Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Stay in My Head. Stay in my Head"

When I was seven or eight years old, I had a habit of forgetting things. Sometimes I would forget to do my chores, or where I hid my Diary, or an event, a joke or even a conversation I had hoped to remember forever.

 So, naturally, I devised a way to remember them. I would just concentrate on it and poke my head with my finger and order it, "Stay in my head. Stay in my head."

I was so convinced that it worked I taught the method to my sister. To this day, she claims she tried it later that day when I got in big trouble, and she hasn't forgotten it. I, on the other hand, can't seem to remember anything I'd commanded to stay in my head.

Remembering things is still hard for me.

I forget what I read in my Bible.
I forget to send write letters to my family.
I forget the verses that I had hoped would shape my life.

I forget the ways God has answered my prayers.
I forget the goodness of God.
I forget to trust God.
I forget to thank God.

If you were hoping for my new, fool-proof method, sorry. I still haven't figured this one out. But I'm on the journey to it, and I have a feeling I'm close.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Raising Kids for True Greatness by Dr. Tim Kimmel

Since I spend over 30 hours a week with kids, teaching and training them, I decided it would be a good idea to read a parenting book.

Dr. Kimmel compares and contrasts the world's striving for success with God's intentions for greatness.

The 'conversation' Dr. Kimmel and I had through a chunk of the book went something like this:

Dr. Kimmel- It's a process, not a moment
Me- well, that makes sense. Most things in life are, afterall.
Dr. Kimmel- Do you want to know the five attributes of great people?
Me- of course.
Dr. Kimmel- the first is humility.
Me- sounds good!
Dr. Kimmel- another one is gratefulness.
Me- Ooo, that's a good one.
Dr. Kimmel- generosity is also important.
Me- yeah!
Dr. Kimmel- and the one that sums them all up?
Me- well, what is it??
Dr. Kimmel- a servant attitude.
Me- wow, bulls eye! I can already see how these character traits are important and would change lives.
Dr. Kimmel- well, now do you want to know how to raise kids up to embody these traits?
Me- of course!
Dr. Kimmel- model them.
Me- wait-- what??
Dr. Kimmel- I'm serious. Not only those, but also abundant-thinking, being others-oriented, trustworthy, tenacious, courageous and compassionate.
Me- oh dear.
Dr. Kimmel- and the things that wrap them all up nicely are grace and love.
Me- oh, that's all?

And you know what, reader? It makes sense, doesn't it?

Everything starts with how you yourself live life. And although I don't have much of a plan for how to train my students, I know where to start:

With myself.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gossip in the Park

by Nicole DeVries
Our friendship had a chance that spring
as we walked in the park and shared everything.
Two friends in the park comparing thoughts and life,
sharing ideas and problems, joys and strife.

By the time summer came, we knew each other well,
and there were few comfortable things left to tell.
So, we took the easy escape and became common babblers,
by quickly filling the space and talking about Others.

Always careless, often selfish, were our thoughtless remarks,
every word was soaked up by the hushed, empty park.
Fall came and changed colors, but our whispers stayed the same.
And so we walked, and so we talked, and so we bared every triumph and shame.

We looked forward, each walk, to hearing and sharing
what others were doing, saying and wearing.
It was good and securing to affirm our beliefs,
but the base satisfaction was shockingly brief.

Each word that tore down our view of friends
was like the harsh, bracing, tearing, autumn winds.
The trees became bare; colorless and empty,
just as our talks became predictable and airy.

By the time the winter drifts covered the trees' thick, coarse bark,
whatever had started this friendship had faded to dark
and we no longer walked and talked in the park.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Don't Stop

Creating art and telling a story are much the same thing. Both need imagination to tell of an idea. Art tells stories, and carefully crafted stories are pieces of art. Often, I limit art to sketches and paintings and computer graphics, and telling a story to a voice and words on a page and movies but they are much more.

Jason Sandberg is a supervisor at a printing company who fell in love with art and storytelling. It happened when he was six years old, holding a Jack Kirby comic that seemed to have come to life. Now, on top of his 'day job', Sandberg pursues art. "I'd like to create art full-time," Sandberg says, "the mix of children's books and paintings should prevent me from getting into a rut."

Sandberg's impressionistic art gives him "a sense of delight and discovery, an opportunity to ponder why the non-real can cause an aesthetic response," while his realistic paintings give him "month-long ice-cream headaches, but I feel stronger at the end." Through it all, Sandberg hasn't forgotten what it is like to be a child in love with art.

When his young daughter showed a fascinated interest in his paintings, he jumped at the change to do a painting with her. It turned into an annual tradition that will serve, as Sandberg says, as "a yearly time-capsule".

Sandberg's paintings tell part of a story. They do not use words, but they do not need to. And yet, he "had the desire to create beyond the moments depicted in the paintings. I wanted to depict a beginning, middle and end." This drove him to picture books-- picture after picture, paired with words, to tell a whole story. That, my friends, is art.

He said, " I have come to the conclusion that the act of making art can't make someone an artist. What makes someone an artist is the inability to not make art, and discouragement or support can't affect that."

That said, maybe you write novels, compose poetry, create youtube videos, paint, sketch, write music, or something else entirely... if you can't seem to stop, you just might be an artist.