Thursday, December 29, 2011
Heaven Breaks - Sleeping At Last
Perth - Bon Iver
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall - Coldplay
Girl with the Red Balloon - Civil Wars
Cripple Me - Elenowen (I have to admit that I have a vocal man crush on this guy)
Not Over You - Gavin Degraw (check it out - the man has a broken arm and still is rocking it)
Dust Bowl Dance - Mumford & Sons
Colorshow - Avett Brothers
Red Banks - Amy LaVere
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
The average Christian defines sin by talking about behavior. For example, what is the goal of most Christian parents? Is it not to get their children to do the right things? We set up all kinds of relational, motivational, and corrective structures to constrain and direct our children’s behavior. These structures are not without value, but if this is your only response to your child’s rebellion and sin, you will leave him defenseless against sin once he leaves home and the structures are no longer there.
Beneath the battle for behavior is another, more fundamental battle— the battle for the thoughts and motives of the heart.The heart is the real or essential you. All of the ways in which the Bible refers to the inner person (mind, emotions, spirit, soul, will, etc.) are summed up with this one term: heart. The heart is the steering wheel of every human being. Everything we do is shaped and controlled by what our hearts desire.That is why the Bible is very clear that God wants our hearts. Only when God has your heart does he have you. As much as we are affected by our broken world and the sins of others against us, our greatest problem is the sin that resides in our hearts. That is why the message of the gospel is that God transforms our lives by transforming our hearts.Lasting change always comes through the heart. This is one of Scripture’s most thoroughly developed themes, but many of us have missed its profound implications. We need a deeper understanding of Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Monday, August 29, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived...I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.
- I am going to designate 3-5 times during the day when I check email. The rest of the time my gmail will not be up. And I'm going to disable the push feature on my iPhone. No more buzzes when I get an email.
- I'm going to stop checking email right before I go to bed and right after I get up. I've realized that nothing good comes from that.
- My most productive times are in the morning. For some crazy reason I've been waking up around 5:30 every morning. At first it frustrated me, but now I've realized that it's a good thing. I'm going to begin doing any creative work (reading, writing, thinking) in the mornings, and I am going to begin scheduling meetings and appointments for the afternoon.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Marker-wielding kindergartners cover the stage at Shamrock Gardens Elementary, intently coloring a set of circus posters. They work in clusters, some kneeling, some sprawled flat on their stomachs, chattering happily as they fill the space between the lines with bright and varied hues. Their faces vary too, ranging from palest white to deepest brown.
I watch them with delight. There is nothing more satisfying than acting on your beliefs and then seeing your hopes realized.
Five years ago, when Peter and I decided to send our son to Shamrock, it was the kind of school that middle-class families fled in droves – attended largely by low-income kids of color, with low test scores and few enrichment programs.
Charlotte’s schools were resegregating all around us, as our district dismantled its landmark school desegregation plan and parents scrambled to avoid the schools where poverty had begun to concentrate.
But while we wanted Parker to go to a good school, we also wanted him to live in a strong community, one that lived up to the American promise of offering each child an equal shot at success. We believed school integration played a key role in making that promise a reality. We did not want to participate in its demise.
And while Shamrock struggled academically, it was full of smiles and hugs, a place where kids skipped down the halls and teachers stayed late to tutor students and work on lesson plans. We believed it was a place where we could make a difference. In the fall of 2006, we walked Parker through the front door for his first day of school.
In the years since then, staff, families and students have built a new Shamrock one step at a time. We’ve gotten to know each other, figured out how to work together, found roles to play.
Most of our families, for example, shied away from event organizing. But they were always ready to support their kids, and when they came out to school workdays they labored all day long. So when we decided to build a butterfly garden, I wrote the grant and organized the schedule. Dozens of families showed up to build the beds, haul the dirt and plant the seeds.
It took two full years to really get the garden going. But I’ll never forget the morning that students discovered Gulf Fritillary caterpillars covering the passion flower vines, gold-tinged chrysalises scattered across the brick garden walls, and a newly hatched butterfly drying its wings beneath a drainage pipe.
As our garden grew, other things changed as well. Teachers began to stay longer, many transforming from awkward, sometimes tearful novices into confident, creative veterans. Student performance improved, freeing us from the crippling No Child Left Behind sanctions.
Although we recently lost our chess club to budget cuts, we have started a Lego League, a Science Olympiad team, a basketball squad, an International Day festival and two groups of Girls On The Run. Our Asian families cook a Lunar New Year lunch, and our Hispanic women’s club sells drinks and snacks at movie night, including the Jarritos and Mexican Cokes that everyone has learned to love.
The gifted classes that we created to entice middle-class families have come to mirror the school’s overall makeup – just over half African Americans, about a quarter Hispanics, and the rest a mix of Asians, other immigrants and a growing number of whites. Because no one group dominates, everyone belongs.
Shamrock’s still far from perfect. Although our achievement rates have risen, too many kids still don’t pass tests. Too many still leapfrog from school to school, sometimes several times a year. Too many don’t have food. Too many don’t have homes. As my son’s classmates have grown older, I’ve seen the stresses of poverty weigh more heavily on some of them, and I fret about their futures in a way I didn’t think about when they were six or seven or eight.
But like those varied kindergartners striving to create a beautiful picture, we are all in it together. I wouldn’t trade my years at this marvel of a school for anything.
* * *
Our country needs to hear more stories about schools like Shamrock, tales of the joys and challenges that come when people from many different backgrounds labor together to build a civic institution that strengthens all of us. I think this administration should celebrate them far and wide. Since the legal climate no longer favors large-scale desegregation plans, creating integrated schools depends on the resolve of families and communities. Stories of success can help build that determination.
In recent years, such stories have been overwhelmed by a national obsession with test scores and individual achievement, a focus that scares families away from schools that need their help and obscures the many roles that public schools play in our society, and in our children’s lives. We desperately need to rebalance this conversation.
If our country is to “win the future,” we have to do it child by child, and school by school. No policy or curriculum or computer program can substitute for the hands-on actions of caring individuals. Shamrock has taught me that I have abilities and influence that I had never dreamed of. We all have these within us, if we will step up and take on challenges together. I hope that Shamrock’s story can inspire such actions.
This post was originally written for the White House Champions of Change series.
Pamela Grundy is president of the PTA at Shamrock Gardens Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a member of the parents’ group Parents Across America. You can read more about Shamrock on her blog:www.seenfromtherock.blogspot.com.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
- Memphis is the 24th largest school district in the U.S.
- There are 8-10 million students in those 25 largest districts
- Of those, 50% (4-8 million) will not graduate
- In 2010, the average ACT score in the city school district was 16.6
- In the county, the average is 28.3
- The injustice issue, according to David, is this 70% gap between the rich and the poor
- Average income for someone who doesn't graduate from high school is $17,000
- Average income for someone who doesn't graduate from college is under $25,000
- 90% of public school students in these 25 largest school districts will make under $25,000 for the rest of their lives. This is not sustainable.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
The Ucayali river is a mess. It was heartbreaking to fly over the villages that are no longer there and see the peaks of the rooftops of their huts just peeking up out of the water. Dead animals. Flooding everywhere. I saw up close a couple of families living amongst the tree tops in their canoes with their stuff and family.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Below are some of the statistics that Sandy Wilson, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, gives in his message, "Let Go of Your Stuff." The key text is Deuteronomy 14:22-15:23, which is one of the primary passages that helps us understand the Missio Dei (mission of God). In this passage he talks about the relationship between our money and the poor throughout our city and the world. One of the questions he seeks to answer is, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The audio can be found here. Notes can be found here.
· If you make $25,000/yr, you are in the top 10% of the world's wealthiest
· If you make $25,000/yr, you are just above the poverty line in this country
· If you make $50,000/yr, you are in the top 1% of the world's wealthiest
· Two million children (mostly girls) will be traded in sex traffic this year
· There are more slaves in the world today than there have been in all points of history combined
· Women work two-thirds of the labor hours in the world, and they get paid less than 10% of the wages. And they own less than 1% of the property.
· There are 33 million refugees throughout the world
· The gap between the rich and the poor is growing. In 1820 the ratio was 4 to 1. In other words, the wealthiest person was four times as wealthy as the poorest person. In 1913 that ratio increased to 11 to 1. In 1950 it rose to 35 to 1. And in this last decade it rose to 75 to 1. So now, the wealthiest person is 75 times as wealthy as the poorest person.
· The biggest gap is found in China. The U.S. is in second place.
· The joblessness rate in the U.S. is now 10%. In the urban core it is over 30%
· The average church member gives 2.6% of his/her income. During the Depression Americans gave 3.3%.
· Just 2% of our giving goes overseas.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
The greatest impact on the world comes about by small, highly committed and disciplined communities of people focused on outward mission, inward transformation, and loving, accountable community.
Monday, February 07, 2011
Friday, February 04, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Few things frighten me more than the beginnings of barrenness that come from frenzied activity with little spiritual food and meditation.
Monday, January 03, 2011
Mumford & Sons
Oh, yeah, this is in order. These guys were my most-listened-to band of the year. Love their album. So the rest of the list is in no particular order.
Crazy good vocals and guitar, and a very funny fella
The Avett Brothers
I know I'm probably not introducing anyone to these guys, but perhaps to the Tiny Desk Concert podcast from NPR.
Mandy and I saw him open for Dave Barnes a couple of months ago. There are other songs that I like better, but I couldn't find a good video of them. Check out his album.
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
Not sure how I've missed these cats for so long, but at the aforementioned Dave Barnes/Ben Rector show, they kept mentioning them. Then we got to see their Christmas show a few weeks ago. And don't worry. I learned that Ellie does not have casts on both arms.
I discovered this band on the Tiny Desk podcast.
Gabe Dixon Band
I discovered these guys listening to Ben Folds on Pandora. This song came on, and my response was, "Who is this guy?"
I can't remember how I heard about him, but one night, after I had just purchased his Chair & Microphone album, Mandy and I listened to it in its entirety. Just couldn't turn it off.
Steven Curtis Chapman
This song paints a beautiful picture of where hope intersects tragedy. I had this album awhile before I really sat and listened to it. I don't know that I've heard so many songs that come forth from the heart. This is my favorite song from the album.
And last but certainly not least. This is one of my favorite songs of the year. What a great story!