Pointing fingers – Drawing lines

War crimes.

There is repetition in that label.

Who is it that decides which bombing or attack is a crime and which is just part of regular war. How can the killing of one group of people be any less of a criminal act than the killing of another group of people? The devastation of a town, a building, a part of human history – in the name of prosperity? Whose prosperity is so much more important than the history and lives lost?  Who decides?

I taught the K/1 class yesterday at church.  We talked about God’s command to Adam and Eve and by extension to us – to take care of the world in which we live – building on the already beautiful – cultivating and keeping God’s creation beautiful – attending to it’s flourishing. 5 and 6 year-olds scribbled small, semi-legible statements – plans regarding how they would take care of this world.  They will recycle, feed their dogs and cats, water their gardens, pick up the toys in their rooms, pick up the garbage at the park. These little people understand that they need to take care of the things that surround them so that those things will continue to surround them.  They need to take care of their animals so the animals will survive – the plants so they will bear fruits and vegetables or flowers – they need to pick up their toys so they continue to have nice things to play with.  Even without a biblical reference – even if that is not a belief you hold – doesn’t it make sense to take care of this world – to attempt to make the good things last and create a space in which new generations can continue to thrive and create?  To enjoy the world for it’s beauty?  To enjoy creation – people included – because we all share the most basic needs?  Because we share this place.
Perfectly ridiculous is the dichotomy of my lesson and response from the kiddos and the actions of grown, leading adults unable or unwilling to attend to the beautification and flourishing of the world.  Instead we destroy.  We pit ourselves against one other in separated,  -segregated – communities based on location, religion, ethnicity, skin color, sexuality, gender, socio-economic status, and any other combination of various human traits inherited or decided by people in power who want to stay in power.

I generally do not listen to current event based news.  I don’t handle it well.

The news makes me feel absolutely disgusted with mankind while simultaneously making me feel sick with the absolute helplessness I feel when I think about any effect I might have on changing the way these big things are broken.  I cannot change that various powerful countries are bombing places that they do not live, people they do not know, and then claiming that these are necessary acts on a road to assisting these smaller, less powerful countries obtain freedom and a democratic government.  How can the more powerful countries assist in a movement toward freedom by a display fatal forces? How can a country whose democracy is so broken that the peoples voices are stifled by party lines and worn out issues that should not have even become political points of contention?  When a chief justice is ridiculed for voting according to the population he serves rather than the party…. and the people sitting at home to stare at a device that will tell them what to believe, how to think – or more importantly: NOT think – because a post on social media doesn’t count as a vote people.  And the votes we do cast don’t seem to be heard or read.  And really – when it comes down to it – the options are limited – we are voting on issues that are decided by the people at the top of the hierarchy who are being paid by the people who own the biggest businesses – people who make up the smallest population of a powerful country.  Protecting the only thing they know – power.

My cynical self hungers for a ballot option which overthrows capitalism; which overthrows power and hierarchy; an equality of people being brought to recognize each other as fellow cohabitants of a world meant to be enjoyed – of a life meant to be shared and celebrated. My cynical self sees this failing just as badly and so I have to refocus.  No more morning news. Awareness of current events is important, however, I need to focus on what I can change.  I can change my own contribution to creative flourishing.  Back to picking up garbage and feeding the animals in my backyard.  Back to enjoying cartwheels on the brown grass and saving water from the shower to water the trees.  Back to baking bread and enjoying the process.  Knitting each stitch with purpose and reading each word for the fullness of meaning.  Loving and caring for each person put in my path and creating space for them to be themselves – not something I’d rather they be – not something I’m more comfortable with – a refocus and a recognition that while I am an important part of this life – it’s not about me – it’s about all of us in a great big world – enjoying the sunrises and sunsets – and perhaps the occasional lightning storm – wondering at the vastness of the sky and the questions unanswered in sea and space.  Enjoying the creative process that is life and attempting to at very least appreciate each moment – working toward loving them all.


Hope and patience, Fear and Faith

A patient storm grows slowly – clouds drifting into the purple and rust tinged twilight; the swift conquest imperceptible to the lazy children enjoying their long evenings of summer vacation – and slowly the small drops speckle the pavement and we stop for just a minute to question reality.  Rain?   Could it rain? And for a moment we are all children: enjoying the summer rain, arms spread wide, faces upturned – breathing in the humid freshness and the water falling from the sky rejuvenates our tired bodies and a twinge of hope implants itself in our otherwise dreary daily slog.  The world seems renewed.

Simple moments and hope.  The warm air caressing our arms as they spread wide to take in the raindrops.

A perfect dichotomy.

An oncoming storm.

And then it’s here:

As the fires wage their war on the drought ridden state, and as our hometown faces disaster, we are pulled toward leadership in another hometown.  Hearts pulled two different directions; and then a friend loses her father – a man of faith and vision and full of love and laughter and strength – and we all weep, because what else can be done?  How do we live into grief and fear and the unknown and still remember those small drops of hope?

As the kids went to bed the other night and we fell into our normal routine of walking in, giving hugs, professing love and hope for good sleep, and finally praying with all of them, the little voice at the end of the hallway said “Mom, I don’t know if I can believe in God.” and all I could think was – “Yep, it’s hard.”  So I sat down on the edge of her bed and gave her a hug and told her that not believing is a thing.  That it’s so important to always ask questions and really try and understand the answers to them as we choose what to believe and that it’s really okay to ask questions – to question faith, God, family, love, life and anything else you could possible think of – the intangible and illusive things that sometimes feel so close and sometimes so far away.

And now a week later the sun begins to slowly rise and quickly set.  The once bright mornings become dimmer and the smoke begins to drift from our house – replaced by fog – replaced by the slowness of autumn.  The seasons moving swiftly and reminding us to think about the rain, the question the world – to live into the life we’re given and to ask and grow and love and move forward.  Never forgetting the past – rebuilding our future with the foundations shaken into a stronghold firmer because the quaking tested it’s ability to stay standing.

This is a fragmented post – part summer, part weeks past, part looking forward.  Always a work in progress, but because I think we are all a work in progress, I’m pressing publish and continuing on.

Back to school…for the first time?

Classroom (18)

Well, I’ve wanted to post about a million pictures of my classroom, but I think I have pretty well contained my enthusiasm and have only posted a few.  This post, however, will be chock full of them, so be prepared. :)

I’ve spent the past two days in my first ever official teacher workdays – staff meetings and small attempts at collaboration all included.  I spent the better part of five hours today solidifying my classroom set-up and my plans for tomorrow and the next day (which were changed from my original plans due to the rally and tour schedule announced during staff meetings).

I have had a lot of fun setting up the classroom and I am attempting to incorporate as much eye candy as possible so that if I do end up with students who would rather look around the room than talk to their classmates or to me, they have something educational and/or inspiring to fill their little minds.

So, without further ado:

Welcome to my classroom

Classroom (20)

“Middle School Survival” kits set up alongside student planners – idea stolen here:

Classroom (19)

My “office” area:

Classroom (3)

Student point of view:

Classroom (16)


Clock ( edit: I know the You’re is wrong :)  It’s been fun having the kids find it)

Classroom (1)

Reading area from the floor perspective (I was so tired, it was nice to sit)

Classroom (8)

Assignment Collection area:

Classroom (10)

Writer’s toolbox and extra tools cart

Classroom (9)


Quotes Everywhere ( evil laughter….):

Classroom (13) Classroom (14) Classroom (11)


Honestly people, I think I’m pretty happy with all of this – there are a few things I will add in the upcoming months, but once there is student work on the walls, I think the classroom will look rather well loved and lived in.

Thanks for touring with me – now, I’m off to attempt to sleep before my first day of school!

Go YG Warriors!

(on the way out the door:)

Classroom (17)

So many different versions of me….

“Somehow,’ she told Diana,’when I’m going through here I don’t really care whether Gil – whether anybody gets ahead of me in class or not.  But when I’m up in school it’s all different and I care as much as ever.  There’s such a lot of different Annes in me.  I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person.  If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.” – Anne of Green Gables ( L.M. Montgomery) p.194

I have been ravenously reading this summer – I think I’m on book number eleven.  I’m attempting to read books that my students might read in 7th grade this upcoming year and while I have had Anne of Green Gables on my shelf for ages, I apparently never read it before now.  (The Hobbit may share this same fate, though I can’t be sure – reading vs. knowing story lines sort of blends in my memory from childhood until now – it gets confusing)  Back to the point:  Anne is fantastic and I think that maybe we could be kindred spirits.  This quote above is just one of many that I’ve marked – about one per page so far – that draw me to believe that her character and mine are intrinsically linked in the world that exists between reality and realistic fiction (it’s a real place, I swear).  She is just such a relate-able character for anyone whose imagination has created haunted woods or dryads who live in small farm ponds and this quote especially resonates with me as I attempt to balance this life I’m stepping into.

Such a lot of different Annes……Such a lot of different Rebeccas:  daughter, sister, mom, wife, friend, yarn fanatic, knitting teacher, theology connoisseur, baker, writer, musician, English student, teacher, planner, INFJ, Enneagram 9 –

Montgomery created Anne as a girl with unending imagination and it is Anne’s ability to overcome any situation with the crazy optimism that the same mistakes won’t be made twice, that life must have a limit to mistakes to be made, and that each day brings a magical beauty and each person holds some unlockable knowledge of wonderful new and never before experienced expectations of ways to live, love, speak, write, and most importantly – dress for tea.  Anne takes time to notice every moment and expand the time within a second so that it holds so much more than just a single passing moment and instead is full of a deeply described memory – a flowering tree named  Snow Queen can make every morning seem magical.

Anne makes me wonder at what point in my life did I stop noticing the immeasurable expanse of a moment – when did I stop stopping to notice the flowers, or the way the wind moves the dry grass and shakes the leaves so it sounds like they  are whispering?  When did the laughter of a brook become only a metaphor to describe the passing laughter of a small child?  All of this, and how do I begin again to wonder at the wonders and to share the wonders of life as expressions of self – how do I incorporate the many different Rebeccas into the many different perceptions of the reality laid at my feet.  Each day is magical, living into that is just the beginning of balancing the different Mes into one never fully definable person.  It’s not so bad to always be someone new after all, as long as each new me is just the same version as before – only better – less mistakes, more imagination.


Frolicking Fancies for a Saturday Afternoon

In a dance – a dream – reality peaking through the glittering edges of the sunlit glass. Angles of times and place and future presence, revealed in a moment, causing hope to linger in this empty room. Full.
Full of papers strewn by children running through this life, trying to keep up – with what?! And we just can’t wait until Summer – but why not right now? How can we choose not to linger and look into the eyes of the people we love – linger in the sun breaking through – the light illuminating pale, tired faces.
Step back from the day to day and focus.

Grace and Peace and Love. Repeat.

Broken Walkways

(a poem today just to prove i’m still alive over here in teacher training land – all of the grammar and punctuation mistakes stem from my rebellious side (yes, i do have one, i swear) – I know they’re wrong and i’m ok with it.)


Deep seeded madness

Glaringly apparent.

Instantly – instinctively ignored.

A blending- blurring of daily life and fantastical dreams – no end. no beginning.

Increasingly introspective – hoping for the invisibility that life might offer if one were to blend into the cement walls

Or the broken crags in the brick walkway which stretches its long fingers hastily between the dying grass of the drought stricken park and

The hard asphalt

Melting in the sun

Stretching as if to wrap itself into the very fiber of any natural resource still struggling to prove life.

Wearisome wandering and strange wonders

(Afterthought: Stream of consciousness blogging today – you’ve been warned)

Because I am broken I can see the cracks in a world created so carefully.

Cracks in the earth, cracks in relationships, cracks in our goals, understandings and beliefs; foundations. Cracks that become crags; that become seemingly unbridgeable and insatiably discouraging canyons.  Canyons are capable of making us broken people wonder whether the land on the other side even exists – did we dream the land across the divide?  Was the beauty an illusion in the desert?  Drowning in the dust of this life, we often forget the creation we are meant to be.  We forget our capabilities, we forgo our ambition and succumb to the failure, falling into the cracks.

And then there is this.

A friend posted this to me a couple of weeks ago and I can’t get it out of my mind:

Ecclesiastics 1:8-10 (NIV)

All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.

All things are more wearisome than I can say…

I have been in classrooms this quarter in which groups of teachers attempt to solve the problems of our students by attempting to figure out how to motivate them.  How to help them recognize and reach their goals.  Wearisome.  Attempting to come up with something new, we search through tomes of previously published works by psychologists, educators and parents.  We compare our own students to studies. We  study and compare notes about how we have attempted to motivate the students.

Motivation is more than the reasons behind choosing to do something.  Motivation involves the ability to take risks and fail.  To fail and recognize that it is not the end of the world.  Motivation means being flexible. Motivation takes inspiration – and we are back full circle to my focus a little over a year ago where I focused on finding my own inspiration.  At that time, I came up with this:

The drawing in of breath.

I don’t know if that definition has the same tone in your reading as it does in mine, so I will attempt to express the way I interpret it.  The drawing in of breath is literally what makes us continue to live – to breathe is to live and to willingly step into the next moment with the presence of mind (or subconscious realization) that that drawing in of breath will need to occur over and over again at infinitum in order to guarantee that life continues. (http://wp.me/p2D1vn-46)

Breathing – stepping forward willingly and recognizing the need for constantly doing the same thing over and over again – Nothing new under the sun

How do I pass on this idea?  How do I choose to do it myself?… recognizing that each day may bring the same conversation, the same attempt to inspire, the same need to instill motivation….

Oh my goodness.  When realizations hit, they hit hard and humble.

Friends:  I complain a lot.  It’s easy and I can blame it on my humanity or my socio-cultural background or the cultural and economic expectations that society places upon me.  I can blame it on false expectations of what it means to be community.

Yikes.  Community.  That is where I’m being hit hard right now.

Choices and friendship and willful release.

I live and function within a community of people who are constantly coming and going. University towns are not meant for continuous habitation.  People come to school, or come to research -and then move on.  Likewise, many in my community are in some way or another attached to the Air Force base nearby.  Also a community of people not meant to stay long.  I complain about this constantly.

I complain because it seems, when you do plant roots and make a home in such a place, everyone is always leaving and we are left to start again at the beginning.  – wearisome

and a reminder:

“The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
 what has been done will be done again;”

Never enough breath – never enough beginnings, endings, meetings, parting.  Perhaps, a complaint that can turn into a thankful moment in which I get to recognize the constant flow of inspiration placed at my fingertips.  Hammering out the habits of complaint.  hammering out the cynicism.

How can I hope to inspire when I am stuck in my own canyons, willfully denying the paths to bridge the divide?  I still do not know how to motivate or inspire, but I suppose my ability to teach these traits might be caught up in my own ability to own and practice them.

Hammering out the feeling that i’m doomed to failure before I begin.

Building a bridge across those canyons.

Recognizing the beauty within the broken.  The light streaming through the cracks.