Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Reno Air Races

     Every year, the Reno Air Races attract thousands of visitors to our area. The competitive races are amazing given the speeds as the airplanes roar around the pylons in the valley.

     The Air Force’s Blue Angels were here this year. Their aerial acrobatics takes my breath away! When they are flying in formation, as you see in the video below, their wingtips are a mere eighteen inches apart. Such incredible precision! The one maneuver they make that frightens me the most is when they fly straight at each other at full speed, and then one tilts to the left and one tilts to the right as they pass within inches. I tend to pray really hard right then that nothing goes wrong. It was thankfully a great year with no injuries.

     I took my students on a field trip to see them, and then returned on Saturday with friends. I have to admit Saturday was a lot more relaxing without having to make sure I kept track of every student. Oddly, the school district has absolutely no sense of humor about returning to school without every single student. Of course, what made Saturday even more fun is being with friends, and the fact that we were in the Pepsi VIP tent where there was an incredible buffet and lots of cool shade!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rest, Mary.

     Mary Travers of the singing group Peter, Paul, and Mary passed away yesterday. The group was famous for songs such as Puff the Magic Dragon, 500 Miles, If I Had a Hammer, and Blowing in the Wind. I always loved how relaxed and natural they were together when they sang. More importantly, their words matched their activism for peace in their lives.

     Below is a clip that showcases their talents.



     Full coverage of her life and career can be found here in the New York Times.

     Rest in peace, Mary. Rise in glory!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Balloons!

Photos by Bart     To attend the annual Reno Balloon Races, folks usually get up pretty early in the morning for what is called “Dawn Patrol” at 5:00 AM. That does not work too well for me on a Sunday morning, but this morning, the balloons came to us. We were having our coffee, gPhotos by Bartetting ready for church, when I kept hearing this “Whoosh… whoosh… whoosh” directly over the house. It was the sound of the flames shooting up into the balloons as they landed all around our neighborhood right in the middle of the street, following the drifting of the winds. Chase cars came and young and old came out of their houses to take pictures and talk to the crews. There is a wonder that fills your heart when you look up in the familiar sky of your neighborhood and see such massive color and people waving at you from hundreds of feet in the air!

Photos by Bart

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Praying for Children

     You may have noticed I have disappeared for the last two weeks – it is the start of school. My rector has been gracious, allowing me to take my vacation in August so I can focus on starting the school year. For the past two weeks, I doubt I have worked less than twelve hours per day to prepare and teach this first week, and that includes Saturday and Sunday. The effort has been worth it, however – the first week has gone well and has been lots of fun.

     Every year, I fall in love with my class. It is amazing to me how soon I become emotionally involved with my students. I get to see a side of them all the test scores in the world can never show. I include my kids in my prayers each morning, but already there are specific ones that I hold especially close in prayer. One boy lost both his parents last year. One of the girls has come to my school from another area and is trying hard to fit in. When I asked the students to write to me about how they are as a reader, one boy wrote, “I hate reading. It’s hard and the books are long.” Another boy is coming to school, showing up at my door incredibly early, and I suspect it is sadly because my classroom is a warmer place to be than his home.

     I do not live separate lives as a priest and a teacher; they are my one life, and it is amazing how much they intersect and compliment each other. So, I pray for wisdom – wisdom to help them fit in, to love reading, to grieve, to feel safe and loved. For a short time, they are my children.