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.