Sunday, August 29, 2010


Ever been to Wolcottville, IN?
Most people haven't.

But in dear ol' Wolcotville, IN there is a cottage where the Carmel YL leaders make a yearly pilgrimage and this year I was in attendance.
I think everyone should be required to go on at least one retreat a year, or maybe twice a year. A retreat is such a great, for lack of a better word, retreat from the world. Away from schedules and highways and emails and appointments we just got to be.

For 3 days I hung out with a group of 15 friends and we ate Jenna's creme pie, read on a hammock, sat on a dock, sat on a couch, sat on a porch, sat at the counter, made a new friend, wrote top 10 dreams for my life, brainstormed campaigners, planned clubs, voted on themes, wrote top 10 quirky things about me, processed being doorkeepers, screamed at the mafia, figured out family, ate Marlin's Jambalaya, heard life stories, asked hard questions, slept on bunk-beds, ate Mary Ellen's donuts, and talked while sitting in circles.

In true David style, let's toast- "To Wolcottville!"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

the better route

A couple days ago Colleen, one of my campers from this summer, told me that she and her sister are going to raise money to send a kid to Tecumseh next summer. The place has made such an impact on their life that they want to pass that on to someone else. They've gotten other camp friends to join so girls all over the midwest are making bracelets to help someone fall in love with camp next summer.

I got a letter from a little girl named Kiersten who comes to camp too and she wrote, "Since me and Ryan both know how to make friendship bracelets we are making TONS to sell for a girl at our school who passed away this year. So far we've made about 100."

I am inspired by these girls.

My youth pastor told me once that you start to really grow up when you begin to live your life for people other than yourself. It's the easy route to think about ourselves and what would make our life easier. We think about our schedule, what we want, where we need to be, and what would be the most convenient thing for us.

But I think it's the better route to live like Colleen and Ryan. We can make a difference by working to make other people's lives easier, more joyful, and to let them know they are loved.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the girl scouts were smart

Camp friends are really good at reunions. We are also really good at eating. So it makes sense that we usually end up sitting around eating dinner for 2 hours or so. Playing with kids all day at Tecumseh brought us together but now we're all figuring out what to do with the rest of our life.
In this group tonight we had an art teacher, a choir director, a composition teacher, an instructional assistant/hockey coach, pizza man, 3 grad students, bee-keeper/not sure, and 2 nurses. These people are doing great things and making a positive impact on the people they work with everyday. It's cool to watch your friends grow up.

p.s. You know the old girl scout song, "make new friends, but keep the old." Well as I with old friends today Sarah, a great friend/pen-pal/blog follower, was doing yoga with new friends. I support all of those things (Sarah, yoga, and new friends).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hold on

Dom is going to college tomorrow.
She feels bittersweet about the change.
So we tye-dyed tonight with her sister Sophie.

It seems like everyone in my life is in transition right now.

Dom is going to college in the morning.
Annie started Junior year yesterday.
Katie is starting her first year as a librarian in 2 new schools at the same time.
Rach is starting her new teaching program back in B-town.
Casey is a Senior at Hope.
Tracy is moving back from CO.
I've just moved...again.
My students have just begun junior high.
All the girls that have been my campers and pen-pals are moving all across the country to start college.
Sarah is starting medical school and is already in the thick of it.
Eric has become an IA.
Lani has just returned from a year in South America.
Annie is pregnant again.
Mary Ellen is starting student teaching.
Fitzie is about to finish her documentarty and then who knows?
Beef is starting to coach at Ohio State.
Kraft is going to finish biking across America and then work OE.
So many friends are leaving home to become Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors in college.

I believe that change is necessary but I also know from experience that it is very difficult. It's tough to leave behind places and people and jobs and experiences that you love. And sometimes it's overwhelming. And sometimes you just cry and you're not really sure why. But I also know that there are great things ahead.

I'm learning to stop trying to guess what will be next. Someone you meet tomorrow could become your best friend. You might get a call about the perfect job right when you need it. A place that feels foreign can quickly become a 2nd home. New responsibilites can help you see you're capable of more than you realized.

You may just want life to be normal again but you don't know what normal life is going to be.
For all my friends going through big transitions- hold on. You can do this. You're going to be fine- no, more than fine. You're going to do great things.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

All we need

I hate to forget things. I've developed a habit of taking pictures on a daily basis (it's killing me to not have a camera while mine is being fixed) and writing things down all the time. At church I always keep out a pen and a piece of paper during the songs so I can write down lyrics as we're singing.

When I'm in Indy I go to Common Ground and tonight was the first time I've been back after the summer. I love singing at the church. We started with this song that reminds me of the Hope chapel band,

"I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
there will be an end to these troubles but until that day comes
still I will praise you, still I will praise you."

And I'm thinking about how true those lyrics are and how similar it is to my favorite song when they start playing it,

"Blessed be your name when the suns shining down on me,
when the worlds all as it should be
blessed be your name...
And every blessing your pour out I'll turn back to praise
and when the darkness closes in Lord still I will say
blessed be the name of the Lord."

That song has been running through my life for the past 8 years. I can recall moments of singing that song with such clarity that it feels like yesterday I was in Willowcreek, the whitetail meeting room during 30 hr famine, in the pine forest during worship in the woods, my first day at Hope in Dimnent with Katie next to me, in the sib pew during the Gathering, and in the Green Cathedral next to Arielle just a couple weeks ago.

Then we sang the song that I remember singing on my last day at Hope. I sat in the back pew with four of my best friends and we just sang these lyrics, believing they were true, about to head out into life post-college and not knowing what was next.

"You can have all my hands can hold, my heart, mind, strength, and soul
be my all, all consuming fire.
All we need is you. Yes all we need is you."

I love that music can take us to a different place and closer to Christ. I'm thankful for the theme running through all of these songs- that when life is wonderful and when life is difficult that God will be there. God will take care of me. God is all I need.

"I always love a good DP"

It's easy for me to tell that some people are reading this blog because when I see them they say things like, "I'm so glad we're overlapping today," or "don't you want to take a picture of us?" And I am glad that we overlap and I do want to take a picture of them so they can be on the blog.

The Brebeuf XC Invitational has become a yearly tradition. I LOVE cross country races and cheering as people run by and then sprinting to another spot on the course. Today I got to cheer with Bridget and Molly. While we were cheering for Carly (and Taylor, Jules, Carly, Colette, and Sam) we spotted Megan cheering on the other side of the trail.

Ellyn and I took a ride over to Jarnie's house- her grandmother- to get my desk I'd been storing in her shed all summer. I love grandmas. I love Ellyn too.

I went to a 5-year-olds Bubblegum themed birthday party and hung out with friends as little butterfly-face-painted girls ran around the yard clutching their goody bags and searched for yellow gumballs.

Sarah and I went grocery shopping for our new aparment (we moved in yesterday- the unpacking and decorating will happen eventually). Then we christened the kitchen with a Red Baron pepperoni pizza-my sister would be proud.

The rest of the night was another birthday party- but a progressive party for Sarah and everyone else's 21st. Highlights were Mary Ellen's corn dip, hanging out in the 120, singing in the car, Les Kes's dream apartment in the city, frozen yogurt, sprinting through an alley with Sarah, a rooftop garden, and a good DP (dance party) to finish the night.
This was a long, wonderful day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

being there

Shauna Niequist, author of "Cold Tangerines", has recently released her second book "Bittersweet". Her writing captures pages of things that I believe and value and as I read I find myself saying, "Yes! Me too. I never knew how to explain it like that. This is totally my life."

I started this blog because I wanted a record of all the people my life was overlapping with each day. I'm reading this book just a chapter a night because I want to savor it and last night's chapter was about the very best friends and making sure you overlap with them.
Shauna was spending a long weekend with three friends from college and their three babies. She wrote,

"I realized why this kind of time together matters so much: beacuse there are things you can't know, and questions you can't ask, and memories you can't recover via email and voicemail. It was about the being there, about being there to really see what's exactly the same and what's totally different about each one of us... I remember that the answers aren't necessarily as important as the questions and the company, and that if we do find answers, we'll find them together.
If you're lucky enough to have your Monica and your Sara and your Kirsten all right in your very own town, I hope you soak it up, and that you lie around in each other's backyards every Saturday afternoon or stay up late on one another's porches three nights a week. But if you're like me, and if those faces are far away, get a weekend on the calender and get there.
Share your life with the people you love, even if it means saving up for a ticket and going without a few things for awhile to make it work... We were made to live connected and close. So walk across the street, or drive across town, or fly across the country, but don't let really intimate loving friendships become the last item on a long to-do-list...Because there really is nothing like good friends, like the sounds of their laughter and the tones of their voices and the things they teach us in the quietest, smallest moments."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate the phrase, "Live, Laugh, Love." I think it's cliche, overused, and uncreative. Sorry if you love it and have it on a bracelet or written on your wall. It just kind of irks me.
I often pose the question if you had to choose 3 words to sum up your life, or what's important to you what would you pick?
Tonight I think, "Eat, Pray, Love" is a really great option.

I read the book while on Safari in Africa because I thought I should be reading a book about world-traveling while world traveling. I loved "eat", got bored during "Pray", and thought "Love" was pretty good. When I found out Julia Roberts was going to be playing LIz I couldn't wait to see the film. Tonight I got to watch it while sitting next to 3 of my very best friends. (They're the "Love" portion of today.)

When I watch a great movie like this I have to write down the perfect lines. These stood out to me tonight:

"Don't look with the eyes in your head. Look through the eyes of your heart so you see yourself beautiful."

"Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation."

"Groceries, I think you might have the capacity to love the whole world one day."

"When you set out into the world to help yourself sometimes you end up helping tutti...everybody."

I hope that whatever journey you're on, whether it takes you across the globe, across the country, or just a few miles from home, that you find what you need and that you love the people you meet along the way.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


If there was a theme throughout the summer it might be positivity. Inspired by "jessica's daily affirmations", Cold Tangerines, the story of the leper that returned to say thank you, and the culture of camp I found myself in many conversations about things I liked. So on this first day after Camp I want to remember somethings I really, really like...

singing "My Savior" and "Blessed Be Your Name" in the Green Cathedral
finishing breakfast with a camp vanilla latte in a red cup
seeing Day Camp counselors at the Trading Post after they finish their day
sitting with Braves and Blazers on the benches by 4-square before lunch
coming back early for devotions with the CILTs
solving verbal challenges with the CILT counselors
singing "Love Story" during lunch with Kata
having face-to-face interactions with the people I love everyday
beaz boarding with Olivia in the Richard G.
the first performance of a new CILT cheer
reading my blog or Cold Tangerines to the Choctaw girls before bed
"hug or a high-5?"
looking in the milk crate to find our mail for the day
waking up and knowing the day is going to be so much fun
rock notes after the CILT extended float trip
attempting cartwheels in main field
bandana bracelets, swim bands, friendship bracelets, camp watches, and minglets
hip-hop and show choir performances at closing campfire
"Welcome to the Family" and "Tecumseh"
looking around the flagpole on Sunday nights and seeing all the new campers
the kickboard/noodle and question game with Burke every pool time
CILT dodgeball, psychiatrist, capture the flag, I'm a tree, and Dominican Chaos
wearing over-alls as often as possible
being so excited to see your friends every time you see them
hearing the CILTs talk about their adopt-a-cabins
conversations and changes that only God could have made happen
playing Empire up at Lake
sleeping out on the tennis courts
bracelet, swimsuit, and flip-flop tan lines
baked oatmeal, sloppy joes, cottage cheese & raisins on the salad bar
dinners with Catawba and experiencing their eating techniques
hugs from Linsey
convincing Blazers that it's super-cool to pick up trash
rainbows over main field
trying to live out the Sagamore Creed (Joy, Responsibility, Trust, Initiative, Faith, and Friendship)
Bro day, onesie week, tye-dye tuesday, and wearing white v-necks and nike shorts all the other days
becoming friends with people that I should have a long time ago
sharing life with Arielle
documenting as much of camp as possible with pictures and video
having a shared experience like this with the staff of summer 2010
the picnic lunch on the last day of CILTs
being a part of something bigger than myself
realizing the difference between happiness and joy and choosing joy
knowing that this is not the end


At the end of closing campfire the Torchbearers, campers that can no longer return as regular campers, are recognized. They are comissioned to go out into the world bearing this torch, the light of Tecumseh, the light of Christ. I think that message doesn't just hold true for these crying boys from Arapaho and girls from Teton but for all of us. Tecumseh family and everyone everywhere. We need to spread light and joy wherever we go. Really, when we have that option why would we choose to do something else?

Last night we finished the summer of 2010 at the staff banquet. It's a celebration of the hard-work of counselors and staff and of how God has worked in campers lives. It is bittersweet for sure. I'm thankful for everything that has happened in the past 10 weeks and so sad that it has come to an end. I don't think that I can be anything but a mix of happy and sad in this transition.

Scott left us with these wise words that reminded me of the Torchbearers.

Be well.
Do good work.
Stay in touch.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today I'm thankful for...

past students that come talk to me in the hallway.
new students that already make me laugh and smile.
splatter painting in my classroom.
friends to go tandem biking and blading with.
conversation about how we have changed and what lies ahead.
a good dinner with a great friend.
fresh strawberries.
the excitement of what lies ahead-for tomorrow, next week, and even next summer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

wohoo- first day of school!

Today school began in Hamilton Southeastern. At 7:30 this morning the bell rang and 1,000 students poured into the halls to navigate the up and down stairs, sneak past the grim reaper, brave the lights turning off during lunch, figure out locker combinations and find a friend among the numerous faces.
It felt so different than the first day did last year. The greatest blessing today was seeing all my students, the big, bold 8th graders, in the halls. Kids actually stopped to say "Hi" and tell me about their summer and show me that they learned to finger whistle "Crazy Horse" by Train and count to 20 in Japanese and even wrote me a note.
I have 122 students in 6 periods. I have too many Abbys, Sarahs, Rachels, and Jacks to count. I have gymnasts, soccer players, singers, and world travelers. It's going to be a great year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

To be loved, be lovable.

Thank goodness college starts weeks after the rest of the educational world in August. This means that for a few weeks I can see these Young Life girls before they head off to Holland, Bloomington, and Dayton.

Susan, Allison, Taylor, and Dom were such a huge part of my first year here and it'll be so strange to not see them all the time. So I'm thankful that I got to eat dinner with Suz and Al yesterday. I'm thankful they wanted to come help me make posters in my classroom today and that when they got there Taylor popped out from behind a car to surprise me. I'm thankful that they know how to be great friends that take care of each other and have good fun and live for life. I'm thankful for them.

The reunions continued...

I was beyond thrilled to see these girls. They were some of the main characters of my summer and have helped shape who I am. I love them for their joy and laughter and kindness and faith and love. Yes, these have all those great things in heaps and mounds.

They like to sit and talk in circles about life in grass, even if the only grass around is in the middle of a round-a-bout.
They sing their CILT cheers everywhere they go.
They help each other be better people.
They can pray popcorn or one-word style.
While still at camp Annie and I talked about how Tecumseh taught us to really love others and be loved in friendship and community like God designed. How convenient that idea was put on a fortune for us to find.

Tonight we one word prayed:
deep breath

Friday, August 6, 2010

the greatest treasure of all

At closing campfire we sing "Tecumseh" every week. On my last night as a counselor of 2010 I was thinking about the verse, "but the greatest treasure of all is the glow that we feel, when a child reflects our love in his face. A family we are in the hands of the Lord, we all feel his presence in this place."

These faces are some of the reasons that I love being a counselor. These kids have become a part of my family.

Mary Claire



Soaps and Molly




Ellyn and Keefer





Wednesday, August 4, 2010


We are River Women. We live by the River.

We are River Women. We live by the River.


The River...

BAM! alright

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


This past week I got to go to Young Life camp in Minnesota. 86 of us took a 15 hour bus ride from Carmel, IN to Detroit Lakes, MI to spend 8 days together at Castaway Club.

Shauna, my partner, and I got to hang out with these 8 girls. Together we parasailed, banana boated, screamed songs at club, played psychiatrist and signs, and talked about real things going on in our lives. I'm excited to keep getting to know them better this year.

I went sailing without a sail with a bunch of british pirates- hook digit, dancing tulip, celery, geometry, floppy, and fading tatt to name a few.

Scottie too Hottie and Molly too Cool were for sure our favorite people at camp- I'm sure you can figure out who they are here.

Sarah Briggs inspires me. I've only know her for a year but I feel like it's been so much longer. It was awesome to just watch her be at Castaway, a home away from home for her, and see her pouring into her girls that she loves so much. Sarah is dedicated to this and God is using her in these kids' lives.
Allison was one of my YL girls last year and has become one of my close friends. I didn't know she was coming on this trip until right before we left and I flipped out. I never got to go to camp with her in my cabin but this week was pretty close. We sang and laughed and made bandana bracelets and had the best dance party ever and ate birthday cake ice-cream cones often and made lists and talked with accents.
I've kind of known Riley all year but really got to know her better this week. I love learning more about her story and seeing her as a leader now who loves Young Life. She is fun and positive and I love being around her.

A Tecumseh-er my whole life, I liked seeing this other camp in action for a week and being a part of it. It's the conversations with the girls during cabin time and the work crew cardboard testimonies are going to stick with me. I loved the honesty and vulnerability as people shared how Christ has absolutely transformed their lives. He doesn't make life perfect but he gives us hope and allows us to live life connected to God.