Monday, October 31, 2011

If you could ask me one question tonight...

What do you think of when you think of happiness? -Mags

Skyping with Mags, HOHing in front of the trading post, watching River Village kids perform hip-hop at closing campfire, Nick Houghton running around his front yard in just a diaper with a huge grin on his face, FBC girls jumping up to sing and dance to a song together, hugging friends after being apart for a long time, letters from Margaret and Grace, holding baby Lincoln, coloring with Molls, Brunner's side pony-tail swinging as she plays with her kids, sitting on Sar's bed talking at the end of the day.

If you could go back and tell yourself things you know now, what would you say? -Taylor aka Brown Bear

Go to bed earlier on weeknights and stay up later on the weekend. Write, write anything, just write. You can always be kind. Joy is a choice. Don't stress about friends that aren't that great, good friends will come soon. Pray without ceasing. Life is easier when you do the things you love and stop trying to prove something. People always want to be invited, people always appreciate a word of appreciation and encouragement, and everyone is fighting a great battle.

If you could relive a single moment of your life-- would you want to, and what would it be? -Annie

Absolutely.  And I get that the point of this is to choose one moment... but I like lists. Sorry. Here are four moments.

My Junior year of HS, singing in the back row of the floor section at Willow Creek during a student ministry conference. I was completely and totally aware and filled by God's presence.

My first year and first day as a CILT counselor during check-in when the girls I had been a counselor for the previous two summers came running into Choctaw cabin and we screamed and hugged and couldn't stop smiling because we were so excited about the next two weeks.

Driving back from Campaigners the Fall of my first year in Indy when Allison Stamer, one of my Senior girls, called me to tell me that she really wanted to hang out that week and she wanted me to know that she was so excited to get to know me-- it is my first significant memory of feeling like Carmel Young Life was exactly where I needed to be.

Sitting on the lake dock with Arielle and a large group of our mentor girls from church during a sleep-out at camp. It was one of the nights when the stars are shining so bright and the water lapped up against the dock as we talked and prayed and wrote together.

If your life were a book, I wanna know what the chapter that's happening right now would be called. -Coll Kell

I wish my mom still made me breakfast in the morning and told me when to go to bed at night.

Who inspires you? -Emily Westcott

My mom inspires me when I see her welcome people. Grace inspires me with the way she knows herself at the age of 13. Taylor inspires me when I hear her talk about praying for Frontier. Colleen inspires me when I get to witness how loved she makes the people around her feel. Mrs. Huckstep inspires me by the way she loves to teach her students. Sarah inspires me to loyally and unselfishly love HS girls because Christ first loved me. Shauna and Kelle inspire me to write. Natalie inspires me to be myself no matter what.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it."

Friday was my one day of Fall Break and I planned to use it well. I slept in, a glorious rarity, and packed my computer to go sit in Starbucks. Mornings in Starbucks remind me of coffee dates with Lani and Casey and other Hope College friends. This morning while I people watched I started a blog post I'd been thinking about lately... it's still in the works.

Molls is on break too and we decided to go visit our friends during their lunch at Cathedral- a little Camp Tecumseh contact work. First we got to see Maddie and Coll during lunch...

Next we ran into Kelsey, Maggi, and Olivia in the hallway. Kels and Olivia dressed up like Tecumseh counselors for the day. We got to experience the magic of resource before we left campus.

Our afternoon continued with pizza bagels for lunch, a Target run, multiple thrift store stops and some frozen yogurt in the middle of the afternoon to celebrate our day off.

We needed a craft and decided to try to make these t-shirt scarf necklace things we found on Pinterest. Making the craft is the fun part, we're not completely confident in the final product yet but it's growing on us. 

We hear Anthropologie sells the exact same thing for $20... on sale.

These might be two of the funniest sophomores I know. Olivia and Ellie met a few summers ago at camp and are pretty much destined to be life long friends. Molls and I decided they should help with the trend-setting of t-shirt necklaces.

Ellie's weekend trip into town meant that Jamie Zurawski, another counselor, also came to be a part of the reunion. We really love her.

There was no texting, no Skype screen, just old-fashioned hanging out in person.

We introduced Ellie to her first Noodles experience. Huge success.

And then Jamie and Ellie tried Orange Leaf for the first time ever. Second success.

Then my favorite part of any good time with friends--sitting in a circle talking and writing top 10 lists to make us think and help us get to know each other a little better.

Later that night I was shocked when my Colleen and Angela (an old friend visiting for the weekend) brought home this black cat they found on the Monon trail. First he was named Monon. Then they decided he was a ghost cat because it was so close to Halloween. I kept trying to point out that if you can hold him, he is not in fact, a ghost. He explored out apartment (I kept my door shut after chasing him out) and then took a nap on our stairs. His body stretched out on the step to the point that he was given the new name Flat Cat because he was ridiculously flat. Thankfully, flat cat left that night.

Saturday morning we walked to breakfast at 3 Sisters. We got to sit on the porch and drink coffee and eat an appetizer of lemon corncakes. We continued to add chairs to our table as our breakfast party grew to include Colleen, Me, Angela and her boyfriend Mike, our neighbor California Mike, and finally McSoley and Emily.

In the afternoon I drove down-town with Jenna and her sister-in-law Amy to watch the Indiana State Girls Soccer game. I was so excited for this sporting event. Love sports. But really.

I was so invested because it was HSE v. Carmel. My school where I teach v. Young Life. One of my old Friendship Bracelet Club girls v. YL girls. It was difficult to know who to cheer for.

We started on the parents side and could watch the students chanting and hear the parents yelling their input on plays and ref calls.

After half-time we switched to the student section. I got to hang out with Carmel YL Junior girls and camp girls like Annie and Claire. Carmel was ahead and hopeful. Then I walked down the bleachers to stand with the FBC student leaders and some other alumni of HSJH. I loved getting to cheer on HSE with them in the bleachers.

I made sure to get back to the Carmel side as the clock ran down the last few seconds and Carmel won 1-0.

It was the coolest thing to watch these girls attack each other and celebrate. After so many hours of practices and games they did it.

I picked up Ellie and Olivia for dinner and set out for Mellow Mushroom because no other pizza place can really compare.

Then inspired by Kelle Hampton's post about doing this with her daughters, we decided to see how much fun we could have in just one hour.

Get a balloon to give to a stranger.

Visit Tony and David. We found them knitting, playing the banjo, and drinking tea in their sweatpants.

Ellie and Liv added some artwork to the dry erase wall.

Document #swag.

Try the free samples at Huddles because we just can't decide which one is our favorite.

Find something fun at Target... but we found someone fun instead.

Mail a letter just for fun to a friend.

Ride the Park Tudor zipline.

Roll down a hill just before the hour ends. Mission complete.

Just when I thought my night was coming to a close I had some visitors at my door. A tennis trophy and baby aka Krafty and Emily showed up to spread some Halloween cheer. We played bananagrams and I beat both of them twice. Who doesn't love word games on a Saturday night?

And two angry birds came home to tell us stories about their night.

Sunday was a perfect day of rest. I woke up late and got to church just in time to climb down the aisle to sit with Jack, Linda, Tony, and David. 

I spent the rest of the day with Emily, one of my very favorite people. We took over some chairs in Starbucks so she could study and I could read and blog. I think we ended up mostly talking and people watching.

We spontaneously decided to go see Footloose. I've been dying to see it and it did not disappoint. Now I just really want to go country line dancing and talk in a Southern accent all the time. Emily's ready to dance too.

We ended the day with Chick Flick Sunday, new favorite tradition, and watched 27 Dresses with Rach and Molls. Such a great weekend. Such a fun Fall Break. Such wonderful people all around.