Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Today I got even more excited for the CILT reunion as I worked on planning more of the details.

Today I got to see Arielle and talk to Carolyn and eat dinner with Rach and Emily and was reminded how important it is to be there for people you love even if just being there is all you can do.

Today I colored pictures with Kylie and got to hear her practice reading.

Today I got to read the story of "Yes Day!" to my students and then part of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book to Ky.

Today I get to go to bed earlier than normal and I am thrilled. I've got a big weekend to start resting up for.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Four new best friends!

Have you ever wondered, "How do you become a YL leader?" Good question.
If you're a college freshmen or sophomore you go through new leader training for a semester before being placed on a team. Tonight was the night new leaders from both Butler and IUPUI would be placed at four different schools in the Indy area.

Linda, whom runs the training, sets up this gigantic spider web of yarn through her entire house. It took her four hours today to wind and tangle and loop and stretch out all of the strings, one for each leader. Members of every team came to celebrate and anxiously waited to see who we would get to join the ranks of Carmel YL.

There was a lot of cheering and clapping going on as these new leaders made their way around the house hurdling in some spots and crawling in others. I would have been so excited and intimidated and nervous and hopeful if I were in their shoes.

And then they would find the end of the string right in the midst of their new team. We got four new leaders and each time one of them found their new string we erupted into screams and then fell into a giant group hug.

The brand-new Carmel Young Life leaders surrounded by most of our existing leaders. (Holy cow there are a lot of us and we're missing Krafty, Tyler Bender and Meisha.)

I can tell already that Courtney, Audrey, Eshan and Laura are fantastic. We went to MaryEllen's house for dessert and introductions. All 16 of us sat in a circle and introduced each other and asked questions and laughed and even had a serenade from Courtney. I'm so excited to keep getting to know these girls and walk with them as they step into being a leader.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Random Thoughts

Today a conversation with one of my 8th grade girls reminded me that we really never know what is going on in someone else's life. Be kind-- you don't know how much someone else might need that from you.

Everyone should eat frozen yogurt everyday. The world would be a happier place.

One of the things my parents would tell Katie and I over and over again while growing up was, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." I think all of us need to work on following that rule.

Skype is one of the greatest products of modern technology.

I have an incredible Young Life team and I'm so thankful for all of these leaders. I'm so excited for us to get new additions tomorrow night.

In the words of MaryEllen, "I really hope they love all of us as much as we already love them!"

I think we should have popcorn in Campaigners every week.

"Works do not earn God's favor, they reflect God's favor." -Grant Goodman
If we believe that we have been saved by the free gift of grace that I don't know how we can choose to do anything else but live that out and try to reflect God's love and grace with how we use our time, with the words we choose to speak, with the way we spend or give away our money, with the way we treat people. Choosing anything else just isn't worth it.

Someone told me the other day that it is a mark of great friendship if you can easily go back and forth in conversation between serious and light-hearted topics. Colleen Kelley is an expert at that.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2: 8-10

If the rest of the year is supposed to be pure gain than today was a success.

One more thing-- please don't wish that you could be just like everyone else. The thing that sets you apart, makes you different, is probably the thing that makes you special. I know it's hard to be different sometimes but it's always worth it to be yourself. In the words of Mags, "Start loving yourself, drop what's denying you that love."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Anyone who's anyone brings their own."

After a great Thanksgiving with my family I arrived back in Indy to spend some time with some of my favorite people. I'm thankful for stretches of days like this when people just want to connect and catch up and spend real time together.

Sar and I reunited and carpooled (we really love carpooling together) to hang out with Dom, Allison, Taylor and Susan. Now sophomores in college, they are growing up and figuring out who they are through Young Life, new groups of friends, boyfriends, sororities or lack of sororities, worship nights, real community, intentional faith, changes in majors, and realizations about themselves.

And even though they're growing up, they're still exactly the same in so many ways. During times like this I feel like they've never even gone away.

The rest of the night was spent with Sarah and MaryEllen. 

I really don't even know how to explain how much fun we had.... Nope, can't do it.

We laughed till we cried, painted nails, got smoothies, sang Jake Ousley songs in the car, did Sar's hair, read Cold Tangerines aloud, had boy talk, ate popcorn, took Photobooth pictures... at about 12 we realized we were having the epitome of a girl slumber party. Minus the pillow fight.

Best friends like this are hard to come by.

This morning was the most fun I've ever had before 11:00 church. We awoke early to Sar showing us her beautiful, curly hair. Then Sar and I got to go meet Jake and Heather for breakfast at Petite Chou. They are one powerhouse brother-sister duo. After talking for over an hour Jake exclaimed, "We should have met at 8! There's so much to talk about!" Next Sar and I met up with Steph to talk some more about life and Thanksgiving break and how Carmel dominated the State game last night and family and Young Life.

It's been a couple Sundays since I've sat in the rows of Common Ground and it was so good to be back. I love that we were surrounded by Marlin & Joel, MaryEllen, Rachel & Colleen, and David was right behind us. I love singing these songs and hymns together. I love when I hear truths that apply to my life.

David, Sar, MaryEllen and I went to lunch together because we weren't ready for Sar to leave just yet. We tried out Good Morning Momma's and it was delicious.

But I mean, what meal could possibly be bad when you're in a room painted the color of sunshine, surrounded by great friends, and you have a Diet Coke?

This afternoon I got to sit in my room and just talk with Taylor Porter. Perfection. This semester we have strangely stayed connected primarily through voice mails-- really long, multi-message voice mails. I don't know why we can never catch anymore. But thankfully we both just keep calling and leaving messages and making sure we stay friends that know what's going on in each other's lives.

I loved having time to just sit and talk and listen to long stories without having any distractions. Taylor is just so great and a constant source of inspiration and raw truth and joy.

We started skyping Mags when Molly came over so she could meet both of them and it was one of the best/most hilarious Skype conversations ever. It's so fun for me to see how Taylor thinks Molls and Mags are so great and they love her too.

Molls and I made a trip to the grocery store where I got overly excited about juice and we picked cinnamon rolls for the Chick Flick Sunday dessert.

Annie Skyped in right after the movie started and we had to pause The Holiday (my personal favorite) to see her in one of those really-excited-to-be-talking-to-you-and-kind-of-squealing-because-i-love-you-so-much-and-wish-i-were-there-with-you kind of moods. We can't wait to play with her all next weekend.

Rachie joined us for the rest of the chick flick, we love when she comes over, and we realized that we all really want to be Kate Winslet for awhile and be a girl who has gumption.

Such a great Thanksgiving break of overlapping with awesome people. There are only a few weeks left until Christmas and I'm going to take on Kelle Hampton's attitude that she articulated so well this weekend, "If companies struggle all year to break even and Black Friday finally flips the switch to gaining profit, then perhaps I should, likewise, focus on the rest of the year as pure gain. I'm going to enjoy it... Today I felt grateful--reminded that, no matter how busy we are, what matters most is this. The opportunity to connect. And whether your life right now is really challenging, really great or somewhere in between, everyone has the opportunity to connect. So from here on out, it's all profit."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Today Was Great

1. I woke up and got to play with Lincoln and my mom for a long time.

2. We made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and drank coffee all morning long.

3. I got to hold lil' Linc and take pictures with him- our love is so mutual.

4. Really exciting- we had a ton of wood delivered for their wood-burning heater that Nick now gets to chop up.

5. Linc already loves camp T. You know how I know? I've discovered that singing him a CILT graduation song or cheer gets him to settle right down and usually go to sleep.  Good thing I know a lot of them.

6. We went on a little drive today and got to visit Holland, the one and only Sluggo's pizza, and Lowe's to get a ladder where we also spotted our first ugly Christmas sweater of the season.

7. Tonight I got to do a lot of hanging out with Mom and Katie. I love when we laugh really hard and can't stop and everything seems funny.

8. We made cake pops to practice for quilt camp next weekend. Mom was shocked to find out that they taste like a big glob of cake and icing (that's exactly what they are). Nick was a big fan. I prefer cupcakes.

9. Mom and Katie worked on replicating the quilted giraffe and elephant I found in Tanzania. Can you pick out which are the old animals and which are the new ones? I cut all of the fabric for Molly's quilt that we're making next weekend.

10. I got to Skype with Annie even though she's in Mexico, get notifications about CILTs so excited for their reunions, and get texts from friends that are excited to hang out in Indy the rest of break.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone- I hope it's been a great one. We've spent our day mashing potatoes, drawing on the table, cooking way too much food, spending all day with family, reading, holding Lincoln, singing to Lincoln (camp songs and CILT cheers lull him right to sleep), playing with Lincoln, attending a birthday party, and more cooking.

After a day of food and family and more food and family, it's time to break out our favorite Christmas movie. Katie and I can quote the entire thing and Linc is snoring on Nick's lap. Great night.

And I'm more than a bit thrilled that tonight I finally got to announce another reunion for the CILTs of 2010. Shelby, Beef, Kaitlin and I have been scheming for a couple weeks now and are so excited to see all our kids in January. Facebook is blowing up and six girls have told me they've been moved to tears of joy.

Last December's Reunion

Spring CILT Reunion