The Gems

Do you have any friends who just shine? Two, maybe three? years ago I met a girl at Pine Cove orientation. She had been hired to be our photographer that summer, and it was the same summer as that infamous “Marcel the Shell” youtube video.

Why is that relevant?

Because immediately upon meeting her, besides thinking this sweet little college girl is the cutest thing we had ever seen, we all noticed one thing.

Same voice. The very same.

Staff at Pine Cove, what with our camp names and weird name game thing, like to pick up on well, anything, so sweet Jen didn’t have much of a chance. She was named “Marcel the Shell” within about 10 seconds.

I saw huge transformation in the life of Jen that summer, and in the one to follow. Outrageously gifted, she was the best photographer we had seen at camp, and every single Saturday parents couldn’t wait to tell me how impressed they were with the pictures each week.

Talented, but shy. Working at camp was incredibly out of Jen’s comfort zone, and she notoriously refused to wear Nike shorts. (ha) Over the weeks however, we started to notice something different. Cheering at camp became fun for her (much to her surprise), and Jesus transformed her heart. She had always loved people well, and she had always believed who Jesus said He was, but now she had confidence in who He had made her to be too.

skit((we even got her in a few skits! This was our favorite.. that’s Jen in the glasses on the left!))

The next year, she came back as a counselor, and it was no surprise she ended up being one of our very top counselors. Her girls loved her, because she showed them genuine love and taught them about her Savior.

Also? Anytime she walked by she encouraged. I have never met anyone like her. She makes you feel like you’re the funniest, most beautiful, most joyful, best at anything person in the world. What a gift!

The girl is a gem. Last fall I knew she was coming in town, so I had her take some pictures of me for my blog. I should have written this post ages ago, because that picture over on the right? It’s her handiwork. I loved all the pictures and she, of course, made me feel not awkward a bit. She made me feel fun and pretty and it felt so natural.

Jen-me-molly((Jen on the left; former roommate Molly on the right))

She doesn’t even know I’m writing this, so don’t think I’m just saying all this. She lives in Louisiana, but the girl loves to travel, so if you need a photographer for anything, check out her website here!

I rejoice in what the Lord has done in and through you, Jen “Marcel” Menard. You are a gem. I’m so thankful for who you are, and for the way you inspire. And I’m proud of you for trying (& even liking!) Nike shorts after all.

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