Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Don't fill up on fruit, we've got to save room for all the junk food we're about to eat."

I don't just do the State Fair, I do the State Fair right. You go on $2 Tuesday when Fair admission is $2 instead of $13 AND almost every food vendor has a special $2 food deal. You bring your own water bottle so you can stay hydrated and not spend money on drinks. Don't waste time on rides or games-- focus on the food and people watching. 

We took a rest by the Indiana State Fair Lake...

The State Fair is one of my favorite Indy traditions and I was so glad I got to go with Justin this year. We always have fun together but this was a fun new adventure to add to our list. 

We were halfway around the Fair loop when someone ran up behind us and almost tackled us-- KAYLA BACON! It's only been a few days since we saw her at camp but it feels like so much longer. She lives in Indy now and we're all thrilled that these run-ins can happen all the time.

Praise the Lord for overall sightings, corn on the cob and lemon shake ups, running into friends, $2 Tuesdays and the great state of Indiana.

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Young Life is sick."

It's the end of an era-- this was the last time I got to have breakfast with Cass and Erin before Erin leaves for Purdue. I've had a front seat to their friendship for the past year and I love how this pair adventures together, does normal daily life together and cares for one another. Erin we miss you already. 

Today really felt like I was back to my normal routine of squeezing so much fun and so many people into just one day. I met KCraig and Johnna for dinner tonight-- this was a long over due reunion. These women inspire me in so many different ways and serve as role models as Christians, mothers, wives, mentors, truth tellers and friends. I'm better when I'm doing life regularly with them. 

 And then I got to go back to Young Life. Oh how I have missed this community, this family, this summer. I love my job as a counselor at Tecumseh but I often wish that I could be a YL leader to my CILT girls so that our lives could overlap for more than just two weeks. I don't take the friendships I've been part of here for granted-- this thing we get to be part of is so special.

It's so, so good to be back with my people. Tonight I got to sit in a circle with girls from five different grades and it was lives overlapping to the extreme aka my favorite. Investing in people and investing in your faith is always the most brilliant choice you can make.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

"Summer 2017-- the summer of glitter and gymp."

Highs of the weekend:
Driving back to Tecumseh with Justin for the last campfire of the summer
Seeing all my Pathfinder gal pals right away and hearing about their week 9
Taking Sophie on a Panera date for her birthday and seeing how excited she was to use her gift card and order whatever she wanted
Playing "turtles" with Tre
Staff banquet--the grand finale to summer camp

Hanging out with friends who I love so much for one last night
Banquet meals are the best-- that pasta, the rolls with cinnamon butter and that cupcake with strawberry icing

Biggest surprise of the night-- Joel recognized me for having served as a CILT counselor for the past 10 summers. It was a huge gift just to know that my work and my time are appreciated. I have loved serving in this role for roughly 1,200 CILTs and working alongside nearly 30 other CILT counselors. Developing this program, with the help of so many others, has been something I love and something I'm so proud of. 

I get to keep the frame above, but the coolest part is that this plaque will be hung in Choctaw cabin.

Meteor shower on Saturday night
Northview's sermon about loving your neighbor Sunday morning
Cheering on Nick at his soccer game
Taking time for a nap and actually falling asleep
Reading more of the Magnolia Story
SARAH AND BEN BATTAGLIA LIVE IN INDY!!! I got to help unpack boxes, assemble bookshelves, a bed and a crib

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"I like this wrap more than any boy I've ever known."

BACK TO SCHOOL!!!! The first day of school is also a huge reunion. Since I taught all 7th grade last year all of my students returned to the Clubhouse and seeing them was the best part of the day. Ellie came to my class first thing with a first day of school card for me and the greatest hug. 

Meeting kids on the first day is a whirlwind of names, seating charts and introductions. One of the questions I asked on the first day survey is, "What do you wish schools taught?" and this kid wrote on the back he had so much to say. "How to pay tax, learn basic first aid, how to raise a kid, learn our human rights, how to trade stocks, recognize a mental disorder, how to get a mortgage, learn current day practical medicines." 

All summer long I've been missing my favorite-- Taco & Burrito Place. It was the main attraction tonight for the party people Chloe (who I hadn't seen in a year!!!!), Rachel and Smelko. I couldn't wait to say hi to everyone working behind the counter and to get a chorizo taco. This place is still the best. It's so good to be home.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"I'm 72.3854% sure you'll be pleased with Option C. I did the match, crunched some numbers."

 I returned to Indy on Sunday afternoon-- my car was full of camp stuff and I was feeling a bit apprehensive because I always feel a bit apprehensive in transitions. But then I got upstairs to my door and found this celebration that immediately made me feel loved and known and wanted.

And only a few minutes later Kegley, Cass, Erin, Hools and Maddie showed up with giant hugs, ready to help me haul everything inside. They sat and told me all about their summers while I unpacked-- it was so good to have their company especially after being apart for so long. I love Tecumseh, but there is something so special about my people here in Fishers. 

After Justin and I were both officially moved back in we got to hang out and have our first night back in Indy which was also my last night of summer. I'm so glad that we get to be in this together.

The last few days have already been full of friends and good people.

1. I went back to school Monday and Tuesday for teacher days and was so happy to be with my teacher friends again. I love that I get to work with people who care about their job and make the Clubhouse such a fun place to be.

2. We went to coffee with Taylor Porter (one of the greatest pals ever) and her (kinda new) boyfriend Ross. On a patio by the Monon we sat and talked about life and summer and it was so good to catch up and see her face and hear her voice in real life. Even though we live across the country, I'm so glad that we will always be friends.

3. I got to have lunch with Janelle and Julia on Tuesday. We first met when she was in my classroom six years ago and now she's heading off to school at Alabama. You could write a novel about all the ways our lives have overlapped and I'm so thankful for Julia's heart and story and life. I'm so confident that having her hours away won't stop this friendship.

4. Students can come in early to practice opening their locker and checking their schedule so I was thrilled when Johnna, Morgan, Mall and Holdie walked into my classroom Tuesday afternoon. SO MANY GREAT PEOPLE ARE IN THIS TOWN. And I get Morgan in 7th period which means she's in my SOAR class BOTH semesters. We're living the dream over here.

5. Justin and I went to celebrate Nick's belated birthday with his family which involved the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, a game of horse in the driveway, pictures of Emily and Justin on the FL Keys Sailing Trip and lots of catching up on life.

6. Late Tuesday night we stopped by the Dewolf's house to say a final goodbye to Julia before she leaves for Bama. A whole gang of old YL girls were there, all about to leave for their schools, plus the Dewolf family and Mel & Maddie Halkyard.

It's a school night for everyone... see you bright and early for the first day of school.

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Week 8. Same rules. More fun."

Tecumseh has always been all about the friendships. Ask anyone why they love camp, and it won't take long before they're telling you about the friends they made here. I've been friends with this group of girls since they were Blazers and they mean so much to me. 

There are several groups of kids that I've seen grow up at Tecumseh (that'll happen when you stick around as long as I have) and I'm so thankful that I've been able to share part of my camp story with Erin, Erin, Lauren, Ella, Liv and Kendall.

So much of my history at Tecumseh has to do with the counselors I've worked with. Ellyn and I have been co-counselors for five years in Choctaw. Cailey and I have only spent one week together as partners. But the dozens of counselors I've worked with have made me laugh, gone with me on adventures, encouraged me and made me love camp even more.

I'm so thankful for nights of silliness and fun and dancing on chairs and cheering on clinic performances.

I love cabins dressing up together and not wanting their time together to come to an end just yet.

I'm such a fan of friends like Maggie and Chrissy who take the time to come back and visit camp because this place has been a huge part of their story-- both as a camper and a counselor. These two have huge chunks of my heart and I wouldn't be who I am today without the two of them.

I'm so thankful that Justin is back safe and sound from a summer of trips and that we got to (kinda) live this counselor dream together. And even though summer is ending, I love that we get to keep living life back in Indy and we don't have to say good-bye.

Camp Tecumseh, you are the greatest. Thank you for another one of the best summers ever. I miss you already.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

"Tuck in your shirts girls. It's no about comfort, it's fashion."

Highs of the day:
All camp chapel in the Riv

It's Thursday so the Week 8 Tecumseh FBC gang is wearing FBC apparel

p.s. We're just weeks away from the start of the FCJH FBC 2017-2018 and new t-shirt orders

Laughing with Maddie Flynn-- pen-pal, physical therapist, hugger and friend extraordinaire 

Rest Hour was spent completing a crazy intense scavenger hunt-- we had to unscramble a long message that came in 14 different emails, find the next set of clues under the Screaming Bridge, unscramble more clues, Macy finally deciphers "couches" when no one else could figure it out and then find the final prize in River Lodge.

On Sunday they asked us, "What's something you wanted to do all summer that you haven't done yet? How can you make this week special?" So all of Choctaw had pool time in our clothes today-- best pool time of the summer.

Longhouse Ladies Initiation and best friend necklace making

Our Hobo Dinner may have been cancelled but we got to eat hot dogs with all the Riv Kids instead.

Because our schedule was empty (no hobo dinners) and we didn't have rest hour today (because of the scavenger hunt) we had Night Rest Hour and it was arguably one of the best things that has ever happened to us.

LV Songfest in Kampen and I got to stand right between Choctaw and Yuma.