Tuesday, October 26

Making Wine

“To raise a glass, however, is to raise a question. One honest look at any real thing—one minute’s contemplation of any process on earth—leads straight to the conundrum of the relationship of God to the world. The solution is hardly obvious. For something could not be at all without God, creation seems to do rather well without him. Only miracles are simple; nature is a mystery. Autumn by autumn, He makes wine upon a thousand hills, but He does it without tipping His hand. Glucose, fructose, and Saccharomyces ellipsoideus apparently manage very nicely on their own. So much so that the resolving of the conflict between the sacred and the secular (or, better said, the repairing of the damage done by divorcing them) has been billed as the major problem of modern theology. Permit me, therefore, glass in hand and cooking Sherry within easy reach, the world’s most interrupted discourse on the subject. In vino veritas.


Take the largest part of that truth first. God makes wine. For all its difficulties, there is no way around the doctrine of creation. But notice the tense: He makes; not made. He did not create once upon a time, only to find himself saddled now with the unavoidable and embarrassing result of that first rash decision. That is only to welsh on the idea of an unnecessary world, to make creation a self-perpetuating pool game which is contingent only at the start—which needs only the first push on the cue ball to keep it going forever. It will not do: The world is more unnecessary than that. It is unnecessary now; it cries in this moment for a cause to hold it in being. It was St. Thomas, I think, who pointed out long ago that if God wanted to get rid of the universe, He would not have to do anything; He would have to stop doing something. Wine is—the fruit of the vine stands in act, outside of nothing—because it is His very present pleasure to have it so. The creative act is contemporary, intimate, and immediate to each part, parcel and period of the world.

Do you see what that means? In a general way we concede that God made the world out of joy: He didn’t need it; He just thought it was a good thing. But if you confine His activity in creation to the beginning only, you lose most of the joy in the subsequent shuffle of history. Sure, it was good back then, you say, but since then, we’ve been eating leftovers. How much better a world it becomes when you see Him creating at all times and at every time; when you see that the preserving of the old in being is just as much creation as bringing the new out of nothing. Each thing, at every moment, becomes the delight of His hand, the apple of His eye. The bloom of yeast lies upon the grapeskins year after year because He likes it; C6H12O6=2C2H5OH+2CO2* is a dependable process because, every September, He says, That was nice; do it again.

Let us pause and drink to that.”

Excerpted from “The Supper of the Lamb” by Robert Farrar Capon

*sorry, I don’t know how to do the notation for chemicals on my computer…

Sunday, October 10

Funeral Service

One of the things I wanted to make sure that I did before deciding to become Orthodox Christian is to read the prayers for the dead and the Funeral Service. After all, it's not in every church that you know ahead of time what they will say about you when you are gone... :-)

I found a few phrases to be breathtakingly beautiful, and I thought I would share:

From a series of prayers for the dead:

“O God of spirits and of all flesh, who has trampled down Death, and made powerless the Devil, and given life to thy world: Do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the soul of Thy departed servant (name), in a place of brightness, a place of verdure*, a place of repose, whence all sickness, sorrow and sighing have fled away…”

From the actual Funeral Service:

“I am an image of Thy glory ineffable**, though I bear the brands of transgressions: Show thy compassions upon Thy creature, O Master, and purify me by thy loving-kindness; and grant unto me the home-country of my heart’s desire, making me again a citizen of Paradise.”

“Let us go forth, and gaze into the tombs: man is naked bones, food for the worms, and stench; and we shall learn what are riches, and comeliness, and beauty, and strength.”

* 1: the greenness of growing vegetation; also : such vegetation itself
   2: a condition of health and vigor

** indescribable

Pleasure and Memory

"A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking, Hmān, as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing. The séroni could say it better than I say it now. Not better than I could say it in a poem. What you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure, as the crah is the last part of a poem. When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as we remember it. But still we know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then–that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it."

~Hyoi in "Out of the Silent Planet" by C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 28

Schmemann on Faith

“Faith is not the fruit of intellectual search, or of Pascal’s ‘betting.’ It is not a reasonable solution to the frustrations and anxieties of life. It does not arise out of a lack of something, but ultimately it comes out of fullness, love and joy. ‘It is meet and right’ expresses all this. It is the only possible response to the divine invitation to live and receive abundant life.”


From “For the Life of the World”

By Alexander Schmemann

Tuesday, August 31

Intercession

I was at a class at church the other night. I love this class; it seems to teach me everything I've always known, but helps me see it with fresh eyes.

So, you know how Jesus is interceding for us with the Father?? I heard that truth expressed this way for the first time:

"When Christ intercedes for us, he does so from within the being and heart of God."

God is 'rooting' for us from inside Himself.

Just thought it was worth sharing.

Wednesday, June 30

Another Swiped Quote

"All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you are not good enough or strong enough or talented enough, they'll say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. They will tell you no, a thousand times no until all the no's become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no quite firmly and very quickly. They will tell you no. And then you will tell them YES."

Sunday, June 20

Happiness is a Journey, Not a Destination

This is a quote that I swiped from a magnet that I bought. It rings so true to me, and I am very much still growing into this viewpoint. I thought it was worth sharing.


“For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin-real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.”

~Souza

Wednesday, June 16

Didja Ever Hafta Make Up Your Mind?

This blog entry originated as part of a message thread regarding one woman's transition from Protestantism to Orthodoxy. It can be found here: http://orthodoxconversionstory.blogspot.com/ One of my dear friends who is also Protestant and exploring Orthodoxy suggested that there is room for a person to take a both/and approach to the question. Here is my response (I'm mainly posting it here so I can find it later for my own reference):

It seems that people that come to Orthodoxy from Protestantism come for a multiplicity of reasons. Some have been burned, others bored, many just love the clarity they see in the doctrine or are huge lovers of church history; there are so many reasons. Some are so relieved to have found a clear break from a hurtful past. I do not feel that way. I feel much more as if checking out Orthodoxy is a natural progression of the amazing teaching and love I have already received in my life.


It is true that the Orthodox and Protestants are worshiping the same Trinity. The essentials to both are the same. It is true that Protestantism is like Orthodoxy's twice-removed nephew; and from my understanding, Protestantism really did get quite a few things right after having taken a stand that did need to be taken against the abuses of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

About making an actual decision… I see two reasons.

After having taken *almost* all of a year's worth of catechesis, it seems apparent to me that one of the reasons to make an actual decision is the practicality of your praxis… How will you live out your Christianity? For instance, if I were to get married, I can’t have two weddings. (Heck, I can’t afford just one…) Decisions must be made; Protestant or Orthodox… Same thing if I had kids. To be realistic, Pascha and Easter fell the same day both this year and next… How will I celebrate the risen Lord? How will I understand Santa? How will I address communion, prayer, fasting and Bible study?

Obviously, the author of the blog entry’s decisions were informed heavily by that of the man she was seeing/engaged to/marrying. This is not my case. (And in this, Jenne, we will differ greatly.) In my case, I have spent 37 years on this planet, and ALL of them as a nomad. I am not tied to any person, offspring, town, church or even a job. There is nothing in my existence that is not transitory; has not ALWAYS been transitory. I am someone who very, very much needs a center; I need a home. Because evangelical churches are so programmed and age-tracked, one of the struggles I have had is an immense loneliness within the evangelical church, in more than one church. There were many Sundays I would get up, get dressed up, get to the car and just not be able to go. Church should not be the loneliest place in your whole week, and for me it was.

This is the reason why I feel strongly that even though I adore my upbringing; my Bible knowledge, my emphasis on a relationship with Jesus that I received as a child, I ultimately must make a decision. I need a home. I am a nomad everywhere, including church. I do not want it to continue to be so; it is crushing my spirit. I am not sure where that home is yet… you should hear my thoughts!!Protestantorthodoxprotestantorthodoxprotestantorthodox, all day long. I laughingly call myself The Protodox, because that is where my heart is. But it CAN’T be where my heart stays. My heart will die here. The only thing I CAN’T do is NOT make a decision.

Do you knowwhatimeanis?? :-)

Monday, June 14

Saved

This is an answer to the question "Are you saved?" by a devout Christian. What do you think of it?


"I was originally saved over two thousand years ago when God the Son took on human flesh and offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for all of mankind, defeating the power of sin by suffering on the Cross and destroying death through His miraculous Resurrection. I am being saved daily through my intentional decisions to follow Jesus’ example within each situation that I find myself, viewing paradise not as just a someday destination but as the everyday experience of self-denial, of being filled, through the Eucharist, obedience, and love for others, with Christ. I will, (Lord have mercy), be saved at the Great and final Judgement when I give an account for a lifetime of actions, when it becomes clear whether or not I cooperated with the grace so generously bestowed upon me. Who of us, having been blessed beyond all comprehension, should feel the need to insure that regardless of our choices a reward will be ours free and clear? Who of us dare to sit idle with our assurances, interpreting the conditions of the Bridegroom’s invitation while our lamps for illumining the darkness run out of oil?

My individual salvation is being worked out with fear and trembling through the unique responsibilities God deemed best to set before me. Based upon the model of the publican who beat his breast and begged for leniency, I am careful to not assume I have a handle on the spiritual state of others. I would do best, rather, to stay focused on my own flagrant shortcomings, reverencing both friends and enemies, all of whom were created in God’s image, as living icons of Christ Jesus. I share my faith, yes, but not out of obligation; a soul that’s found its meaning cannot help but be a witness to such joy. My ongoing testimony is presented through acts of service, in accordance with Christ’s commandment to love God by loving your neighbor. I pray ceaselessly for the courage to fight the good fight, staying faithful until my very last breath upon this earth."

This definition of being saved is excerpted from a writing by Molly Sabourin.

Sunday, June 13

I know a girl, a girl named Party...

I went over to my Granny Goo’s house tonight and taught her how to play Uno. As always, I think I am going to keep her company and entertain her… She always ends up entertaining ME and being just the kind of company I need.


While we were at dinner, and she was telling me about some of her forays into the social world of her new assisted living ‘digs.’ Her tablemates that she is assigned to eat with daily aren’t so social. This drives Granny Goo crazy, because she is a GREAT conversationalist.

There was a reception recently that she went to; a celebration of the institution’s 10th anniversary. Her tablemate asked her to knock on the door when it was time to go because she has no clocks in her apartment. (I know; Granny Goo couldn’t imagine that either…) Granny Goo knocked on the door; the tablemate had forgotten all about it. The tablemate announced that she had to brush her hair; Granny Goo tooled on down the hallway to the party.

In reflecting upon it, Granny Goo said, “I think that she wanted me to sit with her [and be a wallflower]. But I wanted to see who was there and talk to everybody. I wanted to PARTY!!” :-)

The woman cracks me up!! God grant that you and I be able to be party animals to this degree when we are 94…

Saturday, May 8

Seven Red Roses

My maternal grandmother, Granny Goo, taught me for years that Mother’s Day is not a time to be celebrated yourself. It is a time to celebrate your own mom, to honor her. Those with a living mother were to wear a red rose to church, and those whose mothers have passed on wear white roses. For some reason, this is the year that it clicks. This is the year that I finally believe that to honor my mother(s) is the essence of the holiday.


Everyone on this planet has had a mom at one point or another; whether they are living or dead, for better or worse, they are our mothers. They gave us life. I was blessed in my mom. She was the one who first taught me about wonder. Because of her, I hold wonderment and teachability as a central value in my life. To hold your mind and heart open to all the good in the world, to love, to God… That is the most important thing that there is. The ability to wonder is at the root of much of who I am; teacher, reader, learner, jokester. My mom gave me the roots of who I am.

My paternal grandmother gave me lots of socks… and my dad. He gave me the stem of who I am, but that is another story. :-)

Granny Goo gave me the gift of her stories and her wisdom. As I get older, I lean more into her words every day.


Those are my biological mothers. I was blessed to have four mothers of my soul, as well:

Mary. She gave me a restful place to laugh and love. She gave me her family as my own.

Sue. She gave me an ear (well… lots and lots of ears), and hugs, and cookies.

Kathy. She gave me guidance, and study, and discipline, and Scripture. She was another who brought wisdom… God knows I needed it! (She also gave the best backrubs!!)

Sprinkle. She gave me vision when I had none. She gave me breath when I could not breathe. She loved me steadfastly through the darkest time.


Fortunately for me, they are all still alive. They are in my life, some more centrally, and others on the fringes. They are my seven red roses.

Because of these mothers, I am today. Without these mothers, I would not be. In them, I was formed. In them, I became. My words cannot ever express my gratitude for their love and sacrifice for me. May you be as much blessed, worthy women!!

Love to you.

Sunday, April 25

Breathing Again

I should have written about Holy Week before now. I should have written about Pascha. (The Orthodox Christian word for Easter.) Somehow, those things shook and blessed me to my very core; to such a profound degree that I have not been able or willing to share with many.


This time a year ago, I was dying. The man who had said he would marry me, the one I loved, had left me. I would never be a mom. With cells burning for oxygen, I was a fish with no water. A sinking, burning, choking, urgent thing I was.

Through the kindness of many friends, I was distracted until time had passed. Time is no cure, but it is a good analgesic. I continued.

Since then, much in my heart has changed. I am no longer a fish. Maybe I am like a chrysalis. I always thought that chrysalises were dry, dead-like things. I remember at Botanica one time, I chatted with the butterfly lady. She spritzed the dead things with water. They shivered! One of them even seemed to bend in half; to ‘touch its toes.’ They were alive… somehow they were breathing.

These days, I am breathing. I might still be encased in some amount of sorrow. But I breathe freely. Because of the grace of God, I am now imagining something new… That He is good, good, GOOD. I know this sounds elementary; a developmental task for the three-year-olds. Maybe I am only three.

But the sorrow is falling away, daily. I am still a chrysalis, but I am shivering and bending in the shower of grace.

Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, March 24

That Old-Time Religion, or, Orthodoxy Tonight

I went to catechesis at the Orthodox Christian church again tonight. It always blows my mind. In a good way. It always creates disequilibrium... *sometimes I get grouchy!!* :-)


I never knew that Augustine had been influenced by Gnosticism. I never knew that the duality of reality inherent in the Gnostic heresy (flesh and spirit are totally separate, the flesh is completely inferior) was the seedbed for the doctrine of original sin. Makes total sense with everything else I know, though.

The Eastern Orthodox view is that God created both flesh and spirit, that both are good. Sin is and will definitely (and soon) influence a child; but a child is not evil by very nature.

What if Dr. Warren was right? What if our salvation did not HAVE to be by substitutionary atonement? When you have original sin and are guilty before the day you are born, what else is there but to be judged and found guilty? Jesus' blood paid for our guilty, sad-sack selves. (This idea was introduced by Anselm.)

What if we are living in something that is in actuality much more like a hospital than like a courtroom? *This idea comes from St. Basil, one of the two great writers of the Christian Liturgy; the song-prayer that ALL of Christendom sang as ONE for around 1,200 years?? (and longer.)* What if sin has made us all very sick?? What if Jesus invites us to be made well and whole? What if the blood of Jesus is more like a transfusion than it is like money??

What if the main show was NOT the Crucifixion, but the empty tomb??

Tuesday, March 9

Pretty in a Jar

So, I have this stuff I call "Pretty in a Jar." It's the powder with the minerals; you girls know what I'm talking about. This powder does not work miracles, but it can improve a lot. It cannot change your face. But it can give a little smoothness, a little glow.


Feeling loved is like that. I can see this today. I see it in:

* a news story about a couple about to celebrate 75 years of marriage.
* a situation where understanding is needed, not information.
* a friend who has a new boyfriend.
* a wife who calls when life hits. Life is so *ARGH* sometimes; it does a number on couples.
* a wife who is told by her husband after years of marriage that she is his best friend.

I'm sure that this principle works both ways; but I've only ever been a female. I have to write from that perspective. You see, there are two different things. One is being loved. Nothing is more valuable than that. Real love is what holds the galaxies together.

This blog entry is not about real love at all. It is about feeling loved. Ideally, feeling loved is accompanied by real love, but it isn't always.

When I was a little girl, I went to my grandma's house all dressed up. When she complimented me, legend has it that I replied, "I likes to look pretty sometimes!!" Now I realize that it’s not just me. All of womankind is this way.

If I could take all the husbands and boyfriends of my friends into a room and chat, if I had just one thing to say, I would say this: When your woman feels loved, it is Pretty in a Jar. A man's love literally makes a woman prettier. I cannot describe how true this is. The prettiness comes from the inside and radiates out all over the woman. I’ve felt the ‘pretty power’ myself on occasion. When a woman feels loved, it does not change the face of life. But it smoothes things out; gives it a little glow.

Thank you for the glow that you give us. We likes to look pretty sometimes.

Saturday, March 6

Thoughts on Silence

by: Unknown as published in the book With Open Hands
by Henri Nouwen

Silence is night
and just as there are nights
with no moon and no stars
when you're all alone
totally alone
when you're cursed
when you become a nothing
which no one needs--
so there are silences
which are threatening
because there is nothing except
the silence
there can be nothing except
the silence.
Even if you open your ears
and your eyes
it keeps going on
without hope or relief.
Night with no light, no hope
I am alone
in my guilt
without forgiveness
without love.
Then, desperately, I go looking
for friends
then I walk the streets
a body
a sign
a sound
for nothing.

But there are also nights
with stars
with a full moon
with the light from a house
in the distance
and silences which are peaceful
and reflective
the noise of a sparrow
in a large empty church
when my heart wants to sing out
with joy
when I feel that I'm not alone
when I'm expecting
friends
or remember
a couple words
from a poem I read lately
when I lose myself in a
Hail Mary
or the somber voice of a psalm
when I am me
and you are you
when we aren't afraid of
each other
when we leave all talk to
the angel
who brought us the silence
and peace.

Thursday, March 4

Silent Auction of Sadness

I went to the most horrible silent auction tonight. It was at the school where I teach. All types of folks were invited to the auction; not just the school staff types.

Before the auction started, we were read the things that an elementary school is supposed to BE in order to accomplish what it must do; educate. (I could wax dogmatic and talk about the future of our nation, the hearts and lives of precious children...)

We were then given a bidding sheet. On the sheet were services/programs that the elementary school department of USD 259 currently provides. On that list:

* 5-day school week
* All-day Kindergarten
* Alternative Education (think behavior disorder programs)
* Art
* Assistant principals
* Class size (research shows that small class size is profoundly and directly linked to achievement)
* Clerical
* Counselor
* Custodial
* Field Trips
* Foreign Language
* Latchkey
* Learning coaches
* Magnet schools
* Music (orchestra)
* Music (vocal)
* Librarians
* Nurse
* Para-educators
* Parent Involvement Workers
* P.E.
* Pre-Kindergarten
* Professional development
* Professional Learning Communities
* School building budget (classroom supplies, equipment, etc.)
* Social Worker
* Summer programs (enrichment, latchkey)
* Team time
* Transportation (includes any district bussing)
* Technology

For our bids, each person was given fifteen red dots. We were asked to decide which of these positions and services we value the most. Chart paper with each of the categories above was placed at the front of the room.

You see, the state of Kansas has a budget shortfall. Its checks to fund schools are running late to districts around Kansas. During the middle of this school year, several million dollars in current-year budget money was taken away. (Around $13M?) From USD 259 alone, further projected cuts for the 2010-2011 school year are about $25M.


I learned today that cuts of that magnitude mean that USD 259 could take all of the monies used for salary from unrestricted funds, from administration all the way down… and still not be able to cover what the state is asking of USD 259 alone (and all districts are affected) to make up its deficit.

At our auction, we had the opportunity to voice our values. We took each of our fifteen stickers, and placed them on the programs and services that we think most essential… the ones that if they WERE cut, would hurt kids the most.

I appreciate the way USD 259 has been handling these choices; at multiple times and in multiple places, the district is providing opportunities for all in the community to provide input into what matters most about schools. These meetings will happen at every school across the district. The data will be compiled, and it will give USD 259 another avenue to get an idea of what the community values most about schools.

I am the least political of all God’s creatures… True story! I felt that this was one opportunity to give input that I knew I could not miss. My heart felt like lead as I made my bids… and left some things behind.

Education is the profession that creates all others.

Please educate yourself, and let your voice be heard.

Wednesday, March 3

Maritime Moment

Ever love a place just because it is so different from your own? I come back to this picture time and again...

Saturday, February 27

Kissing Snowmen

Kissing Snowmen, or My Current Understanding of Icons  


I put away the winter decorations in my classroom yesterday. Even if the weather is not yet giving way to spring, the calendar is, and I am glad of it. Among my collections is a snowman called… you guessed it… Frosty. He has been part of my life since I was a child, a poster of sorts that was a Christmas decoration in my childhood home. On Frosty’s tummy can be seen a pencil scrawl where I wrote my name when I was in about second grade.

I have been visiting an Eastern Orthodox Church for around six months. As a history geek and Christian, it has been enjoyable and fascinating. I grew up in a very evangelical “non-denominational” church. In my life, I have spent time experiencing the Church of Christ, Christian church, charismatic, Mennonite and Presbyterian traditions. Eastern Orthodoxy is like none of those, because all of those come from the Reformation. Orthodox Christianity is the oldest breed of Christianity there is; your great-great-great grandpappy’s church. :-) The Catholics broke off from the Orthodox ‘back in the day.’ It is been a treat to peer into the rich history of Christianity, and I am grateful for it.

Many things involved in Eastern Orthodox practice are spot-on with what I already believe; have believed for years. A few things I have found to be not troubling, but unnecessary. One of these practices is venerating icons. Please understand that to the Orthodox mind, venerating an icon or a saint is much, much different than worship, which belongs to God alone. Also know that I have spent zero time on my own researching iconography; what I know can be learned by participation in the life of any Orthodox church. Icons have also been a part of Christian practice from early, early days. (No exact date… see the lack of research??) :-)

According to my experience, the Orthodox say that icons reflect the glory of God to the viewer. They say that we ourselves are icons, as we were made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26) I rather like that idea. It seems to me that icons are good reminders of Jesus and the ‘Great Cloud of Witnesses,’ (Hebrews 12:1) but as I said earlier, unnecessary.

There were students in my classroom while I was undecorating. As I took the Frosty off of the bulletin board, I told the kids how he had been part of my childhood. I showed them my second-grade handwriting. As I turned away from them to put him away, my heart welled up with joy as I remembered the really fun times of Christmas when I was a kid. With a spring in my step, I kissed that snowman.

Then, it dawned. Frosty is reminder of the glory of Christmases past--an icon of my Christmases. From now on, when I put up my Christmas tree, or Nativity set, or Advent wreath, when I dye Easter eggs or see a cross necklace, I’ll see an icon.

And when I see an icon, I hope I will start to feel some of the joy and lightheartedness that came right before I laid a spontaneous smacker on the old, cold man. Because they are, in fact, a reminder. :-)

N

Friday, February 26

Kids Say The Truest Things

Okay, so I know 'truest' is not a word.

When Amy came to my classroom after being in Haiti, she spoke about reunited families, healing bones, and inspirational quotes. I know that Haiti is mostly not like that. I was stunned by how well she composed herself to give the children a gift... news of a tragedy tempered with grace. Preserving at least a little innocence, for now.

Kids are never, never fooled. I've been teaching one kid or another since 1993. All of them are 'onto' us adults!! Despite Amy's grace and delicacy, my students gave me reflections that let me know that they understood the most true (truest), underlying issues that arise in human loss and pain.

Here they are...

G.L. girl, 4th grade:
“is being to Haiti a sad exserence (experience)? She wanted to cry we have to much almost everybody here has a job out of 10 people 8 do not have a job. Why? the D. R. has more land than haiti. Why? thay shoud have eqaul emouts of the Island why don’t thay? Why is money so scarce?”

J.T. boy, 4th grade:
“I felt sorry for the people of Haiti and how hard they got hit. One family had everyone with a broken bone. That doesn’t leave you to talking about a good day in bed. or as of Haiti, no bed”

D.J. boy, 4th grade:
“In the morning, Mrs. Glover came to our school to talk about the earthquake in Haiti. She worked in a hospital in Haiti to help people recover from injuries they had. She also told us about how she was planning to adopt three kids from Haiti, when the earthquake happened. I’m just glad the kids are alright. I liked the story she told us about Edison. But I wasn’t happy when she told us she only could have only 2 xrays. when she needed 3 for each person. I’m glad some people survived the earthquake.”

C.G. boy, 4th grade:
“I thought it was cool how Ms. Glover knew how lespwa fe’ la vie ment Hope is/from life.”
“I also thought it was cool that she got to know eddeson who couldn’t find his father. So they got the idea of going on tv. Then they took pictures of eddeson and took the photographs to a tv station. The next day they took eddesons cast off and started rubbing lotion onto his leg when his father walked into the room.”

O.C. girl, 4th grade:
“What Mrs. Glover said was awe-inspiring. Her stories made me want to go to Haiti and help anyone I could. I couldn’t imagine a month or more with a broken leg, with not a lot of help. What she said was great, and if those people can survive an earthquake like that, they must be really strong and I bet they are.”

C.C. boy, 4th grade:
“When Mrs. Glover came, I realized I take a bunch of stuff for granted I have a wonderful life. All these poor people in Haiti have such a worse time then me and I have also learned to always have hope. All the people in Haiti have Broken bones, lost fingers and cracked their heads and barely cry when I whimper when I get scratched! I want to be strong like the people in Haiti and have hope! Like a saying of theirs Lespwa Fe’la vie (hope from life).”

May we be as wise as the children! May news of suffering in Haiti help us see what is true in this world. May it sink into our minds, hearts and actions.

N

Thursday, February 25

Kaleidoscope Day

The last 24 hours have been such a gift!!

About midnight last night, I was farting around on fb, and I got a message from a dear old friend who lives out of town. “Do you want to grab an early breakfast??” SURE! Not only is she a dear friend, she is a PA who spent the last two weeks at a hospital in Haiti, caring for the injured of body, mind, heart… Not only is she a PA with an odd definition of the word “vacation,” she and her husband were in the process of adopting from Haiti when the quake hit. Happily, those kiddos have entered the country under ‘humanitarian parole,’ and the paperwork will be finished on the adoptions soon. My friend’s name is Amy, and she was fresh off of the plane...

Circumstances in life can flip easily, and the whole picture shifts, like a kaleidoscope. My last two weeks has been like that. I am observing Lent this year; and although I’ve given up things before, this is the first time I have done so in the company of a church that is also observing. *flip!* My heart finally and truly settles a question between good and best in my life. *flip!* I experience a sad anniversary, and realize how long ago a year was. *flip!* My laughing, sleep deprived, clear-of-heart-and-vision Amy climbs off a plane, eats breakfast with me, and speaks to my class. *flip!flip!flip!*

If I had been writing a month ago, I would have put this question out: How much do you MAKE your own life, and how much do you RECEIVE it as a grace and gift from Another?

The question the last two weeks (especially today) has been: What is a good trade for your life? My Amy has decided to trade her life for a small, yet important piece of the world; her children: Chinese, Haitian and American.

Because of my recent kaleidoscope flips, my life has not felt so open for years.

I hope I make a good trade.

N

Writing and Memory

Today in my classroom, an amazing thing happened. Something I would like myself and my students to remember. After it happened, I had my students write about it. I told them that when I was in fourth grade, my teacher had us journal every day; and much of what I remember from my childhood is from that year... simply because I wrote it down. I told them to write it to themselves as if they are writing what they want to remember years from now.

A year and few weeks ago, I had decided to start blogging. (Or at least writing in my Notes some of my experiences and thoughts.) I love to write; it helps me think, feel, believe and solidify my own experience. Then, The Sad overcame me. When The Sad overcame me, I stopped writing. Not only did I stop writing, but I deleted several bloggish Notes I had written. *shame on me. it's like burning the books in which my own life lives*

Isn't it funny how sometimes your own advice comes back to ring true for yourself? Something happened today that I don't want to forget. How can I expect fourth graders to do what I haven't done myself?

So, I will write. I am not sure if/when/how to share. But I suppose the first thing is to put the fingers to the keyboard...

:-)

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