Erin Rachel Photography | Picayune MS High School Senior and Family Photographer serving the surrounding areas Mandeville LA, Covington LA, Slidell LA and the Northshore » Senior and Family Photographer covering Picayune, MS and Mandeville LA, Slidell LA and Covington LA. Offering Photography Classes and Workshops in the Picayune MS, Covington LA, Mandeville LA and Slidell LA area.

christmas adventure []

 I know I mentioned in a FB status that I would blog about “my most adventurous Christmas gift ever”…well here it is!  Between Christmas, taking some down time and then finding time to sit and be inspired to write…it’s finally here!

Last Wednesday afternoon around 3:00pm I was handed a small red bag…and told that I couldn’t open it until a couple more hours…but when I opened it I had to be ready to leave my house by 5:30pm and N.O. later.  There were no exceptions to the rule and if I didn’t leave on time basically it wouldn’t work and would be a disaster.  I had no clue what was about to happen…I was actually a bit confused to be honest.  Yet with a huge smile she reassured me that it would be “ok” and to just open it later and do what it told me to do.

Of course as 5:00pm rolled around I was very anxious to open up this little red bag…because for two hours I had no clue, yet my mind had been trying to figure this out.  As I opened it I found a couple of my favorite things…an ornament for my Christmas tree and a hand-written note.  I actually had to read the note twice for me to realize what I was supposed to do…and to actually comprehend what was said.

And so here begins the adventure that evening…[all documented by my iPhone because I had no clue what I was getting into!!!!]


“Miss Erin, This Christmas we decided to do something different for you.  We wanted to combine all the things we know you love all into one gift!  Ornaments, hand-written letters, surprises, some adventure and of course, US!…[skip ahead in the letter] In each package will be some of the fruits of the spirit written on an ornament that you’ve taught us over the years.  The first is love.  We can’t point out a time when you “taught” us love, but we can’t point out a time when you haven’t shown it to us. [skip ahead in the letter] Sincerely, Leah & Grace”.


Then I had a clue along with that letter…
“The cakes are to die for, their cookies are sweet.  Pop in this place and you’ll find a treat.”

I knew immediately to head over to our little towns amazing bakery- Paul’s Pastry.  As I walked in the door I told the girl at the register I was here to pick up something for Erin!  She smiled…handed me a pretty red bag and a box of yummy [rather my favorite] iced sugar cookies!

I headed back out to my car to open my next bag…only to find another hand-written letter, a clue and a few ornaments with some fruits of the spirit written on it!


I opened my hand-written letter to find:

Joy.Peace. Longsuffering

“Through the years there’s something that never wavered and that’s your joy for serving and living for Christ. [fast forward a bit in the letter] You’ve taught us peace in knowing that life’s trials and burdens don’t have to be carried alone.  Every burden we encounter can be given to Christ, a truly comforting thought.   You’ve also shown us the virtue of patiently accepting God’s plan even when it may not be what we wanted or expected.  Enjoy your cookies!”  -Sincerely Leah & Grace

Side note::: By this point I’m overwhelmed and in awe of these two girls…

Well my next clue: In Picayune there’ll only be one place where you will see a ball, ugly shoes and an alley.

So off I went….


As I walked in the door…the girl at the counter was curious why I was there…once I told her my name, apparently she too had something for me…she had the biggest smile on her face and handed me a little red bag.  As I walked out of the bowling alley I think I had the biggest smile on my face…like I’ve already said these girls had amazed me!!!!

I opened the little red bag to find a few more ornaments with the fruits of the spirit written on them along with a clue and hand-written letter.

Gentleness. Goodness. Faith

“In the past years we’ve witnessed first hand your ability to show us when we’re doing wrong while somehow building us up as Christians at the same time.  This gift is definitely a form of gentleness.  We recently saw “goodness” defined as ‘standing for what’s right while others are doing wrong;.  [fast forward a little] You have definitely taught us more about faith through example…We’ve learned from you to be faithful in the little things as much as the big things because the little things we do will determine the big things. ” Sincerely Leah & Grace

Also in the bag was a gift card for three games of bowling where I’ll pick a date and the three of us will go have some fun!

At this point…I’m not sure what’s next and all that’s going through my mind is…”Wow! These girls really know me!  This is scary!!!! haha”

My next clue: Time to relax, time to chill.  Choose your favorite toppings we’ve got the bill.

Off I went to our yummy little frozen yogurt hang-out in town.


Sure enough….I walk in…tell her my name and she goes and gets a little red bag…for me to find two ornaments, a hand written note and a clue.

Meekness. Temperance

“You’ve taught that meekness means to surrender our God-given personality to Him to be used for Him.  Temperance is defined as a form of moderation. You’ve said before that balance is sometimes considered the key to Christianity.  [fast forward] We couldn’t ask for a better role model, Bible Study Teacher or friend.  Merry Christmas Leah & Grace”

I found a gift card wrapped up in this bag…to come back and enjoy a treat!

My next clue….and final clue….

Traveling to Japan would be quite a feat.  But the food’s just as good right down the street.


I knew immediately where I was headed next…our favorite place in town the Japanese Hibachi- Kobe Grill!  As I arrived…right behind me jumping out of a van were two of my favorite girls- Leah and Grace. They met me there for dinner and finished up this amazing Christmas present surprise.

Wow….I was quite overwhelmed by what these two had done….not only overwhelmed but grateful, honored and b.l.e.s.s.e.d. to have these two young girls in my life.  As I teach them each week at our church teen girls Bible Study… I also spend time with them at their youth camp as their counselor, go on mission trips with them and much more… I’m simply [blessed]!

{I know this is not the BEST picture but it’s what our waitress took and so we’ll take it!!! haha}


  • Amber E. - Just beautiful! Wish all youth could be as wonderful as these two.

  • Lisa Stringer - I love it!!!! This is so awesome!!!

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