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May The Force Be With You And Other May Blessings (Parenting in Summer Edition)

I have a treat for you today. Welcome my friend Michelle Discavage to Bedrocks and Borderlands. She is here to share more May blessings as we wrap up this crazy month. Michelle is the author of “Unnamed Women of the Bible: Lessons of IMG_1893Value, Belonging, and Worth,” a speaker, and certified life purpose coach. She can often be found laughing, and is known to be somewhat of a pot stirrer. Michelle is on a mission to gather #brokedownhomegirls across the country to rise up and take their rightful place as God’s daughters. You can read more from her at www.SparkedLiving.net.


The questions. There are so many questions. They are hurled like heavy artillery in the heat of battle. Surely, a breath will need to be taken. Maybe exhaustion will take over. Dry mouth? Maybe the need for water will cease the never ending barrage of questions.

Summer is coming. No school, just three months of days waiting to filled with activities. The blank calendar stares at me sinisterly. It mocks me to fill in its small, white spaces. I like the routine of school life, but I also like the freedom of summer. Do I fill in the calendar, for her sanity as much as my own? Or do I allow each day to be its own adventure.
Why is summer so long anyway?
We melt on the pavement in summer’s heat. Why do we live in Texas? I question our decision every summer as the sun beats down causing us to slowly roast under its rays. There does not seem to be enough sunscreen to protect our pale skin. Even the water in the pool will fail to be refreshing. It is too hot. Too hot to move, too hot to swim, just too hot.
And the artillery of questions will not cease.
Can so and so come over? Can we go to (insert fun, overly priced adventure here)? Can I get some ice cream? What are we doing today? Do I have to practice piano? Why do I have to make my bed, it’s summer? Are we going to the pool today? Will any of my friends be there? What’s for lunch? What’s for dinner? What can I do, I’m bored?
Working at home sounded so glamorous once. My need to work will evoke an outpouring of needs and questions. At no other time of the day has she needed anything, but the moment I begin speaking with a client, or sitting down to write, everything becomes urgent. With furrowed brows and snapping fingers, I’ll point towards the door, and she’ll walk out angrily. When work is done, I will remind her of what I told her before the call began: do not come in when I am on the phone unless you are bleeding, or near death. The rules are pretty simple.
Can I blame her though? Can I blame her for wanting constant interaction? She is an only child, and the most social creature in the house. I do my best to bring friends over, to occupy her time with the things she enjoys.
I will try not to lose my temper as I have become a walking sweat stain attacked by her many questions. The wretched heat will not create a foul mood in me, not this time. I will enjoy these moments, as simple as they may be. We will splash in the pool, wipe ice cream off of our chins, and be thankful for our working air conditioner and fans. I will listen to giggles coming from her room when a friend is over, and try not to laugh when the cupcakes they tried to sell around the neighborhood melt in the heat.
This summer, I will survive! I will rejoice in these moments! My patience will be long and my joy unending! Yes, I will enjoy the blank calendar, well, right after I’ve furrowed my brow, snapped my fingers, and motioned her to exit.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phillipians 4:4-8, NIV)

May your sweat stains be light, and your water be refreshing. May you dip your toes in the pool with delight, and may the questions be few.

May the Force be with You And Other May Blessings (Teacher Edition)

It is the end of the school year and I find myself in the strange and wonderful world of trying to lead 7th and 8th graders to the discovery of truth. Earlier this spring, I was asked to be the long-term substitute for a Bible class and I jumped at the opportunity. I cannot express what a delight this season has been. It’s temporary and that kills me. I’m not ready to give up these students that I just met.

But also…

Goodness gracious, teachers have it rough at the end of the year. I mean, these kids are done. D-O-N-E. Summeritis has set in and students have forgotten how to student. I gave my study hall class new assigned seats today. There are three weeks left of class, and I gave them new seats. I even pulled in extra desks because my current set up didn’t put enough space between the chatty Cathy’s.

I was floating along, thinking “No, summer, stay away! Don’t take my angels!” And then we had a day. You know, a “day“. And suddenly I was ready. And my feelings about summer will rise and fall with the amount of sanity my students bring with them each day; but whether through prayers of survival or tears of premature parting, we must first survive May.

So with that, I give you May the Force Be with You, and other May blessings:

Teachers, as your students lose all sense of humanity, may the force be with you.

May your supply closet be endowed with the magic of Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. 

May your hours of sleep be equal to or greater than the number of eye-rolls you receive each day. 

May all meetings be treated as feasts, complete with chocolate or Mexican food in which you might bury your feelings. 

May your Teacher Appreciation Week by marked by the lavish gifts of students who pick up after themselves and tell you how much you’ve blessed their lives. (or at least that first part)

And may the workroom coffee flow, strong and abundant, that you might find life in its warmth. 

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In all seriousness, teaching Middle School Bible has been an incredible blessing. What an honor to teach. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, hang in there. You are doing important work. Your students may not see it and you may not feel it, but trust me, these last few weeks are a treasure.

 

Mic Check

It is award season again and we all know what that means. Celebrities will be thanking their moms and God and using their moment to shine a light on a cause. Do you recall the 2015 Oscars? There was no shortage of heartfelt speeches, urging us to join together for the sick, hungry, or forgotten.

Last night I watched the Golden Globes which, let’s be honest, consists mostly of observing people eat, drink, and squeeze their way through a room filled with a few too many tables. The dresses sparkled, the tuxes were perfectly tailored, and soon the guests were lit right along with the political fuse.

It is no secret which way the Hollywood community leans. There was no shortage of jokes at the expense of the President-Elect. Hugh Laurie -later unnecessarily explained by Meryl Streep-  joked that the room was full of republican enemies. Hollywood. Foreign. Press. Surely we can all admit that we found that at least a tad humorous.

But here lies the question. Should celebrities use their platform to take a political stand? Unofficial research (a glance through my Facebook feed) would suggest that as the general public, we don’t agree on this topic. No surprise there.

Many people, including Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, say celebrities should stay out of it.  And, as this article would suggest, many people wish that Meryl Streep would have simply accepted her award, reflected on her career, and not gone over her three minutes. These individuals have offered important arguments for us to consider and yet, I cannot help but wonder…

Most of us have been taught to use our influence to stand up for what is right. We teach our children to do the same. Whatever platform you have been given, use it. Be a voice for good. You have been handed a microphone which broadcasts your voice to the edges of a certain audience, so speak up. Football captain? Speak up. Pastor? Speak up. Business leader? Office assistant? Mom? Quiet kid with a small group of friends? Speak up. You influence someone so make sure your influence is positive.

For a bit of history, Pope Pius XII caught a lot of flack for not speaking out more directly about the Holocaust. (Read more on that here.) Why  would people expect him to speak out? He’s not a politician. He’s not going to decide who goes to war and who stays home. And yet, as a religious leader he had influence, so people, churched and unchurched, expected him to use his platform to speak up.

Why, then, do so many of us believe that celebrities should check their mics at the door?

Because we are a deeply complicated people. If you knew that a celebrity felt strongly about something that you cared about, you would likely be very confused and perhaps even disgusted if they chose to remain silent. This observation comes from noticing again and again when friends repost interviews and quotes from celebrities (or celebrity pastors), praising their bravery to speak up for what is right. I’ve also noticed that we quickly change our minds when a celebrity speaks up for something with which we disagree.

It comes down to this: We want to hear our own voices reflected back to us. We celebrate when people speak up for our causes. We vilify when they speak up against them.

Sure, I’d much rather be entertained than challenged, but no one would ever grow that way. Then again, art in itself can be the challenger, so should Hollywood stick to using their voices through film and music? How do we decide where the boundaries lie? I don’t know whether it’s right or wrong for celebrities to be so vocal about politics. I do know that as a community of humans, we are utterly contradictory. People on every side contradict themselves. There has been plenty of evidence throughout the last year. So, maybe it isn’t only celebrities that are at fault. Certainly, we are collectively better when we each use wisdom when it comes to the microphones we carry. There is a time to speak up and a time to check the mic at the door for each of us: for celebrities, for you and me, and even for the President himself.