Monday, April 27

Winters Spring Leadership 2015

Kristen, myself, Hope, and Becky
This is this week's photo of the week. Yes, it's late, but it's because I was having the time of my life at a business conference.

These three women in the picture with me are genuine goldmines and diamonds in the making. I got to travel to the Winters Spring Leadership conference and it was incredible.

The one thing that keeps striking me is how genuine everyone on the team truly is and how persistently they showed such strong servant leadership. I was in need of nothing all weekend, even though I was a long way from home and living out of a carry-on bag.
The three of these beautiful women are so Christ-like and humble. They're dreamers and achievers and totally bring me up to a whole new level of thinking and belief. I could honestly write pages and pages on each of them, and I've only been in communication with Hope and Kristen for two months (and met them for the first time this weekend).

I could also write a novel about all of the things I learned this weekend, about myself, my business, my dreams, and my faith. So much knowledge and little nuggets of goodness that I'm still taking in. I laughed and I cried and I processed and listened. 
Too little sleep, so much to take in, a new appreciation energy drinks, and one amazing weekend.

Monday, April 20


This week's photo of the week is, yeah...(sorry, not sorry) a little late.
BUT this was my weekend in one photo:

I spent 72 hours at Youth Haven Ranch in Rives Junction, MI. The ministry that they run from there is incredible and it was a really growing experience for me...

They take kids by referral from the foster care system, teachers, guidance counselors, and other people who work with kids and send them to camp for free. These kids, outside of Youth Haven, would have zero chance to get a 'camp' experience, and they were a handful to say the least.
I worked with a group of 11 to 13 year olds... and man oh mister, I got a whole lot of sass.
I learned a whole bunch of new insults, I found a lot of people who enjoyed telling me that I'm not their dad, got educated on popular vines, broke up a couple almost-fights, tried to downplay some pretty inappropriate jokes, and I even had some girlies super mad at me because they weren't real big on following directions...
Honestly, it was really good for me. Every five minutes I had to take a mental time out to think, "Julia, you're doing this for the kids" in order to keep my introvert tucked away.

Three of the younger kids asked Christ into their hearts for the first time this weekend.
30-some kids got taken out of rough situations and were given the chance to let their guards down for a couple of days.
I watched so many of the kids get pumped up learning worship songs as they were exposed to Christianity for the first time.
I spent time with people I can now call 'friends' from school that I otherwise wouldn't have connected with.
I lived out of a suitcase and smelled super gross at the end of the weekend.
I pushed myself and it was so, so wonderful.

Saturday, April 11

sista sista!

I've really got to work on improving the overall photo quality going on here(:

Anyway, as per the usual this week's photo is coming in just under the wire.

Two reasons for this picture:

(1) Easter Sunday. Easter is a big personal milestone for me every year and every year I let myself take stock of how much I've grown as a person, and especially as a person of faith. I got to be home with my family for a long weekend & got to celebrate the ultimate Sacrifice of my Savior.
(2) This chica in the photo with me. She's pretty neat. As it turns out, this week contained national siblings day or something to that effect. And I could not be more blessed and empowered by the sassy, supremely smart, superbly speedy, splendid sister of mine. I honestly brag about her probably a little bit too much. Every time she runs a new PR? Gotta tell the roommate and the girls on the floor. Signs to run and attend at a big-name architecture school? You better believe I'm telling everyone that I know. Teacher gives her a compliment like "best student I've had in 10 years"? Yup, I'll add that to my rehearsed speech of bragging.
Because, if I'm being honest, I haven't always been the perfect big sister. I've kept secrets from her that have ended up hurting her. I've taken my insecurities out on her. In the spirit of full disclosure, I've probably said some less than stellar stuff...some of it out of jealousy, because let's be real--the kid is amazing. I'm thankful that we we've grown up and after I've moved off to school that we've both done a little bit of growing up and a lot bit of growing together.
I'm not kidding when I say that my baby sister means the world to me.

Saturday, April 4

spring has {finally} sprung

The crocuses have arrived & I don't know that I've ever been more excited to see them!
After a strange Michigan winter {where it snowed on Thanksgving, was clear on Christmas, & snowed again into March}, these little beauties are my official go-to sign that my favorite season has arrived.