Laura is one of my favorite people. Ever.
I met her around this time last year for the first time at our Church picnic. I remember instantly liking her and her husband, and their two beautiful kids - a graceful girl and rowdy little boy whose eyes' mischievous twinkles come as much from his mother as from his father.
Laura and I somehow ended up in the same missional family (small group) and in the same fight club (small prayer group) and I remember when I realized she was the same woman I had met at the church picnic and that out of all the small groups in church, ours got to have her.
I almost didn't realize it was her - she had quickly proved my initial impression of her (sitting quietly with her picnic plate making small talk to the closest mother) to be far from accurate - she's an outgoing, sharp-as-a-whip, hard-working, outspoken, bubbly, effervescent chick who loves to laugh maybe more than I do - she's every thing I am not, and even though she's not much older than I am, I look up to her in so many ways. She's opened her home and heart to her husband's co-workers, houses blood-family and church-family, lives fully present and in the moment, and even tolerates my weird health-foodi-ness with brave sips of odd green tangy drinks.
Her third little one is expected soon, and I was SO glad to be able to get to photograph her pretty little self just two days before I left for my trip.
It almost didn't work out - the sky started brandishing dark clouds and a few heavy drops of rain splashed here and there, warning us that we had better hurry. I kept promising her that as long as it wasn't a torrential downpour, we'd be okay. Literally 5 minutes after we wrapped up our shoot the rain poured down. The sky was threatening and angry the whole time, but we pushed on. And I'm so glad we did.