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Together

This morning I have two things pressing on my mind and they both led me to the same scripture commanding action and changes to improve culture.  I've been doing some self-analysis for the past month.  We did a perceptions survey at work and the results were pretty hard to hear which has led to digging deep to figure out what needs to change.  If I want to build a positive culture in my school, I have to take ownership of where we've fallen short as leaders.  I recently read an article in Harvard Review about building trust among staff.  The author identified 3 areas that can make leaders less likely to be trusted by their employees: Can I trust your reasoning and judgment?  Are you as a leader authentic and real with us?  Do you care about me and my success, are you empathetic?  As I assessed myself as a leader to consider where my shortcomings might be, I was surprised to see that I do not present myself as an empathetic leader.  I genuinely care about my staff so why is it …
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He Restores My Soul

This morning I am feasting on the Word of God, savoring every nuance, drinking deeply of the truth God speaks.  I'm letting Him fill me up to overflowing with hope, peace and love as I soak in Psalm 23.  Even though I've heard these words many times, they are fresh and new today.
I shall not want.
We live in a fast-paced consumer-driven society.  There is always something more, something better and our hunger seems to never be satisfied.  I think we have a tendency to be compulsively busy, getting antsy if there isn't something to occupy our minds or our hands.  This sitting at home business is boring and maybe it's just me, but I find myself itching to go somewhere, do something, or else I'm working at all hours of the day.  If I'm not working, I'm looking for a book to read or a show to watch - empty time and space in our days can seem vacuous.  Do we know what it means to not want?  Do we know how to settle down and just sit?  When we come to God and give…

Purpose and Motivation

Last week I challenged our students to do some math while they are doing school at home and to motivate them I promised to dye my hair blue if the majority of students participated.  I was thinking a little about how hard it is to be motivated to do your work from home when there isn't someone in front of you requiring you to sit down and get it done.  How hard it is, in general, to be self-motivated and self-disciplined without a clear goal, personal purpose, and possibly even a reward at the end of all that hard work.

At the same time, our new puppy has been doing a lot of treat training in the past couple of weeks; a treat for sitting still, a treat for coming, a treat for going potty, for shaking my hand, for walking by my side, for obeying in general.  The 5-year-old lab, however, has to be sometimes be trained with negative reinforcement.  She won't listen or stay in the yard so she has to have the electric fence as a reminder of her boundaries.

We can all be motivated …

Gratitude

It's been a month - 32 days since the Safe at Home order was first issued in Wisconsin and 44 days since school has been closed.  It's about this time that we need to remember to count our blessings and look for all the things to be thankful for and I'm going to try to find 32:

1.  It's been wonderful to be outside in the mornings with my beautiful Bella.  She lights up my day!

2.  Bailey and Jingle, the other two furry friends in our home also are a blessing.

3.  Morning coffee

4.  Peepers chirping each night and chickadees singing in the mornings

5.  Good books - I just finished Becoming by Michelle Obama and Educated  by Tara Westover


6.  Praise and worship music (Rend Collective does socially distant worship every week)

7.  Family time playing cards, board games, spike ball, etc

8. Baking and creating delicious beauty

9. Dusted off the espresso maker and finally figured out how to froth the milk

10.  Old movies - Netflix and Amazon Prime

11.  Wearing sweatpants all…

Exponential Growth

On my many trips to the outdoors this week (you can't go anywhere else), I noticed that my daffodils were starting to sprout.  That's one thing I love about perennials - even though they've died off in the fall, they will grow new again each spring.  They are a beautiful visual of God's seasonal purposes and the value of a long winter's rest. 

This whole coronavirus situation has got me thinking about growth.  There are lots of different kinds of growth.  Some growth is cyclical like my daffodils, hyacinths and brown eyed susans.  Death and rebirth reoccur regularly throughout the cycle of each plant's life.  Sometimes it feels like that in my spiritual life too.  I go through spiritually dry seasons where reading the Bible is a laborious task and nothing seems to awaken my soul.  And then I find myself thirsting for the Word, finding new insights daily, hearing God's voice on a regular basis as I seek Him each morning.   On the other hand, we see some growth…

Rest

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Have you ever noticed how dogs and cats can just lay down in the middle of the day, multiple times a day and fall sound asleep?  God made them with internal clocks that need breaks and sleep and truth be told, God made us with the same rhythms in our bodies.  We need rest and that's why God created the Sabbath.  God values our work but He tells us to rest from it one day out of seven, to set aside time for Him, for reflection, for quiet, for family.  I think He knew that we could get wrapped up in our work and never put it down and that if we weren't commanded to stop, sit down and rest, we would just try to keep going like the Energizer bunny.  But no matter how energetic my dog and puppy are, they still slow down and rest on a regular …

Fellowship

When I was a young adult, living away from home for the first time and feeling pretty alone in my faith, I found a way to be at church almost every time the doors were opened.  I took on a second job working at the preschool because I genuinely loved working with the people from church.  I hardly knew anyone and most people were old enough to be my grandmother or even great-grandmother, but I joined their prayer circle and I soaked up Sunday morning service even if it wasn't the denomination I was familiar with.  The old church was within walking distance of my apartment and it was a place of refuge from the world, an unwelcoming place for someone who wanted to follow God's Word, so it became my home away from home.  I was only there a short time but I dove into that church and served, and found joy and peace in the family of God.

And here we are today in 2020 where the world is a bit unwelcoming in general (we have to be, I know).  And we can't meet together and give each…