Friday, January 17, 2014

"Oh goodness I thought that car was a giant raccoon! It gave me a fright!"

The Love Does girls are back full of energy and comments and spunk. Hanging out with them on early Friday mornings is one of the best routines in my week. I'd seen some of them in class or in the hallway at school but this was the first time we'd really been back together. These girls are figuring out how to make their faith their own and have their relationship with God affect all the little parts of their day.

My friend Lani posted this quote about creativity on her blog this week.

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” –Osho

It reminds me of Bob Goff telling us to live a life of abandon, whimsy and love. It makes me think of Shauna Niequist writing about living a life that sizzles and pops. We all want this great life of meaning, of purpose of contributing to something that will make the world more awesome like Kid President is trying to do. People all around us are living this out-- people like Grace Andritsch and Cecilia Vigren, Julia Plant and Allison Stamer.

I want to bring more whimsy, silliness and fun into the Junior High. One of the things I want to be about is helping kids take themselves less seriously and showing them how to find the fun in an ordinary day. Those are things we do so well at summer camp but I think they often get lost in the school hallways. So... today we had our first #sideponybraidfriday.

Today was already crazy because the kids just had a half day, but it got more nuts with all the girls putting their hair up in side pony braids. I was passing out hair ties and throwing out compliments in the hallway. You don't have to be cool to do this, you don't have to buy the right thing, you don't have to wake up extra early to look this good-- everybody is welcome. While some people might think it's ridiculous that I'm rocking a #sideponybraidfriday and inviting my students to do it too, I think it's about so much more than the side pony braid.

SoulPancake has a video series called, "That's What She Said," where a group of women talk about things that matter. I watched one today about beauty and body image and I loved the part when all the women shared when they feel most beautiful...

I feel most beautiful when I'm fulfilling that purpose that God's given me.

I feel most beautiful through the eyes of the people that love me.

I feel most beautiful when I'm sharing a moment of joy when someone else and having that deep, deep laughter.

I feel most beautiful when I know that I'm being authentically myself.

I feel most beautiful when I'm making a deep connection with someone.

I love those responses and that they're not about how you look at all. Tonight I was invited to Julia's birthday dinner and these girls were beautiful. Yes, they were pretty because of their dresses, but I think they're beautiful for totally different reasons. 

These six girls are gorgeous examples of friends that speak kind words to each other all the time. These girls have beautiful hearts and beautiful character. These girls delight in things that are lovely, beautiful, good, admirable and praise-worthy. These girls support one another and cheer each other on. 

We went to dinner at Izakaya, a Japanese restaurant for sushi and hibachi cooked right in front of us. I don't know anyone that doesn't love this place. Olivia had never come before so the flames, steaming onion volcano, flying egg pieces and spatula tricks were extra amazing for her.

Back at Julia's house her mom brought out this beautiful cake covered in berries and chocolate covered strawberries. These girls laugh and giggle and their is never a dull moment.

Their presents for Julia showed how well they know this girl. She loved everything and gave them all thank you hugs. I think the most exciting gifts may have been new friendship bracelets. Her wrist is filling up!

I loved hanging out with Olivia and Maddy tonight. Now at different schools with busy schedules, time together is that much more special. Belting out Degraw's "Best I Ever Had" at the top of our lungs and talking in British accents made the car ride the best of Maddy's life. These girls are just incredibly sweet and humble and kind and I love them both.

Even though it was Julia's birthday she pulled out a couple gifts for Carol that she found at the dollar store. Watching her open these little surprises had everyone laughing to the point of tears.

I think Carol is more awesome every time I hang out with her. Anyone who shrieks over soap roses and looks so happy to receive supplies to make Fun Fact cards is definitely a winner.

I had Hannah, Olivia and Caroline as students in 7th grade but am getting to know them so much better this year. This trio is fantastic and the kind of girls I would have wanted to be friends with in High School. Hanging out with all of them was the perfect night. We love Julia!

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