Saturday, December 11, 2010

And now...

Well, I was going to write some really profound stuff, but I just realized that it's not only time for me to get off the 'net and go to bed, but that with the use of the word "stuff", "profound" no longer works, either.

Friday, October 22, 2010


On the one hand, I love teaching so much it seems a no-brainer to look at returning to the classroom full time. Of course, that would necessitate (for financial reasons) teaching in the public school.

On the other hand, I have enjoyed being administrator of a Christian school and would like the opportunity to do it again. That would necessitate moving out of state.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vicki Caruana

Vicki Caruana is the author of "Before the Bell Rings", a devotional book for teachers. I found it at the local Christian bookstore in 2009 and have read nearly half of the entries during "Teacher Prayer Time" that is held four mornings a week at my current place of employment. Some of the readings hit close to home, and I've decided to share some of Vicki's thoughts here.

Day 121: "You pray for me, I'll pray for you." In this devotional Vicki challenges her readers to make prayer the foundation of their day. As for "finding the time" for it, she suggests that "prayer can be a natural part of your daily activities", noting that "we seem to find time to complain about" everyday matters, so "choose to pray instead." Indeed, she says, "Be on the hunt for prayer opportunities. They're all around you!"

On Day 123, her reading challenges God's people to trust in God's provision by remembering that we don't always get what we want, but we always get what we need. She related having a job that she thought would be great but that turned out poorly for her. However, it opened a door that met a need in her family, so she learned to see that she did not get what she wanted, but she did get what she needed.

Day 124, today's reading, was called "Not what I signed up for." In this reading, Vicki reminded teachers that "teaching is a vocation, not an occupation." Therefore, teachers are to work on behalf of their students even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient to do so.

There are more readings coming that are poignant for me at this time in my life. I am grateful for the experiences and wisdom of others shared with me to help we walk with the Lord in light of all circumstances. I am thankful today for Vicki Caruana.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Can you tell it's a day off for me?

My work has me in front of a computer several hours a day, and when I get home my time is spoken for by L, C & M. I rarely even check my e-mail at home anymore, let alone sit down and attempt to write anything of possible interest.

We had lunch and then cleaned the living room. With everything picked up and put away, the boys were able, once again, to play with the cars, trucks and trains. Apart from the anger that flares from time to time when one won't cooperate with the other, they're playing quietly and contentedly while a gorgeous autumn day passes by.

Well, that's enough blogging for one day. My bum shoulder's about to fall off.

Are we going to get grass?

"Mikoh, are we going to watch basketball? Are we going to watch a movie? Mikoh, what are we going to watch?"

I didn't really hear any answers from "Mikoh," but the conversation between my boys was intriguing. M was really too busy sucking on his right big toe to answer is older brother's queries, but he interjected an unintelligible response here and there. Ugh, he's really going to town on that toe!

"Mommy, I want to have jelly toast!"

"Creaze... . I want peanut butter and cruck. I want this! I want this!"

The boys are an infuriating delight, bringing joy and warmth to the soul, with minor and major irritations tagging along for the ride. One moment of tender sharing is followed by the next moment of screaming tugs of war over one of two identical cars. Happy swapping of books is disrupted by fierce squabbling over who is drinking whose cup of juice or milk.

The oddest for me is that when all the toys are scattered across the floor, interspersed with their pajamas and yesterday's outfits, they will not play with their toys to save their lives. Once they're picked up and put away, they can spend hours with a handful of cars, trucks and trains. They stop at invisible traffic lights ("Red means 'top. Green means go!). C asks M, "Are we going to get grass?" and they go to the "grass" station to fill up with fuel.

Oh, it's lunch time. Mommy has just called us to a "gastronomical wonder."

Teaching it is...

Okay, so this is supposed to be about jobs. Teaching seems to be the direction. I'd like to be more decisive, but the best I can muster is less sure. Subbing in the public schools appears to be the best opportunity available right now, so that's where my energies are directed. May God grant me the grace and favor needed to get my foot in the door, and perhaps even to follow in Dad's footsteps.

From One Cemetery to Another

Yes, Dan, I admit it: I'm stealing ideas from you. Well, maybe "stealing" is too strong. I'm definitely getting ideas from you, though. But just to show that I give credit where it is due:

Unlike you, I did not spend much time in cemeteries as a kid. The nearest one to my house was too far for me to go, though in actual distance it was no more than a mile from home. I'm not sure of the name of it, but I think it's rather mundane, such as, "North Carmel Cemetery."

The only headstone of interest to me there was the one that has my mother's name on it. She died more than 23 years ago when I was just seventeen and a junior in high school. She knew your two elder brothers, and she loved them very much. She treasured the time that she had with them.

Mum died on a Tuesday evening. The memorial service was held at our church, of course, and over three hundred people showed up for it. There was no viewing; the cremation had already taken place. As a result, there was no burial, either. No burial, and no headstone. Dad bought the headstone several years later. I've been there, and cried there. I missed her and grieved her loss. I felt keenly her absence from my life, my dreams, my choices, my pursuits. I blamed God even while I clung desperately to him for comfort.

While you cast about for the anchor of your life, Dan, I hope that cling desperately to the One that can be your anchor, even as you plumb the depths and search the mysteries of his grace. Challenge him to make himself real and known to you.

Don't stay forever in the cemetery, though. He will walk with you there, but that is not where he resides, and if you are in him then that is not your residence, either. Mum's not there. Mrs. Lynch is not there. They are with him at his residence. That's where we should go, too.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Pondering Pilgrim in my dooryard

I re-read the opening post of another blog I follow, called "A Pondering Pilgrim." I'm related to the man that writes it, so I have a personal interest in his ponderings. I can't say that I agree with some of the conclusions he has reached over the last several months (because I don't), but I do understand his basic premise that what he believes about Christianity must be what he believes--not what others have told him or raised him to believe. Otherwise, it never takes root in him and becomes who he is. I don't mean this disrespectfully at all, Dan: Been there, done that. Bought the t-shirt, sent the postcard. Or so I thought.

What I've found is that Dan's journey of now (my journey of 23 years ago) is repeated whenever I think I've got life (and God) figured out. There's no doubt in my mind that I am now learning and/or re-learning to trust God to be who he says he is. Many of the people and things on which I have relied have been taken away--loved ones who've gone home to be with the Lord, impending loss of job (and lack of one to take its place), material goods damaged or destroyed, relationships damaged--and I am left with only (!) God. I am the Pondering Pilgrim in my dooryard.

Dan, my prayer for you is that you will take your experiences, thoughts, dreams, desires, hopes, expectations, successes, failures and needs to the One that can make all things word together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose, and let him make sense of your life. My prayer for me is that I will do the same. Then, as we rest in the knowledge of our Lord, let us tell transgressors his ways, and share with them the bounty of his blessings to those who trust in him.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Nahum 1:7

The BCS Class of 1988 had Nahum 1:7 as its verse: "The LORD is good; a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him."

I say, Amen and amen. I did not get the job in South Carolina. They sent me a message by e-mail thanking me for participating in the first two rounds of interviews, and expressing their enjoyment of the first interview, in particular. I, in turn, wrote and thanked them for considering me and expressed my disappointment at not being able to join their school family. I also said that I trusted that God has something...else for me. I nearly said something "better," but in my disappointment I did not want to be discourteous. Truly, the Lord must have something better in mind than that, because he promises to work out all for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. According to HIS purpose. Not according to mine.

The Lord IS good. He IS a refuge for those who trust in him. That is where I want to be.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Second round done

The second interview was conducted by phone about ten days ago. it went all right, but was nothing outstanding--phone interviews are very tough to gauge, anyway. Was supposed to hear something by Sept. 3, but nothing yet...

Friday, August 20, 2010

First round done

The first round interview was completed today, lasting nearly two hours on the phone with two gentlemen with whom I would be working if I got this job. I like what the job is: student and teaching mentoring and discipleship, teacher development and evaluation, curriculum integration with biblical worldview, and teacher-parent communications.

We'll see where the process goes next...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I've received an inquiry from a school that has an opening for Upper School Principal. My understanding is that the position opened rather late in the hiring season, so they are taking their time to conduct a proper search. That's good.

After some back-and-forth e-mails in which I requested a point of clarification on a matter important to me (and to them, as it turns out), they have expressed interest in talking with me. I've offered some days and times.

I must admit a certain excitement in my bones for this possibility, even though it would require moving out of Maine. I guess it's partly the fact that someone out there finds my resume appealing, as well as the first real possibility I've had in several weeks. Only God knows where this will lead, and my times are in his hands.

Let me clarify this: God is not my "co-pilot". He is my Pilot. He is not the "top priority in my life". He is my life. I begin and end in Christ. All else in my life flows from my being in Christ. Church, wife, kids, work--all find their fulfillment and satisfaction in who I am in Christ.

Man is treacherous; God is faithful and true. "Let God be true and every man a liar."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Are you gonna be sick again?

He's asleep, at least. Lord, is there any way you could see fit to let the two episodes from earlier this morning be the only two he needs with this round of sickness? I mean, does he really have some flu bug? Or is it something else? What else could it be? Well, he knows the routine more or less by now. Sleep, wake up, throw up, sleep. Lord, let it be a mild case. Please.

I can't do this, God

Not without you. I don't want you as my Co-Pilot. I don't need you as the Number One Priority In My Life. I can't do this without you. I don't want to surrender every part of me to you, but I need to. I. cannot. do. this. life. without. you. I can't find a job, I can't do a job, I can't feed my family, I can't do grad school, I can't play with the kids, I can't have time with my wife, I can't fix the house, I can't have just one car WITHOUT YOU. Can't do it. Please, help me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Midnight shower

The Lord that provides the majesty of a meteor shower tonight (saw 18 in 40 minutes; peak shower to be around 2:00 a.m., eastern horizon) can certainly meet my needs. He knows I need a job. He knows I need a car. He owns it all, and he will supply all. I don't know how, but he does. I rest in his grace and providence, and I marvel at the beauty of his creation.

A cold hotdog at 1:00 a.m.

I'm eating a cold hotdog. It's one o'clock in the morning. The hotdog was truly hot seven hours ago... .

Yesterday--technically now two days ago--on my way to work, the oil light came on in the van. Not being the best around mechanical issues, I simply stopped at a gas station and put in two quarts of oil. The light did not turn off, and the "check engine soon" light came on. I drove the last mile to work, figuring I could get it checked out, if necessary, at the end of my workday.

When I left work I had to go to the bank, and then, since I had not eaten lunch yet, I bought a burger and small drink from the BK drive-thru. By that time, the "click-click-click-click-click" of the engine told me something was wrong. I headed for my regular garage. The owner, Tom, was in the parking lot when I arrived. "Somethin's not right!" he helpfully commented. "That just ain't right."
No kidding.

I understood the problem when it was explained to me, but I wouldn't be able to repeat it here intelligently. The bottom line is that the van needs a new engine, and I don't want to spend three grand on a twelve-year old car when I've got friends who could probably find me a decent beater for that price that'd get better gas mileage till I can afford something more permanent. Anyway, Tom graciously gave me (and all the camping stuff still in the van from two weeks ago) a ride home, offering suggestions (drive it home and sell it for as much as someone'll give you for a car that needs a new motor; wait and see what the next few weeks bring in your job search--you can park the van at the garage for up to a month). He also offered a name and number of someone that might be able to employ me. I've known Tom a long time, and I really appreciate him.

As a result of having just one car now, I took the wife's car to work this morning. Then I drove home at 11:30 to take elder son to school. I spent the afternoon sitting in the nearby Tim Horton's, eating a sandwich and some sweets and drinking a huge iced coffee while using the free WiFi to do work for the school and for my grad school assignments. Then I picked up said son and went to Bangor to run a couple of errands, one for the school and one to clean the rest of anything I really wanted or could use out of the van. The garage will park it in a less conspicuous place while I decide what to do with it. C and I were both pretty weary upon arrival home. He played a while, then he woke up his brother and mother from their afternoon naps.

Lacking his own afternoon nap, and having had a very full day that included playing with friends in the morning, he got pretty cranky and ornery and ended up sitting in the rocking chair in his room with me. I talked quietly with him and prayed with him. He fell asleep. I tried to wake him when the hotdogs were grilled, but he would have none of it. Now it's 1:00 a.m. and his hotdog was sitting on a paper plate in the kitchen, begging to be eaten. So I ate it. It was cold. Waste not, want not.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


God has blessed me. Truly. I have a dear wife and two dear sons. We have our own home and many dear friends. One friend's sister brought us a combination bunk bed/futon couch yesterday. We've been wanting bunk beds for the boys; now we have them, and God sent them to us free of charge. He's good to us.

My elder son just got up (after a long trip home that followed a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game attended by one of my aunts, a cousin and her two sons, another cousin's daughter, my brother's family--visiting from WI--and my two Maine sisters' families--what a blast!). The younger son was up by 6:00.

C came to me just now and said, "Where are we going?"

I replied, "Well, you're going to school today."

C: "Oh, okay." Then he went off to play with M and watch a video about trains.

A glance at the clock tells me I really can't spend any more time on this today; gotta get ready for work.

For my best

It's one thing to say that you agree that a change is best, but it's another thing to find yourself agreeing with it deep down. In April, I agreed to step aside from the job I have held for the last ten years, and to some extent I even believed it was the best move for the organization and for myself. Now, though, I believe that it really is the best move for me. Whether I become "top dawg" or just a good follower in the next job is up to the Lord and his placement of my gifts and me.

So, prayers are being said and applications and resumes have been submitted (even as they were all spring long), and I am looking forward to what God would have me do next. I admit that I wouldn't mind knowing sooner rather than later what that is--and certainly my wife wouldn't mind having some reassurance in that area, too! But here I am. What next, Lord?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Emerging Purpose

When I began my current job a little over ten years ago, it seemed as though it would be my job for life--and I liked that idea. When it became clear some five months ago now that it was not going to be my job for life, the world seemed to spin almost out of control for awhile. I have been told that I should not have been surprised by this turn of events, given my shortcomings in the job. Still, it was something of a surprise, and it brought on a confusion of direction and purpose that has lasted quite some time.

In the last two weeks I have had good friends suggest some things to me that have stewed and simmered in my heart, mind, and prayers. Out of this seems to be emerging a new purpose. It is not necessarily a sense of what I should be doing next, but more a sense of what I should not look to again. There are those that have suggested that I should apply for the opening that my departure will create, and for a few days I considered that. But what has emerged more clearly in the last two days is an understanding in my heart that I do not want to work for the people that determined that I should not be their leader anymore. Regardless of what I have done to improve myself, my knowledge, and my skills, there is no place in the organization for me anymore. Whether I work to the end of my extended contract or find other employment before then, my last day there will be my final day with the organization.

That understanding, that emerging purpose, is both liberating and grieving. It is liberating because of the burdens I have carried for ten years for the organization. However, it is a place where I have poured my heart and soul and 14 of my 40 years, so I grieve at the loss of my place in the organization. There is much work still to be done to make it a school of excellence in deed and not just in thought. May God provide the men and women needed to make it happen.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Searching for a Purpose

I think this is the fourth blog I've started. It always seems like a good idea when I start one, but somehow I lose my way, or lose steam, or lose purpose, after a handful of posts. I'm a man searching for a purpose, and for those of you that know me and know something of the search I am engaged in, I think this is the easier way to keep you all informed of my progress than by trying to remember each one's e-mail address.

I'm not searching for an eternal purpose or anything like that. I have that already. What I am looking for is what my temporal purpose should be. That is, what vocation should I be pursuing at this point in my life? The input I have received is immense. I'm still trying to sort it all out. What I know right now is that the school I interviewed with in mid-July would like to employ me, but cannot pay a high enough salary to make it happen, and the university for which I applied to be assistant director of admissions has chosen to go with someone else.

I haven't stopped looking, but I have nothing else to report on the job front. I'm still searching for a purpose.