Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Break Highlights

On Tuesday before we left school I showed Kid President's "20 Things We Should Say More Often" to all my class. During 6th period when he said, "let's dance!" seven girls jumped out of their seats and busted out their best moves.

I got to Holland just in time to watch Catching Fire with my parents, Katie and little Red. The second time was just as great and Red loved his first movie.

Wednesday morning Bethie and I went on a little date to Holland. We ended up getting to visit campus, go to chapel in Dimnent and I ran into Susan Haigh, Shima, Lindsey Bieri, Ellen and Dean Frost.

Mom and I baked our traditional challah bread in preparation for Thanksgiving. Holla at ya bread. 

Thanksgiving morning we ate breakfast with the boys, Kate and mom at McDonald's before church. Linc was all about his new football toy and dipping in ketchup.

I'd never been to a Thanksgiving service before but we all agreed it was pretty awesome. The music, the message-- great way to to focus on what's most important.

We ate Thanksgiving dinner and spent the afternoon at Nick's parents house with his whole side of the family. So many children, reading books, eating delicious food and being with friends.

This picture is too funny. I love Redford and making him laugh and just sitting with him. He's such a good, happy boy. He loves cats too.

I'm thankful that Linc is into break dancing these days. He's trying out for the next season of America's Got Talent.

Mom, Katie, Red and I drove down to the outlet mall Thursday night for black Friday shopping at JCrew. We love JCrew. We love 50% off sales too.

Friday morning I met my friend Casey Dawson at JPs, our favorite Holland coffee place. She was one of my very best friends at Hope and I'm thankful that we're still part of each other's lives. Casey is one of those people that I know I can always turn to and I'll always have her back too.

I'm thankful for playing with Linc and Red all day, watching my parents be such great grand parents.

We love that Linc is saying more words now and so curious about everything--lighting candles, cutting with scissors, sharing popcorn, looking at pictures, crawling under the Christmas tree.

Really thankful I get to be an aunt to the two cutest little guys you ever did see. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

"Doesn't it taste like a trampoline in your mouth? It's just so fluffy!"

"To choose to celebrate in the world we live in right now might seem irresponsible. It might seem frivolous, like cotton candy and charm bracelets. But I believe it is a serious undertaking, and one that has the potential to return us to our best selves, to deliver us back to the men and women God created us to be, people who choose to see the best, believe the best, yearn for the best. Through that longing to be our best selves, we are changed and inspired and ennobled, able to see the handwriting of a holy God where another person just sees the same old tired streets and sidewalks." -Cold Tangerines

Usually friendship bracelet season doesn't come till the Spring but this year I've gotten on a kick and I don't think I'll be stopping any time soon. I love this act of creating, turning a pile of string into a pile of friendship bracelets. I love getting to surprise one of my friends or Young Life girls or students with a bracelet and seeing the look on their face. I love that something that seems so insignificant can actually be such a big deal.

I ran into Mariah, a Senior YL girl, at the basketball game tonight. She's on the Varsity team and had stayed to cheer on the younger girls. At first she didn't think she was going to be able to make it to Campaigners tonight because of homework but in about five seconds she changed her mind. "What am I thinking? I can't miss Young Life! I have to be there. Ok, I know what I'll do. I can write my papers on my phone while we're watching the game. Then I can study for math when I get home. I can't miss Campaigners."

I love that this is a place and a community that Mariah doesn't want to miss. This makes her life better. This is where she can grow and be challenged in a way that's different than most other places.

I love the rhythm of Campaigners lately. We greet the kids as they arrive and talk with friends. Then we have some sort of activity at the beginning that goes along with this Community theme of the month. We sing together and tonight I shared the story of how God is calling my friend Murphy to work with Bob Goff in Uganda. Then we split up into groups to talk about community, about forgiveness and being united in the ways of the apostles.

Tonight we talked some about "living a life worthy of the calling." My friend Lani has been called to work with social issues in South America. Riley and Hannah were called to do something about the needs of people they met in Ethiopia even while they're still college students in the States. I think that in this stage of my life I've been called to work with kids through Young Life, teaching and Tecumseh. I think that we're all called to something, that we've been given a passion for something. Sometimes it's huge and obvious, sometimes it's not. But God always invites us to be in tune with what he's doing.

Rob Bell says, "The song keeps playing. Jesus came to show us how to live in tune with the song. He came to show us reality at it's most raw, how things are. In his generosity, love, forgiveness. That's who God is. That's how the song goes.The song is playing all around us all the time. It's written on our hearts and everybody is playing the song. The question isn't whether you're playing a song, the question is, Are you in tune?"

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock."

Sitting in Starbucks, or any coffee shop, and soaking up the smell of coffee, the conversations between friends is one of my favorite weekend treats. I worked on the blog this morning in between bites of a blueberry muffin and saying hello to people I recognized.

I met the Halkyard family at the Fishers Northview campus, aka the Junior High. Todd is a Young Life leader, Mel is also on the YL committee and Maddy is in my class and bible study. At school the cafeteria is transformed into a sanctuary on Sunday mornings.

I believe that God hard-wired every single one of us with a desire to do something significant for him. Do you want to leave a legacy? Do you want to leave an impact?

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Keep enduring. Keep reading. Keep preaching.

The Halkyards took me to lunch at the Hawthornes after church. We talked for over an hour as we ate brunch, asking questions and learning more about our families. I'm such a fan of them.

I went to see the new movie Delivery Man starring Vince Vaughn. It's the story of a sperm donor named "Starbuck" who unbeknownst to him ended up being the anonymous father of 533 children. While it's a rather strange premise, it was actually a really good film.

Today I got busy crafting. I love organization 99% of the time but when it comes to new projects I love the craziness and chaos of coming up with new ideas and making something awesome out of a montage of pieces.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

"Stop dreaming. Start living. Life is about courage and jumping into the unknown."

Last Spring was filled with Saturday morning and Friday night bible studies with the 8th grade girls. In all of those conversations and hours filled with laughter KCraig and I fell in love with this group of girls. Now that they're in HS they can come to Campaigners every Monday so we stopped having bible studies just with them. But recently we threw around the idea of starting up again because so many of them are often busy with sports or homework during the week.

This morning we went back to the Coffee Spoon where KCraig, Jamie Z and I were joined by Bailee, Whitney, McKenzie, Kara, Julia and Caroline. It's a different mix of girls from what we had last year, the dynamics are always shifting and changing it seems, but our time together is always well spent. Today we jumped into the first chapter of the New Testament in the Story and talked about Jesus' birth, the Magi and Jesus owning his faith at age 12. I love when we talk about scripture and we talk about our own lives. Checking in on how things are going, challenging and encouraging one another. Life is better together.

Julia and I got to go on some adventures this afternoon. We drove to Geurin HS for their Christmas ExtravaGala to see Hannah and Riley at their Jesse G booth. Julia and I found a couple fun Christmas presents for people amid all of the booths. We discovered we both love strawberry milkshakes when we went to Chik Fil A for lunch. Then we went to the Dollar Tree to fill boxes for kids in other countries for Operation Christmas Child. Julia was SO excited to be able to do this project that would impact the life of someone so far away. I love her compassionate heart.

We met up with our friends Brooke, Molly, Maddy, Caroline, Olivia, Hannah and Kaelyn at the movies to watch Catching Fire. We've all been anxiously waiting to see the next installment of the Hunger Games trilogy and had heard great reviews in the last couple days.

It was soooooooo good. Goodness. I love this story. I cried multiple times, I cheered, I gasped. Once again they did a phenomenal job of translating the novel to the big screen. Whether or not you've read the books you've got to make time to see this.

After running around all day, all I wanted to do tonight was to lay low at home. I worked on crafts, did laundry, talked with a good friend, watched TV and enjoyed not really having to do anything. A couple thoughts from the world of Pinterest...

Friday, November 22, 2013

"You're so cute I want to throw a squirrel at you."

We met for Love Does early, early this morning with this group of friends. One by one we drew names out of a jar for our secret santa exchange. The gift has to be handmade and you can't spend more than $10 on the supplies for it. I'm excited to get busy on the crafts for the two girls I have.

My students were working in the upstairs computer lab which means I got to hang out with Trulock and KCraig during passing periods. I love that these people have become such good friends and that we get to high-5 kids, break dance in the hall, echo Trulock's spanish trills and help with KCraig's new #notjustforyou signs on the walls. I love when Milly and Izzy visit while handing out passes and that they do weird things like glueing their fingers together.

I stumbled across Dinovember today on the blogosphere. This is amazing. Go check out the link.

"In the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs."

Tonight Jamie Z drove down from Purdue and a few CILT girls came over to hang out. Tay Hof, TFish, Rachel and Emily are all so much fun and we loved getting to just be together. There was a giant picnic on the floor, stories from CILTs...

talked about people we can't wait to see/meet at the reunion, devoured these pup cakes that Tay Hof brought...

colored surprises for Smooncat, fulfilled Rachel's dream of stacking markers to the ceiling, showed off the new Sesh 2 sweatshirts...

played Hit or Miss Tecumseh style and got a surprise visit from Oh la la Olivia. 

Today I'm thankful that my life is filled with so many extraordinary people all day long. I'm really lucky.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Today's Letters

Dear FBC girls,
Woah. Today was intense. I don't know if I've heard, "Miss Wright! I need help! I don't get this! Miss Wright! Miss Wright!" more in one 45 minute span. But you know what, you kept calm and friendship braceleted on. You figured out those knots, took out some knots, and showed persistence. You make me proud friendship bracelet army. I'm glad that so many of you caught on and rocked that zig zag pattern. Don't forget you can look it up on if you get confused!

Dear HSJH kids at the basketball game,
You make me so proud to be a teacher at our school. Basketball boys you did an awesome job out there, way to pass and work as a team. Working together definitely led to your success. I can't believe this was the first time I've seen you all play, I'll be back for sure.

Glee Club and cheerleaders you were all fantastic. You may be under-appreciated sometimes, but I think you do a tremendous job. It's so fun to watch you doing something that you love so much. Keep cheering and singing with so much energy like you did tonight.

To the kids I sat with in the student section, you rock. I was surprised when I walked into the gym and saw the whole crowd of you their to support your friends. Sarah and Rylan, I love that you made posters for all of the guys. Izzy, Rachel and Maddie, it was fun getting to talk to you while the game went on. You're each so great.

Dear Mom, Dad, Katie, Nick, Linc and Red,
I can't wait to be home with all of you next week. I'm already looking forward to baking challah bread, going on a birthday date with mom, playing some family card games, going to see Catching Fire again, holding little Red, running around with Linc and of course celebrating Thanksgiving. It's all going to be so much fun.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

We love Wyld Life more than America loves cats

Junior High boys are a rare species that I've come to appreciate in recent years. These guys are ridiculous, hilarious, outrageous, courageous and audacious at the same time. They make my job interesting and they have the most dramatic transformations from the beginning of 7th grade to the end of 8th. While it's sometimes a challenge to keep them focused during class, when they show up at Wyld Life they get to be themselves.
Even a short dance party on the lunch room table is okay. Today we tried something new. Our Wyld Life events have always been at night at a house or the Indy Yacht Club but we wondered what would happen if we had Club at school right after the final bell.
Would new kids come who had never heard of YL before? Would it be easier for some students to get a ride home rather than a ride to Club and a ride home? Is it less intimidating to walk into the cafeteria than into an unfamiliar building?

Our principal came on the announcements at the very end of the day, "Excuse me for this short announcement. If you're staying for Wyld Life this afternoon please report to the cafeteria at dismissal." The bell rang, the hallways filled with students getting backpacks from their lockers and then sure enough, dozens of them showed up in the cafeteria for Wyld Life.


The kids who play Winter Sports had practice but the rest of our regular attendees made it. A handful of new kids showed up too-- excited and a little unsure of what to expect. We want to keep inviting kids and making this a place where everyone is welcome, not just one type of kid.

We're so lucky here to have four Junior High teachers that are passionate about their faith and these kids. They see us in the hallways, they have us in class, they follow us on Instagram, they talk to us during lunch. Because we have these relationships during the school day we can carry that over into what we're doing at Wyld Life. Then we get to team up with Ryan, other adults and our HS leaders who are all committed to what we're doing together.

We got use the big screen today and crank up the music in the cafeteria as we sang at the beginning. Nothing like a Wyld Life party right after school.

We taught the Wyld Life kids how to play Wink-- a new favorite game courtesy of Allison Stamer. Mia Becker, a tiny 7th grade girl, tackled HS Junior Jacob Everidge right away and wouldn't let him up. It was incredible.

KCraig also had an amazing tackle on 7th grader TWilly. We're not holding anything back.

We had a crazy game of musical hats and then raffled off some amazing prizes.

If you've ever been to a Wyld Life event you understand why it's called Wyld Life. These Junior High kids are wild for sure. They're also awesome, hyper, awkward, crazy, smart, hilarious and kind. We love spending time with them.

The most memorable game of the afternoon was our dog biscuit relay. Two teams of puppies (aka students on all fours) came on stage and lined up. The middle person picked up a dog bone off the pile with their teeth. They turned and passed it to the next person who could only use their teeth. They passed the bone down the line until the final person put it on their team's plate. The teams raced to see which one could get the most successful passes.

It was amazing-- the perfect amount of competition and awkward. All of the kids that played wanted pictures to post right away.

We've introduced the song He Knows My Name to Wyld Life. It instantly takes me back to campfires at Tecumseh when Vince would play guitar and lead all of us in singing these familiar words.

This afternoon Junior Nick Cefali shared with us for the Club Talk. He did a great job telling us about Bat Kid, his experience as a HS Peer Mentor and the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. It was so cool seeing Nick share his heart up there in front of all of these kids.

I was in a small group with these 7th grade girls this afternoon. We talked about standing up for people and doing what's right, about Christ's character in the story and what it looks like to do the right thing on social media or in texting. I know that these girls love getting to spend this time with their friends and talking about things that matter.

By 4:30 we were all cleaned up and leaving the Junior High-- time flies when you have Club right after school. The Winter Weekend trip for Young Life kids is already full and has a waiting list. It's going to be such an awesome adventure.