4/17/14

Faithful

I did not want to go to church tonight.

It had been a long day, lots going on emotionally and physically at work, and I was tired.

Mom graciously made us dinner tonight. 

Tonight is Maundy Thursday.  If you wonder what Maundy is, it is a name for the ceremony of washing feet that Jesus did to His disciples in the Upper Room, the night of the Last Supper.

Sometimes going to church when you feel tired and exhausted is often the best time to be in church.

I think I understood things a little better tonight.

As I listened to the story of Jesus' last days on this earth, and meditated on their meaning, I was touched. 

I was touched thinking about those who are faithful.  Of Bob, sitting two pews behind me.  Bob had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, and there he was, flushed from his treatment, dealing with a nagging cough, but he was there at our Maundy Thursday service.

Lee, who finds it hard to stand, but is in our choir, singing the soprano part that she has sang for over 50 years.

I think we are blessed by being faithful.  Blessed sometimes in ways we don't realize.  Tonight I was blessed by being in the presence of those attending the service.

Tonight I was blessed by listening the verses in the book of Luke sharing the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, of Peter betraying Jesus, and his last moments with His disciples in the Upper Room, and they all boldly declared that they would never betray Him. 

I'm glad we have people in our church who are faithful.

They remind me of a song Steve Green used to sing, called "Find Us Faithful".  Here are the lyrics:

We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

CHORUS:
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

REPEAT CHORUS

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

4/16/14

Bad at Math

I have always told people I am bad at Math.

I'm not sure that was ever really the case.  I think in school I was impatient with Math.  I think I didn't want to take the time to be precise enough to make sure my work was done correctly.

Interestingly enough, I have been in a variety of Math conversations recently.

I was asked to find out some information on my Algebra I teacher from junior high, so I have been getting emails back from people saying what a wonderful math teacher she was, and how much they learned.

Unfortunately, that was not my experience.  And believe me, it had nothing to do with her ability as a teacher.  It was definitely my inability as a student.

You know what I remember most about Algebra I class?  (And this may be part of the problem of me not "getting" Algebra.)  My most vivid memory is of one of my male classmates having maggots in his lip to warm them up, then making a race track on the back of a spiral notebook, and putting the maggots on the "race track" and racing the maggots.  Then I think flicking the maggots at other students was also happening as well.

You are probably think, my gosh, what kind of red neck, hick junior high did you attend?

Granted, this probably only happened once or twice, but it is what I remember from class.

Tonight I was in a conversation with a Math teacher, and we started talking about "getting" Math, how you do eventually come to understand what is going on, if you keep doing the process.

In church on Sunday, I was talking to a student who is a freshman in college, and she had taken Pre-Calculus last year during her senior year.  She said she struggled with the class a bit, and didn't quite "get it" while in the class.  But now, in college, she is taking a Calculus class, and she said it is almost just like her class from last year, and she now "gets it", and is doing quite well in the class.

I think I didn't want to take the time to "get it".  I was too impatient.  Reading and writing, it came easy to me.  Math didn't.  I was slow at learning my times tables.  I was not careful carrying numbers, so I would make mistakes. 

The last Math class I ever took was Algebra II/Geometry II my senior year in high school.  I don't think I needed to take this class to graduate, but was told it would probably be good to take it to get ready for college.  Actually, I always enjoyed taking Geometry better than Algebra.  And I think I did okay in this class.  But I never had to take another Math class after my senior year in high school.  The course of study I took at the University of Idaho required you to take 9 credits of Math or Science.  You could take 9 credits of Science, and that fulfilled my requirement.  So I took 4 credits of Biology, 3 credits of Geology, and 2 credits of Mushroom Identification.  No Math.  (Yes, I got a degree in college by taking a class that taught me how to identify mushrooms!!)

I think Math got a bad rap in my life.  If I would have been a bit more methodical, paid a bit more attention, and practiced more, Math probably would have been fine.

But it wasn't, and I blame it all on the maggots!!!

4/15/14

Freedom

I have been reading a book called "The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd.



It based on the story of Sarah Grimke, and woman who was the daughter of a plantation owner in South Carolina, who grew up abhorring slavery and eventually speaking out against it, and being a proponent of women's rights.

I have read many books about slavery.  They are never easy to read.  But they do make me realize I take freedom for granted.

I am free to do many things.  I have freedom.  I live in a country that is home of the free.  We have a Bill of Rights.  We have a constitution.  We have been given freedom.

Intellectually I know that slavery was a big part of our country in the early years, spiritually is saddens me.  It saddens me to think that there was a time when people in this country treated others the way they did.  And thought of them as property.  As only part of a person.

As part of the book I'm reading, Grimke knew at a fairly early age that slavery was wrong, and was very conflicted about it her whole life.

It made me wonder how others (and I know there were others) who also thought slavery was wrong year owned slaves, dealt with the problem.

Grimke also spoke out for women's rights.  This is another area where I feel like many women before me paved the way, and that I am allowed many of the privileges I have as a women because of the women who came before me.

But often I didn't realize how much had changed during my early lifetime.

Such as girls playing sports in school.  When I was in junior high and high school, girls could play basketball, volleyball and run track.  But Title IX just came into being in 1972.  Title IX was part of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and it states, in part, that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

When my sister was in high school, the had GAA, Girls Athletic Association.  It was not organized team sports.  They did run track, but that was it.  She graduated in 1973.

By the time I was in 7th grade at Kellogg Junior High School, in the fall of 1975, there was basketball, volleyball and track available for girls to participate in at KJHS.  And I didn't realize it at the time, but this was due on large part to my high school P.E. teacher, Mary Jean Hinkemeyer, who had a large part in bringing about Title IX in the state of Idaho, and especially to Kellogg High School.  I didn't realize this until she was a guest speaker on an Idaho Public Television program over 15 years ago, that interviewed her about the part she played in advancing Title IX in this area.

I look at my daughters, and the freedoms they have.  Because of the women who have gone before her, by daughters had the choices to run cross country, play volleyball, soccer, basketball, track, softball and golf at Kellogg High School. 

They can vote, which, again, hasn't always been the case for women in this country.

Recently my oldest daughter attended an event where Lily Ledbetter spoke.  Ledbetter is who the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 is named after.  This is a federal statute in the United States that was the first bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 29, 2009. The Act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The new act states that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that discriminatory action. The law directly addressed Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.,a U.S. Supreme Court decision that the statute of limitations for presenting an equal-pay lawsuit begins on the date that the employer makes the initial discriminatory wage decision, not at the date of the most recent paycheck.

When she was sharing with me about listening to this woman speak, she was amazed at the inequality that still exists with paying men and women different amounts of money for the same job.

Things are better.....but there is still lots of work to be done.  And, fortunately, many of them are happening.

But we do need to be grateful for the freedoms we have, and not take them for granted.

4/14/14

Easter

I knew I had Easter as one of my topics, and figured I would be writing about Easter next Sunday.

But Easter came alive to me tonight, so I want to share about my experience.

Tonight Paul, Molly, Mom and I attended the Passover Seder dinner at Silver Valley Worship Center, one of our local churches.  It takes you through the traditional Jewish Passover Meal, but also ties in a lot what the different things mean in relation to Jesus as well.



Each table had a designated "Father" who served the meal.  The "Mother" at the table was the one who lit the candles at the beginning.

The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This story is in the Book of Exodus (Shemot) in the Hebrew Bible. The Seder itself is based on the Biblical verse commanding Jews to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt: "You shall tell your child on that day, saying, 'It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'" (Exodus 13:8)

Traditionally, families and friends gather in the evening to read the text of the Haggadah, an ancient work derived from the Mishnah.   The Haggadah contains the narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt, special blessings and rituals, commentaries from the Talmud, and special Passover songs.
Seder customs include telling the story, discussing the story, drinking four cups of wine, eating matza, partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate, and reclining in celebration of freedom.  The Seder is performed in much the same way by Jews all over the world.

The meal took about three hours to go through, with all the traditions and rituals involved in the evening.  But they were not empty traditions or rituals.  Each food we ate, each time we drank from the cup, each time we washed our hands,,,,it all had a meaning.

And the meaning always pointed to Jesus Christ.  Jesus was the ultimate sacrificial lamb.  Jesus' blood was shed to take away our sins.  It continued through everything we did tonight, showing how Jesus is a part of this Exodus story that the Jewish people tell every year to remember the story of the Exodus from Eqypt.

There was singing.  There were blessings.  There was the blowing of the Shofar. 

There was delicious food.

A time to meditate on the true meaning of Easter, and how Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

As a Christian, it helped me understand the Jewish heritage of my faith even more.

As a Christian, it made this week even more meaningful.....this holiest of weeks leading up to the celebration of Christ's resurrection, which we will do on Sunday.

There is so much more that touched me tonight, but it is more than I can write at one setting.

Thank you to the people who provided this special meal tonight, and the many Christian brothers and sister who came and ate this meal with us all.

See you in Jerusalem again!!

4/13/14

Palm Sunday

Today at church we celebrated Palm Sunday, the beginning of what Christians celebrate as Holy Week.

On Palm Sunday, we wave palm branches, and sing "Hosanna to the King of Kings", just like they did over 2000 years ago in Jerusalem when Jesus rode through town on the back of a donkey.

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[a]
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c]
“Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

But then things changed.  This morning in church, Pastor Dave talked about how the crowd was praising Jesus one day, and saying "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

But a few days later, the crowd mentality has changed, and then they are yelling, "Crucify Him!!"

This is a few chapters later, in Matthew 27:

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.


One of the original examples of mob mentality.  Following the crowd. 

One day, they all loved Jesus.

A few days later, the crowd was swayed....and Jesus became a worse criminal than Barabbas, who was a notoriously bad criminal at the time. 

I know I try not to do that, to get caught up in mob mentality.  But sometimes it is hard.  Sometimes people start talking, and you just get caught up, and usually it is in a negative way.

One example that comes to mind is being with a group of people who may not particularly like someone, and the more negatively you talk about that person, the worse and worse you begin to feel about them.  Not a great things to do, because often the things you hear from others may not be true anyway.  And kind of takes away from the "Love your neighbor", thing, too.

When you work around teenagers all day, like I do, a phrase you often here is, "There is so much DRAMA!!"

Drama is kind of a mob mentality thing.  The more people talk about a certain situation, and the more they get others involved and spread the news, the more DRAMATIC it becomes.  If have heard many students say they are ready to graduate from high school, so they can leave the drama.

What we say is important.  How we say things is important.  We need to think for ourselves, not just follow the crowd.  If there is an important cause you believe in, and you are passionate about it, by all means, stick up for your beliefs and speak out.

But don't just follow the crowd or say things, because everyone else is doing it.

Make sure you say what you do, and believe what you do, and say and do it because it is what your heart says it right.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a lot to say about doing what is right.  Here is one quote of his I like:


Never be afraid to do what is right....we all want to have healthy souls.

4/12/14

Comfort and Joy

Today I spent the day being surrounded with comfort and joy.

The comfort and joy I am referring to are my three friends, Tina, Brenda and April.

We all gathered at Tina's house with the hopes of eating some lunch and then going for a walk to enjoy some sunshine.

Instead, our afternoon turned into a wonderful day of talking and visiting about a variety of topics.  We did eat, but by the time we thought about going out for a walk, the sun had disappeared behind some rather stormy looking clouds.

We arrived at Tina's house at about 11:30 a.m.

We departed Tina's house at about 7:30 p.m.

For eight hours I was surrounded by comfort.  Comfort from lifelong friends.

Tina and I have been friends since we were four years old.  Her mother babysat me the year I attended kindergarten.  We have been friends for about 47 years.

Brenda and I were in school for the first time in kindergarten.  We attended school together off and on through grade school to high school. 

April and I met when April was in third grade, and she started attending Sunnyside Elementary.  We were the very best of friends for many years, and in the past few years have rekindled our lifelong friendship.

I am so grateful for the chance to spend a whole day talking to people who have known me almost my entire life, and who I trust, and who are comfortable to be around.  There is nothing we can do that would jeopardize these friendships. We have seen each other through many different times in our lives, and have accepted it all.  We are a comfort to each other.

And the joy comes from talking about our lives.  We shared about people in our past, raising kids, the trials of parenthood, and looked at old photographs that brought back a flood of memories.

An old high school yearbook created more laughter and memories, and reminded us of classmates from the past.

We all agreed that the last twenty years have gone by way too fast. 

I cherish these times with lifelong friends.  What a blessing to sit for hours and hours, visiting and talking, and sharing comfort and joy with one another.

April and I got some fortune cookies when we stopped and grabbed dinner at Panda Express before heading back to Kellogg.  My fortune was very appropriate for what happened today:

4/11/14

Black Clothes

I am so sick of wearing black clothes.

And gray clothes.

And brown clothes.

It seems like for months and months I have been clothed in these dark colors throughout winter.

I need COLOR.

I need so escape the wintery grayness, and start to embrace the colors of spring.

My living room needs some color.  I have bright yellow walls, but everything else is brown, and it seems exceptionally brown this spring.

My living room is crying out for some color.

I have never felt this way about my living room before in the spring, but I sure am this year.

I have added a few things....some fake forsythia branches in a vase.



A brightly colored painting was moved to a wall in the living room from the kitchen area.

I need some brightly colored curtains.

I need some throw pillows with some pizazz!!

I might purchase some potted flowering plants and set them all over the living room.

Today at Kellogg Middle School, the principal declared it, "Life's A Beach" day, and a lot of faculty and students dressed in Hawaiian clothes.  Now that helped lift the spirits.  I even got to wear my special orange crabby earrings  (and got quite a few compliments on them I might add!!).

I need to make my living space colorful and beautiful.

I need to get creative.