This week, on the podcast, a few of my closest friends come together to talk about how we became family ("the family you choose") over a decade ago. I don't know that I have much more to offer this week in the way of stories, but as we were talking about our adventures over the years, we found a collage of pictures and I felt that would be the best way to take you through our time together. A trip down memory lane:
If you've listened to the podcast, you would have heard our tales of starting up a Bible Study together and ending up building a family. We talked about the adventures that we went on, loading up in a car, heading off to a secret location, and spending the day together enjoying food and fun in the Bay area. The picture above, if wasn't the very first, it was near it--a day in Sausalito, California, exploring and enjoying time together. As you can tell, California isn't always so temperate, and we had to dress a bit warmer for the overcast weather of the City. These early days of adventuring brought us together in ways that a typical Bible study never could have--we enjoyed the closeness of exploring together. We laughed through so many funny moments, and enjoyed spending time together. We loved getting time with Cameron, who was incredibly funny, sweet, and kind, even as a little guy (the trend continues to this day too...he is an amazing human being!).
From spending time in the City together to time along the coast picking strawberries and enjoying fresh pies together.
Over time, our trips took us further outside of our little Bay area adventures. We took trips to each others home states for the 4th of July, including a memorable one to Ohio. There we explored Niagara Falls and custard ice cream. We experienced the summertime mosquitos of the midwest and the laughter that came with time together, adventuring somewhere new.
Patriotism. Need I say more?
And is this fear, or just crazy expressions? Maybe a little of both as we braved the mist at Niagara.
And then...the EPIC Disneyland adventure for Cameron's fifth birthday. We celebrated his big milestone with these blankets we made for our free tickets to Disneyland.
Our matching shirts ready for a day of fun and we were off to "The Happiest Place on Earth". We spent the full day there, soaking up every minute of time together, enjoying our hard-earned free trip together. A birthday to remember!
Cameron was still young enough that I'm not sure if he has clear memories of this day, but we sure do...
And let's not forget the other opportunities that we had to serve our Young Adults community at Peninsula Covenant Church--like the year we mentioned on the podcast where at our yearly winter retreat at Twain Harte, our team came together to cook for the whole retreat. It was a blast!
As we each began to move away from the Bay Area, it has created other opportunities to adventure...to New York City, where Jenni lived for several years. I'll never, ever forget the adventures we had during our time there. Going from Ghana to Times Square was quite a difference, but it was amazing taking the city with a "local" as we ate delicious food, soaked in the sights, and just enjoyed time together!
A couple years later, we all met up in Colorado, each of us in new places and seasons in our lives--Gina with her little baby, and newly-married Bristol, with a baby on the way. Even though it was April, our weekend in Colorado led to very wintry weather. We had to find a lot more indoor activities than we had originally planned, including most of us enjoying our first escape room together. Another new adventure!
These friends of mine, this family that we chose, they are so special. Our adventures together have been amazing, but even more than our adventures, the late night conversations, the depths we have experienced together, the prayers and tears, the excitement of new seasons, and the hurt that comes with life--we've seen it all WITH each other, and it has deepened our friendship more than anything else.
Missional living is more than just telling others about Jesus--it's living our lives with others in a way that honors and glorifies Jesus. Maybe telling THEIR story, OUR story, will help to tell HIS story too. I'm so grateful for the ways we have done life together and continue to press in to life with each other today. May you, too, seek out, and be given the opportunity, to dig into friendships that will give you life and show others the Creator of friendship.