Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Song

I know there are a lot of haters out there, but I personally love the much-viewed, overly-played "Friday Song" by Rebecca Black.  Just to occasionally annoy my 8th grade students...I've been known to play it in my classroom...on Friday, of course!

Just to occasionally annoy my spouse...I've been known to belt out, "Fun, fun, fun, fun!" and "We so excited!  We so excited!"...on more days than just Friday.  Let me just say:  annoying accomplished.  He kindly drove me to my grad class the other night (2 more courses, 2 more courses, I think I can, I think I can...) and at one point said, "Honey, you have to stop it with the 'Friday Song'...I'm serious."  He was serious.  I stopped.  For a while.

It's Friday today.  My district is out of school. Other than my yearly check-up with the doctor this morning (incidentally, not "Fun, fun, fun, fun!") I have a neat day planned.  Lunch with the hubby - which will be a treat even though he will surely shut down my, "...I got this, you got this, my friend is at my right..." And tonight and tomorrow we actually get to attend an awesome couples' event with a bunch of cool people - including my son and his bride-to-be. 

But, this week, most of us know "Friday" is special.  It's significant.  It's good.  Very good.

You don't need a three point sermon from the likes of me about Good Friday and what it means.  Maybe you just need a simple reminder - like I did earlier today -  to drink in all that Christ as done for us.

Because of what happened on Friday...we get to celebrate on Sunday.  (Which the "Friday Song" taught me comes "afterwards" Saturday...thanks, RB!) And though I love to have fun more than just about anyone I, I am experiencing waves of very somber, emotional gratitude when I think of Christ on the cross...on Friday.  And I'm tearfully saying, "thank you," I get really excited about the salvation that has been afforded me and overwhelming joy kicks back in! 

The old preachers used to proclaim, "It's Friday...but, Sunday's coming!" when referring to Easter Weekend, and I always loved the way people in the congregations would respond to the proclamation.  Shouts, hand was awesome. 

I guess they were saying then what I catch myself singing today...

"Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend!"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Whistle While You What?

Like most good Americans, I love practically anything that's Disney.  However, there are a few D-deals that I don't feel all that magical about.  Like waiting in line for an hour and a half to get Donald Duck's autograph for three, small, sweaty, fussy boys...only to have Donald go on "break" two frustrated families ahead of you.  And while most of the music attached to the Mouse is amazing, for the past two days I have not been able to get that stupid, "Whistle While You Work" song out of my head and, believe me, these have not been days in which I felt like whistling.

My job is one that requires my spending large amounts of time with junior high students.  Well, for those of you who maybe haven't glanced at a calendar in a's April.  It's that not-so-magical-time between Spring Break and Last Day of School.   On the Crazy Meter of Life, I am somewhere between "I need a Dr. Pepper - STAT!" and "I need a Dr. Phil - STAT!"

Maybe it's more me than the kids.  Maybe it's more my disposition than my position.  Oh, man...I sound like a plaque.  I think I'm a hard worker.  I think I do my best at all times.  I think I'm giving 100%.  I think a lot of things in my little, magical, Disney-like, unrealistic mental-world.

Crud.  It probably isn't my job.  It most likely isn't even the students I work with.  I know it isn't the pretty long-suffering co-workers that lovingly tolerate my "uniqueness."  Yup.  Pretty sure it's me.  Crud.

In a time where many teachers are looking and praying for positions...I have one.  In a time where adults are competing with teens for minimum-wage jobs and dreaming of benefits...I can go to my yearly check-up (another thing I like to complain about "getting" to do) next week and merely cough-up a small co-pay.  It's official...I'm kind of a jerk sometimes.

God, forgive me for not waking up this morning and saying, "Thank you for my job!  Thank you for an opportunity to pour into the lives of young people!  Thank you for allowing me to impart some of what I've learned to others! Wow!  This is going to be a great day!"  (Cue:  whistling.)

Look at what I came across today of all joke:  "Be very careful then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.  Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:15-20

In a biggish nutshell:  Be careful, live as a wise person would, make the most of every opportunity, don't rely on or indulge in temporal things that lead to harm, be filled with the Spirit, speak from the Spirit, sing and make music...and give thanks for everything.

And every once in a while, when you're making that music, maybe try throwing in a little whistle.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It Wasn't Me...It Was Julie!!

I have worked with kids forever it seems.  And I have forever been harping on them to take responsibility for their actions and to stop making excuses. Darn kids.  Why can't they be more like us adults?

Okay, I'm being sarcastic.  At least about the part where the kids should be like us.  Well, at least when it comes to making excuses.  It doesn't matter how old we are, being responsible takes some work.  It takes some effort.  And there's the rub.

One of my favorite excuse lines is from a movie and it goes something like this, "It wasn't me!  It was Julie!"  I won't elaborate, but it's my go-to statement when I'm being a big baby and don't want to take responsibility for something. I'm not alone in this battle to be more responsible, aside from the kiddos, there are lots and lots and lots of people in the world who just don't want to take responsibility in any way, shape or form.  It can range from relationship issues (always blaming the mean, uncaring husband) to giving boundaries to our children ("Junior is just acting demon possessed because he's tired and teething.  I know he's 12, but really...tired and teething...") to a million reasons why we don't eat right or take care of ourselves.

I hear a lot of excuses in my classroom like, "I'm tired, Mrs. Weaver, do we have to do work?  I stayed up until 4 AM playing 'Call of Duty' and I just can't do this English stuff you want me to do today!"  Yesterday, in kids' church, I heard a great one.  When asked why a youngster jumped about six feet out of his chair at an inappropriate time, the answer was, "I fell!"  Don't you hate when you projectile fall from your chair?  Me, too.

But, I can't just come down on the kids.  I started a diet...I know...because I need to, but my reason for putting it off until now is that I've had a very stressful year or two. (Did you hear the pathetic, whiny sound in my voice?) I'm teaching, doing stuff at church, writing, finishing my master's degree, sending kids to college, going to the high school kid's "stuff", being a pastor's wife, being a regular wife, still settling in after a move.

Okay, I just read back over that and it's pretty weak.  Kind of embarrassing.  Actually, all of those supposed roadblocks to my eating properly are truly amazing blessings in this life.  Crud.  When it comes to excuses...I got nuthin'.

I mean, my kids at college...they're making me eat extra butter?  How about finishing that degree?  My professors are sending subliminal messages for me to drink Dr. Pepper?  Um, I don't think the fact that they are "doctors" really has anything to do with my extreme consumption of the beverage.  Going to Klay's baseball game tomorrow evening somehow warrants my going to the concession stand and eating chili cheese fries?  (Okay, let me get back to you on that is a double-header, you know.)

Kid behavior and adult eating habits are easy targets in the world of excuse making.  I actually hide behind them this evening as I have bigger issues.  Wow.  I think I'm excusing my excuses. I have degrees of excuses. This is sad.

Today, I lost a coworker.  She was very good to me and I appreciated her friendship.  Right after we received the news of her passing, my first thought was, "I wish I would've spent more time with her, but we were all so busy."  Yuck.  Seriously?  What am I so busy with?  Coming up with the cure for cancer by Easter?  Could that stack of papers have waited five more minutes once in a while so that I could ask her how she was really doing and then actually listen to her full response? Oh, I'm not beating myself into the ground.  I actually purpose and do a fair job checking up on people...letting them know I care.  But, could I do better?  Yes, I could.  No excuses.

If that last little bit wasn't heavy enough for you, let me take it one step further.  Excuses?  In light of the cross of got nuthin'.

Okay, Lord.  You know it and I know it.  It isn't always Julie.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Long John Silver's with LYLAS for Lent

Ah, Lent.  Growing up Protestant in the 70's and 80's with Catholic best friends, I have to say that the term "Lent" was synonymous with one thing for me.  And no, it wasn't Easter.  It was fish on Friday's.  At Long John Silver's.

Many a Friday night when we were in high school, Carolyn, Erica and I would go grab a pizza before hanging out with various other friends.  But, during pepperoni pie at Pizza Hut.  During Lent...two piece fish in a tray with extra batter crumbly Long John Silver's. 

I was cool with this as I'm a good eater regardless of what's in the feed bag you strap on me.  And supporting my friend's was also cool as we all loved God and hey, we were all about LYLAS.  We were abbreviating long before texting.  You know...LYLAS..."love ya' like a sister"?  Come on.  You knew that, right?

Well, it seems that in the church world today, everybody is talking a lot more about Lent...regardless of denominational affiliation.  And anytime people are highlighting all that Christ has done for us...both my thumbs are way up!

But, just as we decide each December that the joy of Christmas (that overwhelming feeling we have at the thought of God coming to this crusty planet in the form of one of ultimately give of Himself to save us...) should be something we experience all year long, I've been thinking along the same lines about the sacrifice of Easter.  That overwhelming feeling we have at the thought of God coming to this crusty planet in the form of one of ultimately give of Himself to save us.  Oh, I already typed that, didn't I?  Good.  Meant to.

For some reason this week, not only have I been drawn to Philippians 2 in the New Testament, but I found out just a little bit ago that my hubby and youngest son have been camping there a bit as well.  Every time I struggle with too many thoughts of myself and too little anything for anyone else...this chapter snaps me out of it.  As Lent is that lining oneself up with Christ's example of prayer, fasting and self-denial, Philippians 2 is a powerful reminder that we should be lining ourselves up with His example every second of our lives.  Not just during this amazing season.

Struggling with self?  Who isn't?  (If you just said, "I'm not!" then I will write a blog next year entitled, "Long John Silver's with LYLAS for Lent and All You Liars Out There"...)  We are, after all, flawed beings on this crusty planet.  But, because of a great and loving Creator, Savior, Healer, Friend, we are hopeful beings on this crusty planet who have been called to be carriers of an incredible gift found through this example...

"Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His advantage; rather He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!"  Philippians 2:6-8

Ah, Lent.  I still LYLAS my girls and if I could fly Erica in from Boston and get Carolyn and I out of our respective school duties at decent times, I would happily drive us all to Long John Silver's tomorrow night.  But, even if that can't happen, how cool is it that we can still all remember and follow Christ's example of self-sacrifice and giving of ourselves not just at Lent, but all year long.  All life long.