About Me

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L.O., Michigan, United States
Forty something, father of two beauties, husband of a superstar, trying to follow Jesus in the greatest village in the world....

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

17 for 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Over a year since I have posted.  And today I am compelled.  I often think to blog life, what God is teaching me, and processing my thinking around life, but don't.  Today I do.  It is so appropriate that my teenage daughter is the driving force that prompted my own seventeen minutes of silence to express whatever it is that I'm trying to express.  As an educator for over 20 years, I spent time today reflecting on the beauty that each child brings into this world, even the children that drove me nuts or pushed my buttons over the years.  I watch snap-chats of students at my daughter's high school as they stand silent in honor of the 17 that were senseless victims in Florida.  I know that no words that display on this page could express my heart for the families that lost their beautiful, intelligent, funny, incredible human beings in yet another event that should never have taken place.  My heart for the families that lost the adults - that died trying to save children's lives.  It.  Is. BROKEN.  I sit and weep at the knowledge of such an event.  Such a tragedy.  ANOTHER tragedy.  I know there is evil in this world, and the only thing that can stop that is light.  I wish that there was something that I could do...something I could say...something the populous could stand together on that would create change in this capitalistic self-serving society we have in this great country that continues to shuck the responsibility of taking care of each other - and in particular our children.  I do not yet know what that is, but I hope that I see that change in my lifetime.  For the staff and students in Florida, and every other state that has experiences the horror - I pray that somehow God would bring peace to your spirit, your life, your future.  I look at the beauty of these children, these adults that have disappeared from our lives, and I weep again.  I see the faces of former students, the staff members I have had the good fortune to work alongside in the past - the ones I KNOW would have ran to the sound of a gun firing to see what they could do to save lives; the ones like in Florida that would get students to safety and die trying; the ones that would stand in front of students and take a bullet so that they may live.  Our country, and in particular the great state of Michigan where I now live, truly needs to wake up to the fact that public education is the key to every great thing that happens in our society.  I am embarrassed and horrified that the Secretary of Education for our great country, Betsy DeVos, literally can't even answer simple questions about the current state of education in Michigan where she resides, and has not a clue about the needs in public education today.  This is the human being that is allegedly leading education in this country, and now is to somehow lead a task force on guns in schools.  If you are not frightened about these facts, I apologize in advance for saying shame on you.  When will our country swing the pendulum back to funding public education appropriately so that educators have what they need to help each child not only pass a test, but become contributing members of a society that is committed to doing whatever it takes to grow and support not only academics but character traits that value others so much that what happened in Florida and across this nation never happen again?  As I told my daughter today when she inspired me to put others first in my day, and set my needs aside to spend time looking at photos of the victims in Florida and read about their story - who they were - and praying for the families, friends, and community I wish I could heal - children can teach us about life.  They have eyes to see the value of others in this world, and unite with their peers across the country to express their love, their care and concern, and their connection to those they have never met, and do something to honor those human beings.  We should be taking 17 for 17 each day.  I hope the families and friends in Florida sense the love and concern that many in this country have for them.  That peace may wash over their hearts and minds as they battle to live their new lives with an empty space that will never go away.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Talk about 360

Many of you know that I have been a part of starting a music venue with some great people over the last year.  This process and project has certainly taught me a lot about a lot.  There are many things I have learned about myself, about others, and about opening a new business - with or without knowledge about the business world.  I enjoyed the people, the process, and the learnings.  But there was a part of me - in my subconscious that was not feeling peace at a point where I was really questioning myself.  Was I afraid?  Was there really a lack of peace?  Did it not make sense, or was I just trying to grab the reigns of life?  So many questions about the project.  The hard part is, I have made some incredible friendships with some incredible people through this, and that made it even harder to push into the space of having a lack of peace.  But I did it - I pushed into my question in my head and my heart - is this what I should be doing right now?  Where did I seek answers you ask?  I asked God daily to reveal to me if this lack of peace was something that I was creating, or if it was from Him.  I asked God to show me where He wanted me to be, what He wanted me to be doing, and if this lack of peace was real or something I had created.  Every moment I sought His truth brought anxiety and questions - which led me to not feel at peace.  I sought counsel from Godly men and women.  I looked for answers in the bible, in the world around me, and in my heart or my spirit.  I felt led to apply for a manual labor job I saw in the weekly advertisements at a golf course.  I felt complete peace about pursuing that.  I applied, got the job, and made almost nothing to work seven days a week raking, shoveling, using a blower, did I mention shoveling?  All the while feeling complete peace about withdrawing from the project - and I knew that peace was from Him.  And that assured me that I was following what He wanted.  Stepping out of education months ago led me to believe that that chapter of my life had been written, closed, finished.  It felt good to not be the one responsible for everything, to shovel, to watch the sun rise, to be physically spent each day.  I often thought of our ancestors living off the land and how much work that is to be physical seven days a week.  I also thought of my father, my father in law, and so many friends and relatives that have spent their life in manual labor - what respect I have for these men and women.  But I kept sensing that I needed to be in a place where I was 'coaching' others.  Where I was giving my time and talents to help others grow into who God has created them to be - and I pursued knowledge and wisdom to that end.  I prayed fervently - God - show me what you have for me.  Show me what you want me to do. Show me where.  Lead me to your incredible plan for me - plans to prosper me and not to harm me.  Show me what you want me to see - tell me what you want me to hear.
And my beautiful O comes home and says they are hiring a Spanish teacher at our HS - which by the by I taught at 15 years ago.  I taught Spanish there.  I loved every day of it.  I had incredible friends there in this incredible school with these incredible kids.  Fast forward.  This is day three of me returning to the same office, the same wing, the same job I had 15 years ago.  After many cities, people, jobs, travels.  All the time I hope I was gaining wisdom and knowledge.  Talk about 360 (yeah, that's my address) - here I am back where I started.  What an honor to be a teacher to these incredible kids, and what joy they bring me, what joy this work brings me.  If you seek a pleasant place, look about you.   God is there.  He is weeping when you weep - he is crying tears of joy when you laugh, and He is in your classroom when you return 15 years later.  I can't wait to talk about 360 the next time He reveals His love mercy and grace to me.  Gracias a Dios.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Into The Unknown.

Is it a good thing?  This is a question that I have had a few people pose to me recently.  Next week, Friday, April 1st will be my last day in my current role as a school principal.  I have been working in the world of education for over 20 years, and in some role as a school leader for the last 15+.  It certainly has taught me a s%$# ton about myself, the world, humanity, learning, coaching, mentoring, friendships, marriage, children, villages, cultures, content, and people.  The last couple of weeks as the reality of leaving not only this job, but this career field - have really been peace bringing, joyful, affirming, and bittersweet.  I have known that God has been moving me - physically across the country; spiritually - teaching me about who He is and how to follow Him; emotionally - how to deal with the reality of this broken world in conjunction with how I experience it; socially - the incredible (and not so incredible) people that I not only have met, but been engaged in the reality of this world and their lives; personally - learning about who I really am and who God has created me to be....maybe you get the picture.  I felt like a couple years ago, as I ran down the trail God asked me to 'quit his job.'  I didn't know then what it meant, and I am still exploring that, but I feel like He has continued to prompt me for this next step.  Looking back at the 20+ years, and having conversations about it with my superstar, the education has not been the part that has brought me true joy.  The lifetime friends I would call in an emergency, or to share joy, or to reach out for help, or to spend time praying for - these are the people that have brought me true joy.  And the times and experiences with each and every one of them were not all joy filled.  But it is the people that I love - not the job, not the career.  And now, I am stepping again into the unknown, and I clearly see the people that God has placed in this unknown with me - and I am blessed.  Incredible part is, without my superstar, I would not be in a space where I could do this.  She is the most incredible woman I have ever met.  Knowing that she is my proverbs 31 woman - an incredible gift from my Creator.  And the excitement (and nervousness) that I have to step into this unknown is full of peace, comfort, and honor.  I praise God for the opportunities I have had in this leg of my career, my life.  I thank Him for the incredible people that I have had an opportunity to serve.  To know.  To come to love - because it wasn't all love from the first day.  But this love comes from Him - from releasing my clutch of my life, my desires, my evil ways, my pursuit of earthly stupidity.  I now have three days left until the next unknown begins, and I LEAP off this bridge that He has placed before me, built for me, repaired for me, lit on fire, reconstructed, fortified, tied to others' bridges, and shown me incredible vies of the world below as I have walked, ran, and at times been dragged across His bridge - his path.  Into the unknown.  With Him.  What else could a man ask for?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Where is my faith?

As of late, I feel like a pile of red kelp.  Ever see it on the water before?  It just kind of floats along in a pile.  No purpose other than being kelp and being red.  Not much action coming from it.  Not much results coming from it.  Just up and down.  Up and down.  Back and forth.  Up a wave of life.  Down a wave, and I mean down.  Each day, it feels like the only thing that is sustaining me is the Word.  His Presence.  That's it.  I told my friend president this morning I almost feel like I am living in Ecclesiastes.  Feel like it doesn't matter.  Just motions.  People are broken.  Life is hard.  Ugly.  Being involved in people's lives on a deep level exposes you to the hurt, the ugly, the damage that life can do to people, their spirit, their trust.  I am ever thankful for the light - for how it points me to the fact that the only thing that can keep you from falling into the pit of life is the triune God of this universe.  His Holy Spirit guiding your steps, whispering in your ear what is true and right.  God opening your eyes to who He is and what is good.  Jesus' sacrifice so that the ugly and the dark in my life, and all those in this world would be wiped away and so that we could unite with our Creator.  This is my strength.  My lifeline.  I know He is leading to something new, and I don't feel clear on when that is, or if I should unhook from this zip line I am connected to, and fall into His love.  Am I falling short on doing what I think I should do?  Am I not doing it because I am not being faithful?  Or am I not supposed to do it just yet?  I know He is trustworthy.  I know what I need to do.  I pray for clarity on the knowing when to unhook from the zip line.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

My kind of leader.

I find it quite interesting - the topic of leadership - in case you haven't noticed, have not paid attention, or if you just don't get it.  Funny thing is, I've been in a leadership position for over 20 years in one capacity or another, and certainly took on leadership roles beyond anything official or unofficial.  I strongly believe that God created me to lead.  I don't know why that was/is His plan, but clearly He has put that into my DNA, created me to care for others that have been/are in my stead, and given me some kind of passion to encourage, coach, and do what I can to lead others to becoming more successful.  All of this leads me to struggle with leaders that don't seem to "get it".  I am certain this is true no matter who you are, where you live, what language you speak, or what it is that you do each day.  But here's the skinny - how can people obtain and remain in leadership positions if it is quite evident by their words and actions that they indeed do not "get it".  Recently, I have felt that I perhaps need to seek other options in the work field, let's say for the past, oh, 9 years.  Mostly because I feel that God continues to lead me, grow me, and stretch me.  The last decade has taught me more than I ever wanted to know about myself - good, bad, and the ugly.  It has also taught me about leading.  I clearly have screwed things up - and clearly I am a human with the evil desires of this temporal world.  It is a fight and a battle to keep an ear to Him so that I might be able to lead others.  Because without that, and without what He has given and taught me, I would be dumbfounded.  Lost.  Irrelevant.  Unable.  But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  The more I reflect on leadership and leading, the more I have to come back to the greatest leader ever.  Christ.  He never judged.  He loved.  He never fought back.  He showed grace.  He always listened to others.  Not to himself.  He sacrificed.  He didn't boast - and if you read the bible, there seem to be quite a few things He could have boasted about.  He healed the sick.  He raised the dead.  He loved others more than himself.  That is the type of leader I want to follow.  That is the type of leader I want to become.  But I am the worst of all these sinners.  This week, I have a sense that God has presented me with a vision of stepping out of THE leader role, and that I need to learn to give up my instinct to step in, lead, direct.  What might He be saying to me in this?  One thing I sense is simply to take some time to step out of THE leader role and not wake up in the middle of the night concerned with what is to happen next.  To follow the ONE true leader I know and trust - Jesus.  That is my kind of leader.  Who is your leader?  Who do you follow?