Friday, August 4, 2017

the packaging



The first day of school is right around the corner and I doubt our education system. With every passing year the organization and scheduling becomes easier and more defined. The outline of our curriculum becomes stronger. And our boundaries are more blunt. I doubt this is the best. Actually, I am convinced that this is worst thing we can do for our kids. We teach them the right ways, we keep them from the wrong ways, and we manipulate their thoughts to be like ours.

"Think outside the box!" We demand, but we provide examples and books on how to think outside the box.

"The sky is the limit!" or "Shoot for the stars!" But what's beyond?

"Use your imagination!" And they ask, "What is imagination?"

What we really mean is, "Here are the boxes kids, now package all your thoughts into these boxes. If they don't fit, manipulate them until they do, transform your thoughts and ideas to fit into these boxes of our society. Then create your best for the world! You got it!"

It's no wonder our children have so many learning disorders. How can a child created in God's uncontainable image possibly fit into our frivolous boxes?

It's no wonder our children doubt in the Omnipotent. Which box can He be packaged into?

I can't teach like this anymore. Forget English Language Arts if all I teach are the boxes of grammar and proficient writing, what writing is or isn't, who they can or can't be, and who God is or isn't.  I can't be the origin of their rigid boxes. I won't be their stumbling block, Lord help me.

In two years I must teach them the unmaking of the box. There is no box that we can package our God into. He is the original platform for which we learn and do, He has no box and does not require us to fit into a box.

There is no height, nor depth that can separate us from God's love. -Romans 8:39

My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways, says the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways. -Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

When the stitching tears

Stitched up tight is how things should be. 
Tenderly mended, 
Even doubled-up over time for an extra strong stitch.
Sometimes the strings come loose. 
They rip out when there's a pull on the fabric.
One side of the seam is pulled,
while the other is yanked in an opposing direction. 
This is when the stitching tears.
The material shreds; the thread breaks. 
Now there is neither material, nor thread.
How can the stitches be replaced? 
What will keep any material together now?
I wonder if stitches can ever be remended. 
Oh, what it would be like to have some stitches now!
How much love we could hold in our pockets, 
if they weren't ripped out. 
We could hold the love, 
and it would bind us closer.
How close would we be bound? 
I can imagine,
one day,
we will.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

This space

























Blank space is so intimidating after a long stay in the un-blank.
It's been a long time since an empty blog post stared me down.
I know it's needed. I've been expecting it,
But now it's as if there's this unspoken void,
Like an acquaintance, our journeys are nothing similar.
Yet, so complimentary,
But I'd prefer to avoid those facts.
It's like peeking into my old cave,
Seeing some old, forgotten remnants,
Feeling some long-lost emotion.
The art - left on those once blank walls - is hardly recognizable,
Such dark depictions, now a blur.
So I meet with my acquaintance,
Since we have so much in common.
Then I'll clean out the blank space
To create a place I need now.
Next time we meet,
I predict it will be peaceful.



Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A sprinkle of something

The lists haven't changed a bit. They sprinkle my desk like a colorful doughnut, neon pinks, greens, and blues; a "To Do" list on several, a "To  Buy" list on others, a few quotes, and classroom codes and passwords.They cover my desk and remind me that I am perfectly organized and absolutely a big hot mess all in the same post-it note and at the beginning of a new year none the less.

There is so much to celebrate here. I love to see the faces of new students and old students peek in my room from time to time and their laughter reminds me that our relationships are the most valuable. Reminding me of former students who have pieces of my heart, who have moved on, some I will see again and others I will not. The time and energy put into a life will always have a piece. The more the time, the bigger the piece, and so it will be. Let me remember this for as long as I teach, or work with people.

It's been different this time, working with people that is. This school year has already proven the struggles will be different, the connections will be deeper, and the engagement desperate. As a Mrs. my students see me the same, just with a more phonetically challenging surname, yet I respond to any name these days. Others make this name-changing business much more difficult, as if I am no longer who I've always been, or need the same things as them, or dream of making a difference, too.

Marriage is wonderful, but still we need purpose, Jesus and people. Still we need family and friends. I'm learning and someday's I learn much more than I wanted. Someday's I need more grace than ever before. It's an incredibly humbling, and exciting thing, but never have a I felt more human, more uncovered, more in need of redemption, or more thankful for mercy. This perfectly organized hot mess of a girl still needs mercy to give and receive. It's been a while, but it's time.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The innocence

This morning I took a few friends to the airport before majority of our broken community awoke to finish up the week with a hustle and bustle as the Christmas holiday approaches. The past week has been hard on our Inland Empire community and it was so nice to see everything clean and peaceful after last nights rain. Because I was at the airport early to drop friends off I was ready for school early, too. I took my free time to my favorite coffee shop in Redlands and enjoyed the darkness of the morning with a hot drink and the regulars. On my way to school I drove past the home of the shooters from last Wednesday's mass shooting just blocks away from our school. The streets were wet and the wind had blown the bright leaves across lawns and sidewalks while people were sleeping. The streets were empty and houses and apartments still sleepy. It's so hard to believe that such horror could come from such a picturesque neighborhood, quiet, and innocent. The recent events and news coverage has caused a lot of fear in our neighbors, in our kids, our teachers. But nobody talks about the innocence that we all share; when we're tired, broken, and missing our loved ones, when we are sleeping, the wind is blowing while mother nature cries over our homes. Last Wednesday while we were in lockdown, one of my seventh grade students recommended we pray. His words to our God were so faith filled, so certain that He would provide no matter our circumstance, and I've been clinging onto those words as I go about my daily activities wondering if there are plans of attack, if this is my last day, if my loved ones will come home. We have this faith that moves mountains and brings us to our knees, reminding us that we have a Savior.

Monday, August 31, 2015

When love wins

I'm perplexed by the emotions that love brings. As a feeler of emotion, I feel each one, each feeling that love has shared with me including the feelings that I feel like I should feel, but don't. You know what I mean?

I heard a sermon yesterday on the story of the Prodigal sons.

Let me start by defining for you Prodigal.

Prodigal: Profuse, wasteful, reckless expenditure of money or time

So we look at the story of the prodigal sons. One took his money from his father and spent it profusely, wastefully, and recklessly. He left his father, milking his father of all his inheritance, without a care in the world. He expended his entire inheritance on what he thought would bring him joy, happiness, love.

At the same time, the other brother stayed with his father obeying the commandments requiring him to do good, be good, obey, and respect in order to be grated an inheritance when the time has come. This brother was staying with the father in order to receive his fair share of the inheritance when the time came. Waiting, waiting, waiting, expending his time waiting for the death of his father.

So who is wrong? Who is more wrong? Who loved the Father?


As I work on grading this stack of assignments that cover my desk I am thinking about how unfair it is. How unfair this thing called life is. That I would do more than is expected of me and get no recognition, and others do very little and get all the recognition. I wait for a welcome home party where my father runs down the road to greet me saying, "Prepare a feast, my daughter is home, take my robe and come eat!" Instead I see others getting the feast, others being given the road.

So I'm here what am I a prodigal of? Time? Money? Am I wasting my life waiting for my reward?

It breaks my heart that I might be ignoring the heart of my Father, who lost His son because His son saw the pain that His Father suffered and did something about it. Will I be a daughter who wastes my time waiting for the Father to save me? Or will I be the daughter that seeks my Father's heart to know and understand His pain and do something about it?

I hope that I will be the latter. Instead of wasting my time and money waiting for my Father to notice me I want to notice Him and those who He loves so much that He let His son die on a cross for us.

I want to make a banner for my classroom that hung in my classroom in 10th grade that said:

The most He could do was die for us. The least we can do is live for Him.

I'm not sure how love has changed me. It's something I need to think more about, but I know that love is doing a work on me. I want to love. I want to love more. I want love to win every time. "Let love be your only debt." Romans 13:8

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Screens

It's Sunday and I've taken a short lunch break from researching and working on a couple of essays. I made my usual lunch meal - mixed herb salad, with slices of avocado, tomato, and bites of Morning Star's buffalo style chik patty. Sometimes it is accompanied with grapefruit from my favorite, San Jacinto Farms, and other times when there's nothing else in the fridge it stands solo. Today I took my break, fixed up my heaping salad and sat down at the couch to enjoy a few moments of not studying. A few minutes passed (probably only seconds but when you're brain is unwinding it feels like forever) and I found myself scrolling through my Instagram feed, moving to open the Facebook app and realized that this was not restful nor relaxing, instead I noticed that my eyes were feeling tired and dry and that I felt more exhausted and overwhelmed. So I put my phone down and sat in the silence and crunching of my salad. It didn't take long and I was on my phone again looking for flights that I was needing to check on, but my eyes reminded me that they were tired.

So I run to my blog to write about my attachment to screens. How my eyes are always blood shot from looking at screens for research, for homework, for class, for lesson planning, for cooking, for communicating, for being informed, and for relaxing. Then I come to this place through a screen, the only place that feels safe somedays, to open up and be understood. It's become an unhealthy disorder that has gotten way out-of-hand. We weren't created to rely so heavily on these bright pixels that translate our feelings for us. 

These days I find it hard to feel satisfied or that I am satisfying to others. The translations I'm seeing on the screen are so far away they just aren't good enough. The words I write being translated for someone else to read are going to hurt their eyes too and most likely not be good enough for them either. So now I'm writing about this awful cycle that I'm feeding and I don't know how to break. 

Just this week I started a new book that my friend Sonya recommended, You and Me Forever, by Francis and Lisa Chan. I'm not far since I've been so absorbed with my screens, but in the first few pages they talk about how we as humans will never feel whole or satisfied until we realize that this world is brief, we have a mission to accomplish with only a few years to do it before eternity, then it will be over, our chance to tell the world about another way, to accept grace and receive eternal peace, love, joy, perfection. So why do we get caught up in the latest and greatest (and soon to be gone and replaced with the next latest and greatest) like a screen filling our thoughts and minds with the media that tells us we aren't enough? We are enough. If we are enough for eternity, we are enough for this short lived technology focused world. We are enough, and we have a task at hand, it's a serious task to be a good news bearer. Luckily, I don't have to do it alone, or even with a screen, because Jesus is waiting for me every morning, afternoon, and night to take my hand and lead me through this brief moment. 

My eyes are tired and blood shot, so I'm taking a break from screens only for today since there's still work to be done, and I'm going to go outside and enjoy the real deal. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

When it's easier

It's easier to look back right now. I look back and see an open door full of opportunity, sorta like the one I see right now. But looking back it was easier then. The view isn't full of overwhelm, but it looks more like freedom. It was a beautiful frame of broken pieces being liberated. She didn't know that then. But now, looking back ... that was easy ... easier than what's ahead.

People tell me that my anxiety about the future beyond next week is related to maturity,
"When you're my age you'll see it differently."
"It changes when you turn 30."
"Don't worry, it gets better." (what?)

Okay, so if you're right, if it is maturity, what am I suppose to do for the next four years? And shouldn't their be some kind of progress? And why does the idea of anything beyond the next couple of weeks make me want to run far away toward solace? If it is maturity, wouldn't you expect to see some "maturing" from age 6 to 26?

And if you're wrong? If it doesn't get better how does one cope? Somehow, I'm not sure running away is going to work forever. In fact, I know it's not going to work this time.

When I run away and shut off my phone and ignore emails, texts, phone calls, or other social networks ... am I going to outgrow that on the magical day of April 16, 2019? Suddenly, then, I will be more mature and able to cope with it all. Every text will magically be responded to, every call will be answered or returned, and every invite or message will be RSVPd or replied to. If that's the case, bring on 30, because this whole anxiety thing is ruining all kinds of current and future things. If it's an age thing, I might be interested in trading in 4 years of my 20's to have it all rest.

They tell me that I need to plan, because that's what 26 year-old-adults do. If you want to have a job and keep it, or be married and have kids, or own houses or vehicles, you need to plan and be responsible. You can't wait and expect things to fall in your lap every time. You have to work on your plans. And if you can't do that, then you need to tell people so they're not disappointed when you don't come through for them (what I hear - "tell them you're too selfish and they shouldn't count on you"). They're right, I've let a lot of people down in my time. Just in the last week I've not responded to a few calls, several texts, and I said I would make plans for last weekend and I didn't, twice I even made plans and never followed through, just didn't show up. I love the people I made plans with, or who texted and called me. I really do. But somehow the weight of everything (grad school, teaching, grading, sleeping, exercising, and eating) is more than I can plan around. It's like a boulder that I'm constantly dodging around to get the bare necessities done.

I hope this is a maturity thing. Maybe I put too much on my plate. Maybe I need to grow up, and if you have a kind tip to share my ears are open. If you only have brash words of my selfishness, you can keep it for someone stronger than me. If you get this and get me, I'd love to hear how you cope with the rest of the world who doesn't. And if you're looking for a way to cope too, lets be friends.

This morning I read something for those of us who are waiting for things to get easier:

"When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow (anxieties) now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." (John 16:21-23)

One day it will be easier, we won't need to plan or ask for anything with those knots in every muscle of our body. A student told me last week, "Ms. Rhuman, guess what I'm going to do when I get to heaven! I'm going to break my glasses. You know why? Because I won't need them. My eyes will be perfect!"

Yep. We will be perfect. I can't even comprehend what that means. The impossible will be possible.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cravings

Don't you know we want to laugh
We want to laugh from our bellies till we cry.
We also want to cry,
Cry so hard together that our tears become a single stream.
Do you know that we want to ask questions
Asking questions to understand the words that were never said.
Did you know our dreams make a braid of bright, bold, and daring
Tightly woven into a contagious flu?
We want to embrace for no reason and every reason. 
We want to talk about anything and nothing.
Didn't you know we want to ache,
We want to know loss and emptiness
Because we want to also know joy in full.
Did you know we want to make noise, go out with a bang,
But we want to be still and hear the beating of our own drum.
What we need and what we want we don't know, 
But we know we are creatures craving contradiction. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

358 days left to stay

To stay is a false hope. Nothing stays anymore. Everything coming and going like the sun and the moon. Like bell bottoms and skinny jeans. They're hot then their not. Like my bikini bod and my busy bod. Ebbing and flowing like 23 to 24 to 25 to 26, a stark contrast to a seven year-old who wishes to blink to 16 and operate on her own agenda.

Already one week in to 26 and it's around to stay for another 358 days. I'm getting comfy in these digits. Good things come in 25's like quarters and gift cards, but better things come in 26's like 26 third graders, and 26 mile races, or 26 mile backpacking trips, and 26 friends in a one-mile radius, and 26 papers left to write before graduation. 

I never thought it would be so easy to slide into such tight digits, but here it is. 20 something never felt so great. This may be the best year yet and I doubt if anything will ever beat it.