September: Getting Schooled

It’s back-to-school season, and today’s post is for my all teacher friends — a special excerpt from  Getting Schooled: The Lesson, Plans and Life of a Teacher, written by a good friend, Joel Anderson.

Anderson details the quirky, hard-knock life of a student teacher to substitute teacher, then high school English teacher at private schools in California, Arkansas and Alabama. With hilarious tales of first days, student essays, classroom misfires, class clowns and class sponsors, Getting Schooled navigates the rites of passage of a teacher, along with inevitable tales of life, lesson plans and other things gone awry.

You guys, this book may be the funniest thing I’ve read all year. If you’ve ever taught school…or heck, even been to school, this book will send you down memory lane with laughter.

Taken from Chapter 5, Staff…Infections, Meetings, and Other Irritations:

Every faculty staff at every school is unique. I can honestly say that every faculty I have been a part of has been, by and large, very supportive and united. That being said, every faculty member is bound to have his/her own unique quirks…

If there is one thing teachers everywhere in the United States can agree on, however it is this: faculty meetings suck, pure and simple. In fact, most teachers probably feel about faculty meetings the same way many students feel about their class: they feel they have better, more important things to do, and hate the fact that they have to come to something that is such a complete waste of their valuable time. The only difference is that more times than not, the feelings of the teachers are entirely justified.

At California Christian, we had morning devotions every morning at 7:15 am to go over the announcements for the day, to pray, and to voice any concerns we had. The official faculty meetings would take place once a month. I always had a problem with the mandatory daily morning devotions. Every frickin’ day? Are you kidding me? First off, it made it really hard to get things together before the school day started. If you wanted to get anything copied or set up before school started, you’d have to get there at 7:00 am and wait for the “copy lady” at the church to open the door and make your copies for you. For some reason, we weren’t allowed to make our own copies. The superintendent was apparently afraid that if we teachers were allowed to make our own copies that we would turn into wild-eyed copy machine fanatics who would threaten the existence of the rainforests and run the school out of business. Continue reading…

Thought for the Day: Walking with God

Today’s thought for the day comes from Walking with God, by John Eldredge:

“It is our deepest need, as human beings, to learn to live intimately with God. It is what we were made for…For this you and I were made. And this we must recover.

I’ve spent too many years trying to figure out life on my own. Reading books, attending classes, always keeping an eye out for folks who seemed to be getting the hang of things…We do this all the time, all of us, this monitoring and assessing and observing and adjusting, trying to figure out the keys to make life work…

The good news is, you can’t figure out life like that. You can’t possibly master enough principles and disciplines to make sure your life works out. You weren’t meant to, and God won’t let you. For he knows that if we succeed without him, we will be infinitely further from him…That whole approach to life – trying to figure it out, beat the odds, get on top of your game – it is utterly godless. Meaning, entirely without God. He is nowhere in those considerations…

You might have heard the old saying, “Give someone a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach someone to fish and you feed him for the rest of his life.” The same holds true for life itself. If you give someone an answer, a rule, a principle, you help him solve one problem. But if you teach him to walk with God, well then, you’ve helped him solve the rest of his life. You’ve helped him tap into an inexhaustible source of guidance, comfort and protection.”

Good stuff!


Check out more at Walking with God, John Eldredge, Thomas Nelson 2010.

Photoblog: Rio de Janeiro

In In honor of the 2016 Olympic games, #TBT to my trip to Rio de Janeiro and Corcovado Statue of the Christ:


Most of Rio is apartment/condo living; so scenic
against the mountains!




Much of the city curves around Guanabara Bay.



Modern Rio, the 2nd largest city in Brazil…



“The Corcovado” Statue of the Christ on Corcovado and
Sugarloaf Mountains. One of my favorite pictures — the
clouds would threaten to cover him, but he would reappear
and was always visible.



Another of my favorite pictures, the favelas of Brazil,
against the  modern city skyline.


Famous view from the Corcovado Mt.



Famous, iconic “hunchback” mountains of Rio.



In  my red winter coat…It was only September, but man,
it was cold at the top of the mountain!



Cristo The Redentor (Christ The Redeemer) Statue;
one of the new seven wonders of the world.



“Come all ye who are weary, and I will give you rest…”



Brazil is the largest Catholic nation in the world.
Getting to see Rio and the statue was definitely a
bucket list moment!


Go Team USA!

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

With the 4th of July this past week and the events in Baton Rouge, Minnesota and Dallas, I’ve had America on my mind for the past several days. One of my favorite Independence Day songs is The Battle Hymn of the Republic, by Julia Ward Howe.

Few people know that the song isn’t a Revolutionary War song, however, but set during the Civil War in 1862. Upon visiting a Union camp close to Washington D.C. in November, 1861, Howe heard the men singing a popular folk tune, John Brown’s Body, a song about a man named John Brown, who had died trying to free the slaves:

Old John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave,
While weep the sons of bondage whom he ventured all to save;
But tho he lost his life while struggling for the slave,
His soul is marching on…

John Brown was John the Baptist of the Christ we are to see,
Christ who of the bondmen shall the Liberator be,
And soon thruout the Sunny South the slaves shall all be free,
For his soul is marching on.

Howe took the familiar tune, added new lyrics and turned it into a marching song for the Union. It was received so well, it reportedly brought Abraham Lincoln to tears at a rally.

150 years later, as we struggle through a season of senseless killings and civil rights, The Battle Hymn of the Republic speaks as eloquently as any poet’s pen could. The never-ending march for justice. An anthem for America and holiness of her cause, safety and freedom for all men:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free
While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Valor to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
Our God is marching on.


*In memory of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and the five officers in Dallas who lost their lives this week, along with the many protestors across the country.

 His truth is marching on.

#TBT: The Honor of Your Presence

It’s June and wedding season is upon us again! This post is a #TBT on a topic near and dear to my heart. From 2013, The Honor of Your Presence:

If you’re like me, a trip to the mailbox most days includes the occasional invite to an engagement party, wedding or baby shower.

I have a question for you – when such an invitation arrives in your mailbox, do you immediately start thinking of reasons you can go, or scan the invitation for details looking for excuses not to go?

I’m writing this because I think it’s one of the unspoken social tragedies of our generation – the failure of the RSVP and dwindling attendance at weddings, showers and other milestone moments.

I’ve heard the stories over and over again – the bride and groom who reserved a nice chapel only to have 2/3 of the church empty. The roommate trying to plan a baby shower for a friend, only to have four of the 30 people invited RSVP by the deadline. The wife trying to plan a surprise 40th birthday party for her husband who had 6 of the 10 guests bail out the day of because “something came up,” leaving a hot dinner and no one to eat it.

To be fair, we are overbooked with hobbies, sporting events, outings and church activities like never before, but something profound in our culture has changed when attendance at the life events of one’s friends has taken a backseat to eating pancakes in your pajamas. Continue reading…

May Photoblog: The Biltmore

May is in full bloom in the Ashville mountains! For those who love spring, here are some pictures I took from a trip two weekends ago to the Biltmore home in Ashville, North Carolina. So pretty!

















Best of the Web: God’s Not Dead 2 Review

Today’s post of the month comes from Joel Anderson, who wrote a very thought-provoking review of God’s Not Dead 2 here.

Disclaimer: I’m not opposed to Christian films — on the contrary, I highly enjoyed Risen, Courageous, Facing the Giants, The Nativity, Amazing Grace and other movies. But (in light of the Starbucks red holiday cup controversy this winter), Anderson makes some excellent points on the meaning of “persecution” and some of the dangerous clichés promoted by Christian films.

To quote Anderson:

“Let’s see, a teacher might lose her job for mentioning Jesus in a public school. She has recourse through the court system where, if she can convince a jury of her peers that she was just making reference to the historical figure of Jesus, and not preaching, she could be vindicated, retain her job, and go on with her life. Mmmm…so she lives in a country where, even if some bad people try to get her fired over her faith, there’s a system in place to protect her rights.”

No, sorry, that’s not persecution. That’s living in the real world where sometimes bad things happen to you. That’s living in the United States where, when bad things happen to you, you have a shot at rectifying the situation. Persecution is beheadings, rapings, fleeing for your life, and the Gulag. So please, Christians in America, even when bad things happen to you…don’t call it persecution. That’s an insult to your brothers and sisters in Christ who have witnessed family members slaughtered.” Continue reading…

Verse of the Day

A little encouragement today from one of my favorite passages, Lamentations 3:

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
Let him sit alone in silence for the Lord has laid it on him…
For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”

Palm Sunday

“Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day, he will rise again.’

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about…

After Jesus said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached…he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” Tell him, “The Lord needs it.”’

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down to the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen…

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’

‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep silent, the stones will cry out.’

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace.'”

Luke 18:31-34; 19:28-42, etd. NIV.

#TBT: Like This

In honor of the new Like button on Facebook that debuted this week — finally allowing you to finally choose between Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry. TBT to a post from three years ago:

I once thought you couldn’t use the word “like” any more than we did in the 1980s. It was, like, a time when people said things like “radical” and “holy cow,” wore shoulder pads, spandex and drank Pepsi Free. “Like” was a prelude to pretty much whatever you were going to say.

Every schoolchild knew there was an important distinction between when someone “liked” you or “like liked” you, and when there were no words deep enough to express just how you felt on a subject, you could just say, “Like…yeah man.” Or if you were female, “Like…I know…right?!”

But as much as I thought the word couldn’t be overused any more than circa 1989, I think I was wrong. All you have to do now is log onto Facebook to see that like is back. 

Let me preface this by saying I think I might be the queen of liking other people’s statuses. On any given day, I am prone to like Chick-fil-A, Jane Austen, NBC Nightly News, peppermint bark (YES!) and swiffers.

Not enough for you? Don’t worry, because stuff that didn’t make the cut the first time will show up in the “Stuff you might like” column, along with “people youmay know” (but clearly don’t, or you would have friended them by now) and “stories you might be interested in.” Get carried away with your likes? Don’t worry – you can “unlike” it later. And while I have quit trusting Facebook since it suggested I might like Nick Saban, I have to admit, it’s fun to like stuff.

I like to like stuff. So sue me. Continue reading…