Just Look...

Just Look...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

First World Tragedy

So my calender AND to do list/reminders on my phone crashed today. And by "crashed", I mean that I tried to "fix" something I knew nothing about (while driving) and clicked something dumb like "yes" on the question "are you sure you want to delete all calender appointments, reminders, and notes?". So, total user error. Or idiot mistakes. Whatever the case, it's all gone. And for someone who makes lists like a crazy person and lives by her calender-- well, you could say I am royally screwed.

After I panicked, then cried, then clicked everything on the phone I knew to click (and a lot that probably didn't), then social media called for help, I gave in to the inevitable, which is that I will not be a single place I need to be for the foreseeable future. After some time to calm and reflect, I decided that might not be a bad thing. Maybe this is some cosmic call for calm in my life... maybe I needed an excuse to miss a few things... rather more sinister, maybe I am going to die on this cruise and this is some sort of symbolic foreshadowing... Whatever the case, it's all gone and over.

And I was reminded again, as I am every. single. time. technology fails (understanding that in this case, the "failure" was with the user), that pen and paper always work. They don't lose battery life, they don't have connection errors, they don't let idiots tell them to delete themselves. However, that's not the route I take. And that's why I sit here tonight, drying my tears, praying that some miracle happens to this phone and everything comes back.

Because if it doesn't, I have no clue where I am supposed to be tomorrow. Or what I was supposed to remember to pack. And if you were on my Christmas list.... well, sorry about that. There's always next year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sometimes, It Takes a Verbal Slap in the Form of a Whisper

I have a confession to make. I love to eavesdrop. On people in general, really, but especially on my seven and nine year olds. The eavesdropping is made quite simple in our house in that we still have baby monitors hooked up. (Do not judge us. Their rooms are a long way from ours and if they got sick in the night, we would never hear them. Plus, if they continue to forget the monitors are there, they are going to come in very handy during their teenage years.... when we will also be installing video monitors in our driveway, their cars, and our family room.)

The thing is, though, sometimes you hear things that you really don't want or need to hear. Case in point: Two nights ago, I overheard Emma tell Kraig after he helped her with math homework, "Whew! Thank goodness you aren't an English teacher like Mommy! I'd be SUNK!" Well....  Et tu, little Brute?!?!?!

Recently I heard the girls talking to each other about their Kindergarten years. (As in, they both had one. Not as in they were in Kindergarten longer than a year. Just wanted to clarify.) Kelsey was raving about some Thanksgiving activity they did and how amazing it was and Emma stopped her by saying, "No offense, but you were pretty easily excited in Kindergarten. I mean, you thought EVERYTHING was a giant deal!"

That comment stopped me in my tracks. Isn't it so true? Not just with school, but with everything... from education to a Christian walk to parenting to a career to marriage to a hobby or passion... everything. We start off and we are SO. EXCITED. Everything is a big deal, we are optimistic about everything, we delight in the banal circumstances of every situation. As time goes on, we lose it. We get cynical. We get jaded. We get TIRED. And those little things aren't so exciting anymore. In fact, they become fodder for complaints and sources of exhaustion.

I wonder why that is? More importantly, I wonder how we can maintain the joy. Not necessarily the level of excitement, because that would get old really quickly. But at least the steady delight in doing something we are meant to do and doing it well. I'm better in some of those categories than others. And I think there are seasons in all things and so sometimes we will just hit a low season. But whatever the cause, whatever the case, I believe a choice and conscious effort to maintain joy will pay off great dividends in our futures.

I heard a great speaker named Angela Thomas whose lecture was titled "Choose Joy". It makes good sense. It's a lot harder when I'm tired and discouraged and just so stinking tired of doing the same thing over and over and feeling like I never get any results.... But maybe on those days, it's even more important. Because if you make it a habit of choosing joy, you are bound to get a reaction. And maybe it will be just the reaction you need to push you back into the season of delight, the season of "first love" with that career or class or family member or hobby.

And I'm going to need a little of that because the most recent conversation I eavesdropped on through the monitor was Emma telling Kelsey that she is always afraid to go into the closet to get anything because she's afraid the doorknob will stink and she won't be able to get out.
Kelsey's response: I know. That's why I hide food everywhere.

Choose joy.

Friday, November 9, 2012


        Today was one of those (good) emotionally crazy sort of days. From something that happened this morning to the Veteran's Day program (I am a sucker for all things America anyway, but knowing that Claire's husband, Ryan, will deploy in a matter of weeks made this day all the more meaningful to me) to seeing "Argo" tonight, it's been a day of deep emotion.

      This morning I had a beautiful opportunity. See, I am one of the lucky ones. I get to go to a job every day that doesn't even feel like a JOB. It feels like JOY. And some days, that joy turns into all out awe and wonder. One of those days was today. My Holocaust Lit class picks a Memorial Project every year. This year, after brainstorming, we honed in on three different groups-- an artistic project focusing on the fact that it could have been you, or me, or anyone; a children's play that they are going to perform at local elementary schools; and a benefit/memorial 5K. To be truthful, I had hoped they would drop the idea of the 5K. I do enough 5K's in a year. ;) However, they did not, and the more they talked, the more excited they became. The more excited they became, the more excited I became. They started to brainstorm groups to send their money to and really had wanted to focus on genocide. As the conversation and dreaming and brainstorming continued, they hit on the idea of picking a city, which reminded me of the Build a City project that PCL are doing. I pulled up the video and they got even more excited. The guy came today from the organization to talk to them about everything. As he talked, my heart was even more stirred.

     God's been doing some crazy stuff inside me lately... crazy stuff like drawing me to live like He has called His people to live. (Novel, huh? Even radical. What? Follow the pattern set forth in His word??? Surely not.) But yes. I feel like I have always had a heart for missions and for people, but have found pretty simple ways to do that work. Turns out God might just want a little more from me than that-- some sort of sold-out lifestyle. Anyway, I sat this morning and listened to him talk about life in Andong, Cambodia. And more than that, I watched my students' faces as he talked. I could see their passion shining...their empathy, excitement, that limitless faith and optimism they still have that they can really do ANYTHING. (Wonder what age we lose that?) I looked at one who wants to be a children's pastor.... one who wants to go into mission work... another who has already done several mission trips and wants to do more... one who I know is struggling like I am to know what exactly the lifestyle IS that He wants for us...

And that was the moment when I knew that I was looking way too hard at the "colors of life" because I was about ten seconds away from the ugly cry.

     I hear people talk all the time about the future of our society. That things are going downhill fast. That this generation doesn't care about things the way previous generations did.

I beg to differ.

Because I know of at least one group of kids who are going to change the world. And they are starting with a city in Cambodia.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lessons for my Daughters...

I have toyed with the idea of fully committing to the blogging thing (and making this blog public) for a while now, and I finally decided today that the time has come. It's all in... 
The following is my facebook post from last night, election night. I have added a few things and cleaned up some others, but it's basically exactly the same post.

Obviously emotions are running high, and maybe that's partly a good thing. As someone who teaches against apathy, seeing people who are actively involved in the democratic process greatly encourages me. My daughters will awaken tomorrow morning and they will be sorely disappointed. However, here are the things I want them to learn from today:

1. We GET to have a say. As disappointing as the result
s are at times, at least there ARE results. I can live with my guy losing (although there was no one in this election I could call "my guy") as long as I had a chance of him winning. 

2. The beauty is in the process. We will all wake up tomorrow and carry on with life. If power had shifted, it would do so peaceably in January. This country and our process is a beautiful thing and no ignorant talk of "I'll just move to____" will ever come out of my mouth... Not when so many would give up so much to get here. Not when so many HAVE given up so much for ME to be here.

3. No matter what side of the issues you fall on, every "issue" represents PEOPLE. We must always stand for just treatment of PEOPLE. And the bashing and hate will not advance any cause or glorify any person. We respect the office and therefore will not speak ill of the man. I sincerely hope my daughters will not hear people they respect and look up to (especially those who are Christian role models to them) setting forth a terrible example of disrespect of another human. We may not agree at all with policy, but that's not an excuse to bash a fellow man. 

4. Our hope is not of this world. No president can save us and by that same token, no president can destroy us. We will pray together for our President's second term and for him and his family and we will continue our prayers for America. We heard a statement today that "God has left America." I was able to take that opportunity to explain to Emma and Kelsey that God doesn't live in the White House. For that matter, He doesn't live in this country. He lives in the hearts of His people, and as long as there is even one of His people in America, God is in America. 

Don't worry-- this won't be a political blog. In fact, I have little to no idea WHAT kind of blog it will be. Or if anyone will ever read it. But I couldn't let this historic day pass (and I feel that ALL elections days are "historic days") without making those points. I am proud of this country and I am proud to be part of it. We may do a lot of things wrong in America, but there is no place on earth I would rather be.