Friday, September 30, 2016

"Oh yeah, she'll just go up to people she doesn't know and hug them and ask if they remember her."

Highs of the day:
1. No Pants Thursday
2. Mrs. Hiatt coloring at FBC with the string-challenged kids
3. Cheering on the volleyball teams with Mallory and Katie
4. Jimmy John's and friendship-braceleting in the stands
5. Packing for camp because it's SO SOON

The 'Merica Collection. God bless.

I'm ahead of the bracelet count for last year at this time. I've got all my string cut for next week at camp-- historically not a lot of bracelets get made because I'm running around making stuff happen. We'll see what happens this year.

The Camp T Excitement is building. Here's what some of the counselors are pumped about...

  1. I'm excited to be surrounded by nature and the outdoors.
  2. I'm excited for camp because I love teaching little kids!
  3. I'm excited to enhance my leadership skills and teach the kids about camp and nature.
  4. I'm excited to get away for a little bit and to teach my cute little kiddos... and for skits.
  5. I'm excited to play my kazoo with my little turkeys.
  6. I'm excited to not be in school and to be outside all day long.
  7. We get to be outside with our friends and hopefully new friends that we teach!
  8. I'm excited to spent time outdoors and help kids learn in a fun and exciting way.
  9. I'm excited to meet a ton of kids and be away from school and be at camp!
  11. Hopefully becoming a role model for younger kids and having the time of our lives in nature.
  12. I get to make my kids wear unicorn horns and be away from the real world for 3 days.
  13. Getting more in touch with nature for a few days and getting to know some different personalities.
  14. I can't wait to make learning fun for my kids, get to know other counselors better and be in my favorite place in the world for a few days.
  15. I'm excited to make sure the kids have the most fun they can at camp. 

The September Project: Missions Of Hope Haiti

Varsity FBC is in year three of advanced friendship bracelet making. Our team includes 43 girls from around HSE and across the Midwest. One of my goals for this year is to provide opportunities for these girls to partner together to do small things with great love. Each month I'm going to give them a project where they can make bracelets for a cause. Together we can make a bigger impact than if we were trying to do it on our own.

Our own Tori Elliott is traveling with Missions of Hope Haiti to serve over Fall Break. After her mom went on a trip last year, and delivered some bracelets to an orphanage there, Tori now has the opportunity to go and experience it herself. She's taking along bracelets from the Varsity FBC to give to the kids she'll meet during that week. 

Tori told me, "I'm most excited to get to spread God's word to all the people and kids I meet there. I can't wait to meet my sponsor kiddo and go to school with her. I'm so thankful that I get the opportunity to meet all the wonderful people that live there and make a difference in their lives."

Bracelets for the September project were made by Audrey Andritsch, Brooke Ratliff, Sarah Wright, Claire Shumaker, Sophie Sams, Ellyn, Kendall Claymon, Grace Eckhardt, Carolyn Nohren, Lauren Quigley and Olivia Phillips. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Wait, I want pen pals too! But I want a lot of them..."

"Community is more than just fitting someone into your schedule." I love this Wednesday morning time with the Wilderness girls who show up. Quality time together is so valuable. 

"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." Look at these sunbeam-shining-faces. Have you ever seen more lovely people? (p.s. thanks for the surprise pics on my phone girls)

"All I wanna do is make stuff and love people." Opening my mailbox when I get home after school and finding letters from friends and pen pals in one of the greatest things. Snail mail is thriving my friends-- jump on the band wagon. Bonus points for decorated envelopes.

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." Cross Country. Boom. Mud puddle flopping. Greatest sport ever. You go girls.

"Remember, if it's not fun, you're doing it wrong." Wyld Life Campaigners in a party-- everyone is invited. There is overflowing joy, name tags from Jesse, hugs and high-5s, laughter, story swapping, giggling and inclusion.

"Take your everyday, ordinary life-- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-- and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him." Living life with these Wyld Life leaders, HS leaders and Junior High kids is one of the greatest investments of my time and most anticipated parts of my life. This is how I want to offer my everyday, ordinary life to Him.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Well, I'm only going to get them vegan candy so..."

Dear Maddie and Meg,

Thanks for being the kind of people who appreciate some waffle fries and lemonade after a long day of school. You're both so old these days-- I love that I get to be part of that all when it's easy and when it's tough. I can't wait for us to be back at Camp T next week when you lead around a study group of kids. They'll think you're awesome. 

Dear baby JoJo,

I love you to pieces. I'm so glad we got to hang out for so long tonight. Thanks for smiling and laughing the whole time I talked to your mom-- you're full of happiness already. Playing, getting to be there for your bath and putting you to bed was the best part of my day. Keep being awesome kid. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

"Shoot, I don't have a spoon. Will you pass me that little pink rake?"

I can't think of a better way to start Monday mornings than with these girls. Maddie, Kaleigh, Jordan, Claire, Megan, Ellison, Lydia and Brookie are some of the sweetest, most hilarious, dedicated, courageous kids I know. I love their 8th grade year-- we know each other well from the start and we've got a whole 10 months of seeing each other nearly every single day. 

The barn was a party tonight. The kids voted on a White Elephant Club but other than bringing random gifts, they weren't sure what to expect. I was BEYOND THRILLED when Brendan Hopper-Kanustrum showed up for the very first time ever. Though he didn't initially remember (and I was legitimately offended), we were friends for his Junior High years and I probably haven't seen him since he finished 8th grade. 

Lauren and Bailee came back for week #2 along with our regular friends. This time the girls walked in with huge smiles, no longer nervous to be here. 

The Blacks and Mia brought their friend Adam to check out Club for the first time and you would've thought he'd been here for years. 

We started outside for the first game because things were about to get a bit sticky...

Our 12 brave volunteers didn't know what they were volunteering for. 1 can of Coke. 1 sock. A chugging contest like they'd never experience, or smelled, before. 

We went inside for the next game Taste the Rainbow. A team representing each grade sat up front. The girl, using only her feet, fed a bag of skittles to their male teammate. 

Inspired by the first time I ever went to a YL camp, we poured approximately 1,000 ping pong balls out of the upstairs bedroom window. Team Boy and Team Girl each collected as many ping pong balls as they could. The Boy trash can was just about 3/4 of the way full and the girls had nearly reached the top. 

Inspired by the White Elephant gifts, the musical move tonight was Christmas songs. Washburn was so excited when she heard the first couple notes that she had to stand and start dancing.

Even though it's still September, you would've believed it was December 24th by the participation and enthusiasm in that room as we sang. 

The Rockette's kick line was the icing on the cake.

Scott Black, the Christmas king, was in charge of our White Elephant gift exchange. On your turn you could pick a present from the pile or steal someone else's gift. Each present could only be stolen one time.

Seriously though-- what a line up of pals. I love that we get to spend Monday nights together.

Everyone walked away from the White Elephant gift exchange with some pretty phenomenal stuff. Some of the highlights included 7 birds, Bop-It, a figurine doll, can of peaches, HSE football jersey, giant calculator, broom (which got put to use right away) and a pair of fairy wings.

Tonight we heard from JD about his work in Dominican Republic and God's calling on his life to go. He reminded us that where we are right now is our missionary field and that we're called to be God's light to the people around us every single day.

We're called to love our friends well. To forgive quickly. To show up for each other. To listen and actually listen. To serve. To ask, "How can I help?" and follow through. To do the unglamorous work. To share in each other's joys and each other's sorrows. To apologize. We get to keep becoming more like Christ every single day.

I'm so thankful that I get to work on all of that with these people. It's a privilege to be a YL leader, to show up in kids lives, to serve in this family, to run around collecting ping pong balls on a Monday night. Oh what a time to be alive.