Those Parents of Mine

My friends, my family, and even those who may not know me very well, know that my parents are kind of crazy. My brothers and I spend a lot of times telling stories about their lives and ours.

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But, for today, I want to tell you some of the pretty cool things about my mom and dad, who are still together, after raising 3 crazy children, and going through a whole lot of LIFE.

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My dad always took care of us financially. He worked and worked and worked. We were really poor when I was younger, but I never knew it. We had our needs met: food, a home, a car, and even some new K Mart clothes for school each year. I’ve heard stories of alcoholic dads or gambling dads losing the family’s rent or even the house. That wasn’t my dad.

My dad is generous. His dad was not generous to him, and I think he made sure that didn’t happen to his kids. We earned $5 (sometimes $10!) every other week for our allowance. Looking back, I appreciate it more now, because really, I didn’t have any chores. He just gave us the money. Once in a while, we’d get a task, and that’s when he’d double it. There were a few times in my life where my dad came across some extra chunks of money, and without hesitation, he split it among us. He didn’t have to do that, but he did, because he’s generous.

I think my favorite thing about my dad is the time he spent taking us to sporting events. I’ve been to Detroit Red Wings games, Tigers, Lions, and Pistons, all with my dad. I didn’t know until I was older what a special treat it was to go to the professional games. It was just part of my life! From 1991-2005, I went to at least one Red Wings game a year. Maybe now you understand my love of sports a little more. :) It was time spent with my dad.

My mom took care of us. She did our laundry. She cooked our meals. We ate meals at home together as a family for most of our young childhood. Once we were in junior high and had sports, the schedules changed, but dinner together as a family at the dinner table was a regular thing for us.

My mom worked. My mom went back to work so that my brother and I could go to a private, Christian school. And so she could get her nails done. Just kidding, Mom. Even when I went to college, my mom worked and helped as much as she could to pay for my school. That was huge. I have no idea what it’s like to pay my own way through college. My mom sacrificed so I could go through school without that stress.

My mom kept the house clean all the time. She was up early every morning to clean the house (I hated when she would vacuum at 6 in the morning!). If we got up early enough, we’d see her sweating to the oldies, doing laundry, or reading her Bible.

She was faithful to church. Once we started going to church, we rarely missed. She taught me a lot about commitment in that way. She was always in the Word, and always praying.

Today, I was listening to a pastor and he said, “Give your dad a break. He did the best he could with what he had.”

Sometimes, I forget that my parents are human. :) So, today, I’m giving them a break. I’m saying thank you for doing what you could for me.

I love you.

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