The Fields are Almost Ready

The Fields are Almost Ready

I am a city boy- born and raised. I work in the country. About 70 minutes separates my two worlds. I remember my boss driving me around the backroads of the farming communities where I would soon serve as a school principal. It was ten years ago. No matter in which direction I looked, it seemed like corn was all I could see. I had never seen so much corn. I thought it was beautiful.

This is a picture that I took today as I drove from my school to a meeting. I think that it is a perfect representation of the area in which I work. The picture confirms that there really is corn as far as the eye can see. Just ahead in the distance you can see the high school. There is plenty more corn beyond the high school. I think it’s as beautiful today as it was when I first took it in ten years ago.

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This picture tells you a lot about this community. A lot of hard work went into those perfect rows of corn. They have been watched over, prayed for and expertly maintained since they day the seed went into the ground in May. This picture tells of a simpler mission in life: take care of yourself, take care of what you have and of what has been given to you and take care of each other.

One can’t help but notice that it won’t be long before this corn is ready to harvest. I suppose that one of these farmers could have simply thrown handfuls of seed to the wind and hoped for the best. I have no doubt that a couple of healthy plants would have made it from spring to fall. But there is a plan. These folks know how to work the soil, supply nutrients and keep the weeds at bay. To me, watching these fields transform through the spring and summer months is like watching an artist work in her medium. Surely, you can see the craftsmanship in the picture, can’t you?

The kids from this community will burst through the doors of my school in a week. Some will have stories of summer adventures at the county and state fairs, vacations and trips to see relatives. Many will not. Many will have survived a chaotic summer and will have witnessed addiction, depression, mental illness and other traumatic episodes. Some of these kids will be brand new to my school. Some I have known for years. They will need their school to provide calmness, safety and routine that they don’t normally have.

A few would be okay if we just simply threw them to the wind and hoped for the best, but we’re experts. We need a plan of action to nourish their minds and their spirits…and often their bodies. We need to pray for the strength and wisdom to help them weather the storms of life that still loom off in the distance. We need to cultivate.

Jesus once told his disciples that the people around them were ripe for the picking. They were hungry for some hope and good news for a change. My picture that I took today reminds me of this story, and it reminds me of the crop of students I will see next week.

They all need math and reading. Many of them will need far more. The fields are almost ready.

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30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 26

Day 26: Write about an area of your life that you’d like to improve.

I need to make a serious effort to live a healthier lifestyle. I could teach a class on proper nutrition, the importance of exercise and getting plenty of sleep. I haven’t conquered any of the above. I will get motivated every now and then and drop some weight. I’ll eat better and exercise. Something inevitably happens that derails my efforts, and I end up regaining the weight plus a couple of pounds.

Determined to make a lasting effort this time.

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 25

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 25

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Day 25: Think of any word. Search it on Google images. Write something inspired by the 11th image.

There is a mug on my desk that has the word life on it. I searched that word, and this is the 11th image.

life

Years seem to pass like a vapor in the wind. A blessed man is one who is able to enjoy the first four frames of life so that he can be prepared to face the last two.

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 24

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 24

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Day 24: Write about a lesson you learned the hard way.

  • I have learned that “it’s not that big of a deal” 99.9% of the time. Relax. This, too, shall pass.
  • I have learned to take 99.9% of what I hear from most sources with a grain of salt. So-and-so perhaps expressed a little disappointment about a situation. She didn’t lose her mind and have a meltdown like you said she did. “Everybody thinks that you should…” usually means you and a buddy thing I should. You and a buddy do not equal everybody.
  • I have learned that some grade school playground bullies grow up to become workplace, church and neighborhood bullies.
  • I have learned that harsh words are hard to take back.
  • I have learned that people are mortal beings.

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 23

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 23

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Day 23: A letter to someone, anyone.

Dear Son,

How has your day been? Mine has been a good one.

I want you to know that at the ripe old age of almost 12, you are the coolest person that I know. You have an easiness with your friends that I envy. You live to horse around with your buddies, and EVERYTHING can wait if you are presented with a chance to play outside. I wish I could still prioritize like you.

You are still innocent and blissfully ignorant that there are mean people in the world. Someday you’ll have to learn that there are, in fact, mean people. Your outlook on life will change. Knowing you, it won’t change much.

I love how gentle you are with our cats. I can just picture you being equally tender with your wife and with your own kids. There are enough tough guys in the world. I like your gentleness.

You love baseball and Star Wars. I have done my job!

I hope that you don’t change. You will continue to mature and grow up, but I hope you don’t change. I hope that you continue to learn to rely on God even more than you rely on Mom and Dad. I won’t be pushy, but I will do my best to guide you to pick a career in a field that you love. Most dreams don’t pay the bills, but maybe we can explore some that do. Mom and Dad will help you with that.

Mom and Dad know a lot of unhappy adults. Most of them are unhappy because they fight a lot with their husbands or wives. Again, Mom and Dad won’t be pushy, but we will do our best to instill in you the importance of choosing a wife that will love you like your mom loves me. And you had better believe that I’ll make sure that you know how to treat a young lady.

You are a great kid, and I am looking forward to watching you navigate your way through middle school, high school, college and adulthood. My heart skips a beat as I think about you working up the nerve to ask that special girl out for your first date. I already worry about you being nervous during job interviews. I need to prepare you for the ordeal of buying a car at the dealership. But you’ll be fine…all part of living!

In the meantime, would it kill you to be a little nicer to your sister?

Love,

Dad

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 22

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 22

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Day 22: Put your music on shuffle and post the first ten songs.

I do not keep a lot of music on my phone. I use internet radio a lot and I look up songs on YouTube for a variety of reasons- heard a clip during a commercial, it was in a movie, heard it in a restaurant, current news events, etc.

So, I did some YouTube history search, and I have listed the last 10 songs I searched on YouTube. If I searched for more than one song by the same artist, then I just listed the first song and moved on to the next artist. For instance, I think I searched EVERY Tom Petty song when he passed recently.

Without further adieu…

  • Mary, Did You Know?- Straight No Chaser. I realized that a member of this amazing a capella vocal group is from the same small town where I live. Small world. Incredible vocals!
  • Sink the Bismarck- Johnny Horton. I saw a commercial for a program about World War II. The commercial featured battleships. It reminded me of this song that I heard a million times when I was a kid.
  • Something More- Sugarland. Can’t remember why I searched for this, but it’s a great song.
  • Fire and Rain- James Taylor. I saw a parody of this song on the Tonight Show, and I had to check out the original.
  • Vince Gill- When I Call Your Name. It was in the sidebar when I searched for Fire and Rain.
  • Triumph- Lay It On the Line. A local radio personality was going to interview the lead guitarist for this Canadian power rock band from the 80s on his upcoming show. It reminded me what a great song this is.
  • Rock With You- Michael Jackson- No clue why I searched this, but it led to about ten other MJ searches. Guy was a phenomenal talent. Sad, sad story.
  • 1999- Prince. Vikings over Saints. The Minneapolis Miracle.
  • I Know Who Holds Tomorrow- Alison Krauss. I saw a quote somewhere that reminded me of this old church song. I searched just the song name. So glad her version was an early return on the search.
  • Shine On You Crazy Diamond- David Gilmour (formerly of Pink Floyd). I saw something on PBS that reminded me of this. Talk about great guitar work…

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 21

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 21

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Day 21: What three lessons do you want your children to learn from you?

  • It is the hope in Christ that gives meaning to this life. Why is their sickness? Why do bad things happen? Isn’t there more to this life? I want my kids to be sure that there is more. Money can’t buy it. Science can’t replicate it. Fame won’t replace it.
  • Take risks. Pursue your dreams. You have to work, so you might as well work at something that your passionate about. Make a difference.
  • Find that someone who will love you for your strengths and in spite of your flaws. Treat that person like pure gold. Love that person with all of your heart and spend the rest of your life with that person.