Monday, September 17, 2012

Creatures' Seduction

I have become pleased with myself. What God has done in me, I credited myself as author of all the good that is not my own, but His. I use it as a mask, a cover all that is wretched and bleak. I forget it is not my ski, unblemished and pure, but the skin of God that covers me. I begin to use the greatness of God, not for his glory, but for my own desires and pleasures. I use it to fulfill a need in me, to make up for past mistakes, what I lack in character, to fill in the gaps of my bankrupt soul. Then He took the people I seduced to love and turned them against me to make my enemies. In turn, for a while I struggled to see even a glimmer of Christ when I was with them. Now where are they? Have they seen my ploy? Have they seen that I have lured them into submission and made them worship me and not turn the glory to Christ? I have tricked them and in the process, myself, to believe I am wise, I am pure, I am everything I really want to be and not just for pretend.

My senses, my desires, my lust for this world escape reason and truth because it is far to sweet and soothing to my tongue. I fall into a deep, numbing spell and all that I believe and all that is True becomes dim and faraway, in those moments, they are neither concrete or real. The Words of Love and Truth written on the walls of my heart melt off the walls, sliding down to the floor and burns through the floor. I free fall into lust's abyss, deep and dark, with no bottom to reach because the fire of passions only grows hungrier. My flesh has become my master and carried me off to a crusade of pursing pleasure for myself.

"All creatures either distress or tempt you, and dominate you either by forcibly subduing you or charming you with sweetness which is a far more terrible and harmful yoke." (Pascal)

The Creatures say, "come with me my sweet darling, take my hand and I will lead you to a place of utopia and forgetfulness. Do not worry, do not think, follow only how you feel with me." The creature is enchanting and I am drunk with it's magic, I drink from it its sweet nectar, letting each sip saturate my soul, my mind, and my heart. I belong to it now and I do not notice until I have made myself it's prey and find myself drowned at the bottom of a sticky thick pond. Only then, my small shrill voice calls out to Him, "Where are you? Why have you gone away from me?" When I am the one who turned my face from Him. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

CPS Teachers Strike Part 2

This is a poster one of my friends made for the protest. Read it and weep.

Last night, I went to small group and one of our members happens to be a CPS Teacher. Mind you, he's the most purest person I know and he loves God like nobody else. I would trust him and his family with my children and my own life. He isn't the type of person that would chase paper and live for the luxuries of life. He genuinely loves people, children and the even the kids that give him lip, attitude and come with broken families and broken lives. I say all of this not because I'm writing an ode to Bobby O. but I'm saying this because I need people to know that what he says is genuine, that he is on strike for justice, for the kids, for realz! My sister in law to be is also cut from the same cloth, she didn't go into teaching because she wanted to tote her latest Louis Vouitton while strutting in her Christian Louboutins. I mean...who really thinks of teaching if they want to make real money?

While hearing from both of them about what they've been enduring the last five days, I've been twitching with fury and my blood pressure has rose to a high I've never seen. I may have a stroke from hearing all the lies, injustice and the plain old stupidity of people who say they are leaders of this city! I've never heard so many accounts of self gain, unfairness, saving face, corruption! There is a reason this city is called Crook County and the legend of all the old gangsters of yore lives on. I felt so disappointed and started shutting down during the update that Bobby was giving us and the truth behind all the lies the MAJOR of our town has been spewing! The man that the president of the United States supports and stands behind! yes! your precious and shining Obama is friends with this man!

Today's injustice:
My soon to be sister in law got shoved during the strike. She's at the police station
All the teachers are getting flipped off everyday
Everyone is brainwashed from the commercials Rahm is running
Yes, children are the losers in this game, but so are the teachers...they have been
The whole nation has turned against their teachers in hate. Why? Because of politics. 

Sigh...I can't even write on...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CPS Teachers Strike

The Chicago Public School teachers are on strike this week and the next, and normally I wouldn't be so interested or partial to anything so political in this city because everything seems so corrupted in the state of Illinois down to the adoption system, but that's another story. I take special interest in this issue because 2 of my closest friends and my future sister in law are teachers in the Chicago Public schools. If you don't know already, being a teacher in the nicest part of town is difficult, dealing with the state requirements, the budget issues, crazy parents who insist their children are always right, principles and other teachers. All this on top of trying to teach day in and day out, purchasing pencils from their own pockets and trying to be patient with all the snot nosed brats in your classroom 30 strong. Then there are the CPS teachers who deal with all of this, and parents who are in gangs, in jail, have no funding, support from home and attitude from the kids like you won't believe. I for one would not be able to teach in a CPS because I would cry every single day teaching first graders.

I'm led to write this post because it seems there are ignorant people out there who, one, don't have kids and they have no idea what they're talking about. Oh you know, the kind of people that would  say things like "teacher's have it easy, they have summers off too!" or my favorite, "those who can't do, teach." Before I go on, I think that in the future curriculum of High school or a college life course, all students are required to work in the food service industry, work a retail job and teach, then everyone will have some respect for others and the value of a dollar! I don't know if I totally sounded like some old fart just now, but I don't care, it's true. Alas, there are others who are in the political environment that are plain lairs, making teachers out to be money grubbing low lives who aren't
thinking of the children, but the life of luxury they expected when they first decided they wanted to be teachers. There have been commercials on television that say, "our children are the real losers..." and that to me is the real low, using children as pawn for their political progress.

Now I can't say that I know the nitty gritty of what is going on politically, but here is the deal, teachers have always been underpaid that is a known fact, but the injustice of what's been going on this year has been an atrocious. Here are the three main things that the teachers are fighting for in plain language:

1. How the teachers are paid: Right now teachers are paid in a grid system. There is a chart somewhere that states how many years you've been teaching and what kind of academic credits you have under your belt. There's no guessing game, you just follow the grid and you are paid according to that pay scale. What the State whats to do is, having the teachers salaries rest in the scores of ONE standardized test given to each class.  The problem of this is that most kids don't know how to take tests, and what if they had a bad day that day, what if that year, their parents were arrested, got a divorce, are victims of abuse. There are plenty of reason ONE day of ONE testing should not dictate how a teacher is doing in their classrooms.

2. Longer School Hours: The teachers are expected to teach longer hours without more pay, that is one issue, and even if the teachers do over look that, they want the teachers to teach math and reading longer for those hours. The students are at max capacity as it is in those subjects, there is only so much learning that goes on in a students brain until they check out all together. Just because there is more time given to learning one subject it doesn't mean that there is more learning. Most teachers are expecting specials during these extended hours, like art, music, or gym but the State is not willing to pay for those specials to be implemented. The real problem of these longer hours is not the money, but how the hours are allocated.

3. Benefits: The benefits of teachers, as you can imagine aren't the best. I can't go into the details because I personally don't know the details of a current teacher's benefits. However, we know that they're aren't stellar and benefits are always on the table for discussion.

Here are some other things that are unfair to teachers in the CPS:
1. Many times teachers will have to purchase classroom supplies themselves: In the summer, when the classroom temperatures reached the three digits, teachers supplied the classrooms with ice packs  they supplied out of their own pockets.

2. Classroom sizes are enormous: If you have ever been to college or even high school, the more kids there are in class, the more you are overlooked. Think of 34 first graders in one class. Yup! I've had that once...it's nuts.

3. Teachers feed and become parents to these kids: Many parents of CPS are underpaid themselves and don't have time or the money to support their kids with their school work. Many don't own computers at home or a safe place to even do homework.

4. These conditions cause high turn over in the school system and fail to provide the children a congruent and stable learning environment.

Rahm Emmanuel obviously has no idea what's going on in the classrooms and this is why he's "disappointed" "mystified" and decidedly blames the principals for not providing the schools with the best teachers. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nap time reveal

I had a rough morning with J. He had been so deviant and rebellious, I had given him a punishment and put him in his crib without so much as a "good-nap" kiss. I was furious, but after less than a minute, I noticed he was crying like I never heard him. Sobbing and with short breaths, he screamed in between, shrills that caused me to shiver in my boots, that is, if I were wearing any. I walked into his room, determined to stay strong, I gave him a scowl and a short lecture, then I made him say or more like sign, "sorry." I took him into the big bed in our room and let him sleep on my tummy for the first time in 2 months. He fell fast a sleep and snoring, I looked down on him while he slept. He looked different to me in that moment...grown up and looked about 3 or 4 to me. I began whispering to him, "sorry mommy was so hard on you today...maybe I didn't have to be so hard on you and fight with you so hard. I don't want to be right or win, I want to have a good relationship with you."

I take for granted that J prefers me over his daddy or anyone for that matter. Today, a friend asked me if he would go to other people, and opened her arms to him, but inevitably turned his head away from her and buried his face into my neck. Then another mom says, "doesn't that make you feel good because he loves you so much?" I didn't know how to respond because that's not how I see it. I'm his mom and more than his preference or love for me, a genuine affection as a person with full understanding and acceptance, it's an attachment of need. To me, I don't want anyone to need me, because once I stop providing you with what you needed in the first place, I am disposable. Plus, what does a baby know about love? Then today, when he woke up from his nap, I was especially sensitive to his needs and emotions. I was afraid that our little incident in the late morning had damaged his perception of me, loved me less. Didn't I just say that children don't know anything about love? I don't know for sure, but I was definitely trying to feel secure with him again.

Things are still the same between the little man and me, I was being a weak-hearted mom and I had taken his punishment harder than he did. I did learn an important lesson today though, I can't take these moments of play for granted. Soon, he won't want me around and too embarrassed to have his old lady around when he's with his friends, crampin' his style.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

You are what you love

Similar to how you become what you eat, people become what they love. One of my brother's friends is dead set on the dream of making money. That's it. For him, becoming rich and having money has always been on his brain, so his screen name for anything online has become ...money (insert his last name before money). Any time his names comes up, all I can think of is money and for some innate reason, just rubs me the wrong way. I'm not saying that making lots of money is wrong if that's what you're good at, but there should be a better reason than the sole purpose of making money so you can buy nice toys for yourself.


All human beings are gifted with a multitude of gifts and talents, some are innate and some are learned. Out of all of those gifts, there are few you truly love and even if you didn't have the gift of say, making money, you would learn how. This made me think of all of the gifts that my friends have, but decided that some aren't worth pursuing, like my husband who is a beautiful photographer, but I'm the one taking all the pictures in this household, or how he plays the cello really well, but sold it in exchange for a bass guitar. Now instead of becoming a cellist, he's known as the bassist. Then further still, taking me down a rabbit trail, this made me think about all the things I love and what I spend my time, energy and resources on. What am I becoming?

I love my family and my community. I love my people, which makes me a snob in a way because I just don't notice or give charity to the ones I don't really know. There is no emotional bandwidth or even the time to give to the people who happen to walk into my life for a season or two. I love the people that love me back, the way I want to be love and in a way I am a lazy lover since these people don't stretch me in ways I need to be stretched in love.

I love reading and writing, and no matter how much I deny it, H will always tell me that I'm already a writer, when I don't really feel like one. Even when I don't really feel like one, I am what I am because I love it and I spend time doing what I love. It sounds like a vicious circle and a bit of a tongue twister to me, but alas, I write for several blogs and became the primary writer for a year book project.

I love to be healthy and despite popular belief, I literally work out for my health and has very little to do with vanity. Sure, I want to wear skinny jeans and look really cute, or at least have the option to wear them if I felt like it, but largely I work out because I want to feel mentally happy and physically strong. To act on this, I've become "cyborg" when I work out, running at high speeds, doing whatever the instructor tells me to do, no matter what I'm truly capable of. Love for my health overrides my hate for physical discomfort makes me a runner, makes me an athlete and more than that, a healthy person.

Last and not least, I loved KCC, the campers, the parents, the counselors, Avon, the camp grounds, the idea of it. Anyone who is anyone that attended KCC I loved. This is perhaps the most unhealthy of my loves though seems good. I have loved KCC and the people like I have never loved my community, church or otherwise, putting them before God, myself and at times my own family. I caught on fire with all consuming love that it burned up my virtue, rules, standards and my identity. What God has given me as a good gift, I have turned into an idol and allowed corruption and rust grow in the place of purity and goodness. I built an alter of KCC in my heart and in my life, that I given it love that was only reserved for God.

It seems what you become by what you love is mostly innocuous but sometimes bad when it comes to earthly desires, but when that love is directed toward God, it is always good. I have loved and became various things in the course of just a few years short years or sometimes even months, but when I am far from God and not devoting to the love I have for Christ, I see that I am truly slob without Him. It is glaringly clear that the goodness I have, the love that I have, what little wisdom I've gained can only be God's grace bestowed upon me and none that I can boast. I hope to love God and heavenly things most of all, so that I may pursue to be like Him who is beautiful beyond description.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Perfect

The other night, whilst kickin' it with a good friend of ours, they tell a story so sweet and poignant, I thought and thought about it, chuckling to myself. Their little boy at the ripe old age of 4 laid in his bed after his nightly bedtime routine, it was time for prayer and he says with is eyes closed so tight "God, can you hear me?!" Then after a while, he opens his eyes and so satisfied with his time with Him, says to his momma, "That was sweet!" How pure and innocent is the prayer of a child and how much does God love this child that he blessed his soul with such contentment and sweetness after that honest and blunt prayer. I feel that sometimes, "God can you even hear me? are you there? What am I doing on this earth? Do you love me?" It's amazing to me, children from 1 to 92 years old continue to have the same old prayers.

God has always been a repeater in my life, and not because he's a senile old man that redundantly retells that same old story over and over, but because I'm just a goldfish, or maybe I'm Helen Keller (no disrespect). I forget over and over his message to me that he does hear me, he is there and he does love me. It's the childish way in me that always asks, "are we there yet?" "will you come back for me?" For most of my life, I believed God and the world's love for me in the most innocent and purest way, but somewhere along the line, my innocence died and I began to see the world as it is. Because I hurt the world and the world hurts me, I project my insecurities and suspicion onto God and assume he will soon or later become tired me of also.

Then it began, my quest to always be loved and the only way I knew how was to be perfect. God does say in the Bible, "Therefore be perfect as I am perfect." I worked hard at being perfect, Biblically, socially, academically, physically, in humor, in dress... my perfection was my greatest flaw. Every time I made a mistake, it would set me back so far and so deep into depression, it was difficult ever to make forward progress. I was obsessed with being perfect. But perhaps I took that too literally or misunderstood, because surely I cannot be as perfect as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Then today, while my little bird naps in his crib full of ugly dolls that he hates, I was given a sliver of time to read a little. God spoke: "...disregarding all those things for which we hope and which have been reserved by promise, we regard falling from God's friendship as the only things dreadful and we consider becoming God's Friend the only thing worthy of honor and desire. This as I have said, is the Perfection of life." - Gregory of Nyssa

"Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal of the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus." - Philipians 3:13b-14