Saturday, January 23, 2010

Calling all adventure seekers

My mom and I spontaneously spent the afternoon shopping together. My mom came to town to shop, so we met at the mall. It was a really nice afternoon of shopping and talking.

We discussed the situation Haiti over lunch for quite a while. Ten years ago in June I spent a week in Haiti outside of Port au Prince in a mountain village called Gramothe. I lost contact with the missionaries we worked with several years ago, and I haven't heard anything about them since the earthquake 11 days ago. We both wondered how they were effected, and even if they were alive. My mom was able to remember the name of the mission organization and the last name of the missionaries, so I googled them when I got home. Willem and Beth Charles founded Mountain Top Ministries in 1999. You can visit their website or read their blog to learn more about their awesome work in Haiti. Since the earthquake they've been able to help a number of people, and have been hosting some medical teams.

Another topic my mom and I discussed at lunch was spring break--specifically my travel plans. Unfortunately, I have none. Well, I had no plans for traveling at the time. In the few short hours since lunch, I've started to develop a plan. I'd like to go to Haiti and help Willem and Beth with their relief efforts. I'm confident my skill set can be of service to Mountain Top Ministries and the Haitian people. And I'm certain you have gifts and talents the Lord can use there as well.

Would you consider joining me in Haiti the week of April 2-10?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Counting My Blessings: Genuine Interest

Today several of my students asked me some pretty personal questions. They weren't just being nosy either. Their questions were relevant to the conversation and appropriate in the context of the situation. I love those little people. And it warms my heart to know they care about me too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My job makes me thankful

Being a teacher makes me...

...thankful for my parents. They gave me rules and enforced them. They knew who my friends were and knew where I was at all times. They gave my consequences for making poor choices. I hated all of it as a teenager, but today I am especially grateful.

...thankful for my childhood. My parents worked hard to shelter me from the big, bad, scary world. My dad commuted an hour to work every day for my entire school career in order to preserve my innocence and naivety.

...thankful my childhood was not cut short by anything like what's happened in my community.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Today's Holiday: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. was barely 39 when he was killed in 1968. In his short life he accomplished more than most accomplish in an entire lifetime. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, a Bachelor of Divinity, and a Doctoral degree in philosophy. He was an ordained minister, a major player in the civil rights movement, and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. He organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, led the March on Washington, and delivered his world famous "I Have a Dream" speech. (Check out Amanda's letter to MLK regarding the state of his dream.) What is less known about Mr. King is that after his civil rights work, he focused his energies on ending poverty and opposing the war in Vietnam.

After his death in 1968, a representative from Michigan first introduced a bill to make King's birthday a federal holiday. It failed by 5 votes. It wasn't until 1983 that Ronald Reagan finally signed a bill (introduced by Indiana representative Katie Hall) that would make the third Monday of January a national holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. The first time MLK Day was observed was three years later in 1986.

Many people opposed a holiday to memorialize King. Some cited the cost to pay federal employees for another holiday. Some argued that MLK wasn't important enough for a holiday. And others complained that he had opposed the Vietnam War. Even after Reagan made the holiday official, some states refused to recognize it. Utah had "Human Rights Day" until 2000. In both Virginia and Mississippi the day was for, ironically, both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee. In 2000, Virginia changed to just MLK Day, but Mississippi maintains their ironic dual memorial. Again in the year 2000, South Carolina was the last state to implement MLK Day as a paid holiday for federal employees.

Who would have guessed there was so much controversy over Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Even though it's been almost a week, I still feel quite overwhelmed by everything I heard and saw at the human trafficking conference. There was so much to take in. There was an excellent presentation given by the director of the Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition that explained many different facets of human trafficking. What it is, where it happens, who is at risk for being sucked into it, how to identify victims, and even what the recovery process might look like. We watched two very good, but hard to watch, documentaries about human trafficking in the United States. The hardest part of the day was probably when Theresa Flores shared her story of human trafficking. I bought her book The Slave Across the Street, which was recently released. To finish out the evening, there was a panel of people available to answer questions. I was so overwhelmed I couldn't think of questions to ask, but it was good to listen to the questions others had.

Heavy as this topic is, the statistics and stories and especially the faces of the victims fuel me to do whatever I can to fight against this evil. And the first step is raising awareness in my community. Will you take a few minutes to learn more about human trafficking at the Polaris Project website?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today's Holiday: National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Slavery is alive and well in 2010 in the form of human trafficking; both around the world and in our own backyard. We can help rescue the victims, put the perpetrators behind bars, and finally truly end slavery in our time. Let's do it!

Video and text taken from

I'm spending the day at OSU listening to a survivor of human trafficking share her story, viewing a documentary, and hopefully meeting other like minded people.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Your Chance to Make an Impact

Yesterday I shared about seeing the difference I've made in the lives of two young men. Today it's your turn. Here's your opportunity to make a lasting impact in the life of a child.

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
James 4:17

Monday, January 4, 2010


My goal as a teacher is to give my students the skills necessary to be productive members of society. Formally my role is to teach reading strategies that will lead to a more success in school. Informally I attempt to show them their own worth by investing in their lives. I strive to teach them good character traits and life skills that will aid them in becoming the individuals they are meant to be.

The nature of my job allows me a limited amount of time to leave a lasting impact. I only have 180 days to mold these young minds. Most years there are a handful of students who I know without a shadow of a doubt have been changed. However, for the vast majority of my students, I will never know the depth of influence I've had on their lives.

Through a series of events only God could have orchestrated, I was given a glimpse of the impact my life has made on two particular young men. The best part is that these boys have been brought back into my life, and I have the opportunity to continue to show them God's love. Tonight my heart is overflowing with gratitude and joy because what the Lord is doing!

"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."
Philippians 2:10 (NLT)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Theme for 2010: Wisdom

-knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action
-discernment or insight
-a wise outlook, plan, or course of action

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.” Psalm 111:10 (NLT)

"Joyful is the person who find wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold." Proverbs 3:13, 14 (NLT)

Heavenly Father, please allow me to grow in wisdom this year as I strive to obey your commands. Show me where I've failed to discern your truth, and fill in the holes where my knowledge of what is true is lacking. May you be glorified by the action that will come from gaining wisdom. Amen.