Thursday, January 31, 2013

Macklemore meets Miss Wright

Perhaps you've heard of Macklemore's Thrift Shop? My YL girls introduced it to me first, then it was part of a skit at camp the next weekend. It's not unusual to hear kids humming it in the hallway at school. Today before SLT Hodgin and I suddenly started changing the lyrics to a more school friendly version. A little, "I'm gonna crack some books," and then, "only got two pencils in my pocket." The bell rang for us to go back to class but my kids kept spitting the next few lines at me. 
After taking Kid President's challenge to be more awesome today we decided to commit to making the best SLT ever. We wrote the lyrics together up on the overhead screen, practiced a few times and then recorded a music video. Today I love being a teacher with these kids.

What-what, what, what
What-what, what, what
Budda, Budda, Budda- du duh
Budda, Budda, Budda- du duh

I'm gonna crack some books.
Only got two pencils in my pocket.
I'ma I'ma reading,
Through the halls I'm speedin'
School is really awesome.

Walkin to school like what up I got a big book
Goin old school, don’t need no Nook
And that’s about it,
Don’t wanna waste all day
Wright’s SLT is a constant par-tay

High's of the Day: Waking up to "High of the Day" texts from girls, playing the zoom name game at the start of every class, 3rd period's 16-second record, sharing Kid President's Pep Talk with my 7th graders, hanging out with FBC girls, cooking with my roommates, making a Dance Mix for an upcoming Club and Reunion, knowing that I get to see old CILTs back at camp in just two days.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ch 36

A camp story...

I got a yellow piece of paper in my mailbox, about halfway through the summer, from another counselor. She had copied a section out of a devotional she'd been reading for the staff because the section seemed so applicable to what we were all doing as counselors.

The paper told the story of the people who spent their lives working on the great cathedrals in Italy. They were master craftsman and artists that may have only have worked on one small section of those enormous buildings. Whether they were painting a spectacular scene, laying intricate tile work, or carving the wood of the highest arches, they were only one small part of the much larger picture. Many of them never got to see the completed church even though they'd spent all of their days devoted to it's progress. They probably never met the ones who had laid the foundation or those who would continue working after them. But the cathedral couldn't have been finished, and wouldn't be as beautiful, without every single one of those workers.

As counselors we get to be craftsman and artists in the lives of our campers. When we think about the work we do in the summer we usually think about the 90 kids that we got to lead and build relationships with. We have cabin photos that show the ten smiling faces that moved in each week. But what if instead of looking at all of the kids you impact in one summer, we looked at how one kid is impacted over all of their summers?

So many campers start their Tecumseh journey at age eight as a Brave in Miami or Catawba cabin. They grow up in this place; improving from a yellow to blue swim band, learning all the words to the camp songs, performing on stage at closing campfire, moving up the hill to Lake Village and someday graduating as a torchbearer. Many kids will tell you that this is their favorite place on Earth and the place that taught them about themselves, about friends, about faith. It's their whole collection of summers that brought them here, but their counselors only get to be with them for one or maybe two years if they're lucky. They don't get to see the whole journey.

When I was a camp kid I loved when counselors returned for two or three or sometimes four summers if I got really lucky. I could always find first years that I liked a lot too, but there is something so special about consistency. Having people come back that knew me and shared my history was my favorite thing. It always broke my heart at the end of the summer when all the counselors packed everything from their cabins back into their cars and headed out. I could never know for sure if they would be back again next June, a whole school year away.

Now I try to keep that feeling in my mind when I think about returning for another summer as a counselor. There are so many kids that I want to keep coming back for and I know it's important to them. I want to see how Lilly has changed this year and if she's still such a carefree spirit. I want to know how Carly is doing with her parents split. I wonder if Cami and Alli are still good friends after starting middle school.

I know that I'm incredibly lucky to have been a counselor for as long as I have. For starters, I was born as a camp kid and wanted to be a counselor since I knew what one was. My parents are obviously supportive of camp and never would have questioned if it was a good thing for me to return. I majored in Education in college so while other friends had to take internships, summer camp served as the perfect experience for my future. Now as a teacher, my summers are free and there is nothing I would rather do than return to Tecumseh. I get to be one of the counselors that comes back and I don't take it for granted.

Being able to see kids grow up here over several summers lets me see a larger picture not many people get. There is a little girl named Emma that is one of the cathedrals being worked on and perfected summer after summer. She's never actually been in my cabin, but I've known her for many years now.

The first year she came to camp she hated it. I can still picture her in the front row of opening campfire. She had a scowl on her face, arms crossed tight and her whole body tense in protest to the slightest bit of fun. While everyone else danced and sang to Silly Willy, Emma stood with her hair over her eyes like a curtain, trying to block all of them out.

She was in one of my best friend's cabin that year so our paths overlapped enough for me to definitely take notice of her presence. A little spitfire, she could throw a temper tantrum with the best of them. It wasn't uncommon to see her crying in the Fellowship Room before clinics, pouting at the lunch table or sitting out of pool time. To no avail her counselors tried to console her, cheer her up and get her into the camp spirit.  It didn't work.

The next year was much of the same. When she showed up the counselors that recognized her were thankful she wasn't in their cabin. Emma made the week difficult for everyone--she wasn't nice to the other girls and the counselors had to give so much of their time and attention to her. The negative attitude was still a fixture as much as that dark curtain of long, tangled hair. She lagged behind the group every where they walked and never participated with the rest of the group. Even though she was a pill, her counselors continued to love her. Week after week in staff meetings we are commissioned to go out there and, "Love those kids." It doesn't matter who they are or how fun they are; at Tecumseh we're going to love each and every one of them. Those counselors should have been given an award for how well they loved that child all week long.

Emma's third summer she became a Blazer and stayed for two weeks. "My parents are making me stay," she announced to her counselors with a bit of a lisp that she hadn't lost yet when they asked if she was excited. She started out her week with the same familiar scowl and crossed arms when we all circled up around flagpole that first night. But the rest of my memories of Emma that year are of her being stuck to her counselor's side.

She had finally learned that this love was genuine and that she would be loved no matter how she reacted. I think Emma was starting to figure out that maybe it would be okay to take her guard down a little bit. Whether they were swimming in the pool, walking across Main Field or sitting on the benches at chapel, Emma weaseled her way right beside her counselor. She still complained and whined all day long, refusing to have fun or get excited. But spotting the two of them holding hands as they walked or seeing them mid-piggy-back ride was the most beautiful picture. Emma's counselor got attached to her as well and both of them cried when it was time for her to go.

This past summer I couldn't wait to spot Emma when her time of the summer rolled around. She came back for two weeks again just like the year before. On check-in day she sought out her counselor from the year before and attacked her with a giant hug. At first she was hesitant about her new cabin because she wanted to be with the same counselor again. But Emma had two new awesome counselors that continued to love her well. When I saw her around camp she was running in her flag football clinic or digging in the volleyball sand during Trading Post with other kids. The scowl had been replaced with a toothy smile and sometimes she even pulled her hair back from her eyes into a loose ponytail. This was a different kid. When it was time for her to be picked up Emma didn't want to leave and begged her parents to let her stay for a third week. She loved camp.

I love this story of transformation that happened right in-front of my eyes. Emma has grown in so many ways during the four years she has been coming to Tecumseh. And her story still isn't over. There will be more counselors this summer and then ones after that who will all keep pouring their encouragement and prayer and love and support into this little girl's life. Many of them will never know her whole story or have any idea of the kid she used to be. But the work that each of them is doing is so important. They are part of a story that is bigger than themselves. Part of the legacy we get to leave behind is the impact we've had in the lives of our campers. As counselors we are adding to the beautiful, unique, intricate lives of kids in our cabins and it's some of the most meaningful work we will ever get to be a part of.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I have an idea...

Allison told me that at Student Staff this past weekend, Linda had everyone introduce themselves with an idea that they have. Totally open-ended, any idea works. I loved it so I keep asking people what ideas they have.

Young Life girls' ideas:

Play a giant game of Twister with paint on each color
Let's all go to Africa!
Decrease World Suck
Moving sidewalks in High Schools
Make Young Life shirts for Castaway this summer
Create a large choreographed dance
YL Sock Hop
Thrift shop together
Scavenger Hunt all over town
Play Bigger or Better
Go to a drive in movie
Bring Your Pet to Club
Form an accapella group

Students' ideas:
Nap time at school
Get a pet manatee and put a saddle on it
Cure cancer
Make a phone that never runs out of battery
Visit a jail
Talking dogs
Play basketball with square balls
Put in trampoline floors at school
Bring pets to school
Ride scooters in the hallway
Install hand scanners on lockers instead of combination locks
Field trip to Hawaii
Roller coasters instead of school buses
Give cats mohawks
Dance Marathon in our school
Build secret passages in the school
Flying pants
Braces should light up
Every school should have a Starbucks
Domesticated exotic animals
Affordable jet packs

What ideas do you have?

Monday, January 28, 2013

"It's like I'm playing with home court advantage."

I'm fired up. There's this song that Tyler Bender first introduced to us in Campaigner's last year that went, "Our God's not dead, he's surely alive. He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion." If today isn't proof of that I don't know what is.
After school I talked with KCraig, Haley and Kate about Jon's post about this generations decreasing micro-morality and increasing macro-morality. It's a topic that is so obvious but I don't think we've ever had such good verbiage to discuss it. We sat around a bowl of chips and salsa at El Rodeo and had such an honest conversation about it all. We got super excited talking about how right now especially it feels like we're in the middle of spiritual warfare-- that we can feel this battle between God and satan. We know that Christ already won and that he will come again, but sometimes we can feel the devil throwing everything he has at us.

But people don't pick a fight with someone they're not afraid of right? Isn't it cool to think about how when you're under attack, under persecution for Christ, that may very well be because the devil is so scared of what you're doing and the strides your making for Christ? God is doing huge things here in the lives of these kids. I've seen him do incredible things in just a few months and am confident that satan hates what's going on.

I've written letters to God a dozen times at camp and in Young Life, it's another way of praying and helps me connect in a real way. But today we flipped that over for the first time and each wrote a letter to the devil. It was pretty awesome. I want us to these warriors for Christ that are confident in what we believe and willing to stand up for it and defend it. Followers of a God that will stand up for us and fight for us when it feels like we can't. But right now, we're gonna run towards Christ with extravagant love because we won't be knocked down.

All the HS girls and leaders stayed in one group tonight and there was this electric energy in our conversation. We pray for hearts and ears to be opened and tonight I really think they were. I love when girls are brave enough to ask a question or say something they have never been able to say before. It's awesome when someone speaks up and her friends cheer her on. I love when they stand up for each other and spur on another on. This is what we're called to do.

I talked with Ellie on the way home about everything that had been going on today and she ended up writing her own letter to the devil too. At first you think it would be so weird, how do you even start? But here's the plan (you can do it too, really):

Step 1- Put your phone away
Step 2- Listen to a God song and doodle
Step 3- Keep listening to more of that music and write a letter to the devil

That's it. "The devil will come at me and the things that I love. But I'm strong enough to be a spiritual warrior. I can look the devil in the eyes and he will not win." Gives me chills. The devil sure got a lot of mail today. Let's send him some more.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Story of Hope

Once a year, all of Indianapolis Young Life comes together for a worship night at 1st Baptist Church. It's one of my favorite things, not just because I love worship, but because I think it's so cool to have all of these different people. We have leaders from every school that have invited and brought along their kids, parents and committee members, siblings and faces brand-new to this group.

As people came in I got to sit with Lauren, Kate and Hannah, then go say hi to Malena and her family. Carmel kids that I used to get to lead came in together and some North Central girls we went to Wyld Life with. A group of my Camp Tecumseh girls came and all sat together. Little brothers and sisters ran around the room, I recognized YL staff from all over the area. More HSE leaders showed up with HS and Junior High kids in tow. It was beautiful chaos.

Ryan and Lauren led everyone in music tonight and Jon gave a message from the middle of the room. He reminded us that in the Bible God's message was often told through letters that were passed around, and now God's message of hope is told through us. The people in our schools, work places, and lives will hear this story because of what we do. That should be exciting.

Kaitlyn, Ellie and Malena are telling the story of Christ in the halls of HSE Junior High. They get to remind people that they all have a place to belong. Olivia, Katherine, Emma and Libby get to share the story in the buildings of Cathedral. They can stand up for people that need to be defended, choose to use their words to build others up. Sarah and Lizzy will live out the story at their schools in Lawrence. They get to bring a message of hope, a way of living that celebrates life. Hannah, Lauren, Kate and Jimmy get to walk the halls of HSE tomorrow and be a light. They get to live a life that says we are not defined by our past mistakes. They are all a message of hope.

Tonight Kylie stood up in front of all of these people and shared a verse. This little girl is a fireball and everyone in the room was taken back a bit by how incredible it was to hear those words coming out of her mouth and her heart. She's just one little girl but God can use her in big ways.

Jon reminded us of the story of feeding the 5,000 when they had just a few fish and loaves and bread to feed the whole crowd. It was a ridiculous idea. No way would it be possible. It was so little. But God took what they had that day and made it more than enough. He does the same with us.

When we offer up our not enough he makes it more than enough. When you think about how many people go to all of the High Schools we represented in this room tonight there was no way we could go back and make a difference. There weren't that many of us. We can't do it on our own. It's a crazy idea, but I know it's a possibility. If we offer up our not enough Christ will say we are more than enough in the halls of our school. We get to be the story of hope.


We woke up with the sun this morning to go on an adventure. Yesterday Julia, one of my bible study girls, sent me a screenshot of Bob Goff's tweet that he was coming to Muncie to speak. I did some quick investigating, texted Bob Goff fans and soon had a plan. Abby and I picked up her friend and some coffee on the way out of Indy and made the quick trip to Muncie. Commonway Church invited him to come speak and he agreed right away. My favorite part of the worship set had to be this girl rocking out in the back with a tambourine, xylophone and accordion. She played those songs like it was the most exciting thing she'd ever done.

I found out about Love Does last Spring and read it in a week, got the counselors at Tecumseh to read it last summer, am going through it with a group of 8th grade girls and recommend it every time someone asks for a book suggestion. Bob's book is filled with stories about how he doesn't just think or talk about love, love does stuff. It inspires you to action and it changes the way you grow in your relationship with Christ.

Bob put his phone number in the back of the book because he wanted to become more available to people in the same way that Christ did. I called him for the first time after I finished Love Does and discovered he was just as kind and welcoming as his book makes him out to be. I invited him to come to Tecumseh last summer but he couldn't because he always spends the summer at their house in Canada. Then when I went on the Homes to Hope trip in Mexico we went through San Diego where his office is. He invited us to come and drink lattes with him but the timing didn't work out. On New Years I made "Meet Bob Goff" one of my goals for the year not knowing how that would pan out. BUT TODAY DREAMS CAME TRUE!

We got to the church early enough to get seats in the center of the front row. I wish you could have all been there to see how energy oozes out of this guy, he laughs from his gut, he speak with his hand and his smile makes you feel like you're best friends. I take intense notes when I get to hear someone that I respect and admire so much because I don't want to forget a word. It's not the same as actually being there, but here's much of what I wrote down:

John 3 Let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and deeds. 
God is not waiting for a show of hands to see who agrees with him. God wants people that go out and do stuff. We're going to go into the field, find the next step and do that.

I think we should all have bible doings instead of bible studies. God doesn't need people to stalk him, he needs people to love him with what they do. It's easy:
Love God, Love People, Do Stuff
Just point people towards Jesus, that's what we need to do

When they asked me to write a book I asked them to build a school. Then I told them I wanted to put my phone number in the back. I get 50 calls a day and I don't let them go to voicemail. We aren't Jesus but we can be more like Jesus. Let's not screen our calls. There's something beautiful about just saying "Hello."

I used to call my neighbor every day, but she got really sick with a cancerous tumor. And I told her I wasn't going to call her anymore. I went out and bought her walkie-talkies and started talking like that instead.  You know I think we live in this reverse economy of Jesus with walkie-talkies and tree forts because that's how we roll. 

We leak Jesus. My office is above a bakery. Do you know what it smells like? A hundred loaves of bread. We're the aroma of Christ. Bring a bread machine into your office. You don't have to put a bible verse on it, just do it.

They just translated Love Does into Arabic. Do you know the only word they couldn't translate? Dorky. It's hilarious. And now we're going to go and give the book to the new President of Libya. 

We're not trying to turn people into Christians. We're leaking Jesus.

Do you know the movie Hook? Do you remember when he is with the lost boys and they wipe off his face and hold his cheeks and say, "There you are Peter." I think Heaven wants to grab you by the cheeks just like that and say, "There you are." Jesus sees who we're becoming
He tells us over and over again, "Do not be afraid." If we can get that right we're loving extravagantly, we're riffing in the key of Jesus.

Most countries measure their progress by their Gross National Product. But one country said, "We're going to do this differently." Bhutan measures Gross National Happiness. They figured out that chances of something great happening are small until you start saying "YES!" to things. You can't just put a toe in life and feel it out, you've got to run and do a cannonball into life. Each morning I wake up and think, "Today might be the day I get to meet the king of Bhutan. And today is the day I get to point to the King and live like the King."

You know a lot of churches lay hands on people when they pray. But I think the body of Christ is like crowd surfing. We lift each other up and you don't let go till five other people have them. People will be lining up to follow Christ because it's working.

Live a life worthy of your calling. Not anybody else's but yours. You know what I do? Every Thursday I quit something. I quit something to make room for Christ to do something and fill that space. If you're married to someone you've got to make it work, but if you're just dating someone break up with them on Thursday! When they ask why tell them, "It's Thursday, I quit stuff." You have all this stuff that's blocking your view of Jesus. Just say, "I'm out," and give it up.

We get to come up with our own language for love. When people ask me to pray for them I hold them close to my heart, I breathe for them. And do you know what? I'm trying to be perfect. I don't go around telling people that, but I remind myself that being perfect is what I'm shooting for.

Once or twice something wonky is going to happen while you're doing love stuff. You'll get scared and stop being who you are. But God says "DO NOT BE AFRAID." You've got to keep being you. You've got to keep doing stuff.

Do you know what you're called to do? Be present. You've got to be there for your people.

Everybody wants to make a difference. But very few people are willing to be different.

When I fly I get to sit in these seats at the front of the plane. But after we land I always wait and let other people go first. I don't make a big deal out of it, I just wait until they all go. It's like the cool version of 'Left Behind.' I think we can find a thousand ways to love people.

God gives us these markers of what to do. Acts 1:1 Look for many convincing proofs that God is still alive. God wants to blow your mind. Isn't it great that Jesus' ability to forgive us isn't limited by our ability to get it?

Romans 8 Nothing can ever, ever, ever separate us from the love of Christ. It sounds like a Taylor Swift song.

We have this parade on my street every year. But everyone has to be in the parade, no one watches. And we always have a really special grand marshal. This past year it was this four footer from Uganda- the first person to ever survive a witch doctor and then take them to court. Well we thought how many balloons would it take to lift him up. We tied 1,000 balloons to this Ugandan kid and it was pretty awesome. When we're all connected like that we can do this. We've got to work the plan. And what's the plan? It's Jesus.

Bob prayed with everyone at the end, having us hold hands down the rows, and stepped down to hold Abby's hand. He stood next to me after he finished and the pastor stepped up for a closing benediction. Bob already told us he's a hugger, he doesn't shake hands, so I said, "Hi Bob," right away and I GOT TO HUG BOB GOFF.

I told him that I know he talks to hundreds of people everyday but I'm the Camp Tecumseh, Homes for Hope, 8th grade bible study girl that has talked with him a couple time. He was so excited that I'd called him and said he remembered those things. Whether he really did or not, he's so sincere and kind. More people were making their way up front to talk to him but he took the time to take pictures with us and sign our books.

We stayed up front for a little while longer as he talked to and hugged more people. We just wanted to soak up a little more Bob Goff. A few of our Young Life friends showed up for the next service and we could tell them that it was greater than we had hoped. It seems fitting that this Bob Goff adventure was so spontaneous and we just had to say yes. It's that easy. Love God. Love People. Do Stuff.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Majorly overlapping going on here

I am friends with a professional actress. You might know her too, her name is Arielle Brosman. She's been a big deal on the stage since about age 5, starring in all sorts of different productions. Lately she's been rehearsing for her role of Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

The play was performed in the round, so all of the audience sat around the stage and the actors were in the circle the whole time, switching boxes and positions between scenes instead of going off stage. So cool. I loved that from my seat I could watch a whole row of our friends reacting to every line.

Of course all of the lines were in Old English which made it difficult for people like Carolyn and me to understand. She leaned over to whisper, "They might as well be speaking in Spanish," a little while in and, "I should have studied more before." We tried to suppress our laughter. Thankfully I had Lesem on my left whispering me a recap of each scene since she had studied this play in college.

It was an awesome performance and we were so proud of our girl Arielle face. Our little camp cheering section was a great crew to spend the night with. We had a fourth meal at Steak n' Shake which felt so HS of us... maybe because of the freshmen double date going on beside us and the loud crew of HS kids that showed up about the same time as our cheeseburgers and Arielle's mandarin oranges. It was a great night.

Because Mel, Arielle, Kata and Jamie were all here from out of town we got to spend the night together and then meet up with Emily, Lesem and Burke for lunch the next day. It felt like a weekend at camp because we were traveling with a group so large. Emily and I convinced them to play Spot It while we waited for our food and these friends got competitive.

I vividly remember sitting on the Longhouse porch with my counselor when I was just a CILT. My session was rather dramatic and I remember telling her through tears, "I just thought I would end up with best friends from CILTs like my sister did. I want camp friends like hers."

My session ended up being ok and a handful of the people were my best friends for years afterwards, but I love that still to this day camp friends are some of my very best friends. It's this awesome mosaic of people that have joined at different times, stayed for different seasons and made connections with different people-- but we're all part of the same big picture. Sometimes we don't hear from someone for awhile but we can always come back together, we show up at the things that matter and we're there when someone needs us.

Late in the afternoon I got to introduce Arielle to two of my favorite college YL leaders. Abby is at Butler and Allison at IU, and I love when I get to see both of them together because the overlap is so rare. Today we got to sit in a coffee booth and talk and it was just perfect.

And honestly it was perfect because it was so imperfect. I found out about a really difficult situation while I was sitting there, had to make a really hard phone call and was just at such a loss of what to do or what to say. My heart was broken for a couple of people that I really love and it seemed like there was absolutely nothing I could do. But these friends sat there and asked questions and listened while I told them what was going on. And then when I couldn't talk or hold it together myself they prayed for those people and the whole situation. They covered the situation in prayer for me, sometimes we just need people to do that and I'm thankful I've got those kinds of people.

Tonight I got to hang out with Allison and Matt for awhile-- I always love to hang out with Al and I'm glad I could get to know Matt more. We ate dinner together, made best friends with the waitress and feasted on pizza. Al and I were trying to convince Matt to stay the night so that they could come to Bob Goff in the morning but he wasn't too keen on the idea. So I asked, "If you could do anything spontaneous right now what would it be?" Allison would want to play a really loud game like they had at their friend's house, Matt wanted to ride inside a grocery cart and I wanted to surprise a YL girl with a cookie cake.

I had already brought along Spot It so we made Al's dream come true and played it really loudly, card-grabbing and wrestling were involved. We drove across the street to Marsh to push Matt in a cart and picked up a cookie cake for my girl. Matt played Taylor Swift in the car and possible sang along louder than I did, major points.

We drove all the way up to Fishers and surprised five of my Young Life girls. I told the mom we were coming ahead of time and she led us downstairs. Three of them were dancing on top of a pool table but jumped off to attack me when they saw me come through the door. Their little sisters were going crazy in the theatre room and a group of their guy friends were being ridiculously funny by themselves in a third room. So much fun and chaos in one house. 

I love when people from different parts of my life get to overlap and meet each other. I'm glad that tonight Allison got to meet my girls that I've told her about and that I got to spend time with Matt. Life is just better when we're connected. I really love these kids and I'm so glad I get to be a part of their life.

Allison and Matt headed back to Bloomington really late but I'm thankful they stayed for so long. Things that were reinforced: Allison is one of my favorite people to sit and talk and be vulnerable with, Matt is a proud member of the FBC, life is more fun when you take opportunities and showing up in people's lives is the best.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hipsters v Jocks

Just before club I got this text, "EMERGENCY! What kind of shoes do hipsters wear?" These are the types of things we need to know. Thankfully we all got our outfits figured out and the kids showed up dressed as the hippest- without-trying-to-be-hip hipsters and ready-for-a-throw-down jocks I'd ever seen.

We wait upstairs in the garages as everyone arrives and have time for plenty of pictures together. It's all still so new here and I love seeing which kids show up that I didn't expect.

I love that I get to share Wyld Life with Julia and her friends, that Rutger showed up after I heckled him all day at school, the 8th grade girl army that already loves Young Life so much, friends like Emma and Olivia that get ready beforehand together. I wish that I had been able to be a Wyld Life kid in Junior High and I love that this is now part of their story.

This dream team is a force to be reckoned with. Don't mess with KCraig's crew.

When I was dreaming of YL a year ago I don't think I was even dreaming of Wyld Life yet. But God's plans are bigger than my ideas and I'm so thankful that this was in the works. I'm all about these kids and thankful that I've been placed in a position where I can be so involved with them. Who wouldn't want to be friends with this group?

Due to the basketball game and cheer practices we didn't have quite the regular turn-out of 7th graders, but I was thrilled when Soph and Milly showed up after their Lacrosse practice and I love that Emma and Kendal are here every time. I know that these girls are going to be involved with YL all the way through.

Tonight we sang, played games, ran around the gym, deciphered hipster Instagram puzzles, taste-tested hipster and jock drinks, laughed and cheered and had more fun on a Thursday night than you're supposed to.

I love that it's so obvious week after week that God knows what he's doing and everything will work out. Even if there are technical difficulties, even if some people can't show up, even if we're nervous-- God will handle it all. This sight, of all these kids singing together, just being kids when the rest of the world is trying to make them grow up too fast, this is a beautiful thing.

Lori gave the talk tonight about this picture or image we portray. Sometimes it's not one we're very proud of, like the old prom photo she shared with us. But she shared from 2 Corinthians, "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

It is possible for God to change us an make us new. When we broke up in small groups we talked about how other's see us, how God sees us, how we want to be remembered and people we admire that are already living like this is our school. The time when we get to sit in a circle and talk together is my favorite part.

Dear Wyld Life kids,

You're the best. I'm so glad that we get to share this adventure together. Thank you for getting so amped up about everything we do and bringing so much life and energy to Club. I love seeing you break down walls of friend groups and stereotypes when we're all together. You're setting the tone that everyone is accepted and part of this team. It's so cool to see you thinking about the person God is calling you to be and how you can live that out until we meet again. You really can make that happen.

Can't wait to see you in the halls and the lunch room. Keep being exceptional. Peace, love and YL- Miss Wright