Complicating Life

Initially when I think of the word complicated, a negative connotation comes to mind.  I think thoughts like:

"Well, that complicates things."
"Why does life have to be so stinkin’ complicated?"
"Why does that person always have to make things complicated?"

In my Lifegroup last night, Mark, Glenn and I were reading and talking about how we have good complications and bad complications; God-driven complications and sin-driven complications.

Take, for instance, our schedules.  Sometimes my schedule gets complicated because I set the stage for all the things I want to do and accomplish-at times because I’m selfish and want to stand out (sound familiar?).  Other times my schedule gets complicated because God gives me passions to see things happen and He gives me the resources to do them. 

Relationships can be complicated.  As much as I want to be married, I also want to stay single!  (Yes, you read that right:)  Being single can make some things complicated-like how I don’t get to hang out with cool, married couples at church as often as I’d like, or how I know I’ll feel a little weird seeing a bunch of my old married (with kids) friends at a big gathering next month…as a single person with no prospects within the state of Michigan.  At the same time, I can’t think of the last time I had to ask someone else if they minded that I went to hang out with my girlfriends, or that I apologized for missing dinner, or that I had to check to see if it was okay that I was going away for at least 3 days, 3 times during the month of August.  There’s no way I’d be able to do all that if I were married (and with kids)!  I love being single!  And I’ll love being married.  They’re both pretty complicated in their own rights, huh?  I honestly have a gut feeling that the latter will be a bit more complicated than what life ships my way now:)

Then there’s work.  My friend, Dana, and I were talking about this just yesterday.  As we continue to grow in our profession, we seem to be earning more and more responsibility…and responsibility complicates things.  I’m not just a teacher.  I’m a nurse, a counselor, an after-school tutor, a comedian, a learner, a social worker, a parental support…plus, I’m the head of our school improvement team, a trusted person that’s always trying to get someone hired, I tend to be in "the know" about what’s going on behind the scenes with curriculum, the MEAP, and many other things that most teachers-at our school and most schools-couldn’t give a rip about, or just never ask.  So as I gain more knowledge about these things-because I’m either intuitive or nosy:)-I get asked to help out with more things-like with helping our new Dean of Discipline come up with a structure for his new program.  It makes things complicated!  But I love it!!!  It’s partly why I love working at a charter school.  Things aren’t this complicated in most regular school districts.  Most of the stuff we work on are done in offices across town, for schools like that.  But here we do the dirty work and I love being apart of it!

Serving Jesus can be very simple.  Having faith can be very simple.  I mean, if all we need is to have faith as small as a mustard seed to move a mountain…that doesn’t sound very complicated!  But check out these thoughts from Mark Batterson:

Faith embraces uncertainty.  We’ll never have all the answers.  And some people never come to terms with this truth.  They feel like something is wrong with them because they can’t wrap their minds around God.  But maybe faith has less to do with gaining knowledge and more to do with causing wonder.  Maybe a relationship with God doesn’t simplify our lives.  Maybe it complicates our lives in ways that should be complicated…Complications are often a byproduct of blessing…A relationship with God will complicate your life, but it will complicate your life in ways it should be complicated….One way or the other, life is complicated.  Good complications or bad complications-it’s your choice.

I just really liked these thoughts.  People look at the things I’m involved with and they think I want pity for being busy, but first of all, I love the things I get to do.  Teaching is a privilege.  Ministry is a privilege.  Sometimes I get tired, but I never want pity for that.  Life is not boring and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  At the same time, I can list about 5 friends whose lives are about 3x as busy as mine is, and to be honest, I look at them with pity sometimes, but they feel the same way about their complications as I do about mine.  God complications are fulfilling and fun.  When life becomes unfulfilling and seemingly crappy, that’s probably when I’d go back and re-evaluate whether the complications are a God thing.  (Sometimes they are and God wants us to suffer with Christ and not be babies about it-I see that too.)

I’d like to challenge myself to think critically about the things that are complicated around me.  Why are they complicated?  Should they be complicated?  Is this a God-complication or a a sin-complication?  This is huge.

Google Yourself!

Hey, have you ever “googled” yourself? It doesn’t hurt as much as it sounds like it might. It’s actually quite fun (if given the right time in the middle of a summer night:).

Tonight I found out that I was married to Jeff Burton, the famous racecar driver (also my cousin’s name…). I’m featured on ARTISTdirect. I’m a shining star .
I’m a professor in ergonomics (and apparently male) I’m a registered clinical counsellor I’m a Balkan expert Finally…that I’m an accordian player!

C’mon, you’re bored at work! Google yourself:)

Summer School Swimming

I’m kind of going through withdrawal from my kids, so when given the opportunity to go on a little field trip with the summer school crew today, I gladly accepted.  It was really fun because there were 6 adults and only 30 kids.  (Piece of cake;)  Here are some moments from our day…
Dsc03632 These are some of the kids that the aquatic center wouldn’t allow to swim because their bathing suits weren’t real. (SAD!)


Here we have a couple kids going down the slide.


And here we have some kids enjoying the wave pool.


This is Tony and Joi.


And this is me with one of our new staff members-Johnson.

Let’s not forget Mr. Sarvello-holding up some poor boy’s underwear…no one wanted to fess up to whoDsc03664
owned the tighty whiteys left on the ground outside:)

I love working at Hanley!!!

Boyz II Men-singing to Mama






Joi, Sabrina and I went to see one of my all-time favorite groups-Boyz II Men-on Friday night.

This is one little video that I took of them singing to Mama.  (Mom, this is for you:)

We had a blast, hangin’, and singing old favorites.  It was hard not to bust out in "Motown Philly"…after all, I am Motown and Philly, all wrapped up in one!  🙂

Thrown into a Pit with a Lion

Spiritual warfare has hit me quite hard this past week, and it takes
away some of the enjoyment of all the wonderful things around me.  I
didn’t even want to go to lead my Lifegroup last night, it was having
quite the impact on me.  But I was reviewing what we were talking about
in our Chase the Lion
book and God very promptly reminded me that it’s through the tough
times that He causes me to grow, not the easy times.  It’s by choosing
to "face my lion"-the one that I seemed to have fallen into a pit with-that I push through and grow stronger.  So I PUSHed
(pray until something happens kind of thing) and I knew that I could go
on to lead in the grace that I should readily depend on anyway.  He was
so awesome! 

One of my LifeGroupies even offered to open in prayer!
After 3 1/2 months, I finally had someone offer to pray (without any
prompting at all from me!  woo hoo!)  If there was nothing else to
encourage me last night, that would’ve been enough.  Plus, God really lead
our discussion well.  So glad He lets me partner with Him.