Sunday, December 11, 2005


That's always been one of my favorite written expressions (a favorite of Snoopy when he doesn't like something, in the Peanuts comic). This weekend it really fit. I was sucker-punched by some really nasty virus- cold, fever, aches, dizzy, the whole bit. And though I usually get over those in 24 hours, this one had me down for 2 whole days, plus the getting-sick and getting-better days on each end. Today I feel better but my sinuses are still having major problems (upon which I will not expound, to the relief of the reader). Fortunately I was able to pull together a sub lesson for Friday on Thursday night, because I could feel myself getting worse, so tomorrow morning I will see what awaits me back at school. Being a teacher is a bit like being a parent, when it comes to subs- they can pull stunts with me, because I'm their teacher and will put 'em in their place. But they better be angels when someone else is babysitting, or I'll knock some heads together!
That's my attempt at being Tough Teacher. :-) Anyway, watch out for a nasty cold & flu bug going around!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Round and round...

Pant, puff, pant, puff....

The hamster wheel that is teaching continues to keep me working furiously just to keep my place and not fall backwards.

It just started spinning a little faster now that the Christmas season is here and I have gift shopping and wrapping and holiday parties to attend to.

I'm still here... but I'll probably not surface until later this month.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

One of my favorite pictures from our trip to Canada this past summer. The clouds broke for one perfect half hour as we were canoeing on a glacial lake. That was a smile from God to me! Posted by Picasa

Doing, not Becoming

On the topic of my last post, here is a post from a friend-by-extension (since we have mutual friends, but never have spent too much time together) that seems to say exactly what I've been thinking lately. I find myself thinking about God a lot, but hardly talking to Him. I find myself extremely busy with things that are all good, needful things- teaching and trying to do my job with excellence, tending to my house, helping with the high school group at church, spending time with Brad (my favorite!), talking to people... but if they take me away from the Source of life, how will I have anything to give any of these people? I go through cycles where I see this clearly, ask forgiveness and try to depend more on God, only to get swept back into the current again. The emptiness below my sense of capability and urgency shows itself once in a while, when I realize that for someone who would say without hesitation that my relationship with God is the most important aspect of my life, I sure don't act like it. What is it that I want? What does real, deep communion with God feel like? I feel like I've been trying to learn to swim in His presence my whole life, but I'm still fighting the motions and my head is bobbing underwater, making me cough and sputter. If I could just learn to move with His presence, it would be effortless and free... but my attempts to make the motions on my own leave me dog-paddling and choking like a small child, swimming for the first time.
May this week be filled with more moments where I stop to talk with God and float in His love and forgiveness.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Confessions of a Spy

The title of this post makes it sound much more exciting than it is... I don't have any harrowing tales of infiltrating military bases or going undercover as a diplomatic envoy. But I do feel like a spy at times, or at least a gawker- one of those background bystanders in pictures of important events, wanting to get as close as possible to the action. The spying I do, though, is from my desk chair- I am a Blog Spy. I'm a drifter, one who nibbles and samples other people's thoughts, struggles, and random musings, leaving no trace of myself. Simply put, I read a lot of blogs, but I almost never comment on any of them. I have over 20 blogs on my 'favorites' toolbar for Explorer, all of which I visit every 3-4 days at least, yet I haven't left a comment on any of them for a long time. Some are pages of friends, a few are group forums, and some are strangers I've discovered through a '6 degrees of separation' link to the aforementioned friends or groups. Most of these people have no idea that I'm reading their blogs, that I drift by and see what they're thinking, that they scintillate or amuse or anger me. Every day I'm enriched, or at least taken outside my own life sphere, by what I see, yet I never respond to what these people give me.
I don't think it's a coincidence that I've recently discovered a love of autobiographies. There's something of the people-watcher, the spy, in me. In fact, I think there's a fair measure of armchair psychologist, or at least strong curiosity for why people are such mysteries. People are fascinating- full of complexities, utterly unique and unpredictable.
I'm meandering, though- the question here is why I don't comment on other people's blogs. Every time I read a good post, that stirs up a thought or reaction, I think about commenting and immediately draw back. I'm still sorting through the reaction, and I know part of it is laziness- I have a hard time putting thoughts into words, and I'm very critical of what I've written. But a larger part of it is fear- a fear of exposing who I am (and thus who I'm not). I think I have such a desire to see myself as a smart person with a valuable comment on everything that I can't actually enter a dialogue with others, in case they out-argue or correct me or even just disagree with me. But I'm losing the chance to participate and engage with people, to actually get into the grit and texture of life, and I'm becoming a bystander, gazing through a window at what I see going on. I could go join the action- but by making a decision, that would define me more as a person, and therefore shut out some of those options that I so like to keep open. But what am I keeping them open for?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

If it weren't for all the people...

... life would be easy! Or something like that. Sigh... weekends fly by so fast, and Sunday night rolls around and I'm staring into the maw of a week with 170 turbulent 8th graders. I hate that I'm starting to dread the start of the week... I want to love my job, and I do in many aspects, but a few difficult children are all I can think of (instead of the many great kids). I hate conflict so much that it becomes larger than life in my mind, and the people that precipitate it become my mental enemies. When I catch myself wishing certain students would move away, or get expelled, just so my life would be easier, I know my perspective has gotten off.
We've been studying Ephesians at church too, with its exhortations to be renewed in mind and walking in the Spirit, putting away sin and evil. Today Tom the youth pastor asked the question, 'Have you been angry at someone and not dealt with it?' I raised my hand, because I realized that I had anger centered at someone there in the room- a senior girl, who has the maturity of a jr higher and does almost nothing but disrupt, make sarcastic comments to others, and try to look like she's cooler than everyone else. I've been trying to figure out for a while why this particular girl makes me so angry, and I think part of it is that I react to her as a teacher as well as a youth group mentor (she was in my small group last year and made it almost impossible to keep on a topic for more than 2 minutes). She's just like the kids that I fight with every day to pay attention, stop talking, respect the speaker, etc, etc. In both cases the thing that makes my blood boil is the fact that they're not being NICE. If there's anything that's cut in stone in my personality, it's wanting to be nice to people and not cause intentional hurt. Almost the only time I actually want to hurt another person is when they're hurting someone else. What's the perspective I should have on this? How should my mind be renewed so that I can love even those people who are disrespectful to others? I know part of that is that Jesus would see these kids as His irreplacable, supremely valuable creation- He died for each of these teens and His heart breaks when they don't come to Him. I can see that for a flash, but when I try to keep that perspective, it fades away like mist and leaves me with my usual anger and resentment towards them.
Well, there's my prayer theme for a few days at least. :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Another Black Mark, Literally

See, I knew this would happen. I've only had this blog a couple weeks, and I'm already procrastinating on posting. No, not procrastinating, just getting to the end of the day with every drop of energy drained from my body and lacking the mental capacity to come up with a single original thought. But that's okay, because this blog is totally mine, and I am not going to impose any artificial quotas or standards of publication on myself...I think.

So at the moment HH (hottie husband) is in the kitchen, scrubbing with all his might at yet another pot on which I've inflicted bodily harm. My list of bloopers and accidents in the kitchen, already a list of mighty proportions, has just had another entry added to it. (By the way, lest the reader think that I foist my mistakes onto HH to clean up, I told him to just let the pan soak for a good long while but he seems bound and determined to break its will, dang it!) This mistake wasn't even a cooking one, per se. See, years ago I read that you can make your house smell homey and cozy and autumnal by cooking a pot of apple juice or cider and cloves. Yesterday the apartment had a musty funk, so we cleaned and took out the trash, but I put on an apple and cloves pot to cook afterwards, and it worked like a charm. A wonderful, homey smell wafted throughout the house. I made sure to check it from time to time and add more liquid when it started to get low. So tonight I put it on again, to waft its odor while we enjoyed a nice evening at home. It worked like a charm till I noticed that the cozy smell was turning into more of a charred smell. I dashed into the kitchen to find the juice boiled out and the pot filled with a bubbly, crystallizing black mass (which would have smelled great were it not for the burned factor, I'm sure). 15 minutes later, and HH has just now finished scrubbing it clean.
Not to be deterred by failure, however, I've just put on a new batch to simmer and take away the burned smell of the last one. Never surrender!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Taste of the 70s

Tonight I got a flashback to an era I didn't even experience. We had fondue night at our Lifegroup! That's always one of my favorite times of the week anyway, and this fondue thing made it even more fun. For the uninitiated, Lifegroups are my church's way of trying to connect people and help the church body to live more in unity. They're basically small groups that meet once a week, of 10-15 people (adults of all ages), not to do a Bible study per se, but to talk about the sermon from the previous week and how it applies to daily life, share prayer requests, what people have been learning, etc. It's a very relaxed, friendly time, and we have dinner at ours too. It's always a potluck style with people bringing different stuff, but someone suggested a fondue night a month ago and our leader Karen organized it all. Brad and I contributed the deep fryer and oil for the meat, and others brought cheese, veggies, bread, dipping sauces, chocolate, and fruit. I'd never done fondue before, ever, just heard about it as a reference to the 70s. It was great! Although cheese dip and chocolate dip don't do much for one's healthy-eating goals.
In a way our time to share stuff about the week is like a fondue too, because everyone has a different spin on what God has been teaching them or what the Scripture section for the week meant to them. Sitting in Jeff and Karen's living room, talking with everyone, really feels like what 'bear with one another in love' should be. Last week's message was a story by Pastor Bob about a sheep rancher who coaxed an abused and mistrustful dog to be his sheepdog and trust in his kindness. Some people identified with the mistrustfulness and abuse that God saved them out of, but my 2 cents was how I would be the opposite of that abused dog. I was raised by Christian parents who taught me about Jesus from my toddler years, so in a way the idea of God's love and care for me has always been a part of my worldview. This has the effect of not making me appreciate Him or rejoice in His mercy as much; in effect, like a sheepdog raised by a loving Master its whole life, who isn't loyal like the grateful dog but continually dashes off chasing butterflies or getting distracted from listening to the Master's commands.
I have to get to bed before it gets later, but my prayer for this week is to be less distractable and more focused on thanking God for what He's done for me and listening for what He teaches me.

Why join the chorus?

So I'm finally taking the plunge, and starting a blog. As always, I'm about 2 years behind the cutting edge of new stuff to do, which is about as long as it takes me to hear about something, mull it over, watch a lot of other people do it, and then get in on the action. So why now? I guess I'm hoping for a few things out of this. First, that I'll be able to work through stuff that I'm processing and thinking about by having to write it. I'm lousy at journaling, but spend way too much time on the internet anyway, so hopefully I'll do this more often. Secondly, I hope it makes me a little bit of a better writer. I have a hard time getting my thoughts from my head to the paper in a form that I like, so this falls under the theory of practice, practice. Third, I've poked around lots of blogs for a long time now, reaping the benefits of other peoples' experiences and musings, rarely commenting, just observing. I'd like to put a little bit out instead of always taking in (although I'm going to be a chicken and tell very few people about this at first). And finally (fourthly, I guess), I want to have another way to praise God for His grace... without which I would be horribly lost. Hence the working title.
So I sally forth into the thicket of the blogosphere!