Well, I don't know if anyone noticed or not, but I think I was doing pretty good at January-blog-a-day'ing until Day 21. Two lame excuses:
- The topic for the day ("Create a mood board") really threw me. I think this was a Pinterest reference? I'm not sure. But I confess I have no idea what a mood board is, or how to create one. I was stumped for days.
- This week really kicked my butt ... extremely busy, big projects at work, I was on point to lead a major Bible study for Pulse, and to top it all off I had major computer issues. Today's the first day I've had any real time to think.
I thought about just giving up. But rather than do that, I think I'll just take my lumps ... address days 21 through 24 here, in a single post, and then do the remaining three days tomorrow ... then pick up on Monday as if nothing happened. (Perhaps no one will notice? :) ) So, here goes ...
Day 21 - Create a Mood BoardWell, as stated above, I have no idea how to do a mood board. But, I have something almost as good (at work), and that's a mood calendar. Each day when I arrive at my desk, I thumb through it's pages and try to pick a mood that is closest to my true mood. Perhaps as a warning to those who might come lurking around my desk.
And, the one that I seem to pick most frequently is "copascetic." I'm not entirely sure what it means, but I think it's sort of a cross between "just chillin'" and "no complaints, at peace with the world, but can't wait until it's quitting time."
There's one that I will probably use sometime but I haven't used yet: "Wonky." Seems to mean a little askew, off-kilter, twisted, perhaps goofy. I have days like that, I just haven't been able to admit them yet. Soon.
Day 22 - KidsPsalm 127:3-5a says:
3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
I used to wonder in what twisted alternate reality that verse could possibly be true. But, while teaching a class in the Psalms with a friend at church a few years back, I think the way in which that verse is God's truth suddenly came to me: Because having children is most adults' cue to stop thinking just about themselves. When you have a child, suddenly, it's no longer about you. You start to learn how to really love. And that means, you become just a little bit more like God is (unselfish!).
The fact is, having kids is both the greatest joy and reward, and also the greatest pain and humiliation, sometimes simultaneously. I have two awesome kids: My son Nathan just turned 30, and my daughter Mandy is now a mom herself and approaching 28. I love them both dearly (and equally). I fret and worry about them a lot, and pray for them a lot, probably more than I fret, worry, or pray for anyone. The greatest fear and pain I've known is being helpless while watching Nathan (as a one-year-old) get a spinal tap because the doctors didn't know why he was so sick and wondered if he might have meningitis. (Thankfully, he did not. They never found out what it was ... God just healed him up, as He so often does.)
And, we had lots of similar scares with Amanda (as all parents inevitably do), though none quite that serious.
There are also the "spiritual scares" ... when your kids make a bad choice, get in trouble, push God away. You wish you could help them avoid the pain of the lessons you yourself learned the hard way.
But I am truly thankful for my kids. I can clearly see how they have driven me closer to the heart of God. And I am praying that they too will someday experience all that God has to bless them with, through their own children.
Day 23 - DessertWell, yeah, this one's super easy. Almost anything made out of chocolate will do.
But Real Chocolate is dark, and semisweet, and pairs well with all kinds of things (especially nuts and fruit, and coffee!). If you really want to impress me with dessert, make me a "Death by Chocolate" cake!
Day 24 - Teachers
We all have our favorite teachers. In elementary school, it was Mrs. Chapman, my third grade teacher. She was one of those who, even while being strict, really knew how to communicate that she loved and cared about each student. My most vivid memory in her class was the day when some evil fellow students put a bag of maggots in her desk. I think she had a weak stomach. She discovered it, took it out, held it high and to the light. Then suddenly, with a look of horror on her face, she fled the classroom. We heard her puking out in the bushes in front.
I looked at those students whom I knew did the dastardly deed. They look incredibly ashamed of themselves at that moment.
Then Mrs. Chapman came back into the classroom, the bag gone, dabbing at her mouth with a hanky. Somehow she managed to pick back up again like nothing ever happened. She never said a word about the incident to anyone ... and didn't need to. It never happened again.
In high school my favorite teacher was an English teacher in the 11th grade. For the life of me, I can't remember her name at the moment ... but the reason I liked her was because, as I mentioned in an earlier post, behind my back she was reading my poetry to the other classes. And that's what first reached out and caught a grip on the heart of the beautiful young woman who later became my wife. I think we might have gotten together anyway ... but that initial push in my direction certainly didn't hurt.
Then in college, at Biola University, I can't pick between three favorite professors. One was Dr. Gordon Kirk, who taught theology classes and was the most authentic, dynamic, amazing communicator I ever sat under. No one doubted that Dr. Kirk was utterly and deeply in love with the Word of God, and the God of the Word.
The second was the professor who was in charge of my major (print media communication), Dr. Lowell Saunders. He wasn't the most dynamic communicator in the world, but he was a very hands-on mentor and I learned so much from him. One class I'll never forget was his amazing "Writing for Personal Enrichment" class. The principles I learned there I still use to this day.
After a very noteworthy tenure as Biola's president, Dr. Cook passed away in April 2008. I miss him and will always be grateful for his contribution to so many lives, including mine.
Tomorrow: el-oh-vee-ee, winter/summer, and regret!