Tuesday, August 9, 2011


As an educator with two public blogs, private facebook page, and public twitter page, I spend some time every now and then thinking about what my digital footprint is and what it says about me.  As of right now, I am deciding to maintain the public, non-protected status of my tweets and blog posts.  Some educators might think this unwise.  Some people don't even want a facebook page or anything publicly posted on the web because of the possible ramifications.

My decision is based on a desire to live transparently.  In my personal and professional life, I seek to live with integrity of action, speech and thought.  Therefore, nothing I post online should be surprising to the people I work with.  I would love it if people could come visit my classroom in real life and give me feedback on lesson planning and implementation, but that's not always feasible.  So I have an online community to help.

In my personal life, the same holds true.  My postings should not come as a surprise to friends or family members that know me well.  I am just seeking to document my journey and reflect a bit along the way.

That's all.  Just something I've been thinking about lately.  If anyone is reading, say hello!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Interesting Images: Christians around the world

Here's a blog post that I found through a friend. I actually saw the first image through a different site yesterday, and then opened my Google Reader this afternoon and found the collection of images. Thought I would share:


Granted, the images might not be accurate (I'm pretty sure data was compiled based on the number of hits to a search engine with the given denomination as the search item), but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. Hope you enjoyed it, too.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Something I shared with my small group last Tuesday was how God recently reminded me of a passage that I studied several years ago. The particular passage comes from Joshua 3-4, when the Israelites cross the Jordan into the "Promised Land," where they were about to confront the Canaanites and fight many wars in order to claim the land God promised them.

I studied this passage in college as part of Beth Moore's "Believing God" series, and shortly after I completed that series, I started this blog. One significant detail in that passage, to me, is the name of the town where the Israelites camp after crossing the Jordan: Gilgal. In Hebrew, this word is a variant of the word that means "wheel" or "circle."  That particular translation was relevant to me last week when I came across this passage, but I also realize it is relevant even in me writing in this blog. I started this 3 years ago (or so), because I wanted to chronicle my walk with God and the ways I was "believing Him" to lead me and guide me. Now, I am writing to publish what he has taught me and is teaching me. I don't post often, but I keep coming back.

I won't go into many details here in public forum, but 3 years ago when I studied this passage, I was getting ready to have a difficult conversation with someone in my life. I was nervous about it. I didn't know what to do or say, but I knew I needed to confront the person and hear his side of the story. So I did. And I got through it! It wasn't easy, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. Earlier this month, I was getting ready to have another, fairly similar, difficult converation with the same person. I just happened to be reading through Joshua at the time. I was reminded of this passage, and then the time in my life when I studied it. It encouraged me to look back and remember how far God brought me. Again, the conversation was not easy, but I got through it. It wasn't as difficult as I expected it to be.

As I was reading this time, though, a new connection developed in my brain. I thought about the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 14) and compared/contrasted with when they crossed the Jordan. Some interesting stuff is there. I won't blab on and on about it, but feel free to look it up and leave comments if you want to make this a discussion. Be encouraged today, I am.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I had a long weekend thanks to the mid-Atlantic snowstorm that dumped 16" of snow in Staunton over 36 hours and over 2.5 feet in Northern Virginia. I took advantage of this long weekend (and the thought that, perhaps, it might be even longer, considering the road conditions after so much snow falls...I was right) to catch up with some friends that I haven't spoken to in quite some time. There are still more friends that I need to catch up with, but it was nice to talk to people.

With one such person, after we caught up on each other's lives, our conversation turned to the snow. She lives in the Baltimore area, so she was getting more than Staunton. We talked about the storm that hit on December 19th (when I was conveniently in Illinois, thank God), and the current storm. She was telling me how she and her husband went outside to try to dig out their car at one point. They had a shovel and scrapers, and were working at it. She mentioned that her neighbors were out there, too, all working on their own cars. It was as if a sort of bond was made between them. People they may have never spoken to before, but they were sharing in the experience of digging their cars out from under 2.5 feet of snow.

After our conversation, I started to think about my own neighbors. I live in a townhouse with 6 units. There are two other townhouses in our little "block", each also having 6 units. That makes 18 apartments that share a sectioned off parking area. I recognize the cars of the people in my townhouse, and the cars of several other "neighbors" because we happen to be coming or going at the same time often enough for me to make an association between a face and a car. I am ashamed to say I only know the name of one of my neighbors, though I have shared pleasantries and exchanged words with several.

Anyway, two of the residents in my townhouse are of grandparent age. After the conversation with my friend, I thought, "How could I help them out, show them love during and after this storm?" It's not that I've never thought of being nice to my neighbors before, but here I was given a fairly obvious opportunity to show love in action, as we are called. At one point Sunday morning, I had recently come inside from sweeping the snow off the roof of my car. I had un-bundled and was just about to sit down and relax for a few minutes before going out to start shoveling. I looked out the window, though, and saw one of my elder neighbors starting to sweep off his truck. I was presented with a choice: stay inside and follow my own "schedule" or go out and offer to help. For once, I chose to go out and help.

It was nice to take the time and help this man. We shared a conversation and I got to know a little more about him. Later, he let me borrow his shovel to work on my own parking space. I also took the shovel and helped clear his space. I'm not saying this to brag and say, "Look what I did this weekend." I'm saying it to encourage anyone who reads this to make a small choice. When presented with the option, don't be afraid to interrupt your plans or routine in order to lend a hand. Be willing and flexible. Open your eyes for opportunities to show love in action to the people around you. I think this can happen more often than only when a city gets pounded by snow. :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Not only is the season literally changing, but I am feeling a change in the season of my life. It's not altogether a pleasant feeling at the moment, either. When seasons change, I tend to look eagerly at the next season, but part of me always is a little sad that the one season is over. For example, when summer turns into fall: I get excited when I start to see the leaves change, when college football starts, and when the hot summer air turns slightly cooler. I realize, though, that fall means busyness of school, fewer hours of sunlight, and colder weather on the horizon. There are positives and negatives to every season. And the seasons must change in order to experience those joys. I need to bear with the negatives if I want to revel in the positives.

And so it is with season changes in my life. Right now I'm feeling some of the negatives internally. I don't know exactly why I'm noticing this change right now, when it's been gradually happening for the past 2 years probably...but I do notice it. There's a point in your life when childhood friends lose touch, when high school friends grow apart, and when college friends cease to be a part of your daily life. It's as if two people, friends, who at one point in both of their lives fit together like puzzle pieces, perfectly matched for such a time. Life moves on, though, and people change or move or start other relationships and those puzzle pieces change slightly with time. Before you know it, they just don't fit anymore, or there's no room to stay attached. Each time I realize another person with whom I had one of those friendships has become a mismatched puzzle piece in my life, I get a little sad.

...a friend that I grew up with, the first guy I kissed, my college roommate, my best friends from middle school, my first friend in college, "my sophomore", even some of my Life Group girls from college...all these people were very important pieces of my life at one point, and are now gone/gradually fading...it's time for seasons to change, I suppose. I know there are other people in my life that are more of a fit right now, but part of me will still miss those friendships lost over time and distance.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On Humility and Admitting You are not Self-Sufficient

Last week I accepted an offer that my mom and step-dad offered: give me a loan to pay off my credit cards so that I don't have to continue paying the ridiculous interest rates charged by the credit card companies. Some background: Ever since I've had a credit card, I paid it off in full every month. Every month, that is, until I moved to Virginia. The moving costs were significant, I didn't get paid right away when I started working, and the money in my bank account was used for security deposits, etc.  So anyway, I established some credit card debt buying groceries, some basic furniture and classroom supplies. I've slowly been chipping away at that debt, paying as much as I had left at the end of each month...it just wasn't going down very much, though. My parents were generous and willing to give me money to pay it off in full and allow me to pay them back at a much lower interest rate.

My first thought when they offered this deal was, "That's not fair for them *at all*. It's my fault I have this debt, I just need to keep working to pay it off..." and several other thoughts along the same line. Then, when I started to think about actually taking the money, I thought about what percent interest they should charge me, and how much I should pay them each month in order to pay it off as quickly as possible. Basically, I continued to try to "figure out" and plan my way through every little detail.

Something that I've realized through this ordeal and decision to accept help from my parents, is that I have some pride issues in the area of independence and self-sufficiency. I don't think it's abnormal, to want to be independent from your parents when you're in your mid-20s, and to feel like you can support yourself and figure things out. I do think it's a problem, though, when the reasons I was considering not accepting this offer were because of my desire to not be dependent on my parents.

As a Christian, I'm not expected to be self-sufficient. The core of my belief system is that I *cannot* do anything in my own effort. It is only because God first loved me and sent Christ to die, paving the way for me to have a relationship with him. Why is it, then, that my first instinct with my finances is to think "I have to figure this out myself! I don't need anyone's help!" Arg. I'm learning to rely on people for the right reasons...it takes humility.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I really want to get better and more consistent about updating this blog. I feel like if I'm more regular about posting, I might have people that actually read it and comment and I love that!

I had an idea for a blog entry last night or this morning, but sure enough, I sit down at my computer and it's gone... Oh, well.

Until again, friends.

(for those of you reading on Facebook, this is originially from www.jbrtva.blogspot.com *smile*)