Note from Deb: Our family is blessed with a gifted poet, my daughter Winnie. She’s a young adult, but she writes about issues that evoke strong emotion and wisdom beyond her years.
Read the entire poem at thewirehangerbywinnie.com.
Scared to fall
Your smile terrifies me
It has too much control
Over my heart
I could tell from the start
The way your teeth glistened and your dimples formed
Just gave me a feeling of warmth
I loved the feeling
Yet I hate it
Because of him
In my past
They wooed me
They gained my heart
Then tore it apart
First one took away my trust
He just used it to fulfill his lust
Second one took away my strength
My mind became weak
My opinions turned very bleak
Third one struck my soul
Just when I thought the third was a charm
I didn’t see just how much he could harm
My love for him
I try not to let these thieves of my past effect my now and future
But you look at me with that same smile
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The best style is the style you don’t notice. — Somerset Maugham
It was another night of grading papers, and I was getting a bit bleary-eyed as I read English reports from my students. I perked up, however, when I read one paper. The student was reporting on White Princess, a movie he had seen. He wrote, in part:
White Princess looks beautiful and handsome. But she is very bad girl.
She said, “I kill you, a**hole.” Her mouth was trash.
The asterisks are mine. After all, I run a family-friendly site here. Students can be full of surprises, even when they’re aspiring pastors and missionaries.
When I’m not teaching English at a Korean school of theology, I provide support for our university’s English ministry. My husband preaches each Sunday at the university church and teaches full-time during the week.
My husband and I have only been married for a few years. I would never have predicted that I would become a preacher’s wife. My husband was a retired pastor when I married him, but he was still active in the church’s small groups ministry, and I assisted him.
Shortly after we were married, I began to wonder how a pastor’s wife should dress. I tend not to go with fashion trends, preferring classic looks. Before I married my husband, I was accustomed to wearing casual clothes to church. But on occasion, when I was in the mood, I’d wear a dress and heels. I sought some advice from my husband on what to wear. I added that I hoped that I wouldn’t have to appear dowdy.
My husband was amused at my question. He assured me that I didn’t have to dress up for church and that he never wanted me to look dowdy. He also told me that in California, casual is the norm, even at our nearby Presbyterian church. Once my husband reassured me, breathed a sigh of relief. I was happy to wear comfortable dresses and slacks, and blended in well at the contemporary service.
A couple of days ago, my mind turned to church and fashion again when I learned that my son, Ishmael Sistrunk, was publishing a new blog. His site, Quest Alpha, will explore three topics: God, sports, and technology.
Ishmael’s first blog post is titled Faith vs Fashion: Should church have a dress code? He thoroughly explores the topic, citing varying views and scripture.
Reading the post prompted me to think about our university church. Many who attend, particularly Korean students, wear casual clothes. Meanwhile, students from Africa and other Asian countries often come dressed in a suit and tie. The pastors also wear business attire.
Students who come dressed in suit and tie say they dress this way to honor God. I “get” that. I was raised the same way. I was in my 30s before I realized that God cared more about my relationship with Him, and less about what I wore on Sunday morning. That said, I also know the importance of understanding the culture of your church.
I still recall one Sunday morning years ago, when I woke up, and decided I was too tired to go to church. At the last minute, I decided that I should go. I was running late, so I grabbed the first thing I could find — sweatpants, a sweater, and sneakers — all clean, of course.
I was glad I went to church that Sunday. No one cared that I wore sweatpants. The pastor preached a great sermon, and I went home spiritually filled.
I also remember the challenges of being a single mother. My children grew in leaps and bounds while I tried to keep our expenses within my budget. It was expensive to buy Sunday clothes and shoes for kids, only to have them outgrow the clothes in a couple of months. Fortunately, I found a come-as-you-are congregation that welcomed us and provided excellent bible-teaching to children and adults. It was in this church that my children developed their strong faith in God. They are now young adults who are active in church ministries.
It’s no surprise, then, that I was intrigued when I read Ishmael’s take on this topic. Faith vs Fashion: Should church have a dress code?, is a compelling read, and I think you’ll enjoy it.
By the way, feel free to share the customs of your own faith. Comments are always welcomed. I’m always interested in learning about other people’s cultures.
I may be currently living in Korea, but when it comes to becoming acquainted with Psy, the pop music phenom, I learned a lot from a writer in Indonesia. You might think that a writer and poet wouldn’t give Psy’s “Gangnam Style” the time of day. Think again.
This semester will soon come to an end. Hubby and I are planning our final classes and preparing final exams. We enjoy teaching, but we’re beat! I’ve graded a ton of papers. I expect my students to improve their English-speaking skills AND learn how to write a good sentence.
Today I was fighting fatigue and grading papers when one student’s paper brought a smile to my face. My class recently studied how to use adverbs. I assigned follow-up homework: Write a poem using adverbs. You can imagine the groans I received!
I believe that pupils will rise to your expectations if you give them a chance, and my kids did not disappoint. One of my students, Josh, submitted this poem:
The Lord in the Morning
Waking up in the morning.
Alarm clock sings loudly.
My soul sings to the Lord peacefully.
The sun rises.
I whisper my love to God sweetly.
Having a shower.
I confess my sins to the Lord.
He washes my sins clearly.
The spirit comes to me slowly.
Every day …
I could sing of your love forever.
— Josh Kim
Sometimes we teachers wonder if we’re getting through to our students, especially those of us teaching English as a second language. Josh’s poem is a burst of sunshine and an unexpected blessing.