Adventures in Subbing #1

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I am in my fourth year of substitute teaching here in Alabama and I’ve come to look at it as more than just a job. When  I was a full-time teacher, I had so much on my plate and so much on my mind that many days I was too exhausted to think much past the next set of papers I had to grade. Now I’m looking at things from a little different perspective.

Some days I just sit and don’t do much more than take roll and pass out an assignment. Other days might be jammed packed with instruction and discipline. The variety is usually enjoyable. I have learned to be an observer and I try to make connections with students when I can.

From time to time I’ll be sharing my thoughts, observances, and tidbits from the classroom.

“A circle was ugly without you.” -from Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty

 

Being on the outside of a circle, looking in, is a lonely place to be. I’ve felt that way over the years, but fortunately not too often. It hurts, no matter how old you are. But, the middle school years are the hardest. If you aren’t in a circle, your outsideness really shows.

One day I saw a pretty young girl sitting all alone in a room full of kids who were talking to each other and laughing while they sat together. I didn’t know her or her story, but I wondered. Did she choose to sit alone? Did she just not have a friend in this particular class, but when the bell rang would she meet up with her BFF as she headed for her next class? I sure hoped so. That’s what I wished for. I wish everyone had a BFF waiting somewhere for them. A person who was interested, a person who cared. But, I know that isn’t always the case. So, all the more reason to be kind. And to remember how ugly that circle can be when you are on the outside.

(edited/reprinted from April, 2016)

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Oh To Remember No More

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photo by Frameangel

…God speaks through His Word and says, ‘I will remember your sins no more.’ He does not say, ‘You will remember your sins no more.’ Only God can forgive and forget. Some things we’ve done will be in our memories as long as we live. The message of the gospel is not the erasure of memory, but rather the healing of our memories. – Steve Harper

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could forget? I would love to forget some of the memories that swim around in my mind and pop to the surface again when I think I’ve drowned them out.

Healing isn’t easy. There is no pill or supplement that erases memories. Only in science fiction, or in cases of amnesia, Alzheimer’s or dementia can a memory be truly lost. Since none of those choices are appealing to me, I need to figure out just how memories are healed but not eliminated. I need to be like the Bereans.

“…they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:11

A Wilderness

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That is how life goes – we send our children into the wilderness. Some of them on the day they are born, it seems, for all the help we can give them. Some of them seem to be a kind of wilderness unto themselves.” From Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

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I’ve read this over several times, but don’t really know what I can add. The sentiments expressed just really got to me.

My hope is in the LORD.

He turns a wilderness into pools of water, And dry land into water springs. – →Psalm 107:35

 

Under the Surface of Life

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“There’s a lot under the surface of life, everyone knows that. A lot of malice and dread and guilt, and so much loneliness, where you wouldn’t expect to find it, either.” – from Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

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I lie awake, and am like a sparrow alone on the housetop. –  Psalm 102:7

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? – Matthew 6:26

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:31

Jumping on the Duck Dynasty Bandwagon

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I have never watched Duck Dynasty, but I am familiar with it. I have tried to stay away from all the commentary out there but it keeps popping up on my Facebook feed. So, here’s my two cents.

I think Phil Robertson has a right to his opinion. I also think he missed a great opportunity to be a witness for Christ when asked, “What, in your mind, is sinful??

He responded, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there — bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”

Sin is the breaking of God’s law. The Westminster Catechism says, “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.”

In the place of focusing in on a few particular sins, he could have given a biblical definition.  Instead, he chose a few sins that HE obviously does not participate in. He became like the Pharisee.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. – Luke 18:11

Worse yet, the crudeness of his answer was offensive to me (see link below if you want to read more of what he said), even though I believe what God’s word has to say on the subject. I did not see mercy, kindness or humility in his answer.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; – Colossians 3:12

http://fox2now.com/2013/12/18/duck-dynasty-star-suspended-for-anti-gay-remarks/

Thoughts on Pilgrim’s Progress, Part the Second – #12

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Pilgrim’s Progress was written by John Bunyan in the 1600s while he was in prison for his faith. 

Mr. Honest and Mr. Contrite are talking about how things were going in their lives.

Mr. Contrite asks, “Pray, how fares it with you in your pilgrimage?”

Mr. Honest has this wonderful response, “…sometimes our way is clean, sometimes foul; sometimes uphill, sometimes downhill; we are seldom at a certainty: The wind is not always on our backs, nor is everyone a friend that we met in the way.

This is true in the life of every Christian. Some today may preach a health-and-wealth message, but that is not the gospel. When we study the life of Christ, we see He didn’t even own a home, though Psalm 50:10 says: “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” 

As Christians, we should desire to say as Paul did in Philippians 4:11: “ for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

photo credit annkkml

Thoughts on Pilgrim’s Progress, Part the Second – #11 – The sun, moon, and stars, oh my!

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photo credit annkkml

Pilgrim’s Progress was written by John Bunyan in the 1600s while he was in prison for his faith. 

Have you ever been having a really bad day, when something unexpected happened that lifted your spirits? It can be a little thing, like a hug from a child. Or a big thing, like a check in the mail just when you needed it.

I like the way Mr. Feeble-mind puts it, when talking to the Innkeeper about his hospitality,

“This is an unexpected favor, and as the sun shining out of a very dark cloud.”

I love when God shows mercy on me and sends me an unexpected blessing. One way He blesses me is with Christian fellowship. In the story, Honest is discussing this very thing when he says,

“For the sight of good men to them that are going on Pilgrimage, is like to the appearing of the moon and stars to them that are sailing upon the seas.”

I thank God today for the sun and moon and stars in my life!