Friday, April 29, 2011

The Highlight of My Day

My first period might be my favorite class. It's a class full of kid's whose focus isn't usually on school. Half the time they don't get to class until 15 minutes unto the period...So I work with the few I have until the rest come. It's a regular class, so with it comes the struggle to motivate them. But I love them so much because for some reason we get along and they usually cooperate with me so that I can help them get to where I need them to be. We've been reading Night lately, and the kids in first period are mesmerized.

I have one boy I've been working with to get to school on time. He has a really hard time, but this morning he burst in about five minutes late and exclaimed, "Ms. J! You haven't started reading yet have you?! I can't stop thinking about this book so I hurried to get here!"

I can't tell you what that did for my heart.

Thank you Elie Wiesel for sharing your experiences in a way that my students can connect to them.

I would also like to take this moment to brag on J for finally learning to write his name in cursive. (I taught him that!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Oh for grace"

I watched Stardust tonight. My Mom was appalled by the use of witchcraft in the movie and asked that I never bring it home again. It's a story about a quest that a young man goes on to find a star to bring in back, proving his love to the woman he is desperate to win. Because the kingdom is magical, the star becomes a girl named Yvaine when she hits the ground. I won't give away any endings.

I love the story because in the end, Yvaine's light empowered by the realization that she is loved is what literally overpowers the evilness of the witch. I think that that is such a metaphor for the lives that we live. When we our confident that our Father loves us, it empowers us to move with boldness into places of darkness that we couldn't otherwise stand a chance against.

Today my students in sixth period were talking about me. (in front of my face) T said, "Ms. Jackson's smile is bigger than she is." and C responded by saying, "Ms. J is so genuine. When she smiles, I always know that she means it."

So often I feel so discouraged by everything that I encounter. I often feel like I screw up, and that I am such a poor representation of the Savior that I love. I feel if I'm not doing a good job, I shouldn't be there. I'm grateful for the moments when it seems like my students can see Christ in me. There have been several times this year, when my students have said something about me and I can only know in my heart that they glimpsed Jesus. It's really humbling.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Post 443

My parents live in a little house in the country on a few acres of land. I have always been enthralled with playing in the woods. As a kid, I had forts and trails to aid me in my adventure seeking in my backyard. Saturday I decided I would go and wander back so that I could be alone. As I walked through my old forest haunts, I asked God to show me a flower that I'd seen as a kid so that I would know how much he loved me.

I walked back nearly to the other edge of the woods, looking and looking. It became more and more apparent how silly my request had been. I was reminded of something else I used to do as a kid. I remember sitting in the car, looking out the window saying to God, "If you love me, will you have 5 geese fly by?" As if the Lord of Heaven who sent his only Son needed to prove himself to tiny, ant-like Emily.

I felt God say to my heart, "Don't you know that I made all of this to tell you how much I love you?" And I felt a twinge of disappointment.

Then I looked down.


That's just the kind of God that he is. He didn't need to put that flower there. All of his creation screams his pleasure with me-- that's why he put it there. But he also takes pleasure in the details of wooing my heart. Not always does he show up like that, but sometimes he puts beautiful woodland flowers right in my path to satisfy my childish heart's asking to prove how much he loves me.

[I was overcome with joy and went racing back to the house to drag my Dad off his computer into the woods to see my flower.]
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wonder Women

Our small group has been telling personal histories lately. I've been reflecting on my relationship with John lately. John went to school in Illinois and so I had the advantage of dating someone and still being able to invest in relationships like crazy. Also because I was dating someone, I didn't feel the need to try to form friendships with guys. I see that the Lord gave me such a beautiful time to focus on developing relationships with ladies that I am still good friends with today. These ladies went on to be my roommates my Junior and Senior year.

I am so grateful for this time, and for these ladies that I love a lot.

I'm really excited because I already have trips planned to have adventures with 3 out of 4 of these girls this summer. I cannot wait and I hope that as I continue to get older that I will be able to continue in my relationships with these wonderful women.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Juxtaposition of the Cross

Juxtaposition [juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn]
1. an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison.
2. the state of being close together or side by side.

Last night my family went to the Good Friday service at church. As we quietly came into the dimly lit sanctuary, verses scrolled across the screen up front. What struck me most about these verses was the juxtaposition of love, peace, healing and the violence of the cross of Christ. It reminded me of another contrast: the contrast of Adam and Jesus Christ. Adam couldn't free himself of sin. He couldn't even resist choosing his own way over the way God had told him to do things. Jesus was sinless and yet he took the punishment that Adam needed. Last night JD spoke about the reason Jesus needed to die. It wasn't to show his love, it was because sin has consequences that must be paid. Jesus took all the punishment that I should have had instead he was faced with Hell (which is ultimate separation from his Father). Through all that pain and suffering, I am free from the sin that kept me from God. I think that's something that is so attractive about Christianity: God, who was perfect, gave up everything because it brought him joy to redeem back his creation through the only way he could: his Son. That's a God I can follow - not angry or manipulating. A God so motivated by the need to reconcile things, and to exact justice that he allowed his Son to be the sacrifice.

It sounds really crazy. And I believe it with all my heart. And I'm glad that it doesn't end there or I would be really depressed. I'm glad that Jesus has the power over death.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I think Adele is mesmerizing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

[sometimes it's really hard to be an adult in a teenager's world.]

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

on going to social functions alone

it's not so much the act of going somewhere alone. i go plenty of places alone: the store, the coffee shop, to work, to church on occasion, to the doctor.

i think it's having to hassle someone to go to the chorus concert, to the basketball games, or the football games, and worse still to go with me to chaperon a dance. i hate going through a list of boys who would go with me, but not read too much into my invitation.

the good news is that mrs. kayler agreed to be my "date" to prom. I'm glad for friends that don't make me so lonely and lame.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The delightful mundane

I took today off because I had to get shots for Uganda from the health dept!

Here is my list of things to do:

get shots [check!]
make refried beans [check!]
plan some lessons
clean out the closet
take a nap [check!]
call doctor's office to get them to fax records to new doctor's [check!]
make a doctor's appt
go to the bank [check!]

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Things I want to do before I die:

Have foster children
Have my own children
Teach in another country
Write a book
Go back to Mexico
Go to graduate school
Learn another language
Lead someone to Christ ( God willing )
Memorize a book of the Bible
Fall in love and learn to live it out for 70 some years
Learn to be not easily angered, full of love in every manner
Go backpacking
Go on a road trip
Grow a tree
Be in a play
Go to Africa and work with orphans
See NY skyline
Watch a parade from a hotel window

I revisit my untouched list of things to do before I die every now and then and find that I've scratched not much off of it. I am excited to say that this summer I will check two things off of it: Go to Africa and work with orphans, and go on a road trip.

Let me tell you how wildly excited I am:
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[more than that.]

Guess I just have to keep living so I can experience more and more of my adventures.

Things to do in Greensboro

Weatherspoon Art Museum [check.]
Elsewhere [check.]
Grasshoppers game [check.]
Greensboro Arboretum [check.]
Greensboro Bicentennial Garden [check.]
N.C. Zoo [check.]
Greensboro Historical Museum
Greensboro Children's Museum
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
Greensboro Symphony
Greensboro Opera Company
Triad Stage
Blandwood Mansion
Mendenhall Plantation
Natural Science Center [check]
Tannenbaum Historic Park
Walking tour of downtown Greensboro with headphones
Bog Garden