Friday, October 30, 2015

Why Tecumseh ruined Halloween for me

Here's the truth: Halloween feels a little anti-climatic to me. 

Sorry. I realize that might sound a little negative. But being a Camp Tecumseh counselor takes dressing up to a whole new level. At least twice a week we get to rummage through our dress-up boxes and plastic drawers to pull together a costume. Our whole cabin comes up with a theme for campfire or the entire camp matches at dinner on Friday night. Dressing up is one of our strengths.

In honor of Halloween, here are my favorite costumes from Summer 2015:

Basic Camp Girls during Staff Training

Math Instruments for Liz

Truckers with all of Ellyn's grandpa's hats

'Merica with the CILT Pack

Joel for President Campaign Team

Father's Day and Mother's Day for our River Warrior Girls

Emojiis for Session 2

Zony and Yony with my best gal pal Ellyn

All the models of Fit Bit before I even had a Fit Bit to be obsessed with

Indian Tribe with the Spinnaker girls at Castaway

I definitely miss dressing up at Tecumseh but luckily I dress up a couple times a month for Young Life. Today is a very special day at the Clubhouse though because it's DICTIONARY DAY! For their English class, every student dresses up as the definition of a word. The halls and classrooms are filled with costumes and it's awesome. I love this day. My word this year is Retrospect: a review of a past course of events or period of time. 

Wouldn't you want to come hang out at the Clubhouse today?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Yeah, people are going to be at my house in 10 minutes, and my room is a mess, and we meet in my room, but oh well, we don't get to do this very often."

I'm officially collecting orders for this year's FBC shirts. I'm making a bold move and going with long sleeve Comfort Colors shirts instead of sweatshirts. I feel confident about that decision, hopefully you do too. 

We're going with a 'Merica look this year because God Bless and I love red, white and blue. The design on the back is an American Flag with bracelets as the stripes. The difficult thing is the design won't be perfected till we place our order so you have to imagine the greatness with me. (The front won't have that blue shadow and the bracelet frame will be navy and turquoise. On the back those bracelets won't have a white background and they're be redrawn without shadows so they're just red, white, blue and turquoise.)

The best part is you don't even have to be in FBC to buy an FBC shirt. You have till Nov 13th to get me $20 and you'll be on the list. At least 100 of the shirts I sell every year go to friends who aren't part of the club at my school. You could be on that list this year. 

Did you notice that our shirts say "Est. 2009"? We've been around long enough that 2009 actually sounds like a long time ago. These 7th grade girls were only 5 years old and in kindergarten when I first started teaching in this building. 

We've been causing ruckus and chaos in these halls while we play the Human Ladder, creating a culture where everyone is included, filling wrists with bracelets and making knots during CNN Student News for 7 years now. English Comp is important too, but I'm proud of the FBC. 

FBC always has a strong start at the beginning of the school year and then we slowly phase down to a more manageable number. Today, three months in, we're still pushing over 75 kids in the library. It's wild and loud and messy and so much fun. And yes, we've still got boys showing up.

Today we expanded our membership when Meredith, Laura and Hadley came over from Riverside Junior High. They're Wyld Life girls and I'm such a fan of the three of them. I'm glad that when they can carpool we can overlap here too. 

The girl gang from HIJH is still showing up every single week with plenty of enthusiasm and advanced friendship bracelet patterns. I love when old friends get to reunite. 

These 8th grade girls are fun, sweet, helpful, respectful, kind and creative. I love pulling a chair up to their table and hanging out with them while we tie knots or they practice their choir choreography.

Kid President is one of my favorite people and we watch his videos in class ever #awesometuesday. Kid President changed October to Socktober five years ago and my class helps the effort to collect socks for homeless people. This year we have 73 pairs of socks so far. 

Going to the Storyline Conference in Chicago last Fall was one of the best things I've ever done. In two days I got to listen Bob Goff, Donald Miller, Shauna Niequist and Glennon Doyle Melton. I was living the ultimate literary dream. So many of their words stuck with me and now I'm an avid reader of the Storyline Blog. Today I'm loving these words in a post from Mike Foster,

"You have to learn when to get up from the table when love is no longer being served. For a healthy friendship to exist, love has to be present. And not the emotion, the verb.  We were made to make each other better. To build and rebuild brokenness. And to share life with others who are giving it back.  Friendships that look for love will always find it."

Isn't that just so good? If you think through your best friends, the most significant people in your life, are you both investing love into your friendship?

Chloe and Cookie have both been part of my life for the past five years, but my friendships with both of them have significantly grown in the last year or two. Part of that is that they're getting older, part is that it's a season when we're both invest love into the friendship. Tonight I got to hang out with both of them at the same time which was just awesome. They're both the kind of people that I always want more time with-- to ask questions, to hear what they're thinking, to see them really laugh, to listen to their stories. I'm such a fan.

I'd like to propose that one of the Wonders of the World should be Junior High choir concerts. There is really nothing else like them.

Favorite part #1: Watching 8th graders Grace and Grace, Payton, Mer, Camden and Hannah smiling and dancing like their life depended on it. They stole the show and had energy and personality that was off the charts.

Favorite part #2: Best friends Ellison and Evie stood next to each other during most of the songs an they couldn't stop cracking up. During the spooky Halloween song they were both making silly-creepy faces and then cackling at themselves. Oh my goodness I love this pair.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"Wyld Life is chill."

A basement crammed full of 7th and 8th graders ready for Wyld Life Campaigners is a beautiful thing. When kids show up I get to see my students and kids from other Junior Highs who I haven't seen since the last time we met. Today I freaked out when new kids walked in too. 

Earlier today in class I was giving a couple kids the address for Wyld Life and I overheard one of my guys say, "Dude, you've got to go with a friend. You can't just show up alone. There are SO MANY GIRLS." That boy showed up tonight along with a crew of his friends. 7th grade boys-- there's nothing else like them.

Meanwhile our 8th grade boys are regulars at this whole Wyld Life thing. When we announced that our Camp trip location and dates will be revealed at our next Club these guys FLIPPED OUT. They were screaming and jumping out of their seats because they just couldn't hold in the awesomeness of camp. They had to share it.

Our 8th grade girls make me so happy. All year I think I'll just keep loving when kids from FCJH and HIJH are reunited-- I miss when we were all in the same building last year. But here at Wyld Life, we're just all in the same family again.

When we break up into small groups I'm with mostly 7th grade girls who come from four different schools. They're silly and insanely social and smart and relational and eager to learn more. Leading a group of 7th grade girls is a completely different ball game then leading a group of Junior girls-- but I love them both. 

Tonight we talked about prayer-- why we do it, where we do it, what our purpose is. My favorite verses tonight came from the message version, "Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. Then the focus will start to shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace." Matthew 6:6

We took five minutes at the end to write our prayers while I played some music. There was a sweet stillness and peace in the room that only comes from the Holy Spirit. We want to build a culture a prayer, a community where we're about relationships with God, not just memorizing theology or following rules. Every time a kid walks away from Wyld Life, we hope that they'll know Him a little bit more.

One of the things I'm so excited about this year is having Laura Lackey as a Wyld Life kid. I've know her for years and we were so sad when we found out she wouldn't get to be my student because of redistricting. But thanks to Wyld Life our lives will get to Overlap in significant ways. I love her heart and her joy that shines out of her. I'm so thankful for this girl.

In the past few months I've become friends with Jessica. She's a 7th grader at my school but I won't have her in English Comp. She's hilarious and ridiculous and somehow we became friends. She visits me in my room and walks with me during passing period and I'm such a fan of her. After much convincing, she showed up at Wyld Life and I actually screamed when she walked in the door.


"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well." 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 This is Wyld Life.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"I would like to go somewhere with good chocolate milk."

You know how much I love sports, well, you know how much I love cheering on my kids while they play sports. Things are getting intense around HSE. Tonight the Varsity Volleyball team played Zionsville in Regionals at Zionsville. They're expected to make it all the way to State so we're pretty invested. The crowd was packed and the HSE JV and Freshmen girls stood up screaming after every point in the front row. I loved it. 

The best part about playing Zionsville is that I got to sit in the stands with Maggie and Emma aka Big Girl and Big Girl 2. They're hilarious and ridiculous and they make me really happy. I also got to see Cal and Annie Leonard in the Zionsville student section. We sat with Katy P and Hools in the stands and they were both screaming (and dancing) during the whole match.

 After a close first match, HSE came back and took the next three games making us the Regional champs. Our fans ran onto the court and the players were beaming. They should be so proud of their hard work, their teamwork and their positivity. I can't wait for them to play in Semi-State this weekend.

Smoon is the queen of finding cool things and sending them to me. Today she found this project that was done by Jasmine Kay Uy at the University of Texas at Austin Department of Art and Art History. I  love that if you just read the right side you just know there must be more, that this kind of negativity shouldn't be out there. But when you read it as a whole you think, "Oh heck yes, this is so, so good."