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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Pep Talk

Kid President. What an adorable young man! I met him for the first time (via this video) just yesterday and he has already rocked my world.

“It’s everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance.”

We could all use a little pep talk. We are so quick to fall into our routines and we walk around with tunnel vision, completely ignoring those we pass by each day. We simply co-exist in a shared space, never interacting.

I am guilty too.

But that is about to change.

There have been some phenomenally inspiring movements recently. It’s unfortunate that these things tend to rise up out of tragedy, but it also renews our hope in humanity, and that is always a good thing.

Pay it Forward and 26 Acts are just two examples. Secret Agent L has been inspiring missions for quite some time. And now I’ve joined in.

Find something you can do as a random act of kindness for someone else. It could be simply an encouraging card left on a bathroom mirror, a few bucks in an envelope on a park bench with a note, paying for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Whatever you can do … go and do it. Not for recognition or thanks. In fact, anonymously and incognito is always better. You will feel good and you will brighten someone’s day.

Because, you see, it does matter. We all matter. And we could all use a little pep talk.

bekind

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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

True Love

In the summer of 2010, I was working at USF in Lakeland, FL. It was a beautiful, sunny day, clear blue skies all around. For once, I was appreciating my morning commute. I noticed a faint, thin cloud up ahead, but as I approached it, it became so much more. I wrote about what I saw the next day and, over two years later, I needed my own words to remind me.

July 30, 2010

It’s not unusual for me to see beautiful patterns in the clouds on my long drive in to work every morning, but yesterday blew them all away. An airplane was skywriting LOVE across the bright blue morning sky. It got me to thinking, and reflecting, and contemplating possibilities. See, for too many of us, we associate love with a feeling. I’ve done it my whole life. While love causes us to feel, often very deeply, it is because of an action that displayed that love to us.

Love is a verb. It is something that has to be demonstrated. It is not enough to simply say it because words often lack substance. If you think about it, you’ve probably said “I love you” many times out of a mere response to someone who said it to you first, without considering whether you truly do, or what you’ve done lately to show that person. In all of our relationships, we are called to love others as Jesus did. That means much more than an automated reply. It means patience, kindness, humility, perseverance, selflessness, honesty, honor, and trust (1 Corinthians 13). This is the kind of love that never dies. It is eternal and equally rewarding.
I don’t know about you, but I am still working on it. The other part of this is getting to a place where you are ready to receive this kind of love. Many of us struggle with self-worth. Listen . . . you will be forever disappointed by the things and people of the world because they can fail you. God does not fall short. I am reminded of His amazing love for me in spite of all my failings through nature, through music, through the eyes of my children, and even from time to time – through the love letters He writes in the sky.
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Time Out

I am learning how to slow down. I am, admittedly, not very good at it.

We have all felt the persistent pang that time is running out or slipping away from us somehow. If you have children, you know exactly what I mean. There’s such foolish wisdom in that, isn’t there, because time is what we all have . . . right now. It is a gift we are given each day to make something of. It is impossible to find time, because you already have it.

I am learning.

I think every one of us ought to have the “Slow, Children at Play” sign prominently displayed either in our rear view mirror, bathroom mirror, or on the front door – wherever you look when you rush through your day onto whatever you think is so importantly waiting for you. Children know how to handle time; how to mold it and shape it to their whimsy and imagination. They teach us that the only way to travel is slowly. Think of how often we tell our children to “hurry up” and yet they move along at their own pace, unaffected by the pressures we adults stress over.

I am learning from them.

Time ages us, infusing in us wisdom and beauty. Time is sacred. Each precious moment is strung together. We need to learn to savor them. It’s in the waiting, the silence, that we can begin to hear.

I am learning … and listening.

“Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life
Than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong
Because it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life’s enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my greater destiny.”
~ excerpt from Wilferd A. Peterson Slow Me Down Lord
 
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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Student Teacher

Several years ago I had a humbling and enlightening experience. I was teaching 8th grade English. Let me tell you about Brandon …

Whenever I look at the beautiful model of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, constructed by a former student, I am reminded of how children are unique. Brandon was an average eighth grader in my sixth period English class, or so I thought. He was always polite, outgoing, and entertaining in class. However, Brandon was not interested much in reading and writing. This made his English success difficult at times. He consistently achieved a 70 average in my class and didn’t seem to strive beyond minimal effort … that is until we read Shakespeare.

We began our study looking at Elizabethan language and discussed how a man might preserve his integrity with his use of words during that time period. Brandon enjoyed working with his peers to create insults in Elizabethan language. When we read excerpts from three plays, he seemed to be able to understand the general meaning of the language and began to make connections.

The time for me to introduce our final project was fast approaching. I wanted to address all of Gardner’s intelligence areas in creating the project options. Choices included soundtracks to plays, Shakespeare’s biography, recitations, and costume design, to name a few. And then there was Brandon’s choice. Brandon chose to research and recreate the Globe Theatre. This would prove to be a  lengthy process consuming many after school hours to complete construction.

I learned my greatest lesson when it came time for Brandon to present his project to the class. Prior to the beginning of first period, Brandon proudly carried in his project. From the moment I saw it I was amazed. Brandon’s project had been made entirely of wood, which he had stained and intricately nailed and glued together in the most accurate recreation I have ever seen produced in my classes. His stage included a visual representation of a Shakespearean play. Each level of the construction portrayed amphitheatre seating with stairwells and entryways. A portion of the theatre was removed in order to view a cross-section of the interior.

Throughout the morning, as my classes came through, students asked who had made the model. I proudly proclaimed that it was Brandon’s creation. By the time sixth period rolled around Brandon had received compliments from his peers and his confidence was evident in his presentation. Not only did Brandon display his talents for us in the actual construction of the Globe Theatre, but also he was able to articulate its history. He explained to his classmates how the theatre had burned down and been reconstructed, how the Puritans were later responsible for it being torn down due to moral and ethical conflicts, and why it was and is a landmark in the history of theater and literature.

Brandon excelled beyond his average performance shown throughout the year and proved to everyone, especially me, that every student is smart in his own way. Brandon’s project continues to serve as a constant reminder of a student who became one of my best teachers.

I see Brandon in my own daughter. I bet you know children like Brandon too. They are creative spirits who have a passion just waiting to be set free, and that is when these students flourish. Unfortunately, our education system is still rigid and archaic and does not allow for such insight and expression of our gifts and talents. Rather, students like Brandon tend to feel restricted by school and are left trying to find a way to get by – to do the minimum and simply survive.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

For Them

I shepherd, I mend hearts  thankful
I listen intently and I heal the hurt
Because of you.

I tend to needs, I provide,
love selfishly, pray unceasingly
In spite of you.

I am not here to please you.
I have made mistakes, owned up, and grown.
But I didn’t do that for you.

I do my best … every day
to be the best, give more than I take
But it’s not for you.

 

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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