Saturday, February 5, 2011

Secret Messages and Birthday Wishes

Today was mostly about secret messages. First I introduced a special guest who came to spend the morning with us. My mom was there and she was thrilled to see the aprons she had donated all decorated so beautifully.We helped the girls put them on and got started.We began on the floor in our usual circle format with the girls telling me things about their week and laughing with each other for a few minutes. Then I told them we had a few projects to work on today. I asked if they remembered Sarah from our “meeting” last week, which of course they did. I told them that on the tables by their seats were pieces of paper with a special girls' name and address on it. This girl would be the recipient of their first secret message. They also had a postcard at the table. (thanks to my friend Jenica, a brilliant photographer!!)

I explained that they should address the postcard to their penpal and then write her a message. They could tell her something about themselves and then write a few words of encouragement. I laughed when I realized most of them had ever addressed a postcard before and we had to have a quick lesson in letter-writing format before we got started!

Our next project was making messages in a bottle. FIrst we tea-stained rice paper to make it look old. (They loved the idea that they could eat the rice paper if they really wanted to, luckily they all thought it wasn’t very appetizing). While the rice paper was drying, they filled their bottles with blue sparkly sand and a lot of colorful glitter. Some of them only wanted to use glitter, and Courtney decided to add some of our favorite fabric flowers to her bottle which looked so pretty. We glued a piece of string to the bottom of the cork to use later. Then they all wrote two messages. The first message was to the same girl they were sending a postcard to. I told them to say whatever was in their heart and to make her feel special.

The second secret message was for themselves. I explained that they should keep the bottle for a long time before they opened it, maybe 10 years, so that the message they wrote would be to their older self from the girl they are now. Their messages were so poignant and beautiful:

“I love math. I love dogs. I love myself.” “I hope I always stay creative.” “I am brave.” “I love art and I am taking classes with Brave Girls.” “I love you.”

I was so touched by their honesty and their excitement when they thought about themselves all grown up and who they would be. They wanted to be sure their messages were meaningful and they spent a lot of time thinking about them. Of course, they all want to open their bottles tomorrow, but that’s okay, too!

We rolled the paper into tiny scrolls and tied the other end of the string around it so it would fit into the bottle. We replaced the corks and tied pretty blue ribbon around the bottles. (All except for Julianna who "doesn't really like blue very much" I adore that she is so sure of herself and knows exactly what she wants, or doesn't want.) I loved the way the bottles looked all lined up on the windowsill. We decided we want to decorate the mailing boxes that we will send them to their penpals in; so I’ll mail the postcards today and we’ll wait to send the boxes next time we meet. I hope Sarah and her friends love them as much as we loved making them!

Then it was time to celebrate! It’s Courtney’s birthday today so we had cupcakes and sang “Happy Birthday” complete with lots of extra cha-cha-chas. While they were eating their cupcakes I told them there was one last component to the secret message class. I had special messages for each of them. A few weeks ago I had asked their moms to write each of the girls a letter. I asked them to tell her something about how she felt about her or to give her advice for the future, to let her know how special and unique she is. Then I also gave the girls each a letter I had written them. I wanted them to know how much I appreciated each one of them and how grateful I was that they wanted to be a part of my class each week.

We ended the day with hula hoops and musical chairs. Each time a girl was eliminated from the game I let her control the music and decide when to stop it while the others scrambled for a seat. Abby was the 3rd to last to be out and our birthday girl and Cristina were still left playing. Abby watched carefully and made sure Courtney was in front of the chair when she stopped the music. The birthday girl was the winner! And I was so proud!

Special thanks to my mom for stopping by and helping us this morning. She surprised me with a lovely secret message of my own and it was fun to have her see our BraveGirls in action. And happy birthday to Courtney--I'm so glad we could be a part of your day!


  1. remember how exited and emotion i got when you sent me the image of my necklace...yeah well three times as much on this one.

    amy i don't even know what to say. this is simply a brilliant gift. that you [and mama] gave to these girls.

    please let me know if there is anything i can do from here to help with a class. i would be happy to send things that would work for projects.

    this is so necessary and i love that you are doing it.

  2. you really are doing a wonderful, beautiful and amazing thing for these girls! the world is a better place because of you and your classes!
    hugs and smiles~ jill

  3. wht a nice post and I like the idea of the secret birthday wishes messages. Such cute children. so sweet...