Friday, August 18, 2006

Not to toot my own horn...

So. I know I have tons of friends and family that love me. I’m blessed that way and I know that. But these trips with the kids always bring that back home to me because of how much they love me. Horn! Toot toot!

Maybe because when I’m home, I have all of these issues. Insecurities, worries, fears, whatever you want to call them. How do I look? My hair, my makeup, my outfit? Am I pretty enough? Am I saying the right thing? Am I sounding smart enough and funny enough? Blah blah blah – it goes on. Here’s where you have permission to agree that yes, I am a neurotic weirdo. Anyway.

But somehow, when I travel with the kids, all of that goes out the window. Part of it could be because when we go places on mission trips, we’re there for a reason bigger than any issue I could have back home. Part of it could be that no matter what, we’re going to be seeing each other at our worst. Sweaty, dirty, right before bed, right after we wake up, before we’ve showered or brushed our teeth, after we’ve showered, when we’re tired, when we’re sleeping – it’s all out there. There were girls from other churches on the South Dakota trip who would get up at 5 a.m. so they could shower and do their hair and makeup. My girls and I rolled out of bed at 6:45, which was when they rang the bell for breakfast. Because sleep is WAY more important. My girls worked their asses off – mowing knee high weeds, assembling beds – they were always the first to volunteer for a job, no matter how dirty or difficult it might be. While the girls who made sure they looked perfect sat in the shade of the bus. Clearly there for the right reasons. Not to say our boys weren’t the same – they were always right in there doing whatever was needed. I couldn’t be prouder of all of our kids. They seriously rock.

Anyway, back to the fact that I feel totally loved on these trips. We got these booklets from Jim (our leader) with really cool quotes in them and also blank pages so we could write notes to each other. I thought I’d share a sample of some of the notes I got:

“You complete me! This trip has had it’s ups and downs – well, just ups with you. You are one of the coolest people I have ever met and we have many more trips together still to come. This is only the beginning. I heart you!”

“You are my best friend, my sister, my mom (except for the old part) all wrapped up into one. It’s crazy on mission trips just how close we get and I feel that with you a ton. I just don’t know what I would do without you. I WUV YOU!”

“This trip has been one of the best by far and without you it would have sucked! You’re the coolest leader just ‘cause you’re FUNNY – you’re one of us but you can also teach us life lessons. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without you.”

“I don’t know how I would survive without you! Thanks for always being such a great listener and such an inspiration – you have made an impact on me and you will always have a special place in my heart!”

“It was so fun and I can’t wait until next year – it’ll be so fun! Don’t forget to send me that zombie thing.”
(I had to put that in there because what trip with 14 year-old-boys is complete without the mention of zombies and/or ninjas? None.)

Those kids? Make my life a million times better than it ever would have been without them.


Beth said...

Oh, zombies and ninjas. SO glad you guys had a good time, and that there are teenage girls who couldn't care less about their hair.

-J said...

It's the same when I see my little brother. Basically, what it comes down to is you don't have to impress anyone. Everyone is just happy that you're there at all.

The Husband said...

if only there were more people like you doing the same.

Amanda said...

it really is amazing what you get back when you put your heart into something. these kids are lucky to have you. i loved being a counselor. when i was 21 i was a counselor for some 16 year olds at my camp and this week i met up with a two of the sweetest girls...they are 24 (!) now and i am totally friends with them, which is great.
oh, and about being a neurotic are NOT alone. haha.

Mr. Fabulous said...

That is so awesome. I knew you were the coolest blogger around, it is nice to know you are letting the next generation tap into your vast reservoir of coolness.

Marissa said...

amber, how awesome is that??!? you are one of those rare, special people who WANT to make a difference through both action and kindness, and then actually DO it. aeriously, you do rock. sooo much! and i can see exactly why these kids love you. keep at it, girlie! xoxo

Hope said...

So, after reading that, I'm considering moving to Colorado just so we can be friends in real life, because if people love you that much you MUST be the real deal. I totally want to hang out with you now!

Cheryl said...

I'm a neurotic weirdo too. Maybe I need to find some kids to hang out with. Amber, we're just too alike sometimes.

Spaceman Spiff said...

So chicks don't usually discuss zombies and ninjas? Well, that explains a lot. Wish I'd have known that 15 years ago.

Auntie Amber. Sounds like you have made a positive impact on dozens of impressionable kids. I think that is a good thing, you are a good influence in a world of creeps and degenerates. Bless you for your time and sacrifices in the spirit of teaching and improving the lives of others.

Now that I have been all honey sweet, I'll go spread some love.

dorkus andronicus said...

the last thing we need is another zombie kid on our hands... call amber.

(movie quote, X3)

Sandra said...

You're really cool for doing this, and I'm glad you got as much out of it as you gave -- makes it all worthwhile.

Are you going to write a review of Lamb when you finish reading it? Just curious!!