Archive from November, 2015
Nov 25, 2015 - My Story, Uncategorized    No Comments

Calculus

Asymptote. Logarithm. Derivative.

I have not seriously interacted with such words in over a decade.

And yet here I sit, in my brother’s undergraduate Calculus class, listening to a lecture filled with mathematical jargon. I watch as the professor — displaying an infinity necklace and a love of numbers — goes over the quiz, engages with questions, and teaches fundamental theorems of calculus. I sit alongside students fifteen years my junior and struggle to keep up.

And my heart is full. Full of integers, areas under the curve, eager minds, thorough teachers, chalk dust and learning. I am surrounded by scratching pencils, raised hands, and insight.

I love it.

I love the cautiously offered questions. I love simplifying the expression. I love complicated equations and the need for four full-sized white boards to answer one problem. I love hearing my kid brother problem solve and demonstrate his understanding. It was a joy to be invited into his world today. To sit in one of his classes, read a paper he wrote, and hear some of what consumes his brain power nowadays.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and many of us will have students coming home, who will likely be excited to eat a real meal, anxious about their upcoming finals, and eager to share. Enter into their world; you’ll be glad you did — even when it includes strange words like asymptote.

calculus

Nov 18, 2015 - Devotional, My Story    No Comments

Mood Swings

I am surrounded by children. I joke that I have 81 babies, but they stay at the hospital so I sleep through the night. And I’ve noticed that babies and children have an uncanny ability to change moods quickly. They can cry and smile within a few seconds. They can fight and be angry, throw an all out tantrum, and fall asleep less than a minute later. They can play, laugh, and pretend before their tears are even dry.

I admire that. Minus the tantrums!

I take much longer to work up to anger or sadness or fear or joy. I am afraid of letting out emotions at the wrong time. I tend to stuff my anger and fear and sadness and only let it out when it’s reached a certain threshold. I admire children in their immediate communication. “You took my toy! That’s not fair! I’m angry and hurt and I’m not afraid to let you know.” What would my life look like if I told others more freely how their actions affected me? How many more apologies would I need to offer because of my immediate responses? Conversely, how many relationships could be deepened with honest, prompt communication?

Kelly Jelly

Not only do I can my feelings like strawberry jam, but I also stew and stay in my emotion for longer. If I cry during a day, I consider the day over. I feel numb. My nose is swollen, my eyes irritated. I just need to go to bed and start over the next day. I wish I had more of the changeability of childhood to bounce back from an overwhelming emotion. How would my life be different if I had a little more childhood changeability? If I let my emotions out, but didn’t wallow? If I could cry and laugh more freely?

 

I’ll just try to avoid the tantrums…

Are you an emotion stuffer? How can we safely let some feelings out?

Nov 14, 2015 - Devotional    2 Comments

Accepting Help

I can help edit a book. Work on a project. Paint a house. Clean a road. Or do endless therapy for children in need. But I can’t accept a ride to the airport.

I much prefer being the helper than the helpee.

I have a pathological need to be independent and do it all myself. It is actually really hard for me to accept help without feeling like a burden, even when it is offered freely. I don’t like accepting rides or money or getting all the credit for a group project. I am afraid of appearing perpetually needy, which makes me hesitant to voice my needs. I am learning to realize that it is okay for me to have needs. That people want to help me! And that by not voicing or accepting my needs I am denying me the opportunity to be helped and cared for, AND I’m denying them the opportunity to help.

Think about this. If someone were to come to me and ask about how to do exercise with an infant to strengthen his trunk muscles, I would be overjoyed to provide advise, demonstration, or even come for a playdate to help out this mom! I love babies and helping them develop is what I do for a living. It would give me great joy to share my knowledge and interest in this subject with someone else. Perhaps people who are experts in car repair or financial planning or flower arranging feel the same way when they are asked for their expertise. I can ask for help, knowing that they can easily say no, but giving the opportunity for me to be helped and for them to feel valued for their skills and knowledge. Yes, there are limitations to this! (Don’t expect free medical care from your physician friends!) Understand when your friends can’t help you and thank them anyway. In these cases, it is still a powerful reminder to me that I can’t do it all, that I need others in my life in big ways and small ways. It reminds me that true relationships are two-way streets with both needing and giving help at different times.

To everyone who offers me help, and accepts mine, thanks for traveling this two-way street with me!

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