Why ORANGE should be a new Color

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My church is pretty amazing. And I don’t mean a BUILDING. I mean the people.

Seven people shared how they were using their sphere of influence to further the Kingdom. It is exciting and even though it was from a few years ago, it’s still one of my favorite messages.

There’s a great movement happening in the church called ORANGE. It focuses on what can happen when churches and families partner together to support each other in this crazy thing called parenting. I do not have children, but I want to someday.

Reggie Joiner is passionate about children and the impact legacy can have on them.

What I think is missing from this is a HUGE part of childhood: SCHOOL. We would be missing out on a huge chunk of students’ lives if we did not encourage and support teachers to invest into our children.

You can watch the whole message. Education is 30:45-35:45.

Teachers in trauma-filled areas have the chance to be a safe harbor – loved how Sha put that!

Let’s partner with schools in our area. What better way to strengthen families and the church than to go into the marketplace of children/student ministry – SCHOOLS.

Segregation

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*This is a blog post I started on 2014 that never got published and decided to finish.

Over the past few weeks I have had a few different conversations about segregation.

It happens.

In the Church.

In schools.

What is the benefit of having people with differing views, lifestyles, cultures gathering in the same place?

One of the biggest lessons I am walking away from DC with is how much I love people who are different than me.

Has it always been easy to interact with different cultures? NO!

I did not come from a loud culture/family, but I have had experiences with a few different cultures where if you did not yell or were the loudest, you were not heard.

We all have a long way to go on racial reconciliation. Someone could misinterpret this blog post. Obviously conversations are better in person.

I am more willing to go to the uncomfortable places now than ever before.

Let’s talk.

Racial Reconciliation

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*This is a post I wrote a few years ago. I have since left DC and moved back to my hometown. It’s been an interesting transition.

I live in a diverse city. I love that there are so many people represented.

I grew up in a small town. There are two cities separated by a river: one town mainly black; the other white. It’s hard to go from city living to my small town because I see the difference in mindset.

I spent the last year tutoring kids in the inner city and I was in the minority. I had no idea what I was getting into or the culture my kids had. I was a student myself as I learned more about their language/slang, how people viewed other races (mostly through observations on riding the bus), and talking with students and teachers alike. I have always loved different cultures and my experiences abroad helped me with this new experience in seeing a different culture IN MY OWN CITY.

I don’t know that I have any answers for how to get along other than LISTENING goes a long way.

There were many times this year as I was riding the bus that I just wanted to stand up and shout “I’M SORRY”. On behalf of the white population who goes about not knowing the struggles of other races, I’M SORRY. But at the same time, please don’t group us all together. I try not to do that to your race.

Resources:

  • Gracism by Dr. David Anderson
  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (Due to African names, I recommend reading it with the audiobook. I love to hear people read to me.)

Leaving Egypt

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For the past year, I have faced the toughest battles of my life to date. Anxiety. Depression. The constant thought of not feeling like I’m (good) ENOUGH. I’m exhausted.

But as I was leaving DC, I found myself asking Did Moses cry when he left Egypt?

I cried over leaving two of my very best friends in DC.

I cried because I truly LOVE the city of DC and have gotten to know so many parts through my travels and work experience in DC. Four years of traveling around the city by walking, biking, Ubering, driving, and taking the bus. I saw the expanse of the four corners of the city I had come to love. I taught in SE, NW, and NE DC. I spent enough time at Nats Stadium to claim SW, too.

Cue the Prayer of Jabez/expanding my territory:

1 Chronicles 4.10 (NIV): Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

I cried a lot leaving DC, which I honestly was not expecting. (However, I took four days to go back to DC in December/January and I cried every day knowing what I was going back to…). I’ve known for a while that DC was not a good fit for me. I compared it to an abusive relationship, and that makes the most sense – there have been really BEAUTIFUL moments – but there have also been really, really crappy moments. I am not my best self in DC, so in order to take care of myself, I have to move on.

I cried for the children I taught (K, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade – I was leaving behind a SCHOOL of MY kids).

I cried for a lack of peace in the city.

That is my prayer for DC: PEACE. When Jesus was having final conversations with his disciples, he prayed for them to have peace as He left them. He promised that the Holy Spirit would remind them of his teachings. The same is true for my students: prayers for peace in a non-peaceful community and city.

John 14.27 (NIV): Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14.27 (MSG): That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

I think Moses cried bringing people into freedom… and that’s ok.

B.I.G.: Boundary | Integrity | Generosity

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Brene Brown is one of those authors I hear a lot about from friends. I recently bought her book Daring Greatly on Audible and decided to buy a copy of the book to read along with as I listen to it. Basically, I have only seen her TED Talk on Vulnerability but I want to know more about her work because everything she talks about are things I need to hear.

Like this video. Amazing insight.

Video Marker 2:15: “My question is BIG: What BOUNDARIES need to be in place for me to stay in my INTEGRITY and make the most GENEROUS assumptions about you?”

Wow. Challenged.

February

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2.25.2017: There’s only 10 more months until Christmas – I hope to see snow before then! Can’t wait for it in April! Random – I saw people ice skating in the Sculpture Garden this afternoon… in 81 degree weather in DC!

What have I been doing since finishing grad school? I am learning to love myself again – maybe even for the first time loving myself WELL. I’m taking time for myself and rediscovering things that bring me joy. Things like walking around this crazy, cool (sometimes a combo of both) city, reading books FOR FUN, and day trips in my car! How can I love others without loving myself well?

Random piece of info I learned from the documentary I watched on Theodore Roosevelt courtesy of Amazon Prime Videos: Arthur T. Packard was a U of M graduate (GO BLUE!) and friend of Teddy Roosevelt. He was one of the first people to tell Roosevelt he would make a great President. The prophesy came true. What friends do you have speaking life into you?

I read The Naturalist by Darrin Lunde and loved it! I don’t know a lot about our presidents, but I was impressed with learning about the nonpolitical side to Roosevelt. Living in DC, I need to go visit Teddy Roosevelt Island. Today I went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. I asked the information desk about animals Roosevelt collected – there’s a White Rhino he killed that is right inside the Mammals exhibit. It’s on the left by the Moose – you can’t miss them!

I took my final Praxis exam – and got my best score yet! Wahoo!

Less than 70 school days left in the school year – somehow THAT happened.

Excited for next school year and what that will bring. The best is yet to come!

Grad School

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Grad school is the reason this year was the STAYCATION year in DC. Checking this one off my Bucket List.

There are really no words. But I am going to try to capture this moment.

This fall has been the hardest season of my life.

But, tonight, I went to my last grad school class.

I am DONE.

The joy and sense of accomplishment is indescribable.

A year and a half ago, I was a completely different person. When I moved to DC three years ago, I had no desire to ever go to grad school. I was debt free. (*side note: I have a Masters degree and am less than $6000 in debt. Thanks to two years of serving with AmeriCorps and paying throughout the year and half I’ve been in school. Life wisdom I learned the first time in college to pay as much as you can as you go to decrease the amount of interest paid).

There have been many miracles through this journey. So many conversations with peers, mentors, parents, and students. It has been a roller coaster of emotions – so many tears and shouts of frustration along with pictures of students actually learning and the joy of investing in young people.

This journey with grad school and my first fall of teaching has allowed me to gain wisdom the hard way. It has taught me that the more I learn, the more I learn how much I don’t know. I feel uncomfortable hearing the title “Master” because I really feel like I scratched the surface of Teaching Early Childhood. Teaching continues to humble me, kind of how I imagine parenting feels. It has taught me the value of friendship, family, counseling, and rest.

I’ve had conversations with my Uber drivers (my current form of commute) about grad school. The guy who drove me to my last class asked when I would be teaching college or becoming a principal because he didn’t think someone with a Masters should stay teaching elementary school. HA! ENOUGH! I am just trying to enjoy this accomplishment without thinking about what’s next.

But I’ve learned to #NeverSayNever (Cue Brandy, not Justin Bieber).