Thursday, February 26, 2015

"This dress is like silly bands but it all happened in one night."

We watched one of my favorite Soul Pancake videos, Street Compliments, in class today and then did our own Hallway Compliments. Each kid writes four compliment notes to anyone that they want. Then I ask them to secretly deliver their kind words. Stuff them in a locker, hid them in a pencil pouch, tape them to your mom's bathroom mirror--just be sneaky. Of course it's really fun when I come back from passing period to find notes stuck in my keyboard or taped to my water bottle. 

I wrote notes all day long with my kids to different students that have stood out for being extra hard working, creative, kind, helpful or humble. I look up their locker numbers and slide the notes into their lockers during my prep period. Writing and delivering these notes seems like a more than excellent use of my time.

FBC met in the library this afternoon and I crowded a table with a fun crew of girls that were feeling silly and hyper. They had some capers of their own and together they came up with Varsity FBC Requirements, a new draft of the Varsity squad and the starting line up. We take friendship braceleting very seriously.

It has come to our attention that some of the Varsity members may not actually be at the highest level so we needed to clarify that. Next year we'll expect Varsity members to always make hardcores, make at least 4 good bracelets a month, never keep the bracelets they make or ask for bracelets, be able to do both an earthquake and a five braid, and easily read bracelet pattern graphs. 

Hanging out with these girls every Thursday afternoon is one of the best parts of my job. I don't have most of them in class right now so when we do see each other at school it's for a few seconds at most. During FBC we get to hang out for so much longer and we all just really love it.

KCraig has initiated a more formal mentoring program between our adult and HS young life leaders. She's trying to pair up each Junior and Senior with an adult that can check in on them, pray for them, share intentional conversations and just be a person that they can go to. My girls, Haleigh and Hannah Conrad, are two that I've been close with since the start of YL, it's just in a more official capacity now. Tonight I ended up getting to spend time with both of these girls. They're really wonderful people and I'm thankful for their optimism, honesty and consistency no matter what is going on. We've been through a lot and I'm glad we get to do so much of it together.

Then when the day was almost over THIS DRESS happened. Someone sent the picture to me and said, "What color is this?"

Hundreds of text messages, twitter posts, group messages and Google searches later... Everyone was still split on whether this dress was blue and black or white and gold. I could only see white and gold for the longest time but finally saw the other way a few hours later. Now I can see it both ways.

There were all sorts of theories about why this color disagreement was happening:
- If you saw white and gold you were happy but if you saw black and blue that meant you had something sad happening in your life
- You were color blind
- Witchcraft
- You were on drugs
- Dominant and non-dominant cones in the back of your eyes affect whether you can see it only one way or both ways
- Obama
- The brightness on your phone was weird or you needed to turn your phone a certain way

Now we've learned that the lighting when the photo was taken affects the saturation of the colors. Below shows the original picture in the middle, white balanced to white gold on the left and white balanced to blue black on the right. *The original dress was actually blue and black.

Honorable mention blog titles:
"You're a teacher, that's why you make two a day. I'm barely making just one a day."
"You guys better hurry up, Miss Wright's probably going to pass out."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Yesterday I was maxing out... Wait. Why is that funny?"

It's been awhile since we had a fiesta after school, but with softball quickly approaching we made it happen today. Rachel had to get her car jumped in the parking lot, Julia got to join us and we managed to convince our waiter to bring us a total of three baskets of chips. Katy also made us laugh until we were in tears so that was a success. 

I'm so thankful for the consistency of these girls in my life. They're the kind of people that you can't help but love for all of their quirkiness, integrity, creativity and kindness.

We did a second gallery walk at Campaigners tonight, this time checking out quotes that other people have said about the bible and Jesus. Once again we wrote down quotes, the author and why those words stuck out to us. There are pictures of my favorites from Brennan Manning and Shauna Niequist and here are a few more:

Jesus lets us be real with our life and our faith. -Bob Goff

A thorough understanding of the Bible is better than a college education. -Teddy Roosevelt

What Jesus said we could do is leave typical behind. -Bob Goff

The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation. - DL Moody

We asked our kids to share their favorite quotes once we gathered back together. Each of them explained why they related to those words. It's really cool to hear 7th and 8th graders articulating their faith and inviting them to ask questions to know more.

Every one wrote down a couple questions and put them in a bag that KCraig drew out of. Jess, KCraig and I served as a panel again to try to tackle questions like, "Does the Bible start with the story of Jesus? Have you ever seen or heard Jesus? How do you know that God loves you?"

It is a holy and great responsibility to get to volunteer my time and share in conversations like these. Tonight reminded me of one of the verses I have hanging up at home, "I consider my life worth nothing to me unless I finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-- the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." Acts 20:24

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Wanna know something? During a lost swimmer drill I had to check the bathroom so I had to run up the hill. I had a cramp for the three hours after that."

There is a new Love Does Experience Study Guide that you can download for free. Each day has a challenge to get you doing stuff because love is an action. Here's the first one, 

Bob tells a story about his YL leader Randy who consistently told him, "I'm with you." Is there a person who has been there with you when the going got rough? Or a person who poured out his or her life to mentor or counsel you? Or someone who talked you out of making a bad choice or talked you into making a good one? Right now, reach out to them to say thanks. Send a text or an email or a letter or a facebook message. The more immediate the better. Just say, "Thank you for being there for me." Be as specific as you feel comfortable, but practice the risk of gratitude.

There is a 7th grade girl named Sydney that loves me so well. I was her teacher last semester and I'm one of her Wyld Life leaders now. This child finds ways to say thank you to me over and over again. Gratitude just oozes out of this girl. She's the kind of kid that people immediately fall in love with because of her joy, spunk and smile. I came back into my classroom after passing period today and found this note on my desk from her. I think I should take some gratitude cues from Syd. 


Yesterday after Siblings Club, Ellie Fitzgerald and I decided we need to have a Tecumseh dinner date. So on this #tecumsehtuesday we invited Indy friends to meet us at Mellow Mushroom-- Tecumseh's Unofficial Pizza Place. It's where I always go to dinner with friends like Odle, Ellyn, Molly, Alli, Erin O'Awesome and any one else that's in town. Tonight we initiated a whole new generation of camp friends.

It was so good to see and catch up with Lucy, Sam Gates, Taylor Fischl, Robby, Jackson, Ellie, Ashley Yuska, Chloe and Maggie Paul. Some of them will work Day Camp this summer and some won't, but that doesn't change these friendships and our shared history. I love that about camp.

Top 10 Things I Love Today
1. Starting the day with another 2-hour delay
2. How excited Lulu was about her new creamsicle Patty
3. Giving a friendship bracelet to Lucy
4. Talking about Grey's Anatomy with people when we're all so obsessed that it's like the characters are real people
5. Creating new seating charts for all of my classes-- one of the perks of being a teacher is intentional placement of kids
6. Conspiring on secret capers with friends
7. Talking to Annie Fazzio
8. The daily lap in the 8th grade hallway before 6th period
9. Watching Ellen with 5th period because they had so much extra time
10. The Young Life Leader blog asking for a write up of Siblings Club for them to potentially post

Monday, February 23, 2015

YL Siblings Club aka The Most Insane Thing We've Ever Done

When we brainstorm ideas for YL Club themes we come up with some interesting things. Even with my low tolerance for animals, I've always thought it would be awesome to have a 'Bring Your Pet to Club' Club. But because of allergies and all the potential poop on the gym floor we've decided not to do that. But then I thought, what if we had a Siblings Club and everyone brought their brothers and sisters? 

We've been posting pictures of YL siblings for the past few days, encouraging our HS kids to bring younger siblings and telling our Wyld Life kids to make sure their older sibling bring them to club. And then tonight at 7:32 the Barn was stormed by almost every YL kid we know and it was incredible.

Sarah and Kaylee Papp and Isaiah, Olivia and Sophia Kegley.

Eli and Hannah Self and Lauren and Hannah Morenkamp.

Adrienne and Haley Gengenbach and Abby and Hannah Schank.

Sophie, 3-year-old Audrey and Alli Sams.

Abby and Mia Becker and Gavin and Genna Thomas.

Silvana and Tristan Gold-- your favorite South African siblings.

Blaire and Brock Trusty and the Texans Brannt and Brigitte Faris.

Madison and Mallory Cavanaugh and Jacob and Allison Everidge.

Jake and Liz Huston and Cydney and Cassidy Ogan.

Cassidy and Natty Broum and the Moronkamps.

Lauren, Kaily, Ben Pidgeon and Lucy, Jack and Julia Dewolf.

Rachel and Matthew Buckingham love one another even when they're fighting.

Troy and Nick Cefali (missing Dante and Natalie) and Jake and Drew Simone.

Brooke and Mark Beuoy and Michael, Brooke and Hannah Dillon.


Emma, Hadley and Libby Hendricks and their cousins Jimmy and Grace Ditto and Kennedy and Cooper Mair.

Jayde Conger and Mer Card were siblings for the night. Audrey, Henry and Ellie Fitzgerald.

Ashley and Lauren Tarak and Chloe and Grace Freund.

Kendal Davis (missing Chad) and Sydney Lorey are pretend sisters. Eliza and Lydia Eisenmann had perfectly coordinated outfits.

Andrew and Madison Schwarz and Rylan and Brody  Busselberg.

Alaina, Aidan and Abigail Kerpsack and Maddie, Hannah and Jake Conrad love Bama.

Morgan and Kim Troutoyd and Natalie and Olivia Willman.

Wyatt and Mallory Watson and Taylor, Hannah and Sam Huston.

Drew and Leah Notar Donato and Tessa, Chloe and Sam Green and Cameron West.

Alison and Mallory Bell and Jenna and Trent Houterlout.

Jack and Anne Kleinrichert and Hope, Demi and Cecilia Vigren.

Devin and Nick Krauter and Grace and Olivia Supancik.

Kyle, Quinn and Kaelyn Conaway as they're hugged by their neighbors the Buckinghams. Ben and Brett Cowan.

**Not pictured Cooper, Alli and Mallory King, Ayden Gaddis and Cody Drudge, Elle, Hannah, Lukas and Haleigh Devoe

There's no way to capture the insanity that was going on in that gym tonight between the leaders and kids of all ages running around. Yes there were all the sets of siblings but there were still more YL kids that didn't come with a sibling.

Top that all off with the excitement of getting my very first friendship bracelet from Cassidy Leum. Well I just almost had a heart attack.

Having a whole crew of these 7th grade girls made me feel like I was also at Wyld Life Club. They're girls that I'm sure will be with us until they're Seniors in HS.

The first game of the night was a crazy relay. Everyone split up into 4 teams: Seniors and their siblings, Juniors and their siblings, Sophomores and their siblings, Freshmen and their siblings. If you have more than one HS kid in your family you stick together and pick a team.

Three runners at a time from each team ran up to the clothesline, bit off a clothespin and took it back to their group. Kids were sliding and squatting and spitting as they got those clothespins off the line.

Sophomores ended up claiming victory with over 80 clothespins in all.

Next we played a musical shapes elimination game. We'd already made these giant shapes on the floor with blue painters tape. When the music stopped each round everyone had to crowd into one of the shapes or they were out. But each round, the tape kept getting ripped up so there were fewer and fewer spots left.

Personal space does not exist in Young Life games. Everybody's in.

Everywhere I looked there were so many people that I love. The gym was packed with the awesomeness of all of our kids. Just finding myself sharing a shape with Grace, Mer, Lauren, Sydney, Julia, Lucy, Hannah and Maddie? That's a dream team right there.

Haleigh could easily have the title of my first YL kid in HSE and she's such a huge part of my story here. I love this girl and the person that God is continuing to shape her into.

I'm having a hard time coming up with another YL even we've done that has been this huge. After having so many little siblings like Tessa Green, Taylor Huston, Audrey Fitzgerald and Lucy Dewolf always asking to come to YL tonight so many dreams came true. At least 150 kids and 15 adults makes quite the party.

Michelle Devoe, our YL Committee Chair, said, "We had a full barn at our first ever Siblings Club. It was so exiting to see the older siblings bring their younger brothers and sisters... Eager for them to have the same experiences they have had with YL. Our community is truly blessed with some great families."

Then we had the Papps, Kleinricherts, Fitzgeralds and Golds come up front for a Sticky Sibling Showdown. Each pair had a mouthful of gum and a deck of cards. They had to use the gum as tape to stick 4 Queens to one sibling's face and 4 Kings to the other sibling's face.

It was disgusting and sticky and phenomenal to watch.

Silvana and Tristan came out victorious as the winners of the challenge. Audrey was the youngest and my favorite participant.

Then we played the most complex game HSE Young Life has ever attempted-- Human Hungry, Hungry Hippos. Back in their four teams, each group had a representative that laid down on two scooters, wore a bike helmet and held a laundry hamper out in front. Their team pushed them into the middle to retrieve balls and then pulled them back with their rope. Insanity ensued.

I was on the mic when everyone gathered up again and I had just said, "Raise your hand if this is your first time at YL Club." Immediately at the back of the room, Katy P and the Vigren sisters walked in. I gasped, because I'd been begging all of them to come, and that made the whole crowd turn around to look at them. Nothing like a grand entrance.

Julia and I hang out with these friends all the time but it was extra special to have them here at Young Life with us tonight. They're some of the very best kind of people. 

Maddie made her own Best Friend Necklace this afternoon and proudly wore it tonight.

Maddie, Hannah and I are on day 4 of hanging out together. They kind of keep just showing up wherever I am-- I don't mind. I was so excited to have Ellie, HSJH alum and Session 1 CILT, at Club tonight. I can't wait to work with her this summer.

Ryan led us in singing his song Love That Don't Run Out and the HS kids belted out the chorus, "It's all about love my brother, the one that don't run out. It's all about hope my sister, making you move and shout. It's all about faith that moves a mountain, and a joy that can be found, from a looooooove, a love that don't run out." Even if our kids don't understand it yet, there's something incredible about all of them singing these words together.

Then our leaders Abby and Jackie, who happen to be cousins, delivered the Club Talk tonight. They shared about their families, the story of the prodigal son, God's unconditional love for us and how all of us at YL are a family to one another.

We share the gospel all night long in a whole lot of ways--greeting kids at the door, laughing together, sitting with them, hearing their stories, singing songs and receiving the message from leaders like Abby and Jackie. All of this isn't about YL-- it's about Jesus and his love that spills out of our lives.

I often talk about how YL is a family. The leaders. The HS kids. The committee. Our Wyld Life kids. Little brothers and sisters. But tonight was extra special because all of those groups were represented at the same time.

Do you know how else is a big part of my life and my family? KCraig. This woman is a rock star. And a prayer warrior. And a role model. And a leader. And she's just awesome.

Bgrad has been with us since the beginning and he'll tell you that he loves this YL family. And this YL family loves the heck out of him too. Most of the families that showed up tonight signed their names on our YL Family Tree. It's a great visual representation of how we all belong to one another. Everybody belongs here.