AWWWWW!!!!

Okay, now I know that I’m getting older, because a good friend of mine just turned 40!  One of my best friends at Hanley, who is kinda like a big brother to me, just turned 40 on Wednesday.  To celebrate his birthday, his girlfriend, April threw him a surprise birthday party tonight.  It was an honor to be one of few invited. 

Once Tony arrived, he walked back out ’cause he was bawling-so surprised and so honored!  It was really, really precious.  April had everyone there (about 15 of us) get up and say something to Tony.  That was great to be apart of…and again, more tears:)  A few people were mentioning different things like, "Oh, I can’t wait until Tony and April make their relationship ‘more official’ and make me some nieces and nephews," and "All I want is for my baby boy to get married…"  I was beginning to think that they were making things awfully uncomfortable for the both of them, since they aren’t weren’t engaged!  Well, after we were all done speaking love and friendship over Tony, he got up…
April_2008_081…and said some very nice things to April.  Then he said, "Mom, I’m going to make your wish come true…"  At that point he reached inside his jacket (a few of us gently screamed in that moment:) and he pulled out a white box. …and then he got down on his knee.  Oh my word…I had never before witnessed a marriage proposal…it was SO BEAUTIFUL!!!  I’m completely beside myself, and so giddy!
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Anyone that knows me well, knows that I love LOVE.  Blessed by Jesus, it’s so fantastic!  In God’s timing I’ll have the opportunity to experience that…perfect timing, of course.  In the meanwhile, this seemingly long while, I will enjoy the joy of others whenever I get the chance to!

So, yay!  Tony and April, I am so, so excited for you!!!!

(click on the picture to the right to zoom in on that rock:)

My BFF:)

These past few weeks I’ve been quite reminiscent about a few people…bear with me as I briefly travel through time:)
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This is my best friend, Jennifer (Spules), and me at a Harvest Party (aka-the church party we went to a few days before we went trick or treating:).  I was a bum (why?) and she was a baby…btw, she wore those pj’s for years!

We met in 3rd grade at our church’s Missionettes group and immediately connected.  Jen and I were apart of a group of girls that called each other BFF’s…we had bracelets and everything! 🙂 Just about every Sunday after church we were either over at my house, Jen’s house, or our friend Eileen’s house.  Of all the girls that I used to spend hours doing my hair and putting my makeup on with, Jen’s the only one that stuck with the Forever part of BFF.  I could write for pages about this friend of mine, and although at the age of 28 I have a plethora of God’s gracious gifts of friendships, Jen will always be the friend that’s known me the longest, and the one that’s seen me through the most…sounds selfish, doesn’t it?  She’s been God’s gift of friendship to me for 20 years.

We were in 7th grade and we went to Poquessing Middle School together.  We continued onto Neshaminy High School together, where we were proud of the fact that we enjoyed wearing sweats and our hair pulled back in pony tails most days.  I remember our senior year we had this one place where our paths to our first classes crossed and we would say, "Hey, you look cute today!"…knowing full well that we looked like, well, you know.  I remember taking computer classes with her, and us always (always) getting done early and being able to talk.  Study Hall with Mr. Hoy where we’d get gently scolded for talking, but he liked us so, not scolded too much.  "This too shall pass" was what she Kimeileenjen
used to always say to me whenever I was frustrated.  We would pass notes in Geometry like there was no tomorrow.  What a confidant!  We would pray together all the time and even if we didn’t understand what was going on in each other’s lives…we would still somehow understand.  Jen and I went to the same church, too, in high school(a different one than we did at first).  We were apart of PRIZM youth ministries together and we got to do ministry together.  What a sweet time in life with my friend…even in tough moments. 🙂

We went away to college together-not meaning to go together-with a group of our friends.  What group of friends goes to school 24 hours away?  ECF (East Coast Fellowship) is what we called ourselves, and we always tried to spend our birthdays together.  JenKimeileenjen
and I intentionally didn’t live together when we first went away to NCU.  We said it was because we wanted to be sure to meet more people…secretly I think Jen just knew I was a little bit messier than her and didn’t wanna chance it:)  Hah!  Her first roommate was kinda messy too…but after some agreements, we ended up having our first apartment together our 5th and last year of college.   We were the last ones to make it into an apartment that year and ended up in a tiny, tiny studio apartment that wouldn’t hold beds if we wanted it to.  We bought Coleman sleeping cots on clearance at Target and slept on those:)  You had to go through our closet to get to the bathroom.  Oh, what an interesting apartment that was.  Chris Woelfle, the apartment guy at the time, vowed to never rent that apartment to more than one person ever again and had us move for the 2nd semester to a more normal place.  And so we graduated together for the second time.

That summer, my best friend married her new best friend:)  I received the privilege of being a Maid of Honor in her wedding, which meant the world to me.  Currently I carry around, in my purse, a little white Bible that I carried down the aisle that day…I get to think of Jen all the time…that little Bible means so much to me! 

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So much of our relationship cannot possibly be recorded in even a series of blog posts, but I am reminiscent for one main reason…Jennifer called me a couple weeks ago to tell me that she’s having a baby!  She said that I get to be an Aunt Mim again!  Yay!  I’m still bubbling over with excitement over this announcement and I am amazed at how gracious God is to intentionally place people in our lives…sometimes for a season…and sometimes forever.

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Here are the Gowell’s and me, from the last time I saw them last June….we’ve aged fairly well, right? 😉

My New Pastor’s Wife

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So this is my pastor’s wife and me!  Yay!  I can actually say, "my pastor’s wife!"  How much fun is that?

Leah Leach was absolutely beautiful as she walked down the aisle, completely glowing on Saturday afternoon.  And Brad was teary eyed as he watched her come down. 

Here are a few pictures from the day…

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This is Allison, intercessor for my future husband:)

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Bradley as he watched his bride.
(Jonathon kind of looks like a giant:)

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Leah and her dad…she was that giddy the entire time…very peaceful and joyful.

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It was right about this time that Leah "promised to dream big dreams with Brad…even it meant dreaming that this would be the year for the Lions."

The Kiss:)

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The pronouncement!
(seriously, Leah had look on her face the whole day…so happy:)

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The wonderful couple (Leah in her "white witch" muff and robe).

Brad is a dear friend and an awesome pastor to me.  Leah has become a wonderful friend and I’m looking forward to serving her as my pastor’s wife.  Her heart is enormous; she loves Jesus and loves people (that sounds familiar🙂  I love them both!  They are such a great example to me of seeking Jesus first and allowing the Holy Spirit to move and guide.  I was ecstatic all last week and it was such a pleasure to see them on such a beautiful day (no matter how cold it was outside:)  God’s presence was evident during the entire event and I can’t wait to see what He will do through them as one.  He is truly amazing.

**My friend, MaryBeth, posted about this as well, and she’s got links to the whole story (which is pretty stinkin’ cool if you haven’t read about it yet.

My Deal with a 5-year-old Pt 2

Quick update and Allison’s dream to be a flower girl…

Two of my most amazing friends, Brad and Leah (who happen to be getting married in January) had already planned on asking Allison to be their flower girl!  So when they read the post below, of course they knew it was going to make her day!  Yesterday was the big day for them to ask and with wide eyes…she said, "Yeah!" 

They talked with her about it and they all agreed that they would still pray for me, even though Allie was going to have her dream fulfilled.  My intercessory prayer team is growing!! 😉

**As a side note, I hear that Allison said if Miss Katie was still alive when she (Allison) got married, that she wants her to be a bridesmaid. 🙂

Finding Our Way

My friend, Dana, and I drove up to our yearly staff retreat the other day.  Crystal Mountain is a beautiful resort to visit, and that’s where we get to enjoy some professional development, time to hang out with the staff, and competition with the other TRG schools.

A little bit of background knowledge on Dana is that she has many, many strengths in the different roles that she plays in life.  She was my unofficial mentor when I first started teaching.  She’s a great teacher, and the GLCE Queen.  But one of the first things I learned about Dana when we began teaching together, four years ago, was that her sense of direction was almost at a negative factor.  This is especially evident when she’s driving in downtown Detroit…I’ve experienced this several times.  It seems as if she’s gotten better at her survival skills when lost, although we have definitely had some close calls in the busy city. 🙂  It’s kind of adventurous when we have her drive us places…we never know if we’ll actually get to our destination in a reasonable fashion, or timeframe.

So, back to the other day…we were driving up to Crystal Mountain, and we were on US 10W, anticipating 115/Cadillac.  Let’s just say I turned my head for a few seconds, returning my head to it’s forward position, to see the back of an exit sign along with its exit. 
I said, "Wait, was that 115?" 
Dana replied, "No, it said, Cadillac." 
"But did it also say 115?  We’re supposed to get off on 115/Cadillac!" 
"No, it just said Cadillac." 
"Are you sure?" 
"Yes." 
"Okay."

Many minutes later I noticed a US 10W sign and immediately scrunched my eyebrows.

"Dana, I think we’re on US 10.  If we’re on 115, we’re not supposed to also be on US 10.  I think we missed our exit."
"Are you sure?  That exit said, Cadillac."
"We need to stop and ask."

So she drove until we saw a gas station/mini mart and we went in.  Entering the store we were greeted by Darla, to whom I smiled brightly and said, "Darla, are we by chance on 115?"

"Oh no, dear, you’re not.  That’s 30 miles back that way!"
"That’s what I was afraid of…Would you be able to help us find our way?"
"Absolutely!  Where are you going?"
…and she proceeded to give us directions.Crystal_mountain015

Somewhere in there, my friend asked, "So, Darla, where the heck are we?"
With great pride, she replied, "Evart, Michigan!"

We got a picture together and then Dana and I were on our way.

It made sense that we would get lost and no one from Hanley was surprised that it happened!  But thanks to Darla, we found our way.

Hangin’ @ Mr. B’s

Tonight I hung out with some friends from work, at Mr. B’s in Royal Oak.  It was Owens’ (the other redhead’s) birthday.  It was fun-not the wild crowd this time around:)  The girl sitting next to me is Candice.  She joined us in May as our new Office Manager at Hanley.  I just recently have had a few opportunities to work next to her and help out.  We’ve hit it off-she’s a great girl.  Plus, God is just so incredible, in the way that He places like-hearted people around us!  He caused us to end up parked by each other, which meant that we walked out to our cars together and we ended up talking about the Lord and how He is moving His hand throughout this city…I love my new friend!  And I get to work with her!  God has such powerful plans for the people of Hanley-kids, staff, admin, parents…all of us!  Life is good:)

Here we have me, Candice, Owens, Glover and Krick (I referenced her yesterday:)
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Krick and Tony switched spots and he’s in this one.
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Happy Birthday Stephanie!!

Can I just tell you about my sister-in-law for a minute?  Her name was Stephanie Sue Hafner, until she married my big brother, David, 13 years ago, and became a Burton for life:)

She first got to know me during my most awkward years as an early teen, and she definitely knew me during my brattiest years.  At first I didn’t want to get to know her because Dave had just broken up with his high school sweetheart, whom I’d adored, and I was just so mad at him for that!  I didn’t want to give this new chick a chance.  But eventually, once she showed me how much she knew about nails and makeup, I was hooked on her (and let me tell you, she knew how to pile on the makeup and do her nails:)  It’s ironic because she’s isn’t even high-maintenance about those things anymore! 

Stephanie was my first sister-in-law, and the only sister figure I had during those teen/college years.  She bore me my first 3 nephews, and I get to hear all her wisdom as a young mom (still young at 37, Steph:)…I’m so grateful for that.  She’ll do anything for her kids, or for her husband. 

She’s a woman of God who is continually giving the Holy Spirit room to change her.  She  challenges me deeply.  Steph’s one person that has the right to speak into my life at any time and kick me in the butt about anything.  There’s nothing that I would hide from her or be ashamed to tell her…she knows me well.

We love to talk about kids, Jesus, change, ministry…She’s quite the confidant to me.

I could go on and on and on about what Stephanie means to me, as my sister and as one of my very best friends…but that’s not even possible to do right now.  I absolutely love her deeply and and I am so glad she’s been in my life all this time.

Happy Birthday Stephanie!

This is a funny picture of her at Ryder’s baby shower last year…
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This is a better picture of her pregnant with Ryder last year…(so beautiful!)
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And this is Stephanie with David…I love this couple:)

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I’ve gotta throw a recent picture of Ryder (the offspring:)  Isn’t this kid hilarious?  I love his "alternative" hair style.
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