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Monthly Archives: October 2012

tangles & time management


“ms. broom, how come your hair looks like that?”
“like what?”
“you know… like you didn’t brush it!”

it was a three day school week & I was thankful. it’s been full, full with work still… a bake sale for Make a Difference Day, grading 150 tests, professional development, painting a voting booth for election day… you know, elementary school teacher stuff.

but it was also full with non work things. watching the sandlot for the first time. seeing a sweet friend get married. homecoming festivities with the entire family! pizza + $5 movie sunday funday with hannah & wilson. & then thursday night was a birthday party for emily & brandon & derek. so many beautiful friends from college life… they stayed late, eating & tossing our globe around & talking about life outside of the bubble.

life is so very full. & I just wrote out this week’s schedule on our white board & it’s already crammed. sometimes I wish I could take a week long sabbatical. or quit something every thursday like bob goff does. but I’m trying to dig in deep & enjoy this season. thankful that, for the most part, the things that keep me busy are joyful & meaningful. here’s to finding that elusive balance between rest & productivity… because God is glorified through both.


love, part 2


yesterday was one of those days where I was just kind of in a mood. raking leaves gave me a full blown allergy attack. then I took a nap that left me feeling worse, not better. I was fussy & it was one of those days when I just wanted someone to make me feel better.

that happens more often than you would think. I’m in a bad mood or someone hurts my feelings or I do something wrong at work… & I’m off looking for someone to make me feel better, to say something nice. someone to have coffee with. someone to love me. & sometimes it works. but most times, even after good talks & lunch dates & encouraging text messages, that desperate little place in the back of my brain gets bigger, not smaller. because, let’s face it: lots of times other people just don’t satisfy us the way we want them too. I have wonderful, kind family & friends… but many times even their best attempts at love & comfort leave me feeling empty, searching for God knows what.

a little while ago I wrote about being loved by God. & if accepting even his perfect love is hard, then man… loving & being loved by deeply imperfect humans is even more frustrating. you try to love other people but you don’t know if it’s working and despite your best efforts.. they probably don’t always feel loved by you. and you definitely don’t always feel loved by them.

by my bed there’s a rumpled purple post it note with some words from a donald miller book. it says, “we’re not going to get the kind of love we really need from each other. we’re going to get it from God, in heaven.” that statement made me kind of upset the first time I read it. I’m an idealist & I don’t like the idea of incompletion. but as time has worn on, this idea has gotten down inside my skin. when I let go of the idea that I can receive ultimately satisfying love down here from other humans, it frees me to take joy & pleasure in the love that I do share with my family & friends, instead of gaming & calculating & forever being disappointed.

& I know this for sure: when I dwell in the unconditional, glorious love of God–even if only through a glass, darkly–the places where humans leave me feeling empty become less devastating. & I know this too: although it’s sometimes unsatisfying & frustrating–my family & my friends & I all love one another deeply. our love is imperfect. but it is good. it’s not enough. but maybe it’s not supposed to be.

the real thing


the skies have been crazy beautiful in jackson lately. I think it must have to do with the changing seasons. leaving the house before 7am is a little more palatable when I get to the top of the hill on fortification street & see the sky all lit up. & the sunsets have been wonderful too. every time I see the sky so glorious I try to take a picture of it… but I’m always disappointed in the result, because it’s not nearly as good as the real thing.

lots of times I wish I took more pictures… pictures of people, pictures of events. I’m a little bit obsessed with trying to remember life. & pictures help with that. but sometimes– even though I regret my lack of photographic documentation–when an event is over & I think “oh no, I forgot to take pictures,” I am secretly a tiny bit happy. because if I wasn’t thinking about taking pictures, chances are I was pretty busy living it. & after all… the pictures wouldn’t have been nearly as good as the real thing.

that’s one of my favorite truths about life, I think. the real thing is always better. we live in a society of vlogs & instagram… but real sunsets are better, every single time. pictures of skies, of proposals, of babies, of pretty much anything good & beautiful & true– none of that can come close to the actual experience. so I’m learning to take a break from documentation & just enjoy things. things like the sunsets that send me into work in a good mood, Sunday afternoons reading with David, 2am talks with sister, delta cotton in full bloom, eating around a table with people I love, crunchy leaves. just to name a few.

we live in a great big beautiful world… a vivid, 3d world of flesh & blood, full of things that can not only be seen but smelled & touched & tasted & felt. this place is fallen but it is beautiful & it is good. in a way that can’t be fully captured or experienced by anything other than an authentic human being. & we get to be those human beings. we get to live here. some days that kind of blows my mind.

p.s. interesting article from Relevant on social media & sacred moments.

october blues & gumball rings

it’s october. the new has worn off of school… for kids & teachers. people call this stage of disillusionment the october blues. & there have definitely been days these past few weeks where I’ve understood how that feels. in fact, the other day I was kind of a crabby teacher. kids were disrespectful & not paying attention. I was tired of their misbehavior & short tempered & things were just rough. I came home & I was reflecting on the day… on what I needed to do to make sure the next week was more positive. I thought through rewards & consequences & expectations & behavior reflection sheets & all manner of things that are good & practical & will probably improve my classroom.

as I was thinking, I realized… kids do everything big. that’s one reason they’re so often in trouble. they can’t just raise their hands… they wave them until they almost fall out of the chair. they can’t just be mildly disappointed… they’re utterly despondent. there’s not a lot of middle ground. they’re ecstatic or they’re furious. they are open & transparent & really, really loud. they love you or they can’t stand you. & my kids love me deeply. they show me they love me by hugging me with sticky syrup-y breakfast hands, by giving me a treasured rhinestone gumball machine ring or a pecan they found, by sharing their fruit snacks. & they tell me that they love me… they tell me with loud voices on the playground & whispers in the hallway (where they’re really not supposed to be talking but do you have any idea how hard it is to shush a kid who’s proclaiming their undying affection for you?).

children are also incredibly forgiving, always ready to start things over new. I am firm with my kids. when they can’t behave I correct them, I change their seats, I give recess detentions. but the other day, the same little boy who has a recess dention with me almost daily came up to me to tell me, “ms. broom, you’re my favorite teacher.” the kindergartener who I always have to get for talking in line greets me with a giant hug every morning. the very day after I was a crabby teacher with my 5th grade class they found out I was chaperoning their field trip & practically fainted from excitement. they keep no record of wrongs.

& so in the midst of my outlining & planning & making new rules &  reflection sheets, I concluded: one of the biggest things I can to do make my classroom more positive is be a little bit more like my kids… I need to deeply love every single one of them. & I need to be just as excited to see the kid who flipped me off yesterday as I am to see the straight A student. my kids might have a lot to learn about self control. but they have a lot to teach about genuine, ready forgiveness & deep, unconditional love. here’s to hoping I learn quickly. I’m pretty sure there might be a test coming up soon.

wednesday words

bedtime reading. excited about this one.

ever since reading ‘a million miles in a thousand years’ (one of my very favorites), I’ve had this book in the back of my mind & finally, two years later, I read it. the format of the book is pretty similar to blue like jazz, or a shauna niequest book. it’s full of short essays, most of which start out with a story & end with some type of lesson that goes along.

I love stories. & bob goff has some great ones–he’s taken his children around the globe to eat ice cream with world leaders, hitchhiked long distances, sailed from california to hawaii, helped stage an epic proposal in his backyard, & started a school in south africa. I was completely mesmerized by his accounts of a life well lived… he tells big stories & small stories & makes them seem equally important. I like that. in fact, my only complaint about the book was that, in lots of places… really, the stories could have stood alone. explicitly extricating a moral from them felt almost unnecessary. & if that’s the worst thing you have to say about a set of stories, well, they must be pretty good.