Friday, February 18, 2011

I've moved to Wordpress

Hey folks, to make life a little bit easier, I've rolled my stuff over to a wordpress account.

All past posts and comments are still available through my new page and new posts will be coming soon!

You can access it here


Someone looked at me today and said, "You're getting the leftovers of the day. Actually, it's Friday, so you're getting the leftovers of the week." For real! I could not have made this up. I felt like they had just handed me an already chewed piece of gum and called it a birthday present.

My guess was this person was running on empty. Lord knows, I've been there. We all have. The difference was this person said it, but the truth is we can always feel it when we get people's dredges.

Being full isn't just about us. We are not the only ones who benefit. When we're full and spill out onto others, they leave feeling valued and better. I started thinking on the way home, "I never want anyone to feel like they're getting my leftovers. I don't want to scrape the bottom of the barrel and give them the gunk that's there."

So, I came home, and I canceled some plans. I said no to this evenings activities in order to say to being filled, in order to say yes to more meaningful interactions with that person later on, to say you're worth the good stuff at the top.

See, I'm learning. It's slow and steady, and comes with a fair amount of whining, but I'm learning.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Dredges

So, this was not the post that I planned on writing yesterday when my feeler got stuck, but I promise that one is coming. It's a good one, but today something hit me, and I feel like I need to process through it here.

A few posts ago, I wrote about having dinner with Church Heather. As we sat and talked, she shared with me something God had communicated to her while she was sick, and all she could do was listen. He told her to imagine her life as this cup, and when she gave her all to Him, her cup was filled. And not just filled, but He would lavish his riches into her life. Now, if we're plugged into the Spirit, our cup is getting filled continuously, but at the same time, our cup is being depleted. It can be depleted in a good way. For example, Heather sharing this information with me is allowing some of the goodness and mercy from her own life to spill into mine. Now, we can also be depleted in a negative way. If I'm giving my all or even part of me to something that is not God, then it's like I'm filling my cup with sponges that constantly soak up the good stuff but don't pay it forward.

Sometimes, our cups can get really low or empty - just like when the gas light comes on in your car. You start to panic, and you look for the quickest fill up. We often turn to people or things in these situations. When, in fact, we should be looking to rest and time with God.

Here are the questions Heather posed to me. 1) How long does it take you to get filled back up? 2) Should you ever let yourself get that low in the first place?

I then began thinking, and I added another question. 3) What does God use to fill me? God created us as individuals. What is taxing for one person is supreme joy and rest for another. My roommate loves to clean. It gives her a sense of order. She derives energy from making things clean and orderly. I hate it. It is an effort for me. However, I like to read Jane Austen, and the Brontes, and Louisa May Alcott. I find joy in delving into their stories and relating to their characters. Roomie finds them tedious and boring.

Roomie is Catholic, so she takes great pleasure in tradition and liturgy. I love contemporary worship music and being outside with God. Neither of these is wrong. We both get full from the ways we spend time with God. It's simply that God recharges us in different ways. When I stop to think about it, it's a beautiful process.

I'm coming to the point of all this. I promise. I read a statement today. It basically said we should be serving others from the excess of our lives. I've got to be honest. I don't know if I'm doing that at the moment. I think I allow myself to think that if I show up to work with the youth, or meet with my small group girls, or even teach my students, this is ministry. The truth is that if I don't have any excess to pour out onto others, I am not truly serving them.

In our culture, we hear this gospel of busyness. If we're not here this night, or doing this thing here, or turning our lives into a giant tail spin of "ministry," we are not truly mature believers. As many of you know I've been going through Exodus (for like forever now), and God keeps coming back to, "Honor the Sabbath and keep it Holy." God built in rest to His plan. He ordered it. He made it a part of His law for living. We've traded this law, that was meant for love, in for a to-do list. Go to church on Sunday, keep the nursery, help with the youth on Wednesday, go to lady's bible study, volunteer at the clothes closet, take food to the people next door. None of these are bad things. In fact, I think we'd argue that each thing has great merit, but when it is not done from the excess of life filled with God's mercy and peace, we will eventually come to resent it.

My friend, Jenny, recently sent me an article  about how sometimes, we have to say no in order to say yes. Say no to one obligation, or group, or person, in order, to say yes, I have served in this other area well. These are hard words for me. I never want to disappoint. I never want to be a bother. I never want people to question my motives. But if I keep saying yes, I'll eventually have to say no to everything. I can't run on an empty tank. Honestly, even if I'm running on half full it means that someone is probably already feeling the "no" even if I'm not saying it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Feeler Got Stuck

I had an awesome post planned for today, and it will be written one day soon. Today, however, my feeler got stuck. This is an expression I learned from Bill and Annabelle Gillum. It's used to describe that situation in which emotions are running high, but then the situation passes, but your adrenaline is still pumping, your emotions are in a tail spin, and you're feeler's just stuck.

My feeler had been cranked up to 13, but we've settled down to a manageable 8 or 9 right now. Suffice it to say that's too high a feeler level with which to blog the profound. It will probably have to wait until Thursday as I have an after-school meeting and church tomorrow. Get excited it's about life as story, and the moment we're all waiting for. (Sorry to end with a preposition again. A thousand apologies.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I am incredibly fortunate to have AMAZING people in my life. I sometimes stop and think about how lucky I am, and it gets a little overwhelming. It's how I have the courage to laugh when people ask me when I'm going to settle down and get married, so I won't be alone. I'm never alone, and these people aren't just poor substitutions for some person I may or may not have some day. They are perfection and goodness in and of themselves.

One such person is my friend Heather. I have two Heathers, and they're both awesome! One is school Heather, and one is church Heather, though I go to church with both. It's a mystery. Anyway, I went out to eat with church Heather on Friday.

I always love talking to Heather. She is one of the most passionate people I know, and whenever I'm with her she challenges me. We got together for dinner at 5 and didn't leave until almost 9:30. It felt like 15 minutes because we alway talking and always visioneering. This is what I love most about Heather. For some reason, I'm always afraid to say the things I want to do in the future. Sometimes, I get these feelings that the dreams I have may be too good for me.

This is where Heather jumps into say, "Why not? Why can't you do that thing? Or go to that place? Or be that fabulous?" It always takes my breath away a little bit. Why is it that I believe so strongly in other people's visions, and wants, and passions, but I'm fairly certain that my own are just pipe dreams? I have a feeling it has to do with our strengths.

See, Heather is also big into the Clifton Strengths Finder. She makes pretty much everyone she meets take it, and we are all thankful and more self-aware after the fact. Heather has Futuristic and Significance. She can see how things play out into the future, and her significance means that she can't go places unless she feels like she will leave that place or person better than they were before. She loves a plan and she loves planning long term.

I am more a relational person. I have Empathy and Connectedness, so I feel my way through a lot of stuff. Feelings are really good things. There was a time when I thought this wasn't true, but feelings are what make us human, and often times, feelings are what make us humane. I, however, with all my relational skills, don't have great follow through. I never think I can do something because I think I don't have a lot of executing skills, but this is thinking about my deficits and not my strengths. My relational skills make it easier for me to find people who will help me with the follow through. People like Church Heather.

So, I don't have a game plan, and I'm not even sure which dream (or dreams) to tackle first, but I do know that this year I'm going to take some risks. This year I'm going to live like the hopes I have for the future are not only possible but plausible. And I'm probably going to have a lot more dinners with Heather.

P.S. The title of today's post is a reference to a wonderful Brooke Fraser song. I talked about it at dinner with two of my other amazing friends, Dana and Kim, while we were supposed to be discussing Northanger Abbey. As Dana says, "It is a near perfect song."

P.P.S. Am I allowed to blog everyday? Because I sometimes have the inclination, but stop myself as it is some form of self indulgence. Fellow bloggers, some input (also one of my strengths) would be appreciated.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love and Yoda

I have the world's best homeroom. In fact, they are so awesome that when I came in from monitoring the hallway the other morning, this is what I found.

Yoda had come for a visit, and not only did he visit, he left me a smiley face on a Post-It! First off, it is AMAZING that I have a student who has a Yoda gym bag (his back unzips so he can put his clothes back there). Secondly, they took the time to tape a pen to Yoda's hand, draw a smiley face on a posty, and set him so convincingly at my desk.

I think this is brilliance at its finest. People ask me all the time why in the world I would consider teaching middle schoolers. I think from now on, to answer this question, I'm going to show them this picture. This, this right here is why I do it. They use the force for good, and I'm beyond smitten with them for it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Girls are OK

I meet with a group of girls every other week for discipleship. You may remember reading about them here. They're pretty much the greatest girls you'll ever meet, and every time we get together and talk, I get so blindsided by how difficult their lives are. People can spare me the crap that kids have it easy these days. Stuff does not replace genuine relationships and emotions. They've endured such hardship and meanness from family, and friends, and just this messed up world we live in, yet, they're still so good.

Needless to say, I worry. I worry a lot. I worry so much that tonight on my way home I started to cry. I just turned off the radio, and cried, and talked to God. I just kept coming back to this thought of, "God, I need them to be ok, and the only way any of us is going to be ok is in You."

I think tonight for the first time every I understand what Paul meant when he talked about being willing to give up his salvation for someone else. While it's not entirely the same, I just thought about how I want them to be better than I am. I want them to love God more. I want them to desire Him more. I want them to do better things and be better people than I will even dream of being. I want them to be better than me in every way. I want them to be ok - safe, loved, valued, free, thinking, and beautiful.

I thought about the line Marmee says when Susan Sarandon plays her in the new Little Women movie. - "I so wish I could give my girls a more just world." I know how you feel, Marmee. For now, I take comfort in the fact that my girls will make it better and that they're ok.