Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chickens Come First

Yesterday in after-school tutorials, one of my students, Danny, asked me where to find a certain passage in the play we've been reading.  He was retaking a test and needed to refer to part of the play.  Annoyed at his laziness, I told him to find it himself.  He became frustrated and said he had to go soon, but I remained firm.

A few minutes later, I heard what sounded like a bird chirping outside my door.  I knew it must be Mark, a student that makes the perfect imitation of a bird chirping.  He does this so often he doesn't even know he's doing it.  I looked up, saying, "Here comes Mark."  To my surprise, it wasn't Mark that walked through the door; it was Brandon -- with a box of cheeping chicks.  I jumped up in delight and began pulling them out of the box, kissing them and fawning all over them.  I didn't even ask why he had them or anything -- I was just so excited to be cuddling baby chicks for the first time in my life. 

Well, after a few minutes, my classrom phone rang.  I asked a student named Greg to get it for me, since it was closer to him.  He answered the phone and after a pause, said in a formal and apologetic tone, "She's holding a chicken right now." 

I set the chicken down and hurried over to the phone.  It was another teacher, whose first sentence was "He said you're holding a chicken?!"

"Yes, I was," I said, but she went into her reason for calling without asking any more about it.

Once off the phone, I went back to the chicks.  After a few more minutes of croons and kisses, the chicks suddenly began pecking at my hands, then at each other. It looked like the box was about to become a cock-fighting ring.  I asked what was wrong with them and Brandon said, "They're hungry!"

"Well, feed them!"  I said, distressed.

"We have to go get the food!"  He explained.  "I'm waiting for Danny!"  (Danny and Brandon are both FFA kids.)

I turned to Danny.  "You need to feed those chickens!"

"That's why I needed to find that passage!  Because I have to leave to get the food!"

"Put that test down and go get those chicks some food!"  I exclaimed.  "You don't need to be in here taking a test when those chicks are hungry!  You can finish it another day!"

He quickly put the test away and he and Danny booked it before I could scold them any longer.

Good grief.  I may be an English teacher but I'd shove Shakespeare in a ditch before I'd let a tiny, yellow, fluffy, cheeping bit of cuteness go hungry.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pub Quiz Mystery

In our trip to the UK the past two weeks, my husband Richie and my cousin Jeremy and I got in on a pub quiz in York. We weren't really interested at first, so we didn't take any answer sheets, but to pass the time I went ahead and started writing down the answers on my own sheet of paper. I started with number one, so we didn't miss any. Around number 15, I believe, I heard the lady calling out the questions skip to 17 or something. I can't remember the exact numbers, but I know she skipped at least two. As Richie was at the bar, I looked to Jeremy for confirmation that I had heard correctly, and he agreed she had skipped a couple numbers. I expected some participant in the quiz to correct her or ask about it, but nobody said anything. The lady went on calling out questions. She continued in order to number 25, then suddenly she skipped to 29. Again, this anomaly was confirmed by both Jeremy and Richie, and again nobody corrected the lady or asked about the skipped numbers. I could only assume 1) the quiz worked in some odd way we weren't familiar with that the locals were or 2) somebody would point out the mistake before the lady called out the answers, maybe ask what the number to those questions were.

However, that never happened. The questions stopped at 30, and then the lady began calling out the answers. I waited curiously for her to get to the numbers she had skipped. I was positive that when she called out those answers, somebody in the pub would protest and say she had never even given the questions. Instead, when she DID get to those numbers 16-18, 26-28, I remembered those questions being called out. By the end of the answers, I realized that every answer she had called out had been to a question that I had, in fact, heard her ask. What's more, Jeremy and Richie both remembered those questions too.

We couldn't figure it out. We never did figure it out. There appeared to be no confusion in the pub whatsoever. Unfortunately, we didn't think to ask anyone else in the pub if they had observed the same thing we did. I wish so much that we had.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2 UFOs and a Possum

Two nights ago -- that would be the 12th -- my husband and I, along with 4 other people, saw an object in the sky we couldn't identify. It was a solid, bright light traveling with no sound at the altitude of an airplane. It was so low and bright that we knew it wasn't a satellite. It went in a straight trajectory west to east. My husband has worked with military craft for years (he tests weapon systems) and even he was unable to identify the object. This sighting took place around 10:30 or so. It was a cloudless night.

Tonight as I was taking my dog out, I saw another object. At first I assumed it was just a common aircraft because it was blinking, but then I realized it was one single light blinking completely off and on, exhibiting none of the blinking lights other of a traditional aircraft. It was also flying around airplane altitude (which I realize can vary but my point is it was not in space). It, too, was noiseless. It would blink on for maybe a second and a half and blink back out for just as long. It was also a cloudless night.

In another instance of strangeness tonight, when my husband took our dog Tiberius out to use the bathroom, Tiberius came across an opossum that Richie hadn't seen and tried to attack it. Richie snatched him back into, but the poor opossum went into shock. It lay there a few minutes, appearing to be asleep. (This is what people mistakenly believe is the opossum playing dead, but in reality, it is in shock.)

I felt so badly for it that I sat down a safe distance away and prayed for it until it recovered. When it did, it slowly raised its head and looked around, bleary eyed, like it didn't remember what had happened. Then it got up and walked away. I think I found that more interesting than the UFOs.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I'm one of those Christians who isn't comfortable dividing people into the 'saved' and 'unsaved'. I do believe there is a hell and some people will go there. I do believe in Christ, and I believe He is the only way to the Father.  With that said, I love and respect people who don't even believe there IS a Christ or a Father.  Despite what many nonChristians assume about us Christians, I don't mentally place them in a "damned" category.  I can't possibly know where they stand - or will stand - with God.  (Of course, I don't imagine that people who are living their lives with intent to destroy others -- serial killers, rapists, etc, presently belong to God.) Only He knows their hearts, their hurts and disillusionments, the reasons for what they believe or disbelieve. I remember a conversation with one of my closest friends, a Pagan, in which we both agreed there was a darkness in a particular store in town, owned by someone my friend suspected did black magic.  Traditionally, a Christian and a Pagan would not be entering into agreement over what was dark and what wasn't.  But I knew my friend, I knew her heart and her sensitivity and I trusted her instincts.

I once met a Muslim guy in London who was undergoing a depression over his ex-fiance's marriage to someone else.  He was confiding in me and my husband about how after a year his depression was as deep as ever, and he didn't want to live sometimes.  He said that he had been praying a lot and he had recently made his first pilgrimage to Mecca.  There he had experienced an intense and personal experience with God.  He told us that he was starting to think that God was trying to show him that it wasn't about his relationship with this girl, it was about his relationship with God.  "That's exactly what He's trying to show you," I told him.  I knew He was hearing from God because that is the God I know -- the one who loves us intimately and wants to be close to us.  It didn't trip me up that he was Muslim because what he had spoken was truth.  And I'm not a relativist -- I do believe certain universal truths.

I have come into conflict with a few fellow Orthodox Christians over my concept of salvation.  They think that I am saying Christ is only one possible way.  Well, I'm not saying that.  I believe Christ, the 2nd person of the Trinity, is salvation.  Otherwise his atonement was just an option.  It makes His sacrifice meaningless to say it wasn't necessary.  I believe there is evil and darkness that can only be cancelled out by a divine, infinite holiness, not our falteringly human attempts to 'be good.'  We pretty much suck at that, even in our best attempts.  That's why I believe the blood sacrifice of Christ, the only sinless human, was necessary. 

Anyway, today I came across a transcript of a conversation between Billy Graham and Robert Schuller.  Graham really articulated exactly what I believe about salvation (even though the person who had posted this transcript has condemned Graham as a heretic).  Here it is:

Dr. Schuller: "Tell me, what is the future of Christianity?"

Dr. Graham: "Well, Christianity and being a true believer, you know, I think there's the body of Christ which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups. I think that everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the body of Christ. And I don't think that we're going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. What God is doing today is calling people out of the world for His name. Whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts they need something that they don't have and they turn to the only light they have and I think they're saved and they're going to be with us in heaven."
Dr. Schuller: "What I hear you saying is that it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into a human heart and soul and life even if they've been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you're saying?"

Dr. Graham: "Yes it is because I believe that. I've met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, have never heard of Jesus but they've believed in their hearts that there is a God and they tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived."

Dr. Schuller: "This is fantastic. I'm so thrilled to hear you say that. There's a wideness in God's mercy.

Dr. Graham: There is. There definitely is."

And there it is.  I believe in a God who isn't so unreasonable as to require the every living person hear one specific story to be saved.  After all, God, Christ, is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent.  Hearing and believing the story of Christ is the ultimate revelation, however.  Knowing Christ is knowing love and forgiveness, is knowing that every person, despicable or righteous, was created in His image, is precious beyond words, and is able to be redeemed.  It's knowing that every living thing on earth has His breath of life, that every little creature has its own value and unique essence and is also an object of His very personal love. (That latter part is my own personal doctrine.)

I have run into hostility from Christians who think I'm heretical and I've run into hostiliy from nonChristians who scoff at my "simplistic" belief in Christ.  I'm learning, for the first time in my life, to be at rest with opposition from both.  And I'm thankful for my friends -- Christian, Pagan, Muslim, etc. -- who really know how to love, which is the ultimate thing God requires of us anyway.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Todd in Class

This morning in 5th hour, my students were discussing something we had read, and one student in particular was giving some very insightful comments.  I was keeping in the background, as I had arranged the discussion to be entirely student-centered, but after a few comments, it dawned on me that this boy's voice was unusually raspy.  So I said, "Todd, you sound like Clint Eastwood today."  A lot of kids laughed, but Todd replied in a dazed tone, "I feel like crap."  I told him I was sorry he felt bad and I had just been trying to make him laugh.  The discussion continued and Todd again contributed with intelligent commentary.  We were all just listening and I was marking down his points.  Then, completely out of the blue, he concluded with, "And I just want to say that a .44 magnum is the most powerful handgun in the world."  We all lost it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More Telepathic Experiences

I had a couple friends over weekend before last, and after some chatting and a couple drinks, I casually suggested one of them send me an object mentally.  She had never done this with me before and she sent me four different objects total. 

With the first one, I saw straw, like maybe a scarecrow, but my instinct told me to go with the properties.  (Sometimes I can tell if I'm just getting the properties or the exact item.)  So I said, "I'm getting straw."  She said, "I sent you a red basket."  She sent me a second object and I got simply a big orange ball.  It was just too simple so I figured I had missed it, but I said, "OK, I just got a big, orange ball."  She looked astonished, almost uncomfortable, and said, "I sent you the sun."   The third thing I saw was definitely black and had a large, solid shape to it -- long.  I wondered if it was a whale.  Finally I said, "It's black; it's long, maybe cylindrical."  She said, "I sent you a top hat."

We took a short break and a few minutes later, I asked her to send me another. This time I got a blanket, very clearly.  Again, I felt it was too simple, but I said, "OK, I got a blanket or quilt."  She said, "I sent you a green blanket." She was a bit freaked out over it, and she wanted to stop because it makes her head hurt.  My other friend there, with whom I've always played the game with incredible success, said that it makes her head hurt as well.  They both agreed the pain comes in the center of the forehead.  So while I was disappointed, I didn't request any more objects.  I am going to find out if it makes any of my other friends' heads hurt.

So far, the exercise has worked consistently with whomever is willing to do it with me --  except my husband, my cousin, and my brother.  I was starting to conclude that it only works with females, but recently it worked with a male friend and in the past there was another male friend it worked with.  So I don't know exactly what the criteria are at this point, or if there is a certain type with whom it works best.