That one time I saw a bunch of MLB players!

A couple months ago, my friend told me about a baseball clinic happening at the stadium. I walked to the stadium to check it out. She mentioned there would be some MLB players. Then, a friend of mine was on the field, so he brought me on the field, too. Then… I wandered and took pictures. Living the DREAM.

See the photos here.

Some of the people I saw…

Big Papi — David Ortiz

Encarnacion

Pedro Ciriaco

Santana

Nelson Cruz

Robinson Cano

Jordany Valdespin

Jean Segura

 

Now You Know How I Feel

I love love love my students. They laugh at my really stupid jokes. They give me huge, painfully strong hugs. They forgive my faults. They smile a lot. They make me laugh.

But what about when they’re not doing those things? What about when they forget their homework, or talk during quiet time, or fight with each other? What about when they talk back and disobey and get angry?

Do I love them then?

This week, I was praying, “God! They don’t listen to me!” And He calmly and quietly said, “Now you know how I feel.”

Oh.

His simple response has challenged me in two ways. First of all, it has helped me to realize why I am loving these kids. I’m not loving them with the primary purpose of conforming them into obedient creatures. I’m not loving SO they will listen. If that’s my goal, I would surely give up.  I’m loving them because God has commanded me to love one another. My love for them isn’t dependent on whether they obey me or not. My love for them is unconditional. And in those moments where I might want to give up, I have to remember the purpose! Love because Jesus loves. It’s not really love if I’m only “showing love” to get something in return.

Second, his response has chastised me in my own disobedience. When I don’t listen to God–when I know what is right to do, and I disobey, how frustrating that must be for Him. How hurtful. I use that “How would you feel?” line all the time with my students when they hurt someone else. Now God is showing me the same. He knows what is good and best for me. And I don’t listen. And it hurts Him, not because He wants me to be an obedient creature…but because He loves me and knows what is good for me.

Lord, help me to love unconditionally.

Lord, help me to let your love be my motivation for obeying you.

While You Were Sleeping

Luke 22:39-46

Jesus and his disciples went up to the Mount of Olives. When they arrived, Jesus told them, “Pray that you do not fall into temptation.” Then He left them to go pray to the Father. He was going to pray about what He knew was coming: his death. He prayed, “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done.”

An angel came and strengthened Him. He was in such agony, his sweat was filled with blood.

When he returned to his disciples, they were sleeping, exhausted from sorrow. 

“Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

So let me explain this the way I read it this morning…

Jesus and his disciples go up to the Mount of Olives. He gives them instructions on what to do. Then He leaves them. Instead of obeying his directions, they go to sleep because they are sad. Meanwhile, Jesus is praying, pleading with God because of His love for those sad, sleeping disciples. He’s in agony, sweating drops of blood, needing to be strengthened by an angel, because of His love for those sad, sleeping disciples. And He’s God, so He knows they are back there sleeping and not doing what he said. But he’s praying. for them. He’s going to die for them. What kind of loves it that? Unconditional!

So He finishes pleading with God, going through the agony, sweating drops of blood (all because of His love for his people), and he returns to his sad, sleeping disciples. You know—his best friends. His very best friends didn’t do what He said. And he just says, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

He wants them to pray because it will help them. The directions He gave them were for their good. He went away to pray, for their good. How great is that love? Amazing. Infinite. Indescribable.

~~~~~

So let me explain this again, from a little different perspective…

Jesus came to earth, and he gave us instructions, and then He left. He left to intercede at the right hand of God the Father for you and for me. And guess what we’re doing? We’re sleeping. We’re not obeying. We’re sad and tired, and we’re sleeping. We’re weary because this life is hard. And while we’re sleeping, where is Jesus? Talking to God about us. Why? Because he loves us. He loves us so much.

How great is our God? How awesome is my Jesus? How much love does he have for me? I can’t even begin to describe it.

But I can tell you this… the more I see and understand his love, the more I love him. And the more I see and understand his love, the more I can handle this “hard” life.

Think about all He’s doing for you. Right now. While you were sleeping.

27 de febrero!

February 27th is Dominican Independence Day. The Dominican Republic claimed its independence from Haiti in 1844.  This week, our middle school students celebrated with a “wax museum.” They wrote and memorized first person monologues to be given as classes and visitors came through to see them.

Then on Friday, the city celebrated with parades full of drums and flags! And kites! and costumes!

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Founding Fathers (School Wax Museum for Independence Day)

Founding Fathers (School Wax Museum for Independence Day)

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Dominican Independence

Dominican Independence

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family

My Students are My Biggest Challenge and Also My Greatest Love.

I definitely teared up when Victor gave this to me. He probably had to save for several weeks to earn the "points" to buy this.

I definitely teared up when Victor gave this to me. He probably had to save for several weeks to earn the “points” to buy this.

Never a dull moment with these girls! Full of humor and drama!

Never a dull moment with these girls! Full of humor and drama!

We made Verse pictures to decorate our door for February.

We made Verse pictures to decorate our door for February.

Last week, Darlin was baptized. So excited for him to continue to walk with Jesus in his life.

Last week, Darlin was baptized. So excited for him to continue to walk with Jesus in his life.

Ok, so “sometimes” might be an understatement …

My blog header says “sometimes” she watches baseball. I guess I watch it a lot more than that, but isn’t that what writing is about? understatement or exaggeration? Creative writing, right? Anyway, I wanted to share some of my  baseball excursions with you.

First of all, The Estrellas Orientales finished the regular season in 1st place, and made it to the final round of the playoffs. They started out strong with a 2-0 over the opposing Gigantes, but ended up losing the best of 9 series in 8 games. Throughout the season, I was able to attend almost every home game, thanks to the generosity of someone who gave me tickets for every game. Huge blessing! Then, I was also able to travel to all 5 stadiums in the Dominican league this year. That was a pretty cool feat to accomplish.

After the season ended, I knew I’d have to wait for spring training to hear any more about baseball, or so I thought. Someone told me about a baseball clinic happening at the stadium, so I walked over (about 5 minutes from my house) to see what was going on. Sure enough, there was a baseball clinic, sponsored by Robinson Cano and his foundation. There were also several major league players there: Cano himself, David Ortiz, Nelson Cruz, Jean Segura, Carlos Santana, Edwin Encarnacion, and Eduardo Nunez to name a few. A friend of mine from the Estrellas was on the field, so I asked if I could go down. I spent my afternoon on the field, listening to MLB players talk to the kids about the importance of respect, diligence, and education, as well as watching them give tips on catching, hitting, and throwing. It was a dream-like experience, and I was even able to get my picture with a few of the players (namely a better picture with Cano and my first picture with Nelson Cruz!).

If you enjoy baseball, you’ll love these. If not, you might fall asleep.

A look into my Dominican baseball experience

The day at the baseball clinic

Reflecting on God in the Life of Moses… Bible Study

Scriptures:

Exodus 3:1-6, 11-15

Psalm 90

Exodus 33:12-16, 34:8-9

Our Relationship with God  God’s Relationship with Us

I heard someone say the other day, that God is a relational God. I know that, but they also said, “Just look at the Old Testament.” When I think of God being relational, I always connected it to Jesus and the New Testament, and his relationship, especially with the unlovable.

Now I find myself searching for relationship in the Old Testament, and clearly, I’ve been missing a lot! Maybe I’ve seen it before and forgotten, or maybe I’ve never noticed, or maybe God has opened my eyes and heart because I need it in my life right now. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful for the truth of God’s desire for relationship, and the truth of His presence in my life.

Our Presence With God  God’s Presence with Us

In the conversations God has with Moses, Moses repeatedly reminds God that he can’t do it, and he needs God to go with him. And God says, My presence will go with you. Our God is not far away. He is present with us, leading us, correcting us, loving us. With his presence, we are not lonely. With his presence, we have direction. With his presence, we are chastised. With his presence we feel loved.

Our View of God  God’s Character

In Psalm 90, Moses clearly acknowledges God’s wrath and anger and His power. He confesses that God has indignation with the people. But in the same psalm, he asks for the satisfaction of God’s love and favor. Because Moses was in God’s presence, he knew God. Most of us would find it difficult to ask favor from someone who held wrath and anger, unless of course, we knew we were loved by that person. Moses knew that He was loved by God. He knew this because God was present with him in a relationship. In knowing God, we don’t ignore his anger and wrath; instead we rest in the truth that His love covers our sin, and that his indignation and wrath were satisfied in the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.