- Getting focused, quality time with some of the girls in my small group, and getting to know many of the other jr. high students much better. I'm around these kids all the time, but since I'm always chasing down Liam it's tough to really get names & faces put together and to learn important things, like what their families are like, or who their celebrity crushes are :)
- Serving alongside my husband. In a way, I am always aware that I am serving alongside my husband. When he goes on trips or has church activities that I'm unable to be involved in because I need to be caring for Liam, I know that by taking care of things at home, I am freeing him up to serve elsewhere. However, this week it has been neat to get to physically be alongside him as we serve ... watching him interact with students and seeing how his leadership style has developed over the last couple of years when I've been too busy being a giant pregnant woman or caring for a baby to take much notice of those things.
- Being reminded of how much I love students. Again, I'm around them a lot, but usually I have so much going on when I'm with them that I don't really see them. This week I've been reminded of how awesome it is to watch the early stages of the journey that begins as the ability to (sometimes) use critical thinking skills, the development of (some) self-awareness, and all the passion and earnestness of adolescence collide. No wonder it's such an awkward time in life. It's a little like watching baby chicks hatch from eggs: so weird, yet so amazing. I love teenagers.
- Feeling different parts of my brain light up that don't get used as much as of late. While I LOVE my days at home and would not trade this time for anything, it's fun to remember certain traits that I possess that tend to lie dormant during this stage in life. I don't really have a need for some of them in my daily life, but it's been fun to dust them off and function in a different role than I do normally.
- Being challenged to pray in new ways for my son & daughter. All this focused time with students has really been a great reminder to be so, so prayerful for my children and who they will become. Now that I'm a parent, it's so neat to be around some of these kids and realize how honored and grateful their parents must feel as they see who their children are becoming. It's overwhelming to think about what a joy it would be to see Liam display some of the qualities I've observed in some of the boys this week, as he becomes a young man.
- Being away from Liam for 5 nights. Ugghhh. He just about killed me when I called him today and he said, "Mommy, home?" as soon as he got on the phone. I miss my little curly-headed love a TON and I can't wait to get home to him Friday afternoon.
- Having crazy long, jam-packed days, while being quite pregnant. I've been getting up earlier and going to bed later than I do at home, sitting much less, and working at more exhausting tasks. If I was sleeping on an air mattress in the gym with everyone else, I think I would have been completely worthless by day 2 of the trip. Praise the Lord for the Austells and the comfortable bed in a quiet room that they are letting me use. I'm also thankful they have hot showers ... I've taken my fair share of freezing cold showers on mission trips in the past, but I'm grateful this year is not one of those years.