BOA with Lily & the Class of 2024

Generally speaking, I despise camping. And surrounding myself with a few hundred 5th graders isn’t always my idea of a good way to spend vacation days.

But I love going to BOA with my kids.

Somehow, I get over the discomfort of sleeping on a kindermat-quality mattress in a room with 8 other people all sharing 1 toilet and 1 shower. It is superseded by the privilege of photographing the uninhibited fun, contagious laughter, and unplugged camaraderie of these kids. It is absolute joy for me.

A few weeks ago I headed there with Lily and her fellow 5th graders (the Class of 2024). BOA stands for Boerne Outdoor Academy. It is a school sponsored and organized trip for kids in their last year of elementary to experience camping with their classmates, learn, and have tons of fun.

Every child in our town, regardless of which elementary school you attend, looks forward to this camp their entire elementary school years. They hear the stories told by older siblings from BOAs of the past and they yearn for their own adventure with a longing that never seems to disappoint.

I’ve been with X in 2014 and Adam 2015 and Ryan went with Lance, also in 2015 because 6th graders transitioned to the middle school so he went as the first group of 5th graders.

Lily’s cabin was called the Muscular Mermaids. (They struggled to find an “M” adjective and this is what they ended up with…what’s wrong with magnificent??)

The cabins moms are like professional 5th-grade-camp-mermaid-decorators. Oh my, they most certainly had the best decorations.

My Lily-bug doesn’t enjoy having her picture taken. Especially with other people around.

What an amazing 3 days.

What I loved the ABSOLUTE most is being 100% disconnected. There is ZERO cell service at this camp. Sure, there were a ton of things collecting in my head to share with Ryan. Things I would have normally text him if I had the ability. But being deep in a valley with zero outside connection is like a gift from God – for everyone! The kids were just kids – no pressure and anxiety of phones or devices – just uninhibited fun all the time.

As for me, I handed my camera over only twice (which was actually a sweet relief for my hand and arm – that thing is heavy!) This is myself and Lily’s awesome cabin moms at the end of the 2nd day. I was exhausted, and I look it. These 3 days are actually really hard work running around taking pictures for 14 hours of the day.

But I think I’ll do it again next year with E. He says he wants Ryan to be his cabin Dad but I have a feeling Ryan will gladly send me again.

**To the parents of Kendall BOA 2017, the final video is available for download on Vimeo. It is password protected so look for the email from the teachers or text/private message me**

Dear Angela…2 years later

Dear Angela,

Oh, Time, such a fickle friend. I can hardly believe it holds 2 years of life without you in its hands. Contained in those two years are hundreds of new memories, memories without you in them. My children have grown, my mission has expanded, and by the grace of God my writing has improved. All the while my picture taking and blogging has decreased. Perhaps because you were always my partner in those passions.

You may not be a part of my new memories but I constantly see you and remember you in the small details of life.

Most recently I have found such joy and presence with you in using something which was once yours. Your nail polish. Your mom gave me your little blue box of nail polish colors when we went to visit her and Karsten this summer. At first I didn’t even give the box a second thought¬† but after a few months I opened it’s lid and beheld the simplest of treasures to me. Your colors. Colors I remember you wearing, colors I can see in pictures of you. Now, I wear these colors and, as silly as it sounds, feel like I have a tiny piece of you with me.

I traveled out of town to speak for Brave Parenting a few weeks ago and I chose to wear a color of yours that I remember as distinctly you. As nonsensical as it sounds I guess I wanted to have you with me. And, well, we did great – your nail color and I.

You’ll be happy to know I have finally embraced your love for LePens. I keep them inside my new planner for the year and have all my events color coded. I cannot get enough of them. I even bought some for X to help her study and stay organized. Every time I use them I think of you, so essentially I think of you every day, multiple times a day.

Where I really miss you the most though, my sweet friend, is in our spiritual mentorship. The days we made long avoiding all other responsibilities besides drinking coffee, sharing God’s word together, sharpening one another, listening, hearing, praying, leaning in, reaching out, and pouring everything we had to give into each others lives. Those days.

The Lord is so good though. He provided me with friends to fill this exact role and it is well with my soul. I’m fairly certain they, too, refer to me as their “crazy friend Kelly who adopted 7 kids and doesn’t need sleep.”¬† Some things never change, I will forever be an achiever at heart. Sleep just gets in the way of that.

Finally, I don’t know if you heard but I ran a marathon. Like a full 26.2 marathon. I think I’ve told everyone on this side of heaven about it so I figured I better share my achievement with your side as well. It was awesome.

Right about now I can just about see your head shaking as you roll your eyes at me and say, “I’m glad you had fun with that….”

Oh, my friend, I want nothing more than to look through my camera and see you with your camera centered in my frame. That was one of the beauties of our friendship, we documented it well.

Until I see you again,


P.S. Do you remember when we walked something like 6 extra miles to eat at Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn? It was so worth it….

Oh yeah…..and this one is now 15 and learning to drive a car!! And she has a boyfriend.
If you could go ahead and pass Jesus a note when you see him saying its okay for him to come back any day now, I’m ready.