Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two Readers

Making work out of words--
Artist denied?
Of commas, conjunctions, connotations--
Trading fun in for form
Innate for refined?
Opening, growing, guiding the mind?
First talent…Now skill?
Poetry--in motion.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pain, Passion, Love?

It can be uncomfortable to have our eyes "opened" to certain subjects in life. It can be even more unpleasant to have them opened for a second or third time. Today was a great day for that, a painfully wonderful day, an emotionally and spiritually challenging day. Today I listened to stories of pain and passion around me and I felt my own eyes hold back tears. Again. I've felt this sympathy before, stemming from similar pains and passions in the lives of my students and my colleagues. But every time I hear their stories, I feel like I'm more aware than before, and more defeated.

And it leaves me wondering: Why do we often fail so miserably at loving people? We all know what it's like to feel undervalued, unnoticed, or unworthy. But why do we so rarely break the cycle? Even if we don't feel loved by others, we can still show them the love we know they need! Love is still a wonderful thing, even when it only goes in one direction.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Creating Yourself?

Today I asked my students to reflect on the following quote. The response was more divided than I'd predicted it would be. So now I'm curious as to how other people see it! Anyone willing to share your thoughts?

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
~George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beyond Human Capacity

I shared these thoughts with our FCA students this week. I hope it inspires them, and I hope I can live up to my own ideals. I believe we are called to demonstrate a Love that is greater than our own human nature can supply.

One of my favorite quotes about being a Christian:
“As a Christian, the greatest influence you can have on those around you is…just not be a jerk.” (Sean Lumsden, Living Hope Church ☺)
*But then again, any non-Christian can also “not be a jerk.” So what would make me different?

God’s love v. man’s love
*Unless I pursue God and truly understand his love, I can only love out of my own human capacity. Since humans fail, my love will also inevitably fail. Sadly, sometimes my love will…be impatient, envious, proud, snippy, selfish, feel like giving up on someone, lose hope.
*What does 1 Cor 13:1-7 say about God’s love in the face of those failures?

If I speak in the tongue of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I
gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Pursuing God’s love
*The ultimate example: John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
*Less obvious examples:
- God loves us each day with faithfulness, hope, and mercy. Lamentations 3:22-23
- God expects us to Love our enemies. Matthew 5:43-48
- I believe this implies that He wants us to love everyone, even enemies, with "faithfulness, hope, and mercy."

Recognizing the opportunities we often miss
*When do I find my love failing? Is it possible that in those times I’m loving out of my own capacity and not seeking God’s love?
-When I feel frustrated…
-When with someone who’s seen as “less acceptable”…
-When I feel unworthy, like no one cares…
-When family members or friends have hurt me…
-When I feel rejected…
-When I want to be right…
-When I feel apathetic…
*Revisit 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Increasing our capacity for love
God demonstrated his perfect Love and calls us to share that Love, especially with those who haven’t felt it yet, but he expects us to reach beyond our own capacity so that we might fully exemplify the perfection of his gift. To increase our capacity for loving others, we must spend time pursuing God’s Love through his word. We must intentionally seek out his faithfulness, hope, and mercy so that we can consistently pour out that Love on others.

Moving beyond just “not be[ing] a jerk”
1 John 4:7-21 presents a full picture of loving those around us, but it can all be summed up in verses 7 and 8.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


You've never felt what moves me
Or listened to me sing.
You still don't read my poetry
Or sigh when I can breathe.

You've never cared how deep
This fire burns in me:
Respond just when I plead;
Applaud just to appease.

Don't claim naivety;
Don't deny me my reality
When you choose, refuse the real me.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Trying again...

Lately, I've been pondering old thoughts again. I'm assuming that at some point, everyone finds a quote or verse of some kind that just sticks with them throughout their life. For me, that quote has always been Galatians 5:22, the Fruits of the Spirit. It's all too easy to get caught up in the excitement, goals, fears, and drama of daily life, but when I remember to compare my daily endeavors to these fruits, life finally comes back into focus.

So tonight I've been praying that I can begin to live with "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" again. I've re-decided that I need to evaluate any goals, choices, statements, or happiness according to that list. Is that goal based on patience? Is this word or choice based on love? And so on. It's just disheartening to know how easily I forget about these things...So here I go again, I'm reminding myself (and anyone else who wants to join me?) that it's not too late to change directions and pursue a spirit that will bring the love, joy, and peace we so desperately search for in daily life.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Birthday Wisdom

"Age is just a reference for those who don't know the wisdom or the vitality of your spirit."

(That quote makes me feel like I'm already wiser, and I'm only 14 hours into my new age. Woo hoo!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Tear, An Allusion

(Modeled loosely after one of my favorite classics. Does anyone know the original?)

Mark but this tear, and mark in this,
How great the fear of future is
When faced with what cannot be said:
A choice to stay or move ahead;
My cool, pale tear drips to my bed.

O still, two lives in one life spare,
Which might almost in efforts fare
To fight, or fly, for what we lack:
Escape these living walls of black;
Your warm, wan tear runs down my back.

In these cruel tears, now mingle our
Joys, hopes and fears: their final hour.
For future strong, for present weak,
'Tis true; we hear how false fears speak
Though our dark tears stream down my cheek.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My smartest quote ever! (Well, thus far!!)

In my life, there are two constants: the Holy Bible and the MythBusters. And that's the world as I see it.


As the forest fades into the trees,
Open yourself toward the sky.
Invite the clearing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


When I was there, that's who I was
but I moved on and climbed above.
Or so I thought 'til your return--
Took hold, refused to let me run.
It's not your place to choose, decide,
To call me by your Name, not Mine--
To make me feel two inches tall is all
You did when I was small--
Now with you here, grows only fear
Of How can I continue where
I'm strong and free and on my own
When you refuse to let me go?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Yet Unaware

If they knew how this heart bled with theirs,
Would they see our pain's the same?

If they saw the sweat and heard the tears,
Would they see I'm torn down too?

Or would these...weaknesses...confirm
I am as flawed as they've assumed?


I know how to seek for knowledge.
I've found how to search for strength.
I've learned how to ask forgiveness.
But how do I start to forget?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wanted: Musicians, Poets, Artists

Sometimes I am SO inspired by my job! Just when I think I should call it quits, my kids pull through for me and remind me of all there is to love in literature and in working with such amazing students. Today, during our poetry lesson several classes asked if I really think that poets put all the effort into their poetry that we try to squeeze out of them. I based my answers on my own creation of music, poetry, and choreography.

In both classes, my explanation was something to this effect:
I think poetry is often a combination of natural talent and skillful writing. At the most basic level, poets are poets because they instinctively associate words in ways the rest of us don't; words naturally flow from them with sophistication and beauty. But I also believe that when a great poet encounters a glitch in his writing process, he knows how to draw from his skill and training; he knows how to use his head to compensate when the words from his heart are insufficient. It's the same with musicians, choreographers, painters. No matter the balance between an artist's talent and skill, it is important that we (the readers) know how to analyze his work intelligently and thoroughly. Especially if we ever hope to communicate our analysis with other readers, we must equip ourselves with a variety of analysis tools and common terminology.

From my own (obviously biased) opinion, I believe these ideas give great purpose to what teachers do in literature classes, even though year after year, new students contend "did the poet really mean to use all those euphemisms?" Still, today's discussions reminded me that I am blessed to have students who are willing to ask that question! I am blessed to work with thoughtful, passionate students who challenge me and who need to understand the intentions of our writers. And I am hopeful that one day they will learn to appreciate the "mind and heart" (Thanks, Whitworth!) behind this thing we call poetry.

So, to my artistic friends and family, I now want to understand your creative process. What inspires you? What brings the words/notes/colors to your fingertips? How do you balance your natural talent with your intellect?