I have been walking on the moon for the past 2 weeks. I lifted off from the comfortable ground of the church world and entered a new territory in the public school system. Oh yes, others have gone before me, but this is uncharted territory for me. I am treading new grounds, making tracks, exploring, and hopefully making a positive impact on the lifeforms I encounter. You may laugh, but yes, they are aliens. They dress differently, speak a different language, and look at me like I’m the strange one. It’s truly an honor to have been chosen to lead such an important mission – to develop new ways of thinking and explore uncharted territories.
I am a Rasco Rocket!
OK – enough with the allegory. I know some of you really want to know how my first few weeks of teaching have gone. Well. . . . I think it’s gone well. I’m still coming home with a smile on my face. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I feel like I’m moving forward and learning new things every day. My students are great! They get a little out of hand sometimes, but I like them. I feel like I’m getting to know both the other teachers and my students. I’m well aware that I’m still in a “honeymoon” stage, but I feel like this is going to be a good fit for me.
Prayer: Lord, guide me. Give me patience with my students and give me experiences which will sharpen my skills and help me to become a great school teacher. Grant me favor with my students and with my team as well as the administration and other coworkers. Go before me and lead me. I truly want to honor You with this new role. I want to be a positive influence for all my students and will need Your help to do so. As I learn all these new skills, give me peace. When it seems overwhelming, intervene and help me to breathe again, to rest in You. AMEN.
She’s just over 10 and a half months old now and she’s ready. She doesn’t like to crawl anymore and seems to want to walk everywhere. The video shows some of her very first steps, but since that time a couple days ago, she’s done a whole lot more. It won’t be long before she’s running with her brother!
These are just a few recent videos of the kids. Yeah – I’m one of those guys – the proud father who makes all his friends endure the antics of his children. Anyway, Kasen is learning to talk and some of his words are pretty funny. He’s very careful to speak words separately. “Chocolate . . .pause . . . Milk.” Kesleigh is so close to being able to walk – she’s got the strength and balance, but she just won’t do it. I’ll keep trying.
Over Christmas I noticed something. Now that Kasen has learned to walk, we enjoy going out together to explore the world. I have to walk at a pretty slow pace so he can keep up, but it’s a lot of fun. Anyway, I noticed that when we walk together, I’m always looking up at the horizon – where we’re headed, but Kasen looks at the ground and the surrounding area. He’s worried about stepping over over rocks and picking up sticks, while my concerns are more about our direction and future. It’s important for me to look out for his safety and watch for cars coming over the horizon, but I wonder what I’m missing?
In the same way, if we live our lives always looking for the future – always concerned about being able to make the right corrections so we can be “safe”, we’re never fully present in the moment and will never be able to experience life to the “full” as Jesus talks about in John 10:10. By the way, we don’t have to stress about our safety/future if we’re in His hands.
Anyway, just some thoughts today.
Another example of Kasen being fully present in the moment and relishing life happened in the car on the drive home from Ft Worth. We stopped and got ice cream at Dairy Queen. Each time Miranda fed him a bite, he’d let it melt in his mouth and then laugh and clap for it’s taste. It’s as if he was encouraging God with a standing ovation saying, “Yeah God! You did a good job on this one! Do it again!”
Do I celebrate and thank God for the small things? Is the taste of ice cream really a “small thing” or is it truly another expression of God’s love for us?
No matter where you are in life, you can probably say, “Wow! I’ve never been here before. Life has thrown some things at me, but I’ve never felt like this before.” It seems that even in our “normal” everyday lives, there’s still always something new – something different that turns things at a new angle so it all seems new. Consequently, we’re always breaking new ground – walking into uncharted territory. New terrain is normal – it’s what we do, if we’re alive. This means we’ve gotta always be ready for the unexpected and it also means that life is truly an adventure.
During our time at my mom’s house for the hurricane evacuation, I was watching Kasen and learned something about new terrain. Let me explain: He has been walking for about a month, but he’s still working on it. He still stumbles around a bit when there’s an incline or a little step – or if he’s going from concrete to grass, etc. My mom has a concrete porch in the back of her house with stepping stones in the grass leading to another bricked area with a porch swing. The weather was beautiful while we were there so we spent quite a bit of time outside. Kasen loved the stepping stones, but couldn’t navigate them very well. They were too far apart for him to use them properly, and so he would step into the grass and then up on a stone, then down into the grass again. . . .you get the picture. If I walked all the way out to the swing, he’d just stop and cry for me to pick him up and take him there, but if I went a couple steps ahead of him. . .he’d give it a shot and walk to me. He fell almost every time he went from the stone to the grass, but each time he got up again and would clap for himself and say “Yeah.” (That’s something else he’s learned recently.) Each time I’d join him in the applause and he’d continue. Whenever he made it without falling, he also clapped and I joined him then too. He needed the encouragement either way – besides that, the applause is what made the whole experience fun. As a father, I loved cheering for him when he’d get up after a fall and also when he made the step and kept his balance. I know he loved it too.
I wonder if this hurricane and the new terrain that we’re learning to navigate is similar? Do we have enough people around us who will cheer for us whether we succeed or fall? Are we being the kind of people who will cheer for others either way? As we enter into this new terrain, will we continue to walk – taking one step at a time, or will we be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task? Do we have people in our lives who will go with us through it all without getting too far out ahead? Will we go through it with others?
For that matter – isn’t this the case with anything new in our lives? Isn’t it better when we do it together? When there are people to encourage us and walk through it all with us?
When Miranda and I first started dating, she bought me a dog. I named him Peanut. At that time Miranda was living with some friends of ours. When I would go visit her, I would bring Peanut and we’d go out together to walk him. Mostly we just wanted to be together and talk, but Peanut was a good excuse for us to have this time together. Anyway, I’d say that these times of walking together are part of the reason we fell in love. We had some incredible conversations as we’d walk through the neighborhood. We’d talk about our history, our future dreams, our ideas about life – everything. Those were incredible days and incredible conversations. Anyway, after doing this for a few months, we kind of found this one special place where we could sit down and talk and sometimes we’d dance. It was a courtyard for the neighborhood pool. We’d tie peanut to the fence or whatever would could and then we’d dance out under the stars to the music in our hearts and we’d talk and dance some more.
One night, it was a perfect night. Beautiful sky. A subtle breeze. Quiet enough to dance to the music of the crickets (OK – now I’m getting cheesy.) Anyway, I tied Peanut up as normal to a water faucet that was sticking out of the ground. As we danced, he pulled one too many times and soon we were dancing under a 20 foot fountain of water. I figured he had somehow turned the pipe so that it came unscrewed so I tried to screw it back in, but realized in the process that the pipe was totally broken. There was nothing to be done except turn the water off, but I didn’t know where the valve was. Miranda, Peanut, and I began strolling back to our friend’s house thinking we’d call someone when we got there.
Then, we hear a man screaming at us, “You’re just gonna leave??!! That’s right. . . . run away!!” I turned and went back – the man was a neighborhood watch guy who thought we had done it one purpose. I explained what had happened and he knew where the valve was and everything turned out fine.
Anyway, there’s no real lesson to this story – it was just a funny thing that happened when Miranda and I were dating.
Well, maybe there is a lesson – don’t tie your dog to a water faucet!