newthingsold

The wise man is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things both new and old.

Category: Life

Finished. Well.

In the last two weeks, two chapters in my life came to an end. First, after seven years serving in the role as co-president for my school’s teacher’s union, I resigned my office at the conclusion of its term. The second, after being a teacher at my school for ten years (nine of them teaching, one year inactive due to a reduction in force), I resigned from the school, having accepted a teaching position at a different school district for the next year.

About two months ago, I saw the good chance of the latter thing occurring, which meant that the former would have to happen, too. Seeing the writing on the wall, my focus shifted from not just ending the school year well, but ending this part of my career well also. In considering this, I realized that in order to end well, I needed to accomplish three things. These three things are what I leave you with:

  1. Finish in such a way that whomever follows in your steps does not have any messes to clean up because of you.
  2. Finish in such a way that whomever follows in your steps is thankful to be coming in after you.
  3. Finish in such a way that when your last day arrives, you feel proud of what you’re leaving behind.
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Ending well.

There are twenty-one school days left in the school year. The year is eight-nineths over. This is my last year in the building I am; the school district is consolidating and I the middle school I have been in will now be a part of a junior-senior high school configuration in a different building.

So now I feel like I have double-pressure to end well.

End well because it is the end of the year. Also end well because I am done in this building.

What is your process to end well?

4.13.2019 Stream of Conscious

I should have brewed the coffee from the D.R. that Gam brought me. I need to clean the pieces of the espresso maker. I wonder what time Kizzy is getting up? Coffee is good. What a weird couple of dreams I had last night. I need to go over those essays this weekend. Why did they consider doing that? The furnace sounds like a continuous exhaling snore of a sleeping dragon. Coffee.

Technology makes life. Easier?

As I am staring at the screen trying to figure out what to write, a red box popped up on the monitor. It said, “You haven’t written anything yet!” Thanks for the reminder. Is this supposed to inspire me by pressuring me?

I think to all the different times that Siri has sent the wrong message in talk-to-text messages (“I put the bacon in the frying pans” vs. “I put the baking in the frying pants”).

Earlier this week I set the coffee maker before going to bed. When I woke up at 5 the next morning and walked downstairs, the coffee pot had turned off three hours ago. I was unaware that the coffee maker had lost power earlier in the day, and while the clock had been reset, the brew timer had not.

And then, any time my phone’s batter percentage drops below 50 percent, I experience a level of soft panic and worry irrationally that my phone will not be able to last until I get it on a charger.

For all the ways that technology is supposed to make life easier, it sure has its moments.

Just sayin’…

A silent start to the year.

I have been in the routine of doing a New Year’s Day post every year for the last few years. This year, however, we’re three and a half weeks into the new year and I have yet to blog once. Until today.

The goals this year are few (not resolutions, because if these are just things I am striving to accomplish):

  1. 15,000 each of push-ups, squats, and crunches
  2. Get down below 200 lbs. in body weight (right now I am at 208)
  3. Read two different translations of the Bible cover to cover (ESV and NLT)

Thus far, I am on pace with all of them.

What goals do you have for this year?

#30SongChallenge – Day 2

Day 2:  Your Least Favorite Song

Artist:  Jamie Grace

Song:  “Hold Me”

Album:  One Song at a Time

Alright! I am two days in on a 30 day challenge, I haven’t skipped a day, and I am feeling good…well…mostly. But that’s a different talk for a different time.

Today’s song is one that on its own, I cannot stand. The only reason I even provide a link to the video is so that if you haven’t heard it, you can. But this song is also fitting with a bigger issue I have with a lot of the music labeled as “Christian.” That problem is actually articulated if I share a few of the comments for this video:

-@WarriorWolfeh:  “So many people don’t know that they’re singing about God’s arms holding them and not a lover…”

-@Katie Weakley- “So my non Christian friends heard this and thought it was a love song and when I told them it wasn’t they became Christians it’s so cool” (at least she remembered the apostrophe on ‘it’s’)

-@Yes- “i love how everybody thought this was a genuine love song and listened to it not knowing it was christian”

I think you get the idea. These “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs seem to paint faith and the Christian life as glib, inauthentic, equivalent to what happens in a Hallmark film. I do not believe that was Jamie Grace’s intent with this song; I believe that she wrote this song from an authentic place of excitement. I am not judging her, only sharing the perceptions I have for this song. And while I do not care for this song, it strikes me as a stand-in for an entire genre classification of CCM tune.

#30SongChallenge- Song 1

Introduction:

A friend posted on social media that he was starting a “30 Day Song Challenge.” The list he is using is shared below:

screen-shot-2017-07-05-at-9-43-37-am

I like the list but want to take it a step further and turn it into a reflection exercise. Music is an integral part of my life, so I will be using this list as the framework for 30 posts related to 30 songs. To that end, I will be writing about 30 songs with the goal of being done before the end of the year; I am not guaranteeing it will be a “one song per day” sort of thing; there might be a day or two between songs sometimes.

DAY 1:  Your Favorite Song

Artist:  Dashboard Confessional

Song:  “Screaming Infidelities”

Album:  The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most

My parents raised me on a steady diet of Christian rock. Dc Talk, Petra, Audio Adrenaline, and Newsboys filled the headphones of my Walkman and Discman continually. While this “too worldly” music was not on the metaphorical approved music list from the leaders of the church in which I grew up, my parents figured it was probably better for me than some of the other music choices I could have been listening to. The music was okay, but at 15 years old, my mind was on friends, school, the fact that I didn’t quite fit in, and girls (this was only complicated by the previous item on this list). Enter emo music.

I remember where I was when I first heard “Screaming Infidelities.” I was walking through the local Target with my friend Nathan after we had gone to see a movie at Eastside 10. I was walking towards Nintendo 64 display when the music video for “Screaming Infidelities” started playing on the row of T.V.s in the electronics department. The emotion behind the voice of the singer caught me from the first words and I detoured my route to the CDs to find this album by this band I had never heard of. That was $8.99 (on sale) very well spent.

Little did I know that this album would end up being a gateway disc to a much broader world of music that seemed to fly under the mainstream radar. Reading up on Dashboard Confessional’s lead singer informed me that he also sang in a band called Further Seems Forever. It turns out, the local store where my parents went to buy me music was where I could also special order Further Seems Forever’s The Moon is Down, the album on which Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional sang. Reading the liner jacket for The Moon is Down referenced Luti-Kriss (a.k.a. The Almighty Norma Jean), Juliana Theory (r.i.p.), and Saves the Day. Juliana Theory’s Emotion is Dead brought me to Zao (the lead singer Juliana Theory’s former band), Project 86, Dead Poetic, Anberlin, and a host of others.

Looking back, it actually startles me how important a part Dashboard Confessional has played in my musical life. Without this introduction to emo music, I would not have been aware to the scene which would bring me my favorite band of all time Brand New (r.i.p.???) or any of the bands connected to them. Or bands like American Football. Or groups coming out from Victory Records like Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein, The Forecast, etc.

While Dashboard Confessional and The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most would become a significant event for me in the long run, the immediate impact of “Screaming Infidelities” and the other songs on that album cannot be overlooked. For the boy who couldn’t connect with a girl and get her to like me, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most was a collection of 10 songs about unrequited love architected to hit the listener in the feels. This music spoke to me in a way that CCM would never be able to. Plus, for being so simple, the acoustic guitar work throughout the album is so stinkin’ good.

So with that, I leave you this:

Looking ahead to next year.

I’ll keep this brief.

I enjoy reviewing and blogging about books. It is a great hobby and I think I’ll keep doing it next year. But in looking at the content I published this year, most of it was reviews and not much other content.

While I will continue to to do it, that will not be my focus for next year. Next year, I will be on a regular publishing schedule, honing my chops (excuse the cliche) as I work on my first book. I’m going to use this blog as a place to practice or work out thoughts.

I will also be using this a lot more for typing up and sharing sermon ideas, as I continue the journey into church ministry.

2019 is going to be epic.

Can this just stop, please?

Can this whole passionately taking sides without an evidential basis thing please stop? It’s one thing to discourse without tangible proof about immaterial subjects (proof of God, strongest driver of impulse in the human psyche, which one of the Wiggles was the creepiest [Jeff]?, etc.). It’s another when it involves flesh-and-blood people and actual, tangible, things.

It seems to me like somewhere in the process of progressing as a society, we decided to throw common sense and the ability to suspend jumping to unnecessary conclusions out of our collective mental windows.

Am I missing something? Or is everyone else?

In the current Kavanaugh/Ford debacle, clearly one person is telling the truth and the other is lying. But I wonder how many people -lacking any sort of evidence or credibility on the subject- have jumped in and passionately decried one or the other of the two individuals? Maybe I am stuck in some sort of a vacuum and it is just happening to me. But to me, it feel s like an egregious quantity of folk with unqualified opinions are using whatever platform they can get their hands on to (maybe) make fools of themselves.

If Ford is lying, then anyone desperately claiming that Ford’s allegations are true is wrong, and embarrassingly so at that.

If Kavanaugh is lying, then anyone claiming his innocence and insulting Ford has reflected poor character.

Yes, the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court affects us all. But we should not allow ourselves to be impacted by it and commit unnecessary character suicide. Because simply, once evidence comes out in favor of one or the other, a whole bunch of people are going to have a whole bunch of egg on their faces.

If the truth is never revealed this side of eternity, then it still seems like a whole bunch of people will have become passionately belligerent for nothing.

Please excuse the overuse of cliches in this post, and the lack of proofreading that happened before I published this.

P.S. If Kavanaugh did commit the alleged acts of sexual assault for which he is accused, he should not be confirmed and President Trump should find someone else. I base this on the fact that at this point, if Kavanaugh did do it, he has spent more than three weeks lying to the American people. While I can understand the concept of forgiving major mistakes and moving on from something that happened 36 years ago (though even in this case I do not necessarily agree), the fact that an individual who we would like to believe would uphold the U.S. Constitution with dignity and integrity has spent the past time not acting in dignity and integrity should disqualify him. It would reflect character that is not consistent with our view of the Bench.

If he didn’t do it though, confirm and move on.

Aging -or Sarah- has been good for me.

Today, Sarah and I celebrate our eighth anniversary. I was looking through some old photos, and in looking at them, it seems pretty clear to me that as I have gotten older, the process has been good for me. Maybe it is losing weight, maybe it is a wife to help me dress myself. Who knows?

8.2000

(August, 2000)

BnuT6XkCYAAJgfc

(March, 2004)

10.2006

(October, 2006)

11.2008

(November, 2008)

7.2009

(July, 2009)

2.2010

(February, 2010)

9.2011

(September, 2011)

IMG_4907

(July, 2018)