Prayer for the First Day of School

Most Loving God -

Make me an instrument of Your peace.

Help me speak truth to power
And empower students to seek the truth.

Help me to provide creative avenues for the exploration of

Help me connect students to the past,
To each other, and
To the world.

Help me to be a supportive colleague and
Collaborative employee.

Help me to make changes and
Accept when I can't.

Help me to take care of myself, thereby
Freeing myself to give to others.

Help me to be patient,
Strong, and

Help me to model egalitarian living,
Life-long learning, and

Help me to honor cultures,
Respect diversity, and
Facilitate understanding.

Help me to be present for my partner,
My family,
My students, and
My friends.

Help me to communicate clearly and
Expect wisely.

Help me to persevere,
To never discount a student,
To never make someone feel small.

Help me to avoid the temptations of gossip and

Help me to take a deep breath in difficult situations,
Assume the best, and
Discern conflict.

Help me to remember that a student's wellbeing
Is more important than my

Help me to provide an environment that is
Safe and

Help me to bring talent to the surface,
To encourage the smallest victories, and
To motivate greatness.

Help me to be myself.

Help me to see the wonderful things,
To document lovely moments.

Help me to be transparent while
Maintaining boundaries.

Help me to learn from constructive criticism and
Improve from others' ideas.

Help me not to feel insecure.

Help me to have confidence in my own abilities and
My own dreams.

Help me to be grateful,
Even when I am frustrated.

Help me to say thank you and
Provide encouragement.

Help me to relinquish fear and
Model courage.

And help my students to know that I care.


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A Small Tribute to Ray Bradbury

When I was in junior high, the one class I dreaded most was reading. That might be surprising to anyone who knows me or even anyone who knew me back then. After all, I have always been an avid reader, and I still have a great fondness for many of the books my teachers introduced me to in elementary school.

But junior high reading lists did not inspire much enthusiasm from me. I remember being mostly bored by them, and because I now feel bad about trashing other people's writing simply because it didn't interest me, I won't mention the titles of the works I most loathed. That being said, I spent much of the my time in junior high combing the school library for books that interested me, unlike the books we read in class.

I dreaded reading class until one day in 7th grade, I was assigned to read Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles. I remember being given a choice of 3-4 science fiction books. I showed my parents the list, and my dad suggested Bradbury, saying he had read some of his books and really liked them. I eagerly chose the book, glad to find something that would give me a connection to my dad. I always liked books, but Martian Chronicles quickly became my favorite. The stories were so imaginative and well written. I can still remember the intense suspense I felt when I first read "The Third Expedition." I read and reread the book, and it inspired me to read other Bradbury works although Martian Chronicles would remain my favorite. Later in high school, I wrote a research paper about Bradbury, and I was ecstatic when I discovered that we would be assigned to read Fahrenheit 451. It still remains my favorite dystopian novel.

I assume that many Bradbury fans are fans of science fiction in general. I must say that while I have always loved fantasy, I never felt the same draw to science fiction. There are certain works that appealed to me, but it wasn't the sci-fi that made me love Bradbury. Rather, it was the humanity and the poetry in his works. The ending of Fahrenheit 451 moved me. The Martian Chronicles made me empathize with the Martians and simultaneously fear them. Bradbury is one of the 20th century's most imaginative writers, but in my opinion, he is also one of its best craftsmen. Furthermore, he always struck me as gracious, humble, and accessible.

So thank you, Mr. Bradbury for igniting in me a love for literature. Your stories have entertained me for years, but more importantly you have enriched my life. If your nightmare vision of the future ever comes true, and books eventually become illegal items to be burned, yours will be at the top of my contraband stash when the firemen come to get me.

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A Non-Issue

He looked at me with a raised eyebrow that conveyed confusion. "So they didn't let women be pastors or elders? That doesn't make any sense!"

I love that I'm in a church now where it's not even a question whether or not women can be formal leaders in the church. As I recounted some of my past experiences in churches, it just sounded more and more ridiculous.

We're in the process of hiring a pastoral assistant/intern at my current church, and the issue of gender never even came up. Members of the search committee just said he/she as though it was obvious it could be either.

It's just nice to be in a place where this isn't an issue.

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