Friday, November 25, 2016

This Is Goodbye

At least for now...I am leaving this blog live in case anyone stumbles across it and is encouraged or likes what they see. Find me on Instagram or Facebook if you are looking for me. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Well Then

Or, a not-so-well-thought-out post that just kind of rambles, because it has been over six months since I wrote anything, and anyone who still reads this likely believes that I'm dead or missing in action.

Everything is turned upside down right now because this lovely little school doesn't have kids.

So I have been here since August (well, all summer really), trying to figure out what a teacher does with nobody to teach. It's been interesting.

I visited my best friend a lot over the summer, also visited family, took a class for my certification. Got a very mischievous ginger kitty from said best friend's family. ^_^ Read new books, enjoyed them, got new plants (currently have an African violet, an aloe vera, a basil, and a viney thing). Tried to recruit kids with not a whole lot of success.

Continued to repeat that last sentence indefinitely this fall. Did finally register one child officially for the January semester--yay!! Also heard that two will not be able to come back till next fall--hrmm. :/

Created a school website, chased my (proverbial) tail in circles over various projects, some of which were accomplished and some of which weren't, and here we are at the end of September and I have received a tentative offer to do a long-term substitute position somewhere in Georgia (the level of secrecy regarding location is both amusing and frustrating, you'd think it was classified CIA information). For various reasons I said yes (with my board chair's approval) and so I sit here and wait a final decision that will launch me southward, at least for a short period.

But I did talk to one of my eighth graders from last year, just yesterday, and she is in academy and doing well and enjoying herself. Which, I like to think, she would not be if it hadn't been for what we'd been able to do last year. So it was worth it, however it turns out.

I know this time will be, too. Some things just take longer to see results than others.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

When Love Shatters

It's a drippy, foggy week before Christmas and I am on a trail run in the woods behind my house (family's house, my second home--or maybe my first). Feet pound rhythmically and the questions fire beside and behind them. And foremost among the questions is one:

Why does love break?

Because I'd said before, I told it to my parents, what I'd been thinking for months now: Everything I touch shatters. The friendships, the love, the relationships, community, everything. Everything breaks, sooner or later, when I've touched it.

Why? All I did was love them. All I did was care. And it shatters. Time and time and time again, it breaks. Is it worth it, to keep loving? Is it right, to keep reaching out, when it will only cause them worse pain later? (And that's not even counting what it does to me.)

So my feet pound the trail and my heart pounds questions. The trail slopes downward and I break to a walk to save my knees. My prayer drifts out, mist into mist. "Why, God?"

And just like that, there's an answer that stops me cold; my feet freeze in the trail and I grab the nearest tree and hang on, like the force of the thought might knock me over if I'm not careful.

Love always shatters. 


Always, on earth. Because Love will always be colliding with evil. And that causes shattering.

The lyrics of a song drift into my head: "Love's like an ocean..."

Those waves--they roll on and on across the deep, strong but peaceful, gentle--until they reach the shore. That wave breaking, it can break you, it can kill you, it can drive you under, make you feel you're drowning. But it's not the wave that does that. It's the wave breaking. Striking the rock. Clashing with something completely opposite to itself.

Like Love. Like Love always is, always will be, as long as there is evil in the world.

Love's collision will break others, will break itself, will create a million pieces out of things that looked whole. But the only alternative is to abandon Love and choose evil. Because there is no middle ground, no safe walled-in place, not in this case.

And perhaps, as we choose, it's worthy to remember that sometimes, breaking is the only way to healing.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Love by the Wayside

I have wondered, in the dark damp days, Can love be wasted?

I see it lying by the wayside, after all, in the ditch, like a tossed away rag, like a child given up for dead. It looks wasted. It looks used-up. It looks dead. It looks as if it would be useless and inefficient and half-broken and hopelessly out-of-date, even if you could and did revive it.

But Love is not a rag and Love is not even a person. Love is greater than all of these.

Love is a seed. A seed that never dies because it is a piece of the very heart of God. And so when it appears used-up and dead and thrown away, that is the most magical time of Love. 

Because that is when Love grows. It sends out a root. It anchors itself deep. It brings out leaves, more roots, stems, and, eventually, it blooms. 

Oh, the birds will try to snatch it away. And the thorns will try to choke it out. And the winds will try to blow it away and sometimes they succeed. You know what? 

They only blow it somewhere else. Where it's dropped, and it looks dead once more, and then, bit by bit, it revives. 

Nothing that God IS will ever be wasted. Ever.

May He give us courage. Not only to be the seed, but to accept it. Not only to grow again, but to nurture what comes to us. Not only to love, but to be loved.  Because Love is never wasted.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Home

It's almost Christmas.

That makes twenty-three Christmases I've been through. That's a lot of holidays. A lot of "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night." A lot of packages. A lot of readings of Luke chapter two.

And I am home for Christmas. But not really. Allow me to explain...

Once upon a time, all of us were little. And once upon a time, all of us wanted nothing more than to grow up. To be on our own. To forge our own path into the wild, beckoning, rosy world.

Then we got there. And of a sudden it wasn't so rosy any more.

Everyone tells you of the bills to pay, the job to hold down, the lack of "freedom." But those are the easy parts of growing up. Bills can be earned. Jobs can be fulfilling. Freedom is a relative thing.

Nobody told eight- or ten- or thirteen-year-old you of the pain you'd encounter. Of the friendships you'd lose. Of the times you'd want so desperately to cry--but you couldn't. Of the long walks in the woods just trying to find your heart and maybe put two pieces back together again. Of the suffocating darkness that would strike at you from every corner. Nobody told you about all that.

I'm still not sure if they didn't tell us because they didn't know--or because they didn't know how to explain--or because they'd tried so hard to forget, that they did forget...

It doesn't really matter. We're here now, and there's a part of us that desperately wants to go back, to be a child again, to go home. But we can't. There's no turning the clock back. There's no stepping backward.

What does Christmas really mean when you realize you will never be home for Christmas again? That there's not a place in this world that is your true home?

Maybe--just maybe--it's remembering that once, two thousand years ago, a Baby was born into a world. A world that, though He'd made it, would never, ever be His real home. Yet He chose to be born here, He chose to live here, He chose to die here--

So that, Someday, we could go Home. Home for Christmas. Home for eternity.

Because it wouldn't have been home for Him--without us.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Bible class is always the hardest.

Oh, and I know why too. *Someone* isn't happy with any focus on the Bible or on our relationship with God. And thus it increases my prayer life, not knowing what I'm going to talk about until Friday or Sunday! ;)

This last week, praying (again) for inspiration, especially after stumbling across a revealing Bible journal entry by one of my kids, I was impressed by a thought:

Story, Bri. 

What story? I don't have stories.

Sure you do. 

THOSE stories? Oh my kids love stories. They don't care what it's about either. The magic words "I'm going to tell you a story..." get them all quiet and staring rapturously, no matter how uninteresting the story itself might be. But...really God?

Those stories.

 On my walk, I started thinking...God redeems everything. Every fall, every stumble, every pain and tear shed. And He has wired our hearts and souls for hearing stories. Even His Word is primarily stories. Perhaps story--our story--our testimony of His faithfulness--is the primary way He redeems the past.

So why should we be reluctant to tell, even though it may be raw and unpolished and stumbling? Why should I hesitate to share how He has worked and is working, even if it isn't "amazing"? Maybe, just maybe, the common everyday life stories of God's little and big providences are what we are missing.

Maybe, just maybe, some more of them should be told.

What's your story today?
What's mine?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

IRL: A Thursday (Head Teacher Version)

It's 7:50 and I finish my e-mail to Mom and step outside my office. Turn on lights, unlock the front door, re-lock the inside door. Check over my lesson plans to make sure I have everything. Go back to the office. I've been here an hour now, been up for three and a half, and there are probably at least eight more to go. They'll fly, though--I know that much for sure. Having no more than half an hour of sustained "focus time" on one element of one subject makes for a fast-moving day. (Yes, I set it up that way on purpose...)

At four the kids will probably be gone (earlier if I'm lucky), and I'll have (hopefully) finished most of the grading while I wait for them to leave (perks of having a class of only six students!). Then it's attendance records, final grading, and plugging in the grades, organizing some sort of structure out of the chaos that seems to plague my steps (regardless of what others may see), and making phone calls as I drive to see my horse, hopefully leaving before 4:30 so it's not too late when I get back. I think most of what a principal/head teacher does is phone calls and e-mails. And paperwork. And putting out "fires."

If I'm lucky, I'll get to River's "house" by 5:15 or so, and spend a while with him before leaving around 6:30 for the drive home (in the dark, trying desperately to stay awake). I'll get home around 7 or a little later--wash dishes, take a shower, eat an apple and some peanuts (my superfoods), make tea, and crash on the couch to call my parents, drink my tea, spin, and try to recharge my batteries. Music practice until sometime after 9, and then bed.

And that is a day in the life. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What It Means

"Still Path"
"What does following in God's steps mean to you? And what happens when you do follow in His steps?"

Good questions, dear friend. I've been pondering them all week.

And as I sit here at the near-end of a week of rain, listening to music to fill the silence in my empty house, worn from a week of late nights and early mornings, trying not to think about how I miss my friends, overwhelmed with a hundred responsibilities, it's a little hard to see the light as I usually do. But I can say one thing with confidence.

For me, following God's steps means two words. Or actually, four:

Caring more. For healing.

More than is comfortable. More than is convenient. More than is necessary. More than others have. More than others will, or could, or should.

And yet, just caring isn't enough. You can care, and break. You can care, and wound. Horribly. And then it is better not to care at all.

So true caring must be always focused on healing. And that means receiving everything--every heartthrob, every touch on the shoulder, every smile, every tear, every note on the to-do list, every e-mail, every meeting, everything--from the ultimate Healer. Because as people, we are the Wounded. And without Him, we wound.

But praise God, with Him, we can heal.

What happens when I follow? Loneliness. Exhaustion. Emptiness. Sure. You read my third paragraph. But so much more. So much more. When they don't fill (because they never do), He does. Sunsets and stars. Full moons and foggy mornings. Flowers in the fields. Cool breezes. Storms sweeping down across the lake. Thunder and rain. So much beauty it literally hurts. Richness.

And, ultimately, a dream of the certain Victory to come. That's what it means.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

IRL: Triumphs

There are days when I just love being a teacher.

Days when I go to church and get hugs from my kids and words of affirmation and encouragement from families.

Days when our Bible class is filled with questions and searching and going back to the Word for answers.

Days when my six kiddos are sprawled in the window seats reading their Bibles (for some of them, it's probably their first time having personal worship every day), and the sun streams in, and piano music floats in the background, and for a moment all is quiet.

Days when they get ridiculously excited about our lesson on a strong literary character.

Days when I bring a problem to them for class discussion and they solve it themselves (with a little help).

Days when I watch them get involved at church and my heart swells with joy as if I were their parent, not "just" their teacher.

Discouragement is one of my biggest setbacks--and it's something the devil throws at me almost daily. And so I hoard up these moments and days and look back on them.

"But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." (Ps. 77:10)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Day Breaks

The sky is pink and orange over the eastern horizon.

I lean against the window seat and watch it. There's a moment of stillness in the hectic pace of life. The color shifts and fades and grows again, almost alive.

A thousand heart-stirrings surge inside. Someday I will have to leave this place. And though I love it here, I hope I leave soon.

Not for another school. Not for a marriage or for another job. Someday soon, I hope to leave because I'm not allowed to be here longer. Because only a short time after that, I'll stand and watch another sun rise. Watch a day break in which I know there'll be no end.

Soon, He will come. And the sunrise won't compare.

Oh, may the Day break soon.

But in the meantime, may it break in my heart every morning, as I watch the sun rise.