Saturday, April 18, 2015

What's in a Grade?

Why do grades matter so much to me?  I love learning and do not think about grading when I am doing 99% of my assignments, yet, I stalk the grade book for the grades to be posted!

I am taking two independent studies this session, working hard on finishing up some required classes I need.  They are the first independent studies I have taken and I had no idea what to expect.

I feel a little like Calvin does:

My two professors are about as different as night and day when it comes to assignments and grading; not that one is better or worse than the other, just different.  I am enjoying both classes and stress equally over grades in both classes.
Most of my professors have challenged me in amazing ways and I can say the same about the two I have now.  Challenging me to think deeper, write clearer, and express my thoughts better are common occurrences in my classes; and I love it! 
Many of my assignments do not have a right or wrong answer.  If I follow the instructions and do the work well, I get full credit (yes, a 100%).  I follow the instructions, check the requirements a couple of times and spend a good deal of time on the assignments (just ask my family). 
So, I have only had three classes where there were assignments with true "right" or "wrong" answers.  Through all of my classes, I have maintained a 4.0 since my time at Barclay began a year ago, 39 credits in three semesters.  So, when I read about Calvin and his 75% being a "C," I hear his argument, and like most arguments Calvin has, it is worth listening to:

 In fact, I wonder if any of my professors keep a bottle of Maalox or TUMS with them when they read my e-mail responses to their comments; especially when it has to do with my grades. 
I will admit to having one of my teachers double check a couple of grades and then I did my own calculating of the entire class and had the good sense to be embarrassed when I saw that I had a 98% and I was asking her to check a few other grades... she did and corrected an error (I corrected an assignment), graciously.  She did not tell me she rolled her eyes or sighed heavily but, again, I wonder if she upped her TUMS intake while I was her student.

So, when I got a 98% on a big project this week, my first response was to wonder what I did wrong.  God gave me the gift of perfecting things, but really, I need to breathe more.  I need to enjoy the whole process, not stress over an A grade, work hard, but enjoy the ride, too.
My identity is not my GPA.  It's not my credit score, my driving score, or my income.  Doing the best I can and remembering that I am a child of the King is what matters. 
One of my teachers told me, "It's okay to have high expectations of yourself.  Just don't let those expectations get in the way of learning."
I'll re-read this post as needed... Thank you very much.
#dontsweatthesmallstuff #itsallsmallstuff #perfecting #identityinChrist

Monday, April 13, 2015

Women in Church Leadership

How did Paul really feel about women in leadership in the early church?  Growing up Quaker, I have been affirmed my entire life that God ministers to and through women; not just to women and children but to anyone and everyone...including TO MEN! Gasp!

In one of my current classes, I am doing an in depth study through Paul's letters (except Romans).  I want to share with you my thoughts on what Paul really thought of women in leadership in the church.

 Seeing the importance that Lydia played in Paul’s missionary work and was quite possibly “a missionary before Paul met her” (Polhill, p. 161) reinforces my belief that God uses women in leadership.  It is interesting to me that she is the one described, not her husband or father.  “Lydia was a major player in the Philippian church’s pattern of supporting Paul financially” (p. 162).  Polhill goes on to state that “one is also impressed with the extensive role that women played in the Philippian church…” (ibid).  It is always encouraging for me, a woman in leadership and pastor, to see evidence of women in leadership in the early church.  Another example of women leaders is found in chapter 3 when Paul addressed the two women who were “‘contending’ together with him in the gospel” (p. 175).  Polhill describes them as possible “leaders of house churches” (ibid). 
 My professor's response thrilled my soul, "The many obvious examples of the empowerment of women in leadership in the Pauline epistles and Acts give us ample reason to assume that these women were in fact leading at all levels from the early days of the church." 

Paul not only acknowledged the women in leadership in the early church, he encouraged them in their roles, accepted them as pastors and missionaries and made no distinction between them as female leaders and the male leaders in his letters. 

Quakers have long held women in the same light as men.  I am thankful that I was raised in a home that encouraged me to be the leader God made me and continues to support me today as I journey down the road of church leadership, ministering, and life. 

Works cited

Polhill, J. (1999). Paul and his letters.  Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman. 

#Quakerwomen #Womenpastors #womeninleadership #Paulandwomen 

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Flopped, and Not Like a Bunny

They said the road to hell is paved with good intentions... but I say it's paved with too many good ideas from Pinterest!  Not that I'm on the road to hell because of Pinterest; I am not on the road to hell at all.  Never mind, let me try this again.

I began Lent with this AWESOME idea I saw on Pinterest.  It was a wonderful idea.  It fulfilled many of things I desire our daily life to be - about loving others and expressing that love. 

Then life happened.  This is one of the last #RAK we did.  It was fun!  The kids enjoyed it and we left before we saw any of the dollars were found.  We were sneaky and it was something the kids really felt a part of.  The last #RAK we did was taping bags of quarters to washing machines at the laundry mat in the poorer part of town.  We had a great conversation about owning washers and dryers and expenses.  We enjoyed the #RAK and expressing our love. 

Then I got sick.  I was down for three days and got behind in other things and #RAK took a vacation.  I had every intention of filling spring break with TONS of #RAK but... one day turned into another and soon break was over. 

Today is the last day of Lent.  I totally flopped on the whole #RAK family activity.  I just had to tell you.  It began good, but..., well, it ended. 

Another confession?  I tried to wake and pray at 7:03 like I was challenged to.  I failed.  I slept snoozed through the #Ifpray703 alarm so many times that pretty soon, I stopped setting it.  TOTALLY FLOPPED!!!! 

We followed through on ONE thing during Lent this year. And you know what?  It was THE MOST IMPORTANT of all.  We did the #LentChallenge and read through the four Gospels as a family.  WE DID IT!  It was, by far, the most important time we spent together as a family and of all the things we could have completed, I am filled with joy that this is the one we finished. 

So, in true fashion of keeping it real, I pretty much dropped the ball on everything but reading the Bible and I am at complete peace with that. 

We did the best we could and when push came to shove, we kept the right priority.

He is Risen!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Javi Posts

Because I can, today's post is in honor of my baby's 8th birthday.  Scrolling through past posts, I did the leg work for you and if you want to take a trip down memory lane, just start clicking on the links!

Two Babies - a look into the life of Javi and Zorro

Paco and Javi - days gone by.

Javi's birth announcement!  I read it to him each March 12th, including this morning.

Turning one!

Two years old!

Playing in the tree box!

Compassion Brother and new Bible.

I now know I lost the battle to his fingers.

I could do this all day but homework is calling me and today is a busy day, with it being a special someone's birthday! 

Enjoy this sweet video of Java singing a song he wrote:

I will close with saying this young man loves Jesus and while we are reading through the Gospels for Lent, his heart has hurt so many times over the way Jesus was treated.  He hates to cry in front of others but his heart is tender and he is full of compassion.  He is one of the blessings I count every day.

Friday, February 27, 2015


As an advocate at heart, I have to continually be aware that I need to be careful to not make "my issues" my family's issues by force.  That can be hard when I am passionate about something and am "fired up" on behalf of others. 

Last year, I did not say much to my family about the #enditmovement. This year, I read the blog post I wrote yesterday to them during our #LentChallenge and reflection time last night.  We talked about the different types of slavery and what are some things we can do to make a difference.  One way is supporting organizations who are working in high trafficking areas.  Compassion International has a "marker" so you can specify a child who lives in a high risk area and adopt one of them. This does make a difference and as advocates for Compassion, it is an area we think and pray about often. 

Another way we can make a difference is simply by raising awareness.  That is what we are doing today with #enditmovement.  We are raising awareness.

Slavery exists in  staggering numbers.  This is a BOOMING enterprise.  Slavery was abolished in 1652 and approximately 620,000 people died in the civil war; people fighting over states not being able to compromise their views on free and slave states.  Brother against brother; cousin against cousin, people died fighting for the right to be free and the right to keep slaves.  Freedom won and there are many who feel the battle is over and done with.

That is just not true.  Slavery exists in every single state of the United States of America.   60,100 people in America alone are enslaved. 

Speak up!  Speak out!  Slavery is wrong.  Tell others.

Me: "What is the red X for?"
Him: Slavery.  "27,000 people are slaves and it's wrong."
Me: "27 million, not thousands."
Him: "Same thing and it's wrong."

This one knows many facts about slavery today
and is smiling because he is making a difference.
Keenly aware, she wears her red X with confidence
knowing she is bringing awareness to the issue of
slavery today. 

My man is an advocate, too.  He has experienced
forced labor and works hard to make sure the people
he comes in contact with are paid fairly and treated well.

Doing what what I can this small corner of my world. 
My family is aware and that is more that I could say
a few years ago. 
All the way from Kansas, our 20 year old daughter
is shining the light on slavery.  She is preparing for
a trip to Cambodia to help people who work "in the trenches"
with victims of human trafficking.  Join us in praying for her
and her team? Thanks.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shining a Light

27,000,000 are trapped in slavery today. I don't know how to wrap my head around that number when it comes to people... think 27 million people could fill every professional football stadium 12X.  Or the entire population of the state of Texas.  27 million of anything is a lot.  And we are talking about human lives.  Men, women, and children. 

There are three main types of slavery today, and they are all wrong:

Bonded labor is one of the most common forms of slavery in the world today. Bonded labor victims are often born into slavery, forced to repay a loan, sometimes from generations before. Indebted, often through deception and a system stacked against them.

Forced labor is any work or service someone is forced to do, against their will, under the threat of punishment, with little to no pay. This is most frequently found in labor-intensive, under-regulated industries, such as agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, mining, quarrying and manufacturing.

Human trafficking is when someone is taken away from their home, family, or community and transported to another city or country, many times under a false promise of employment or a better life. Victims are stripped of their identity, then forced to work against their will, with no hope or way to return home.

All of the statistics, and there are many, are staggering.  It's overwhelming for me to comprehend the magnitude of this $150.2 billion dollar organized crime industry.

What can I do?  I am just one person with minimal excess income to give and my few dollars and not going to make a difference by themselves. 

This is where team work comes in.  Quakers have long been known for their stance against slavery and they stood for abolition at a significant personal price. 

What are Quakers known for today?  Are we doing anything TOGETHER to make a difference in the lives of others? 

Isn't it time that we team up, all of us who have Friends/Quaker in our name; regardless if we are liberal, evangelical, Hicksite, or Gurneyite; and in beautiful Quaker tradition join hands and shine a light on injustice?

I would love to see an uprising in our meetings across the world.  Until then, I have a team I am putting together at #enditmovement and you are welcome to join my little family and me.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Dollar Store & Gratefulness

After I pick up the kids from school today, we will head to the dollar store...

They seemed pretty excited about this #RAK so we will see how it goes. 

Our daily Bible reading is going well and I can see the benefit of not reading so many chapters in order to really think about what we have just read.  After we read the chapters, we all say something that struck us new, jumped out at us, or meant something to us.  This has become a wonderfully meaningful time. 

The other day we took ten minutes to write down as many things as we could that were grateful for.  Here is a sampling from each list:


While we smiled at some on the youngest one's list, I love that he is grateful for his body and strong arms.  As well as no creepers or overgrown spiders!  I love how the 10 year old could not decide if he was grateful for piano, meaning lessons, but he wants to be so that means something.  Anyway, the rest are just snapshots of long lists that I randomly selected and cropped.  It was a neat exercise and ended up how we spent our family time on Saturday night.