Friday, August 24, 2007

Third "Year's" a Charm

It's 9:15 pm. I left my apartment at 7:00 this morning and just returned home about 15 minutes ago. Tonight was Meet the Teacher night at school. Exhausted is the word of the moment. I received my class list this morning and spent the remainder of the day labeling things in the classroom for my students and preparing everything else needed for Monday morning. At 5:30 pm, my new prodigies began arriving in my room anxious to find out who their teacher would be. They sorted supplies and said hello to their Kindergarten friends. The parents had all kinds of questions and wanted special conferences immediately at that inopportune moment. They were excited, scared, anxious, and full of energy...and all 22 of them are mine for the next nine months.

But this year is different. This year I am prepared. My first year of teaching was all about survival. Really that's all first year teachers can do: survive...there is just too much to take in. I was also teaching 5th grade and found it was not my preference, so I was anxiously awaiting word of a change for Year 2. My wish was granted, and my second year became Year 1 all over again because I was teaching a different grade level and a new curriculum (and with mono), so once again I was in survival mode. But, like I said...this year is different.

Now, here I sit, two days away from the start of Year 3; and I am prepared. I am ready to teach well, not just survive. My room is organized and makes sense as opposed to everything just being out of the way to make room for the kids. I know how to expect first graders to behave. I know what changes in lessons need to be made cause it just didn't work last year. I know. I have experience. I am prepared.

Someone once told me, "Give teaching three years. Your first year is awful. Your second year is a little better. But your third year--that's when it starts getting fun." Oh, dear Lord, please make it fun! Yes, third "year's" a charm...and I'm ready for it. So, bring it on!

"It was He who gave some to be...teachers"
Ephesians 4:11

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Width vs. Depth Part 2

I have been hoping that time would help clarify my thoughts concerning Width vs. Depth into something more easily put into writing. Alas, it seems that I am going to need to use writing as my means for clarification. In that case, be warned that the following post may be slightly confusing as I myself am on a journey of discovery.

In Part 1 of this topic, I explored Websters definitions of width, depth, breadth, and transformation. The following three definitions have stuck with me:

1. Depth: degree of richness and intensity
2. Depth: complete detail thoroughness
3. Transformation: a marked change


At the risk of sounding arrogant, let me confess that I have quite a width of Biblical knowlege. I am, by no means, the most learned Biblical scholar; but due to spending most of my academic years in a Christian school, I have acquired a decent width of knowlege. Having said all that, I must also confess a definite lack in depth of Biblical insight. How do I acquire more depth instead of just width? I am not sure.

But...if transformation means, "a marked change," then I believe it will take a "complete detailed thoroughness" in my Bible study as well as a "degree of richness and intensity" in my pursuit of the heart of my Father. Because without depth, how can I honestly acheive a marked change?

"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose ake I have lost all things."
Philippians 3:8

Friday, August 17, 2007


Some friends of mine lost their father in a tragic work-related accident this past Monday. I just found out this afternoon. I cannot tell you how badly my heart breaks for them. I did not know their father, but I have heard some wonderful things about what a great man of God he was. Praise the Lord that he is in a better place. I pray that Lord will rain comfort down on the family as they mourn this untimely loss.

Receiving the news this afternoon caused me to enter one of those moments where I suddenly found myself extremely reflective of this precious life. It can be gone in a flash...without any warning. When I spend time with people, do I invest all of my energy into that person, treasuring the moment I have been given as a gift? Or do I take advantage of that time, hurrying through our conversation with my own selfish agenda in mind? Who have I not recently professed my love and affection? Who I have I recently been short with, where reconciliation is needed? Who I have not looked at as a child of God, but rather as a distraction walking through my day? What in my mind needs to change in order to more effectively treasure people; because people are important...not time...not my to do list...not my books...not my agenda. God's children are important. Oh Lord, please show me how to treasure the people you have surrounded me with...never foresaking their presence in my life.

To the families involved in this tragic accident I pray for comfort and peace. I pray for support and shoulders to cry on and ears to vent to. I cry out to the Lord on your behalf asking him to carry you through this wilderness of pain only to bring you out stronger on the other side. May the Lord bless you.

And, Dad...I love you very much!

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Ps. 34:18
"The LORD gives strength to His people;
the LORD blesses His people with peace."
Ps. 29:11

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Width vs. Depth

Width. Breadth. Depth. Spiritual Transformation. What do these words have in common? Or, rather, how do these words relate to each other? Welcome to Life Questions on CurlUpandRead. The last couple of weeks have been punctuated by conversations, readings, and sermons/teachings surrounding these very words. For the sake of processing, I decided to blog through my thoughts. This will most likely be a multi-post topic. For today, I wanted to percolate on what good ol' Mr. Webster has to say in reference to these words. Here's what I discovered:

-the measure of the extent of something from side to side
-size from side to side
-the state, quality, or fact of being wide

-freedom from narrowness or restraint; liberality
-size in general
-wide range or scope

-intellectual complexity or penetration
-emotional profundity
-quality of being deep
-part of greatest intensity
-complete detail thoroughness
-degree of richness or intensity

-change in form, appearance, nature, or character
-a marked change, as in appearance or character, usually for the better
-a qualitative change

So, how do these "words" relate to each other? Any insights?

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 3:18

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fragile Vessel

"This fragile vessel You have made, no hand on earth can fill. For the waters of this world have failed, and I am thirsty still."
The word picture that these lyrics create is refreshing to me. I have been doing some reading about the practice of solitude and its importance in spiritual formation. When the song that contains the above verse was given to me to sing on Sunday, I was floored at how well these words depicted the idea behind our need for solitude. Consequently, as I contemplate on these words and the spiritual discipline of solitude I am left with these questions:
Why am I always in a hurry?
Why do I struggle with quiet?
Must I always have music or the TV going? And for that matter, if not one of those, then it's always a book...
Can my time with the Lord on any given day truly be "nothing but" sitting quietly in His presence?
What needs to change in my life in order to make more room for time alone with God?
What addictive distractions do I need to let go of in order to better here my Father God?
All of these questions and more are rolling around in my head. And, if I am honest with myself, then I should confess my fear of solitude. I am afraid, because I know that if I devote more time to quietly seeking the heart of my Father, then I will have to change. I want to change, but it might hurt to change. However, in all honesty, the spiritual exhaustion that comes along with not spending time in God's presence is worse than the pain of change. So, for that reason, I will begin practicing the discipline of solitude. I pray that the practice of solitude will give me a greater sense of grace and peace even as I ask my Lord and Father to change me from the inside-out.
"The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."
Ex 14:14