While I would like to say that I take appropriate measures to ensure that I get enough food, sleep, exercise, it really is only true if I have no one who needs me to go out of my way and/or lose sleep for. This weekend was no different. I had planned on catching a red-eye flight home from California in order to be able to attend a leadership summit at my church, then I had planned to drive to Ohio incredibly late to meet up with my family and a bunch of old friends, one of which was visiting from France! But, apparently God had other plans. My flight was delayed for almost three hours, and then once I finally arrived in DC more than three hours late, the cargo door of the plane would not open for about 45 minutes.. which promptly means I was going to be 3 hours late to a 4 hours summit... Meaning by the time I made it there it would be pointless. So, instead I slept in my car for 45 minutes, then proceeded to alter my plans and drive directly to Ohio.
Still not entirely sure why it worked out for me to not go to the leadership summit, but head to Ohio earlier.. But, regardless it meant more hugs and loves.
I pulled into the hotel behind my parents and sister by about a minute in a half, which was fun, but it also meant none of us had a moment to relax as we checked in, unloaded, changed clothes, and got ready to leave again to make the half hour drive to our friends house to meet up with everyone for dinner.
The drive time that my family and I had throughout the course of the couple days we were in Ohio was perfect to say the least, we talked, laughed, picked on each other, drank coffee, offered to share with my dad, and told stories the entire time.
When we finally arrived, there were more people there than I expected, but the welcoming greeting is always one of my favorite things when visiting other people or having them visit me. There is just something special and exciting about the first few moments of hugs, laughter, hellos, and how are you's. This time proved to be just as wonderful and lovely as I was hoping. My dear friend from France has gone by Rainbow on anything that requires a screen name for years, including IMs, message boards, etc.. So to finally get to hug her for the first time and say our long overdue hellos and how are you's in person was awesome, and almost surreal because of the fact that we have known each other for 8-9 years now, and this was the first time we were able to hug and talk in person. And, while pictures always help keep people in the loop as to new hair styles and various things of that sort, it is always entirely different to see and talk to people in person... Her voice is a beautiful mix of a British accent with a French cadence.
What was and has always been so meaningful to me is the ever present love, prayers, encouragement, and care that has been projected from her the entire time I have known her, and this weekend was no different.
One of the things I always find interesting is to get glimpses into who I am to, and through other people's eyes. Their view of me is always so humbling, and to see the good they see in me, and to know the love they have for me... It makes me so acutely aware of what I do not deserve, but have somehow managed to come upon in more than my fair share of friendships in my life. At points throughout the weekend I was so overwhelmed by her love for me that I simply did not have words, so I would just sit smiling and listening to the conversations of the group eb and flow across different topics.
I would be completely remiss if I did not mention the several other people I got to spend time with and hug, it was such a lovely weekend full of stories, laughter, hugs, and food... lots of food. At a couple different points throughout the weekend I was amazed at how long these people have known me, which basically was my entire college career, and definitely my actual career, including moving to and from camps in Ohio, living at home for a year after college, moving to central VA, and then up to DC.. I am so blessed that they stuck with me through break ups, moves, struggles, business, chaos, and everything in between.
The overwhelming sense I left the weekend with was just how lucky I am that so many people love and care for me praying for big and little things in my life. I am just so blessed.