Giving In

When I finally gave in to God, I felt so much better.

Last Spring, I was in the midst of a career crisis. I struggled for months, looking for a different job, preparing my resume, going to interviews, and making contacts. Several times it would appear that I was the shoe-in for the position in which I interviewed, but somehow, I never received a job offer. It didn’t make sense.

Instead of a new job, it seemed God was leading me to back to an old job– teaching. It had been 17 years since I taught in a classroom, but it all lined up perfectly. When I finally gave in to God’s will and followed His lead, everything clicked into place and was easy.

I’ve lost weight and stress since I made this decision WITH God instead of against Him. I’ve gained freedom and time with my family. I can see the colors in the sky in the early morning and appreciate the hues of the changing leaves this Fall.

I had been previously beating my head against the wall in an effort to live up to some preconceived notion of what my life was supposed to be like. I thought I was supposed to work all the time, make more money than I needed, and collect titles. Instead, God wanted me to give in. He wanted me to accept his plans for my happiness and health.

Lord, I have chosen you alone as my inheritance. You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion. I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands. Psalm 31:15.

Then Sings My Soul…

Just a few weeks after turning seven years old, my son said the most profound thing to me he has ever said. It was so profound, that it brought tears to my eyes. He said, “Mommy, my soul was created to be born to you.”

How could he know that? He was a gift given to me by God. A gift born out of many tears, prayers, and an unexpected miracle. To hear him say those words to me was like I was being reminded of just that fact by God himself.

As a mom I believe it is my job to look out for my son, to pray for him, and to raise him up to be a child of God. I need to make sure he knows Jesus and follows in his path. If I can lead him to Jesus and help him get to heaven then I will be deserving of this gift.

When my son smiles, it is like a sunbeam straight from heaven. He helps me remember all the good in my life and the reasons to be happy. Thank you, God for blessing me.

Say Please

“Saying please is a dying art form.” I heard this from my coffee barista today as I went through the drive-thru to get a much needed afternoon pick-me-up. It really struck a chord with me because I was surprised by this sentiment. Saying please has traditionally been one of the first things we teach our children to say when they want something. Has the world tilted so far that saying the word “please” has now become an anomaly?

I pondered this for quite some time while I sipped my fufu cup of joe with whipped topping added for seasonal effect. It struck me as an especially meaningful comment to make in this season of caring for others, wearing our masks for protection, and thinking of holiday cheer. If we don’t say please now, of all times, when do we ever say it? Do people also not say “thank you?” Why wouldn’t we say it? It’s so easy!

In James 2:1-3, the Bible tells us “My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ…” For if a rich man and a poor man both come into your assembly…and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves…? To me, this is clear direction that we treat people–all people– with respect and the way we would want to be treated.

I just feel like it’s worth thinking about. As a society, as a people, we need to do the little things to make us all better. A word of thanks, a comment of please, a small smile to the passerby, they all will add up to make it more comfortable here. Nothing is owed to us, even if we’re paying for it. Treat each other better, it is worth it. Life can be hard, say please!

Philosophy…Simplified

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Growing up poor-ish, on a small, 13-acre farm in southern Morrow County, Ohio I learned quickly that people judge others for what they see in a moment and sometimes one needs to work very, very hard to prove they deserve more than just a passing glance.  From the moment I stepped foot in the classroom it has been my mission to connect with my students and build relationships that matter.  As an educator, that mission continues as I build lasting alliances based on trust between me, teachers, students, and other stakeholders.  That trust is established more easily because when I work with people I believe in honesty and getting to know people for who they are as people and recognizing them for their distinct human value. 
Being aware of and working with socioeconomic diversity, racial diversity, gender diversity, and other subgroups has been vital to creating avenues for success in the educational settings in which I have been a part.  When the status quo is permitted to be disrupted true change, truth, and success can be actualized.  If we hide behind the policies that allow things to stay the same, our world never improves, options grow stagnant, change never occurs, and democracy falters.
Implicit and explicit bias are enemies to academic growth, individual success, societal and organizational improvement.  It is my hope that true education can be free from these unconscious and known thoughts or attitudes when we purposefully strive towards an all-inclusive way of thinking and learning.  We ALL have important aspects of thought and ideas to contribute and whether we are women or men, white, black, latinx, gay, lesbian, straight, rich, or poor, the diversity that makes us human allows us to choose to be leaders in equity and inclusion. 
That is my philosophy.  That is how I live my life and how I have navigated through my educational career thus far.  I believe in fighting for what is right.  I have always made my decisions with the best interest of the students in mind.  My opinion hasn’t always been popular, but it has been fair and equitable.  I am an agent for change.  I believe that change has been good, supportive, justified, and inclusive.

Shipwrecked Faith

I attended Sunday mass tonight at 6pm at St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Grandview, Ohio. They call it “Last Chance Mass” because it’s the latest mass there is at the parish and if you want to get in your chance at Sunday service, you better show up at 6pm. It was amazing!

Maybe it was because COVID-19 has been making me feel a little shipwrecked in my faith, or like I was Peter and I’d taken my eyes off of Jesus a little too long and I’m starting to sink in the water. This mass didn’t have any particularly special bells or whistles attached to it tonight, but it was awesome because it was just what I needed in just the moment I needed it. People were appropriately spaced out but welcoming. My mask was hot and stifling, but I felt lucky to be be out in public and glad the doors to the church were still open.

The contemporary music at this early evening mass was subtle, but heartfelt and moving. In a time when others are warning you not to sing for fear of the virus spreading, this sweet church’s music was flowing out and touching our very souls. In fact, one line of one particular song reminded us that our souls are not alone and that Jesus is in fact with us, even in our weakest, neediest hours. The music reminded me that while in doubt-ridden times we may feel as if our faith has been ship-wrecked, God is still with us. He never leaves us alone even if it seems as if we are on a desert island.

The gospel reading today from Matthew 13:1-9, reminds us about the parable Jesus told about the sower and the seeds. Jesus explained how some seed fell on the path and birds ate it up, while other seed was cast upon rock, other upon thorns, but the seeds that were planted in rich soil grew well. Jesus then told the crowd, “Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Everything about today’s visit to church reminded me that God is among us. I left that church tonight on fire to tell you all about what I heard. He wants to get our attention and have us listen to him. I know sometimes we get bogged-down with the worries of the world; I know right now it seems like 2020 has dished out more than her fair share. But God is with us and his love will fix everything if we allow him to work in our hearts. We just need to listen.