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Yolo

For Homecoming Prayer Service 2017 There’s a saying, I know you’ve heard it. YOLO. You Only Live Once. Let me tell you something about YOLO. YOLO is a lie. You don’t only live once. You live every time you wake up in the morning. You live a new day 365 times a year, if you’re lucky, every day a new chance for a new beginning, a new way to think of others before yourself, and a new way to be kind. A new way to live the spirit of Jesus Christ, and be a source of God’s love to others….

To My White Sisters: So. The Tina Fey Thing.

To my White progressive sisters who read my blog sometimes: We’ve had some space and time to think. Tina Fey’s sheetcake bit. We need to talk. I didn’t write this right away because you were very raw at the time of my Twitter and Facebook posts pointing out that Tina Fey’s crack about theoretical White supremacists in Central Park feeling threatened by the sight of “six foot four black men” was harmful in light of what actually had happened to an actual black man at the hands of actual White supremacists in Charlottesville not a week before. The assumption behind…

The Long Ride Home

Maybe it is because I’m a high school teacher and spend my days surrounded by actual young adults that my standards for YA literature are so high. My favorite books for readers in their teens are full of characters facing real life problems with no clear solutions. The dialogue needs to sound like something an actual kid would say, or else I’m gone. No messages, please. No lessons to learn that could also be imparted in a thirty minute sitcom. No morals to the story allowed. Ever. If I’m going to recommend a book to anyone to read it has…

Opening Prayer Service 2017

There is a famous saying. You’ve heard it. It goes like this: In life, If you fail to plan, Then you plan to fail. Your teachers and your coaches and your parents know this is true. And so do you. To succeed, you first set goals, then plan specific steps to achieve them. If you want to improve as an athlete, you don’t sit on the couch eating hot Cheetos all the time. You go to the gym, the track, the field, and the court. You lift. You train. You work. You stick to the plan. If you want to…

What Do I Say To My Students?

A teacher friend just asked me how I plan to talk to my students about Charlottesville on the first day of school. The country is on fire. White supremacy has taken over the White House. People are dying in the streets. What am I going to say? I do have a plan about what I’m going to say to the students in my English classes on Wednesday about the political turmoil in this country. It’s the same plan I had at the end of the summer of 2016 in light of the murder of Philando Castile and the police officers…

What Color Is Your Tiki Torch?

My dear White brothers and sisters who are expressing surprise at the expression of tiki-torch carrying White Supremacy, violence, and domestic terrorism in Virginia today, I would like a word. Yes, I’m talking to you who just said, “I can’t believe this is 2017.” If we are the type to be offended by racism, of course we are outraged by today’s news. Of course we want to distance ourselves from those uncanny, waxen-faced weirdos waving Confederate flags and making Heil salutes over the flames of their tiki torches. Distancing ourselves is not enough. In fact, I argue that we take…

No More Bullets

It’s already another bad summer. If you live in my area and watch the news, you may know the story of two young men shot while driving and riding in a car. You may have seen that the passenger died. You may have seen the dead man’s father, eyes glassy with grief, looking into the camera and saying that no father should have to feel this. No father ever. There was a candlelight vigil the day after the shooting where I stood on the sidewalk in front of the house where the man died. The last thing I said to…

How A Possum Ended Up In The Prayer Service

For Christian Brothers High School, this has been a year of great achievement. We saw major accomplishments on the football field, baseball and softball diamonds, golf courses, tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts, in the pool and on the track and fields of lacrosse, rugby and soccer. Our students saw incredible academic success in robotics, engineering, academic decathlon, mock trial, and broadcasting. We saw enormous success for our actors and singers and dancers on stage here and on the road. The Lasallian art show was amazing as were the literary arts journal, the Open Mic nights, the one acts, and…

A List of Hobbies I Gave Up When I Got Serious About Writing

Baking Gardening Thai food cooking Garage sales Beadwork Jewelry making Watercolor painting T-shirt painting Apron painting Hot gluing used coffee filters to the tops of glass jars and stamping them with Amish-style stamp designs Hot gluing cotton balls to the tops of glass jars and then gluing fabric over the cotton balls to make the lids puffy and then filling the jars with candy Wreath-making from vines I cut from random bushes on the side of the road Knitting Cutting hearts out of the pages of old books and Mod Podging them to glass jars and putting candles inside Mod…