Laura is just one of those women you want to be like. She is soft spoken and kind and comfortable in her own skin and confident in who she is. She is a friend who makes me want to be a better person, to follow God more, to be nicer. She encourages me to be a better mother and to walk more closely with the Lord. She challenges me in my marriage and my world view. She does all of this without even knowing it. Just by being who she is she encourages me to be a better me. These things are just the tip of the iceberg for what kind of a person Laura is. She and Julian have a nomadic kind of spirit and are willing to go wherever the Lord takes them. These last couple of years have been challenging for them; they have been wronged and discouraged and yet they take it all in stride, letting it make them stronger and draw them closer to each other and to God and they move on; keep seek God and what direction He is taking them, and honestly, I've never heard them bad-mouth anyone. Simply put, Laura and Julian are amazing.
A few summer's ago they came and spent a few days with us at our house. It happened quite by accident. Julian was a groomsman in a wedding that just happened to be in our neck (ish) of the woods and Laura emailed to see if we'd like to meet for dinner while they were here and we insisted they stay with us and let us host them. (Uh...you may remember how this visit impacted us if you've been reading along with our debt story. ) That was the first time I'd met them face to face and the first time Mike had seen them in about six or seven years but we just fit together like old friends should. The next summer they met us for a few days at the "Special House", the name reserved for the vacation home my aunt and uncle built and the few days we were together were amazingly refreshing for me. Last year we meant to go out to see them but we were at the tail end of paying off our debts and decided we couldn't spring the money and my heart was quite seriously broken by the thought of not seeing my friend for another year. This year we made the plan to visit them, if for nothing else than my own sanity, and we finally made the journey over to see them. My only regret is not staying longer.
Within minutes of arriving Brooklyn and little Genesis were best friends. It didn't hurt that Laura had purchased them matching princess tiaras, wands and skirts.
This is the view from their living room window. Laura says their house is old and small but ... this view. I'm sure. They could live in a shack and this view would make up for it.
We went sapphire mining. How awesome is that? We are now officially 5 carats richer in uncut sapphires than we were a week ago. Sa-weet.
I totally forget the name of these falls. It starts with an 's'.
Wouldn't this be the best family picture if we only had three children? And if everyone were wearing pants.
I still can't get over the view. Seriously. Playing in the kiddie pool with this view? Do they even get how cool this is?
And Judah threw a fit. Odd.
And Brooklyn tried to play the guitar. I'm framing this picture.
Ezra. Ah. Dorable.
Cheeto baby. My baby. Kiss kiss.
These boys ... oh boy. Trouble.
The little girl who was named for me. At least, that's what I tell myself. Laura let's me believe it.
Mike and I got up one morning and this is what Laura was doing. Reading a book to 7 children. Did I mention she's an amazing mother?
First theme park ride.
La Familia Lopez. This was taken at the end of a 10 hour day of riding rides, water slides, and eating insane amounts of sugar. Also, Julian has West Nile Virus. Did I mention that? Yeah. Literally infected with a deadly disease and trucking along at Silverwood like it was no big deal.
This vacation was good for my soul. It was good for my marriage. It was good for my family and it was good for my friendship.
Laura, my dear friend, I already miss you and I cannot wait for our next visit.