|thank you weary traveling toes for keeping up with a two year-old with no concept of "slow down"|
Is it really Monday already?
(and do I really have to be at work and pretend to be a functioning adult tomorrow?)
Last night was the first night since I got to Indiana that I slept more than 5 hours (also marking the first time I've slept that long in over a week) and it was glorious. I ended up staying with the "little kids" (what Jared, Andrea and Alyssa still find themselves referring to Dakota, Terra and Forrest as even though a) they're all between 17-20 and b) two of them are taller than any of the other siblings) and tucked into a cozy bed in the basement where I felt like I was in a happy little tomb of fluffy pillows and warm blankets, blissfully unaware of any living creature or sunlight until nine o'clock this morning. Terra asked me if I heard her go to bed around four (poor girl was up late studying) or if her alarm woke me this morning.
Nope and nope.
Out like a damn light.
After 4 days of running around like some little fool, reaffirming what I already knew to be true (that is, what Jason Aldean has been singing about), and squeezing in as many drive-by "hello/goodbyes" as I could manage (but still wishing there was more time for more people), I'm ready to sit still for a minute.
From what I gather though, that's how you know you've done Fort Wayne right.
1. Thank you for Andrea and Dave! The newly minted husband and wife of the year! I will be forever grateful to them for trusting me with something as special as their wedding photos and for letting me be part of their special day. Not only did they let me help piece together the many details of the wedding, but they made sure I also got to be a proper guest as well. That meant so much I can't even tell you. I am so thankful for them and all they have fought for to make for their family the life they deserve. Dave and Andrea, you guys are amazing and I am so thrilled for you I could bust! Congratulations and so much love to you again and again and again!!!
2. Thank you for Kamdyn! Yes, this little dude gets his own note of gratitude. Thank you for giving me the chance to see this sweet boy grow up into the little stud he is. My heart grew and nearly burst every morning seeing that sleepy little man slowly emerge from that dreamy world of his and into the running, jumping, loving, squealing kiddo. He about destroyed my heart when, while playing blocks as Andrea got her hair done by her baby sister for her wedding, Kamdyn took a running leap at me where I sat on the floor, tackling me and placing his little hands on either side of my face to plant a big, wet, slobbery baby kiss on me. It's amazing how much I love that kid, though I've only spent a handful of days with him in his life. I miss him already.
3. Thank you for Terra. The youngest sister in the bunch, this girl just makes my heart overflow. She is the sweetest, more compassionate, level-headed, smart and wonderful girl I think I've ever met. Talking with her just make you want to alternate between a smile from ear to ear and utter tears at knowing there is such a good soul alive in the world today. Her heart is as beautiful as her smile, and her eyes dance just like all of her siblings that I love so much. This one's going to do amazing things in the world, mark my words.
4. Thank you for Jessi and Gospel Community! These interwebs, our little village of love and camaraderie, encouragement and support, is truly spectacular, you know that? So here I was, headed for Fort Wayne, Indiana thinking what a bummer it was that with this trip being at the end of September there was no way I could ever swing coming back in October for Influence. But then a radical thought occurred to me: what if I could visit Jessi's church? So that's exactly what I did. First of all, let's talk about this church... They are amazing! I felt like I was walking into a branch of Solid Rock. I must have stuck out as a "newbie" because everyone I talked to made sure I knew my way around and had a cup of hot coffee in my hand. A sweet kid named Sam asked me how I'd heard about GC and immediately set off to find Jessi. As the service started, I stood and sang feeling such warmth from the people all around me. When we broke from worship to say hello to those around us, up came this adorable little gal with a perfect blogger top-knot and a huge smile. She wrapped me in a huge hug and treated me like a long-lost friend she hadn't seen in years. She had her sweet Glory girl with her so while they went a grabbed a cookie she told me to go prop up with them a few rows ahead of where I was. After the service (which was incredible, by the way) I met a whole slew of other folks and talked with Jessi about what a wonderfully peculiar world blogging is and how incredible it is when it beings us all together in the most unexpected ways (also learned all about how old Benja and Elias are from Glory who was such a little trooper, sniffling her way through telling me how old she and her brothers were). Guys - this lady is the real deal. I am genuinely honored to have met her and feel so blessed to have met the people I did last night. As I was leaving I told her how much her blog and her faith have meant to me over the last year and a half and right when I thought I was going to start crying right there she pulled me in for another hug and "I just love you sweet girl, I'm so happy you're here!" Oh, it meant the world. Thank you, Jessi! You are such an inspiration and a blessing!
5. Thank you for Moshboy and Katie! Before I left today I grabbed a quick coffee with these two and it was just the capper to the trip I needed. Katie was there when I arrived (which according to her was the first time she's been early for anything) and when we spotted our furry friend outside I decided the only course of action was to attack him before he noticed me which worked out beautifully - I scared the daylights out of him and I can rest happily knowing I win. We sat for over an hour talking about all of our friends, reminiscing about all the hijinks they used to get up to and laughing loud enough to make everyone around us either uncomfortable or jealous. Not sure which. Either way, we took it for a win. Oh, and then Moshboy and I did this. For which we're not sorry.
6. Thank you for this whole weekend! Shoot, this list could go on and on and I'd eventually run out of memory (or ya'll would get tired of scrolling and navigate to another more succinct blog). Seeing the people who I have come to love as the family they are was just what my heart needed. I'm exhausted and sore but so, so happy. Thank you, all of you, for loving me so much.
So with that, and with this beer I've been nursing while I wait for my flight (no one is surprised that I made sure to get to the airport waaay to early), I bid you adieu from the great state of Indiana.
It's going to be a fast and furious flight home (which I can only hope I konk out for entirely) and then it's back to the madness awaiting me in Portland.
I only took 2,600 photos while I was here so I should have those up in no time.
If I'm a bit absent from the blog here it's because I've fallen into a coma and will be right back after these messages.
Much love all.