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Showing posts from November, 2013

THE OFFERING OF A KISS

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Sitting at the end of the couch, I tighten the grey flannel cover around me on this cold November evening, less than one week before we gather around a table giving thanks for all that we are daily given.

Homework complete, my senior boy loads his heavy backpack and stand stretches to stare his last look at the football action on TV, and with a"goodnight,"  he turns to make way to the stairs. But with a slow halt in step, he stops and steps back where I sit reclined on the couch. He slow leans, long, and positions his cheek before my lips with a "goodnight" benediction, waiting for my lips to give him a final kiss goodnight. 

I  smile kiss the stubble cheek offered me by my 18 year old man-boy. And I am suspended in time. I am captured by my raw emotions  that whirl at the awe of his gesture.  He has no idea how one simple cheek leaned toward his mom tonight warms my insides. 
My memory quickens to a soft kiss on the cheek of my sleeping baby being held closely in my …

A DIRTY LAUNDRY STORY: WHEN YOU'RE GLAD IT'S "I'M TELLING YA" AND NOT "I TOLD YOU SO"

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A group of moms folding report cards together pass the time talking about their sons.  We taper the swelling pride of their recent football accomplishments with sarcastic remarks about their clean rooms, always an easy teen target for complaint.

We discover our spaces are no different.

Walking through piles on the floor is like managing land mines.  Sarcastically, I share my son's three pile organizational method: the obviously folded pile which is sometimes still in the basket, the dirty laundry pile, and the already worn but can be worn again pile.  Another admittedly perfectionist mom offers her solution of Saturday grounding if the rooms are cluttered with clothes.

A couple other moms and I, the recovering perfectionist mom, admit we gave up the laundry grounding ghost a while ago. Our logic  their space is now their space, unless it invades ours.  We recommend closed doors.  I recall my fair warnings to my eighteen year old senior son: "I'm telling ya,
you are going …

WHEN YOU WANT TO BE HEARD

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If you want to be heard in this screaming, noisy world, lower your voice and whisper grace.






I'm not sure if this is good pedagogy, but I have used it on many occasions in the teaching arena. 

When the room begins to buzz with scattered corner conversations, focus becomes blurred, bodies turn to nearest neighbors, collective voice decibels quickly rise as in released excitement, and the energy somehow swirls like a tornado, a good teacher realizes that if she wants instruction to continue, it just might be time to gain control before the class is swirl-swept down the drain. 

It always happens this way eventually. Some attentive student first notices that the teacher's lips are heading south into a possible frustrated frown while her eyes are intently scanning the crowd for the chaos infiltrators.  

And the weighted-worry of wondering grabs one student by the throat who silences another with dagger eyes and a finger lip hushed-weapon. And depending on the noise and chaos swirling in…

A DEVOTION TO THE STANDING OVATION

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An hour and fifteen minutes floated ethereally by Friday evening as my sister, mom, and I absorbed stories.  We agreed with nodding heads in the common knowing about life and family, smiled at his high dimpled embarrassment, laughed out loud at his family's antics, but we also fell silent and our breath stopped at his pain. They were stories...just his life stories.  Stories from the life of Pat Conroy, author of many great books including one that became a movie many people, at least my age, would remember, The Prince of Tides.  

Okay, admittedly his stories had southern charm, and he was cute in a way that only a nearly seventy year old Irish man can be depicted. But the human heart bled from the hate he bore from endured abuse by his father, and yet our hearts along with his heart were cauterized by his discovered humanity within his father and by the miraculous arm of forgiveness  wrapped  around his father near his death. 

At the end of his telling, there hung that compelling m…

WHEN IT IS PRIVATE AND NOT YOUR BUSINESS

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It's a cold autumn fourth grade day, back to the day I began teaching 27 years ago. It's expectations of me to lead  with watching eyes fairness and clear directions and to listen to their routine to become part of  their every day.

But I'm  subbing, and  their days are  not really my daily business. My intrusion into their moments today finds remarkable acceptance. Wanting to help--needing to help-- is a fourth grader's crown jewel.

And it starts with questions--always questions--mostly they are comments masquerading as questions. But thank God for questions.

Straight to what matters questions: "Where is my teacher? Is she sick?"  And it is an unclear answer but close to I don't really know, but  she is "under the weather" and "it might be her hip." And I abide with their conversation for a bit, but but  my thoughts quicken to pray for their everyday fearless leader to subside  their growing undercurrent of speculative fear. Followed…

ELASTIC HEARTS---THANKSGIVING WHEN LIFE STRETCHES US!

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ELASTIC HEARTS

Moments...all of life is but the moments that we face.
Moments...how many in your lifetime? 
Heartbeats...how many in your moments?  
Our moment upon moments creates a life.  And often these moments can stretch us thin, can stretch us wide, can stretch us weary, can stretch us hollow, can stretch us dry. 
Our rubber band hearts must remain elastic, and boy are our hearts often moment by moment exercised to remain elastic.  
When our hearts are stretched, they are infused with blood, 60-100 times a minute.  And only when our hearts are stretched, do we really become clear of being infused with the living power of the blood of Jesus.  In these moments of stretching, we panting count the beating of our hearts in our ears and in our throats.  
In these moments, we must count and recount His goodness. Our hearts and souls are rubber band stretched through this life’s journey.When we allow ourselves to be stretched in circumstances, and then can full gaze turn and say
"thank Yo…

YOU KNOW THE MOMENT!

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You know that moment when your friend you trust says something that you want to smack her for because you aren't really sure it is true.  Then you wonder if she is just talking out of her head and not using her heart.  You know that moment that your friend says something that stops your breath because you didn't expect her to say that to you while she knows the anguish you are in.  You know that moment when your friend says something that is really stumbling brick hard and your heart fell with your knees and you knew she would pick you back up.  
You remember that moment when you began to trust that her heart could really handle knowing the real you and would always embrace who you become.  You remember that moment when she kept your heart strong though it beat faint and held your hands steady through the shaking.  You remember that she will whisper the hard in the dark places to expose the ugly in its hiding, You remember that for every word she speaks, she tempers vanity and …