Matters of Life and Death

I woke up last Sunday to the news that my mom (age 62) has cancer. Those of you who have gotten news like that know that it is a major perspective-changer. I know words this Sunday that I’d never heard of last Sunday – words like ‘peritoneal’ and ‘carcinomatosis’. I know about Stages and cancer centers and the fact that not all chemo is the same and wigs cost a ridiculous amount of money and some doctors are just not nice people. I also know that I have an amazing family – on all sides. I have wonderful friends – ones that I see often and ones I hardly see at all. I know that people who have walked this road before reach out and offer help and hope. I know that, when you get news like this, life-changing news, what...

Traditions vs. Truth

I just directed “Fiddler on the Roof” at my school. I’ll be honest – I was nervous about directing this beloved show. It was a massive undertaking by all involved. The biggest musical I have ever directed. But it turned out to be amazing! Other than that one cast member who chose not to show up to the performances, it was perfect! (Soap Box moment: folks, don’t ever do that to a director…or an employer…or anyone who is counting on you. You could end up blacklisted, fired, or worse – subtweeted on my blog!). Tevye, the main character, watches as his family and his village change before his eyes. His oldest daughter chooses her own husband! Without a matchmaker (*gasp*). Tevye wrestles with this, but decides a...

On Being an “Artsy” Christian

I am, and always have been, “artsy.” Growing up, I was pitiful at athletics and academics, but I excelled at drama and music. Songs speak to me. Standing on stage is fun. Standing on stage with people watching is really, really fun. There are great benefits to being artsy: I’ve never been nervous going into a job interview. I love being asked to speak to a group of people, and I am fairly adept at speaking extemporaneously. I am confident (most of the time), and it takes a whole lot to embarrass me. But there are also negatives: I spent a lot of years allowing other people’s opinions of me to determine my opinion of myself. So there were times I thought I was the greatest person on the planet and other times when I thought I was worthless.  I also spent a lot of...

Future Tense

Last year, a tradition started with the class of 2017 that we call “Circle Time”. There haven’t been a lot of Circle Times (I really do teach, I promise!), but when the need arises, we put English or Drama on hold and have a chat about concerns either the students or I have. A couple weeks ago, I felt God leading me to call a “Circle Time” with my seniors. I was seeing something that I have often seen in seniors – a tendency to be so focused on the future that they miss what is happening right now. I thought I’d bring this particular Circle Time discussion here, because I am confident that my students aren’t the only ones dealing with this issue. We can all get “future tense”. For the seniors, it’s...

If I Could Have Dinner With Anyone, Living or Dead…

Ever been asked that question? I know my answer… Judy Garland. She is my favorite entertainer and has been for as long as I can remember. I have watched all her movies, listened to all her music, and read every biography I can get my hands on. If you don’t know who she is (I am clutching my heart in pain at the thought), maybe this will help… If you still don’t know, then we just can’t be friends. Judy Garland was an amazing, one in a BILLION talent, but her personal life was disastrous. There are many reasons for that, the biggest of which seems to be that she was constantly seeking approval. She was happy when people liked her and depressed when they didn’t. When she sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” — her trademark song sung from the time she was 16...

Passing the Test

As a teacher, I recognize tests are important:Tests in my class, standardized tests, AP exams…None are perfect, mind you. But they do assist educators in understanding where our students are and where they need to be.  But did you know that God tests us, too? And, unlike tests we humans devise, God’s tests are perfect and accurate and always necessary. As I look back on this year, I realize it has been a series of tests. And, if I am perfectly honest, I have not done so well. I have chosen to complain when I should have chosen to rejoice. I have cried into my pillow when I should have cried out to God. I have blamed my feelings on others when I should examined myself. I have seen, in short, that I’m not nearly as “great” a Christian...