Monday, January 21, 2013

Hi world.

We have some catching up to do. I don't think I've been not busy for the past month until right about now.

In the past month and 17 days, I... into college. 
I was accepted to Vanderbilt University and will be attending in the fall. I couldn't be more excited. Go 'Dores! Of course, the pictures with my Vandy shirt and black and gold pom-pom were necessary for mom and dad.

...led Kairos 39.
I went on Kairos 38 in April and it was the biggest blessing EVER to be on the leader team for 39 in December. I love our leader team and my small group more than anything in the whole world. I could probably write pages on how much I love Kairos, and that would bore everyone except me. In a nutshell: I am blessed to know the best people in the world. 
back: Anna, Chad, Gabby; front: Chris, Julia, Emily, Kendall, Ellie, Savannah
Po, Ellie, Max, Reba, Katie, Michelle, Jennah, KA, Kacy, Maudie, Coleman, Gabby, Kendall, Madeleine
Hottest people I know.

...celebrated the best Christmas yet.

Christmas with the Kai fam!

...spent a weekend with Katharine's work crew. 
They spent a month together working at Castaway in Minnesota over the summer. I made 30 new friends this weekend and I couldn't love these people more! I heard Katharine talk about them so much and it was incredible to finally meet all these wonderful people.

We sat in a circle and worshipped to bring in the new year. If that's not a beautiful start to 2013 I don't know what is!

...reunited with MY work crew.
My best friends and the greatest people I've ever met. About half of us reunited in Columbus, OH for the weekend in early January and it was incredible. In total we had 10 states represented. I hadn't seen a lot of these people since we'd left camp in July, so getting to hug everyone and catch up and have everything just go right back to normal like it was at Timber Wolf was absolutely perfect. I love them a whole lot and wish we could be reunited forever. Seriously.
top row: Keaton, Tommy, Kyle; 2nd row: Nick, Daniel, Chandler; 3rd row: Hagen, Alex, Kayla, Kendall; bottom row: Maddie, Laura, Alyssa, Olivia
Keaton, Olivia and I reppin' Timber Wolf tawashies!

...started rehearsing for the annual Kinesis show in February.
Our show is the first weekend in February, so January is full of tech rehearsals, and that means a lot more time spent together. This past Saturday was Headshots Day, where we all get headshots taken to display in the lobby before our show. But to show our other, more beautiful sides, we took ugly headshots as well. You're welcome.
...drove out to Naperville with Katharine to see wonderful work crew friends.
Lauren, Dan, Kendall, Alyssa, Alec, Katharine
Get this: Lauren and I are going to Vanderbilt together next year; Dan, Alyssa and I went on the same work crew; Dan and Alec are best friends from home; Katharine and I are best friends from home; Alec and Katharine went on the same work crew; Lauren does Young Life with Dan and Alec. What? Even I'm confused now. Young Life is a small world.

We all went to a bible study together, but the greatest part by far was being able to paint the walls of Dan's friend's basement at the end of the night. After we sang and listened to teaching we seriously went to town on those walls. I was by far one of the least artsy people there, but the ways people expressed themselves were so inspirational.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."

Sometimes I am just floored by how true words can be. Like that quote. How perfect is that? Thanks John Cassis! I'm also always floored by the fact that I could never come up with something as eloquent. Seriously, every day is word vomit day in Kendall's life!

But I am loving this quote today because even just the first few days of my 25 Days of Kindness have taught me how important being nice is, whether I am helping someone else have a happier day or just brightening my own.

Day 3 was this Monday, December 3rd. I don't drive too much on weekdays but thought it would be a good idea for one of my days to be driving for a whole day without getting angry or frustrated at other people on the road. This might seem dumb to some of y'all but for me it can sometimes be a problem. I decided Monday was "No Road Rage" day because let's face it, the world doesn't need yet driver with road rage. :)

Day 4 was yesterday, Tuesday the 4th! This day actually takes a bit more explaining: one of my wonderful friends Michelle was in the hospital for most of last week, and I was planning on visiting her Friday afternoon and bringing her a surprise. But obviously Friday was a good time for me to get crazy sick as well, so that didn't happen. I got to give Michelle her little surprise when I saw her last night. She is such a blessing in my life and I am so glad I've gotten to know her this year.

Today was Day 5! I ended up at Starbucks tonight for a meeting and decided, how happy would I be if a stranger surprised me with free Starbucks? We had a free drink coupon lying around my house, so I wrote a little note to go along with the coupon and stuck it under the windshield wiper of a random car in the parking lot. When I left, the car was still there, so here's hoping my stranger found the little treat!

 My card said, "Hey! Free Starbucks! Seriously, on me! ❤, a stranger."

I hope your first few days of the Christmas season have been absolutely wonderful!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

25 Days of Kindness

Happy December! Merry almost Christmas! The best month of the year--by far--is upon us. I am so excited.

I am also really excited to be celebrating December differently this year. Everyone has obviously heard of the 12 Days of Christmas (if not, who are you?), which turned into ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas, which I turned into 25 Days of Kindness.

This started when I heard from someone that it takes at least 21 days of doing a certain action to create a habit. I love the concept of random acts of kindness, and thought it would be so perfect to combine kindness and Christmas! I feel like we usually associate the two, but with all the stress that goes with the holidays, sometimes going out of our way to help people can get lost in the shuffle.

In an effort to make a habit of doing nice things on a daily basis, I am doing something nice every day from December 1st to December 25th. Some of the days are planned out, while some days I'm hoping that God will put someone right in front of me and say, "This person needs you today." Some nice things are big and some are small. I guess my philosophy on this is that it doesn't matter whether it's free or costs a million dollars, as long as it's helping someone else.

I strung up these banners on the doors to my closet and am attaching a notecard with the act of kindness for the day on the back!

I am not doing this to get recognition or to try to act like I am a better, nicer, holier person than anyone else. Absolutely not! Luke 12:48 tells us, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded," and Matthew 10:8 says, "Freely you have received, freely give." I have been blessed with more than I could ever imagine and this is the best way I could think of to both praise God for what I'm given and serve people who need it most. I also hope that posting what I am doing here will keep me accountable to keep doing it! :)

Yesterday I kicked off the month by making a loan on the website to a woman named Beatrice from Kenya. When I found Kiva, I spent hours looking through the pages of loans, reading the stories from all around the world. It is simultaneously heartbreaking to read about these people in poverty, but incredibly inspiring that they are so motivated to start their own businesses or provide for their families.

This afternoon as I was driving home from church, I was really excited to see students standing next to the road collecting change to raise money for the Northwestern University Dance Marathon. They do this every year, so I wasn't surprised, but in years past my family or I have just kept our windows up so they wouldn't ask us to donate.

Today, I decided that because I had money literally sitting in the cupholder right next to me, that this was God telling me what my act of kindness was to be for the day. I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to contribute to an amazing organization like NUDM, even if it's just in a tiny way.

Hopefully I will be able to update you periodically throughout the month! Have a wonderful Christmas season. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I didn't choose the good life, the good life chose me.

(Please note the Tupac reference. I changed the quote but obviously I am still living the thug life. It goes without saying. Also, who uses parentheses at the beginning of something? What?)

Oh hi there! The rest of this Thanksgiving break has been entirely wonderful. Thought maybe I would update you on my life, and maybe start with an Instagram recap since it really does show exactly what's going on in my life.
1. Being artsy with fake candles. Sometimes I try too hard. It's whatever.
2. Baking adventures with my momma for Thanksgiving day brunch.
3. An incredible brunch full of friends and food!
4. My tacky finds during Black Friday shopping with Gnomes (sadly not pictured).
5. Crafting night. Holla at yo Pinterest gurl. 
6. Sunday morning Chicago adventures.

Friends at Michelle's Thanksgiving brunch. Ben was the sole male representation in the crowd. He was a great sport about it. Michelle was an incredible hostess and we always love when she bakes. I think I gained 5 pounds Thursday morning. We had a lovely time getting fat together and being weirded out by the Thanksgiving Day Parade (did anyone else see those 80s dancers wearing nothing but spandex thongs?). After brunch I had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents. Quiet, until we decided to watch all 10 Friends Thanksgiving episodes. Literally hours of laughter.

Friday Carolyn, Katharine and I went to Chipotle for lunch and decided to take some family pictures afterward. You know, for our Christmas card. Because we're a family. Mrs. Hinkamp is always hilarious and I love that there are about 20 blurry photos of us and 3 good ones.

We also made puppy chow at Katharine's and got kisses from Maddie.

And cried over letters telling us we are State Scholars. AKA really smart. AKA go Katharine! And wore footie pajamas and painted pretty canvases like we see on Pinterest. Notice how Carolyn and I stuck to our motivational quotes and Katharine decided to paint Pocahontas. Carolyn's says "Today is the greatest!" and mine say "Kindness is just love with its work boots on."

 From left: Annie, Grace, Kate, Olivia, Dani, Anna, Emily, Kendall, Christine
Saturday night my old small group from church went out to dinner. There were nine of us, half freshmen in college and half seniors in high school. We live everywhere from Nashville to Michigan now that some of us are in college and it was incredible to all be together again. I love that God has made these friendships strong enough to cover miles. I loved that we put all our phones in the middle for the entire dinner so everyone would be present during dinner, and I loved that we did "3-minute catch-ups" to hear about what's going on in everyone's lives. I love that we genuinely care about and support each other through everything.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Thankful Wall

"What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?"
Scary, right? Right.

Thanksgiving is a little bit of a wake-up call for me after three straight months of English papers and Kinesis rehearsals and weekend trips and Young Life dinners and clubs and life. I love being busy and involved and always having something to do. I don't think I could live life at a slow pace. 

But giving thanks is important. And that's why I decided to let it take over my room and make the "Thankful Wall" (that feels cheesy and I love it). It's to remind myself that being thankful for what you have can be lost in the shuffle of taking for granted what you have. I don't like that and I want to change it!

If you must know, a small part of the reason I made the Thankful Wall is because I hate empty white space and I have an abundance of colored Sharpies. I went to town and may or may not have cleaned out our supply of notecards. But in the process I got to think about the incredible blessings in my life and I think that is totally worth it.

So, in case you were wondering, here is a (by no means exhaustive) visual representation of what I am thankful for this year.

I know what you're thinking. "But Kendall, that's only 39 things you are thankful for! I bet there is so much more!" Of course there's more. I really loved thinking about everything I am thankful for, and that's why for the next 39 days, I will be putting up one more thing I am thankful for - that's until December 30th! I am excited to cover all the space on my doors in the next month.

 Thankful for wonderful books like Love Does written by wonderful people like Bob Goff that remind me how wonderful life is. Seriously. Wonderful.

Thankful for a month spent with some of the most incredible people I know, serving campers and more importantly, God. These kids leak Jesus. I can't wait to see them in January!

Thankful that my parents moved here almost completely so I could have a phenomenal education. Thankful that I've learned education is more than memorizing words on a page. 

Thankful for this wonderful group of 23 that I get to spend so much time with every day, dancing or just goofing off. (And yes, I did make a card being thankful for bows that is directly above this one. You bet I did.)

A big heck of an "I'm thankful for..." for Young Life. Thankful for the people I've met and the opportunities I've had and the ways my faith has grown.


Thankful for my silly, goofy parents who have taught me so much about being my own person, among a million other things.

Thankful for this show that basically defined my childhood. Also thankful that we have all ten seasons on DVD that I may or may not stow away in my suitcase for college.

Thankful that I can be thankful for silly things like Pinterest. Thankful for my biggest time-waster and creativity-sparker.

Thankful for this band that has played the soundtrack of my life for so long now. Thankful for being able to see them in concert so many times.

What are you thankful for?