Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Vacation BRHS style

"Twas the day of our Christmas break, and all through our halls,
The children were testing, no talking at all.

The teachers were grading those last minute things
In the gym you could hear all the boys and girls sing.

The grades were all posted and ready to average
The last cookie eaten by some starving savage
And I in my holiday shirt and Chad in his wheelchair
Had just started giving our fourth block nightmare
When out in the hall there arose such a clatter
The kids rushed the door to see what was the matter
Away to the door I flew like a demon
To see what in God's name was causing such screamin'
The student he stood in the hall all alone
Holding his stomach...he cried and he moaned
I asked him if I needed to call our school nurse
He just shook his head and his lips he did purse.
He pointed to a sheet posted high on the wall
He said he'd passed English and started to squall.
His reaction confused me....for me I would yell
He stood there a staring as if under a spell
Then reality hit him like a ton of big bricks
and he ran down the hall....lickety split.
My students completed their finals and waited...
For Mr. D. to say...."Have a wonderful Christmas Vacation!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Martha's in the World Unite

Let me ask you...what are you worried or distracted by? What things in your life keep you from simply sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing the Word of God? Do you believe that you can become too distracted? can...and I want to talk about two people with differing views on life. Our first person is Martha....the elder sister....who has invited Jesus to come to her house and eat and rest. The second person is Mary...the younger sister....who simply wants to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him. is not long before Martha becomes very upset that Mary is not helping. Martha wants that meal to be perfect....because it is for Jesus....and she becomes so focused on the preparation....that she loses sight of the guest. So Martha goes to Jesus and whines that she is doing it all by herself.....sound familiar? Jesus tells her....that she should not be so worried and bothered by so many things....that is only one thing necessary....and Mary has chosen that one thing. She chose to listen to the Word of be with Christ. The rest is merely fluff. Clearly Martha has lost her perspective and the meaning of her work. What Martha did was not wrong...she wanted to prepare a nice meal....but she did it for the wrong reasons. So often in life we lose our purpose. We are busy people.....with work, hobbies, and family. All of this stuff causes us to lose focus on the one person that can give our lives meaning.
Ok, so deviating from my story a bit....when 24 hours in a day are not enough, think about this....

A professor stood before his Philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. the pepples rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed once more that it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous, "Yes!"

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. the students laughed.

"Now, " said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full."

"The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, and your car." "The sand is everything else - the small stuff." "If you put the sand in the jar first, " he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life."

"If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you." "Pay attention to all the things that are critical to your happiness."

"Play with your children, take time to get medical check-ups, take your someone special to dinner, play another 18 holes, remember there will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal."

"Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled, "I am so glad you asked." "It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there is always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

We are so caught up with the action of doing....we are a people that feel liek we need to be doing something to be affective....that we lose the joy of simply being. We need to have a purpose in living. Mary and Martha had went to get the meal ready....the be with Christ. One was intent on doing....the other intent on being. Which direction have you chosen? Christmas is a time to focus on being. A toast to all my fellow Martha's in this world...take some time out this holiday season....and enjoy....stop and smell the Christmas trees!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the Secret of the Twelve Days of Christmas

Rhonda and I sang the Twelve Days of Christmas on Friday night at a Christmas party for Frontier Knit. It was a last minute addition and somewhere in the back of my mind...I knew that this beloved song had a spiritual meaning but could not remember what it was. I went home and googled it and this is what I found. I wanted to share it with you all. People often think of the Twelve Days of Christmas as the days preceding the festival. Actually, Christmas is a season of the Christian Year that last for days beginning December 25th and lasting until January 6th - the Day of Epiphany - when the church celebrates the revelation of Christ as the Light Of The World, and recalls the journey of the Magi. From 1558 until 1829 people in England were not allowed to practice their faith openly. During this era someone wrote the "Twelve Days of Christmas" as a kind of secret catechism that could be sung in public without risk of persecution. The song has two levels of interpretation: "the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the church." Each element in the carol is a code word for religious reality.
1. The partridge in a pear tree is Christ
2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments
3. The three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.
5. The five gold rings recall the torah (Law) the first five books of the Old Testament.
6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit.
8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes.
9. The nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Spirit.
10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.
11. The eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples.
12. The twelve drummers drumming symbolize the 12 points of belief in the Apostles Creed.
There you have it, the Hidden meaning of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" and the secret behind the song. Next time you sing it...think about the underlying message it proclaimed in England so many years ago.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Party On Dudes and Dudettes!

Are you a party person? I am. I love giving them, going to them, planning them and catering them. I love the concept of a party from start to finish. I read a story by Donald Davis about a disastrous birthday know the ones...we have all had them. I have had probably more than most. I think because I love them so muchand put so much into them...mine tend to let me down more often than not. Anyways, back to the Donald Davis story....a little boy invites his class to his birthday party....his mom was anxious about inviting one little girl....because she was not their kind. When his mom asked his dad what to do...the dad responded with, "Oh, don't worry, they won't come. They don't have a car and they aren't what you would call, "Party People"!" When the child asked what was wrong with the little girl...his mom replied that she smelled funny....he did not understand that...because she smelled fine to she was on a camping trip....a permanent camping trip. so 14 invitations were sent out....including one to Barbara.
About 5 o'clock on the day of the party, the little boy got sick. Meal losing know the kind....losing about a meal every three minutes. A virus had gotten him a day before the thing he was most looking forward to. He feared the words his mom was going to say, "We'll have to call off the party." His mom went off to call the 14 mommas to tell them the party was cancelled. She actually only got 13...because Barbara's family did not have a phone. Dad eased her concerns with, "That's alright. I told you they have no they won't be here...besides, they are not "Party People"."
The next day about noon there was a knock at the door. There stood Barbara and her mom. Behind them, waiting patiently was a taxi. Donald's mom was so embarrassed. "I am so sorry I didn't call," she said. Barbara's mom smiled sweetly and said, "It is okay, we already knew. Mrs. Jones has a phone and she told us. We would not have come if you were having the party. We never were, you know, what you'd call "Party People." Barbara brought Donald a was a 39 cent plastic car kit.....she gave it to his mom....and they were gone.
That night at dinner as Donald thought about his day and the little plastic car he had worked on all afternoon, he announced to his mom. "Next year I want another birthday party but I am only going to ask Barbara. They are the only real party people I know."
This story is a message about all the ugliness, sinfulness, hurtfulness and brokenness that people are capable of in our world. In their poverty, smelliness, they came to a little boy on his birthday as if to say everyone is repulsed but Jesus. They came and it reminds each of us that some way or another, in poverty or smelly, or imperfect and flawed; the only one who looks at our ugliness and sees the beauty is Jesus. When others exclude us, when others reject us, when others do not invite us, Jesus does. When others shun us and turn their backs and reject us and hurt us, Jesus sits and has supper with us. When others look at us and are repulsed...Jesus kisses us. In Jesus....we each become a Party Person. At this time of the year especially....and throughout the rest of the year....may you wake up each and every morning and strive to be a "Party Person."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Unexplained Things

Sorry there was no blog yesterday....I was having a blue day. About 11:00 I learned that someone I thought I knew well had committed suicide. I have a problem with suicide. I think it is a cowards way out of problems, but my biggest problem with suicide is the fact that it leaves a wake of mess for the family to have to deal with. It leaves questions left unanswered, feelings left unspoken, so many undone finishing touches and bless their hearts...this one leaves two young adults to plan a funeral for a mother right here at Christmas time. The sad thing about this death is that several years ago...they buried their father from the same finality....and now....they are doing it again. During my lifetime I have dealt with death a is never easy....especially at the holidays....but the hardest ones to cope with are the death of a child, the death of a non-Christian....and a death by their own hand. The death of a child is difficult because it seems a bit unnatural when a parent outlives a child. During our lives we are born....we age....we that order....and when that order is interrupted it makes life weird. When a non-Christian dies it is very sad....because you find yourself asking questions about their final resting....did they make peace with God at the end....what happens to a non-Christian after death. This is an especially hard thought for Christian family members of the non-Christian. Death by suicide is the saddest of all. The family is left with so many unanswered questions and thoughts...and feelings....and they will never have the answers they will search for....God has given each of us a wonderful physical do His work with. He gave us a chance to do such great things....and many times we let Him down in big ways. I have not always been all that I could be...but I have never given up....totally. My thoughts today go out to my friends family....may God watch over you during this season....and it also issues each of you a challenge to never totally give is so precious....handle it with care. Have a great day! K

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Loss At Christmas

Nothing is harder than a loss during the holidays except maybe the first holiday without your loved one. I was at the funeral home last night, my son-in-law's grandmother died on Sunday, and watched all the people interact with each other and cope with the feeling of loss....of course last night it was still fresh and they really had not had time to deal with the empty place the death of their loved one will leave. As I stood beside my daughter I was carried back many years ago...43 to be a time when I was a child standing there...and we were going through these same motions over the death of my younger brother. It was so hard. As a child of 9 I truly did not understand all the emptiness his death would leave. It was like a huge gaping hole...and that hole has been there ever since. Every time I look at my parents I wonder....what are they thinking...the only son my father has the one I call my husband. The strange thing about that is...Frank is my brother's age. Do my parent's ever think about that? I have a time or two. I have wondered many times what my life would have been like if he were still here. I have thought long and hard about choices I made...would I have made different ones. We are all products of our upbringing...and our without that piece of different would my life have been? These questions used to drive me crazy....but when my daughter Kathryn was born...the questions kind of faded see...things happen in life for a reason...and if they don't happen....then you are not who you will be someone else. It has been a long hard road to become who I am. I like myself...I like my life....I love my family....I love what I do...I love it is Christmas time again....and I feel a void coming on. Sigh! Mr. Jones will have a void this year....his mother will not be with him anymore. Oh he will have all his memories of his childhood....and his life since he became an adult....but there will be no more momma hugs. Brian, my son-in-law...will not have a grandmother to visit this year...but you know...I have goes ....and life goes on. We truly are all part of a bigger plan. Mrs. Jones went peacefully in her sleep. That is what I want to do...just go to sleep and never wake up...and if that is God's plan for me....that is how it will happen. I wish Brian and his family much love....and a sense of peace during this holiday season....I know Mrs. Jones will be sorely missed....but we all know she is in a much better place....God Bless You All This Holiday Season! K

Monday, December 10, 2007

14 days and Counting

Today is December 10th. I am one of those people you love to hate. I start my Christmas shopping on January 1st and shop all year long. I am a gift giver. I love to find the perfect gift....the one that will make the recipients eyes light up....the thing they have wanted forever and did not even know it. The great thing about beginning my shopping so that I am finished by Labor Day. I always save a couple of presents to buy during the holiday season....just because I love the spirit of Christmas...everyone smiles a little longer, speaks a little softer, enjoys a little more, it is truly the most wonderful time of the year. I learned from the best about gift giving. I received the greatest gift ever when I was sixteen. I would love to tell you it was a new car....but it wasn't. I would love to say a big stereo system....complete with 8 track player and recorder...but it wasn't. It was something that has never left me...and I have had it for the past 37 years. My greatest gift....was not something Santa brought ....or my parents gave greatest...most perfect gift....was my salvation. You know...that moment in time...when God came to the form of a baby....who grew to be a man....who died on a cross....for my sins. I did not find it under a Christmas tree. I found it at an altar....where I humbly bowed.....and asked God to come into my heart. If you have not received your Christmas gift prayer today is that you will open your heart, hear God knocking....and invite him in....this Christmas. Don't let another year go by....without having Christ in your heart and as your Lord and Savior. Believe is the ultimate Christmas I can't buy for you....but I would love to show you. Merriest of Christmases....and God Bless You One and All.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Gentle Approach

You know....everyone wants friends. Everyone needs friends...It is a medical fact that people who have friends live longer. The eighth fruit of the Spirit is gentleness....and Philippians 4:5 tells us to "show a gentle attitude toward everyone." Gentleness is controlling your reactions to people. It is CHOOSING your response rather than simply reacting. If someone serves understanding toward them...don't be demanding. How do you treat people who serve you? How do you treat restaurant workers, clerks, secretaries, janitors? Are you rude and demanding? Do you understand that their day may have been lousy too? The secret to getting great service is to treat people with respect. I learned a valuable lesson at BRHS....if you want your room cleaned....give the janitor a red velvet cake for Christmas...why red velvet? It is his favorite. How do I know? I took time to ask.
When someone disappoints gracious....not judgmental. Watch out for that holier than thou art attitude. Don't be caught up in judging....or you might find yourself being judged.
What is your reaction when someone you know or love messes up? Do you secretly think....I told you so....or serves you right....or the could you be such an idiot? You know....even Jesus was confronted with the adulteress....and he told the crowd that whoever was without sin should cast the first stone....and all the rocks were dropped. When we get the urge to be judgmental....we need to drop the rocks and think about how much forgiveness God has shown to us.
When someone disagrees with us....we should be tender without surrender. You can't please deal with it. Your relationship with the person involved is more important than the point trying to be made.....
Be teachable...not unreachable. Use your ears more than your willing to accept correction....the wisest people I know have a "teach me" attitude and are willing to learn from others. Gentleness is a willingness to learn and admit you were wrong.
Be an actor....not a reactor. I don't mean pretend....I mean someone who initiates action. When someone hurts an actor....strength is found in gentleness.....handle hurt without retaliating. Gentleness is not letting someone else decide your reaction. Being gentle is not always the easiest way. are not cannot do it by matter what kind of bionic will power you think you have....want to be gentle? Turn to God. Gentleness will be there! Peace to you all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sweet Child of Mine

To each of my Children,
I remember once… .a long time ago….I asked God…., "Do you think I should have a baby?" "It will change your life," God said back to me. I did not know exactly what he meant…so I laughed and said…”there would be no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations." …and you know how I love those spontaneous trips… But that is not what God meant at all.
God wanted to let me know that the physical wounds of child bearing would heal, (and for me it would make a great story….) He wanted me to know that becoming a mother would leave me with an emotional wound so raw that I would forever be vulnerable. I would never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire would haunt me.. When I saw pictures of starving children, I would wonder if anything could be worse than watching my beloved child die. I honestly can’t think of anything that would hurt me more. As a mother to you….I understand more what happened in my mother’s heart and head when Dougie died. I realized that no matter how sophisticated I wanted to be….becoming a mother reduced me to the, primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" could cause me to drop a soufflĂ© or my best crystal without a moments hesitation. I feel that no matter how many years I have invested in my career, I was to be professionally derailed by motherhood. I arranged for childcare, but one day I was sitting in a faculty meeting and I thought of your baby's sweet smell. I had to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure that you were all right. I cut classes all day at AUM the first time you stayed at nursery…because I could not stand to see bigger children taking toys from you. I could not stand being away from the warm and smell of you. All of my every day decisions were no longer routine. When Eric, as a five year old boy, desired to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's it became a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity had to be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom….and believe me…the thoughts were there and very powerful. I almost had to clear the men’s bathroom….so I could just be there…in case Eric needed me. However decisive I have been in the classroom, I have second-guessed myself constantly as a mother. Looking at my grown children, I wish I could assure each of you that eventually I learned that I may or may not shed the pounds of pregnancy, and I have never felt the same about myself. I learned through each of you that my life, now so important, became of lesser value to me once I had a child. I would give myself up in a moment to save any of you, and also have hoped for more years, not to accomplish my own dreams, but to watch you all accomplish yours. I want you all to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks became badges of honor. My relationship with your dad changed…but not the way I thought it would. You all made me a whole person. You are the Ying to my Yang.
As your mother I have a special bond that I feel with other women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I wish I could vividly describe to you guys the exhilaration of seeing each of you learn to ride a bike. I wish I could have captured for you the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I honestly can say that I have tasted a joy that is so real it actually hurts. If you were here beside me right now….and were to look at me right now… you would see that tears have formed in my eyes. "I'll never regret having experienced motherhood with any of you. " You are all what gave life sense to me....and for that I will be eternally greatful.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Something Lost Regained

On Sunday one of my good friends and fellow co-workers, Vickie, had an open house. Several of us went down to kick off the Christmas Season of endless parties and gatherings. When you opened the door to her knew you were in a Christmas fantasy land. Her home was breathtaking. Everywhere you looked were reminders of what this season was all about. You felt as if you had stepped right into the pages of a House Beautiful. Our lovely hostess met us at the door and greeted us all with a hug and a smile. This began and evening of true delight and wonder. All over her house people talked animatedly, smiled joyously, and ate as if there was no tomorrow. Then we moved upstairs to the game room and played games....humming songs to find a partner, passing a ball around to a rapidly fired story, and guessing Christmas thoughts off of our backs....everyone laughed....and thoroughly enjoyed themselves....halfway through the games I paused and looked at all my fellow collegues. Many of us had been on staff for a long time....and over the past few years have become less and less of a family unit....and more and more of a workplace.....PERIOD. It was so perfect to feel that familial bond begin again....everyone seemed to hate to leave. I don't know if Vickie planned it that way....but she sparked a fire that I thought had seed....many years ago...when I first joined this staff...we used to do that....have Christmas parties at someone house....and an end of the year bash too.....but over the years....those pleasantries died....and our Christmas dinner...began taking the cold and impersonal school cafeteria...the bond of family....died slowly....But...Sunday night it appeared again....and on Monday morning....those of us who attended....met each other in the halls ....still laughing over the night befores gaity. Monday morning....I actually looked forward to coming to school and seeing my co-workers....Vickie....gave us the shot in the arm we needed (a pun here....Vickie is also a nurse)....and she provided us with a Christmas healing. Thanks Vickie....for opening up your home and letting us all rest and heal a bit. You taught us all the meaning of Christmas on Sunday....and we will carry it with us for a bit. Merry Christmas all.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Life Lesson Part IV

Let me tell you the Good News according to Karen. Jeremiah 1:5 says, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and annointed you as my spokesman to the world." Is that not an awesome concept? I think so. On an Ash Wednesday night I was fortunate enough to see The Passion of the Christ. I have always known what the price was for my salvation...somehow seeing it in living color...left me speechless...and ashamed. John 3:16 tells us...."For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish...but have everlasting life...God loves me...He loves me so much....that He sent His only Son to live on this earth as a mortal...and die for sins He did not commit. Ephesians 1:5,7 tells us, "He destines us for adoption as His children through Jesus Christ...In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace...His grace...I can tell is definitely sufficient for me. He loves you...He loves you very much too...and He showed you and me just how much He loved us...when Jesus, His only Son spread our His arms on the cross and died. The Marine term...Semper Fi...means....Always Faithful...that is a motto....that even though I am not a marine...I can live up to daily as a Christian...and that is my goal....Semper Fi.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Patience is NOT My Virtue!

I am not the poster child for patience. The famous educator John Dewey said that the most useful virtue in the world was patience. We need it all the time an we need it everywhere. Proverbs 16:32 says, "It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities." I , like many of you, prayed for patience....once. I was going through a really hard time at home....and began to pray earnestly. "Lord, give me patience," I prayed. Everynight I prayed and prayed hard....for the all illusive patience. I expected immediate results...what I got was harder I prayed again...."Lord, please....give me patience."....and things got even worse. It took me quite a while to realize that God was working patience through me....trial by fire....I is easy to look patient when your seas are smooth...but when things don't go your way...the true colors come out....I truly did pray for patience...but I was putting time constraints on the Lords work. I wanted patience....and NOW! I, much like Lucy in the Peanuts cartoon, prayed for patience and then quit....because I was afraid I might actually get some. Noah waited 120 years for the rain...HE was patient. Abraham waited 100 years for a son....Moses, 40 years in the desert...and then another 40 years leading the Children of Israel across to the Promised Land. They waited in the Old Testament....for the Messiah to come....The Bible is a book about waiting...Why? Waiting demonstrates faith...and faith is pleasing to God. The hardest kind of waiting happens...when you are in a hurry....and God isn't. How long can you wait? God is never late....His timing is perfect. He may not move on our schedules...but He is always on time. Why should we be patient? Because God is....and we are to be like Him! Have a peacefully patient day!