An open letter to the SPU gunman

8 06 2014

justmeleena:

A powerful letter from an Seattle Pacific University to the the gun man who walked in to shoot up a school. Killed one student and injured two others. This school is in my community and I know many alum and students. My heart goes out to all of them. “The Spirit intercedes for us, with sighs too deep for words to express.” Romans 8:26.

Originally posted on falconstrong's Blog:

Mr. Ybarra,

Yesterday, you walked into the doors of a place I’ve called home for years with the intent to harm. The events of June 5th are forever embedded in my mind…but probably not for the reasons you’d assume. I’ve read articles claiming that you had an obsession with Columbine and a desire to partake in a school shooting. I’m writing this letter to tell you that the school you entered yesterday is not just a school, we  are so much more…we are a family.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t angry. I am so angry. I feel violated. I feel shaken. I feel like my home has been compromised and one of my family members has been taken while others fight for their lives today. I do not understand. I cry out for answers. I lament. I’ve never felt fear as deep as I did yesterday waiting…

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Help me: Children Verbally Abused by Peers

20 05 2014

This happens in communities all the times – I see it in the children/youth ministry and I see it among my almost 10 yr old daughter and her friends – and it breaks my heart.

Child # 1 just happens to be friendly to others and tries to be understanding in tough situations and then by chance and sometime “on purpose” because she gets along with others well – she gets paired up or simply stuck in a group with Child #2.

Child #2 is maybe jealous , can’t handle the niceness or Child #1, or maybe gets frustrated in their own shortcoming but knows Child #1 won’t lash back so passive aggressively blames the failings and frustrations on Child #1 – privately or in a group setting.

I’m in an odd place in trying to figure out how to be the adult in these situations – because:

1) often the children come to me to report, Child #1 is hurt by child#2 and doesn’t like it and needs it to stop. Child #2 claims they’ve done nothing wrong and it is the fault of Child #1.

2) I don’t always see or hear the interaction.  Other friends chime in to support child #1, and no matter what Child #2 keeps up the shenanigans.

3) Child #1 knows all the others are on their side, but that doesn’t matter when you are a tween or a teen = because you’ve been embarrassed in front of them, so there must be something wrong that you are the one verbally abused.

In church, school playground, and “team work” related activities parents have committed children to participate in Child #1 has no real way to get away from or ignore Child #2.

So what do you do? I can see why child #1 might actually love participating in a ministry program or attending church, or avoid going on the playground during recess, or not want to be in an extracurricular they really love – becasue if they go it is more than likely they will be attacked (in a way the adults won’t see) by child #2.In a few cases, I KNOW it is NOT the fault of the parents and in other cases , it is more than  obvious the parents have modeled this behavior for their children.

Also what do you do in group settings where child #2 gets ostracized by others, after they have repeatedly been reprimanded by the community of friends of child #1.  In church, the school playground, other activities — these kids need the interaction with others, but they become unwanted after damaging the hearts of other one too many times.

How do we love Child #2, while protecting/supporting/empowering Child #1? How might both be engaged without  both dropping out  because they’ve been hurt.

When is it OK to talk to parents as an adult who hasn’t been an eye-witness but has children eye-witnesses?

How do you talk withthe parent of Child #2 when they are a leader of the group, or not willing/to embarrassed to  admit their child could have been so hurtful to another?

I get stuck in the middle as a parent (my kiddo is so often the Child #1 and it breaks my heart). Tough when I am usually the leader of what ever program Child #1 and Child #2 are participants of…. “Your child is picking on my child” – They see me as the leader who thinks their child is perfect and can do no wrong.

Please share your suggestions and similar experiences in the comments below.





5 Traps That Can Catch The KidMin Leader | Kidmin360

8 04 2014

Taking me longer than I expected to process the promised “next” post.

I couldn’t help but share this link for my KidMin (Children’s ministry) inclined followers. I’ve been in a conference workshop session or two led by Greg Baird and I respect his thoughts and ideas when it comes to minsitry leadership. He has great words and adapts his posts to the context of small, medium, and large size churches. I especially appreciate today’s post on “Traps”. True-to-Life situations and excellent questions for us to ask to keep ourselves and our ministries in check. All apply to me, but applaud #5… something that has been meaningful for me to realize over the years as a small church faith formation leader.  Take a peek, it is worth the read:

5 Traps That Can Catch The KidMin Leader | Kidmin360.





Bouncing Back into Blogging

27 03 2014

I’m coming out of  a long dark blogging hiatus… My blog has been silent for a while. Somewhat unintentionally and somewhat intentionally.

A crazy hard tragedy struck my extended family in November last year in an incredibly exponentially emotional manner. I wanted to write about it, but I in the midst of my role as a caregiver, supporter, and mourner I didn’t know how. I could pour out my emotions, but I didn’t want to hurt anyone in my family any deeper. I could write about what had happened, but I didn’t have all the details and I didn’t know if I had permission.  I have posted little bits and pieces via Twitter and Facebook, but more as a plea for prayer rather than a place to process.

As time has passed, I have almost blogged: a few months ago I typed into my iPhone WordPress app which then didn’t post a thing and deleted everything I typed up. Ah, well I guess it wasn’t the right time. I decided I’d be okay with that.

Next, the Seattle Seahawks went to playoffs and the SuperBowl, which consumed a lot of family energy. My husband is one of those hardcore born-in-Seattle sports fan – and our daughters are following suit. I’m happy just to help clean the house and play hostess while others come hang out and have fun together watching a sport I’m still trying to figure out in the almost 20 years I’ve known my husband.

THEN, it was my season of craziness as a mom – chaired the committee to host two PTA Science Nights at my girls’ school, launched into a first year of selling Girl Scout cookies with each girl in a troop, (I really wanted to blog about these things, but alas no remaining time or energy!), and Softball season began for both girls. All this in the span of 2 weeks time. I pretty much was crazy. Did I mention my husband and I both work full-time jobs and already chauffer them to piano lessons and one to martial arts class and the other took up playing cello in her 4th grade orchestra (oh yeah, she played basketball in Fall/winter too)?? What. Was. I. Thinking?!? I clearly wasn’t.

Ah well, I guess it is good to get all these experiences out of the way early on so they can be well rounded and figure out what they want to do in life. They’ll need to figure it out now, so they will have the time to help their own children (should they be parents!) in the future. Sheesh!

Only took a little insomnia and a Pinterest inspired brownie recipe that is seriously yummy at 1:30 a.m. to get me going. You must try this Fake Betty Crocker Brownie Mix! It took longer to heat the oven than it took me to pull out the ingredients and mix up the batter. My next goal is to see if I can create a gluten free, vegan version that is potentially just as easy and delicious to make. Any suggestions??

In my next post I’ll talk about my family tragedy. Because it needs to be documented and I need the processing.





Please!! Let the Children Lead!!

27 09 2013

I drove into my daughters’ school drop-off zone yesterday morning pnly to drive out angry at how adults sometimes treat children who are trained and designated to be community leaders.

I confess – we were in the “5 minutes to the last bell”crowd. As I pulled up closer to the five designated drop-off-and-drive-off spots, I immediately noticed some heavy drop-off congestion. Five cars were all vying for the same spot. Just beyond the parking lot, safely on the sidewalk and wearing her patrol gear what a child who looked frustrated but kept doing her job – holding out her hand for cars #6 and beyond to wait and directing other cars to pull out. Parents in cars #1-5 and even #6 #7 were ignoring this poor young lady and just driving up to other spots and causing the crazy congestion that stopped the entire parking lot from working as smooth as it could.

Now these drop off spots are very clearly marked by numbers and heavily publicized policies in parent/school  communications). Often there is an adult – parent or teacher – helping out, but these patrol students are well trained. I’m guessing it was “5 minutes to the bell” and the adult helpers needed to get to their classrooms, etc. There really shouldn’t be an issue here. Had the driving “adults” respected the leadership and training of this student – rather than simply dismissing her as “only a child” perhaps the drop-off area would have run more smoothly.

I was really frustrated for this little girl and need to send a note of thanks off to our principal to let them know what I observed. I was so frustrated that parents of a community pledging to come together to raise our kiddos up as leaders in this school system can decide to one-up the system and take things into their own hands. Not only does it clog up our parking lot and drop-off system – it degrades the very thing we are trying to teach and deflates an individual child’s confidence in their abilities.

Here are my thoughts when it comes to children and leadership in churches (or anywhere really):

* When provided training and given responsibility we need to let the children go and let them lead – especially the ones who really get it. Sometimes they may need assistance etc. But let them lead.

* When being led by a child – we need to let them lead. Adults simply need to respect and trust that if another adult has left a child (11,12,13 yr old child) in charge then they likely are responsible enough to lead. IF there is an issue – bring it to the team leader, rather than take things into your own hands [unless it is a viable safety issue of course].

Please let our children and youth be leaders – they need it, we need it, and sometimes they are just better at the job!

And to that young patrol student – this is what I want you to hear: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”  - 1st Timothy 4:12





Hope Tank on Empty

27 06 2013

I know there were people listening to my side today and supporting me through my failures.But sometimes I just mess up and feel like the lowest most hopeless person in the earth.

Ever had a day where you were having a great time, then it all sort of fell apart? That happened to me today.

My scripture for tonight “I lift my eyes up, to the mountains, where does my hope come from? My hope comes from you, maker of Heaven, creator of the Earth. Oh how I love you Lord, you are my only hope, you are my only prayer”. Psalm 121

I used to pray this psalm on a regular basis in college, through depression and other crazy life happenings. It has been awhile since I have thought of these words I am thankful for God’s spirit flowing psalms of hope through my “saddened and disappointed in my self” heart.





Saying Goodbye to the School Year

19 06 2013

Ah the emotions that come with the end of the school year.

Katie had kindergarten “graduation” today and is sad that tomorrow is the last day with a great teacher and class. She is nervous to be a first grader. Which is the same thing that happened when she transitioned from PreK to Kindergarten. She went kicking and screaming from one awesome experience to another. Katie has had her ups and downs with friendship, staying quiet in class, and trying to put more words than colorful drawings on her weekly journal entries. Math has come easy for her, reading has been rocky but she’s starting to love it, and writing/spelling is not her strong suit but she still gives us little notes and makes lists all the time.

Ellie doesn’t want tomorrow (last day of school) to come because one of her really good friends is leaving our school. She has shed a lot of tears over this. A LOT. I want her to just accept it and get over it (because the distance between Bothell and Lynnwood is not very big). But, I have to bite my tongue and let her grieve and try to give her hope for the future. She says it isn’t fair, every year since Kindergarten (she’s finishing 3rd grade)a really close friend has moved away from her. I prayed with her asking God to help her stay connected with her friend, but also to help her open her heart to allow others to be friends with her. I’m a little concerned she might simply shut down and not let others get close because she is afraid she’ll lose them. Alas, on to the fourth grade for Ellie

My emotional tank has given a lot to them and I know they still will need more listening, consoling, hugging, encouraging, and glimmer of hope tomorrow morning and night.








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