Where to start writing this post about my sweet, sweet friend Natalee. Our friendship started in the summer after my freshman year of college when I traveled alone to upstate NY to work at a Young Life camp on Lake Saranac. Natalee (who we call Gnat, pronounced G-Nat) aka Gnasty, aka Gnastytru, aka Tru, aka The Queen of Bib City, is one of those girls whom you just know is going to be a friend for life. Obviously she has to be a friend for life because of the ridiculousness of all of her amazing nicknames! There are not many college memories that don't include Gnat. Even though she lived in GA and I in NC, holidays and school breaks were planned around our next adventure together. Late night talks (before everyone had unlimited talk time on their cell phones), getting her opinion on EVERYTHING, seeing her get one degree after another:), celebrating her sis getting married in one of the first weddings I ever shot, and having too many inside jokes to count...This girl is someone that means so much to me!
I'll never forget the first time we met- she had traveled from GA to camp and was wearing lime green pants and a hot pink shirt(because she said she had to "Dress Up" when going on an airplane). The airlines lost her luggage and she had to wear this getup for 2 whole days!! I don't think she is ever going to live that one down:) We kept calling her a starburst(in the most loving way possible) and her good nature could joke with the best of them. I also should have known that I would be forever adopted into her life when we were setting up our bunk beds in summer staff housing and for a 30 day stay away from home, Gnat brought approximately 358 photos of her friends and family back home, which she loving taped to the wall beside her bed. But thats just Natalee. One "typical Gnat" moment happened when she came for a visit right before I had Sharpe. We had a birthing class planned- it was like 3 hours long. Gnat didn't mind, we set her on the couch and headed to class. When we came back, she was watching Lifetime movie network(we don't have cable, not just Lifetime Channel, the LMN channel, which is its own whole level of sad) and she and Darby were both laid down on the couch spooning. I think she was mad at us for coming home, haha!
We have prayed for her future husband for over a decade. I had 100% confidence those prayers would be answered, but I don't think any one of us could have dreamed up Brad. While he took his time arriving, he is the perfect man for Gnat. I was more than honored to be with my friend on her wedding day and be witness to their love. I know sideways rain and gail force winds weren't the vision they had in their heads when planning, but the day was one of the most perfect days I have ever been a part of. Their personalized vows, which they somehow managed to read to each other, were from the deepest place in their hearts and it was so joyous to see Gnat find Her One. Brad, I can't wait to get to know you more in the many years to come(you're stuck with me, pal;)) and to see how the Lord is going to work in and through both of you. Love ya'll!