that’s not YOUR size

 

Not long ago, I was visiting an antique store and happened upon the section of the store tucked in the back corner of the second floor.  Reading the sign, I laughed aloud as one of my friends came instantly to mind. The humor and creativity of the owner impressed me enough to snap a picture.  Hawaiian shirts, old, torn jeans, and t-shirts from middle school sports teams populate this friend’s wardrobe.  But here’s the kicker…he doesn’t care, or at least he didn’t when I asked why he doesn’t wear nicer clothing and why he buys old jeans at Goodwill.  “Because it feels good.”  The size and the style don’t dictate the choice, but rather the feeling of the clothing.

In contrast,  yesterday I was shopping at the outlets in Lancaster.  I wondered through J. Crew and eventually made my way back to the clearance section.

I am not one to look at sizes for anything more than a reference point of what typically fits.  Clothing is more about how it fits and how it looks then what size on the tag says.  Plus, I honestly wear different sizes at almost every store.

Back to my shopping observations…As I was sorting through pastel cardigans and assorted tank tops, I overheard a woman talking to someone else.  I know, I really should mind my own business, but what joy is there in shopping if you can’t causally observe those around you?

Chatting as women normally do when they shop, a young girl, who I assume is the daughter, held up a shirt for the person I believe is her mother to see.  Her mother, turning to see the shirt, took one look at it and replied curtly, “put that back, that’s an extra-large, that’s not your size.”  Her daughter quickly replied that she was just looking at the color. I didn’t hear anything after that.

Maybe I’m oversensitive to clothing, shopping and sizes.  But maybe there is an underlying attitude that your size is sealed and no matter about the style of the garment, how it feels or how it fits, you must wear that size.   From where are we taking our cues for what to wear? Are we looking to our society and culture that creates a standard size for beauty or are we looking to truth that encourages to reflect the beauty of our Maker, each in a unique and different way?

Do we buy clothing of the feel of the fabric or do we buy clothing in a set size, regardless of feeling and fit, just because it’s your size?  I know I’m guilty of the later.  Never has that article become a favorite of mine.  Rather is stays wedged in the corner of drawers or almost falling off the hanger in the back of the closet.

You can tell the clothing that is best because it sits in the top of the drawer or often never makes it to the closet before it is picked up and worn again.  It’s the pieces that I choose for the feel and fit, regardless of size, that I like and live in, not just endure and wear.

beginning, again

Today begins another year of school.  Thankfully, I’ve finally moved from student to teacher and I find, I like that role just as much.

Call it dorky or at least slightly nuts, but I love the idea of getting to start fresh.

New room, new ideas, new students.  It’s exhilarating!

I suppose I could draw a deep, spiritual implication and applications about new beginnings.  For the record, there are so many.  But today, you can do that.

I’m going to enjoy a chance to be new again for a time.  Perhaps you look forward to a fresh start in something or recently experienced one of your own.

It’s a beautiful thing, treat it as such.

So today, if for nothing else, be thankful for your beginning.  Be thankful for the time when you started this life and the sorrows and joys that are included therein.

twelve days

Today I am just 12 days short of completing my first year of teaching! This year has flown by in a whirlwind of band aids, sticky notes and markers. Today, as a class we made a list of our favorite things from this school year. The memories they listed where surprising and made me laugh when I think if what I REALLY taught my students this year.

going on field trips

learning to subtract and regroup

my birthday (apparently, the “surprise” party gave them great joy)

Pajama Day

learning about capacity and weight (I didn’t make this up)

read aloud

money

handwriting (ok, I made this one up.  All my kids complain about handwriting)

learning new songs as a class

praying for each other

What they saw as important takes me aback and I am reminded of how simple life can be when viewed through a child’s eyes.

Next year won’t hold the same experiences that this year did.  There will be new ideas to explore, concepts to teach, people to meet, things to learn.

I’ll miss this year’s crop of second graders.  They bring so much joy to my life! Look for a few upcoming posts with gems from my collection of second grade humor.

summer reading

Each and every summer I start my vacation off with a celebratory trip to my local library.

Over the years I’m sure I’ve given over a hundred dollars in late fees and fines.  But still, I love the library.

This summer I had the opportunity to read with a freedom I had lost while in college.  Works of fiction and nonfiction came alive as I scanned the pages, looking for new ideas, words and stories to experience.  Books allows a sharing of experiences, be those true, in the case of nonfiction or imagined and created, in the case of fiction.  Some might say to read is to escape from reality.  Rather, I think reading is a time to experience situations, emotions and events that perhaps we may never encounter.  While reading, I seek to gain a better understanding of the human condition based on what I’ve read.

Let me say, this was my World War II summer.  Last year I spent many of my non fiction choices on the Civil and Revolutionary War.  This year, inspired by watching the miniseries Band of Brothers, I read great selections from Stephen Ambrose, Ken Burns and many of the men who served in Easy Company.  Ambrose’s book, Band of Brothers is the basis of the miniseries and well worth reading.  Major Richard Winters tells the oft forgotten details of a harsh time in our world with an elegance and grace not often found in modern biographies.

While reading these true accounts of life in a world totally different from my own, I couldn’t help but wonder, “where have these type of men gone?”

A different set of values and standards ruled this generation and reading their stories left me wondering about our times, struggles and values verses theirs.

I also dedicated my time to reading a few works of classic fiction.  Starting my summer with Willa Cather’s O Pioneers, Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and working through Jane Austen while at the beach.

Mixed into the lot was a book on yellow fever in America at the turn of the century, a true story of life on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression, a few works by Tracie Peterson and Tolkien’s The Hobbit (which I have tried to read since February).

On my list for the rest of this year are a few theological pieces by Dr. Stephen Nichols (a prof of mine from college and an excellent theologian and writer), Humility: True Greatness by C. J. Mahaney and perhaps any suggestions you might have.

Have you taken time to enjoy a book (or two) recently?  Why do you choose the books you read?

an adult in the making

Several times in our lives, we have events that mark us as adults, or at least adults in the making.  College graduation, marriage, buying a home and our first job all fall into this type of event.

Like many recent college graduates, this year (tomorrow in fact) marks the beginning of our first real job.  Years in the making, we step up to becoming teachers, writers, engineers and just general workers-at-large.

A year from now who knows where we will be.  Many of us will have moved up and on to new and exciting challenges.  Some of us will remain, both gaining experience, confidence and knowledge that will never be found sitting at a desk.

Maybe your first job came years ago, or perhaps you are still waiting for it.

In the life of our jobs, many of us will have times of frustration or disappointment.  Many of us don’t need a new job to teach us that.  But take heart.  Even in the grief that often surrounds employment, our joy in work is that our purpose is not our own, nor is our work in vain.  As Paul told the Colossians

“Whatever you do, work heartily,as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Be encouraged in serving Christ as your work, be it in a new job or one that is well seasoned with time and work.  Finding a job is part of becoming an adult, but maintaining an attitude like Jesus while working is the true grown up trait.

looking back (and looking forward)

things I have loved about this summer:

  1. new school supplies
  2. cool summer evenings
  3. homegrown peaches
  4. crickets chirping in the dark
  5. dear friends

It often seems that the shifting of the seasons draws causes me to become introspective about my time. This last leg of summer leaves my wishing I had done a few less activities and taken a few more meaningful moments to be purposeful about my plans.

Besides looking back, it’s a time to look forward, to plan, to change. Setting goals (and keeping them) is a struggle at times. But more than other times, I find this new chapter of adult life to be one that offers stability where in the past I only found chaos. So here’s to seeking godliness (in my speech), balance (in my time) and contentment (in my life) in the time to come.

Are you renewed by the shifting of the seasons?