Thursday, August 30, 2012

Highs of the Day

  1. Writing a post about being excited about life that El inspired.
  2. A new haircut because I always get one right after camp.
  3. Talking with the woman that cut my hair about our lives and faith. Usually I dread these conversations but it was so cool.
  4. Taking a nap at 7pm because I was so exhausted and then going back to bed for good at 10.
  5. Talking with a YL girl and a camp girl about things that really matter in their lives.
  6. Finding out I get to see Sar and Ben this weekend!
  7. Seeing the new TSwift music video... even if I don't really get the whole animal thing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Write it on your heart that everyday is the best day of the year." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lately I've been having conversations with people about living a life that makes them happy. I think everyone wants that, they just can't see an easy way to get there sometimes. We can get brought down by all the things we have to do, the things that seem to always take up too much time. And I don't think there's any way around taking care of your responsibilities. You've got to do your homework, you have to go to work everyday, you have to pay the bills and run errands and do your laundry and the list goes on and on. But I choose to believe that there is more to life than that. If we can figure out a way to get excited about living, about the day we're in, it can make all the difference.

I remember during college I had this realization that I should start saying no to the things I didn't actually care about and start saying yes only to the things that really mattered to me. Instead of trying to please the people around me or getting involved just because it was what I thought I should be doing I could give my time and attention to things that mattered more and brought me more joy. When I was excited about those things and had fewer distractions I ended up doing a better job.

Bob Goff of Love Does writes, "Stop doing what you're able to do and figure out what you were made to do--then do lots of that." It just makes sense. I don't know why more of us don't figure that out. It's easy to spend time on Facebook, scrolling through Twitter, watching TV but those things don't make us come alive. Maybe you've got to figure out what makes you excited, makes you want to know more, makes you want to wake up each day and spend time doing exactly that.
I was reading an article about today's students that says, "Can we surprised that kids come out of the chute after four years in college, not knowing what they want to do, or what the possibilities might be? We haven't built their muscles for figuring out where they could make themselves useful, have fun and support themselves. We've built their getting-good-grades and coloring-inside-the-lines-muscles instead."

I don't think there's time to waste if we're going to make each day the best day of the year, if you want today to be great, if you want to live life to the full. Life just works better when you're living into what God made you to do. It's probably more than just one thing.

For me, I come alive when I'm playing with campers at Tecumseh or talking in a circle with my bible study girls or creating something or hanging out with YL kids or taking pictures and blogging or teaching my students in FBC or planning a CILT reunion or taking friends on an adventure or writing letters. Once I figured out what made me come alive then I could make sure I was doing a lot of that.

I think this life is too precious to settle for just being content everyday. There is so much to be excited about, to get involved in, to pursue and focus on. So today I will be intentional about doing what makes me come alive--meeting Erin O'Awesome for dinner, tackling Olivia and Libby after their soccer game, cheering for Kathleen, talking with Maddie in the stands, calling up Ellie Pearl, reading letters from Erin, Katie Pim and Grace, skyping with Kraft, sending out surprises and working on plans for a cabin reunion. Today I choose to live a life that I'm excited about.

What are the things that make you come alive?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"I'm just so happy to see you right now."

I may have spent my whole weekend watching football and cross country, but my sport of choice hands down, is cross country. Tonight's meet was ideal because both Carmel and HSE would be running in the county competition. Almost right away Darian, a Carmel freshmen, spotted me and ran over. I haven't seen her in far too long. Abby and Brooke, two girls from HSE, were there cheering too and I'm glad I got to see them.

I got to yell for Grace, Rachel, Courtney and Bailee from HSE then for Emily, Elise, Samantha and Ellen from Carmel. It was insanely hot outside and still they ran so fast. Cross country is intense.

Carme's XC team is basically an army--over 140 girls. I walked through their camp, looking for Sam in the sea of blue but was surprised to instead spot Kacy, a session 2 CILT. Our jaws both dropped when we saw each other we were so excited. Natalie and Emily, session 1 (yes, so many CILTs all over the place), joined us too for a little camp party.

I finally found Samantha and though she had just finished running in the top of the Varsity race she still had a smile on her face. I miss having Campaigners at her house on a weekly basis and getting to talk about real life. It'll be strange not going to YL with her this year but know that we'll still see each other often.

Love my friends today-

Taylor telling me, "Sorry camp is over- that must be so sad," in a voicemail
getting to talk to Emily at 6:30 this morning about her new engagement
texting with Annie about little things that were great
a letter from Katherine
talking on the phone to Kata about school
texting with Mar Bro
Mags making time to Skype with me

Love my students today-

A conversation about our new retirement community pen-pals
"Do you think any of them were involved in Women's Rights?"
"Dude, that was in like the 1800's"
"Maybe they're time travelers!"

After winning the homophone race one of my students asked if he won anything. I told him he got pride which is obviously the best prize. He asked if he could have a leaf. Then reminded me at the end of class to not forget his leaf tomorrow.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cheeseburgers, CILT friends and causing a scene

For Sar's birthday Mary Ellen and I got her a collection of all her favorite things. One of the things in that mix was a box of new stationary but we told her they could only be sent to us. Kind of as a joke, kind of serious. And then today I opened up my mailbox and found one of them addressed to me. I love letters from Sarah Briggs. They're the kind that I stick into my journal so I know exactly where it is and I go back to it to read again and again.

Tonight was a special night, the first big 2012 CILT reunion dinner in Indy with kids from all three of the sessions. I'd sent out a message about it last week but wasn't sure what kind of turn out to expect. Payton, Will and Rachel were already there when I showed up and more CILTs just kept showing up, most of them sporting their neon hats.

The first reunion is special because same-session-friends run and attack each other and people from the other two groups aren't really sure what to do. For most of them it's the first time they've seen the other people. We had two girls that go to the school say, "Wait- YOU were a CILT? I didn't know that," and people that had been in Pathfinder cabins together.

For most of the Session 1 CILTs like Quinn, I hadn't seen them since they left camp over two months ago. We had 15 CILTs show up, we missed the rest of them and I wished more counselors could have made it.

These kids have spunk--I'm pretty sure everyone in Steak n' Shake was wondering what force of nature had arrived and set up camp in the corner of the restaurant.

They even insisted on singing the Johnny Appleseed grace before we ate.
These kids, like Emma, are sweet and sentimental and retold a lot of stories from their time at camp this summer--like when we though raccoons would eat us during the Ghost Cabin sleep out, stories of people running away during Fugitive, how they became so much closer with people after surviving RFAJWD together.

The thing I love about CILTs after the summer is over is that it's never a competition. Now they're Team CILT, all three sessions combined. In a few months we'll have a reunion together back at camp and next summer some of them will get the chance to join the Day Camp staff.

I'm thankful for hugs after you haven't seen people in a long time. I'm thankful for milkshakes and french fries. I'm thankful for neon hats and Theta Kappa Lambda tanks and torchbearer patch key chains and Tecumseh sweatshirts. I'm thankful for old stories. I'm thankful for new friends. I'm thankful for these CILTs.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Are you eating Easy Mac for breakfast?"

Sunday morning Olivia and I left the house when it was still dark outside. I dropped her off for warm-ups at the soccer field at 6:50 and went to find the nearest Starbucks to get some much needed caffeine and write a letter until game time. Now I was one of the prepared soccer moms with my chair, sunglasses, hat and water bottle. I cheered for Olivia and knew the names of some other girls on the team too. Even though they lost, the game was close and Liv's team played hard the whole time.
We were about to take the path back to the other fields when Olivia asked, "Can we go through the woods?" Very Rule #4 of her. Of course we can go through the woods. We were explorers and attempted to climb some trees. 

Olivia wanted to stay to watch her old team play in the next game so we took a port-a-potty break, got her a neon"SWAG" shirt from one of the vendors and then decided that 9:30 am was a perfect time for a snow cone. "YOLO" Olivia told me. So wise.

In the times we weren't playing/watching soccer or eating this weekend we were doing a lot of this--singing really loudly in the car. Olivia loves controlling the iPod and is currently obsessed with the songs Good Time, Firework, Never Getting Back Together, Wavin' Flag and Payphone.

In the afternoon I went on a walk with roommate Colleen and Emily. We'd all had busy weekends so everyone had stories to share about what they'd done. I love that Colleen and Emily are both so good about asking questions and just being so go with the flow.

I went to my first YL dinner of the semester at the Nikcevich house and was thrilled to be reunited with Avery, Audrey and Eshan--three of the Carmel leaders I've really missed this summer.

The house was bursting with new Freshmen students that want to get involved and I sat down to eat with two girls Katie and Emily. They were both so sweet and we immediately were making connections with Hope and MI and Mars Hill and Camp T. So many of the YL and camp girls I care about are spread out all across the country starting the Freshmen year and I can just imagine them trying to find their spot on campus like Katie and Emily.

Mary Ellen, a ton of the Butler students and I went to Common Ground, the first time I've been since before summer. It was so good to be back in that space--to sing familiar songs, to sit with friends, to takes notes during the sermon and pray during communion. It feels like home.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sarah: Avid sports fan and soccer mom

I'm really excited about this semester now. At a week and a half in I've decided I love these students and am excited to keep getting to know them better. I'm laughing during class, being my camp self and adding new creative things to lessons. Today I added some pictures from the summer around my desk--some family, some camp, some Young Life, some bible study. I feel good about the new look.

After school I reunited with Grace and Mikaela because our separation anxiety had grown to an unbearable level. I hadn't seen Mikaela for a month and Grace since the last day of school. This pair is just so precious and continued to say, "We are together, right now, we're all together. This is the best." I love how they are intentional about being nice and including people, they love to be goofy and loud and don't worry if other people notice us laughing. Mikaela makes animal faces and Grace dances instead of walking.

You just can't beat girls like them.

HSE hires three teachers from each Junior High to come to the HSE v. Fishers football game to walk around where all the kids hang out and keep them in line. I decided this would be a great opportunity to see all my students, the 8th graders and hopefully a lot of my YL girls so I signed up. Because it would be more fun with a friend I convinced Alex to sign up with me. We got to wear these cool neon vests and get concessions for free. Boomslam.

This game was intense. The gates opened at 6 and the people flooded in, decked head to toe in blue for HSE or red for Fishers. By 6:05 the stands were full of fans and the game still wouldn't begin for an hour. They go big for this.

We got to wander through hundreds of 5th-8th graders that set up camp on the far end of the field. They were throwing paint and water bottles around, chasing their friends and jumping on each other. It was chaos and spirited and fun and crazy and the social event of the weekend.

Everywhere we walked we had kids shouting our names and running over to talk to us. Not going to lie, it was really fun. But I think my favorite part was seeing all the High School girls I know well. Emily, Natalie and Maggie are all so great and I'm excited to live life with them and invite them to YL events this Fall. I got to see girls from my Wyld Life cabin and old students I haven't seen in years.

The pit was crazy. The High School kids were painted in blue and kept the music and chanting going strong the whole game. I ran up near the end to visit a group of sophomores that had made it to the front but it was impossible to find anyone else I knew. HSE won the rivalry again 28-21. #royalnation

Saturday morning I woke up early and headed to the soccer fields to take on my new role as soccer mom for the weekend. I get to stay with Olivia Benz while her parents are out of town and cheer her on at all her games. I drank coffee while I watched the first game from my new borrowed folding chair.

During the break between games Olivia and I traveled across town to meet Jamie Zurawski. We all cheered on Olivia Odle, CILT session 1, and Libby one of my YL girls. We're super fans.

We loved cheering them on out their on the field. Such all stars.

Today was one of the best days, it was hot and sunny like a week 6 kind of day. I got to wear a camp frat outfit and hang out with great friends.

When their game was over Jamie and I ran across the field to attack the girls.

So much love.

The girls won their game and we were glad we got to see them for a bit before Libby had to head home. I'm thankful that it's so easy to show up to events like this.

Olivia chose Steak n' Shake for lunch. Chili mac is her favorite. While Odle got a grilled cheese, Jamie and I were twinners with cheeseburgers and milk shakes. We told camp stories and took pictures and laughed before we had to run off to the next game.

I'm so glad that I get to play with Olivia all weekend, that I got to be reunited with Jamie after two weeks (far too long) and that I saw Olivia for a second time this week.

"I've seen you a lot lately... I mean, I'm okay with that," Olivia told me. Yep. I'm a fan of being real life friends with her.

Game three I found a great spot in the shade to watch. Olivia played against a team that had three camp girls, one was in Choctaw with us the summer Olivia was my camper.

Olivia just joined this team but is doing such a great job of playing to her strengths and getting to know the girls. I got to watch her on the field and in the goal--such a champ.

It was necessary for us to make an Orange Leaf stop. Olivia prides herself in always filling her bowl to the very top. Can you guess which one is hers?

Other highlights of the night:

dinner at Moe's (Did you know they give out FREE chips and salsa?)
Jimmy Kimmel Lie Detective videos on YouTube
singing at the top of our lungs in the car
popcorn and watching The Hunger Games