Saturday, August 12, 2017

I am overwhelmed {with today's news}

Most of my blog titles contain the words "I tried" or "I am trying"
Today I simply, am.

I am overwhelmed with heart break, confusion, anger, compassion, and love.

A little over a year ago I wrote a blog about being the devil's advocate when it comes to black vs blue lives mattering.  A few months after that, during the election, I posted about loving all people.

Today, many of the same thoughts raise up in me.

Saying I am overwhelmed is the easy part.  I can not seem to find the words I am looking for as current history is taking place.  Today, everything I have been watching (Brene Brown/Vulnerability), reading and listening to, have all pointed to the same feelings within me.  Overwhelmed.

I was thinking it was irony.  God's too big for irony, my day was neatly woven by Him.

I keep typing half sentences, then holding down the delete button with vigor.

over. whelmed.

Pray for - the KKK - those that are racists, the men who claim to be superior.  For their darkness is not welcomed. That their hearts will break and love will fill their lost souls.  That truth and love will shine brighter than their torches.

Pray for - the injured and dead - as these marches and riots take place that lives can be spared and that peace will be restored.

Pray for - the families - of the victims and all that are involved.  That generations of hate will not breed anymore hate.  That generations of love can prevail.  That the armed services will find safety and be able to use knowledge over weapons. 

Pray for - the church - that we can come together and pray for these events, people, his kingdom. Be advocates. I pray that the church does not turn a blind eye. That the church will not stand with such atrocities.  But stand against.  When the dust settles, the history is written, that the church will come together picking up pieces. Hold the hands of those who hurt. Hug the ones who have lost. Pray with and for the ones who have hated. Supply the basic needs in replace of destruction. 

Pray for - Trump - he is our President, whether you like it or not.  We are asked to pray for our leaders. That his words will be humble and helpful.

Pray for - war - that is happening, has happened, and will happen.  Christians are currently at war, a peaceful war.  Lives and souls are at stake.  If our country continues to act the way it does, I am afraid we will be like Syria or any other war-torn country.  

Pray for - history - that it not does not repeat in its fullness.  Honestly, hate has never stopped.  From Biblical times, to WWII, to now... the shape of hate is the same and the darkness still exist.

Pray for - USA - that our country will not continue to fall apart in pieces as immaturity and ignorance tears apart the seams of this country.

Pray for - knowledge - that for people, like me, will be called to do what they need to.  Be it prayer, or to be active in Charlottesville, that all people will be armed with truth.

Be bold. Live loved.

I tried - reading lots of books! [August book review]

With a little extra down time, I was able to finish up July's second book, "Hoot," as well as read Philip K Dick's "The Man in the High Castle." Ambitiously, I plan on reading "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo - but.... with school starting very very soon... we will see how that comes along.

First, a short little write up about Hoot.  My dad gave me this book a long time ago, knowing that it was for young adult readers, or even elementary readers, he thought I would enjoy it to relate to my students.  I found out that the movie is, or was at one point, on Netflix and plan on watching it soon.

The book itself was an easy read.  Had cute relatable characters and a bit of mystery to the entire story (if you are 12).  Was it life changing, no not for a 30 year old.  Was it something I could easily pick up and put down for interruptions, yes.  Recommend this book, yes to the target audience or anyone that wants an easy read.  It was cute.

This book was a bit more difficult for me than Hoot was.   I am not for sure if it's because I tend to be a slow reader or if it was because there was a lot of "difference" to process through. Differences like, German and Japan names that I had to properly pronounce to develop characters.  Differences like, the time frame this took place was a real historical time, but yet futuristic as well.  Differences like, the geography was the same but ruled by other groups.

The differences were good though.  I really liked this book. 

The Man in the High Castle takes place in 1962 with an alternative outcome to the second world war.  Franklin D. Rosevelt was assassinated and therefore the journey for the USA to overcome the depression was never a success; causing Nazis Germany and Japan to win the World War II 15 years later, and take over other countries.

(Having this map might have been helpful, however, I was able to picture this in my head to some accuracy)

The book had several story lines and characters that overlapped one another and was neatly woven together.  The book not only offered an alternative outcome to war, but also within our science, technology, and anything the human race dealt with - the futuristic part - traveling at warped speeds from countries, studying and traveling/living on Mars the book was incredibly well thought out.

Two of the most intriguing parts of the book were:
1) The book did not take place in a Christian world, and because of the outcome of the war Christianity as a religion as well as American culture ceased and was replaced by German or Asian culture.  The historical 'book of changes' - the I Ching - has been China's ancient divination for centuries and it was the center belief for this story. Even though the Bible was only mentioned once, maybe twice, as an old USA artifact, the other cultures had Christian theology.  For example, at the end of the book Mr. Tagomi thinks "When I was a child I thought as a child.  But now I have put away childish things.  Now I must seek in other realms."  Starts off fairly biblical, but changes back to his current beliefs.  It was just interesting to see different religions and cultures mesh together.  It was sad at points, thinking that Nazis could have won the war and our 2017 state of living would be in hate.... but even in current news, we haven't come very far from this. 

2) One of the common trends, for many of the characters, was the book "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy" by the fictional character Hawthorn Abendsen - Ironically (for I just mentioned that TMITHC doesn't discuss much of the Bible or other Christian theology) is based off of the Bible's Ecclesiastes12:5.  Now, this fiction book in TMITHC,  follows what would have happened if Rosevelt escaped the assassination. A BOOK WITHIN A BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK. COOL.

With a quick google search I found out that in 2015 Chandler Duke did write "The Grasshoper Lies Heavy," a story that takes place in 1966 (4 years after TMITHC was written) about if the United States was actually ruled by four countries.  Whether Duke wrote this after reading High Castle, I am not for sure.  On Amazon, Chandler writes that he did have finally have a professional edit and read his book.  So I am not to for sure who much I want to invest in this book.

The book is good.  I would not have finished it if it wasn't.
The book is complicated - you have to not have distractions while reading it, or you'll miss important details.
The book is interesting.  I would have not read the book in a week.  I could not put this down.
The book is a tv show.... wait, what?  Yes - on Amazon Prime there are not one, but two seasons, of the Man in the High Castle.  

I eagerly can't wait to start watching them!  

If you like history, fiction, war, drama, culture, thought provoking outcomes, differences, than read Dick's, "The Man in the High Castle."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I tried - to control too much [August.... and September Goals]

As you may know, I am a teacher.  And with that comes certain responsibilities; like I have to enjoy summer.  It's a rule, I'm sure it's in my contract... right?

Well, summer was great! Yet, I am still looking forward to the job I love. As I speak about these events, it is as if it is over.  But... IT'S NOT!  I still have two weeks before I go back to work.  OKay, I have two weeks before students start filling my classroom, slowly becoming my own kiddos.

Here's the deal.  As much I have tried to post regularly about my goals each month, and also revisiting how I did the previous month - well, that's probably not going to happen at the start of the school year.

I can only control so much.  My life can not be constantly filled with schedules and to-do's.

My reflection on July... it was not restful.  Was it enjoyable?  Yes.  But I still did not find my rhythm that I was so looking for.  I didn't find my tribe you could say.  We were able to see a lot of our favorite people, went to several weddings and events, went on a trip as a family.  Had family stay with us for a week - life was jammed back... and NOT with rest.

I eagerly look forward to August for that reason.  Look forward to finding a good pace, a healthy stride for our family to tackle the first semester.

Yes, I have already tried to excel a schedule for my family.
Yes, I have already looked at our budget and what school supplies I want to buy my kiddos (students).
Yes, I am still thinking of goals and challenges to make myself better.

But something will always take priority while something else will slip away.  I don't want that. So here are my not-goals, but my life.

Goals set me up for failure - but, living life, well I can be successful at that. 

August Life:
Health - I am happy to report that I have lost and kept off about 10-15 pounds this summer (HUGE DEAL!) and I am going to keep doing what I am doing.  Sensible eating, focusing on eating clean healthy non-processed foods.   I am going to continue to find ways to challenge myself physically, including doing this as much as I can throughout the week.

(attempting to do longer plank, more push ups and might change lunges to leg lifts)

Book - I did read/finish Messy Grace for the month of July and about 1/2 way through Hoot.  Although I did not read both for July, I am about to go on another trip and should be able to knock out Hoot rather quickly.   For August my book is going to be The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick. It looks rather interesting and hopefully a page-turner.  For those days going back to work.... I am tired when I get home.    While we are talking about books I will add, for those who are curious, that I will be reading and leading an online group through Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts. This will take about 6 weeks and will find another book to read for September too! 

Scripture - although I am slacking at memorizing all of these, it's been great to be digging into the Word to find exactly what I am looking for.
Psalm 150:6
Colossians 3:12
Matthew 6:34
Isaiah 56:1
Proverbs 31:30
My wonderful husband also bought me the She Reads Truth Bible!  It weighs more than a new born baby, but that weight is because it's filled with knowledge and beauty.   My goal is to do their studies for Titus, Philmon and Hebrews and for September work on Proverbs.

Fall is my favorite.
I welcome you.
Giving up control.