Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lost in May


I guess that the picture helps explain part of what has been taking up my time this May. I have really been trying to post, but mostly have been a lurker and reading my favorite blogs when I have a few minutes. I am just going to take some time to note some highlights.

*As a teacher, this is the month when I get to grade the huge individual lab project that I assign. I am grateful that I only have 50 to grade - but multiply by 20 minutes each and it can be overwhelming.

*We have also entered severe weather time - which comes with thunder storms and tornados. We were hunkered down in our basement last Sunday. We live close to the tornados that hit Hugo, MN. Many of those folks attend our church and Roger has even helped the family that lost their son. I teach many of the students and have just listened to the stories - grateful for their lives. Please pray for our church and community as we help rebuild.

*May is also the month of ceremonies.

*Charity is moving from 9th grade at the Jr. High to the High school next year. They had a 9th grade award ceremony. I am so proud of her excellence in academics and sports. She received an award for having a GPA above 3.8 for 3 years and was honored for the Science student of the year. She didn't really want this - she wanted the Math award. The ironic thing is that Charity helps the girl that won it. I guess that it isn't all about the award...

*We also had the synchro banquet where the girls are honored for their achievements at the Section and State tournaments. Charity placed 2nd in short figures out of 210 girls. Her other routines did good as well. 6th/14 in her duet, 7th/14 in her trio and 6th/10 in team. The team placed 4th overall out of 12 teams. They are shooting for 3rd next year!

*In the evening we have been trying to fit in time for mowing the lawn and attending Eli's baseball games. He has 3 next week to make up for two rained out games. Baseball is not fun in the rain.

It is just starting to feel like work is getting in the way of our life. So, it is good that school is almost out - this is the last week for us! We have several trips planned and lots of family time. The kids are growing up so fast - I want to enjoy every minute that I can! It is a blessing to have the summer off - even if it means a smaller paycheck.

I must go, thank for reading.

Blessings

Friday, May 30, 2008

Book Review - The Note by Angela Hunt


I am just fascinated by the wide range of topics that Hunt writes about. Many authors find a niche and write about the same kind of thing. Kingsbury loves stories about families and forgiveness. Blackstock is more of a suspense author writing about murders. Hunt seems to explore the range of topics.

This book is one of those books that hit home for me. It was hard for me to start another book because I just knew that it might not be as good. It just fascinates me the way she allows the reader to know just enough and reveals the whole story in bits and pieces. The story is based on a newspaper reporters search for the recipient of a note that was found after an airplane crash. The note was simple, it said "T-I love you. All is forgiven. Love Dad".

Hunt explores all the emotions and reasons why someone would want to receive this message and then also why so many turn away from that message everyday. The bible message is just that. A message of forgiveness and love. Who wouldn't want that? It appears that even the reporter is affected by the simplicity of such a message.

Hunt ends the book beautifully - never in the way you think. I was crying at the end - mostly because of my desire for such a relationship with my father.

I would call this a must read. Blessings.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Opposites

This weekend we were invited by our neighbors to attend a first communion service at 10am on a Saturday. I can't really say that I was excited about this, but attended because we are friends. I would rather have been in a stuffy pool watching synchro sections (the girl made it to the state level in all three of her routines!) then in a stuffy catholic church. But, the girl gets nervous when I am watching, so we attended the communion service instead.

It seemed to last forever even though it was only an hour long. I just don't understand it all. I have learned from scripture that communion is for believers. How is it that all kids at 8 years old have crossed the line of faith? We allowed Eli to have communion after he said Yes to Jesus and asked Him into his heart. Eli was confused as well. Again, I just don't understand how the church has complicated such a beautiful and meaningful remembrance.

Eli summed it up at the end on the way to the car, "I can't wait to go to Club K-Rock!" This is the name of our elementary Sunday school program. We so agreed! What a privilege it is to live in a country where we can worship in different ways!

Just for the record, I am not anti-catholic. I just don't enjoy that kind of worship and tradition. There are some amazing "living" and growing catholic churches in this country. I just don't happen to appreciate that style of worship - or that of an extremely charismatic church either. I fall in love with a church that has edgy music (something with a beat not requiring hymnals) and a great message that points the way to Christ. I want my church to be useful for sinners (people like me) and not just those that are "holy". I love that my church is outwardly focused - for our community and the world beyond our borders.

I tell my students that don't like Chemistry that it isn't a waste of time. They now know that Chemistry is not for them. It has eliminated one of many options. It isn't always about finding what you do like, but also finding out what you don't. That is what makes the world so interesting.

Blessings

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Last Chapters of Mary and Martha

Here is my synopsis of the final chapters of this book. I didn’t quite meet the time frame I had set forth, but I did finish the book. The last couple of chapters just summarize everything she has said.

Chapter 11 - Balancing Work and Worship

Colossians 3:23
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart”

I have been struggling for a long time with what she talked about in Chapter 11, finding balance between work and worship. I tend to be more comfortable on the Martha side, “doing”. So, that means that I need to work a little harder at worship. Yet, I tried to examine if that is entirely true. I have progressed a long way - very slowly - but usually forward. When I am worshipping in church, my heart is in that moment. I am getting better at just focusing on God instead of having my mind wander. When I am serving at church, I am in the moment doing the best that I can.

Weaver uses a teeter - totter as an example of our lives. Sometimes we are heavy on the serving side for a day or a season, but then our lives tip and bring us back to a time of worship and time with our God. Our lives need to be a combination of both - and finding a balance - as with everything- is the challenge.

I use to think that in order to serve God and be in “His Will” that I needed to be a missionary. That is when I heard the verse in Colossians for the first time. That whatever I do - do that for his glory. Serve him as I make dinner for my family, pray for my kids as I drop them off at school, have a listening ear for my students as I teach them. All these things can honor my Savior. He has given me skills to use for His glory. I continue to pray that I will reconnect with him in worship to follow His lead.

Chapter 12 - Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World

Jude 24
“To him who is able to keep you from falling
and to present you before his glorious presence
without fault and with great joy”


The last chapter was a window into the authors struggle to write this book and how she changed during the process. The best message through it was that we are all works in progress. God is renewing us from the inside out everyday.

As always, God uses His living word to speak to us. I had just heard a sermon on the following verse and then Weaver uses it as a key point in finding this balance.

James 1:2-4
“Consider it pure joy, by brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.”


This verse does not say “If” you face trials, it says “whenever”. That means that you will. How we respond to them is part of the learning process. We should respond with joy. I can’t say that is easy. Yet, by persevering, we become more like Christ which is our ultimate goal.

Pastor Stand at our church had a great message on this topic this weekend. You can watch the video or download a pod cast at www.eaglebrookchurch.com.

I am grateful that I took the time to finish this book.

Blessings

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Synchro Show

I have been swept away by a small cold and preparations for last weeks synchro show. I am going to try and post a video, and hopefully it works. I am just so darn proud of my girl. She is the one coming out of the water in the first lift. Blessings


video