Great Reads Vol. 1

Deciding that I wanted to actually write a blog while I have a newborn may not have been super realistic.

However, I have quite a bit of time every day when I am feeding my son, and therefore am browsing some really great thoughts online.

Here are a few from lately.

On Mission

Jen HatmakerHati, Personal Crisis, and a Manifesto

” I can assure you I do not hate my own sin nearly as much as I hate everyone else’s. Nor is any injustice as grave as those done unto me, in my First World setting, where I imagine I know the slightest meaning of persecution.

When it is all over, what is my legacy in Christ?”

The whole afternoon after reading this, I walked around asking myself: “What prophetic story am I telling with my life?”  

On Motherhood

Jessica Valenti: I’m Not a ‘Mother First’

“It’s no longer enough that women love their children. To be a truly committed parent, women are expected to be mothers above all else—we’re “‘moms first.'”

Long before I became a mother, I knew it was important to me to be able to define myself not by the roles I play as a daughter, sister, friend, wife, and now mother.  My identify is found as an image-bearer of the Creator, not found in relationships to other people.

On Education

Becky Pettit: What You Won’t Hear in the Presidential Debates: Facing the ‘School-to-Prison’ Pipeline

“Including inmates shows that there has been no improvement in the black-white gap in high school completion among men since at least the early 1990s and the racial gap in high school completion has hovered close to its current level of 11 percentage points for most of the past 20 years. Moreover, young black male dropouts are more likely to be in prison or jail than they are to be employed.” (emphasis mine)

I would not consider myself a single issue voter.  But as a teacher, I always listen carefully to what candidates say about their plans for education reform.  I work in an alternative program whose main goal is drop-out recovery.  While my young men might not know the exact numbers, they do know that the statistics are stacked against them. These aren’t just numbers to me, they represent the faces of my students.  I can’t tell you how much I long to see this turn around.  But I don’t have a lot of hope that either candidate is going to change some of the policies that maintain the status quo.

So there you have it…some things that got the wheels turning this week.  Feel free to weigh in!

Photo-Op

Having a baby for the sake of a picture is silly, I know.

But part of me would be lying if I said that the thought didn’t cross my mind last fall when we were talking about having a baby.

This November, my great grandmother was to turn 100 years old.  The last time I saw her was at Thanksgiving.  Though her hearing was gone, she was still relatively independant and her mind was still sharp.  She was looking forward to her centennial.  I promised her we would be there to celebrate.  When we found out in January that we were expecting a baby in September, I got excited at the thought of taking him to meet her.  One, because she is the classiest lady I know.  And two, because we would have the opportunity to take a picture spanning five generations: my great-grandmother, my grandma, my dad, myself, and our son.

This past summer, her health began to deteriorate.  Her mind  become more muddled and confused; her body began to fail her.  Still, I really thought we would be celebrating her 100 remarkable years, and I life that had spanned a century of tremendous change.  After all, when my grandma told her we were expecting, she said, with a twinkle in her eye, “I don’t think I know anyone who has a great-great grandbaby.”

As August came to a close, it became apparent that the picture was never to be.  On August 23rd, her earthly life ended. And while I wish I could have been with her one more time, sad would not be the word to describe my emotions. There is nothing to be sad about when someone lives a full life and slips away peacefully in their sleep.  The only tears I cried were at church the Sunday before while we sang the hymn “It is Well with My Soul.”  Because it truly is.  I know she had no regrets.  Her marriage lasted more than 60 years.  She raised two children who were faithful in service to the Lord and to their families.  She weathered hard times and could testify to God’s faithfulness to her in the midst of it all.  And she had a way of making those around her feel important and loved.

I know her legacy will live on, picture or not, as begin the journey of raising my son.  I hope he learns to value hospitality, faithfulness, grace, strength, and the beauty of simplicity, because these are the things I’ve learned from her.

P.S.  When I asked her how she met my great grandfather, she said “We met when I moved to town my senior year of high school.  He was dating someone else at the time.  I don’t think she ever cared for me much…”  Now if that’s not moxie, I don’t know what is…