Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The January Varsity FBC Project: Operation Surpise

Varsity FBC is in year three of advanced friendship bracelet making. Our team includes 45 girls from around HSE and across the Midwest. One of our goals 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.

This month Varisty FBC had one of our most creative projects yet. I told the girls at the start of the month, "Give a bracelet to someone who will be completely shocked at the gift-- so probably not a close friend or someone who always asks for one. Surprise your person and then share your story." So many people got some extra friendship bracelet love that didn't see it coming. These are their stories.

Ellen Baker: I choose the mailman for my Operation Surprise. Snail Mail is a really great way to show appreciation for someone. Who deserves appreciation more than the snail mail deliverer himself?! I've mailed TONS of crazy decorated envelopes and even a potato, so I'm very grateful to the people at USPS!

Maddie Halkyard: I picked Senora Gunderson because this girl is crazy and always does a great job of making Spanish 2 a great time. She never gets anything back in return so this was my way of saying thank you! And she loves Gilmore Girls.

Mallory Myers: I gave it to "wanna", my mom, because she always compliments the bracelets I'm making and sometimes she even buys my string! So I wanted to show her how grateful I am for who she is and what she does for me.

Grace Eckhardt: This is my cheer leading coach Ariel. She is one of the most amazing people I know who has inspired me so much. She cares about the girls on my team and encourages us to be bettter women. She's moving to NYC soon to be a travel nurse. Even though I'll miss her so much I hope that when she wears the bracelet she'll look at it and think of me.

Jenna Jenkins: I gave away my bracelet to Sami Alphin. She adds so much color to the world much like a bracelet would do. Sam makers her own party no mater who she is with.

Sydney Sabbagha: I met Erin a few months ago when we were bonding over coffee. She has the biggest heart filled with so much wisdom of God. She continues to inspire me with her faith pursuit each day. I surprised her with this bracelet on her birthday.

Sarah Wright: I met Emily Painter at camp last summer during CILTs. Now whenever I see her she greets me with the biggest hug that reminds me of Tecumseh. I'm so thankful for her humor, her heart, her boldness and her enthusiasm. I'm lucky to call her my friend.

Caroline Shumaker: I sent my bracelet to an out-of-state friend I met at Tecumseh last summer. Since our friendship means so much to me, and I know how much Tecumseh means to both of us, I made her a bracelet and a painting as a belated birthday surprise. I want the bracelet to remind her of our friendship and the painting to remind her of the many, many years she has found her second home at camp.

Carolyn Nohren: I choose Piper Duckett for my Operation Surprise. She is my World History teacher's daughter and was recently diagnosed with Top 1 Diabetes. I wanted to give her something to cheer her up and maker her smile!

Brynn Urban: I chose to give my bracelet to Ms. Lippe, our principal, because she is so rad! She is a great leader for our school and has never received a bracelet. She was so pumped when I gave it to her and reminded me why I make bracelets. I'm so glad I gave a bracelet to someone who deserves it most!

Claire Shumaker: I chose to give my bracelet to Mr. Amones, the Clubhouse Assistant Principal. He is a humorous man who is sure to always comment on my pants! He always makes me smile with his daily lunch announcements. We surprised Ms. Lippe and Mr. Amones at the same time and they were shocked. Mr. Amones is now part of FBC and he immediately put all FBC dates and times in his phone. He memorized the bracelet pattern name and shows it off to all the staff and students. Keep it up Mr. Amones!

Molly Bickle: I gave my bracelet to Miss Lizzie, our school janitor, because no matter what she's always there to save the day. She deals with all the stuff we don't want to deal with and doesn't complain. She is so nice to everyone who talks to her and no one has a bad thing to say about her. Saying hi to her is always the highlight of my day. When she had knee surgery she only took two weeks off and then she was back to work. She inspires me to do all I can for the people around me, just like her.

Kate Shreck: This is my pal Evey. She's the bomb. I was more than excited to surprise her with a bracelet. Her and her amazing family have been dropping me back home and I gave it to her right at the end of the ride. Her positivity, laughter, kindness and enthusiasm make her one of my favorites!

Cecilia Vigren: I picked Ava because we have become really good friends in the past few months. She always makes me smile and laugh so I decided to give her a friendship bracelet to confirm our friendship. I surprised her by giving it to her on her birthday because who wouldn't want a birthday surprise?!

Cassidy Ogan: I chose Chloe because she's the best and I want her to learn to friendship bracelet. Also I knew she'd look great in pink.

Brooke Ratliff: I gave a bracelet to my swim coach Joel because he is pretty awesome! He inspires me to be a better person every day. He is the best coach around town.

Marina Alphin: I picked Gracie Kirk because she lives life like a party and loves to make people laugh. She is my favorite 5th grader in the world because she is optimistic and never gives up. She is one of the toughest people I have met so far. She smiles with grit in the hard times. I think she deserves some recognition for all of this so I wanted to give her this bracelet.

Sophie Sams: I decided to give a bracelet to Sophia after I heard her talking badly about Varsity FBC and how she didn't like it. I felt like she didn't understand what Varsity FBC was really about. When I gave her the bracelet I told her about this month's project. I told her I wanted to give her a bracelet because she wouldn't expect it from me. Sophia looked happily surprised and immediately apologized for everything she had said before. I'm so happy that I chose to give a bracelet to Sophia, my new friend.

Audrey Andritsch: I gave my Operation Surprise bracelet to my dad because he's been asking for one since I first started making them. I always felt bad but I never made one for him (I'm a terrible daughter, I know). But when I gave him this one he actually thought I was joking!

Maggie Boyd: I made this bracelet for my mom because she recently has been working very hard at work and to help me with my school work. She is always on her toes around the house and ready to help. Ever since I got home from camp she has been trying to "design" her own bracelet. This is what she had in mind and she was totally surprised when I gave it to her.

Taylor Pozzebon: I met Carly through soccer in the summer. Three months later we realized we are pretty much the same person and became really good friends. She never asked for a bracelet so I decided to give her one. She was out sick today so she sent me a picture and I photo-shopped in her bracelet.

Olivia Phillips: Kaitlyn has this zest and love for life that I have never seen in anyone before. Every day, she comes to school and compliments people in the hallways, tells jokes and talks about her favorite Disney character ever, Joy, from Inside Out. As soon as I found out about this month's project, I knew I wanted to surprise Kaitlyn because would be overjoyed. 

Payton Snyder: Carson is always smiling at school and we help each other with school work. I wanted to tell her thank you because I appreciate her so much. 

Julia Dewolf: I surprised the girl next to me in AP Stats after she complimented my bracelets one day. Then the next day was her birthday and so I thought I'd give her one as a present. She was so appreciative and I love seeing her wear it every day. Plus I made a new friend!

"The alfredo at Bucca di Beppo tastes like Conner Prairie."

"We don't want diversity for diversity's sake. We want diversity because it reflects the kingdom of God." -YL Forward

Gosh I love Junior High-- every day something as magical as this happens. "Miss Wright, this is my picture of a chinchilla. I keep it with me in my binder."

I got to have an after school heart with Lizzie over french fries and Frosty's. Hanging out with Liz is one of my favorite things. 

I've been salivating for two days just thinking about the Olive Garden. Erin, Maddie, Cass and I downed garlic breadsticks, the infamous salad and our split entrees. Just like Mr. Olive Garden himself said, "We're all family here."

We cheered on Kegley, our fav bball gal, in the first round of Sectionals as they totally dominated Westfield. Lucky for us, we got in some quality time with Johnna, Kaylee, Anne and Coach Kitchen too. Sports!

Honorable Mention Blog Title:
"Why does everyone say love is the most dangerous thing? It can't be. It's not like love can come out of the wall and get you. It can NOT physically do anything to you."

Monday, January 30, 2017

"I haven't started my period yet. But I lost a tooth last night! And I still have to lose two more."

"Research shows that people who cultivate gratitude get a boost in happiness and optimism, feel more connected to other people, are better-liked and have more friends, are more likely to help others—they even sleep better and have fewer headaches." -Gretchen Rubin

Boom. Let's cultivate some gratitude.

I love...
1. Early Monday mornings with some of the greatest 8th grade girls I know
2. Reading chapters about friendship and how to get better at it
3. Praying for my friends
4. Cassidy's confidence in being her unique, velvet-scrunchie loving self
5. That Liz is one of the most consistent and dependable teenage girls I've ever met

6. Daily updates from Ellie about her plan to get a chinchilla
7. Visits from Mall and Jess during passing period
8. My Diet Coke drinking schedule when I'm at school
9. Carl Azuz and CNN Student news
10. Selfies from Brookie on my phone

11. Actually wanting to go on a run
12. When company's have great customer service
13. My "less stuff" movement and being able to see a difference-- "It's not about having less stuff, it's not about having more stuff. It's about wanting the stuff that you have."
14. Feeling accomplished every time I finish a bracelet
15. Watching movies on Netflix before they disappear
16. Michelle's chili mac for our leadership dinner
17. When YL boys really get into the Club theme

18. Being part of a team where everyone is willing to help
19. Laughter
20. Competition, relay races and games inspired by Ellen
21. "Who runs the world?" "Girls!"
22. Capturing blog title worthy quotes all day long
23. Hanging out with this gang of YL gals every Monday night

24. Songs that everyone can sing along to
25. Hearing YL leaders share their story and the story of Christ and how the two intersect
26. Grace Tully's "chaperone" outfit, especially those pink shoes
27. The LN gal pals

28. Embracing silliness like square dancing and feeling like we're at YL camp
29. Old prom dresses and sweatshirts that mom's kept around for all these years
30. Instagram live videos at YL Club so people can feel like they're there at home
31. Working up a good 'ol sweat from having so much fun

32. Texts of affirmation from Johnna
33. KCraig knowing exactly what I'm thinking
34. The fact that Cassidy doesn't have to graduate this year
35. Randomly hearing from Camp T girls
36. Systems and routines that shape my days
37. When mail that you thought had disappeared magically shows up
38. Starting a new book and loving it from the first page
39. "Choosing joy is a discipline. But it's not about faking it or manipulating your emotions. It's about training your eyes to see the light in the darkness and to regularly celebrate what you see."
40. Motivational messages from Mike Lang to the Tecumseh staff

Honorable Mention Blog Titles:
"Did you know they can't vomit?"
"All the other times we're on the same team... not in front of the dryer though."
"Should we just have a formal recall? Please dispose or mail all purple beads back to camp asap."