Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Let's use a metaphor, Junior High is like a nuclear bunker."

Friday morning I met with this group of Love Does girls for the last time these semester. We traded our Secret Santa crafts and unwrapped some really creative gifts. There were canvases, a fleece blanket, baked goods, mugs, friendship bracelets, collages, picture frames and mugs. Thoughtful gifts are the best gifts don't you think?

All of the FBC army wore their sweatshirts to school on Friday. I loved seeing the new shirts passing by in the hall, all over the cafeteria and in each of my classes. These are definitely a hit.

Friday night I got to hang out with Julia, Caroline, Hannah and Olivia. Julia and I are huge Chipotle fans but the other girls had never been there before. We captured their very first bite-- Caroline's face captures how they all felt. Overcome with the amazing, wonderfulness of Chipotle.

Then we drove to look at different Christmas light displays around Fishers that blink along with music. Each house had a yard sign with a radio station so you could tune in and listen as you watched the lights. It's hard to really describe how awesome it is but let me assure it's very impressive.

We stopped at Starbucks for a treat before hitting the last two houses. I really loved hanging out with these four all night. They're the kind of friends that really love each other well and never pick on each other. We laughed so hard tonight about Fun Fact cards and siblings and IU basketball stars that I was in tears multiple times.

We found two decorated houses in Saxony that had choreographed lights and got brave enough to take a picture in front of the display. Caroline and Olivia were so excited about Christmas that they made their first snow angels of the season.

For the past two years I lived in Broad Ripple with my friends Colleen and Emel. They were incredible, hilarious, kind, helpful, positive, quirky roommates and I loved living with them. Sometimes I still miss our 10 o'clock curfue from the lumberjack, no hands-no feet, slug traps, Fern and Bud, Chick Flick Sundays, sharing Emel's jewelery, Colleen singing all the time, their trips to the factory, No Pants Wednesday, the uniform and just getting to hang out with them. One of their annual traditions is a Cookie Sweatshop just before Christmas and they invited me down to Colleen's new house to join them on Saturday.

They make about seven different kinds of cookies each year-- a few, like peanut butter buddies and buckeyes, stay the same but the rest are up for rotation. They're the masterminds behind all of this but they gave me jobs to help as we worked.

Cameron picked up our Chinese food for lunch, Katherine came over to play with us too and the whole day was just really great. I love catching up with my friends and hearing stories about the last few months. They never fail to make me laugh and sent me home with a whole bag of sweet treats.

Later that night I was joined by my friends Liz, Jamie and Alicia, all Tecumseh counselors. They've all finished their semesters at school and are visiting friends before heading back home. Saturday night we played Heads Up and Fishbowl, went to eat pizza and frozen yogurt, previewed the CILT video and just enjoyed being real life friends. I'm so thankful for these people.

Sunday morning we drove down to Common Ground in Broad Ripple for church. The sanctuary was so packed that we had to sit on the floor at first but we didn't really mind. We sang and listened to stories of hope and going where God sends us. After church I got to see my friend MaryEllen and then we left with Abby and Sarah to go to lunch.

It seriously makes me so happy that Abby and Sarah have become great friends at Butler this semester. I love that Sarah loves her accapella group and that Abby has found her niche in Young Life. Both of these girls are so talented and are finding ways where they can use those gifts.

Tonight was the night I've been anxiously waiting for. I picked up Liz, Elise and Maggie, three Wyld Life girls, and drove downtown for the Toby Mac Hits Deep Tour. So many of my favorite youth group memories from middle school and high school happened at christian concerts. My youth pastor Sheila was the best at getting us hooked on different artists and bands and then actually taking us to hear them perform live. Superchick, Toby Mac, David Crowder, Relient K, Chris Tomlin, Barlow Girl, Hawk Nelson and Stellar Kart were all on a constant loop in my CD player growing up.

Tonight I got to give these girls that same experience that I loved so much when I was their age. The line up was incredible: Capital Kings, Colton Dixon, Jamie Grace, Mandisa, Brandon Heath, Chris August and Toby Mac.  I don't think you could get any better than that.

The show started at 7:00 and the songs really were hit after hit. Toby Mac said he wanted a line up of hit songs that were not only hits on the radio but songs that really hit us deep where it matters. The Fieldhouse was full of 7,000 people that were cheering for their favorite artists but screaming even louder for Jesus Christ. That might sound really weird or cheesy if you've never experienced it, but it's the coolest thing to be a part of. Tonight was special.

Capital Kings sang You'll Never Be Alone and I Feel So Alive, Colton Dixon sang You Are, Chris August did Center of It and Unashamed of You, Jamie Grace did Hold Me and Beautiful Day. There were no breaks between artists, just seamless transitions, often they would sing together. Liz freaked out when Brandon Heath came on stage and sang songs like Jesus In Disguise, Give Me Your Eyes and even I'm Not Who I Was. I about lost it when Mandisa came out and rocked Overcomer and Stronger. I was crossing my fingers from the Good Morning song even though it was night time and died when she finished with that one. Toby came out to do the rap part and I yelled every word right along with him.

Liz, Elise and Maggie were the perfect girls to come with tonight. They love all of these songs too and we danced in our aisle the whole night. All of the singers were dancing on stage but rather than just a choreographed routine, it felt like they were all friends just hanging out up there and rocking out together. This was the final stop on their tour and it was obvious that at this point they all had become a family.


At intermission I had already had so much fun I could have left content but Toby Mac hadn't even started his set. It just kept getting better and better. I said it when I was thirteen years old and I'll say it again now, Toby Mac is absolutely the greatest live performer. He can make anyone in the audience have fun, even if they've never heard one of his songs.

For the next hour we danced and sang at the top of our lungs. From Boomin' to Speak Life, Steal My Show to Made to Love, old school songs like Be In The Light and Gone, and worship songs like Bless the Lord and Our God. He could have played the whole night and I would have been happy.

He came back out for an encore and ended the night with my favorite, Me Without You. Jamie Z, Molly and I taught hip hop clinic to that song in the summer and I did the whole dance right there in our row and my girls followed along. It was awesome. I wish we could relive this night all over again and I'm so glad that I got to share it with these girls.

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