Sunday, November 30, 2014

"I think Scandal is just like the Gilmore Girls."

Thanksgiving morning I woke up at my sister's house and she was already hard at work cooking delicious things in the kitchen. I hung out with her and watched the Thanksgiving Parade with Lincoln as he went back and forth between the ipad and the TV. He was proudly still wearing his friendship bracelet--this is his best smiling face for pictures. 

I drove to Holland to have Thanksgiving with my parents at their house while Katie's family wen to her in-laws. I love food but my list of favorites doesn't include Thanksgiving classics. My mom is a rock star and she made my favorite side dishes for this meal-- stuffing, green bean casserole, cheesy potato casserole, challah bread and Diet Coke. Delicious.

On Thanksgiving night we watched a special on TV called "Thank You America" that highlighted people doing good all over the states. Taylor Swift was one of the celebrities they interviewed. The last thing she said really resonated with me, 

"I think enthusiasm can protect you from anything. It's the key to gratitude, it's the key to finding some semblance of happiness or contentment. You know, not being too cool for things. Not being one of those people who is so concerned with being unaffected or unmoved by life. Life is moving. Life is a moving thing to experience. You can either deny that or be enthusiastic."

I hope that I'm always enthusiastic, always grateful, always moved for life. I hope no one would ever say that I'm too cool for something. I want to live out that attitude and model it for the people around me. 

Friday morning I got to meet up with Casey Dawson at JPs for coffee in downtown Holland. Casey and I met my Junior year at Hope when she was a Freshmen rushing my sorority. We instantly became great friends and spent the next two years going on adventures, drinking endless amounts of coffee, longboarding around Holland, being SIBs together, camping out at her cottage in Grand Haven and working together at Tecumseh. She will forever be an important friend in my life. 

Friday evening we had the Leftover Thanksgiving with Katie, Nick, Linc, Red and my parents. We got to have a taste test between the two renditions of green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. Red completely covered himself in food as usual.

Saturday morning was busy at the Wright house as we finished up some projects and errands before meeting the rest of the family at El Rancho for lunch. Chips and salsa are my favorite and I got to introduce Lincoln to the wonderful world of queso. It was really good to be up in Michigan with my family for an extended weekend. I have the most kind, generous, helpful, joyful and understanding family and I'm so very thankful for them.

Sunday morning I went to church with Hannah Conrad and was happy to end up sharing a row with the Craig family. The pastor spoke about giving God our very best instead of our leftovers. God demands and deserves our first in our finances, our time and our hearts.  It was a good call to action and challenge this season.

Our 2nd Annual Pinterest Potluck gathered adult and HS Wyld Life leaders at KCraig's house Sunday night. Everyone brought something to pitch in and we had more than enough food. Jess and Connor made cookie dough and brownie batter dips. Audrey and Blaire made inside out caramel apples. Brock brought Santa nutter butters. Natty brought chocolate cupcakes with reeces melted inside. Jacob outdid himself again with cheese pizza pockets and marinara sauce. KCraig cooked up green bean casserole, pumpkin dip and a fruit platter. Rachel made a pineapple fluff. Alli made no bake cookies. Alyssa made chocolate dipped pretzels. Marie and Natalie made chocolate covered peanut butter oreos. I brought blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls.

Just like most people's Thanksgiving feasts, we all stuffed ourselves with food and still had plenty leftover at the end of the night.

I was glad we also brought back a few of our favorite games to the Pinterest Potluck. We divided the group in half to play Fishbowl, then attempted Mafia and finished the night with Family. It's sweet to just hang out with all of these people without a real agenda or any business to take care of.

This next week our HS leaders in training will be meeting one on one with KCraig to decide if they should become a leader next semester. I love getting to be part of this discipleship and watching these kids grow.

p.s. I also recently learned this new patter called Shark Teeth from my friend Hope. I love it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"My arch nemesis got to meet the Jonas Brothers. I hate her."

Because it's a short week the giant bible study met early on Tuesday morning in my classroom. We circled up between all the desks and talked about how God slowly transforms us as we follow him. We're not expected to become perfect people as Christians, but we do have to actively work to be more like him.

We picked names for our annual Secret Santa exchange. You can't spend more than $10 and you have to make your present for your person. We did this last year too and I loved seeing what they came up with.

Thanksgiving Break means that more friends are home from college so I met Ellyn and Olivia Odle at Mellow Mushroom, Camp Tecumseh's fav pizza place, for dinner tonight.

Ellyn and Odle are two of the most hilarious people that I know so our dinner together was especially wonderful. I'm thankful for friends like them that are my friends all year long, not just in the summer. Will Smith, dirty bathtubs, Taylor's tour schedule, likeology on facebook, Mr. Hessong's leg cast, next summer and 7th graders were all discussed.

There are few things more glorious than getting to sleep in on a bonus day off of school. Once I did get out of bed I met up with my second bible study at Mama Bear's for breakfast. We won't meet again until next week but we wanted to pick Secret Santa names early so girls can start their crafting over break. I loved getting to talk and laugh with these homies around the table this morning.

I made it to Katie's house in Michigan late this afternoon. It didn't take long before Lincoln asked if he could have some tape and string too. Then he squatted down next to me and worked away. We had to get in the car but he insisted on working their too so he could get all of his knots finished. He's a prodigy and perhaps the youngest member of FBC ever.

Tomorrow will bring Thanksgiving with the parents and so many things to be thankful for!

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Nothing screams victory like a 1996 gymnastics trophy."

Christmas came early today. Two students, Sarah and Grace, left a surprise present on my desk as they headed out to the buses. I opened it to discover this awesome ugly christmas sweater that says, "Hangin' with my gnomies." Just perfect for me since you can often hear me saying, "Hey homies," to my students. I can't wait to wear it this December. 

Monday nights are my favorite. I get to do something I'm passionate about. We don't have to "figure out plans" because everyone knows when and where to show up and that they're always invited. YL is the definition of both fun and meaningful time. For the two hours that I'm at the barn, the rest of the world gets put on pause. I love these nights.

When we walk into the gym after leadership there are already dozens of kids scattered all around the room. Leaders spread out to greet the kids, both new and old friends. We get to hear about their day, listen to their story or shoot some basketball.

I love walking around taking these pictures of all the different clusters of kids and leaders each week because it lets me take a second and see all the connections and friendships that are thriving in this room. There is no set group of kids that belong here, everyone belongs and matters.

Julia surprised Hannah with a Double Coil bracelet aka a very big deal. Then I was shocked and elated when college freshmen Maddy Wilson and Mariah Triske walked in the door. We have missed them this semester and it was so good to see both of their smiling faces.

When it was time for club to start each team gathered to choose who would represent them in each Minute To Win It Game.

Team Senior

Team Sophomore.

Team Junior and Team Freshmen.

Someone with good balance...

had to come drink a Coke until they could get the can to balance on it's edge.

Someone who can cross their eyes...

had to come bite on a popsicle stick and then balance three dice in a tower on the end of the stick.

Someone who like to live life on the edge...

had to come blow a folded piece of cardboard until it was hanging off the edge of the table.

Our awards for the evening were vintage trophies, medals and ribbons from the Bowman family attic. Nothing screams victory quite like a softball or gymnastics trophy from the 90s.

Someone who sends the ugliest snapchats...

had to come scrunch their face to get an oreo from their forehead into their mouth and then eat it the fastest.

Someone who can hold their breath...

had to blow up a balloon and then use the air from the balloon to blow 10 cups off the table.

Someone who has a runny nose on a regular basis...

had to pull tissues out of a kleenex box one at a time using only one hand.

Someone that likes decorating for parties...

had to completely unroll two streamers by holding an end in each hand.

Ryan did a great job of crowing each victor with their appropriate award. Did you know that Hannah can even pose like the girl on top of her trophy?

It was obvious that cousins Maddy and Natalie were very happy to be back together today. They're a riot.

Because of the associative property of friendship bracelets and the manifesto of the friendship bracelet creed Hannah, Julia and I are all now best friends. It's just logical.

We didn't end up having enough time to go into small groups today so there was no official meeting of the SSS, but I was still so happy to see these girls.

Tonight Chloe got to learn the word "epiphany" which was perfect because she has epiphanies all the time about life and God and people. I told her I wish I could hear her commentary all day long and then got to teach her what "commentary" means too. She's a champ and she insists on giving me piggy back rides too.