I like to tell stories of my childhood/teenage years growing up…
mostly because I either have THE most rose-colored glasses when I look back at those years
OR it really was a most incredible time to grow up.
*hand squeezed lemonade at the local ice cream shop we all worked at on the fourth of july followed up with picnic blankets right next to the river that ran through the center of our midwest town with hands filled with sparklers and celebrating + watching the fireworks with our close friends and family.
*summer nights after church getting custard at the local ice cream shop and then off to a friends house to swim or jump on the trampoline or watch movies.
*one week during the summer our core group of friends/family would trek up to the Michigan coast where we would all rent week-long apartments and we’d vacation together on the beach and then at night have long pot-luck dinners in the patio that ran along the front of our apartments.
*in the fall/winter we’d either celebrate thanksgiving or Christmas dessert together…
all descending into these friends house to watch Christmas movies feasting on pie and dessert.
and the best part about ALL of those memories is that they aren’t just my own…
they’re shared with the people in todays photographs as well.
the woman in todays pictures is someone who I value and appreciate very much.
I’ve only had one small group leader my entire grow up and it’s her…
she reinforced the truth that God’s word is wise and helped teach me how to study it.
I can remember long talks about theological issues in her living room – her patiently reasoning with me through the truth.
I can remember praying with her through my young life…she is a most faithful prayer and taught me to value prayer.
I can remember even further back and going through awana with her (yep, totally did awana’s for a solid year…*rock fist.*)
I remember piling into her van to travel to the awana Olympics (again, it was a total thing…you missed out if you didn’t awana.)
and her teaching me the art of squirting ketchup onto a single fry while driving…seriously important stuff. 😉
and then her boys…her eldest was a good friend of mine growing up.
he wasn’t complicated, he was a hard worker, he made me laugh and had a good heart…not much has changed although his beard has significantly. 😉
the middle son still makes me laugh when I think of playing kickball with him as a kid…man, he was the biggest hot head.
if he and the eldest were on opposite teams or he and my husband were on opposite teams – you’d think we were playing in the world series of kickball…it was that intense.
and just as he was intense in sports is was equally as much a hilarious ham, so incredibly funny to the point that you’d cry actual tears of laughter and then he’d sarcastically tease you mercilessly about you laughing…still makes me smile.
and then the youngest son growing up was just fun to be around and to play in the pool with everyone and is one of the best pianists I know. 🙂
so why the memory lane story-telling?
because these people were a large part of my grow up and getting to spend a little time with them now that we’re mostly grown with families of our own was an absolute treasure for me.
I always say that the road is narrow…you meet and love a lot of people on your life journey.
not everyone sticks around…it’s not necessarily a bad thing – it’s just a thing.
SO, when you get to photograph and spend time with people who you haven’t seen in years and find them to be still walking the same journey that you are
and the time spent feels like the same as twenty five years ago even though you just happen to live 1600 miles away
I have no other reaction but to feel so lucky, happy and blessed.
one last thing about this family…
they are killing the smoking/barbeque game.
as in might even be edging out my local favorite Joe’s kind-of killing it. (*gasp.* I know.)
I got to walk around take photographs of their plant that my father-in-law helped build over in Tennessee and little of the town that they’re in,
and I’m absolutely blown away at seeing first hand their talent, and at seeing their hard work + vision and at seeing their success.
if you’re like me and don’t live in Tennessee, go into your local Target and grab a box of their handiwork…The Wolf Family chicken in sauce is my favorite…stupid good.
and if you don’t feel like making your own sandwich – go into any Panera bread and get a salad with chicken on it…it was smoked/cooked and delivered from their hands.
their slogan is no junk, no joke and it’s true…I saw it all from start to finish with my own eyes and they mean what they say.
I can’t say enough about this family, about the women the boys married and the incredible kids they all have of their own now,
about the town they live in and the impact that this family is having on it…
it’s seriously so cool to have gotten to spend a little time with these people I love!