Any of you ever flip flop between glass half full or glass half empty views of life? When I think about it, I think I've lived leaning toward half empty more than I'd want to admit. But that is some serious craziness!
This morning I was in such a bad mood because I couldn't find a file for my next book while sitting at the coffee shop. I had to leave because of how frustrated I got. And that was after I left my house trusting that there was a plan for my life and was at peace with that and God. Wow, how things can change.
The reason I titled this with goodness is because it is everywhere if I get myself out of way! Getting so mad over a computer file? C'mon Pete. I'm sure many out there feel the same way about some trivial things. I'm not alone, am I?
I have had so many unexpected blessings over the last two weeks, it's crazy. I don't want to list them all, but here are a couple: a student from last year, who now spends his 5th grade days in another building on my school's campus, brought me a kringle because he saw one the night before (yes, I bring in kringles for my students, in this order: raspberry, almond, almond macaroon, and finally Napolean). Another crazy good blessing was hearing from a woman in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that wants to Skype with my class about, you guessed it, the box project. How cool.
I could list more, but what I'm trying to say, which I've said before, is that blessings and goodness really are everywhere, if we trust in life. And come from the perspective of half full, or even 3/4 full. How about full?! This is what I'm really concentrating and know it will change my life. Thank you God.
There is plenty of growth to happen. Gotta take it all in.
Blessings to everyone. XO
Check out this sunset as I left my school the other day.
And here's some Earth, Wind & Fire
I feel like I need to write tonight although I don't really know what to say. Many of us lost a friend last night. A friend of mine and former basketball teammate died last night. I say friend even though I didn't see him that much, but still got a brother handshake every time we ran into each other. I say hoops teammates because that's where we first met and connected. And he connected with a lot of people. And he could play some ball! His name was Keith Fenderson and it is a deep loss for a whole lot of people in Racine and other places too. Keith touched a lot of hearts in a lot of ways. Man, he had a great smile, and was always greeting you like a great friend. I know a lot of people feel the same way.
I wanted to write about "punching holes in the darkness" a second time because that's what Keith was doing for the last many years. Now that he's gone, it's been a sad day, but also a day thinking about the kind of "heart" he had. He was dedicated to helping the community and was punching holes wherever he was, sharing God's love. He spent his last many years supporting Racine's youth in many ways, and even wrote many plays. When I heard about his plays, I tried to get to as may as I could just to share some heart with him and let him know I supported him. He always made a point of letting me know he appreciated me coming, even pointing me out to the crowd as the only white brother in the crowd! But who cared, it was about love and heart. And he knew how to make you feel special, in his own cool way.
I spent my drive home thinking about "heart," what it means and wondering if I could do more with mine, and maybe smile a whole hellava lot more, like Keith did. I sure could. The "heart" thing was a bit odder to think about. We can't really compare hearts. We each have the heart we have, to punch holes in the darkness. Keith had his way. And we all have our own way. Not that we can't get wiser and less selfish, but I think he would want us to share "what we got."
We will miss Keith, and I hope we all can live more the way he did, with that big smile, laughing and sharing our "heart" the best we can. Keith reached the Highest Ground last night, and is helping us reach ours as we think about him, and pray. This salute is to Keith.
I think Keith would have loved this tune.
People usually give me, and others, that line when talking about meeting a significant other. And they're probably right, and I hope they are. But if any of you have been reading the blog for any time, you've heard me share some of my God moments that have happened when I least expected them.
Well, I had another, and before I could have even called it one, the new friend I met called it one to me. Over the last three days, I was in Columbus, OH speaking at conference about my box project to other educators. I was thrilled that more than one person was in the audience this time, rather than the one when I spoke in Minneapolis summer. That also turned out to be a God moment though since that one was a woman named Nicole, who happens to be the chair of education at Concordia University. For the new session, I was able to share that serendipitous story with the new audience, so they allowed me to take another selfie to compare the experiences. :) See below!
My workshop went well, and the 18 participants were stunned, in a good way, about the project. Many said they would take the project and establish it in their school, which is my goal. I think God was with me as I shared the cool thing that's happening in my class, but there was a real God moment at 7:00 am this morning, in the front row of a plane. And although the moment happened with a woman some of you may have heard of, the God moment is how it happened in the first place.
As I waited my turn to board the Southwest Airlines plane, a woman was brought on the plane in a wheelchair, carrying a guitar. It was a somewhat unusual sight. When I boarded the plane, she was in the front row aisle seat, and since I love the front row for leg room, of course I also took the window seat in the same row, leaving the middle seat open for another passenger. The plane was supposedly filled, but for some reason no one ever sat between us. Although we were both tired from getting up at 5 am, and each of us expected to take naps, we never got around to them, since we talked the whole way.
Our conversation ranged from my trip to Liberia a few years ago, to cooking, teaching, her kids, the box project, living your passion and almost everything in between. I told her about my book, so gave her my business card and asked if I could have her address to send her a book. She asked about the website, so I told her about the tabs on the site: teaching, boxes, videos, Imaginaction, but also about the God tab.
This really intriqued her, so I shared some of the God moments I've experienced over the last few months. We then of course started talking about God. As the minutes went by, in the back of my mind I was thinking we were having a God moment during these moments on the plane. The last thing I wanted as I boarded that plane this morning was a conversation, like most of us, because I wanted a nap. As we continued our talk, she stopped me and said, "The way we've connected is a God moment." She was so right. And it was all because no one sat in that middle seat between us in that front row.
Her name happens to me Ruth Ward, also known as Mama Bear in the duo group of Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. She was so gracious about that and didn't bring it up to impress me at all. She really just brought it up as we talked about passions in life and that she never thought in her lifetime she would be doing what she is doing. She was genuinely grateful, and I was very grateful to have such a cool conversation on a flight home. When I least expected it.
Photos below are from my last two workshops, and I've also included two songs from Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear!