Archives For Friday Fuel

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and it definitely snuck up on me this year. Does it seem to anyone else that it came a week early or something? No? I must be crazy then.

Either way, I have cards and flowers to buy, but there were a ton of people who were on the ball, sharing good stuff in time for the holiday. Here is what I enjoyed most this week.

Mother’s Day Giveaway

The ladies at Grace For Moms have generously shared their space with Cheri and I, and are putting on a huge holiday giveaway. It’s a whole bunch of books, and even a big handful of cash. If you like books or money, you’ll want to go check it out.

In My Blog Reader

Elsewhere in the world, my reader was filled with different kinds of posts about mothers, parenting or family.

If you are a mom who is struggling with a lack of sleep and wondering how to love your family well.

If you have a mom who drives you crazy…and isn’t that most people?

Beautiful words from Erika Morrison on suffering from a mother’s perspective.

A discussion about parental discipline, inspired by that viral video of the woman slapping and shaming her grown son in public.

Affirmation that, indeed, mothering is a wonderful job.

A reminder that in our modern world, issues of life are extremely complex. If you consider yourself pro-life, it is no longer enough to say that life begins “at conception.”

And finally, for all the mothers, and there are many, whose children only got to be born into heaven.

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies. Whether you have your own children or not, if you are pouring into children somewhere in your life, you deserve to be celebrated.

It’s been a great week, as I and perhaps thousands of other teachers and schoolchildren see the end of the school year, the light at the end of the tunnel. We are just trying to crawl to the finish line at this point, but we know we are going to make it.

There were a lot of great things that fueled, challenged, inspired or motivated me. Here are the highlights.

On My Calendar

Tomorrow, I’m so excited to be taking part in a panel discussion on keeping your relationship together through infertility. Three years ago, I attended the conference, put on by the Kansas City Infertility Awareness Foundation. I didn’t expect 200 other people would be there. It was the beginning of my eyes being opened to see this great need, a huge number of people who believe they are suffering alone through childlessness.

On My BookshelfAll-Groan-Up-Cover-For-Web

I’m so happy for my friend, Paul Angone! His book, All Groan Up has finally been released. It’s been a long road for him to get this book out to the public. I can’t remember when he approached me for an endorsement. But it’s a great gift for grads, both high school and especially college.

In My Blog Reader

Perhaps the most impactful thing I read this week came from Rachel Boldwyn, as she shares what appears to be a completely counter-cultural philosophy on teaching children to share. When was the last time we really examined the assumptions we have about teaching selflessness, and are we really doing the opposite? A must read if you have or deal with young children.

K.C. Proctor has been on fire, producing his book and podcast on parenthood from a dad’s perspective. I loved this post, Three Stupid Words Every Dad Should AvoidDads, really. Get these words out of your vocabulary today.

There are hidden opportunities in our churches for serving and loving others. Nish Weiseth discusses the opportunity we have in the families with special needs children, families who usually are shuffled around or pushed to the edges because people don’t want to get involved with their stuff.

Finally, Abby Norman shares some real ways to be counter-culturalHint: it doesn’t have to do with hair, clothes or music.

That’s it from me. See you next week!

It’s the time of year that all Art teachers know.

It’s the season when our rooms are bulging with too much stuff and not enough room to cram all of it. It’s art show season and my social media feeds have been awash in photos of teachers displaying their students’ best work. It’s a great time of year to steal ideas. But today, I’d like to share just a few of the things that came out of my room this year.

This is the work that made me jump for joy, pump my fist in the air and remember why I teach art. Remember, you can be creative too. You just have to start.

An exterior view of the Nelson Atkins museum here in Kansas City. I'm saying goodbye to several great artists in our senior class.

An exterior view of the Nelson Atkins museum here in Kansas City. I’m saying goodbye to several great artists in our senior class.

Farm fields with fourth grade.

Farm fields with fourth grade.

Ships at sea. This picture is so perfect in person, it makes me wonder if it was actually intentional or mere coincidence.

Ships at sea. This picture is so perfect in person, it makes me wonder if it was actually intentional or mere coincidence.

"Great Waves," like the famous Japanese painting.

“Great Waves,” like the famous Japanese painting.

Panda bears from first grade.

Panda bears from first grade.

I can't take any credit for this senior's work, and that's the best feeling. The most I contributed to her success is writing her letter of recommendation. She is going to the Kansas City Art Institute on scholarship.

I can’t take any credit for this senior’s work, and that’s the best feeling. The most I contributed to her success is writing her letter of recommendation. She is going to the Kansas City Art Institute on scholarship.

This is the week when my Instagram feed filled with pictures of Art teachers prepping their school’s art shows. I’m in the trenches too, under a pile of papers and clay pieces and just hoping it looks like something by this time next week. Then I’ll have to take it all down again! Seriously, children’s art is a big deal.

In between bouts of furious working, these are the things that fueled, challenged and inspired me.

On My BookshelfPUD-cover-with-drop-shadow-350x500

Next week, a good friend of mine, Kelly O’Dell Stanley releases her book, Praying Upside Down. Kelly is a writer and artist and if you are a creative, spiritual type of person, this book is going to be right up your alley. It’s a prayer book, but it’s about art. Actually art is the metaphor for prayer. The book isn’t trying to make an artist out of you (if you don’t want to be.) It’s about refreshing your prayer life and I loved it.

In My Blog Reader

Zack Hunt shares a post that dovetails with what I wrote this week with The United Kingdom Is a Christian Nation, But The United States Is Not. Before you share that video of the Prime Minister calling the UK a “Christian nation,” read Zack’s important points of clarification that an American audience seems to be missing.

Tyler Braun addresses a topic that I don’t think I’ve ever seen blogged about with Dear Church, Old People Matter.

Kathy Escobar addresses why conversations about power and privilege never go very far and how to diffuse the anger and prejudice so we can actually speak constructively to one another, Five Popular Ways to Shut Down Conversations About Power.

Finally, Kelly Rosati speaks to what I think is probably a deeply entrenched belief, not just about adoption, but about the many systems that attempt to care for children, Adoption Doesn’t ‘Fix’ Children.

That’s it from me. See you next week!

It’s been a good week over here. I hope you can say the same.

This weekend, Cheri and I will be visited by a photographer for a local “lifestyle” magazine as they do a story on us and the book. I’m pretty nervous because up to this moment, I did not think we had a “lifestyle,” and if we did, I would not assume it’s very photogenic. But we are still excited. We’ll dress the little man up and pretend he always looks that formal!

This week, there were plenty of things that challenged, enriched and grabbed my attention. Here are the highlights.

In My Netflix Queue

Cheri and I have been watching House of Cards, and loving it. But you know that television has gotten pretty…well, serious. Everything seems to heavy now. So sometimes, I need to take a break and watch something like popcorn fare, and I finally tried watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I gotta say, it’s pretty entertaining, and the opening theme song (the first I’ve heard in years that features actual lyrics) is pretty darn catchy.

In My Blog Reader

Just as interesting as Kimmy Schmidt is the first thing that I noticed this week, written by a former cult member, I’m Kimmy Schmidt, Minus the Unbreakable. Elizabeth Esther, who I’ve read for a long time, breaks down what the show gets right in its brief depictions of cults, and where it differs from reality.

Erin Lane just launched her book, Confessions of Belonging From a Church-Going Committment-Phobe and now she is launching a blog series called #OneGoodChurch. While seven million people each year become religiously unaffiliated, it should be an interesting series over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Lisa-Jo Baker talks about the art of being a good neighbor, and how to, well, uncomplicate it. Sometimes we just overthink things.

In more newsy stories, I personally raised my fist in victory at the news that LifeWay stores will stop selling all books in the dubious “heaven visitation” genre. I don’t always agree with what the company does, but I think the dead-person-coming-back-from-heaven genre is a plague and a lie, so I’m glad to see it become a little bit more difficult for the people peddling that tripe.

Marshall Segal, a writer’s name I didn’t recognize, writes about the idolatry of theology, and gives ten questions that we can ask ourselves about our own. And finally, Bonnie Gray finishes the week by discussing why we need quiet time, and really delving into the discipline of quiet, in our quiet-starved world.

That’s it from me. See you next week!

Spring Break!

This week has, to be honest, flown by. With an anniversary celebration, Spring cleaning, and full days with the kiddo, the days have slipped away quickly. It was a week to be outside in the record warmth and sunshine, and then inside with the dreary gray rain.

Still, there were plenty of “unproductive” moments (kids tend to create a lot of those) when I found things that fueled, challenged and encouraged me.

On the Radio

Last Saturday, my episode of Building Relationships aired with Gary Chapman. We talked about keeping marriages together through a season of infertility or miscarriage. I’ve done quite a few radio talks, but I have to say I’m particularly proud of the hour I spent talking to this great man.

In My Blog Reader

In my blog reader, Micha Boyett talks about the discipline of choosing love and humility over being right. This has got to be one of the most neglected disciplines in our churches today. Really, if we were on a desert island, how many little groups and churches would we have come up with to keep our doctrine “pure?”

I’ve been following Addie Zierman as she traveled through Armenia with World Vision (my own trip to Uganda with World Help has made me much more interested in reading about other writers’ journeys.) This week, she kind of recapped pieces of the story and reflected on the whole event.

I have been reflecting on my adult life, which has lasted roughly twelve years or so and the kinds of advice I wish I could go back and give myself. Constantine Campbell gives five pieces of advice to young men that are spot on.

Anne Marie Miller has become a warrior for parents talking to kids about very contemporary issues. This week was the site Omegle. Of course, these conversations are very far away for me and my child, but God knows what I’ll have to talk to him about. I hope I still have the courage to do so when the time comes.

Finally, two dovetailing blogs. We can talk a long time about the sins of our society and what we need to repent of. From ReKnew, a call to repent from the sin of religion, and from Sean Palmer, a more detailed explanation of why Legalism is an illusion. Great stuff.

That’s all for me. I will see you on the other side of the weekend!