Thursday, March 31, 2011

There are some students, that despite your best efforts you cannot help but love. These are the perpetually tardy, the chronically failing, those of fight clubs and drug deals (I am not embellishing). They are the ones who tell you about their night on the street, the secret tattoo, or their deadbeat boyfriend. Despite all that, despite the fact that your colleagues cannot understand or get along with these children (and neither can you all the time) you miss them when they're not in class because you're wondering where they are, who they're with and what they're doing. You have guesses as to the answers of these, but that's not something you like to think about. Somehow even though you've been told not to expect much, you still do. You still think that if you are the one to give them just one more chance, maybe it will matter.

Yesterday it didn't. Maybe tomorrow it will.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fictional Women

Some stories you want to relive again and again. I re-read the Chronicles of Narnia over and over, for example. I can't get enough of the adventure. Each time I read them, too, I get something new. Jane Austen for me holds the same type of allure. Austen's books grow with me. I used to think her books were dreamy. As a high school girl, I felt as though I could connect with the characters because I had romance. Now as a ripe old woman, age 24, the dreaminess is gone as I feel more connected with Austen's Fanny, Anne, Elizabeth, and Elinor than ever. Those women are strong, dispite their feeling that they would never be provided for, never loved or even noticed for being women of character. I empathize with Fanny as she struggles to come to terms with the fact that Edmond may never love her, with Anne as she tells a friend, "The one claim I shall make for my own sex is that we love longest, when all hope is gone", with Lizzie as she unflinchingly sticks to what she knows is right, and with Elinor as she quietly bears all.

I draw strength from these fictional women. They are my friends, as strange as it seems. It doesn't even matter that they do end up with the right person at the end. For me, it is encouraging to how they arrive at that point. I have kinship with them as they struggle along. I don't feel bitter when they finally reach their happy endings, only delight because I know the struggles that they had to go through to get there.

So for me, even if I never get the happy ending they do(you know: the Darcys, the Knightlys, etc.), I can be encouraged to make my own endings as joyful as I may. I choose to live a life of strength, and I thank the fictional women who help me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

weekend update in pictures

[just had to throw in a picture of my loinfruit.]

[i've been wanting to make some pendants for my room, so i got some fabric. spring break project!]

[e and i potted these on the roof last weekend to celebrate the warm weather. too bad the snow forecast for tomorrow will kill that joy.]

[i made that earring holder.]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Even in this moment there are so many beautiful things:

water heating in my yellow, hand me-down kettle
the blue and white patterned table cloth on my table
given to me by my mother with dreams of a cheerful kitchen
accompanied by the salt and pepper shaker set wrapped in delicate white porcelain leaves
my bold-stripped tiger-cat wildly flicking his tail, blinking
at three daffodils in a jar
the cool, crisp air enveloping me through the open window with only the sounds of passing traffic and
the promise of seeing the people that I love the most

Monday, March 21, 2011

Legalism vs Living Sacrifice

There have been several times in my life when I have been accused of being legalistic. Such a claim is like a knife in my heart.

Legalism is believing that salvation is gained by good works. It's the idea that by goodness we somehow level up, or earn a step closer to God.

I know there no one is good, not even one. I know that my heart is desperately wicked and an idol factory. I know that God is holy and that there is nothing that my foolish attempts to be "nice" can do to appease his inherit need for purity to be upheld.

But that's just it! God is holy, and I am supposed to be like him. 1 Peter tells us to be holy, like God is holy. That's why Jesus died on the cross. To pay for what I couldn't. Where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. Where I fail minutely, Jesus succeeds. The steps I couldn't take, Jesus took to the cross to erase my need to be perfect. I am perfect through the blood of the Lamb. That's why I try to be holy. I don't have to be, I can never be, but I will always try to honor what Jesus did for me by trying to be as in his likeness as I can be.

I know that following rules can be just as damning as not, and I know that trying to replace God with a rigid structure set to show me my need for him doesn't get me anywhere.

I think that people try to dance as close to the line, but I want to do the opposite. I don't want to see how many rules I can break since I'm covered, I want to reach the end of my life as holy as possible. Not for what it gets me, but because I know that that is honoring to God. Romans 12 encourages us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. As much as this sacrifice wants to crawl off the altar most days, I just want to show God that I love him too.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Today one of my students told me that ever since her mother told her that her brother was smarter than her, she hasn't tried in school. As I drove home from school, my heart was so overwhelmed with sorrow for this girl. She'd come to get a recommendation from me for a magnet school. As she waited for me to finish my letter, she told me that her mom told her that she'd have to be the Michelangelo of Sophomores to get in, and since she wasn't she wouldn't get in. What a bright, talented young lady her mother is shutting down.

Oh, the power of words.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

“As you see more clearly that your vocation is to be a witness to God’s love in this world, and as you become more determined to live out that vocation, the attacks of the enemy will increase. You will hear voices saying, “You are worthless, you have nothing to offer, you are unattractive, undesirable, unlovable.” The more you sense God’s call, the more you will discover in your own soul the cosmic battle between God and Satan. Do not be afraid. Keep deepening your conviction that God’s love for you is enough, that you are in safe hands, and that you are being guided every step of the way." Henri J.M Nouwen

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Today after school one of my students asked me if I'd cried lately in school. I told him not lately, and the other student that was in my room said, "Ms. Jackson, you've cried in school?!" I said yes. The student who had asked said, "I know why you cry. You cry because you care so much about us and sometimes we don't care about things at all."

I thought that was very astute.

Monday, March 7, 2011

"I'll remember someday all the chances we took/ we're so close to something better left unknown"

It sucks to not be able to date a cute boy because he doesn't love Jesus like he should...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Today one of my students asked me if I was a Christian. I confirmed his suspicions and he nodded seriously, almost disapprovingly as he said, "I thought so." I said, "Why do you ask, Q?" He said, "Because you care about animals. You care about people... You care about everybody!"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

There's just nothing in the world like coffee, pie and a cat after a 10.5 hour day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sometimes my students throw me for a loop. In good ways.

I'm trying to learn to focus on that.