Love’s conditions.

My son is six months old! He’s the best baby that’s ever existed, which I’m sure you know. He’s doing all the normal things a six month old should do: putting every possible thing in his mouth, drooling enough to drown a small animal, peeing mid diaper change, getting mad because he can’t crawl, accidentally head butting whoever happens to get in his face, pulling out my hair, yelling for fun, and pooping much, much more than seems humanly possible. He’s also becoming unbelievably adorable. Everybody says so, y’all.
We’re having a blast! We are more tired, stressed, pressured, overwhelmed, and under prepared than we have ever been. I personally fluctuate between feeling like “okay I might kind of know what’s going on here” and “holy lord of all, what am I even doing” so that’s fun. I’ve become that person who snapchats exclusively about her child and can hardly talk about anything that isn’t baby related. I hardly recognize myself sometimes but I feel more myself than I ever have. It’s amazing to me how with my wedding I felt I was adding a part of myself I didn’t know I was missing, and now, it’s happened again with this tiny baby.

It’s interesting too because the term “unconditional love” has totally new meaning. I always knew in my brain that unconditional love never ended or lessened but now I see it as so much more. I have a tiny, completely dependent creature that can’t talk, walk, or keep his dang food in his mouth, but I am still so proud of him. He does nothing to deserve my pride, he doesn’t know when he’s pleasing me or behaving properly, but I am nonetheless so deeply appreciative of him and his actions. This child doesn’t have the means to pay us back for what we do for him. He doesn’t even know that we sacrifice for him or that there are things for which he owes us. But we are so happy to give and provide for him. We are so filled with love and affection for him that those things don’t even cross our minds. He smiles that big goofy toothless smile and I’m putty.

I am an imperfect person (Duh, right?). I am small and insignificant. Granted, I don’t poop my pants and I am capable of intelligent conversation, but in the grand scheme of things, I am like a child. I mess up, I am needy, and I do nothing to deserve unconditional love. But WOW. God gives it anyway. I’m not sure where the breakdown is, because I’ve had this conversation with other moms, but it’s hard to reconcile the ideals of unconditional love from us to our children, and unconditional love from God to His children. If Asher spits up in my mouth while laughing, I love him. If he poops in my hand while I’m changing him, I love him. If he gives me a fat lip when he hits me with that giant egghead, I love him. If he pees through his diaper onto my freshly cleaned sheets, I love him. If he starts to cry because he spit out his pacifier but now he wants it back, and it happens to be the very moment I drift off to sleep, I still love him. (It may seem like I’m speaking from experience here…) practice uncondi love_75 I love him so much more than what even makes sense. He is imperfect, but he is perfect to me.

Why then is it so hard to understand God’s love for us? If we slip up with a repeated sin, he loves us. If we gossip, he loves us. If we forget to thank Him or even talk to Him, he loves us. If we lie, or cheat, or covet, or steal, or even if we decide to live in a way that we know is not what God approves of, or do drugs or get drunk… He loves us. He is not always pleased, no. Our actions hurt him sometimes. And many times our choices break his heart. He can be overwhelmed with grief at our distance from him – but. He. Loves. Us.

It makes it hard to come up with an excuse to neglect Him, don’t you think?

That is all.

Deeper than my feet could ever wander.

So two things. I just left my principal’s office (oooh she’s in trouble) and realized that omigosh I just promised him the moon for next year. business-overwhelmedI got so excited about all of the possibilities that I didn’t stop to think “Hey. How about taking it easy? No? Okay.” But before I get into that, a different thing happened this morning that I want to discuss.

I opened my facebook this morning to see that one of my former colleagues was asking for help. She explained that the school district was terminating her because she was “morally unfit to teach” and she believes that the decision was made because of her sexual orientation. Now, having taught next door to this teacher, I can assure you that her sexual orientation is most certainly not the reason she is being terminated. There are a plethora of reasons this woman should not be entrusted with the gift of teaching. But what really struck me is that I have that much more of a responsibility to be a good teacher. While I’ve known her all along, the fact that she has been terminated justdownload brings to light the fact that I may not be doing all I can to be a good influence on my students. Because for every good teacher, there are ten bad ones waiting around the corner.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t dislike this person. But I vehemently disagree with her lack of personal boundaries and even her teaching methods. And I realize that I must do my best to be a light in a dark world for these desperately searching kids.

So, my principal came to my room this afternoon to ask me about a position I had volunteered for. In the course of that conversation, I also volunteered to teach a very technology heavy course I know very RISE+ABOVE-1little about. Aaaaand I found out I’m teaching a different grade than I thought. Oh, and one unit of Pre-AP. So basically I have signed myself up for voluntary slaughter. And you know what? I’m going to love every second. I have been coasting. Sure, I’ve been doing enough to earn my paycheck. But I haven’t been doing enough to earn a “well done, good and faithful.” And I’m embarrassed to admit that I have been complaining about how tired I am when I haven’t been giving it my all.

In the light of the current education crisis, the current lack of Godly teachers, in the current deficit of teachers that bother to give a crap about their kids, I am being called to rise above. Rise above the school politics, the apathy, and the godlessness.

Lord help me. I’m about to work myself into becoming a better person.

That is all.

Not knowing what’s right.

I have a student in one of my classes that transferred from a remedial class. I’ll call him Jacob. Jacob is a very sweet kid and I’m glad to have him, though he can be a bit of a distraction. He loves making others laugh and is generally a delight to have. We have a pretty good working relationship. Unfortunately today I’m pretty sure I severed that relationship.

Jacob brought a speaker to school – one of those bluetooth things. It started playing music during class. Now I’m pretty chill about things like that. I don’t take a phone away if it rings as long as it’s the first time and the student puts it away. So we laughed together and I told him to put it away. Then it happened again. So I told him, obstinatea bit more sternly, to make sure I didn’t see or hear it again. Guess what? I did. So on the third time, I told him that if it happened again I would take it. Lo and behold, the speaker announced itself once more. It was five minutes until the bell rang, but I had laid out a consequence. So I told him to bring it to me. My plan was to return the speaker when the bell rang, a whole five minutes later. Problem is, Jacob didn’t give me the speaker.

Jacob started explaining to me that it was an accident and the speaker didn’t even belong to him. Why should he have to give it to me if it was an accident? The conversation became more and more serious until I finally told him – If he didn’t give me the speaker, I would have to send him to the office for defiance. right thingHe continued to try to explain himself and I could see that he was fighting back tears. In one last attempt for peace making, I told him he could hand over the speaker and I would give it back at the end of the day. He still tried to convince me I was wrong, so I wrote him up and sent him to the office.

After he left, I cried. Did I make the right decision? How could I know? I value the relationships I have with each of my students. I especially value the relationships I have with struggling students, but what could I do? If I didn’t follow through, I would be inconsistent at best and a liar at worst. Now that I have though, I’m afraid I’ve ruined our relationship. Any sort of respect he had for me is probably gone.

I have always adhered to the biblical philosophy of letting your “yes be yes and your no be no” (Matthew 5:37). The problem is that it’s easier to passively change your mind. I do it every day (think “my diet starts tomorrow”). I suppose it’s good practice for when my son one day grows to adolescence. But I hate it. I want to make my kids like me so that we can work together peacefully. Teaching is Hard

Remember when we were kids and everybody told us that the right decision is often the hard decision? It never stops being true. And it never gets easier. Pray for me, y’all. I want to always do the right thing.

That is all.

An excellent example of WHAT IN THE HOLY HECK.

OMG YOU GUYS. I found this article. A friend posted it and I am dying.

Let me give you a taste.

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wut.

This girl. THIS GIRL. This… girl… is jealous because parents get to leave to pick up their kids while she cant take her friend out for a drink?! She takes all of three minutes to reduce the agonizing process of childbirth and postpartum recovery to a spa day.

I’m having a hard time even finding words because this is the single most offensive thing I HAVE EVER READ (And I’ve been pretty viciously cyber-bullied, y’all). I get what she’s saying about needing some “me time” to reevaluate your own life choices, but in the name of all things holy do not pretend that your cushy, entitled leave of self-actualization is in any way related to creating a human being with your body.

For those of you who have not personally experienced this, take a moment to read one of the hundreds of birth stories available on the internet. Better yet, ask your own mother about giving birth and dealing with uncontrollable mood swings, physical pain, oppressive guilt, and never, ever getting your old body back.

Look. I’m obviously a bit biased on the subject. Please know that if I ever met this woman in person, I would very kindly and gently tell her to jump in front of a bus, in the name of Jesus. Motherhood is a difficult job, requiring the sacrifice of your entire body, heart, mind, and emotional well being. I applaud women who go through the incredible process. I do not applaud women who minimize a single aspect.

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better.

I like this article better.

I don’t mean to be whiney, or say that non parents aren’t also hard-working or valuable people. All I’m saying is that those who choose to not bear the blessing of the burden of parenthood, you forfeit the right to say a single word. About anything related to parental leave. Or pregnancy. Or parenting, really. You think you know. I did. But until you walk the parent road, you know literally nothing. 

Okay BRB, going to go bang my head against the wall.

That is all.

 

P.S. Read Meghann Foye’s account of why she deserves maternity leave without the work here :

http://nypost.com/2016/04/28/i-want-all-the-perks-of-maternity-leave-without-having-any-kids/

And read the only possible sane response here:

http://nypost.com/2016/04/28/parents-should-be-worshipped-by-their-childless-co-workers/

Why I Love the Bible. 

This morning I was in the sound booth, as usual, singing along to one of my favorite songs. The chorus explains how He is our rock, our shield, our strength, etc., and I was thinking about what that means to me in my life right now. It means that as a parent, I can lean on Him. As a daughter, I can Open-Bible-1024x683come to Him. As a wife, I can talk to Him. And then I got to thinking about the Bible because all of these thoughts are biblical of course. And I thought back over some of my favorite Bible stories. I thought about how different pieces of the Bible relate to my life in different ways. That’s what we mean when we say that the Bible is the “living” word of God. And wouldn’t you know it? My Dad touched on this in his sermon too.

I had a professor in my first semester of college at Evangel. When I first started his class, I honestly hated it. I thought he was weird. I thought he was one of those crazy literature professors that reads meaning into every little thing even when it isn’t supposed to be profound. He was ancient and talked about how he loved the way his wife moved through the house and the gentle timbre of her voice and other nonsense. But, as often happens, I realized that I was wrong (weird) and I grew to really appreciate him. He had a way of reading poetry that made it come alive. I once even visited he and his wife (who wasn’t nearly as enchanting as he described, but I digress) at his home and we talked about life. I learned a lot from him.

Probably the best thing I learned from him though was to read the Bible like a piece of well written literature. Read the Psalms with a poetic mind. Consider the authors and their worldview to better understand their point. The whole Bible is so rich and beautiful.

Since that class, my view of the Bible is totally changed. I see it as dynamic and I analyze it as I would any good piece of writing. And what’s so cool is that every analysis brings new truth.

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lol medieval art.

I am reminded of a favorite Bible story of mine, about King David, dancing undignified before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14). He was accused of nakedness and his wife became angry. But he didn’t care. Cool story that reminds us to care only about the Lord’s opinion. But upon deeper study, we can learn that David actually was not naked, but was wearing a thin, traditional undergarment but the robe had been stained pink with the blood of the sacrifice he offered to God. So what the others thought was shame and nakedness was actually evidence of a grateful celebration to the God who had brought them safely through a battle. Even cooler at that deeper level.

The Bible describes itself as he bread of life. Nourishment. But there is an admonishment in the New Testament about living off of the milk instead of digging deeper into the meat that’s there. (Hebrews 5:12) The Bible is at once milk, made for baby Christians and those with little understanding, and a thick, rich, juicy steak, for the mature and seasoned believers. How can it be that a book – written by forty different authors in three different continents over two centuries – how can it be that this book is consistently challenging to us no matter what season of life we are in?

There is no answer except divine intervention. I love that my favorite verses can bring me to tears even today after over a decade of life as a Christian. I love that as my experience in life changes, so does the understand and beauty of the truths within the pages of an ancient book.

There are times that I neglect reading the Bible because life happens. But I love when I pick it back up because I learn so much every time. I pray that you find yourself as enamored with the truth as I do.

That is all.

Batman vs. Superman vs. Spider-Man vs. Thor vs. ….

I saw it. I went and saw Batman vs. Superman. I’m not a huge fan of DC movies but I am a fan of superheros and my husband is a DC guy so I went and moviessaw the movie. And you know what? It wasn’t half bad.  I don’t think the movie deserves the harsh criticism it’s receiving. (Also can we talk about Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman? FLAWLESS. I’M CRYING. SHE’S AMAZING.)

The thing about superhero movies though… They. Never. Stop. Seriously there are more than 30 superhero movies slated to come out in the next five years. Actually I’ve counted 38 and that’s just the confirmed ones planned before 2020. 38, y’all. Thirty. Eight. I assume the conversation goes something like this: “Hey guys, people like comic book movies.” “Okay. Let’s make people hate comic book movies. Mama always said, when someone’s thirsty, flood their house.” (see also – “If someone needs a light, burn their house down”)

I just… I’m a big nerd. dead horseAnd I love superheroes. And I can’t say I’m not excited for some of these movies? But good Lord. In the works are two more Spider-Man movies. Because the trilogy, the two reboot films, and his appearance in the new Avengers movies isn’t enough.

I would like to say that I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of destined to fail movies like Ant-Man and Batman vs. Superman. I expected trash and got… something like a repurposed barn wood side table shaped like Mickey Mouse (it’s not quite trash but could be, you feel me?)

At least nobody is trying to keep those horrible Ninja Turtle movies going…TMNT 2 oh.

That is all.

Practice makes… practiced.

Okay. I’m gonna be honest with you. I had almost half of this post written when I realized it was all wrong. I was going to write a heartfelt confession about my failure to be at peace with life. But then I started grading papers.

I recently assigned my kids an easy assignment – write me a haiku. It’s a short poem with a set number of syllables. I came across this little gem and I thought I had found the best one of the bunch.

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It’s funny right? Hilarious actually. This kid is awesome. He’s quiet but so so clever. When I think of students I enjoy, he’s right up there at the top of the list.

But then I found this.

IMG_3243 The student that wrote this isn’t one of my trouble kids. He isn’t a behavior or academic problem. In fact, I know very little about him. He’s relatively new to my class and we haven’t spoken much. This didn’t come as some great reveal about how my most frustrating kid is having problems at home. This kid is actually a pretty nice kid who has friends and laughs a lot. I would never have known that his heart is breaking.

I guess the lesson to learn is not that I need to find some sort of inner peace and not beat myself up about mommy guilt and all these other things I already know. It’s that as long as I show up, I’m doing pretty good.

I’m not saying we should aspire to mediocrity. In fact I think that “parent” is the most important title we have and we should be striving to do our best. But I think we should bear in mind that what our kids need from us the most is not a perfect zen environment or Pinterest worthy snacks or sagacious advice or the best products available. Our kids need us to show up. If my students have taught me anything, it’s that no matter how mature they seem, no matter how independent they want you to believe they are, they want support. They want love. They want their parents.

adequateWhile it is true that I feel like I know nothing – often I feel like I’m just a kid myself and that it’s ludicrous that I am entrusted with a tiny human and a car payment – It is also true that I have everything I need to be a successful parent. Even just typing those words seems odd, because I, like every parent probably, struggle so hard with feelings of inadequacy. But you know what? I’m a good mom. And as long as I continue to be present and work hard to love my kid in the best way I can, then I will be doing a good job. As long as I continue to work on my marriage instead of walking away; as long as I choose to come home and be a part of what’s going on in my family; As long as I don’t give up, then I’m doing my part. And every time I feel like somebody else could be doing it better, I can rest assured that the most important part of being a parent is being present. Everything else will work itself out.

That is all.