Stretching a Prayer

This is my seventh hour in the classroom, and the sun surprises me, clearing up my coffee mug with fresh peppermint tea.

Today even the boys band together. They’re wearing pink t-shirts for a reason. Especially the basketball players. One sits at the back of my room. But he’s not reading, at least not like the others.

Continue reading

Super Bowls, Plates, and Trophies

When we arrived downtown, the fog was thick. Later that night, while we slept, the wind and rain hammered at two sides of the hotel.

And yet hundreds of conference attendees, the next morning, still drink coffee like strangers. 

Continue reading

Writing With My Stronger Hand

A blank page is often black and full of clouds. And when the veil of watery voices rolls across the moon like a dark tide, the writer in me struggles toward the light.

But the fog is thick and filmy, and there is no speaking or writing in its haze. A pale glow sinks, or settles, far beyond the margins, drowning out any light with negative self-talk, shadowy and opaque.

Telling me that I’m trapped. Not good enough. Even guilty.

Continue reading

Rubbing My Eyes

I’ve been bludgeoning my students for years. It’s a hard lesson, but they’ve got to learn it.

“Look for the good,” I tell them, again and again, until they’re good and bloody.

So why am I so passionate in wielding this aphoristic club? Partly because, once upon a time, those daily swings of grace finally provoked me to get out of a pit. That movement first began with a single Post-it note nailed down to my desk at school. I determined to jot down a few good moments for which I could be thankful. In the beginning, I discovered them slowly.

One or two words at a time.

Continue reading

Holding It Together

One shouldn’t underestimate the power of a paper clip.

I sat down at my computer Friday morning to see how much e-mail and coffee I could take in before the first bell rang. I didn’t get through much because the message at the top of my inbox was addressed from a student who graduated two years ago.

She was on my newspaper staff during her senior year. She was an instigator.

Continue reading

A Child Who Leads

Jumping and pointing, my son couldn’t stop shouting. “Daddy, a rainbow! Daddy, there’s a rainbow! Look!”

Once I saw it, something in me felt like shouting, too — though not quite as loudly as a four year-old.

Granted, my spirit was already primed for a celebration as we walked out the doors of our church yesterday evening. My wife and I had just finished Continue reading

An Open Book, an Open Eye

Ever feel like you’re pushing around an empty cart? Or one weighed down and overflowing?

Either way, I’ve been gripping my cart handles more than my Bible lately. Misplacing my priorities is a sin I’m not fond of admitting to others. To me, it feels like a litmus test for the heart. Either I’m synching with God’s heart or something else.

Continue reading