31 May 2014

On Earth as in Heaven – Work

Greetings Dear Reader,

How do I assure that my work reflects the things that are in heaven?  This was easy to ponder but seems difficult to make real.  If I have no control over how corporations or employers act.  I cannot really control anything but my own behavior.

The real answer here is to be good to everyone.  I do not need to be demanding, rude, or ungrateful.  I do not need to worry about position or status.  What must be my focus is doing the work before me with integrity and honor.  I must see the needs of those around me and meet them where I can.

Christ wishes for us to be always good to each other.  In work this translates to being kind, grateful, generous, and compassionate no matter what anyone else does.  It means walking through all pretenses to the people involved.  It means being genuine at every level.

We compartmentalize our lives in ways that keep us from doing this.  As a Christ follower I need to be the same person at work as I am anywhere else.  There is no situation at work where obeying Christ’s insistence that we be loving and good to others will not work in our favor. 

On earth as it is in heaven in my work means giving my best every day no matter what the situation.  Loving someone is not circumstantial.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

30 May 2014

On Earth as in Heaven – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Most of us know that this is part of the model prayer that Christ gave us during the Sermon on the Mount.  The entire sentence is “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Of course the real question that always faces us is that of determining what God’s will is.

Be assured that I am not going to attempt to tell you what God’s will is for you.  I have enough trouble keeping that up for me.  If, however, I am going to pray for God’s will to be done here I must ask what that will is.  There is always a fork in the path that demands we make choices.  How do I make the right choice every time?

As I examine what the will of God is I will only speak in generalities.  I am going to ponder family, work, and leisure in my life.  I know that I have not always followed that will.  I know that I don’t want to miss it once for the rest of my life.  I know that sometimes I will.

All I can do is ponder and prepare.  I hope that as I explore this you can find some answers as well.  If you do, it would make the journey easier if you shared.  I promise not to judge or compare.  The journey is hard enough.  If I know the will of the one who journeys me perhaps the path will seem softer.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

29 May 2014

As I Leave Teaching – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

So the book closes for at least a time on a profession I have loved.  I feel no ambivalence about the change but I know that I will miss the classroom.  I also know that I will miss the students whose lives I have had the privilege of sharing.  I am neither politically correct nor am I a model teacher. 

The honest need of the student always takes precedence over rules, guidelines, and unwritten laws.  I must admit to a level of weariness.  All my other teacher friends can attest that we need and long for rest between terms.  It is one of the things that fuels our ability to care for our learners.  I have not had that respite in five years save a few vacations grabbed at opportune times.

That, however, is what makes it worth the effort.  We always have a little more to give.  We always have room for one more student in our heart.

A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.  ~Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

 So as I leave teaching I offer three challenges:

  • To my students – Let your teachers know what they mean to you.  It has power you cannot understand.  Whether you like the subject matter or lesson that teacher gives his or her al to assure that you reach the next step. 
  • To my fellow teachers - I have learned from you and you need to have courage.  Even the most difficult student (I was one) can grow into something amazing if he believes someone believes in him.  When you are weary feel free to seek me out and I will do my best to encourage you.
  • To my friends – Reach back to someone who has taught you.  Let that teacher know how he or she made a difference in your life.  Even the most curmudgeonly of us treasures that moment.  It is a gift you can give with little cost that is precious and rare.

So I commence.  I will spend more time with the pen and less time on the stage.  I do feel very tired.  I love you all collectively and individually.  Later tonight I will raise a glass to you with a friend.  I promise that the chosen potable will be of quality and value as are all of you.

The Road Goes Ever On (Part 4) – JRR Tolkien

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Here endeth the lesson for today.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

28 May 2014

As I Leave Teaching – We Live On

Greetings Dear Reader,

So much of what we do as teachers looks forward.  We are always planning the next term in the middle of the current one.  We have to prep and read constantly to be ready to enter the classroom.  The right information for my students has always been a constantly moving target.

Today is my last day in the classroom for the foreseeable future.  I have so much I wish to say but need to focus on what matters.  I do not think that many students think about their teachers as they move through life.  Some do and it is precious when they reach out to let know how they are doing.

What is true is that we live on in other ways.  Every time I see that one of my students is successful in his or her career, I live on in that moment.  When one of them passes on what I have taught them, I live on in that moment.  I have the joy of seeing two of my former students enter the teaching profession.  I live on in this more than anything.

As I leave teaching I know that others will use what I have given to have better lives.  I know that others will pass on what they have learned.  We never really know the extent of the good we can do if we love and care for our students. 

I have been a tributary stream to a much larger system of flowing water.  My trickle through the lives of some grows as it joins the progress of learning and development.  My part of the education journey will never end.  It is just that this form of teaching stops tonight for some time. 

The Road Goes Ever On (Part 3) – JRR Tolkien

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

27 May 2014

As I Leave Teaching – What we Leave Behind

Greetings Dear Reader,

I know I alluded to this yesterday.  It is one of the things that has kept me at my post long after I felt the road opening to a new way.  The journey calls and I must follow.  The difficulty is there are those whom I leave behind.

There are coworkers who will work on in the lives of students.  The matriculation to graduation process continues.  New students arrive and students complete the course.  I am invested in those who teach them and in the students who learn.

Having move to other schools throughout my career I know this feeling well.  I have no delusion that I am irreplaceable.  I do know that I have knowledge of people’s needs in a way others may not.  This is where the battle against pride and for humility must be waged.

My being there is not what makes students successful.  My being there is not what makes other teachers good.  My presence is not necessary for things to go on as they should.  Do I have influence?  Yes I do have influence. 

That influence, however, is only because God allows it.  It is moving as he leads that assures that my influence may continue in the way he wishes.  As I leave teaching I extend my prayer time for those I leave behind.  I love them all, collectively and individually. 

The other facet of this is that I leave a bit of myself behind.  I have benefited from this time.  I have made friends and connected with souls.  I have learned more about how to be kind.  I have gained a better foothold on obedience over questions.  I have been privileged to see a life or two become richer for the privilege of having counseled, taught, and guided.   

As I leave teaching I leave behind people who are great at what they do and very passionate about it.  I leave behind students who are still in the midst of their educational journey.  They will all remain in my heart and in my prayers.

Hopefully as the journey takes me on another path I leave behind things that are good.  I hope that I leave behind the knowledge that there is no one for whom I do not hold high regard and deep respect. 

The Road Goes Ever On (Parts 1 and 2) – J.R.R. Tolkien

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

26 May 2014

Second Thoughts – Memorial Day

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

First please be sure that this second thought is not an afterthought.  Those who serve in our military have been on my mind all weekend.  I have friends and family still in the services.  I have been counting all that I have because of the service and sacrifice of others.

It occurred to me all week as I heard people talk about their plans for the long weekend that I heard very little talk about actual Memorial Services.  I heard much about camping, boating, cookouts, and travel.  I heard excitement about the predicted weather and warmth.

I do not think that today needs to be a somber day.  I do think their needs to be more focus on the purpose of the day.  We are still in a war.  We still have veterans of many other wars.  There are still bodies being interred in our national cemeteries. 

We need to be a nation that camps, boats, grills, and travels to celebrate our freedom.  We must, however, remain or maybe return to being a nation that understands the price paid for those activities.  We pay for the party with our dearest blood.

So today I spent some time remembering what it cost for me to have an extra day off work.  I recall what the true cost of Brat Fest is.  I say a prayer of thanks that I can safely travel in my country.  I build in my heart a memorial that I visit whenever I encounter those still in our armed forces.

We must remember how to be thankful lest we forget those who sacrificed all so that we could have everything.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."


As I Leave Teaching – What We Lose

Greetings Dear Reader,

It seems that those I know in other professions do not get this.  There is loss that teachers suffer regularly.  We lose a little piece of ourselves at the end of each term, semester, quarter, or year. 

For those of us who truly care about our students the loss is genuine.  The loss is that those students who pass through our classroom take a piece of us with them.  We pour ourselves into the sculpting of who and what they are becoming.  They take it in.  They grow and learn.  Then they are gone.

I am blessed that there are many who still keep in touch.  When I hear from them because of success in their lives it fills me with joy.  Others never look back.  Since I am engaged at a real level with all of my students I wonder about so many. 

Social media helps.  I have been able to check in on so many this way.  Some former students have even used it to reach out to me.  So many others though cross the stage, receive the diploma, and are gone.  It is always bittersweet.

The list of students whose lives I pray for has grown so long over the years.  I wonder about each of them as I come across their names and my notes about them during my prayer times.  Some have become lifelong friends and for them I am ever grateful. 

As I leave teaching I think of this final graduating class the young men who are in it.  Each of them has worked hard to earn his degree.  They are people with a real future in the IT field.  I also consider the students who are still in the programs for which I had oversight.  I will continue to pray for them.

As this page turns I cannot help but feel a little fragmented.  I also feel the success of helping other move along the path to new careers.  The loss is worth it because of this.  It is, however, still loss.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

25 May 2014

As I Leave Teaching - We are Always On

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things that people seem to not get about the average teacher in the average classroom is that they are always “on”.  Even during labs and group work we have to take in everything.  We have to assure that we are observing the learning.  We must be sure to monitor that everyone is performing to his or her best.  We are always on.

As education has changed over the years I have realized that the breaks that teachers get in terms of long vacations or work days are vital to their ability to recharge.  Once I went to work for a for profit school I realized that part of treating education as a business was to delete this practice. 

Break weeks are filled with meetings and “other duties as assigned”.   Prep time gets measured by the minimum standard instead of the complexity of the subject.  Success is measured against retention and passing students instead of student outcomes and real learning.  Merit based rewards are eliminated and teachers are squeezed dry.

What I have learned about being a teacher is that when we are not seen as humans that need to have time to develop and recharge it is easy to become burned out.  It is easy to get disillusioned as well.  If we do not get burned out and disillusioned then we use some of the energy we need to teach to maintain.  Either way the students lose out.

If I could change one thing it would be to make those who make the decisions see how much value there is in time to recover, recreate, and recharge.  When one invests in down time for teacher one gains better teachers. 

As I leave teaching I see clearly how deeply this always on situation has impacted me.  It makes me understand why God wishes us to have times of rest.  It imparts to me the lesson that I must be a good steward of my energies and resources. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

24 May 2014

Second Thoughts – Brat Fest

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

As I prepare for my memorial day weekend I also anticipate one of my favorite events of that weekend: Bratfest.  I have been on both Friday and Saturday.  I bought brats for my friends and family.  I filled the bottom shelf of the fridge with them as well.

Today my Grandsons attended Brat Fest with me and got to see the real Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile.  Until then the oldest did not believe it was real.  We ate brats and blue ice cream.  I spent a nice morning in the sun with my Children and Grandsons.

What matters most is that the money matters.  The world’s largest brat festival is actually a charity event.  All the proceeds are donated to local charities.  The money infuses those who care for others in our community with needed funds. 

I will like attend every day of the event over Memorial Day weekend.  I support this event every year for the sake of the community that I love.  I love brats too, but it is the purpose of this amazing spectacle that drives me.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."


As I Leave Teaching – When WE Fail

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are those times when we fail as teachers.  We miss the need.  We don’t use the right approach. We are too tired or burdened to give our full attention.  Sometimes the failures see daunting and others times they are small.  They always, however, stay with us.

I can recall a student who was on parole.  He expressed the need to talk to me about something very important.  I was exhausted and it was late on a Thursday night.  It would have been no big deal to dig a little deeper and summon the energy to listen to his need.  Instead I pushed the conversation off until the next Monday when we had class with me again.

Over the weekend he violated his parole and went back to prison for a long long time.  He wrote me a letter telling me why he had wished to talk to me.  I do not think that the conversation would have kept him from going back to jail.  I do think that he would have had an easier time of it had I made time for him.

We invest so much of ourselves into the lives of students.  No matter how many thousands of students we help it is the ones we fail that we remember.  Even as I write this the names of those who I have let down in some way creep through my mind.  I know that they are a small percentage of those who have passed through my classroom but even one is too many for me.

As I walk away from this profession those few faces swim before my mind’s eye.  All I care about is that they got what they needed from somewhere.  I pray for them when they come to mind.  I hope to encounter them and have an opportunity to be good to them.  As any teacher knows, they never truly leave us.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

23 May 2014

As I Leave Teaching - Those surveys

Greetings Dear Reader,

Every year for at least the last ten years I have had student surveys that were required by the places I taught.  They are a bitter medicine and a delightful treat.  Even though they remain anonymous one can tell by the writing style of the student who made what comment.

The comments that are positive would always make me feel humbled that I had such good impact.  What always stick are the negative ones though.  As teachers we seem to see the one negative comment in a sea of praise and question our right to be at the front of the room.

Once when I was particularly hurt by a student comment that I knew was unjust and untrue a fellow teacher sat me down and made me read an excerpt from a book on teaching.  It explained that good teachers always do this with surveys.  There could be five hundred pages of good things and we would see only the negative one.

Those surveys helped me stay humble.  I want to touch every life I teach.  One cannot teach in a social vacuum.  Who we are influences our teaching.  Who we are is one of the things we extend into the material even if we do not wish to do so. 

I will not miss those surveys.  I will miss knowing when I have helped a life.  I will miss being reminded that I can improve.  I will not miss the pulling teeth effort of getting students to fill those surveys out.  All considered I know that the words of those surveys treasured by me over the years will remind me that there are lives out there that are better for my tenure in the classroom.  It will also remind me that I can improve every day if I choose to be honest with who I am.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

22 May 2014

As I Leave Teaching - First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I know that my soul is a teacher’s soul.  I was once told it is my “first best destiny”.  As I move on to other things I wonder how I will manage the gap in my life.  In my new endeavors I already know I will get opportunities to help others learn.  I also know the things I will be doing matter in the grand scheme.

As I move on from the classroom there things I would ponder, discuss, and observe.  I do this all to process the loss properly.  I do not think that those who have not been at the front of a classroom can truly understand what pass when we move on to other things.

One cannot teach others without giving a bit of themselves.  I know that I am feeling some deep loss at this transition even though the change is a positive one.  As I have counted back there are hundreds of souls that have passed through my classrooms over the years.  I remember almost all of them.

I am following Christ.  He has led me in a new direction.  It is a good thing but if I do not process the loss properly I will not give my best to the new part of this journey.  I know many of you, Dear Reader, are teachers.  Walk with me for a bit to share my sorrow and joy.  We know it all unfolds as it should.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

21 May 2014

Second Thoughts – Turn the Page

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

Transitions are often an amazing thing.  Sometimes we choose them and sometimes they are thrust upon us.  The thing about change is that it will occur.  How we handle that change tells us a great deal about who we are.

As I move on from one thing to another I consider what I have done.  I know that I have helped others.  I know that I have treated people with love and respect.  I know that I have had opportunities to be generous and kind.

I do not often ponder what will be remembered about me in the distant future.  Today, however, I do wonder what the people I leave behind will recall.  Do they know how much I loved each of them?  Do they realize what a difference each of them has made in my life?

As the page turns my hope is that they know that they have helped me be a better man.  My prayer is that they see that as we have journeyed together they have helped me grow. 

As I depart the stage that was given me I hope that the audience remains to see the act that follows.  In the theatre of education there are so many stars.  The journey truly belongs to the students and we are but guides and attendants along the way.

Turn the Page – Bob Segar

On a long and lonesome highway
East of Omaha,
You can listen to the engine
Moaning out its one-note song.
You can think about the woman
Or the girl you knew the night before.

But your thoughts will soon be wandering,
The way they always do,
When you're riding sixteen hours
And there's nothin' much to do.
And you don't feel much like riding,
You just wish the trip was through.

Here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing the star again. There I go -- turn the page.

Well, you walk into a restaurant
Strung out from the road,
And you feel the eyes upon you
As you're shakin' off the cold.
You pretend it doesn't bother you,
But you just want to explode.

Most times you can't hear 'em talk,
Other times you can.
All the same old clichés:
"Is that a woman or a man?"
And you always seem outnumbered,
So you don't dare make a stand.

Here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing the star again. There I go -- turn the page.

Out there in the spotlight
You're a million miles away.
Every ounce of energy
You try to give away,
As the sweat pours out your body
Like the music that you play.

Later in the evening,
As you lie awake in bed,
With the echoes from the amplifiers
Ringing in your head,
You smoke the day's last cigarette,
Remembering what she said.

Here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing the star again. There I go -- turn the page.
Here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage.
Here I go, playing the star again. There I go.

There I go.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."


I Have Some Rocks

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I was in the fledgling era of my teaching life I worked at a school in the north Georgia Mountains.  We lived on campus and the life there was very family like.  I would often take my Sons with me down to the building where my office was.

One summer afternoon I needed to stop by the office for a brief meeting.  When we were done I was taking the boys to the pool for swimming.  At the time they were old enough to play on their own in the grass by the building.  They were also young enough to still retain that innocence the children possess.

As we pulled into the parking lot I noticed that the parking area for cars had be freshly covered in granite rocks.  Freshly chipped from some quarry they sparkled in the morning summer sun as if infused with diamonds.  Maxim noticed them too. 

His small mind and heart filled with wonder at the beauty of sun on granite.  New granite catches and reflects sun light.  It is the tiny quartz deposits in it that cause this.  What my son saw was a vast field of diamonds offering up their beauty as it was unlocked by the morning sun.

After admiring it with him and his brother for a moment I slipped away to my meeting.  It was over in just over a quarter hour and I was anxious to be in the pool with my Sons.  To my surprise both boys were already in the car when I emerged.  I heard Maxim loudly shush Bezel when he saw me heading toward the car.

At that age they were both too well behaved and too innocent for there to be something wrong.  That would change before the autumn of the same year, but that is another story for another time.

As I got into the car Maxim had that “I am up to something” look on his face.  I feigned ignorance and began to start the car.  He said a single word, “Wait.”  He was smiling in a way that lingers in my mind so beautifully.  Once he knew he had my attention he spoke further. 

“Dad, I have something for you.”  He proffered three pieces of the granite with all their sparkly newness.  It was the first gift he had ever given me on his own.  I accepted them with joy and made sure to marvel at their beauty.  They are just a few feet away from me in my special box as I write this.

By summer’s end the Georgia red clay and the effect of traffic had robbed the parking lot of its luster.  The three pieces in my special box still sparkle.  They have been protected from time and the elements.

I so often wish I could recapture the innocence of those days.  I know that I cannot but the moment serves me when I worry about Maxim for any reason.  He has grown into a good man who is a good father and husband.  He works in a noble field doing good for others.  He still knows how to give and has a heart to do so. The Georgia summers mute all things in some way.  They have not done so as much with my Son.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

20 May 2014

My Tiny Jar of Rocks

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things that will always sink deep in my heart is an unexpected gift from a child.  A couple of weeks ago when my Grandsons were over to spend the night such a thing happened. 

Since I am always up early and the boys sleep in the living room when they are here I have to be extra quite when they visit.  The boys were sleeping soundly and I was writing when the freaky cardinal tapped on the window and awakened Bastion.  He is two.

He came into the office and we watched the cardinal together.  It would tap on the window and fly away.  It repeated this over and over again.  Bastion would snuggle and then jump up and say “freaky cardinal” whenever the bird tapped.

He started pointing around the office at the various things on my shelves wanting to know what things are.  I showed him my special box that contains priceless items with not value.  If you do not understand this read The Littlest Angel.  We looked at each item and I explained why they are valuable to me.

In the box are three pieces of granite.  To Bastion is did not matter why they were there but tomorrow I will share that story.  He jumped down from my lap and ran to get his pants.  He came back, dragging the pants and climbed back up in the chair with me 

He proceeded to pull tiny pebbles from his pants pocket one at a time and give them to me.  They were barely more than sand.  He insisted I put them in the box with the large ones.  I produced a tiny jar from my desk and put the pebbles in it.

Once the jar was safely in the box he was satisfied.  He gave me a hug which is rare for Bastion.  He then went off to play with the marble racetrack ending any hope of anyone sleeping a little longer.

I have been looking at those tiny pebbles for two weeks.  They are sitting in the jar on my desk for now.  They are the first gift my youngest Grandson has ever given me on my own.  They were given intentionally and innocently.  It is just the way God wants us to give our treasures to him.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

19 May 2014

Imagined Offenses – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I said at the beginning I am easily embarrassed but not easily offended.  If I am to be successful at being salt and light for the world then I cannot allow things to easily offend me.  Further I must not translate the offenses to individuals as will hinder my love for those people.

I must not take up offenses for others.  When I strive for justice it must be for the sake of right and wrong and for the offence done to someone.  Someone else being angry or offended does not mean that I am to be angry or offended. 

Drama, arguments, and infighting are not to be present in the followers of Christ.  We divide over foolish things and then demand that others agree with us or we separate from them.  Lives have been and continue to be ruined over this problem.

The Gospel commands us to be kind, loving, and good.  When we are easily offended or imagine offenses we lose our ability to show these things.  I must neither imagine nor cling to offenses.   I must seek peace and love at all times.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

18 May 2014

Imagined Offenses – Building Drama

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the things that I see as a part of the creation of offenses is building up the drama.  We add imagined consequences and what could happen to justify an inappropriate reaction to things. 

Because someone might feel slighted, left out, or maligned in some way we censor what can be said or done.  We spend energy on the drama of imagined offenses instead of learning how to communicate in ways that promote understanding.

Another way we dramatize offenses is by dragging the histrionics of disconnected areas into the conversation.  We use the problems in our lives to justify controlling how others interact with us.  I once had a student tell me that I could not insist he learn binary because his uncle who was a math teacher had passed away.  As I pursued the conversation to understand the student revealed that his uncle had passed away four years earlier.  This student was going into networking.

As we draw lines of drama to connect our troubles and offenses we weaken the pool of compassion in others.  I will always have compassion for real offenses.  I have little use for the drama we imagine should validate our offended natures.  When we allow drama to anchor our offenses we tether ourselves to the past.  That is not how we are designed to live.

As a Christ follower I must not imagine offenses.  I must not use drama to gain attention, sympathy, or preference.  What I must do is show kindness and love to everyone.  When someone builds the drama I must not allow that to control the conversation. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

17 May 2014

Imagined Offenses – Offended for Others

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have too often seen others get offended for people who are not even in the room.  The air of political correctness that permeates our culture basically requires that we be offended by some things.

We tell people that they must be offended by something we think is unfair, unjust, or in some way unkind.  When we dictate to others what should offend them we are really creating dissention.  There are injustices and we must stand against them.  In a culture of tolerance thought the danger is going too far.

If we create packaged offenses for others we build a culture of the perpetually offended.  We also set the stage for prejudice and intolerance of those who disagree with whatever is determined politically correct.

As a Christ follower I am not to create dissension or build offenses.  I am to practice love, kindness, forgiveness, and restoration with everyone.  I must not be offended for others but rather stand for true justice.  I am to take up Christ not offenses.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

16 May 2014

Imagined Offenses – What we Know

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have so often thought about this.  What I know about a situation is rarely all there is to know.  Proverbs teaches us that to judge a matter without hearing it first is shameful and foolish.  We rarely know the whole story before we choose sides. 

When families and friends weigh in on things there is rarely a clear picture of what has happened.  When we form opinions on events in the lives of others we seldom know enough to make a sound judgment.  I think that this is why we are not to judge or place blame.

What it boils down to when we do this is gossip.  If I Bob tells me that Will did this or that and I get offended at Will’s actions I am wrong.  I do not know the matter.  I have not talked to Will.  I have wronged both Will and Bob by listening to the gossip.

I must make sure that if I weigh in on anything that certain things are true.  I must make sure that I have as much information as possible to form an opinion.  I must assure that my motive is peace and love.  I must make sure it is my place to even be involved in the conversation.

If I take up to offenses of others then I am not promoting the peace and community that is part of following Christ.  I am not allowed to be a part of strife and dissension.  I am not allowed to argue and malign.  When I see others doing this I must move them toward kindness and love.

There is not situation that cannot be healed when we choose to assure that we know before we speak.  There is no conversation, no matter how difficult that cannot be held if all parties agree to keep Christ at the center of it.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

15 May 2014

Imagined Offenses - First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Some time ago I adopted a bit of philosophy that seems to really help me.  I refuse to be easily offended.  I am easily embarrassed but no longer easily offended.  In striving to be a more patient and kind person I have realized that being offended is a choice.

This was brought to mind again when someone asked me why I don’t read his emails.  He was angry and hurt.  It seems that he had set up  a read report on his email to see when others had read his emails. 

I use the reading pane to read most emails as it is more efficient than opening each one.  When I am done I respond, archive, or delete the email. I respond when it is warranted. I archive things that I need to follow up on or keep for a “paper trail”.  I delete informational email that I no longer need.

My friend had been getting reports that I had been deleting his email without reading it.  In truth they were informational and I read them then deleted the ones I did not need.  He imagined that I was ignoring them.

I realize how easy it is to get worked up over things that have never happened.  I want to spend some time fine tuning my framework for this.  Join me if you wish.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

14 May 2014

Constant Prayer – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We must pray.  It is how God wants us to communicate with him.  Well, it is one way.  Since God knows our thoughts it is not necessary so I am sure that it benefits us in ways we do not realize. 

For me prayer is neither rote nor is it a laundry list.  I try to see it as conversing with God as I walk the path he sets before me.  Many things about praying are vital to my daily journey.  I think that if I did not have God to talk to about things I would be more curmudgeonly and less appreciative.

I do not want to use my prayer to seem like something to others.  I never want to use it for anything but honest conversation with the one who created me.  Since I am to be constantly in prayer I must find ways to do so intentionally.  I must let those ways become intentional habits.

After years of working at this what I have found is that it is easy.  I have also found that the return is much greater than the investment.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

13 May 2014

Constant Prayer – Praying for Others

Greetings Dear Reader,

So often friends and family will ask me to pray for them.  I do so right away.  Sometimes they know it sometimes they do not.  I then make sure that I pray for them until the issue resolves itself.  I try never to tell some I will pray and fail to do so.

I pray for some people daily, some once a week, and some once a month.  That is the organized part of it.  The unorganized part is whenever someone “pops” into my mind that I have not thought of in some time.  I try to always pray for that person.

I attempt to pray for the people around me when they are stressed or upset.  I offer thanks to God when people are happy.  When my friends post things on social media about their lives I often pray for them.

Being in constant prayer becomes easier as it is practiced.  I find that I am more cognizant of the needs of others.  I find that I care more and feel more compassion.  It is easy to pray for others if we simply make it a habit.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."



12 May 2014

Constant Prayer – Some Formality – Part B

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday I talked about formats of prayer.  On the other hand (literally) I have categories of prayer as well.  This hand allows me to remember groups of people for whom I wish to pray.  I learned this from a mentor I had when I was much younger and have found it allows structure without becoming rote or stagnant with my prayer time.

I think of the fingers of my hand as they are thought of by most people.  It make the categories easy to remember and I already remember the people in those categories.  It is as follows.
  
  • Little finger – Those who are sick or in need
  • Ring finger – Family and friends
  • Middle finger – Since it is tallest those who are in government and lead us
  • Index finger – Pointer – those who point other toward Christ like ministers and missionaries
  • Thumb – I pray for my own spiritual journey


As I said it is very simple.  It also works.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

11 May 2014

Constant Prayer – Some Formality - Part A

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that even if I am to pray instantly and constantly there at times needs to be guidance and formality.  I do have some methodology to my intentional Morning Prayer time. 

I use my hands.  There are both formats of prayer and categories of prayer.  I use these formal guidelines to assure that I do not miss anything.  It is still much more important to assure that I pray constantly than that I stay within a framework.

The first methodology is to see my hand as a five formats of prayer.  I assure that I offer praise to God for who he is and all that he is to me.  I offer gratitude for the many blessings in my life.  I confess the areas where I am not following Christ as I should or where I have failed to be obedient.  I then pray for the needs of others.  It is after all of this that I discuss what I feel are my needs with God.  I then spend a few moments simply listening. 

It is not the framework that matters.  It is the praying that is vital.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

10 May 2014

Constant Prayer – Instant Prayer

Greetings Dear Reader,

I think that one of the things at the heart of constant prayer is instant prayer.  Whether it is an emerging crisis or amazing sunrise it is God who should be my first thought.  I should share every joy and sorrow with him in the moment. 

I think out loud to God when I am driving.  I ask him to control my temper when someone cuts me off.  I ask him to send aid to someone stranded on the roadside.  I ask him to protect the driver who is driving badly and to protect those around him.

In my daily interactions I ask for wisdom and guidance.  When I am hurt I seek comfort.  When I hear news about a friend, family, or coworker I ask for help if it is trouble or rejoice if it is good news.

At the core of my being I want to be someone who involves God in every sentence of the conversation.  I have friends who have walked away from God but they are still my friends.  When I hear them talk about the universe without God a part of my mind is constantly asking God to further reveal himself to them. 

Another part of me is asking God to salve my broken heart over their lack of faith.  I do not judge them or love them any less.  It is the opposite.  I hurt for them.  I hurt for the loss of the ability to ask them to pray for me and with me.  I used to count on that.  I pray for them for their own sake and mine the entire time I am around them.

I pray and want my life to be a constant conversation with God.  I fail at it but I strive for it.  It is God with whom I journey.  It only makes sense to talk to him.



Make my life a prayer to you
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

I wanna shine the light you gave
Thru your son you sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know you're really there

Well I want to thank you know
For being patient with me
Oh it's so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I'll have to trust
And just believe what you say
Oh you're coming again
Coming to take me away

I wanna die and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave me
The love that set me free

I wanna tell the world out there
You're not some fable or fairy tale
That I've made up inside my head
You're God the son and you've risen from the dead

Well I want to thank you know
For being patient with me
Oh it's so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I'll have to trust
And just believe what you say
Oh you're coming again
Coming to take me away

I wanna die and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave me
The love that set me free

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

09 May 2014

Constant Prayer – Praying Before you Eat

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have to admit that this is one of those things about which I have mixed feelings.  I always pray before I eat.  When I am by myself I do it quietly without doing anything to call attention to it.  When I am dining with someone who might be uncomfortable with the idea I do the same.  When I am out in public with family that believe we pray together before we eat.

I realize that praying before a meal is more a tradition than it is a requirement but it is a good tradition.  I pause to remember just how good God is.  I offer thanks for the provision he gives.  I ask for his blessing upon the time with friends and family. 

Sometimes that pause also serves to refocus my attitude and attention.  If I am having a bad day that moment can remind me of all the good things that are mine.  I can remember to ask forgiveness if I have been less than I should be with others.  It is an excellent time to pause and remember who I am supposed to be and who God is.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

08 May 2014

Constant Prayer – Private Prayer

Greetings Dear Reader,

I will touch on something a bit more formal later but for now I want to ponder the aspects for private prayer that contrast with yesterday’s thoughts on public prayer.  When Jesus tells us to pray in private he is asking that I do so in a certain way. 

I have a prayer time every morning.  I have this time just before I write this blog.  I have a “list” of thing for which I pray.  None of them are possessions.  Most of the things on that list are not things but people and their needs.

Since I have collected many people over the years for whom I pray regularly I do not pray for everyone every day.  I pray for my students by name daily.  I pray for my children morning, evening, and whenever they come to mind.  I pray for Avalon then as well.

There are situations over which I pray daily or weekly depending on the urgency and importance.  I pray when I am driving.  I pray for you Dear Reader every time I post this blog. 

I pray in the shower for the day I am about to begin.  This is when I give my life to God for the day.  I ask that I hear his voice and obey his wishes.  I ask that I can make a difference in the lives of others.  I ask for strength to do what is right and humility to see my flaws.  My last formal prayer in the morning is to address what I feel are my life needs. 

None of this is rote recitation.  It is not a list.  It is a conversation.  An example might be like this:  “Father, I am concerned about INSERT NAME HERE.  He does not believe you exist and I know that you love him.  Let me know if I can do anything to help him see how real you are.” 

This is just one example.  Over the years if feels similar to the way in which I check in with others.  I suppose the prayer and the public conversation with people influence each other.  The point is that it is genuine.  It is from the heart.  It is not condemnation or anyone or a rote list of orders to God.  I know that it keeps me aware of the needs of others and my responsibility to them.  That may be enough.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

07 May 2014

Constant Prayer – Public Prayer

Greetings Dear Reader,

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Town of Greece, New York does not violate the separation clause.  My dear friend Tom pointed us to Matthew 6:6:

When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.

Since I was planning to write on this aspect of prayer anyway it seems appropriate that I approach it from this angle.  There is a place for public prayer.  An honest reading of the Bible shows that invocations are a good and common practice.  The verse that Tom points us to is, however, vital.

Public prayer is not the time to preach, teach, or manipulate.  It is the time to ask for God’s wisdom and blessing.  It is a time to ask for God to lead and guide.  It is not the time to press my religious views on others.

On the issue of a town meeting being opened in prayer, I think that God has both no place in government and every place in it.  The Bible also makes it clear that all government is under the authority of God and is chosen by him. 

We are to respect the rule of law.  For now the courts have said that we can open town meetings in prayer.  We must assure that we do not do so in a way that alienates or excludes others.  Instead of arguing with those who disagree perhaps we could use the opportunity to bring others together.  It is an opportunity to show the love and acceptance that Jesus wishes us to show.

Jesus makes his comment about public prayer because of the pride and corruption of the religious leaders of his time.  As Christ followers we must not repeat the error.  Everyone should feel loved by us when we pray in public.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."



06 May 2014

Constant Prayer – Siren Prayers

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the ways in which I try to constantly pray is that I speak to God whenever I hear sirens.  I pray for the welfare of all involved.  I ask for safety for the emergency personnel.  I thank God for the safety and health in my own life.

It is interesting that my brother has just started a career in emergency services.  I noticed that without thinking about it intentionally I have added thoughts for his safety and his skill to my “siren prayers”. I credit the lack of needing to plan it to the practice of constant prayer.

So much of the time I take for granted how good I have it.  The few times in my life I have needed emergency help it has been there.  What I have needed as brief encounter is a lifestyle for them.  When they are working someone is dying or going to jail.  Someone is in danger and sometimes so are they.

The thing that must be true about me is that I must be thankful for those who serve in this way.  I must constantly be aware of the needs of others.  Praying for those who serve when the sirens go by is a way to keep my mind where it should be.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."

05 May 2014

Constant Prayer – First Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

We are told by Paul that we are to “pray without ceasing.”  Since it is impossible to stay in the place where I do not my concentrated prayer I need to know what this means.  I have been told often that it means to be in a constant “state or attitude of prayer.”  Whilst that seems reasonable it also means that prayer is not a formal as I was taught.

In a desire to be always in connection with Christ I begin to wonder and explore what it is then to be in constant prayer.  I felt some of this yesterday during an intense conversation with someone.  During the entire conversation I was talking to God in my head asking for wisdom.

I think that there are many “methods” that work for prayer but I also think that God wants things to be very personal.  When Jesus talks about prayer he covers what I think are vital attitudes about the three-way relationship between God, others, and me.  What I need to ponder is that inner conversation that seems to be required.

As I walk through this over the week know that I am praying for you Dear Reader.  Join in the conversation if you wish.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store."