Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Stunning Sunset and Six Lovely Ladies

Another day, another trip to the lake.  Not really, but sometimes that's how it feels in these later days of summer as we try to hurry up and take out the folks that we've talked about boat trips with.  

This evening was a set of two groups of three close friends.  They are all friends of mine and yes, friends with each other, but the two groups don't overlap that much.  Taylor, one of the girls, thought I was trying to "set them up" so that they'd get to know each other/become better friends.  Nope, just trying to fill the boat with fun folks.  (But, in the end, I think that was accomplished!) Within each "set", I felt like I'd made a few boat run promises, so it was nice to accommodate their best buddies with them as well.   With work-ending-times differing, there was some actual forced overlap as four of them carpooled out together to meet up with Megan and Ashley who had ridden out with us.

These first pics were taken by Ashley, kind of fun to get a little creativity in this oh-so-repetitive scenery (but I'm not complaining, it IS beautiful).

Mikayla, living up to her "Koala" nickname.

To give you another "behind the scenes" perspective, John and I were again feeling the pressure with this boat run.  Fortunately, this time we were on the same page (I forgot to mention that I had dealt with a "throw-me-out-of-commission" headache the day before (Saturday), which always throws me off the next day as I worry of its return and am irritable).   The pressure in this circumstance was trying to figure out how to get four girls that were all new to wakeboarding (and a fifth who'd been successful, but it was a long time ago) up on the board before the sun set.  We had hoped to be out there by perhaps even 5:45, but didn't end up getting the first person in the water until 6:45.  With sunset at 8:30, it was gonna be tight, and we both knew we couldn't promise any more boat trips with any of them again this summer if we ran out of time.

So, before the other foursome even arrived, we got Ashley out in the water, and just as the girls pulled up, she was able to "get up".   Ashley, for point of reference, lives at the Trinity House and helped coach Mikayla's volleyball team with Jonna and I last fall.

She did great once she got the knack.  She was thrilled - and it was bittersweet (as it was throughout the evening) that just as they'd achieved success after multiple attempts, we had to move on to the next person.   (However, as I mentioned before, it just means that her next try in the future will probably be a "first-time-success" - so she'll get to play a lot more then). 

Next up, was Megan.  She's been best friends with Alli Mertz (the last of their threesome set) since before high school.  This year at Trinity, Alli will be House Manager while Megan is Assistant Manager.  She is such a sweetheart.

It was interesting as we progressed to realize that it took each gal about the same amount of attempts before "getting it" - and each of them had a different reason as to why they were unsuccessful.  But, all of them smiled equally when finally planing the water.

Alysha was next.  Alysha is the gal I've been meeting with since last summer.  I've witnessed such amazing growth in her life amidst circumstances that could have a torn a person apart.  Instead she's been a light to others through it all.  While we didn't get much of a chance to catch up, I'm pretty certain her summer has been in contrast to the hardships of the year as she's had two different vacations to Hawaii already.  =)

While the sun setting was adding pressure to John and I, the light and effects it was creating was pretty darn spectacular.

If even I am boarding without a wetsuit, you know the water's warm.  So between each different person's board attempts, the girls would jump in.

 Success for Alysha!

 Love that look of surprised thrill that she was "up".

Alli Mertz was next.  Alli is the daughter of Dave Mertz, one of John's dear friends and the director of Camp Harlow.  Their whole family (including Natalie who will be a freshman at UO/Trinity House and Logan who will be a high school sophomore and is a goody buddy of Brayden's (particularly during the summer Harlow months) - and Carrie - wife and mom) is the sort of family you just love to be around.  Not without their problems or issues, but so full of joy and transparency that even those are demonstrated as strengths.

I so wish we'd had just a little more time to give Alli a few more attempts.  Technically, I consider this "up" and her to be "boarding" (we call it Facebook official) - but she didn't get to experience the actual feeling of planing the water.  Next year we'll make it happen!

Taylor is the gal on the left.  She got engaged this last spring and spent last year as "House Mom" at Trinity.  She's got an incredible story of "family adversity" and definitely put her time in waiting for the ring (and hoping the wait was worth it).  Similar to Alysha - I feel like she's in a literal and figurative "Summer of Life" right now.  Her, Alysha, and the next gal, Joanna, are all housemates this year.  Taylor had spent some time wakeboarding with guy friends in high school and had not had the most pleasant of experiences when doing it.  I think it's similar to Michael's story of the kind of river-boating he'd done where it was fast and rough and wipeouts were so painful it wasn't worth the thrill.  So, she opted to let everyone else use the limited time we had.  I hope we get a chance at some point to redefine the experience for her so it is fun again.

The last of the gals to give it a try was Joanna.  I know her the least of this crew, but from everything I've experienced in watching her/getting to know her over the year, she's just as nice and sweet as that smile suggests.  (I'm telling you, this group of six gals are beyond amazing....which I know I say a lot about these people we've gotten to know - blessed am I?!!!!!!)

It's a good thing Joanna is so kind because the way she popped up on her first attempt, her gorgeous form on the board, the smile on her cute little face, and the way the evening light glowed upon her made me snap gorgeous picture after picture of her "doing her thing".    You just kind of can't be jealous of someone so sweet though.

No Photoshop needed to capture this brilliance.

At the time Joanna dropped the rope, we were a short distance from the dock.  Knowing we had to get back anyway, I decided to hop in to just get a quick run in.  Ah, who am I kidding?!  After spending so much time with these beautiful ladies, their "to-die-for" bodies and complexions, and talents beyond measure - I might just have jumped in to prove something.  Like maybe this 41 year old was capable of doing something semi-cool?  Of course, I'm the person who's had a boat for how many years (7?  8?) trying to prove I have skills to girls who had their first experience that night trying to wakeboard.  I think all of this confession kind of proves just how unfit I often feel being any sort of a "mentor".... ;) 

But....I am just gonna say it.  In my two minutes over to the dock, I kind of looked good.  They were impressed.  It's pretty rare when I'm the person with the most skills (i.e. experience) on the boat, so when it happens....I feel rather compelled to take advantage of it. 

This picture, taken by Alli, turned in to my Facebook Profile.  However, on Facebook, Ashley is cut out.  It's nothing personal....just a cropping thing.  =)

My mood was so much more relaxed as we pulled in to the dock vs. away from it - just because we'd accomplished what we'd hoped to do.  I stress and stress on these experiences that folks are getting bored if we are focusing on one person's attempts too long, or that my efforts to capture it all in film (which is stressful in and of itself) and offer coaching suggestions come off as being "stand-offish" to girls I'd invited to join me.  But, time and time again, God uses these experiences to do what HE wants to do- and that is just to demonstrate His creation and bless them with the gift of fellowship and friendship together in such a special setting.  

In light of finally getting to the "chilled out" state, I was really pleased that everyone agreed to Dairy Queen upon return to town.  We were able to actually converse as a full group and laugh - and yes, indulge in some excellent food too. 

So many years ago, when John sheepishly shared with me his desire to buy our boat (it was an unexpected happening), he had justified the purchase with his dreams of using it to benefit others.  While I believed it at the time, I, of course, knew he also wanted to just have a boat and be able to play on it.  When you consider just how little John is ever in the water (perhaps one run a year - a run that won't happen this year given his eye surgery recovery) - I think John had even more insight that I ever gave him credit for when it comes to why our family should own a boat. 

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