Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I don't hate Hillary Clinton. I get the impression from a lot of evangelicals that they hate her. That's just not okay. As much as I hate the idea of her being in the most powerful position in the world because I disagree whole-heartedly with pretty much every idea she's put out there, I do not hate her. I do one of those puppy head tilt things at the notion of hating someone I've never met because their proposed methods of taking this country forward are polar opposite mine. It doesn't even seem like hate should be part of our vocabulary in this context if we truly believe what the Word commands: Love your neighbor as yourself.

[Aside: Now Bin Laden is a another story... can't seem to make the ol' brain and heart meet on that one since his single-minded vision is to see my loved ones and all the rest of us "infidels" dead-dead-dead, martyred children in the wake. I cannot reconcile on that one...]

Thursday, February 14, 2008


My mom gave me a diamond solitaire ring for Christmas. I’m still not used to how it feels on my hand, so I touch it a lot, adjusting it, shifting it left and right and straight up again. When I clap my hands in applause, it moves. When I type, it moves. It makes itself remembered with almost every movement of my hand. It’s like it’s the ring’s way of talking. But I don’t know what it’s trying to say.

My mom had this goal for years to give me this ring. She would say, “I’m going to get you a one-carat diamond ring someday.” I’d ask her why, and her response was always the same: “It’s the one thing I can leave you as a legacy.” It’s a long story of how I actually came to be wearing it, so I’ll leave that for another telling. For now, my point is that I don’t need, and indeed never wanted, a ring for a legacy. I appreciate and fully acknowledge her desire to leave something valuable and lasting as a tangible reminder of her life and love. But it is that very desire—that most intangible thing—that I crown as her legacy. It is her constant, consistent proffering of her love to me that is a gift no pile of money nor zeros before the decimal can touch.

A friend asked me about the ring yesterday, and it’s always with a touch of bittersweetness that I speak of it. I wish my mom could be convinced of her perdurable worth to me even if she were a penniless, wizened, old soul with no name. I don’t bring that up though. I just say it was a Christmas gift from my mom.

Just minutes after presenting the ring to me, she cautioned me to keep the paperwork in a safe place because when she saves up enough money again, she can give back this ring to the store in trade for a two-carat.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh, happy day...

May the love you know today

be only the beginning
of a love that breathes
a Grace so expansive
and freeing into your deeps
that you know you have never lived
now that it has blown
the lid off the golden box
of the you
that Grace dreamed to be.
You are the memory that makes Him smile.
You are the baby picture in His wallet.
You are Easter morning
the middle of the cinnamon roll
the billion diamond gleam across a snowy field
the first giggle
the first spring zephyr
the last image to dance across His dream
the spike in His heartbeat
and the apple of His eye.
You are radiance, purest bridewhite,
the fragrance of One.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mark 1:10

Mark 1:10 “As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.”

What would that LOOK like—heaven being torn open?! He went down into the water—His death—and came back out—His resurrection—and THEN He saw heaven rent. His Father’s public, audible pronouncement stamped the whole event with a Royal seal, “You are My Son, Whom I love; with You I am well-pleased.” Those words—a balm and a blessing. A square, forthright, grasp of the shoulders and a statement of utter satisfaction. The Father to the Son. And ultimately, the Son to the whole world.

Monday, February 11, 2008

dumb leper, she said, looking into the mirror

Mark 1:44-45
The leper did not obey or honor Jesus’ warning not to tell anyone what just happened. Jesus healed him of this horrible condition—fatal physically and socially, making him a societal pariah—and yet he did not do the one thing his healer told him to. In fact, v. 45 says “he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news.” Picture the town crier. “Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.”

How many times have I been the leper healed and did not do the one thing You said to and so caused You to stay outside in lonely places…

Even there in the outlying areas of town where You had to stay though, “the people still came to Him from everywhere.”

Still I come to You. Where else would I ever want to go?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bahama Nuptials

My darling little brother got married yesterday to a beautiful woman named Wayneen. She's from Wenatchee, but has roots in Arkansas. They flew to the Bahamas and were married on the beach by a Baptist preacher whose wife served as the witness.

Aren't they cute together? They picked out these outfits before they left. The flight attendants found out they were going to be married and presented a bottle of champagne to them. She couldn't take the bouquet into the States, so she left it with the pastor's wife, I think.

I love you guys. You have been prayed for, prayed over, and wished all the glories and beauties of life. Long live your love.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

to feel so deeply

I tire of mammoth emotion----the painful lows for sweeping me to despair and melancholy, and the exquisite highs for ruining me for the ordinary. I would stay in the broad, happy expanses of the everyday but for the plague of the deeply felt.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Artists sign their work. Every sky, every tree, every rock, river, mountain, critter, and human being is signed ever so lovingly, autographed silently and tenderly by the Creator of all things good and perfect, “Jesus.”

Friday, February 01, 2008


I’ve been subbing about three days/week lately. Just this week I was at the high school for a teacher with math and science classes. The wonderful thing about it was the aide who’s in there—he really knows these subjects, AND he has a great handle on the kids. They know Mr. J cares, and they know he means business. Actually, the only reason he didn’t sub these three days himself is because he thought his paperwork was for the state, which is not the case. Gotta file for each district separately.

So, Day One goes very well. He teaches the lesson in every class, and am I grateful! I did have to fill in for another teacher's class third period. That was an experience. The kids talked the whole time. They would not be quiet. Only about 4 out of 5 did any work at all. The rest just talked. Two eruptions were a little unsettling. I didn’t want any trouble, just a little quiet. Two girls explode in laughter. I ask them to keep it down, and they did the rest of the period. Snotty cheerleader says at least twice that she’s not reading that story assignment. Halfway through class she turns around to the girl behind her and starts talking in a normal voice as if they’re the only people in the room. I look at her for a few seconds, and I know she intentionally does not meet my eyes. I have to tell her to please keep it down. I gave them their assignment. I even handed out books so they wouldn’t—heaven forbid—have to walk ten feet to the bookshelf. I’m done. My job is to babysit, so in between 15 occasions of “Can I go to my locker/the bathroom,” I read the lit book. I never knew ee cummings wrote such interesting poetry.

Seventh period is w-i-l-d. As in kingdom. They won’t stop talking. They get up out of their seats. One “sneakily” opens a window and jams the 4” long base of a 2” wide icicle down the shirt of the kid in front of him. I retrieve it from the floor and toss it in the trash. “Can I have my icicle back?” Like even… There is no quiet that hour, not ever. Even as Mr. J lays out the lesson, they talk. And move. And giggle. They are like great big unmanageable puppy-monkeys with sharp pupp-monkeyy teeth and sharp puppy-monkey nails. I am extreeeeemely grateful for this angel of an aide. There’s no way I could do this all by myself. Thank You, JESUS!

Day Two: Mr. J is sick! I am in charge! OLordpleaseohpleaseohplease You must give me great gobs of wisdom, skill, and mercy today, OpleaseYoujusthaveto!

Everything’s pretty okay until fifth period. There was no fifth period yesterday because of the revolving schedule. This is LAP math (remedial). They’re mostly freshmen, and so like yesterday’s seventh period, they don’t stop talking. They are always talking. How can they possibly have that much to say? What is so interesting or so worth putting out there? I write down a name on the board, not very big, because from the get-go, she is going to do her own thang. No getting out a pencil, no working on today’s worksheet, no just reading a book. Talk. Must talk. Must turn around and talk. Loudly. Left, right, behind, in front, across the room, over and above one another. It’s like they talk AT one another more than TO.

The blessed bell.

O Lord, seventh period. It’s the evil puppy-monkeys. They are gleeful that neither the teacher nor Mr. J is there today. Just “the sub.” I feel so alone! Icicle boy starts giving me trouble right away. I look sternly at him when he starts messing with the window again and say, “Don’t. I’m not doing that today.” He waggles his head and pops his eyes and mutters a mimicking imitation of my words. I give them their assignment. Fifteen minutes later, I realize they don’t have enough to do. They’ve either finished the assignment or simply will not do it. They’re talking. (Surprise...)

One girl, a he-man Goth type, is easily heard above the rest. She is alpha. She "owns” these guys. She is Boss. I know because she said so.

A smaller guy comes to me with something in his hand and says he got hit in the back of the head with it. He points in the direction he thinks it came from, and someone asks, “Is it like that one?” Everyone looks to a boy in the back of the class with a skateboard wheel on his binder exactly like the one SmallerKid handed me. “Busted!" someone sings out. The boy mumbles something and doesn’t seem to be defending himself. Someone else says it was a girl toward the front of the class, and that’s the direction SmallerKid said it came from. No one fesses up, and I don’t press it.

A girl holds out her cell phone at arm’s length for a kid in the next row who is kicking at it. I take the phone and hang it from my wrist for a few minutes. After a bit I put it in the top drawer of the desk. Not two minutes later, I see SkateboardWheelKid there at the desk. I check the drawer and no phone. I tell the girl her phone's gone missing, and then I face the kid who I think jacked it. They think they're so clever, so polished. I tell him to give it back or to find who has it. He defends himself, saying he has his own cell phone so why would he want someone else's. I feel a red heat rising and swirling, and I know this is not okay for me. I'm getting angry. I go back to the front of the class, and he goes back to the drawer where--surprise--he says it was just at the back of the drawer. Like I said, so clever, so polished.

There's too much time left. This can only end in tears. Someone turns on the Smart Board. I ask CuteButAlwaysTalking if she wants to do something on the Smart Board that would be fun for everyone. She jumps at that. Hangman. Good idea!

Goth Boss comes up 30 seconds later and just takes over. Just like that, Cute steps to the side and remains there only until the first word is guessed. Then she sits down, and Goth Boss owns the room. They take turns guessing, and if you don't guess a right letter, you get "You're dumb!" or some other adjective.

F-i-n-a-l-l-y, the blessed bell rang,and that day was over. I left the teacher a little note about 7th period hoping he'd make sure they'd have enough to do tomorrow if Mr. J wasn't back yet.

I think what's most alarming about the whole public school experience is the mediocre-to-sorry state of the morale, morals, and respect of the kids. There are so many factors influencing their welfare and motivation--or rather lack thereof. I know there's a generation gap because I find myself thinking, "I would NEVER have dreamed of speaking to an adult that way, much less a teacher." And back in the 70's when I was in high school, adults were always commenting on the decline of morals and respect in "today's young people." The disintegration of the family structure as the foundation of our society is a huge problem. Divorce, crime, poverty, and drug use are huge problems. How are teachers supposed to teach and motivate learning when some kids have survival as their highest priority, and the majority know there are no teeth in the supposed consequences of their misbehavior? I'm asking because I don't know.

I fully acknowledge that learning and teaching DO take place; my own kids are stellar examples of the caliber of education available even in rural areas. It's that swath of student at the lower end of the knowledge/testing scale that concerns me because those are the kids my husband addresses daily. He comes home so worn out, worn down, and mentally drained sometimes, not from fighting and disciplining as much as just sheer TRYING. He can't not care. And that can be exhausting.

For now, I will continue to hope for the best when I sub. I know there is still the best and the worst to come. I go Armed though and with just a smidge more experience under my belt. Selfishly, I hope that no one beans ME in the head--with anything, ever--and that any future Goth Bosses will continue to intimidate their classmates, not me.

What--you'd wish that, too, you know it.