Sunday, September 18, 2016


Assumptions can be a dangerous thing.

If you assume someone is acting a certain way without knowing context, you could lose a potential friend or alienate them.

If you assume something is gluten free when it isn't, you will end up feeling sick, if you are gluten intolerant.  This happened to me last week and it was totally my fault.  I ate tortilla chips without confirming they were 100% corn chips. My bad. Still working on the side effects but at least feeling better.

If you assume someone is a Christian, you may never talk about faith with them.

If you assume a "fact" is indeed true without verifying it, you could reach a false conclusion.

Many times we just don't know.  But we owe it to ourselves and to others to find out about what is unknown. It could make a difference in someone's life.  It could make a difference in your life.

Ask questions. Be curious (but not nosy). Care enough to be involved.

That's all.  I'm glad we had this talk.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Recommendation letters

It's that time of year for high school teachers - especially if you teach juniors.

Recommendation letters for college applications.  It is a job which is a chore, yet is a privilege. Students seeks teachers who know them well (sometimes they don't want one who knows them TOO well) to write recommendation letters.  They have to be honest.  They cannot be form letters.  There is one college where many of my students apply - a small college in Alabama.  They actually compare the letters written by the same teacher to see if they are a form letter with the names changed.  If that teacher writes a form letter, the recommendation is discarded.  Yikes.

This wasn't a requirement when I was applying to college - I only applied to two.  Sometimes, I wonder what my teachers would have said about me.  "Sarah Ellen is very quiet, but studious."  "Sarah Ellen doesn't reach her potential."  I do not remember talking out of turn or intentionally trying to break the classroom rules (like some of my students do - I wrote two up yesterday for sneaking in snacks).

The truth is school was my refuge and happy place.  I could dive into books and studies and I actually enjoy learning.  If I wanted to socialize at recess and lunch, I could.  But if I wanted to be alone in the library, I could do that as well.

I can tell it is going to be a busy season of letter writing - a month in and I've had four requests.  I think of the four young ladies who have asked for my recommendations and I wonder what the future holds for them - I wonder how God intends to use their gifts.  And I marvel that I have been allowed to be an influence - no matter how small - in their lives.