Thursday, April 25, 2013

HS Reunion

It took me a while to get settled after I returned from my 30th (say what!) HS Reunion. It was so much fun!

Let me step back. I graduated from Brooklyn Technical HS in 1983; after graduation I started college in the fall;  I went to City College of New York (CCNY) and majored in Computer Science. I graduated from college in the fall of '87, started working and got married in March of '89.

After getting married and having children in rapid succession, HS was the furthest thing from my mind. Time marched on and so did I. I became aware that homecoming always took place in April. I missed the 20th reunion because I had just had baby #4 and was in no mood to re-connect with anyone. Then I moved to the West Coast, life happened, a brother died and I started to think about the frailty of life.  My brain started to wonder about some of my classmates particularly the track team, since they became my salvation (in a manner of speaking) at Tech.  Because of the team I had a social outlet, and really got to know my teammates. Tech is a very large school that focused on math and science; anyone who attends takes a test for admittance. Somehow I passed the test and was able to attend this school. Our graduating class was around 1400 students. Considering that I was very quiet in HS there is no way I could have even known half of my graduating class. As an aside, before I left for NY, I found out that there's a Technite at my church from the class of 78 - we are everywhere!

After committing to attend the reunion, as the days got closer I became apprehensive. I'm not the same person I was in high school. Back then I was reserved and quiet with a strong moral center. I had strict Christian parents and I absorbed most of their lessons. I wasn't a troublemaker but I looked for ways to have some fun. Today, I'm not so reserved and quiet. I wondered, would I recognize anyone? Would anyone recognize me? Would it feel like HS all over again?

Well, it's been 30 years and I'm sure the memories were a blur for quite a few of us. But we pushed through, reconnected and had a ball!
cheesing in my dress

old friends - if you zoom in to the nametag you can see what i looked like in HS

we went to middle school together

Track team

Track team

If the feelings that I experienced this weekend, are a fraction of what I will experience when I get to heaven - I can't wait until I get there.

Have you ever attended your HS Reunion? Was it a good time or did you just survive it? What would you say to your HS self?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why I Like 42 or The Power of Love

I saw the Jackie Robinson movie this weekend with my family. I'm glad Jackie Robinson integrated baseball; I'm thrilled by the foresight of those who saw it could be done; and I'm grateful that Jackie had the wherewithal to deal with everything that was thrown at him (pun intended).

But my biggest take away from this movie is that it was him and his wife against the world portrayed in a realistic manner. He'd just graduated from college and was playing ball with the Negro leagues, certainly not a high paying gig. He called his then girlfriend from the road, (this was way before cell phones) and he asked her to marry him. She said, "Absolutely, Yes." From that point on, they were in it together. He knew she had his back all the time; he knew she represented unwavering support. Keep in mind also, they were both relatively young - he was 26 and she was 25. He knew it was hard for her also - but the two of them together..WOW.  She gave him the strength to do what he needed to do. There was an implicit trust that each had in the other.

Though there are so many conflicting messages around marriage today, marriage is a good and beautiful thing and wonderful to behold.


Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiates 4:9-12

Are there age limits on love? Do you know the power of love?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Don't Compare or The Kettle

A lady came to my house and saw my kettle. To the naked eye it looks like a regular ordinary kettle, nothing spectacular, but to the lady who was doing the looking she thought it was better than hers and wanted one just like it. I was  perplexed. How did she get there? Were we looking at the same thing?

What she did with the kettle we too often do with each other. We only see the outside, and use that as the basis for our perceptions which then feeds our inadequacies, most of the time. Sometimes it has the opposite effect.

The reality is that kettle was quite tarnished on the inside; as the water boiled metal chips would get in to the water and sometimes in to a cup of tea. It was on its last leg just before being tossed (but I was holding on, because I'm cheap). Because of the polished exterior, she wanted what I had.

Don't we do that all the time? We take a snapshot of someones' life at an instant in time and say that's what we want. We don't see the metal chipping - the sickness, sadness, disagreements, worry, fear, failure - we only see what we want to see because it's in a pretty package. The mind is dangerous because at this point we then say, "Why can't I have what they have? Why isn't my marriage as happy as theirs? Why aren't my children as successful as hers? How come she got the good job and I didn't?"

The opposite effect can happen also, though this did not happen with the kettle. It's not far fetched to think that someone could say, "I'm so glad I don't have that kettle, mine is so much better." Replace kettle with position (for example) and you would be like the Pharisee mentioned in this parable.

There is a danger in comparing; instead accept who you are, accept your circumstances and work from there. When we accept we let go of the burden of comparison.

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. Galatians 6:4

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11

Do you find yourself inadvertently comparing yourself to others? Do you think it's more prevalent in the age of social media? How do you prevent yourself from becoming envious or bigheaded? Have you figured out how to be content?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Random Thoughts

A Funny
My real name is Andree and apparently it creates issues for many. They don't know how to pronounce it and how to spell it. Funnily enough I thought it would be easier than my other name, which I why I started going by this name.
Anyhow, as you know I've moved and have made some friends. Yesterday I was at Track practice with the Little One and decided to work out. I caught up with a friend (let's call her M) who had recently had a baby and a group of us women were standing around chatting and admiring the baby. A guy walks up and starts talking to M. Out of the blue she makes a sweeping gesture and says, "And this is Andree," really emphasizing my name.  He then walks away. I turned to one of the other ladies and said, "Was that M's husband?" she said yes, and then M says - "He thought you were Andre and wanted to know why I was texting a guy name Andre; I was making it clear that you were Andree, a female." I wondered why I got the special introduction.
So apparently my name is causing marital discord!

A Song that Always Make Me Think
This song was sung by the Youth Choir at our old church; I was convicted listening to it, I often wondered if any of the singers were.

Hopefully your name is not causing problems in other's relationships and you're living in a way that pleases God.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Good News

Last night at Bible Study during the praise and request time, we received some great news. Before I share the news, let me share with you what's happening.
The women from my church meet once a week to fellowship and study. I joined because after 4 yrs of living in Southern California I was still craving connection with other women.  I thought in order for me to connect with others, they had to look like me or share the same cultural background - which is very superficial of me. So I had reservations when I started, but I did have a desire to learn and share God's Word more. We started in the spring and we are using David, Seeking a Heart Like His by Beth Moore as our guide. During the week you read and take notes and come ready to share (or not.)

David was a man after God's own heart, though as you look at his life there were significant flaws and events that challenged him along the way.  David became king at age 30, but prior to that he had killed Goliath, was anointed as king, fought battles, committed adultery with Bathsheba, and had many wives (he seemed to have a weakness for women.) He had done a lifetime of living prior to becoming king, but at age 30 he was finally established as king. (There's a lesson here regarding God's timing.)

One of the highlights from last night's study (in addition to the good news) was an incident that occurred in 2 Sam 4. Saul's son Ishbosheth is murdered and David in turn puts to death the murderers. Violence breeds violence.  From this story, the writer of the Bible Study made this point - "we are not likely to draw actual swords and thrust them in to the bellies of our brothers and sisters in Christ, but when we use the word of God inappropriately, this is what we do. It is equivalent to what Peter did  when he used his sword to wrongfully cut off the ear of the soldier." This was food for thought, as I don't want to use the word of God inappropriately and cut off another's ear, so that they can't hear me.

Back to the good news - one of our members shared that she found Jesus, finally, and she has been so happy ever since. She came to our group because of her troubled circumstances. We had spent time praying with her, encouraging her, hugging and loving on her and helping her out financially.  But she was holding on to something and this week she could hold on no more. In her words she found Jesus and she has never been happier. It gave me goosebumps to see her joy because it was palpable, and I know that as we were happy the angels were rejoicing also.

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. Psalms 30:11,12

Do you know Jesus? As a Christian do you think about how you use the Word? Do you always speak the truth in love?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Things?

I am always struck by the simplicity yet profoundness of this question. Jesus asked this question of the two disciples who were on the way to Emmaus who were dumbfounded and saddened by the death of Jesus. They had believed what Jesus said and had hoped that he was the promised Messiah. Somehow I think many thought the Messiah would be kingly, almost presidential, but he was a commoner in their midst. They knew Jesus had spoken of his resurrection; it had happened but they had no proof as yet, so they were rehashing and discussing all of the events leading up to his death.

Then Jesus joins them. The disciples wondered how anyone who was in Jerusalem could not have known of the events leading up to Jesus' death.  They wandered if he was a visitor or a stranger.

And then Jesus asked the question, "What things?" Can you imagine, the one who knows all things asking "What things?" The disciples had no idea who it was that was asking the question - they could not yet see.

The disciples provided a condensed version to the question of the events leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection,  highlighting the fact that His body was no longer there. Jesus lovingly chastises them and ties all the things together concerning his death: His motive, His heart, His suffering, His obedience, His glory.  That had to have been a long walk (6.89 miles), because he started from the writings of Moses and made his way all the way through to the present. The disciples were so enraptured they still did not recognize Jesus. It was also probably oddly comforting to hear someone talk so knowledgeably about Jesus - someone that they knew. Can you imagine?

He joins them for supper and as he is breaking bread, the shackles fall from their eyes or something in his mannerisms made them know that they had been fellow-shipping with Jesus all along. They realized that they did not have to be sad any more; He was alive!

Those whom Christ will teach he will first examine how far they have learned; they must tell him what things they know, and then he will tell them what was the meaning of these things, and lead them into the mystery of them.(Matthew Henry's Commentary)
What things? As He provides the answers, you will be surely blessed and encouraged as the disciples were.

In your life do you sometimes feel He does not know what's going on and He's asking you, "What things?" How do you respond?