Sunday, March 23, 2014

"So is it just me, or is this play about racism?"

Shauna is my favorite and I can't believe that I get to see her in just a week. She inspires me over and over again with her words. "To choose to celebrate in the world we live in right now might seem irresponsable. 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." God's handwriting was all over this weekend...
We finished talking about Love Does this morning before school. It's one of my very favorite books and I hope the stories and ideas will continue to shape these girls' lives. We'll keep meeting the rest of the year but instead of reading through a book, we'll talk about a new topic each week.

Friday afternoon I got the chance to go watch Hairspray performed by the cast and crew of my Junior High. These kids have been rehearsing for months and have been so excited about this performance. I sat in the back of the audience with two rows of 8th grade guys who were pumped to cheer on their friends Dugan and Nick.The room was packed, not an empty seat left and a whole row of people watching from the back.

The show was phenomenal. I loved seeing the movie come to life as these girls and guys danced to "You Can't Stop the Beat," portrayed the characters so well and brought us all to the story of teenagers in Baltimore in 1962. When the show finished we got to congratulate everyone and tell them what a great job they had done together. Don't you love their costumes? They were all beaming, ready for three more shows this weekend.

Saturday morning I arrived at the Devoe's house early to help KCraig and friends set up for our Love For Lebu event. The house was already full of activity, moms and daughters and friends running around getting things set up.

KCraig has been making a dream come true this year. After returning from Ethiopia last summer, God put the hope of building a library in Lebu on her heart. This community has just a tin shack right now with a few books that they can't read and are not relevant to their lives. We want to give them a library where they can learn and grow and discover. There have been numerous projects and fundraisers and gifts for Lebu and this craft fair was the final big push.

KCraig invited our Young Life girls to use their talents and creativity to make something to donate and sell at the event. Rather than just throwing money at a cause, KCraig wanted to give them the opportunity to be involved, to invent their time and energy, to see their project through. What they all came up with was pretty incredible.

We sold Jesse G clothes-- the company that Riley and Hannah started after last year's trip.

Haleigh brought handmade tie-dye t-shirts. She has skills.

Elise and Maggie made fleece tie blankets and potholder headbands. Maddie and her mom Mel brought salt scrubs.

We had a table of little prayer boxes with slips of paper and pencils inside.

Alex and KCraig have been diligently working on painting and decoupaging all of these giant letters for weeks. It was so cool to see them all set up together. They brought tshirt scarves and Lulu made lace scarves.

Chloe and her mom made bright soap on a stick.

Audrey, Cecilia, Taylor Shelton and I each donated about 10 friendship bracelets each. KCraig got Lebu bracelets made from MudLove.

Julia made these sweet canvases by decoupaging, putting on sticker letters, painting over everything and then peeling up the letters. I wanted so many of them!

On one of our snow days Brookie, Julia and I cut and tied all of these elastic hair ties too.

The Devoe girls made little lava cakes in jars.

One of KCraig's friends donated this wreath she made.

Audrey and NatRat spent hours finding pieces and then decoupaging all of these jars.

About halfway through the event, KCraig shared about her trips to Ethiopia and her desire to help build this library. We saw pictures from their trip last summer and saw this community that we get to make an impact on. These people are halfway around the world but they don't really feel that far away.

Today was a gift. If Love Does, then we we did love big today. It was incredible to witness the hospitality of the Devoe's, to see the excitement and passion from KCraig and her daughter Alex, to have so many girls donate their time and crafts to the cause and have dozens of friends show up to support what we were doing.

The event was awesome. We needed to raise $2800 today to reach the total for the library in Lebu. After they counted everything up we found out that the crafts raised $2200 and we sold $700 of Jesse G clothes. We did it. We're building a library. God is good.

I hurried downtown just in time for the wedding of my good friends Mary Ellen and Coleman. They were married in this really cool building called Sanctuary On Penn. I sat with my wedding buddy Ben, his wife and my best friend Sarah was a bridesmaid. We were surrounded by Young Life staff, spouses and kids--all were thrilled to see this couple become husband and wife.

Mary Ellen looked gorgeous, Jack did a great job officiating and I loved hearing "Heaven Song" and "You're Beautiful" during the ceremony. It was a quick wedding and before you knew it we were being introduced to Mr and Mrs Coleman McIntyre.

I was so excited to quickly see my friend Claire along with other old Carmel YL girls before they left. We went back inside for cocktail hour before dinner began.

This time last year Mary Ellen and I were celebrating Sarah and Ben's wedding in Chicago. Now it's Mary Ellen and Coleman's turn. It was an awesome night and you know that after the cake the dancing was the best part. Young Life people know how to throw down at a dance party and everyone had a blast.

We had a grand sparkler send off for the newlyweds as they left the church at the end of the night. I loved getting to be at their wedding and hanging out with friends like Sarah, Ben, Jenna, Kyle, Kayla, Jon and Annie, and Jack and Linda all night.

Sunday morning I went to Northview--singing in this church and just taking in the sermon is always one of the most grounding and refreshing parts of my whole week. I'm thankful for this church community and that this has become my go to place this year.

This afternoon I met a group of Young Life leaders, kids and parents at the movies to watch God's Not Dead together. This film tells the story of a college freshmen that has to defend the existence of God in his philosophy class to the other students and his atheist professor. There are several other story lines of character's that come to know Christ by the end of the movie. It's somewhat cheesy, but still well done and has a great message. I'm a fan and so glad that I got to watch it with all of these people.

"The world is alive, blinking and clicking, winking at us slyly, inviting us to get up and dance to the music that's been playing since the beginning of time, if you bend all the way down and put your ear to the ground to list for it." God is good all the time. Let's keep looking for his handwriting and listening for that music so we can dance together.

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