God, the Creator.

Before He started His miracle-making mission towards the cross, Jesus had a job. Like His father, He was a carpenter. Like His Father, He was Creator, Designer, and Builder. It’s no brilliant insight to say it: God is creative. Sometimes, though, we gloss over the word. The creed spills out of us so quickly that we barely have time to enunciate all the syllables: Pantocrator. 

I just want to say the word a little more slowly, to marvel a little more carefully at His creation, for it is brilliant.

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Welcome to Happy Right Now.


I am greedy for happiness. Like that girl in that commercial: “I want more, I want more.” (You know you know what I’m talking about, despite the overall vagueness of that description.)

More every day wide smiles, more occasional side-splitting laughter, more overwhelming peace-that-passes-understanding. I want the joy that the Christ-like figure in our lives has, that person we always thought reached an unattainable level of Christianity. I want to reach the out-of-reach.

I want to be HAPPIER!

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We are not of the world.

Nofri, fellow Copts in college. I saw this old article on the troubles of the US college atmosphere and Coptic community expectations.

I had two instinctive responses:

1. Angrily defensive. Being Coptic is the most amazing thing ever ever ever ever and the whole world wishes they could be Coptic too, they just don’t know it yet.

2. Immersed in self pity. Being Coptic means straddling two worlds no matter what your heritage is, and straddling two worlds is more than just a hat trick of languages–it’s a collision of cultures. (Plus she goes to Duke… imagine if she went to the number one party school in America!) Life sucks, liturgy is too long, excuse me while I curl up to complain about it.

After a few deep breaths, I could resentfully admit that there is an underlying truth to this article that doesn’t require me to be a drama queen. The fact is there are certain aspects of being Coptic and being in college that simply do not want to work together.

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The power of touch in teaching.

I am not a visual learner. I would like to thank all the teachers who brought visual aid to the classroom because you’re great. Really, you are.  Even a predominantly auditory learner appreciates effort that she can see.

But personally… I love to listen. Obviously, a monotone teacher bored with his own subject teaching at  3 pm (aka prime napping hour) is not exactly my favorite soundtrack. On the other hand, enthusiastic storytelling, passionate lecturer, or British/Italian-accented teachers–those I could listen to all day.

For some reason, fifteen kindergartners at Mahragan are somewhat less excited to listen to me.

After a year of teaching third grade Sunday School students, I discovered the key to encourage students–not necessarily to listen, but maybe to learn–is not to become a better storyteller. It’s simply to let them contribute to the story.

Give them something to do. To touch. To squish. To build.

clayThis is a worthy investment. It basically prevents headaches and alleviates stress.

Tonight’s touch aspect is clay. We’re learning the story of Baal and Daniel, and we’re starting off by creating idols. (Yikes, that came out worse than I thought… I mean to say… we’re starting off by proving the vanity of idol worship. Ahem. That was a close one.) Each kid will create an animal. We might very well end up with 15 snakes, because, hey, we’re in kindergarten over here.

Then we’re going to talk about what these animals can and can’t do. The big question is, just like it was for Daniel, can these animals eat? If we put food in front of them and it was gone when we came back, does that mean the animal ate it?

Enter Daniel!  Baal was made out of clay and covered with copper, and he couldn’t eat anymore than our snakes could. With God’s help, Daniel had a way to prove it…

And thus starts a (hopefully) exciting lesson. We’ll see how it goes.

I have a secret.

Actually, I have a lot more than one. But here’s the secret I’ve worked up the courage to share.

Sometimes I yell at God.

It’s kind of silly, because I’m not really the shouting type, but God is one of the few who has the privilege (ahem…) of hearing my less-than-docile tones. Not usually a full-on shout (because, hello, I don’t live alone) but a whisper yell or a the-voice-in-my-head-is-shouting sort of yell.

Sometimes I’m just cranky. Sometimes I’ve been spending a lot of time being angry with myself, so I make a purposeful decision to transfer that anger to God. (Why am I so impatient? turns into Why did you make me so impatient? and so on. I’ve gotten embarrassingly good at the blame game.)

But sometimes, I am really and truly just angry with God. (Sometimes, aren’t you?)

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A friendly warning.

ImageA perfect Copt in College would not…

…worry when things don’t go according to plan.

…have a state of peace which is a function of the weather.

…cycle between feeling in love with God and ignoring Him.

…say she wants everything to be for His glory while secretly hoping that means a four-oh, good friends, good food, and a future in her industry.

Ah well. I never said I was a perfect Copt. Welcome to the musings of a work-in-progress.