Monday, February 28, 2011

"I take medicine for ADD, but I could have sworn they said I have ADHD."

In ADD style, this was my day:

On my way to school, after waking up for a two hour delay, I had to drive through subdivisions because all the roads were flooded. Cars were stuck. Buses were 40 minutes late.

"I almost just choked on my spit."

This is just one of the most true things I've ever heard, "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for." The Message, Psalm 139:11

I got a letter at school today from Nat in a colored envelope.

Do you remember the Left Behind books for kids, the TV show Early Edition, or the band Plus One?

I delivered this to my friend's mailbox.

I went to the eye doctor for the first time in about two years- saw a picture of my optic nerve, found out you can tell if you have allergies by looking at the inside of your eyelids, got a new prescription and glasses, and was told that I'm bad at not blinking.

"Going to mass is basically like going to LA Fitness."

One of my students didn't go to bed at all last night because of the storm. One slept on her dining room floor because it was the only room not being illuminated by lightning. Multiple students slept in their basement because of tornadoes.

I took this picture the night that blogger stopped letting me upload pictures and forced me to buy more space for the low, low price of $5.

Tomorrow is YL National Day of Prayer, Justin Bieber's birthday, and the start of ISTEP. It's gonna be a BIG day.

What three-letter word becomes its own plural when you insert a C?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Joy to the SIBs

When I drive on 31 and take the second Holland exit I know I'm close. I pass the D & W and drive down the road where I used to run every week. Turning at Centennial Park, I get to campus. These familiar buildings feel like home. All weekend as I drove around I had to keep saying, "I love this town. I love these buildings. I love Hope College."

This is Hope's chapel. 

This is the SIB cottage. I lived here my Junior year of college with nine other women. Through all my time at Hope I came to this house and sat in the basement for weekly meetings. I played tetris in the living room, talked in the upstairs hallway with the cottage girls, prayed in Fezzey's room, laughed in Ruthie's room, sat up way to late in the kitchen, studied on the front porch in the Spring, snuck into the attic to find Helen J with Eden, Kimmy, and Coll, and led a bible study in Marissa's room. I love this house.

This weekend I came back as an alumni for new member education. A new class of babies is joining the SIBs and I wanted to witness part of it. 
Friday after running from house to house to see friends that are now Seniors, I spent most of my time with the other alumni that had returned. Kimmy and Ruthie, two of my best friends from my pledge class, and a ton of girls a year younger than us all returned. I loved sitting and laughing with them about old SIB stories and hearing about what's going on in their life now.

We met all the new additions and talked to them about SIB traditions and heard pieces of their story so far. One of my Young Life girls from last year is in this group of girls and I loved seeing her be a part of this group. Older girls kept telling me, "Susan is a gem."

In college Ruthie and I would go to Wal-Mart and get donuts and milk at midnight and have heart-to-hearts along the way. After the event Friday Ruthie, Kimmy, and I kept the tradition alive. They used to be two of the people I saw more than anyone else and it's strange that our visits are so far apart now. I love these two girls and was happy to spend the night with them. 

Saturday morning I met Lauren and Lindsey for coffee at JP's. I met them when they were freshmen when I took them to Timberwolf Lake for a Fall Weekend. It was my first time at a YL camp and they were my first real YL girls. Now they're Seniors and figuring out where to go to school next year. They're busy with soccer, being student leaders, hanging out with friends, and going to school. We sat and talked over lattes for two hours and it was one of my favorite moments the whole weekend.

This is my SIB family. Wade, to the right of me, is my SIB baby. She's hilarious and bold and blunt and I'm so glad she came back to visit this weekend too. Mica, my grandbaby, joined SIB last year. I love her hippy, crazy style and that she always has a smile on her face. Virginia, my great-grandbaby is our newest addition. I was able to sit and talk with her a couple times this weekend and I think she is wonderful.  I can already tell that she is kind, brave, honest, loyal, tough, and down-to-earth. I wish that I could spend more time with her.

With so many events this weekend I was able to see my friends over and over again. I'm so thankful that SIB was a part of my life at Hope and that I'm still able to come back and be welcomed home on weekends like this. I miss so many of these girls when I'm away.
Jami and Steph

Casey and Lauren Bell

Fudger and Gabrie

I loved getting a house tour from Kaitlin, talking with Grace, laughing with Becca Hawkins and Donahue, seeing Krissy, talking with Hannah, and eating dinner with Dunning. I can't wait till I get to visit again.

This morning I went to Mars Hill with Ruthie. That church feels like home too. I love singing together, sharing in this corporate act of worship. I love soaking up everything the speaker has to say, being engaged, relating it to my own life, and filling up a whole page in my journal of notes.

I had a long drive home and called to catch up with some more older SIBs because I was feeling so nostalgic.

p.s. I saw this bus when I stopped to get some Diet Coke and it made me laugh

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"I'm all about recycling"

Alli just made a great post of the top places she found joy today.

1. Finished grading 2+ classes of papers and read an awesome one about the Beatles.
2. Love tank notes with the FBC girls. I told them today's game was going to be "precious."
3. New, great girls joined some great regular members.
4. I got to eat Mellow Mushroom with Alli Kenney.
5. I saw Molls laughing with her niece and nephews.
6. I read Cinderella to Regan and asked her questions along the way. Cinderella wished to go to the ball. Regan wished for another pillow pet or a new American girl doll. I told Regan happily ever after usually means a day when you get pizza and diet coke.
7. I got home in time to watch a TV show in real time and sit on the couch and talk to Sar earlier then 10 o'clock.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Life is not always easy

It's just not. I've been talking to some friends lately about how life isn't so great right now for them. Sometimes school is boring, sometimes you're lonely, sometimes you're sad, sometimes you don't feel very good about yourself, sometimes you can't figure out what exactly you're supposed to be doing. It's hard.

God promises his people, "I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me." (Jeremiah 29)

God tells us over and over again that he loves us. I'm so blessed to live in that truth. Even when I don't understand what God's plan is I know that he loves me and will never stop loving me. This was Sar's theme song of the summer and Beef shared it with the CILTs tonight and I think you can never hear it enough times: How He Loves Us

Life is not perfect but there are always things and people to be thankful for.

I'm so excited that I talked to Livvie and Margaret today. These girls are both so special to me but I don't get to talk to them that often anymore. I'll forever remember Livvie's monkey call while on a suspension bridge sleep-out and belting out Hannah Montana from her chair in the dining hall. Margaret reminds me of CTXC early morning runs, dozens of letters over the years, and heart-to-hearts on bunk-beds.

I'm so thankful for my friends Susan and Kaitlin and Casey and Krissy up at Hope and I wish I could see them more often. I'm thankful for Erin and my new friendship bracelet from her. I'm thankful that Saba helped me hang 130 Starbucks cups in my room today. I'm thankful that I talked and laughed with April during class tonight and that I incorporated the FBC into a study genre.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

20 Things I Love

At the beginning of Campaigners we wrote lists of things we love to get thinking about the topic.

1. Skyping with Mags and asking her questions
2. Sitting in the hall and talking to kids during passing period
3. Watching kids laugh
4. Praying and reading prayers on the Team CILT wall
5. Reading Libby's story on Don't Waste Your Cancer
6. Walking life with Molls
7. Laughing with camp friends till we cry
8. When girls help each other in FBC
9. Getting Kevin to smile
10. Talking to Taylor every Wednesday night
11. Walking outside with a friend
12. Sleeping in without an alarm
13. Writing love tank notes
14. Colored envelopes
15. Praying with Casey
16. Late night talks with Krissy
17. Sitting on Sar's bed at night
18. Emails from Fitzie
19. FFT emails with Sar
20. Reading what Alli, Maggie, Molls, and Annie think on their blogs
21. That Molly and Al are so excited about fun dancing together at frats
22. Laying watching the stars
23. Sleeping under quilts my mom made
24. Getting Diet Coke with friends
25. Holding a baby
26. Sitting in the Longhouse bathroom late at night having deep talks
27. When people decide to be the best version of themselves
28. Lists in the trip planning group
29. I like lists with Mary Claire
30. Waking up at Casey's cottage to the light coming in every window
31. Dance parties at camp
32. Jumping on beds in Choctaw

Monday, February 21, 2011

"This is my command"

On Monday nights in Campaigners this semester we're talking about love. Understanding Christ's love, recognizing love in your own life, treating other's with love, and figuring out how to love are all things I think I can work on my entire life and still not fully understand. But week by week we're going to dig a little deeper into this idea.

This week we look at the passage about the vine and the branches in John 15.

We talked about the challenge in this section,
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one's life one's friends."

How do you lay down your life for your friends each day?

Sarah asked us, "What if there was a place where everyone was friends?"

We decided this doesn't mean that everyone is best friends and they hang out all the time but a place where everyone is nice to everyone else. It sounds kind of magical I think. Some of the girls didn't think a place like this could exist because they've never seen anything close to it.

I've got to believe that a place where everyone is nice both can and will exist someday. I believe with my whole heart that this is what heaven is going to be like--and even greater than I can imagine. But I also believe that a place where everyone can be friends can exist in the here and now.

I experienced this with my team on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. From the beginning of the week everyone in the group was kind, supportive, hilarious, and open. We poured concrete and cut rebar. Life stories were shared and we ate rice and beans together at every meal. Everyone sang worship songs in Spanish and laughed during Catch Phrase. We stayed up late talking and played in the rain. It was one of the best weeks I've ever had.

I experienced this kind of kindness in a cabin of Brave girls I was a counselor for. They included each other and loved one another without even realizing they were doing it. They made up their own theme days and side-walked chalked a map of all of camp. They braided each other's hair. During rest hour they rigged up a pulley system that connected all of their bunks so they could all share notes. Everyone had a partner during lake time and they stuck together at the pool. Each one was just so nice to the others.

We're all human and we're all imperfect. As hard as we try we're going to make mistakes and hurt people we love sometimes. But I want to live with the intent to be kind. I want to work each day to be nice to my friends. I want to love others well. I want to set up my life to have glimpses of a place where everyone is friends.

To love others well you've got to do the hard work of laying down your life for others on a daily basis. Sarah told the girls that this means putting them and their needs ahead of your own. How can you be there for them? Help them? Show up in their life? Listen to them? Pray for them? Support them? Do something extra for them? Even if you would rather be doing something else you've got to love your friends first.

Verse 17 reads, "This is my command: Love each other." That's what I want my life to be about.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Oh there are just so many things going on in here that I love."

When people you love are spread all over you've got to accept that you're going to be doing some traveling. This weekend I traveled to Bloomington, IN home of IU after school.

First stop was to pick up my friend and YL girl Allison Stamer. I met her at her dorm and she came bounding down the steps and just looked so college. I have missed this dear girl and was so thankful to walk around campus with her on a search for Diet Coke Polar Pops and hear all about her life here at IU. I love that when I talk to Allison she is so present in the conversation- she lights up and we jump from one train of thought to another because there are just so many things to say and Al's hands go crazy adding emphasis to everything.

We found our way back to Theta and Molly Brunner, a Camp T girl, came running down the sidewalk and jumped on me. I love great reunions. Brunner and Allison met over Christmas break when we played Cranium with a group of friends and now they're great friends in Theta. I'm so happy that they've each found a friend to experience all of this and crazy dance with.

p.s. Theta at IU is packed full of great girls. Not only do Brunner and Allison go there but many moons ago my friend Anne Nichols first took me to the house. Then McSoley rocked the sorority, Stacey Leeds joined, and old Camp T friend Cori Webb.

Next stop was the Ardery house- the home base of the weekend. I was so excited to spend three whole days with Racher. I wish I could see this girl more often. She brings me such joy.

Emily and Lily made the drive from U of I and arrived with GaGa's "Born This Way" stuck in their heads ready for fun.

Kath, another Bloomington native, joined in the fun for the weekend.

We spent all night at the Ardery kitchen table. Sam and Patty made us a gourmet meal and we devoured about half a pan of pumpkin bars.

We played the Game of Things which proved to be just as hilarious with these friends, Emily got us to play Humdinger, and then we may have entertained Emily with a box of matches.

Saturday we broke up for brunch. Emily reunited with her friend Rachel. Kath, Rach, and Lil went to Chilis to avoid the college crowds.

I picked up Allison and Molly so that we could enjoy all three of us being friends. We went to the Village Deli and made ourselves at home in our booth- drinking about 15 cups of coffee, laughing loud, talking about camp and Young Life, explaining SIB and Theta, reminiscing, sharing new stories, and loving just being together.

After much anticipation we became Beliebers at Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. Everyone is saying that this movie is so great and they weren't big Bieber fans but now they love him and they cried. They're all kind of crazy about it.

I understand. I'm jealous of the one less lonely girls. I want to go to Pizza Pizza in Canada with Justin and his friends. I have "Baby" stuck in my head. I almost cried when they handed out tickets for free to girls that were waiting outside each concert venue. I have Bieber fever.

A trip to Hobby Lobby for supplies, a stop at McD for four large Diet Cokes and two super fries later we found ourselves at Kath's house.

With Pandora on the Taylor Swift station we dove into our collaging project. Everyone drew a name of a friend and then they had to secretly collage for them.

Sitting around crafting is one of my very favorite things. Comfortable silence with bits of singing, laughter, and stories thrown in.

It felt so normal to be with these friends--like we get to just be together and hang out all the time.

After we'd finished everyone unveiled who they had created theirs for and the thought behind the pieces. It was kind of like show and tell in elementary school with lots of "awwwing" and clapping after each presenter. So precious.

Rachel made hers for Lil.

Lil made hers for Kath.

Emily made hers for Racher.

Kath made hers for me.

I gave mine to Emily.

McSoley made hers for Paige (who we were about to meet up with).

Camp people really like group pics. So we took a lot of them.

Shauna writes in Bittersweet, "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 a while to make it work. We were made to live close and connected."

Dinner at Malibu with the crew plus Paige and Libby. I'm so thankful that Camp brought all of us together so many summers ago and that we're still in each other's lives today. I love each of these women and they're in so many of my greatest memories. Adventure hikes with Lil. Scavenger hunts with Kath. Buddy sleep-outs with Rach. Paiger delivering my "Miss Wright" rock after I got hired. Living in Choctaw with Libby for a whole summer. Tagging along with Em and her campers. Cynthia ceremonies with McS.

When we picked out collaging supplies Emily felt nostalgic about old school weaving looms.

At 11 at night we were all suddenly inspired to craft with these rainbow nylon loops.

Braided sweatbands, potholders, and scrunchies oh my!

There is no way you can tell me this isn't a good look.

This morning we gathered back up for a bagel breakfast--we couldn't pass up an opportunity to all have another meal together. My favorite topics of conversation were the smartest Camp T counselors and our favorite Nike shorts. A dog also almost escaped but thanks to Emily's quick reaction time his owner got him before he could escape.

Rach and I went to church and we sang three of our favorite songs, "Mighty to Save," "Blessed Be Your Name," and "Never Let Go."

Dommer got back to campus just in time for us to have a quick date at Panera. I miss seeing her all the time so I was thankful to get to catch up and hear about Alpha Chi and Young Life in Bloomington.

Traveling and see so many wonderful friends this weekend was such a gift.

"It doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen the moment you decide to make the call or show up at the group. But I'm finding that it's there waiting for you in all sorts of unexpected places, that when you do what you love with people who love the same thing, something is born into your midst and begins to connect you. It might not be officially recognized, but then it doesn't need to be.

When you walk with someone, listen to their story, carry their burden, play with their kids, that's community. When you pray for them in the middle of the night because their face popped into your mind, when you find yourself learning from them and inviting them more and more often into the family places in your life, that's community, and wherever you find it, it's always a gift."

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Way I See It

Starbucks used to have quotes on the side of their cups from artists, politicians, writers, teachers, musicians, and people from every walk of life. This is one of my very favorites.

We read a collection of these quotes in my class and react to the author's opinions, question what they mean to us, and respond together. After looking at ones from Starbucks each of the kids writes their own, "The Way I See It"s on several topics before picking their favorite to put on a cup.

Today my students turned in what they'd been working on- these are some creative ones.

I love this one- I'd never had a student think about making the cup into something else before. Such a creative student.