Life Lessons through Defensive Driving

My trip to Waco a couple of weekends ago turned out be very expensive. I got a ticket in Rosebud for speeding. It’s a “speed trap” (as stated on the sign outside of the city limit sign)

14294713_BG1Well, I did slow down going into Rosebud, but I sped up too soon going OUT of Rosebud.

So, now I get to take defensive driving online. Well, as I was reading tonight (Other Driving Impairments) about Managing Your Emotions it really just spoke to me that you can learn a lot about life through defensive driving…..

Here’s part of what I read:

When you detect your emotions dominating your judgment and actions, practice a technique called self-regulation. Just forget about the gratification of getting even or engaging in a hostile act. Short-circuit the buildup of rage.

  • Do not be competitive. Driving is not a contest.

  • Do not take the aggressive actions of other drivers personally. Try not to be judgmental. Do not jump to conclusions about their behavior or actions. Put yourself in the other driver’s shoes. Perhaps he or she is dealing with an emergency.

  • Listen to soothing music.

  • Cool off when you are angry or frustrated.

  • Go with the flow of traffic. Do not try to beat it or fight it.

  • Give yourself more time than you think you will need to complete your trip. Leave early.

  • Stay focused on the driving task.

  • Demonstrate the kind of courtesy you would like to receive from others.

  • Adjust the air conditioner to keep yourself cool and calm.

Turn a negative driving situation into a positive scenario. Concentrate on the safety of your vehicle, yourself, and your passengers. If you demonstrate courteous behavior, you and society in general will benefit from your decision.
Enjoy your driving experience.

Well, I immediately started thinking about the 7th graders that I had in class today. As you know, I regularly substitute at the Middle School, both 7th and 8th grade. But, the past two days I’ve had 7th grade. And, let me tell you, there are days that are exhausting, like today. There are days that I am almost “lose it” (like yesterday). But, at the end of the day, my heart hurts more than anything. Yes, I am tired. I am tired of talking. I am tired of yelling raising my voice, I am tired of repeating myself 10 (million) times….but most of all, my heart is tired of seeing broken kids. They are broken because they don’t have support at home. They are broken because they come from broken homes. They are broken because people have given up on them. They are broken because they have stopped caring. So, what can we do about it.

They need to learn how to “manage” their emotions and learn self-regulation.

I took the “bullet points” from above and changed them to self-regulation guidelines in the classroom.

  • Do not be competitive. Do not worry about what other students are doing. You need to concentrate on yourself and your work. Learning is NOT a contest. You do not always have to finish first.

  • Do not take the aggressive actions of others. Try not to be judgmental. Do not jump to conclusions about their behavior or actions. Put yourself in the other student’s shoes. Please be respectful of others.

  • Listen to soothing music. Well, you can’t really listen to music during class, but….please,please,please taken advantage of silence. Enjoy being quiet. You don’t have to talk ALL THE TIME.

  • Cool off when you are angry or frustrated. TAKE A BREAK. Separate yourself from the problem. Don’t contribute to it. If there is a room in the classroom, chances are I will let you move away from the problem student.

  • Go with the flow of traffic. Do not try to beat it or fight it. BE PATIENT. Do not ASSUME you know what is going on. Let the teacher explain the work before you start working.

  • Give yourself more time than you think you will need to complete your work. DO NOT RUSH. Take your time and do your best work.

  • Stay focused on the task. (No explanation needed).

  • Demonstrate the kind of courtesy you would like to receive from others. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. If you don’t want someone to take your things without asking, do not take their stuff. If you do not want someone to yell at you, do not yell at them.

So, there you have it. Maybe 7th graders need to take defensive driving living and learn how to “self-regulate”

(It would also REALLY REALLY help if one class would not have 29 students in it…..that’s a lot of students in a very small science room!!!)

The Last Week or So….

Well, time seems to just go on….it’s January 21st, MLK Day….

Here’s a bunch of photos that I’ve taken over the past couple of weeks….just random things that have been going on over the past week or so.

The past month or so my schedule has centered around Middle School basketball and High School basketball. If you can’t find me on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday night, chances are I’m at the school, watching basketball. And….perfecting my “bleacher butt.” (The bleachers at the schools are so uncomfortable)!!!

DSCF4518 DSCF4519Saturday morning I even went out and watched “Little Dribblers” b-ball, which is for the 1st-6th graders in our town.

DSCF4517This past Thursday I watched Henlee (while Toni had a doctor’s appt.). We went to Subway for lunch, and she ate her Cheetos in the car…..(enough said about that)!!

Henlee at Subway

Henlee at Subway

Cheeto fingers!!!

Cheeto fingers!!!

Today we took the youth to Double Dave’s in Bastrop for pizza (and Cherry Berry for fro-yo)…..

Melissa and Vanessa

Melissa and Vanessa

me and my honey....

me and my honey….

Audrey and me

Audrey and me

Madison and me

Madison and me

kids eating at Cherry Berry

kids eating at Cherry Berry

Melissa, Emma, and Vanessa

Melissa, Emma, and Vanessa

Paul and Melissa

Paul and Melissa

Walker and Paul

Walker and Paul

Madison

Madison

Tonight is my weekly Bachelor watching party with the H.S. girls and then tomorrow I start 4 days of subbing! I hate that teachers are sick, but I sure do like that it gives me a job!! 🙂

Here, Fetch God!

I don’t have children, so maybe I just don’t understand about putting your children’s extra-curricular activities first.

I don’t have children, so maybe I just can’t relate to waiting until the last minute to work on projects or schoolwork.

I don’t have children, so maybe I don’t understand what it means to be tired.

I don’t have children, but….I do know this.

God wants our best, not our leftovers.

(This is an excerpt from Crazy Love by Francis Chan)….

…As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are—lukewarm—are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven.

In Revelation 3:15–18, Jesus says:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

 

Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a “Christian” without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.

(excerpt done)

So, to me, God wants our first, not our last.

God wants to be our 1st priority, not our I’ll-fit-Him-in-if-I-have-time priority…..

The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.”–Brandon Sanderson

Vital: Your salvation, your relationship with Jesus Christ, and your opportunity to be with a body of believers in a Christian community

Important: extra-curricular activities or I’m-too-tired-to-go-to-church

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with playing sports, taking gymnastics, doing homework, watching T.V., relaxing, etc……but those are not vital to our well-being.

I’m 100% sure that the day I meet my Savior, He is not going to ask me whether or not I won the championship game in Little Dribblers, got a medal in gymnastics, or watched the latest episode of Duck Dynasty.

But, I think He will want to know….what did I do in my life to further my walk, to influence others, and to spread the Gospel?

In Matthew 16:24–26, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

Deny himself….give up desires of his/her heart.

Follow Me….further his/her walk and follow Jesus Christ and HIS ways.

(excerpt again from Crazy Love)

Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples. I wonder, then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded? You’ll notice that He didn’t add, “But hey, if that’s too much to ask, tell them to just become Christians—you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.”

(excerpt done)

I love the sarcasm Francis Chan displays in that last sentence…..”you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.”

Exactly…..people think, “OK, I’ve accepted Him. I’ve gotten baptized. I’ve got my ticket. I’m home-free.”

WRONG—Christianity is anything but that…..

  • It is a commitment to faith.
  • It is a commitment to the (church) family.
  • It is a commitment to the desire to change.
  • It is a commitment to a new radical way of living.
  • It is a commitment to a community of believers.

Hebrews 10:23-25 says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

  • “spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”
  • “not giving up meeting together…”
  • “encouraging one another…”

But, we can’t do any of that unless…..we see each other. Unless we meet together. Unless commitment is present.

Consider this:

One day the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water and Peter yelled out that he wanted to walk on the water too (Matthew 14:22-31). Jesus told him to come and so Peter, with all his focus on Jesus, stepped out of the boat and started walking on the water toward Jesus.

But then, the Bible tells us, Peter got distracted by the waves and the wind and, once Peter’s eyes were no longer fixed on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith,” he began to sink into the water.

We cannot walk on water while trying to focus on whatever we want–sometimes Jesus, sometimes waves, sometimes God’s priorities for our lives, sometimes trivial pursuits, sometimes the purpose God created us for, and sometimes—“the sin that so easily entangles.”

God wants our best, deserves our best, and demands our best. From the beginning of time, He has been clear that some offerings are acceptable to Him and others are not. Just ask Cain, upon whose offering God did not look with favor (Genesis 4:5).

(excerpt from Crazy Love)

It’s easy to fill ourselves up with other things and then give God whatever is left. Hosea 13:6 says, “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.” God gets a scrap or two only because we feel guilty for giving Him nothing. A mumbled three-minute prayer at the end of the day, when we are already half asleep. Two crumpled-up dollar bills thrown as an afterthought into the church’s fund for the poor. Fetch, God!

When we put it plainly like this—as a direct choice between God and our stuff—most of us hope we would choose God. But we need to realize that how we spend our time, what our money goes toward, and where we will invest our energy is equivalent to choosing God or rejecting Him. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all?

We disgust God when we weigh and compare Him against the things of this world. It makes Him sick when we actually decide those things are better for us than God Himself. We believe we don’t need anything Jesus offers, but we fail to realize that slowly, almost imperceptibly, we are drifting downstream. And in the process we are becoming blind, being stripped naked, and turning into impoverished wretches.

No wonder Jesus says He will spit lukewarm people out of His mouth!

(excerpt done)

Hebrews 12:1-2b, “Therefore…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”

Running the race with perseverance means we stay focused on our priorities. We don’t let other things step in and hinder us from the priority of deepening our relationship with Jesus. We don’t let other things entangle us, tying us up…

Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is, your heart shall be also.”

Where is your heart? Where are your priorities?

Baseball? Gymnastics? Sleep? Laziness? Meals? A concert?

Wherever your heart is, there is your priority.

Your Child’s Parent….I am NOT.

I am not a parent. I don’t claim to be a parent. I don’t want to be a parent (at least not now).

And yet, you think I should parent your child.

The concept of youth ministry is relatively new in the Church. I would say that the concept of youth ministry has really only been around for the past 60 years…..the idea of targeting adolescences, specific to their needs as a generation. Because of this, however, the Church hasn’t really learned how to fully grasp youth ministry and what it means to the Church family and to the regular familial unit. As a result, many parents and youth ministries have embraced the misguided notion that youth ministry can somehow take the place of the family.

“Parents drop their kids off and expect me to fix them in 90 minutes. They don’t want to help me.”–Scott Martin

Youth Ministry is not (and shouldn’t be) a replacement for parenting.

Yes, Youth Ministry (when done well) can have the potential to impact the lives of its (involved) teenagers, but it should never be the only family unit your child sees. Unfortunately, this can be extremely difficult, especially due to the fact that the landscape of families, or even involved families, is as diverse and unconventional as it gets.

In our youth group we have: married parents, grandparents, single moms, involved parents, non-involved parents, helicopter parents, distant parents, parents who push their kids in the right direction, parents who push their kids in the wrong direction, committed parent, non-committed parents, and every thing in between…..

(And that’s just the parents that I know…..some parents I’ve never even met….)

So, as much as I love your kids and want to be a part of their lives……I believe that the goals of youth ministry are:

  • To introduce (or re-emphasis) Youth to the Christian faith: To be a Christian means you must make a 180 degree turn in the opposite direction of where you were going. It’s a commitment of faith, a total commitment of your time, your talents, and your attitude…..not just when you feel like it or when it’s convenient. As a youth leader, I want to introduce youth to that faith–to introduce them to Christ’s radical, boundary-breaking way of peace and justice.
  • To help Youth build community: The Christian faith is built on community. It is built on relationships. We, as youth leaders, want to give youth the opportunity to experiment with what a community looks/feels like in a SAFE, LOVING, and OPEN community. Unfortunately, building a community when commitment is not there is HARD!! (But, I’ve talked about that before)…..
  • To help Youth uncover their spiritual gifts: Teenagers are bombarded everyday with messages from the secular world that, unfortunately, tell them that their self-worth is tied to the popular crowd, their grades, their looks, and their influences. As a youth leader, I want to help teenagers find their self-worth in Jesus Christ. I’ve talked about it before.
  • To awaken Youth to God’s presence: A lot of teenagers have adopted the concept or understanding that God is “up there” and/or “out there” and not personable to them. They find it difficult to really understand how to relate to God on a personal level. Youth leaders can help youth figure out and understand the different ways in which God is (and can be) a part of their everyday lives.

So, I love your kids. I really do. I want to be a part of their lives. I want you to be a part of my life. But, I don’t want to be their parent.

Mark Devries, “Youth ministries, in and of themselves, have limited power to produce lasting change in young people’s lives.”

  In a good week, a week that is specifically concentrated on youth ministry (whether its attending basketball games, going out to eat, going to get pedicures, playing games, or watching T.V.), I probably spend, maybe 4-5 hours with students, beyond Sundays and Wednesdays. During other weeks, the only personal interaction I may have with them is at church on Sunday mornings or a text or FB message during the week…..I pray that that time spent with them was valued, blessed, and appreciated, but I know it’s not enough.

Parents, by contrast, spend every day with their children, beyond school activities. For most children, they live with their parents (or parental guardians) for 18 years. They LIVE life with them: waking, eating, sleeping, praying, playing, laughing, crying, arguing, and the list goes on. As a result, parents (should) know their children like no other adult will ever know them (if they parent well).

So, I want to help shape, mold, guide, strengthen and lead your child. But, I am not their parent. Therefore, it is up to you to instill in them the importance of coming to church. Of being involved. Of being committed. Your child(ren) look up to you….they follow your lead.

If you’re late, they’ll be late.

If you’re not committed, they won’t be either.

If you don’t make it a priority, they won’t either.

Trust me.

So, please, understand. I love your kids…..and I pray for them. I pray they would feel love and acceptance from first and foremost, from Jesus Christ, but then, second, from you.

Please, love your kids. Commit to your kids. Value your kids. And, most of all, teach and guide your kids to live a Christian life….molding them and TALKING TO THEM about what it means to follow Jesus Christ.

And allow the church (and youth ministry, especially) to be a resource for them (and for you) to further their walk…..

“Youth ministry has a valid and important supporting role to the parents, but it must never become a substitute. Our youth are too important to allow that to happen.” –Scott Korljan


Waco is Bear Country…..

I had a great weekend in Waco this weekend! 🙂

It wasn’t so great GETTING there…..

A nice little gift from Rosebud PD

A nice little gift from Rosebud PD

I got a ticket in Rosebud for speeding, along with a ticket for not having the correct address on my license.

So…..this is what I’ll be doing for the next couple of weeks!

Defensive Driving Online

Defensive Driving Online

But, once I got to Waco, it was great!!

Saturday afternoon I went to a Baylor Bears Basketball game with my sweet friend, John Ray. He has season tickets to the Bears and Lady Bears b-ball games, so he was happy to take me!

John Ray and me

John Ray and me

Saturday night my parents and I went shopping (what my dad does SO WELL) and then we played games at home!

playing Logos

playing Logos

Sunday morning I went to church with my parents (I had to wear JEANS because I didn’t have any “church clothes”)!!! And then, for lunch, I went to Rosa’s to eat with the Derrick’s.

Sunday afternoon my dad and I went to the Lady Bears B-ball game (again, courtesy of John Ray’s tickets).

all ready for the game

all ready for the game

My dad’s birthday is on Thursday, so I’m glad I was able to hang out with him for a little bit this weekend….

On Sunday night we played Upwords! (This is one of our favorite games to play at my parent’s house)….

Upwords

Upwords

Monday morning I ran some errands in Waco and then got a massage!! 🙂

On my way home I re-routed to College Station and had dinner with my sweet, close friend, Kara, and her little boy, Carter. She lives in the Netherlands (Holland)–so it’s always good when she comes to visit family in Texas.

(Unfortunately, no picture).

I got home around 9:20-9:30 on Monday night…..

I love, love, love, going to Baylor B-ball games!! Thanks, John, for the tickets!