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I See You Military Mom

Yesterday was the 243rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and tomorrow is Veterans Day.  Flags are at half mast, and Monday is a national holiday.  On Friday, the kids of Gramercy Christian School, as well as most of the towns of Newport and Morehead City, NC,  stood on the side of Highway 70 as a motorcade passed by in honor of fallen soldier Sgt. James Slape.  We had a special chapel the same day in honor of our military heroes, both past and present.  Last week, my sister attended a celebratory Marine Corps Ball with her husband, who is a Colonel in the USMC, and  today at church our local body of believers honored the men and women who have given their time in service to our country.  And all of that is appropriate.  In fact, it's more than appropriate.  It's the very least we can do.   Although I was not raised in a military family, I have had some experience with the military.  I live in a military town.  I work at a school in a ...

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Praying for a Pledge of Allegiance

I am an educator, not a politician.  I am a teacher and a taxpayer, and more importantly, a mother, which is why I am awake at 3 AM thinking about nations.  Yesterday, in what felt like a rite of passage, I took my eldest son, who recently turned 18 years old, to the polls to vote in his first midterm election.  He was a real hit.  The ladies at the polling place doted on him.  He filled out his ballot like a pro.  He got his sticker.  I took his picture.  I even posted it on Facebook, in a rare public display of parental pride.  He felt like a real American.  Over supper, my family had a heated discussion about Republicans, Democrats, and a failing two-party system.  I listened as my teenage boys schooled me on all that is wrong with our country.  We debated healthcare reform, immigration, constitutional interpretation, and the concept of legislating morality.  I went to bed mentally exhausted, a little bewildered, and legitimately concerned fo ...

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Bridging the Generation Gap

As a Christian educator, I am acutely aware of the importance of making certain that the next generation has been taught not only the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also the truth of the Bible and the life-altering attributes of God.  As both a teacher and an administrator, I feel a pressing responsibility to make sure we are handing the baton of faith to the young men and women who are coming after us.   The book of Judges gives this scathing account of the Israelites failure to do just that:  "After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel" (Judges 2:10).  If you know the Bible, then you know the catastrophic results of that particular failure - immorality, social injustice, war, and eventually bondage to foreign nations.  Although it would be easy to blame the younger generation for the state of Israel, there was also clearly a failure on the part of th ...

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Florence, Michael, and Trials of Many Kinds

I am sitting on my front porch, heavy sighing over yet another day of missed school due to inclement weather, and I'm attempting to remind my soul to be still.  We have barely shaken off the sadness and stress of Hurricane Florence, and I feel our community's collective distress over even the whisper of more that could possibly come.   Michael, even in the form of a Tropical Storm,  feels daunting.  To say the least, the 2018-2019 school year has been interesting thus far, but aren't they all? My eldest son is a Senior in high school.  The child was born in 2000, when Y2K had us all wondering if our entire infrastructure was going to collapse.  I had barely weaned him when September 11th, 2001 shook our nation to its core, and we realized we weren't as invulnerable as we had always imagined. In 2003, I snuggled my son along with his infant brother while I watched our country's military crash into Iraq in the days of "Shock and Awe," and my family had just moved to eastern N ...

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On the Edge of the Storm

Horizons are interesting.  There is always such a clear-cut line between ocean and sky.  As I sit here on the edge of Hurricane Florence, however, I find that the line between the storm and a state of normalcy is much more blurry.  We have been out of school for 10 days and will miss another 4 before classes resume.  We have lost a good portion of our Volleyball and Soccer seasons.  Teachers are scrambling to figure out how to ensure students will learn all they need to know about Algebra and Literature before the end of a now shortened school year.  We are wondering how and if we should even make up days missed. And that's just school.  Churches have yet to begin regular weekly services.  Families are still without power or internet.  Homes are in disarray or completely destroyed.  Many local businesses are not yet up and running.  Trash is piled up on the side of every street.  And even the shelves in Walmart look bare.  Recovery, I am finding ...

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In the Aftermath of Hurricane Florence

It's hard to believe a scene so stunning can follow a storm so savage, but God gives us hope.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, we are all trying to catch our collective breath and make sense of what has transpired.  We will be telling our stories, grieving our losses, and rebuilding our lives for many months. We know this time has been very trying, and whether your family evacuated or stayed and weathered the storm, the effects have been difficult for everyone, and devastating for many.  We have not stopped thanking God for His mercy, nor have we stopped asking for His help in all of these circumstances.  Please know our thoughts and prayers are with each of you. Many families are just now returning to their homes.  Many are still without power.  Many are knee-deep in massive clean-up.  Many have friends and neighbors still in desperate need.  Due to these factors, Gramercy will not reopen until Wednesday, September 26th at the earliest. As a s ...

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What Does it Mean to Guard your Heart?

At Gramercy this year, our theme verse is from Proverbs 4:23, which says, "Above all else, guard your heart from out of it flows everything you do."  We chose this verse in part because we recognize that, as a Christian school, we run the risk of becoming overly focused on simple behavior modification, forgetting that the religion Jesus taught was about sincere heart transformation (Matthew 15: 8-9).  Of course, this is not only a problem for Christian schools.  It's a problem for all people in all areas of life.  As a parent, for instance, I have often focused too much on what my child is or is not doing instead of directing my attention to what is happening in their hearts that is causing them to act out.  Usually, when I stop attempting to only discipline symptoms and actually take the time to address the real heart issue, be it jealousy or anger or fear, I am able to help them resolve not only the symptom, but the actual problem as well. Young people today are literally inun ...

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The Aim of Christian Education

“Arrows are not meant for décor; they are meant for battle.” Erwin McManus For many years now I have considered Psalm 127 a guidepost for parenting.  This Psalm reads, "Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord keeps watch over the city, the watchmen guard in vain."  As a young mom, this verse spoke to me because I realized very early on that parenting was going to be a lot of work and I did NOT want my labor to be in vain.  In later verses, the Psalm reads, "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons (and daughters) born in one's youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."  I have pondered these words for many years and though I am not a bow huntress, I understand enough about this image to recognize that parenting, like archery, requires a great deal of skill and focus.  If my children are arrows and I am the warrior, then I recognize that I must not be shooting haphazardly.  I ne ...

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Today is Not that Day!

At 3:30 am this morning, I awoke with this horrible thought:  it is the middle of July!  If you're a mom or dad of school-aged children, then you already know where I'm going with this, and it's probably perfectly clear to you why I awoke in a semi-panic.  Summer is half over.  The summer that literally just began five minutes ago is already half over.  Perhaps this thought was brewing in the back of my mind because of my brief trip into Hobby Lobby yesterday where I saw, that's right, Thanksgiving decorations on display.  How is that even possible?  Honestly, putting up Thanksgiving stuff in July makes me feel anything but thankful.  In fact, it makes me grouchy. I'm still trying to remember to buy new goggles and a beach chair.   As a teacher and school administrator at Gramercy, we are already in the thick of preparing for the coming year.  We are sending out emails, school supply lists, and sports calendars.  We are soliciting volunteers and rem ...

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As Families Go...

School is almost over and honestly, it can't come quickly enough!  Teachers are wilting before my very eyes.  Parents look exhausted and slightly terrified.  Students appear to have fallen victim to a zombie apocalypse.  Furthermore, I'm not sure who that woman in the mirror is, but it can't be me!  For the first time in my life, I begin to understand why presidents look so young when they take office and so old when they leave.  How can one school year do this to all of us?   Remember back in September when we were excited and hopeful?  Remember when we had big plans for all we were going to do and learn and be this year?  Remember when our kid's pants fit and they were bathed and we still made breakfast?  Yeah, me either.  It seems like a decade ago.  Now, I watch helplessly from behind a cup of coffee as my kids rummage through the refrigerator for a piece of leftover chicken and I can't even see my son's face because he's needed a hair ...

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