service put on by Passion City Church, and it was incredible: a beautiful and moving celebration of the cross!

Our Easter day was very busy, but wonderful.
We started out going to a sunrise service my Dad preached at. 
It was a sweet time with family! 
My Dad gave out these little red glass stones and told us to remember that as our drop of blood.

It was also neat because one set of my great grandparents are buried at this church, and my dad talked about my grandfather riding his horse to this church and playing games in the church yard.

The sunrise was so beautiful. 
I wish I could see this view as my Great Grandfather did, before it was altered with power lines and shopping malls.
(but then again, I am a fan of electricity and Target, haha!)

Here are some pics of my fam:

 Mom, Dad, and bro!
 Trying to embrace the flare here, I need to read more about the best placement for the sun...
 Isn't my sister pretty? 
They are getting married in 2.5 months!!

We went to the early service at our church, and then tried to get a "family picture" with the pups.

As you can see, epic fail.
Our heads were cut off in every one, and we were both over trying to try for another one, so I embraced the crazy perspective.

Ha, sweet pups:

We went to my aunt's for lunch, but I didn't take any pictures there.
Then we rounded out the night at Jason's sister's house with these sweet nieces and nephews:

 A bit o' Easter baseball
 With Paw Paw on the pitchers mound
And an egg hunt to round out the night!!

It was a great day!
I was particularly struck this year by the crazy contradiction that the cross is. As my pastor said, the cross was an instrument of torture. Can you imagine if people wore electric chairs around their neck? But, the cross was made beautiful by the love that was given there.

Oh the wonderful Cross
Oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die to find that I may truly live

Oh the wonderful Cross
Oh the wonderful Cross
All who gather here, by grade draw near, and bless Your name

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Best Friends

      A few weeks ago I led a weekend Bible study for some middle school aged girls, in efforts to connect with them and make an illustration, I read to them from my 7th grade journal. In that particular journal, I was lamenting, quite dramatically, that I "had no one". I listed some names of some girls who were my friends, but said that I felt like none of them were really my best friend. Looking back, although it was overly dramatic, it made some sense. My best friend from elementary school went to a different middle school than me (the horror), in perfect irony, she is now student teaching at the elementary school I teach at and is still as funny as ever, but I could not see the redemption in that moment. I was focused on my loneliness.
     I think there is a yearning inside every girl, for their person. In the 14 or so years since I wrote that journal, I've been blessed with two people who fulfilled that role better than I could imagined anyone ever  filling it, and it just so happens that I've been honored to spend the past two weekends celebrating them, which caused me to consider just how incredible they are, and how insanely blessed I am to get to call them friend.

   First, there was India.

 Although we went to the same preschool and middle school, we didn't really become friends until Sophomore literature class in which we coined the phrase "great minds think stupidly" because we said and thought so many crazy things the same way. We also wrote a pretty dang sweet song about Greek Mythology for a class project and got in trouble for talking during class way too many times.

     My fondest memories of India came because we were...wait for for the color guard together. Nerdy or not, these were some of the best and most fun memories from high school. We would dance our hearts out and then spend the entire bus ride home discussing theology and wrestling with hard questions about faith and life. Color guard also allowed us the opportunity to travel to New York together, and now, she lives there! (No other city could contain her magnitude of creativity).
                      Did I mention she was homecoming queen? Yup, like I tell my students. In the end, people finally realize that the nice people are the ones that are "cool", not the ones that put everyone else down.


   India taught me more than I could ever write. She is one of the most sincere, faithful, humble, and genuine people I've ever known. She stood beside me at my wedding, and this weekend I got to stand beside her in love at hers. It was one of the coolest weddings I've ever been to which was no surprise to anyone.

  Then, there was Amory.
Despite what movies portray and my outgoing personality anticipated, moving into a dorm and trying to meet friends in college was not easy and extremely overwhelming. But, the intense atmosphere that living, eating, and studying with a group of people for all waking hours, results in some incredible and intense friendships. I have so many wonderful friends from college, but one emerged as my BFF.

 Amory and I met the very first night we moved into our dorm, and never looked back. In fact, she took a picture of me talking on the phone to my now husband because she was putting pictures of everyone on the hall on her door (that's just the kind of caring and loving person she is). We both majored in education so we got to navigate the joys of classes together.  We also shared the job of RA and had some wonderful times together through that. Amory is the definition of a friend: she loves at all times, even when I was unloveable. Four years of dinners, classes, RA meetings, road trips, and long talks over Oreos and peanut-butter fused us into a pair I don't think will ever separate. 

    On the eve of our graduation from college, we drove around and listened to Point of Grace's "circle of friends" and sobbed our eyes out. We just couldn't stand the thought of being apart, but somehow we survived, and our friendship has continued and grown since leaving college. Amory is one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and nurturing people I've ever known.

I had the honor of "helping" Amory's now husband propose to her. She stood by me at my wedding and I at hers. I screamed and cried when she told me she was pregnant in the parking lot of the mall. I was there the day she became a Mama, and two weekends ago, that precious baby girl turned one, and you better believe I was there to celebrate it.

 All the details Amory did were so awesome! One thing I didn't get a picture of was a thing called a "prayer book". Amory's mom made it, and the idea is that you commit to pray for different Godly qualities for Noelle. I chose "Kindness" and when I showed Jason, he said "why did you pick that, it's obvious that she will be kind, look at who her mom is!" So true!!

Seriously, these two women are incredible. I can't believe I get to call them friend.