Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Sisters + Kindreds October Surprise || Shipshewana, Indiana

(disclaimer. This is a little mortifying to be posting about this now, because it happened last October! 
To be fair, a lot happened in my life last October, and I'm still catching up with myself! So I've got a few posts coming for y'all that are from that time, as long as you promise to forgive me and be okay with reading news that is six months old =))

Something I've been thinking about quite a bit lately, is friendships, and the importance of having good, solid, LIFE GIVING people in our lives! And not just having them in our lives, but having them as friends--- as kindred spirits, companions, get the picture. 

So these two girls above---they are that kind of friends. Literally two of the sweetest ladies you will ever meet. Sometime last fall (can't remember exactly when) the idea was born that they could drive out from the east, and meet up with us to hang out while we were singing in Shipshewana. And since surprises are always just sooo very was decided to surprise Alli with their visit! 
It was a complete success and so very much fun. I was out for coffee with her when they just "walked in", and the look on her face (well, actually, tbh, the scream was the best) was pretty grand. =) 

We were singing multiple times over those two days, there in Shipshe, so we didn't exactly have an open schedule to do whatever. But we worked with our concert times and made the most of all the other times that we got. We (us four girls) stayed at a lovely hotel for the two nights and made an abundance of memories trying to get our room unlocked, and falling over suitcases in the hallways, and laughing til our sides hurt, among other things.
Lots of chats + laughs over coffees + soft pretzels!
I took pictures of these cups in the hotel room and told Allison, "Can we pleeeeeease get cups like these for the Dutch Country Inn????" #managersisterperks =) I mean, how cool...??
Our very own buffet of random leftovers + restaurant food, served on the WHITE bedspread. I tried so hard not to panic the whole time that I was going to make a mess. Thank goodness, the covers survived! And we now know that dinner in pjs on a hotel bed at 11pm is a great idea for all girls everywhere. Go try it! =)
Excuse the fuzzy picture. But really these were the best of times. Fuzzy picture or not.

Side note: the food above comes from the most incredible establishments. f the Bluegate Restaurant or JoJo's Pretzels or Rise n Roll bakery ever needs promo or a free blog post advertisement or whatever, I'll totally be RIGHT HERE AND AVAILABLE, ready to exchange my services for free samples. *sigh* Any other foodies out there? I just love food so much!
End of food rant. =)

It was such a rich time. We discussed goals, and life, and siblings, and family, and writing, and books, and relationships, and all the current issues surrounding our generation (okay, not quite all!) and solved as many of the worlds problems as we could squeeze in.

So many good memories were made. I'm so thankful for these girls, and all of our incredible friends, really. It is such a treasure to know people who push you UPWARD and encourage you in your "reaching for the PRIZE". Friendships like this are priceless, and meant to be loved + valued. And I'm really blessed by mine.

Hope y'all are having a wonderful week!

Monday, April 10, 2017

National Siblings Day + Ten Things I Love About My Siblings

Well, what do you know. It's National Siblings Day!  I don't much buy into the whole "national day of whatever" deals, as I've mentioned before, buuut...siblings are worth celebrating!
Mine, in particular, are VERY worth celebrating.
To the extent that I decided to do a blog post about it.

These kids are the coolest I've ever met and there's no family I would rather be in than this one. We have the grandest party with whatever we're doing and some days I just have to pinch myself thinking, "Is this really my life?! Like HOW am I so extremely blessed with all this love?"
Perfect? Goodness, NO NO NO. But blessed? Ah, yes, a resounding YES.

I really could go on and on. But for sake of time and things like that, I will keep it short + sweet. Since today is the 10th of the month, I'm gonna give y'all ten things that I love about these siblings of mine, in the order I think of the things.

1. Their love for Jesus.
I'm realizing more and more how rare it is to have ALL one's siblings love Jesus with all their hearts. Feeling convicted even now that I need to spend more time praising Jesus for that one, because it is a very special blessing!
2. Their love of laughter.
Not much to say about that, except that its grand and I'm really thankful for it because it makes life so much more fun when everyone is able to smile + laugh lots!
3. Their crazy side.
You'd never guess it, looking at that calm picture above. But let me tell you. The amount of stories we have that we will never tell is pretty unbelievable. Some stuff is just too wild---people wouldn't understand. The memories we have are so grand. =)
4. Their amazing work ethics.
There isn't a lazy one in the bunch, and they all pull their share of the load. It's a privilege to do life with people like that, who are all willing to work hard and give every project 100%.
5. Their tender spirits.
I am convicted, so often, by my siblings' sensitivity to truth and the Holy Spirit's working in their lives. I want to be more like them.They would honestly give the shirt off their backs, every one of them, to help someone in need.
6. Their personalities.
They are different as night and day, some of them, in the way they see and do life. But they are just fine with being "themselves", and recognizing the different strengths and weaknesses of different personalities, and seeing the beauty that comes when there are all four types in the world, and in families.
7. Their entrepreneurial goals.
This is particularly the older ones, although I'm pretty confidant that the "babies" will be following in their steps. They are constantly researching + brainstorming about new business ventures, or improving the ones they are already involved in. This love for excellence + growth in practical areas is so inspiring to me.
8. Their adventurous lifestyles.
Gotta say it about these-there is never a boring moment. There might be times when life has us in over our ears and wondering how we're ever gonna keep from drowning in everything that's happening. But even in that-the brothers especially keep us "racing for the lifeboats" or something fun like that to keep even the drowning process, entertaining. =)
9. Their vision for life.
When you have two visionaries for parents, I guess this one might not really be an option. But still. Visionary action, at least, is a decision. The thinking might be more personality. But anyone can be a dreamer, and the dreams can stay right there, in the mind. It takes grit + determination to make those dreams happen. I've seen that determination in my siblings, even the little ones, and it blesses my heart so much.
10. Their passion for the Word.
This is a heritage that has been passed down for from my grandparents, to my parents, now to my siblings. The younger ones have especially cultivated a deep knowledge of the Word, through the Bible Bee. I wish sometimes I could do my pre-teen/teenage years over and memorize as much as they have! But even aside from memory, my siblings are so committed to making God's Word a regular part of their daily life, and I am grateful for that about them.

My siblings would be the first to tell you that they aren't perfect. They have misunderstandings, and disagreements, and plenty of opportunities for needing to ask forgiveness.
But they are gems, each and every one of them, and I love them to pieces. No one else I'd rather have been with for the past twenty-six years of life. And even with the many current changes in our family, I am confidant that this sibling closeness will stand the test of time, and that we'll be just as great of friends in fifty years, when we are all old and grey, as we are now.

To my six brothers + three sisters---
Mitch, Alli, Cars, Josh, Denny, Willie, Eliza, Pudge, + Rebs 
(bear with me + the somewhat odd nicknames we use)
....I love y'all more than I can say, and I'll love you guys forever! Happy National Siblings Day
 to the sweetest tribe I know!

With love,