Thursday, March 31, 2011

Special CSAP Appearance

Today marks the last day of CSAP testing(YEAH!!!)... and to kick it off with a bang (or should I say "Moo"), we had a surprise new student try to join us:


Yes, this morning Bossy the cow, tried to come and take CSAP with us, and instead of fulfilling her life long dream, her efforts were thwarted by our AP, and thoroughly enjoyed by the whole student body and staff!

Here is what the AP had to say about the situation:

Good Morning,
I want to take this opportunity to dispel some rumors that are widespread throughout MGMS. As we all know rumors can be very damaging to the workplace.
First of all:
1. MGMS will remain the “Gators” we are NOT changing our name to THE MAD COWS!
2. No the cow does not get to attend the CSAP dance, as she has missed the first 5 days of testing.
3. Yes, the cow was attracted to my sport coat, however, I told her that I am happily married.
4. WE are having hamburgers for lunch……………………….
And finally if you were one of the wranglers that helped out with “Bossy” (her real name,)………….. CHECK YOUR SHOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your Assistant Principal


What an entertaining way to end the most dreaded time of year..

On another note, and this is a first for me... I actually had a student write "I Hate CSAP!!!" in place of a paragraph this year; afterward proclaiming how they "stuck it to 'the man'".... and how could this test make school any worse, they already had (teacher name) for literacy, and it can't get worse than that... I quickly reminded them that they could end up with that teacher again next year....

Sigh... I am just happy to get back to some semblance of "normal" with my classes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Born To Run


To my surprise I enjoyed reading this book. Many people had recommended it to me, but I just never picked it up because I was expecting some dull non-fiction read detailing the science behind why we, as humans, were born to run.... Instead it was an amazing and intriguing story!

McDougall weaves the science and history of humans as runners masterfully with his own journey to becoming an injury free runner and participating in "the greatest race the world has never seen" I loved the characters that McDougall met and the ones that joined him along his journey, I loved the interesting side journeys he took along the way to the big race. I loved the inspiration I received as an "injured runner" to continue my pursuit of running injury free.

The big idea... modern running shoes ruined us as runners, caused us to become heal strikers and bypass the natural shock absorption our feet were created for. This is an almost irreverent over simplification of McDougalls work, and I got so much more out of his book!

LEARNED:
Probably my favorite quote from the book: "The worst mistake I could make would be getting lulled into someone else's race." (so true for running, but even more relevant to the race of "life")

A close second was: "Just beat the course, no one else, just the course...only compete against the race course, not the racers." (this will soon become my race mantra...as I am determined to have a good half marathon finish... the real competition comes from within, the ability to conquer a course, not the person ahead of you.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Leviticus


Of all the books of the Bible, Leviticus was the one I was looking forward to the least... ok honestly I was DREADING it... But once I started to wade into it, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was actually not dreading it.

Basically the whole book of Leviticus can be summed up with God saying (19:2) "Be Holy, for I am holy."

When I actually stopped to think about why God was giving His people these laws, I found two reasons dominated:

First, God wanted to set His people apart from those that lived in the land he had set apart for them, and from the people from where they came (18:2). He didn't want them adopting the same practices as those that occupied the land or continuing the same practices of the Egyptians he had just freed them from.

Second, Common sense. God wanted His people to be healthy and strong. Commandments on how to treat and quarantine people with symptoms of skin disease, or sexually transmitted diseases, kept them from spreading. Time limits of how long they could eat meat after it had been killed, and not eating meat from dead animals they happened upon, or not eating meat from animals that carried parasites that could be harmful to them (pigs), were all set in place to keep them from getting sick and week.

Included in Leviticus is a lot of direction for the ceremonies, offerings, and festivals as well. The festivals were set and required to be observed by all the people, every year, as a reminder to the people of how good God was and is to them.

So whats this mean to me today???? I know that through Jesus's sacrifice I have been freed from a lot of this old testament, Levitical law... but how much? Obviously I am not expected to go out and sacrifice the first born goat,, bring it to the temple and splatter its blood on all sides of the alter when I commit a sin, but what of this should I still observe?

I mean, God still wants his people of today to be set apart, to be in the world but not of the world. Because I love Jesus, it should show up in my life, in the decisions I make every day, how I treat my fellow humans, how I use what God has entrusted to me. I believe that God wants us to observe the laws that set us apart, but maybe not exactly how he told the Levites...instead in a way that applies to the world I live in today.

What I interpret as the second reason for Leviticus, common sense, obviously applies to me today. I know that if I cook dinner and there are still left overs, I don't want to eat them after 3 days, the thought just makes me sick! This is the same guidelines He gave his people, and they didn't have the genius invention of refrigerators or the (not so genius/healthy) invention of preservatives. Also, during college we looked at studies where pig meat was tagged with radioactive labels then tracked to see how the human body used the meat/proteins. They found that if the meat had been taken from the pigs shoulder, the human body put those proteins in the human shoulder... (that is the simplest way to paraphrase this much more complex phenomenon). Totally grossed me out! Also we know that quarantining those with infectious diseases, or abstain from sex with those with STDs, the diseases don't spread. All of these were part of what God had commanded in Leviticus.

Having read Leviticus, it will be interesting to read the references later in the Bible to many of the laws and ceremonies and the symbolism with Jesus.

Learned? While Leviticus was chock full of what seems to be very ancient, out of date rules, procedures, and laws, I am amazed at how much of it really applies to me today.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Run Update

I placed 6th!!! (in my age group)... But still I am pretty happy with my results. If I would have known that I was so close to the top I would have pushed it harder. My best pace for 5 miles is 8:45 which would have given me a 2nd or 3rd place finish, and a prize... probably a water bottle... but still a prize!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break 2011 Sun Kissed and Snow Kissed

This was the first spring break in a few years that was absolutely beautiful!

We had great weather nearly all week, and took full advantage of it. We headed to Ouray for our annual trip with Allison and our kids, the weather was perfect (actually any warmer and it would have been too hot to be in the warm water). Maddox was swimming like a little fish, he even ventured out with out the floaties he usually clings to. Allison and I got a lot of time to just chat, but it is never enough for us.

We also spent an entire afternoon at the park with Ari and the kids, in which both Madison and I got a bit sunburned. We took bikes and scooters, and balls, and the dogs. This proved to be plenty of entertainment for several hours. We ended the evening with a complete St. Patty's day meal at Ari's house topped off with a Snakebite and Guinness chocolate cake.

The kids and I went to a movie with my niece and mom. We tried to go to Rango, but were advised to not take a 3 year old because it was too scary, so opted for Mars Needs Moms. Even though it wasn't the movie we planned on going to (and it was still scary for my niece and they left early), it turned out to be a pretty cute show...

Brian had the day off on Friday, so we took advantage of the freshly fallen snow, and sunny skies and headed up to Sunlight. The snow was perfect, and the kids skies great! Maddox has come so far with his skiing ability in just 4 trips up. Madison continues to improve and try new things. This trip she attempted to ski in powder and took a pretty good digger. "How do you turn in this stuff!!" she exclaimed from her back buried in the snow. We skied hard all morning and by 2 Maddox was D.O.N.E. Madison and Brian were going to ski a few more runs but it had gotten so warm they were skiing in slush, so we headed home. video

Saturday I headed to Moab to run the Canyonlands race. I had been training so hard for this half marathon, but got hurt/sick, which sidelined me several weeks from the race. I just couldn't get my training up to the mileage I had before so I changed my entry to the 5 mile run. I am glad I did because I would have tried to run the half when I got there... as it was I was even trying to find a way to pretend to be Anne and run her half, or have them change my entry back, the entire drive there. In the end I mad the smart decision of just running 5. I expected the weather to be beautiful, instead it was cloudy and windy, really windy! After I finished (47:30)I headed back out to the highway (the worst part of the race) to find my friends running the last mile of the half. I found Jan, and paced with her for a while, but she was running too fast for me...7:30s even after 12 miles (she finished in 1 hour and 44 min)! So I cut out early with her and headed back in hopes of finding Lisa or Christie... I must have missed Lisa, and ended up finding Christie and running with her all the way to the shoots. It ended up being a pretty good run, and I am excited to begin training for another race...maybe the Grand Valley half in May, and maybe the Denver Rock and Roll Half in October.

Now here I sit on Sunday afternoon, only a few hours until I return to work, and I still have a few activities to attend... First up, a bridal shower for my husbands cousin. Following that is a get together for Anne's birthday... YEAH! BBQ, Margaritas, and time with a great friend!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Exodus


I knew the general story of Exodus: the oppression of the Israelite people in Egypt many years after Joseph had passed, the birth and calling of Moses, the plagues, the final release of the Israelites, the parting of the red sea, the miracles of manna and water from the rock, Moses on Mt. Sinai receiving the 10 commandments, the people constructing and worshiping a false God, and finally the construction of the tabernacle.

What I was surprised by was the intricate detail in which God had given Moses for the construction, dedication, and of the tabernacle and all its contents. This took a significant portion of the book. God was very specific in how to dedicate, and make sacrifices, both blood, burnt, and oil.

While reading I just kept asking God... "what's the purpose of this" not in a lack of respect way, but in a genuine, I want to know, to gain understanding way. What I came away with was that because of the fall of man, our sin separated us from God, and in order to enter in to a relationship with Him a sacrifice had to be made (again and again, and for each person). For this sacrifice God required the first born of the herds and the crops, and the animal sacrifice had to be without blemish.

All of this sets up the future and ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, one sacrifice that would take the place of the individual animal sacrifices required of each man.

I knew (know) how amazing and priceless the sacrifice Jesus made was, but knowing what was required of God's people up until this gave me a more concrete understanding.

Once again, I was astonished at the lack of faith the Israelites had in God, the God that had just unleashed his power on all of Egypt, sparing them in the process, and freeing them from the oppression. They continually groaned and complained about everything! I was getting so frustrated with them... Like COME ON PEOPLE!!! You just saw with your own eyes God's power and faithfulness, how can you complain and not trust that He will take care of you? How in 40 days did you loose all faith and want to worship a false god? How could you???

But isn't this a picture of most of us Christians? We experience the most significant miracle, the miracle of new life, being born again, being forgiven of all our sins. Then life still goes on, and we expect that everything will be great and easier than before, but challenges come, or we become complacent. And our faith waivers...we even turn back to our own false gods (money, alcohol) that we worshiped before we met the TRUE GOD. We cry out "God, where are you, why did you lead me out of Egypt, only to be worse off in the dessert?"

This is what was discussed at church yesterday... the fact that before we became Christians, the devil didn't care much about us... we weren't his "friend" but we hadn't become his "enemy"... but once we become Christians, we are his "enemy" and he wants back the ground he lost (2 Peter 2:20-22).

That is the insight I received from reading Exodus, it is the story of our lives as Christians... our oppression, our redemption, and our own struggles with faith after we have been set free.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Books - Written by Madison

Books

Open me,
but don't go ahead,
you may look back,
especially on those
moments.
Look at my cover
and guess what I am about,
you're most likely wrong.
You may hear my name,
although it says little.
You can't see my ending
until
you've seen my beginning.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blue Like Jazz


Donald Miller first captured my interest, and made my soul think in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I tried to read Blue Like Jazz a few years ago, but couldn't get into it... I don't think I was ready for it....

By that I mean I was in a place where I was feeling so much pain and confusion about "religion" as well as being quite narrow minded I don't think I could have received a lot of what he was saying....at least not with out feeling really judged.

But now, at this exact moment in my life, this book speaks directly to me, ... I have struggled for a few years now with this "god" that everyone around me was trying to fit into a box...one titled "Religion", another title "Political Affiliation", and more boxes within each of those. The problem was God, the one I felt and knew in my heart, didn't fit in any of these, so I didn't fit either.

Blue Like Jazz broke these boxes down ... put these words to what my heart has been trying to speak to my brain "by reducing Christian Spirituality to a formula, we deprive our hearts of wonder."(p.205) That God doesn't fit in a church (He probably wouldn't attend many that claim to worship Him), or in a political agenda.

Instead He fits in love... the love we give, the love we receive, the acts of kindness, the acts of forgiveness, the acts of acceptance and not judging, the acts of servitude...to others and ourselves.

If God doesn't fit in a box, then neither do those that choose to follow Him.



Learned? A lot... but here are a few that I want to be reminded of:

pg. 13 If satan can get man wrapped up in habit, he can keep us from engaging God.

pg. 86 "Behavior will not be changed long with self discipline, but fall in love and a human will accomplish what he never thought possible."

pg.111 "dying for something is easy because it is associated with glory. Living for something...is the hard thing."

pg. 182 "The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this: Life is a story about me."

pgs 218-219 The idea of Christians viewing love as a commodity, giving it to those who agree with us, withholding it from those that don't... but instead to "love people because they are Jesus."(p.201)

pg. 229 "your value has to come from God."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Genesis


As you know, I love to read... so I have decideed to read my way through the Bible. I have read a lot of the Bible via topic studies or devotionals, but never as a book, God's story to me.

I just finished the book of Genesis, the story of the beginning from the creation of Adam and Eve through Joseph's death. A significant amount of the Sunday School stories are contained in Genesis: Adam and Eve-the creation and fall of man, Cain and Able, Noah and the arc, the tower of Babel, Abraham and Sarah, Lot, Sodom and Gomorrah, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob- Leah& Rachel, and all his decedents, Joseph- his dreams, and rise to authority in Egypt and how he sustained all of Egypt from a devastating famine.

I already knew all of these...stories - I hate to use the word "stories" because it implies fiction and that is not what the Bible is.

What really stood out to me by reading all of Genesis like a book, was the amount of times God had to renew, or remind his people of His covenant with them. While reading it, it seemed like every other chapter God was saying, "Abram, go to the land I have called you to, I will bless you, I will make you a great nation, your decedents will be many, I'll bless those who bless you and curse those that curse you, All nations on earth will be blessed through you." Then after Abram (Abraham) died He gave this same promise to Isaac, then to Jacob, then to Joseph. He reminded each of these men multiple times of this covenant.

I was kinda like... Ok God I get it you made this promise to them.... then I realized that because the whole book of Genesis was passed down via word of mouth, family story/history, and wasn't recorded until Moses wrote it. This meant that years, possibly decades passed between chapter.

It was then I realized that God wasn't renewing His covenant for His sake, but for man's sake... We have such a short memory, we let little things distract us from what God has called and promised for us, too soon forgetting the promise all together. I see now that I am not any different than my biblical ancestors, I let life get in the way, I forget what God has called me to do. That my season of drought is not unique to me but a shared experience... and how fortunate we are that God loves us so much that He continues to remind us of His promise, that He calls out to us in our own darkness, that He remains forever constant, forever faithful, forever true.