Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Tail End of the Semester

I mentioned a little bit in the last post how I wish I had written more during my teaching time, and  I still really wish that I had. I sat down to write down some more details from my time in Kindergarten, and I just realized the same thing all over again. It really is a sad phenomena that when you're busy, you have the most going on in your life and therefore the most you want to record, to write about, to archive. But by the nature of the time, you're busy, which means the excessive gets set aside for the essential. Such is the nature o the beast of busy-ness.

Can you say WOMP?

Now, I might have mentioned before that I"m a big, and I mean big visual person. So when I sat down to write this post and try to review the 3+ months that have been left un-recorded, I jog my memory by looking through my photos. Once I find the photos, I know what I want to write about. So here are some more highlights from the latter part of the semester.

In early November, my family got the sweet treat of travelling to Seaside, Florida, for my cousin's wedding. It was my only cousin on my Dad's side (small family, right?) so it was pretty high on our priority lists, which meant we were all able to make it for the wedding. That's big y'all. That doesn't even happen for Christmas. Our immediate family stayed with all of our (small) extended family in a house in Watercolor for a balmy Florida weekend. We usually do a week in Florida every summer, just down the street from where we stayed for the wedding, but it was so nice to be there in the off-season. If you know Seaside, you know that it is consistently packed to the max in the summers. In November, it was much more enjoyable! No - we couldn't layout on the beach, but yes - we could drive through the square without running over pedestrians. WOOT!

The wedding itself was wonderful. Very elegant, very classy, very simple. It was in the quaint chapel behind the Seaside circle - very cozy, very intimate. It also just happened to land on the weekend after my last week of full time teaching, which made it a wonderful reward for 6 weeks of non-stop hard work.

all the sisters together in the house in Watercolor

the precious little Seaside chapel

Only a few weeks after the wedding, I wrapped up my time in my Kindergarten classroom and had to say goodbye to all of my kiddos. Talk about rough. You definitely don't realize how much you've gotten attached to people until you have to say goodbye. On my last day at the school each of the kids told me their favorite thing that I had taught them. And I straight up lost it. I bawled like....well like a 5 year old. Which then caused one of our more *ahem* sensitive children to start crying too. Whoops. Didn't expect that one. They gave me a sweet gift to help kick-start my classroom next semester as well as a handmade card from each and every one of my students. I cherish those things so much. After all of the tears and the gift giving, we had a pizza party in the room for lunch - the kids loved the pizza and ice cream. It was mind blowing to them - we got to eat the room. WHOA. At the end of the day I got to sit with them and tell them about some of my favorite things from my time with them and I started crying again. I also managed to snag a sweet picture with all of them which I will undoubtedly cherish for decades. They were my first class. And I loved them. 

Now to top it all off, I got to give them all hugs. Strange statement, I know, but ever since the appearance of lice (yes, lice) in our classroom in mid October, we had a strict air-hug policy going in our room. Which if you know me, you know would be a challenge. Above all else, I looooove hugs. Love language? Physical touch. Hands down. Don't get me a present. Don't tell me I'm great. Heck, don't even smile at me. Just give me a dang hug. So the fact that I got to throw out the stinking air-hug policy and give every single one of my little monsters a good squeeze meant the world to me. Some of them even wanted two hugs, or three. The last thing I'll say about that day was a sweet moment when I gave one of our more headstrong girls a hug and sent her out the door at the end of the day. We've butted heads a few times over the months and she's put up lots of good resistance, but of course I still love her. So like I said, I gave her her hug and sent her on her way. Next thing I know she's crashing back into me for another hug. She had gotten to the door, started crying, and ran back to me for a second squeeze. What a gift to know I had some effect on her. This is the stuff that makes my heart beat, y'all. Even as I'm typing this I'm getting amped up about getting back to North Carolina and dropping in on them for a visit.

So, after I finished my teaching on December 3rd, I wrapped up my semester on the 5th with the presentation of my big paper and a farewell lunch at a local cafe with my classmates and professors. Now it just so happened that my sister Caroline was in Raleigh for that week with her musical, so OF COURSE I had to hop over there to see it and her! I got to spend a handful of nights and days with her, playing all around Raleigh and seeing her show - from both the audience perspective and the backstage perspective! My other sister, Mary Catherine had sat in with Caroline while she called on her last musical, but I never did. So, when I came to see her new show, of course I jumped on the chance to sit with her while she called her show. Talk about cool, you guys. She essentially tells everybody when to do everything. She gave me my own little headset and let me sit next to her while she made her calls. To call her shows, she sits in the wings of the stage, so I could see what was going on on the stage and see all the actors as they came on and off. I even met some of them! Now I know this is so typical, boring, everyday for her, but it will never cease to be cool, new, and exciting to me! 

Caroline doing her calls, me loving my headset, and my view from the wings of the stage

Another highlight of our time in Raleigh was that we went on a Segway tour! Now, touring Raleigh has never really been at the top of my bucket list, but I've sort of been itching to take a Segway for a test run! Luckily, Caroline tolerated me and agreed to go for it. Y'all. It. Was. A. Hoot. First off, kudos to Caroline because she was much more stable and skilled on the Segway than I was. Ya, I could go forward, backward, right and left, but I had some issues with inclines and bumps. So when we would take the ramps from the sidewalk to the street and the street to the sidewalk I encountered some difficulties. To say I wobbled a little would be generous. I eventually got the hang of it and wheedled some serious swaying down to a little teeter each time I hit a bump. But it was so so SO fun! The way the Segways are controlled was a bit mind boggling, but obviously really cool. I'd definitely love the chance to jump back on one sometime again in the future!

Look - no hands!


Of course, now that school's out that means one thing - CHRISTMAS IS HERE! So of course it's time to deck the halls! Before leaving school, I did manage to put up one tiny lovely Christmas tree in my apartment. And that was just the beginning. When I came home to Texas for Thanksgiving we went out and chopped down our Christmas tree. Along with decorating the tree, we also put up the garlands, the wreaths and the manger scenes. Here's where it gets interesting. Over Thanksgiving I set up my favorite manger scene in our den. As is our family tradition, we set out the whole scene including the manger, but then we take baby Jesus and hide him in a drawer. On Christmas morning, when we come downstairs to the Christmas tree, we get to put baby Jesus in his manger. He can't be out before then because he hasn't been born yet! The point is that I set it all up over Thanksgiving break and when I got home for Christmas, I noticed that the manger was missing. And not only was the manger gone, but baby Jesus wasn't in his hiding place either. I'm convinced someone in the family took them and hid them. Who knows when they'll reappear. Maybe magically on Christmas morning? Point being, the question around the Walker household right now is "who stole baby Jesus?"

the little tree in my apartment

Dad measuring the height of the tree

so. so. excited.

the crew. thanks to Em for taking the picture

pre and post Thanksgiving.

Delilah all ready for Christmas with her jingle bells

Finally, my latest excursion was a trip I took out to Fort Worth where my sister has been working at Cook Children's. A few days after getting home I hopped on the train and choo-choo'd out to see her for a day and a night. The big news around here lately was the icemageddon that had moved through here a few days before I came home. Y'all. There was ice. Everywhere. It started melting throughout the week, but overall it was still fairly present. What with the temperatures staying low, the ice would melt during the day and then re-freeze overnight. By the time I made it out to Fort Worth we had made it to the extreme melting phase of a post-ice-pocalypse. The roofing on my sister's apartment was that over under Spanish style, so when the ice started melting up there, it would slide off slowly chunk by chunk. We could hear it dragging and ka-thunking down the roof and ker-plunked onto the already ice covered patio. All through the evening and all through the night we could hear the little avalanches on the roof and the soft thud when the bricks of ice landed on the porch. It was pretty funny and entertaining, until we woke up Friday morning and found that the piles of ice had actually broken off the back of a chair. Oops. 

MC looking all professional in front of the hospital

just a portion of the ice that fell off the roof. you can see the broken chair back on the left.

Now I'm officially home for the holidays, enjoying the cozy house, coffee by the fire, wrapping presents, and quality family time. There's some exciting stuff coming up in my very near future and I hope to post about it before too long. 

Until then, Merry Christmas and ciao!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Teaching is a Full Time Job

This post is one that's been in my draft box for the past month or so, waiting to be polished and published. Since I wrapped up my student teaching yesterday,  I figured  I need to get back on top of this blog. So I'm posting this, and will post again soon updating on my life for the month that this skips over....cause there's a lot that happened!

One month ago...

So let me explain. The reason that I have not written in so long is because I am currently heading into the 5th of 6 weeks of full time teaching.That means that everything those little nuggets do from the time they walk in the door at 8 to when they walk out at 2:50 is created, crafted, and executed by yours truly.

Lordy that's a lot of work.

Before I started full time teaching, I had plenty of time to journal about my experiences and to blog about what was going on in my life. And now, that there's infinitely more happening and so many things I want to write down and remember, my time for doing so is sparse at best. So I'm carving out some time now to catch you up on the highlights of working with Kindergartners.

Highlight 1: FIELD TRIP
We had our first field trip with our class a couple of weeks ago. And think about it - it wasn't just our class' first field  trip. For a good majority of these kids, we had the joy of taking them on their first field trip ever. EEP! SO FUN. We all loaded onto a bus to truck out to Charlotte to visit Zootastic: an informal, interactive zoo/wildlife center. The kids got to pet a ferret, a snake, a macaw, a opossum, and even a baby kangaroo. They got to scurry around, feed the animals, eat outside, and play zookeeper. They were crazy happy. And it was a really good day.

feeding the animals

feeding the animals

A couple different times now, we have taken our classroom outside of the classroom, for things like a living/non-living scavenger hunt, or a leaf hunt to make our leaf wreath. Can I just say, it is a joy to watch these kids scatter across the field, electric with excitement, actively engaged in the learning, and loving it. Talk about happiness. I hope with all I have that they have fun learning in the classroom, but it's wonderful to watch how much fun they have when they're learning outside.

Highlight 3: APPLE SAUCE
To celebrate the beginning of fall, we made apple sauce. The kids each got to hold an apple, tell us what they saw, what they felt. Then my teacher whipped out one of those awesome peel-and-core-the-apple contraption. Y'all. I had never seen one of those before. It was so cool how it just whipped out the apples and you end up with this long string of curly apple. Then we simmered it all together with cinnamon and brown sugar and we had warm apple sauce by the end of the day. Anything that is different from our daily routine is exciting to the kids, and if it's different and involves food, you know they're going to be all over it.

cranking out an apple!

Highlight 4: PUMPKINS
When Halloween rolled around, of course we had to carve a pumpkin. The kids got to vote on which face I carved into the pumpkin and once we got past that, we had to talk about how to give me directions to carve it. I told them the story about how my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Craig asked us to give her instructions to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and how that resulted in her doing silly things like scooping and spreading peanut butter with her hands instead of her knife. The kids loved it. Each of them also got to stuck their hands into the pumpkin and squish the guts and the seeds around. But that wasn't the best part. I promised the kids that the very last thing we would do in class on Halloween before they left for the day would be to sit down, turn off all the lights, close the blinds, and light a candle inside the jack-o-lantern and and look at it all together. And we did. And y'all. It was such a sweet moment with those kids. As I held the pumpkin in my lap I could see the light on all of their smiling faces. The loved it.

Highlight 5: A HAPPY KID
This is hands down my favorite teaching moment to date. One of our little boys came into school gripping his pencil with his whole fist, and consequently his handwriting was barely legible. We decided to break his pencil down to a little stub and introduce him to a special pencil grip. I was worried that he would get frustrated, that it wouldn't work, or that he would complain that the grip was hurting his hand. But oh my. He started using it, and after only a few minutes he comes bounding over to me shouting "Ms. Walker, Ms Walker, it works it really works!!!!" I hope I never forget that moment. He was so happy, so very very happy.

Non teaching highlights of the past few weeks:

I went to the fair. The Dixie Classic fair. It's the local fair here in town and it is precious. After being here for four years, this was my first year to actually get to go. We ate fried food, people watched, and did one ride. I'm convinced that as long as I go to the fair, even until I'm old and using a cane, I will always always go on this ride. Do you know the one? Its the swing ride. Dang I love that thing. It was such a joy to get to leave kindergarten where I'm the "adult" and get to go to the fair and be the kid. I've missed that.

My parents came to visit, which is always a highlight. We had a quality weekend just catching up and spending time together. They are so fun. It's also always sad to see them go. Thankfully though I'll be heading down to Florida in about two weeks for my cousins wedding and I'll get to see them again, along with all of my siblings who I haven't seen since August! WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!!


Now that I've caught you up on all that, like I said, I'll be posting again soon to tell all of the wonderful tales from my final month of student teaching.

Ciao and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Your Brain on Kindergarten

This year, I am living with my dear dear friend, Beth. Her friendship has been more cherished to me than I ever thought a friendship could be. She has been encouraging, understanding, and thoroughly entertaining through every step of my college life. She, like myself, is also student teaching kindergarten this semester. Many evenings we come home, completely exhausted, worn out by our kinder kids, and have really good talks. Those talks typically go one of two ways: deep and introspective or entirely hilarious. During one such evening rant, Beth came up with a lose-your-breath-laughing phrase, that was funny in part because it was so un-ignorably true:

"your brain; your brain on kindergarten"

These are the pictures came to mind:

your brain

your brain on kindergarten

So let me break it down into some specific examples.

After a day of school
Your brain: come home, relax, go do something fun!
Your brain on kindergarten: come home, stare at the wall and try to process all of the absurd things that happened over the past 10 hours.

Spelling words
Your brain: cotton c-o-t-t-o-n, alphabet a-l-p-h-a-b-e-t, smart board s-m-a-r-t b-o-a-r-d
Your brain on kindergarten: cotton k-o-t-n, alphabet a-l-f-u-b-e-t, smart board s-m-r-t b-r-d

Writing a blog post
Your brain: spell things correctly, put "your brain, your brain on kindergarten" examples into correct categories
Your brain on kindergarten: misspell your misspellings and put "your brain, your brain on kindergarten" into the wrong categories

Talking with friends
Your brain: carry intelligent, timely, and relevant conversations
Your brain on kindergarten: say the first few words of your sentence, pause to catch your train of thought, and end up staring blankly into the distance until your friend shakes you back to reality (this one just happened as I was writing this post).

Making breakfast
Your brain: pour coffee, put cream and sugar in coffee, put ice and water into water cup
Your brain on kindergarten: pour coffee, spill coffee, put ice in water cup, drop 5+ pieces of ice, accidentally pour creamer into ice water, rinse and re-pour ice water, put sugar in coffee, accidentally drop entire sugar packet into coffee and don't find it until you finish your coffee 1 hour later

Writing a blog post
Your brain: correctly spell "pour"
Your brain on kindergarten: ask your roommate for help spelling the word "pour" 

Planning for classes
Your brain: complete your planning in a timely fashion while maintaining your sanity
Your brain on kindergarten: fall into a hysterical laughing/crying fit because you realize you haven't planned any of the things you need to teach tomorrow

Stress relief:
Your brain: watch TV, read a book, hang out with friends
Your brain on kindergarten: watch "The Uglified Ducky" on Tumblebooks

So that, my friends is an accurate picture of my life. I get up at 6am, I go to school, I teach, enrich lives, tie shoes, open lunches, settle disputes, and kiss boo boos for 10 hours, come home at 5, and start planning for the next day. 

What's that? You say my social life has disappeared? Yes. I know. And yes, at the end of the day, I usually feel a little something like this:

But here's the secret....I love my job and I love those kids. These days are a joy and they are a gift.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

His Timing, His Kingdom

My church here at school is doing a series called "Immanuel: The King Steps Down into Darkness" (essentially it's the Christmas story) and it has been really wonderful. Last week, we read from Matthew 1:18-25, when Mary tells Joseph that she is pregnant and all that ensues after that. There are so many things to take away from the story (which I could go over extensively in another post) but the one I want to focus on now is how those verses exhibited God's immaculate timing. So here it is:

"And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.'"

So verse 19 says that Joseph had decided to divorce Mary. Boom. He had decided it. It was as good as done. For all we know, the papers could have been drawn up and signed and the two of them could already have been legally divorced. I'm sure at this point, the angels in heaven were all in a flurry, batting their wings, flying around in circles frantically. Thinking "That's it! He divorced her! It's over! How is God going to save the people now? His plan is ruined!"

But God knew that intervening any time before he did would have been too early. He knew the right time, and he was waiting for it. Verse 20 says "but as he considered these things." This tells us that even though Joseph had decided to divorce Mary, for some reason, he was still thinking about all that he had heard, weighing his options, considering the situation. Maybe there was a little part of him already that sort of believed she was telling the truth. And then, then is when God knew he should intervene. He sent his messenger right then. He was watching Joseph, he knew that Joseph was mulling it over, and he knew that now was the time for him to give Joseph that little push that he needed. And it all panned out perfectly - didn't it? Joseph married Mary, Mary had Jesus, and Jesus saved us all - just like God had planned. So was God too late when he waited to intervene? Not in the slightest.

But so often, so many times, I'm just like those angles, fluttering around, freaking out, thinking that everything is ruined. But it turns out I just like to jump the gun. God has much more patience than I do, and he also has the bigger picture.

So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I'm telling you because I feel like it plays a really big role in something that's coming up in my life. In January, I will have the opportunity to go Panama with Pine Cove Christian Camps to take part in their Campamentos de Impacto program. Essentially, we'll be going to Panama, partnering with a camp, and helping them put on camp for Panamanian children. It's an incredible opportunity to live out the great commission, serve alongside some remarkable people, and further the kingdom. Commission Camping is something that I've been desiring to take part in for three years. The past two years, when the time came to apply, I always really wanted to - it sounded so fun and like such a great way to spend my winter break. But each year, something got in the way, something that always kept me from applying. But after three years of waiting, God finally opened the door and is letting me go. I finally get to stop fluttering anxiously, because I know God's timing is perfect. God wasn't too late in his plan, I was just too anxious and wanted to go too early.

So now, that I finally get to go, you can imagine how ecstatic I am. I have three years of pent-up excitement. And I am ready! The only thing left between me and Panama is finances. Agreeing to go on this trip means I'm agreeing to raising the funds to cover it. I have faith that God will provide the full $2,400 by December 12th. It's a lot of money, but it's going to do a lot of good.

As I look ahead to what God will do with our team during our time in Panama, I've tried to pinpoint what exactly my heart is for this trip. And I've landed on this:

1. "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1 Timothy 1:5.
This is my heart behind most things in my life, so naturally it spreads to this as well. A big part of my life is simply loving others - whatever form that might take. Sometimes it's service, sometimes is encouragement, and sometimes its accountability, and the list goes on. I just want to love each person the way they need to be loved. It plays out in so many ways, but I firmly believe love is at the base of all good things that we do. Everything stems from love. So the aim of my life is love. If that is my aim, everything else will follow. Christ shows me his perfect, unconditional love daily, and I want to do the same for others. Going to Panama is just another way to do that.

2. "We endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the Gospel of Christ." 1 Corinthians 9:12b
This verse first came to my attention this summer when I was working at camp. I love how straightforward it is - there's no working around what it says. We endure anything, to ensure that the Gospel of Christ is spread. Nothing is more important than making Him known. So raising this money, hours on a plane, a language barrier: it's all nothing so long as I get to further His kingdom. What a glorious mission to get to take part in.

Needless to say, I can't go on this trip without the help from my community. If you would like to support our team as we spread the gospel to the children of Panama, you can go to to contribute. Just click on "Commission Camping Trip Attendee" and include my name with your donation. And if you can't give financially, committing to pray for the team is every bit as much appreciated. We could use prayer for the current stage of preparation and fundraising that we are in, and for the hearts of our team, our leaders, and the Panamanians to be prepared for the work that God will do.

I'm so looking forward to the many stories this adventure will spark and I will try my best to keep you updated on them all!

Panamanian countryside

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Swing of Things

{disclaimer: this post is in backwards order, sorry for the helter skelter format!}

Lord have mercy, I've started student teaching. If you don't already know, I am currently entering my Senior year as an education major. What that means at my school is a whole Fall Semester of student teaching!


I've been placed in a kindergarten classroom not too far outside of town, with a wonderful teacher and an equally as wonderful T.A.! I really could not have asked for a more perfect pair of teachers for me to teach under. We have 23 little nuggets in our classroom and they are all little balls of energy! It is going to be a challenging and wonderful semester. Something I've learned from my years at summer camp is that it really is a true joy to see the ways God has handcrafted each child to be so unique and precious as his creation.

all dressed and ready to go for my first open house ever!

Rewinding a bit, I actually got back to school last Monday and took the week in between to set up and settle into my apartment. This is the first year I'm living off campus - and it is lovely. Y'all. I can put nails in the wall. This means no more paying $8 to hang a picture with command strips. Darned things. In this transitional time, Craigslist and I have become very buddy buddy. I got a shabby little dresser, a cute little storage trunk, and a working microwave. I'm very proud of myself - this is so out of my character. I've also become the DIY queen. My sister Caroline (who came to help me move in) and I forged a headboard, painted table tops, strung up pictures in frames, sewed shams and bench cushions, painted a mirror, decorated with embroidery hoops, made a throw pillow, and the list goes on and on!! In short, I'm proud of myself and my little home. It's cozy and it's mine. The only thing that is missing now is a desk and some twinkle lights. Because you can never have enough twinkle lights.

the craigslist dresser - first day of move in

WOOOOO trunk and cushion - first day of move in

home sweet home! 

Now rewind again to pre-move in. The family and I made our yearly trip down to Florida for a week of sunny nothingness. Unfortunately that turned into rainy nothingness. Granted, I like rain, but our Florida week is the one time of the year when I embrace the sun with open arms. So even though we didn't have the sunny days we had been hoping for, we still got quality family time, which is always dearly cherished by yours truly.

Dad and his boots. Forever a classic.

the aftermath of one of the more rainy days.

loving our Florida nights

outlet mall with the girls - a Florida a must
taking advantage of one of the few sunny mornings, soaking up the rays, not a soul at the pool at 9 am

blurry but precious - last night at the beach

sweet sweet 30 A memorabilia

saying farewell to the precious parentals and starting the drive from Florida to North Carolina!

Aaaand one final rewind. Did I mention that I got glasses? I never knew the world could be so crisp. Suddenly everything is HD and I love it.

SO giddy.

Ciao ciao, dearies.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

That Second Half

So, as you know, I spent the first half of my summer working at camp. The second half of my summer is typically my time with my family, since I don't get oodles of that during the school year. As of July 7th, I finished camp and returned home for just that. It's always sad to leave camp, but at the same time, after seven weeks of hard work a little R&R is always welcomed! During my time at camp, I had the big 21st birthday - which I happily celebrated by getting pied in the face by a nine year old. It was truly memorable. (I say that with complete sincerity. I loved it!) Once I returned home, of course, we took to celebrating in a tasteful 21 year old fashion. If you know me, you know know I don't like to go bonkers crazy, so when I say "celebrate" I mean "celebrate in moderation." I had a wonderful evening out with my sister, Mary Catherine, and her boyfriend at a chill bar on the far side of downtown with an incredible view of the skyline. I also got to go out with my ever wonderful parents to a local restaurant to celebrate with them too! 

Mary Catherine and I 

Mom all dressed up to go out!

Yay 21!

While it's been fun celebrating since I got home, leaving camp means I'm not with camp people any more. (I'm sure you're thinking, well Bonnie....obviously if you leave camp, you're not with camp people.) But it's the potency of that idea that makes it so significant. These "camp people" aren't just people I hung out with for a month and a half. They aren't just people who are now my casual acquaintances and facebook friends. These are people with whom I got a chance to live in community. We got to dig into life. We got to experience the real and present power of our heavenly Father. We got to see our Lord transform the lives of our campers, our peers, and reflect on how he was doing work in our own lives. So imagine seven weeks of gritty spiritual bonding with 70 plus wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ, and then having to leave them. Not fun. So you can guess that I've gone through some withdraw - the only remedy of which is to visit those dear friends.

The first of which is the sweet sweet Katie ("Wide Eyed"). Katie and I had the truly blessed experience of being co-counselors the first week of camp for the youngest little tykes at camp. Our campers were fresh out of 1st and 2nd grade, full of excitement, and full of energy. It was a week were Katie and I learned what it meant to rely on the Lord for wisdom and energy - because in case you didn't know, seven year olds have a little bit more energy than a couple of 20-something college kids. But oh my oh was it a fun week. Back to the point, Katie lives not too far from me and she was gracious enough to make the trip to my house so we could spend the afternoon catching up, relaxing, and sending off gifts to counselors who were still working at camp. It was just a really refreshing time with a really sweet friend. 

Katie and I on the last night of camp. 

Another dear friend I got to catch up with was Heidi ("Merry Catsmas" or "Cats"). This girl is someone that I got the opportunity to just grow really close to  this summer. She is one of those people who just exudes Christ. She is chalk-full  of wisdom, advice, and insight. Heidi and I bonded over laundry and church almost every weekend, so going from seeing her daily to, well, not daily, was a challenge. 

Heidi and I at camp orientation (in May). 

Heidi and I with our friend Ashley on our mud pit night at camp.

So, Heidi is such a great girl that she warranted a trip. So I took the couple hour drive down to see her at Texas A&M. She gave me a tour of her school, we fed some squirrels, put on a garage sale, and closed out the weekend with some good heart to heart time at one of her local hangouts - Mugwalls. 

SO happy to see her again.

The squirrels loved her.


Sweet sweet girl.


After two full days with Heidi, I swung over to Austin to visit the one, the only, Lindsey!! You might recognize her name, she is one of the girls that I grew so close with during my semester in Italy. The last time I saw her, we were in the Philadelphia airport struggling through a teary goodbye before getting on our flights home for Christmas. So going seven months without seeing her was rough to say the least. I only spent 4 hours in Austin with her but it was positively filled with joy. We grabbed lunch at the Austin classic, the Hula Hut and talked about everything. After that long and lovely catch up session, we climbed up to Mount Bonnell, a small lookout point with a phenomenal view of Austin. Finally, we dropped by the peacock sanctuary in a park down the hill, closing out my joyful and unique time in Austin. 

Lindsey and I during our time in Italy.

SO happy to see her!

We found my street!!

Linds and her hats. Love them, love her.

the view from Mount Bonnell

Now I'm home, with a little over a week until I'll leave town to eventually make my way back to school. Crazy how fast the summer goes, right? It was quick, but it was good.