Saturday, October 25, 2008

Praise the King

I learned a number of new songs in the past three days. The young man who came to do the music for us is in the process of cutting an album and he shared many, if not all, of the songs he's recording. This one is quite beautiful, and rather fitting for the week we just spent. Cindy Morgan wrote the lyrics.

Praise Him in the morning
For tall and lofty trees
And praise Him in the evening
For children on their knees
Oh and praise Him in the noon day
For gentle birds that sing
Oh praise Him all ye people
Praise the King

And praise Him for a peaceful porch
A nd rocking chairs that sway
Praise Him for the rolling hills
Where children laugh and play
Oh and praise Him for the wandering soul
That never lost their way
Oh praise Him all ye people
Praise the King

Praise the King
Praise the King
Let it ring
Praise the King
Praise the King
Praise the King
Let it ring
Praise the King

And praise Him for the blood that fell
And bloomed a rose that day
And praise Him that He suffered through the guilt, the grief, the shame
Oh and praise Him that His tender love will still forgive today
Oh praise Him all ye people praise the King


From Gangs to God and Making a Difference

This past week, I spent too much time in meetings. Two days in a row I had to drive an hour out to South Lancaster to sit for more than 9 hours, then drive home, eat supper, go to a board meeting and sit for another 2+ hours. The third day, I didn’t have the board meeting, and I got out an hour earlier, but I still spent a lot of time sitting in meetings. It didn’t help, either, that I was missing the first three days of what I found out on Thursday afternoon (when I could see and hear for myself) was an amazing Week of Prayer here at school.

I had been disappointed to be missing it from the beginning because the young man who was doing the music portion of each day is a former student of mine. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that another former student, now a pastor, was giving the devotionals each morning for my meetings! I knew then that I was still in for a treat.

This young man is a gifted writer (could it be he had a great English teacher in Academy?!!! Or maybe it’s because his aunt was my own high school English teacher. Either way, he’s made his own way since he left us nearly 10 years ago, writing a book, Waiting at the Altar, and editing and publishing a beautiful magazine, New England Pastor. He’s also published a book of his photographs of New England.). He is also a gifted communicator, so you can well imagine that I was blessed each morning, that, in fact, his inspiration made the trip worth it each day. He talked about how God is waiting for us to respond to His love in the way that He has responded towards us. “Will you just look to Me, my Cross? Will you just consider me?” He asks. “If you do, that Love will compel you to once and for all say Yes to me and live a life of happiness forever and ever.”

Tuesday morning, we had the privilege of attending Atlantic Union College’s Education Day Chapel. The speaker was another inspiration, this time because she challenged us to make a difference in others’ lives. Of course since this was an Education Day, she particularly emphasized the difference teachers can make. She had us think about a favorite teacher and then share with the person next to us why that teacher had made a difference in our lives. In a somewhat surprising coincidence, my sharing partner’s favorite teacher was also one of mine: an English professor from our graduate school days. Even though we were not at the university together, we both had the same experience with “Mother Merlene” in that she was firm but loving, challenging but down-to-earth. She made a difference to so many of her students and, in a way, she is reaching out to my students now because of the influence she had on me.

Back at school on Thursday afternoon, I had the chance to talk with my young musician friend. We reminisced about the people we had in common who influenced our lives. We talked about the summer we were on tour to South Africa, Egypt, Israel and Jordan with the college choir and New England Youth Ensemble (he in the choir, me in the orchestra). We talked about the two directors and the impact they made on us. He talked about the plans God has for his life, witnessing to others through his music. We both acknowledged that we’ve seen God working in our lives, sometimes giving us things to do that weren’t initially part of our life plans, but clearly part of His. Part of God’s plan has been to give us the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s lives. The huge side benefit of this is the blessing they’ve been to us.

Our speaker for the week was a former gang member, well on his way to becoming its leader. He lived a life of extreme violence before his conversion. Friday night, he shared that story. It was a horrific yet amazing account of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. I’ve heard and read a lot of incredible conversion stories, but this one, for some reason, was different. It brought most listeners, young and older alike, to tears as we all realized the significance of God’s incredible grace. Even now, a day later, I remain overwhelmed (in a good way) about it all…

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Our non- teaching holiday stretched into one more day (after Columbus Day), thanks to a teacher in-service on inclusion. Our educational system has just released a manual entitled R.E.A.C.H. on full inclusion of learning disabled children in the classroom and we had two of the committee members present today for the in-service. It was a profitable day. The discussion and activities were valuable. The last thing our group did was watch part of a video that gave us the experience of being learning disabled in a classroom. It was an incredible feeling...a horrible oh, so valuable feeling. Walking in another's shoes, even for 15 minutes or so shook up my whole thinking about the way I do some things in my classroom. After all this time! Wow!

The drive to and from the meeting (about an hour west of my house) was just beautiful. This fall is just glorious so far! Around every corner is a nother amazing sight. And the sunset was incredible too, although I couldn't get a good picture of it because it was mostly behind instead of in front of me. All that put together, I didn't mind the long drive at all because I was enjoying what I saw so much...

Monday, October 13, 2008

7 Things meme

I saw this meme on Inland Empire Girl's "Gathering Around the Table" blog. Feel free to do this yourself. If you do, let me know so I can enjoy your list.

7 Things I Plan To Do Before I Die:

· Write a book

· Go back to Africa, Kenya this time

· Fly an airplane (a small one)

· Go to Australia and India

· Take a cruise to Alaska

· Play in an orchestra again

· Design my own clothes

7 Things I Do Now

· Edit a 6-page newsletter each week and write an editorial for it

· Keep a blog

· Talk and write (e-mail) daily with my parents

· Sit on too many committees and boards

· Hold a school and staff together with a lot of prayer and teamwork

· Talk daily with my sisters (one in person, one on the phone each morning on the way to work)

· Enjoy each day and each opportunity to make a difference

7 Things That Attract Me To The Opposite Sex

· Spirituality

· Musicality

· Sense of humor

· Intellect

· Eyes

· Leadership

· Respectfulness

7 Things That I Say Most Often

· Well, alright.

· How are you doing?

· Any prayer requests? Let’s pray…

· My challenge to you today is . . .

· Your homework for [tomorrow] is . . .

· Get out your journals . . .

· What brings you here [to the office]?

7 Celebrities That I Admire

· Meryl Streep

· Robert Redford

· Jane Seymour

· Jon Bon Jovi—philanthropist as opposed to rock star =)

· Kyra Sedgwick

· Meredith Viera

· Tim Russert

7 Favorite Foods

· Haystacks

· Pasta (macaroni and cheese, spaghetti)

· Mexican bean, cheese, and rice burritos

· Falafal wraps

· Baked potatoes, baked squash, baked beans

· Breaded chickettes (veggie chicken)

· Vegeburgers (with tomoatoes, pickles, cheese and mayo)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beautiful Day

I spent yesterday and today up in Maine with my father while my mother was out of town. The drive up yesterday morning and home this afternoon was just beautiful. I took many pictures while I was driving, and several of them turned out nicely. The colors are especially brilliant this season, making the round trip a great pleasure.

The Lighthouse

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,

and on its outer point, some miles away,

the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,

A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides,

Upheaving, break unheard along its base,

A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides

in the white tip and tremor of the face.

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,

through the deep purple of the twilight air,

Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light

with strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

And perilous reef along the ocean's verge,

Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,

Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.

Like the great giant Christopher it stands

Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave,

Wading far out among the rocks and sands,

The night o'er taken mariner to save.

And the great ships sail outward and return

Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells,

And ever joyful, as the see it burn,

they wave their silent welcome and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails

Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,

And eager faces, as the light unveils

Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

The mariner remembers when a child,

on his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink

And when returning from adventures wild,

He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.

Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same,

Year after year, through all the silent night

Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,

Shines on that inextinguishable light!

It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp

The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace:

It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,

And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.

The startled waves leap over it; the storm

Smites it with all the scourges of the rain,

And steadily against its solid form

press the great shoulders of the hurricane.

The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din of wings and winds and solitary cries,

Blinded and maddened by the light within,

Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.

A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,

Still grasping in his hand the fire of love,

it does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock,

but hails the mariner with words of love.

"Sail on!" it says: "sail on, ye stately ships!

And with your floating bridge the ocean span;

Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse.

Be yours to bring man neared unto man.

Photos taken yesterday at Portland headlight, the lighthouse that inspired this poem. It is said that Henry W. Longfellow used to walk from the city of Portland out to this lighthouse to visit his friends, the lighthouse keepers.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The name -- of it -- is "Autumn"

-- by Emily Dickinson --
The name -- of it -- is "Autumn" --
The hue -- of it -- is Blood --
An Artery -- upon the Hill --
A Vein -- along the Road --

Great Globules -- in the Alleys --
And Oh, the Shower of Stain --
When Winds -- upset the Basin --
And spill the Scarlet Rain --

It sprinkles Bonnets -- far below --
It gathers ruddy Pools --
Then -- eddies like a Rose -- away --
Upon Vermilion Wheels --

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Monarch Migration

Plum Island in the fall sees a number of migrators come its way. Today, there were dozens of Monarch butterflies. I thought it was pretty cool. I could not catch any with their wings open, though (except when they were flying, of course). Still beautiful...

Salt Marsh and Water Fowl

This day couldn't have been more opposite to last Sunday when it was dark and stormy. Today was beautiful...cloudy, but bright and breezy and begging for a ride to the north shore. Unable to resist, I hopped in my car after lunch and waited to see where I'd end up.

I really had no plan, but the farther I went, the more it became clear that I was going to Plum Island in Newbury/Newburyport, MA, along the coast. I opted off the highway as soon as I could and wended my way through small towns until I reached the Plum Island National Wildlife Refuge, as stretch of more than 6 miles between the ocean and a salt marsh. It's beautiful. And here's the evidence: