Tuesday, November 30, 2010

True Life- I spend my night at Young Life

Seeing friends that you've been away from for a long time is one of my very favorite things. I met Sydne and Alli in Noodle's today and even the workers commented on how excited the three of us were to see each other.

Over bowls of stringy mac & cheese we talked about school, dance, cheer, sisters, our high and low of the semester, Harry Potter, camp, the CILT reunion (11 days away!), school friends, and more camp. I love these girls. Initially they both seem quiet and reserved but they are both so full of life, kindness, patience, and beauty.

Battle of the Century- BOYS V GIRLS CLUB

(insert screaming here)

I love that this theme has become such an anticipated event. Girls wear pink. Boys wear black. Girls rule. Boys drool. Etc.

We sing songs like Complicated, Picture to Burn, Apologize and Since You Been Gone.

We had show downs of math facts, turning clothes inside out, drinking a monster, eating Saltines, splitting up Skittles, wall sits, singing along with an iPod, fastest text, blowing up a balloon until it popped, and a handstand.

All culminating in a massive toilet paper fight.

Jake gave an awesome talk and then we finished the way we've been finishing all semester- singing Lay My Burdens Down in a circle.

After club we celebrated the past semester with cupcakes and talking about our favorite moments. I love this team. I love being able to see kid's lives changing. I love seeing God in action. I love that I'm continually learning what it means to serve.

True Life- I spend my day in Junior High

"Miss Wright, I have committed a terrible deed."
"A what?" I asked.
"A terrible deed- well, I just didn't do my homework."

I found this on the floor today:

One of my students gave me a 2ft Twizzler when I walked by her table at lunch. During 7th period I told her that if she had more leftover I would let her go get them and share with the class. We had to split them in half but all got a foot long piece.

We're finishing our blogs and they are awesome. They've typed and formatted them all on word. Now I get to read their stories about things like...
- a younger brother that dumps out chocolate milk in the car.
-one boy's attempt to complete the Gallon Challenge, eating a spoonful of cinnamon, consuming a piece of bread in 45 seconds, and swallowing 10 Saltine crackers.
- a girl's trip to Europe with People to People.
-the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter.
-a cupcake baker.
-a 7th grader's daily mental wanderings.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We show up

I was sitting on one end of the big, brown, wrap-a-round couch at Campaigners tonight looking at all the kids around the room and thinking about how cool it all was. These leaders and these kids show up every Monday night because they want to be here. No is making them. No one gets paid. You're not getting a grade. You won't get a prize.

These kids show up because they are craving this community, a night of something real, a conversation about what really matters.

We show up and hug our friends. We show up and sing Amazing Love, Come Thou Fount, In Christ Alone. We show up and sit in circles. We show up talk about what it would look like to make God our number one priority. We show up and pray together.

I don't know why people have to die, why parents fight, why friends don't always act like friends, why people have eating disorders, why relationships don't work out the way we want them. I just know that those things are hard.

But like Sarah said tonight, living life with God is the best way to make this life work. Making God my first priority is a choice I have to make everyday over and over again. It can't just be this thing I say I believe but don't follow through with.

So we must continue to make that choice everyday and keep showing up.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Today was just such a good day

I went to Common Ground this morning with Sar and during worship I was amazed not by the music but by two people in the very front. 

On the left  an old man walked in by himself. He had a beard, was wearing a suit, and held a cane the whole time. He loudly sang and shouted, "Hallelujah, Praise Jesus." When I am that old I want my faith to be alive and to be passionate even after 60 years of being a Christian.

On the right was a little red-haired 6-year-old boy hopping, rolling, and crawling around the floor while he was singing. He would clap, crawl up to the steps, roll back again. So entertaining. Yes, he was distracting but he was also totally engaged in what was going on. I don't want to ever lose a "child-like faith" no matter how grown up I am.

We were also joined by Taylor, Justin, Allison, and Sam- all Young Life kids that are now in college. I love that all four of them were wearing goodwill sweaters, that they embrace being hippies, and especially loved that Sam was sporting Nike slip-on sandals with his khakis. They are legit.

I met Molls for lunch- one of my favorite things. We talked about life and it broke my heart how many sad things are going on. A North Central high school boy died in a car crash Wednesday night, a teacher at my school just found out that the boy they thought they would be adopting in just a few weeks passed away, and lots of our friends are just really sad in life. I'm thankful for God shining through in the midst of all of that pain. I know that there are a lot of bad things happening but I also know and believe that are so many good things happening- we can't lose sight of that.

Sar's brother plays basketball for Ohio Wesleyan and we road-tripped to Depauw to watch his game today.  It made me reminisce about going to basketball games in High School and being a part of "the 6th Man" student section and cheering ridiculous chants and doing the Oracle beat.

My favorite part of the game, and all sporting events, may be the concession stand. Sar and I shared popcorn and a Diet Coke.

Most Depauw students weren't back from break yet so I missed Arielle and Coll but I got to see Chrissy Crowe! She is just so collegiate now and showed me her dorm room. It's cool to see her in this other part of her life and how she's making it into her home. It was great to be able to catch up in person when usually we're stuck with letters and texts.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"It's like being in a really unexciting episode of CSI"

This morning I met Sarah Scott for breakfast. We met at Girls State (aka Government Camp) in the summer of 2004 and quickly became friends. Only two summers together on staff and we have stayed close. Sarah went to Vanderbilt, spent a year working for Manna in Ecuador, and is now a medical student at Vanderbilt--to summarize she is really cool and smart.

I love that I haven't seen her for a year but we can just sit down and talk like no time has passed. 
She came back with me to see the apartment but when we walked in we found this.

We had been BURGLARIZED! I'm more annoyed than anything. They broke in our door, took my TV and remote control and left through the front door. Nothing else was touched or disturbed.

Sarah stuck around for moral support and we spent the next 4 hours with 2 cops, 1 detective, an fingerprint-DNA-photo-gatherer, and a maintenance woman.

Multiple times I explained the very anti-climactic story and that "No, I don't have any enemies. No, we haven't thrown any parties. No, I really don't have any enemies."

Sarah and I sat on the couch freezing (because there was no door) and ordered a pizza. We burst out laughing when we noticed this on the side of the box. Strange day.

The maintenance woman ended up just totally replacing our door.

I was relieved when it was finally finished and we could lock it to feel safe and sound again.
Sarah and I also went kind of stir crazy while we were waiting.

My friends Taylor and Al showed up with a McDonald's Diet Coke for me and then we headed to Goodwill. These girls are kind of ridiculous. They found flannels, sweaters, a satchel, sweatshirts, and an incredibly beautiful dress that Al wouldn't buy.

Later we gathered roommates, mat snatchers and Young Life girls to hang out and decorate for Christmas. Scottie is very particular about his decorations. He hates these lights but we really like them. He brought down trunks of lights, fake snow, decorations, and sparkly sticks.

He put on all the white decorations and the snow before he quit. We took over to make it fit in a little better and added some color and pizazz.

It was just really perfect to hang out and not worry about anything. I love these people and it was wonderful to have everyone together.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Noodle Intensity

Grace (mentor girl, former camper, fellow counselor, pen-pal, one of my favorite people) is a vlogger. What is a vlog? A video log--similar to a blog.... web log.

Grace has been working on a vlog project this year with two of her best friends, Elizabeth and Erika, called Noodle Intensity.  I started watching their videos yesterday and now I can't stop and I really wanted to share the linked one with you.

After following other vloggers the girls started their own channel and have over 40 videos. The rules are that Elizabeth posts Monday, Erika posts Wednesday, Grace posts Friday, they post together once a month and if anyone breaks a rule the other girls get to pick their punishment (i.e. going to swim practice or drinking sweet tea while listening to the Miley Cyrus movie soundtrack).

Their posts are creative, fun, hilarious, weird, entertaining and you should go check them out. I've loved Elizabeth's robot vocals, Erika's narrations/family videos/walk through the woods, and Grace's creative shots, 10 favorite things, and clips with Emily.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for...

a job that I love waking up to go to everyday
students that are creative, entertaining, smart, kind, and precious
pizza and Diet Coke for Thanksgiving day dinner
my relationship with Christ and how he is in control of my life
all the girls in the FBC
whoever invented texting
Camp Tecumseh; Team CILT, Choctaw 3 years strong, the RV, chapels, devotions in a circle, friendship that last a lifetime, being a part of something greater then myself, experiencing a bit of heaven on earth
bagels with cream cheese in the morning
attending Common Ground every Sunday
my parents
roommates and an apartment that feel like family and a home
hanging out with Molls
staying connected to Fitz across the country
health insurance
my new infinity scarf
books that I can't put down, songs I listen to on repeat, and TV shows I weekly watch on Hulu
working with people that are excited about what they do
vanilla lattes
the Young Life community in Carmel and that we get to "serve, dream, pray and be doers together as a community and that there is nothing else I want more than to be doing it all together"
mornings I get to sleep past 6
sitting in circles talking with friends
hanging out with Racher
handwritten letters and decorated envelopes
DC and adventures with Brown Bear
Doodles, Cold Tangerines, Don't Waste Your Cancer, Living An Intentional Life
the Hunger Games series
good health for the people I love
collaging with Dommer
running outside
high of the day texts from Annie
Top 10 lists
pictures of people I love
opportunities to have fun
seeing Katie and Nick
eating lunch with Amanda and Kathy
God's grace
things to look forward to

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Overlapping to the extreme

I just keep thinking that today was SO great.

Shelby and I met for breakfast at Panera. I miss living with her everyday- Dynamite parties, devotions together, matching outfits on accident everyday, writing lists together, teaching Spanish clinic. Today we got to brainstorm for the CILT reunion. I love anytime when I get to talk about camp and I was so happy to be with Shelbs.

Conveniently, once again, I didn't have school but Carmel did so I got to go to lunch to visit kids. Most leaders can do this on a regular basis but I only can about once a semester so I was very excited. Shelbs and I found Ellyn and Sam right away and walked with them to the cafeteria. Jenna, another YL leader, joined soon and stayed for the rest of the lunches. Carmel is gigantic so I was surprised that we continually ran into camp and Young Life kids. I was so happy to see Ellyn, Sam, Emily, Emmie, Mackie, Kristine, Molly, Ricki, Natalie, Avery, Sormeh, Sophie, Claire, Kara, Hannah, Alex, Sarah, Taylor, Kate, David, Ellie, and Meredith. 

I met up with Dommer for lunch at Paradise. I'm so thankful this girl is a part of my life. We sat and told stories while we ate. I love hearing about her latest adventures and endeavors. Allison and Paulina joined us. I think one of my very favorite things is just being able to sit and talk with friends when no one has anywhere else to be and you can just keep talking for hours.

I drove back home and met my parents for dinner at Olive Garden, a Wright fam fav, and it was so good to see them. I am lucky to have parents that care so much about me and want to know all about my life.

I picked up Arielle-Face and we drove out to the Rock Creek house. Boon, their new puppy was jumping around and we sat and talked for a couple hours telling new and old stories.

I love that holidays allow time for seeing so many wonderful people.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Want to trade?

Happy Thanksgiving #2

We've decided that we want to be a community that is thankful all year long so we will have a monthly celebration of leaders, kids, committee members, and parents. 

We think the theme of Thanksgiving will change each month so we can have American Thanksgiving, Mexican Thanksgiving, Italian Thanksgiving, Chinese Thanksgiving...

So far attendance has been leaders and kids and the menu has consisted of a lot of potatoes, bread, pie, more potatoes, chicken, cookies and turkey.

Young Life is designed as a relational ministry-- leaders meet kids where they are and live life alongside them. Tonight was a beautiful picture of how together we are experiencing life to the full. I love that kids from all different grades and friend groups feel welcome and accepted here. I love that a handful of the YL kids that graduated last year came because they are still a part of this family.

Monday at Campaigners two of the kids were sharing about the service weekend and how they had been impacted. Carly described Young Life as her family. I heard one of the guys on the weekend telling someone about how sweet it was that he was in a stretch of YL stuff everyday for eight days in a row- campaigners and bookworms and club and church and thanksgiving and wydlife and bigger or better- this is such a central part of these kids' lives.

We substituted club this week with a little game called Bigger or Better.

Every group starts with a penny.

Then every group has 1 hour to make as many trades as possible to find the biggest and best thing possible. You can go to houses, malls, churches, stores- you just have to find people to trade with you.

Trade 1- Fire Department gave us a plastic fire hat

Trade 2- Cute young couple with a baby gave us a red yoga ball

Trade 3- The boyfriend of one of Ellyn's friends gave us his old broken iPod

Trade 4-7- People told us they had nothing to trade

Trade 8- 7 dogs greeted us and then the Feasts gave us a stroller and took a picture with us. 

Trade 9- We picked up a dog.... Which may or may not have been a pet.

(I don't really like animals or having them close to me or in my car so this was a big step for me.)

Returning with 3 minutes to spare I think we did well.

Sar's group returned with a ladder.

MaryEllen's girls brought back a Red Bull cooler.

Chris and his boys brought this "$4,000" painting.

 Other groups returned with a unicycle and a scooter.

Because it wasn't a school night for me I went with Taylor to see Allison, also home for college. How wonderful to just sit and hear stories and laugh and be together. I'm very thankful for nights like this.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


When we got back today we had a really classic Sunday.

A nap followed by a Diet Coke- yes, two of the best things in the world.

Sar, Shauna, and I ate a big cookie right off the pan and out of the oven.

I made my mom's chili for dinner for everyone topped with Frito's and shredded cheese. This tastes like home.

We turned on the TV and just watched the end of these movies and then clicked till we found another great one.

I love when Susan Sarandon and the kids sing "Ain't No Mountain High" with hairbrushes and curling irons... and when the little boy is the turkey in the school Thanksgiving production.

"I came here because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

Weird concept. Helen Hunt is great. 

It's 8:00 and we're all ready to go to sleep... not on a concrete floor tonight.

Service Weekend

This weekend was Carmel Young Life's annual service trip in Indy. We met at 8am and headed down to Rebuilding the Wall. We quickly got to work at one the sites. This house was already torn down to the frame and we worked clearing the basement, demolishing more of the building and pulling nails out of boards using hammers and crowbars.

The massive pile of wood looked intimidating but piece by piece we kept cleaning the wood and filling the nail bucket. Favorite moment was working on a really "fun" board with Jake, MaryEllen, and Zach and ripping out 83 nails in just under five minutes.

It's rare that we have the opportunity to spend our time doing work like this. It was so cool to see all of these kids spending their time helping people we have never met.

Pizza for lunch, talked with Chris about the mission of Rebuilding the Wall, worked for another hour, and then headed downtown. We visited some spots downtown like the 6th floor of the central library. We prayed as we looked out over the city for the people that might be sleeping on those streets and in those parks that night.

Tom pointed this out to us and I'm obsessed with it- there is a group of knitters that knit things on to poles, benches, bike racks, and fences all over the city.

Part of the adventure was to take the $20 from our group to buy food that started with a C, F, D or H to take back to our banquet. The money doesn't seem like much but the thought is that if we all contribute there will be more than enough. Our group bought a mixed 16-piece and then 4 extra chicken legs. I don't think I've ever bought a bag of chicken before.

Another part of our mission was to "interact" with a homeless person. There were no rules except we couldn't give them cash. We walked past a gas station and one of our girls spotted a man sitting with two back-packs next to a gas station. Walking across the street we realized that he was asleep. We woke him up, said hello, and asked him if he wanted some chicken. He told us that would be great so we handed him the box of chicken legs. He smiled and said, "People are so good to me."

When we got back to the warehouse we all pooled our food for the banquet. We piled cheese, crackers, donuts, cereal, milk, turkey, bread, rolls, chicken, chips, cheez-its, cookie dough, pepperoni and diet coke on the table. Looking at the pile it didn't seem like there was going to be enough for all of us.

We put five long tables together and had a great feast. We passed out the food and shared donuts and chicken wings with people around us. We ate off-brand cereal in plastic cups and it was delicious. God provides. We all had more than enough to eat- it just wasn't the typical meal that we're used to.

One of my favorite moments- everyone stood on their chairs singing, "The World's Greatest."

The music continued and we decided to have Step Up 6. The girls choreographed a dance to Celo's "Forget You" and the boys danced to some rap song. The best part was their marching entrance led by a motorized wheelchair.

This was a perfect Saturday night. The boys may have won the competition.

We crammed everyone into one of the office rooms to de-brief the day, hear Rob's story about living out Jesus' love in an area called "Over the Rhine" in Cincinnati,  and sang worship songs together. Many of these kids have never experienced things like service and worship. It was beautiful to see their faces as we kept singing song after song and they kept requesting more.

One boy v. girl talk about marriage and commitment later it was time to figure out the puzzle of sleeping arrangements. We fit 18 girls onto the cement floor of one tiny room in 3 rows of parallel sleeping bags- screaming, laughing, coughing, sleep-talking, heavy breathing, and whispering continued into the wee hours of the morning.

The morning came early with 5 dozen donuts and a box of coffee. Not sure why Jake is posing like this...

We went to church at Common Ground- another new experience for the kids to go to a church where communion, the message, singing, and prayer all looked different than what they experience on a regular basis.

Great weekend. We're all really tired. Like sleeping in the back of a trunk kind of tired.