Tag Archives: Gen Jers

To Tori

Dear Tori,

Tomorrow you get married! If I have one regret about coming to Thailand, it is that I am missing such a wonderful day. But today is not a day for regret but for excitement! You are marrying your best friend! I am so happy for you. 

You have been my friend and partner in crime for so many years that I have probably forgotten more than half our adventures already! I am so grateful for every one of them. From an international, online girls’ bible study to a writing forum for our friends to the best New Years Eve party ever, you have turned my crazy ideas into reality for at least a decade now. 

Remember the first time we met in real life? We were so excited to meet we scared your parents by enthusiastically running and shouting and hugging! We rocked the Intelligence Committee and put on that ridiculous skit that only made sense to people on the Gen J forums and toured that incredible castle in Colorado. 

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And then we met up again in Texas! Who would guess as we sat hiding by that glass elevator discussing future dreams and plans that your future would lead you back to Texas?! And then we snuck out to meet Dan and Jennifer and in the end probably spent more time with that super-chatty Uber driver. 

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And then we both worked for AFP and could swap war stories! 

And then you came and visited me and we drove to Minnesota to hang out with our friends! And you came to my shared graduation party. (Were they separate trips? I cannot remember now!)

And then, most epic of all, that time you flew out with barely any warning and we accidentally crashed Sarah’s wedding? I will never forget driving across Wisconsin in the middle of summer without working air conditioning and then quick changing near a corn field so we didn’t look quite so sweaty and disreputable when we arrived. And then we got to polka!

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Then I flew out and visited you after a crazy election season and we had many adventures in Montana! We ate ethnic food and smelled tea that might have been the remains of King Tut and did an escape room. It remains one of the most relaxing and fun vacations I have ever taken. 

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And we plotted and we schemed and managed to pull together a New Years Party within a month! So many amazing friends in one place. Remember how excited we were about the murder mystery and how unexpectedly sketch it ended up being? And of course, Jordan and Ashley met…but that is a post for next weekend. 

Then I spent a summer at camp but we still managed to see each other for a quick visit and eat Korean!

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So many memories and so may pixelated photos! And yet even these correspond to only a fraction of our interactions. If I could, I would post a picture of hand-written letters that stretch a dozen pages, of forum posts and Facebook messages, of book club chats and bookish gossip, of Hamilton songs, of laughter and tears. 

You are an incredible, beautiful, amazing woman and I am so grateful to know you. Though our friendship will always look a little different going forward once you get married, I think of it as an advantage. Whatever our next scheme ends up being, we will now have three heads plotting instead of two! (Or, four or five or six or seven or eight depending how many Gen Jers we drag in with us!)

Congratulations on your wedding, my friend. May it be the happiest of days! 

Amy


Old Friends, All the Acne, and Scary Amounts of Enthusiasm

‘That looks like Joel,’ I think as I stand in the church lobby and observe the other attendees. ‘But he lives in Virginia.’ 

Joel Grewe is the director of Generation Joshua and a mentor of my high school and college years. 

For a moment I marveled at the resemblance before realizing that Generation Joshua’s iGovern West camp started this week. It could be him. 

“Joel?” I ask. 

Considering the odd surroundings, he takes my presence in stride for a few moments before the oddity strikes him. He motions to where the other iGovern counselors are gathered, ready for lunch. I’m ecstatic. These are my old friends. I practically run across the sanctuary to say hi. 

Then I remember what I’m wearing. I chose sleep over makeup this morning; my jeans have a huge hole and my top is a castoff from my sister – a bedazzled Star Wars t-shirt I only wore because I haven’t done laundry. To match my odd shirt, I paired my choker necklace and I have a decided goth-wannabe feel. Or I would if I bothered with makeup. I wish I had; I’m so broken out today. 

I feel very self-conscious. But also excited. Everyone is confused to see me. It is so good to see them, even briefly. These are my people. They invite me to the camp gala on Tuesday night. I don’t have a ride but I will find one. I’m more excited about the gala than I was to go to the Supreme Court last weekend. 

My ecstatic mood lasts through brunch with the other Young Life interns. I’m bubbly and bouncy in a way they haven’t seen before. I’ve mellowed a lot…but there is nothing like Generation Joshua to bring out all my enthusiasm! 


Redheads Reunited

9 years ago, I attended a Do Hard Things conference in Chicago. During one of the breaks I was browsing the store when a voice from across the table said,

“Are you Bucky Bookworm?” (Or something like that.) 

In surprise I looked up to find a stranger, but not really a stranger. Though I had never met her in person, Melody and I were friends on the Generation Joshua forums. She had recognized my name and came to introduce herself. Along with Melody came her sister, Esther. 

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Esther was also a friend from the forums. The two were high on my “bucket list” of people I wanted to meet in person. 

We met again at camp that summer.

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We remained friends on the forums and on Facebook but as we grew older we started to lose touch. Esther visited Bryan College while I was a student there so we caught up briefly. However, our friendship slipped into the calm obscurity of two people who are bad at keeping in contact long-distance. 

Until I noticed on Facebook that she was in Colorado Springs! 

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We caught up and grabbed dinner this week. (And if you are wondering, yes, that is the shirt from yesterday’s post!) The meal and conversation reminded me how delightful old friends are. We haven’t kept up in years and our interests and hobbies long since diverged. Yet once we started chatting, a dozen mutual acquaintances came up and countless little memories or forum posts needed analyzing. Every adventure and IRL meeting with other Gen Jers deserved a quick mention. 

It was fun. I think one of the best parts of getting older is that your friends get older too. You become a different person as the years pass, but an old friend reminds you (for better or worse!) of who you were and how you’ve changed. Esther is no longer the shy younger sister peeking behind Melody at a Do Hard Things conference. She’s a confident, fun, kind young woman who is taking on a new job in a new city. I’m excited to see what God has in store for her! And I’m always grateful for Generation Joshua and the relationships that developed and remain even as time and space continue to separate us.