Monday, July 18, 2016

Peace

a quick note I put on Facebook.

I love going through my friends list that has the profile pictures. Each week I try to go through it and pray for all of you individually.  I find it amusing the diversity of my friends and family.   I have conservative, liberal, Christian, atheist, moderates,democrat, republican, Blacks, Whites, Asians, Indians,gays, straights, mean spirited, kind hearted, radicals, introverts, extroverts, capitalist, socialist, hard headed,soft spirited, similar, unique, normal, bizarre and much loved by me.  I may not agree with all you believe, I might even get really frustrated with what you do....but all in all I still believe in each of you as individuals and yes I will continue to pray for you all, no reason necessary except it is who I am and what I believe in.

Let their be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.


~curtain~

Friday, January 9, 2015

Why we are

     Ever wonder why we are the way we are?  Some will say environment, some will say heredity,some will say it is chemical, and some will say, “He just ain't right.”  I haven’t been right lately.  Stress has been a monster to me.  The monkey on my back so to speak.  I have let it take over.  This week at our school a student based worship service was taking place.  Because of this service I had extra duty standing in the cafeteria for an hour watching the students who didn't want to be a part of this event.  On top of that I am competing with a group in a festival, competing on an individual level as well.  Plus I had detention duty and test duty all in the same week.  I lost sleep and I haven’t seen many friends in the last week or so.  My budget is tight because it is right after Christmas.  In class I caught myself almost complaining about the worship service jokingly calling it a hop-a-long Jesus thing (A term coined by one of my deeply religious college professors).  One of the students in the class asked me, “Mr. McDade, are you a Christian?”  This is the first time in my life I have ever been asked directly by someone that wasn't about to ask me for money as well.  It caught me off guard.  Can’t they tell?  All my life I have been associated with church or church work.  When the doors of the church were opened I was there, when they closed, I was there to turn out the lights.  I considered several times in my life going into the ministry.  I wanted to be a preacher, a missionary, a youth leader or at least a Christian Comedian.  Instead I felt called to teach.  Not at first, but God has a way of putting you where he needs you.  Whether you want to go or not (Think Jonah).  Sometimes he has to hit you with a two by four before you start singing, “He touched me….”  “Yes,” I told the student.  Then I wondered what I had done to share my commitment to Jesus Christ in recent years.  I pray before meals, more out of self-defense than thankfulness. I lead the students in prayer before shows.  God and I talk constantly.  Sometimes He laughs at what I say too. I try to listen, but I get caught up in the mundane of daily living.  I get beat down by giving myself so much to do that I don’t take out the time to rest.  I do believe.  I also believe that God wants us to take time out and rest.  God showed us an example on the last day of creation by resting.  He tells us to take the time and come to know him.  The Bible is filled with “Be still and know I am the Lord, or Peace be still, or come unto me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” God promises peace to those who take the time to listen and trust.  I am Kenneth McDade and I am a worry-a-holic.  I stress, I get depressed, and bummed out.  I want to quit sometimes and just say, “That’s it”…but I know there is more than the low times, there is the time I reach out for Christ and he is already there waiting for me, just to rest. I wonder sometimes if I hang on to things too much and too tightly, or am I letting go before I should.  The problems of a worrier.  My best times are when I give my problems to God and let go; hardest thing to do, but He is going to be up all night anyway, might as well let Him handle things.  I have a strong faith, it will not be easily shaken.  My foundation in my faith is strong.  I had praying parents, Grandparents, siblings, and family.  Later I had friends whose faith also helped me along.  But it wasn't until I made that personal step to have that relationship with God that my life changed.  Yes, I was very young, but what happens when you start loving someone is you want to do things that please them.  I love the God and all that He has done for me and my family.  I try not to over use the word blessed but I am and I am thankful.  So, please forgive my grumpiness as I push aside the me, that is oh, so human and strive for the better person I can be.


~Curtain~

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wrote down these thoughts on Christmas while out Christmas shopping:

1.Picking out the right Christmas tree is a science. Sneaking into your neighbor's yard to cut it down is an art.
2. I just put Santa hats on all my Halloween decorations.
3. Oh the weather outside is delightful, the balance on my account is frightful, what happened to all of my dough, I dunno, I dunno, I dunnnnoooooo.
4.Well, the people outside are frightful.
5. Giving me a Christmas ornament as a Christmas gift is like bringing vitamins to my funeral.
6. To all those who received a book from me as a Christmas present....They are due back at the library next Monday.
7. It only takes about 3 times of hearing the song "Frosty the Snowman" before I wish someone would push him into a hot tub.
8. If Jesus is the reason for the season.......why is that the church parking lot is empty and the WalMart parking lot is full?
9. Man, just think how crazy Gollum goes on the 5th day of Christmas.(For my nerd friends.)
10. If Santa’s helper takes a picture in the mirror, is that an elfie?
11. I love Christmas presents wrapped in bubble wrap... it's like two gifts in one!!.
12. In Dec, cops should take off the blue lights and make them green. It's more festive... Like getting pulled over by Santa.
13. What happens under the mistletoe stays under the mistletoe. (Actually saw this on a sweater...but it fit my list.)
14.He's making a list & checking it twice. ...sounds like Santa has OCD.
15. BOx of Batteries, Toy not included.
16. Handmade presents are scary because they reveal that you have too much free time.
17. If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
18.You know you’re getting old, when Santa starts looking younger
19.Christmas is a race to see which gives out first your money or your feet.
20. Christmas hospitality does not extend to driving.
That should do it for a while. Looking back over this list may explain why I am not even halfway finished with my shopping. MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all. Remember there was only one real Christmas, the rest are just anniversaries. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Angel that Troubled the Waters


The story of “the pool at Bethesda” alludes to the following excerpt from the Thornton Wilder play, “The Angel that Troubled the Waters”. The play is based on the biblical verses of John 5:1-4, but it changes the end of the parable from the Biblical story that Jesus tells.

The play tells of a physician who comes often to the pool of Bethesda, hoping to be the first in the water and healed of his melancholy and depression when the angel appears and troubles the water. Everybody at the pool also hopes to be the first in the water and thereby healed of their malady.  An angel appears and blocks the physician at the moment he is ready to step into the pool and be healed.

Angel: “Draw back, physician, this moment is not for you.”angel1

Physician: “Angelic visitor, I pray thee, listen to my prayer.

Angel: “Healing is not for you.”

Physician: “Surely, surely, the angels are wise. Surely, O Prince, you are not deceived by my apparent wholeness. Your eyes can see the nets in which my wings are caught; the sin into which all my endeavors sink half-performed cannot be concealed from you.”

Angel: “I know.”

……………Interlude………………

Physician: “Oh, in such an hour was I born, and doubly fearful to me is the flaw in my heart. Must I drag my shame, Prince and Singer, all my days more bowed than my neighbor?”

Angel: “Without your wound where would your power be? It is your very sadness that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service only the wounded soldiers can serve. Draw back.”

Later, the person who enters the pool first and was healed rejoices in his good fortune then turns to the physician before leaving and said:

“But come with me first, an hour only, to my home. My son is lost in dark thoughts. I — I do not understand him, and only you have ever lifted his mood. Only an hour . . . my daughter, since her child has died, sits in the shadow. She will not listen to us but she will listen to you.” 
_________________________________________________________________

For me, this story has an incredible story and, because the message is—“Without your wound where would your power be? “— This phrase carries so much meaning. I feel that it is only through my weakness I can see others like Jesus does.  I believe, for me, it is my whole foundation for who I am.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beautiful Flaws

I discovered a lot about flaws this week.  A photographer I know with an amazing ability to make wonderful portraits of people made some pictures for my students.  They were some amazing head shots.  The funny thing was that he had used Photo shop and taken away smile lines, freckles, circles under the eyes and more.  Then he accented the eyes with an eerie glow.  I realized that this is the modern way to go but it looked weird.  I couldn’t put my finger on it until I showed the students.  They immediately complained.  These are kids in high school that always complain about the way they look, about certain parts of them that they wish could be changed.  The changes had been made on the photographs and one young girl turned to me and said, "It's not me."  "But it is you," I replied.  "No, it isn't.  There are no flaws, I don't like it."  Here was a simple truth.  We all have flaws and they make us who we are.  We are different from each other and all quite unique.  Here were a bunch of photos that represented a flawless, yet eerie world that wasn't quite real.  The flaws are part of their perfection. Another girl  commented on her freckles disappearing in the picture.  “I hated them as a young kid, but I don’t look right without them.” She said. The same girl commented on the circles under her eyes.  “These are circles that make me look like people in my family, we all have circles under our eyes.  It is how I see my family when they are away from each other.”
I have my flaws, not just the physical ones like being overweight, big lips, etc. I'll admit I have many flaws, imperfections beyond your wildest thoughts.  I have a temper, I like things done my way, I am systematic and chaotic within a moment or two.  I have been called rebellious, wrong, black sheep, different,, weird...all because I have refused to be what everyone else is.  I stand on these beliefs.   I get hooked on things, both good and bad.  I love too much and play too hard.  I am not about to change though, for you, or anyone.  My flaws balance out with my good qualities and make a perfect storm.  What is life if you don’t have the mistakes, the mystery,  or even the adventure.
As flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken or flawed, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving something that is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room. Flaws make a better story.



Psalm 139:14

New International Version (NIV)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;    your works are wonderful,     I know that full well.



“Being called WEIRD is like being called Limited Edition, meaning you’re something people don’t see that often.”

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friends, Please indulge me. 

Today would have been my Dad's 78th Birthday. 

Happy Birthday Dad. I miss you. No one has ever or could ever fill your shoes. No exclamation points, just how it is.

But you know, the memories of you are super! I miss our talks and our weekly trips. I have met people who don't know you but share a kindred spirit in the sense of caring for their own kids and other kids as well, people who go beyond the barriers of just feeding and clothing their kids. These are people who go the distance to touch lives for no other reason than the caring hearts that they have.

I see you Dad. Not just in my family but hidden away in the hearts of others. I try to look for you when things don't go well. .. It is then that I feel you are sending strong people to be around me. Hearts that care, hearts that are strong, hearts that push through the daily struggles that try to force us to give up. Thank you for who you were, are and will always be to me. I love you.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

MATH

Math



~75% of all Americans are poor at Math…That's nearly half. ~


I have Math Anxiety.  I know this is a term that can have several meanings but what it means to me is a lot more.   Math has always been a bane to my existence.

 In elementary school we were force to write our answers on the chalk board for all to see.  We would go up by rows and show our skill to the rest of the class.  I would freak and never be able to do it quickly.  I was a finger counter and still occasionally use my digits to do math.  We sat in alphabetical order and Teresa Gilbert sat in front of me my first few years of school... and she was great with math.  The problem was given and she would write the figures down and solve it at the same time.  I and my board mates were still writing it down as she finished  up. 

My imagination would extend for the time I had up at the board to an infinity with fellow class mates laughing at my stupidity for not being able to finish.  It was at this time I learned that I had great peripheral vision and could see Teresa's work out of the corner of my eye.  Rather than risk the stigma of being called "stupid" I cheated.  I used her answer to stay up with the class.  I never finished fast because I thought that would give it away.  I pretended to think it through by touching the numerals with my chalk.  Finally I would swoop the numbers down and go back to my seat while others struggled to finish their work.  This usually went well, but Teresa's family also traveled and she would sometimes go with them.  This  left me next to Sam Lumberton who was as skilled as math as I was.  To look at his answer was to invite trouble.  I would try to finish before him, but the numbers always looked so foreign to me and I usually didn’t get the know-how to finish before one of the teachers would call me out and publically humiliate me by pretending to help me go through all the steps. 
   
 "You remember this Kenneth, you did it yesterday.  Teresa was beside you and you finished right after she did."

I was not sure whether the teacher was playing dumb or if she was really dumb, either way, I was worried. 

Years of embarrassment of having to pass my paper back one person to let another student grade as I received the one in front of me.  One year In Algebra I sat all the way in the back.  After a hard night of trying to figure out my homework I had to pass my paper to the front as everyone else passed theirs back.  The girl on the front row was loud and nasal.  She raised her hand and spoke at the same time with out being acknowledged.  Yes, I remember her name.

    "Mrs. Ratcliff, I don’t think Kenneth did the right ones, he didn’t get any of the answers right"  More public humiliation.  I hated math, I wasn’t too fond of that girl either.  Years of math torture and humiliation. 

     Jump ahead a few years, college. Stood in line to register for being an electrical engineer, I had always loved tinkering with electronics.  The counselor on the other side put down the syllabus of all the classes I would need to complete my major. 

"Whoa, Mr.  I am afraid you misunderstood me, I wanted to be an electrical engineer, not a math major."

"Yes."

"Yes, what?  There are over 3 math classes for each semester of this program. "

"Correct. You have to have that to graduate."

I slid down to the next chair and looked at the man behind the table.  "What have you got I asked?"

"Theatre, he replied."

"How much math is involved in the major?"

"Just one college algebra class during the second semester."

I looked at the first man and took the syllabus of the theatre degree and signed my name.  I should have signed it in blood.  Who knew what I was getting into.  I thought  practically no math and I can meet a lot of girls.  I discovered that people who work in colleges will lie to you about what the major consist of.  I had more math in theatre than I had ever seen.  You have to have math to figure up how to build sets, focus lights, and budget a show.  This came okay with me because I never believed it was real math.  I struggled three times to pass college algebra only to withdraw each time.  It always held me back and kept my grade point average at a lower level.  Finally, it made me leave school.  I had done all my other classes but lacked the math I needed to graduate, I gave up.

Jump ahead to a later date.  Back in school, determined to graduate.  When you are gone for a while the schools will determine that you need at least two years of giving them unorthodox amounts of money to cover things they feel like you have forgotten.  Finished all my classes with straight 'A's, I had not forgotten….then came the math class. 

I am sorry to say I can not remember the teacher's name, she was a true artist.  Not the kind of artist that draws or paints or sings, but she was an artist with math.  She saw it in ways that most people could not understand.  She would sit in the lobby of the student union and work math problems for fun.  I thought at the time that she was mentally disturbed. She was encouraging and dedicated to show me how to work problems out.  I fought to keep my focus on the work.  I went home and worked on math for hours and days.  I went to co workers who were good at math to show me certain things.  I asked my Dad and Mom to help as well.  Both of them savants with math.  Mom was a great teacher, but Dad could do the figures in his head and would tell me if my answers were correct or not. 

     It is here that I need to say that my math anxiety  ruled my temper.  If I couldn’t do the math, I would get mad at it and shut down my thoughts.  If it didn’t work the way I thought it was supposed to then it was not right.  My anger was intense with math.  My Mom and Dad were saints.  They put up with my explosive hatred, yes, hatred of numbers.  But, after five weeks of working on nothing else but math I was getting a pretty good rhythm in finishing with the right answers.  Then the questions got harder, but I stayed with it.  One night I was trying to work a problem and told my Dad the problem as well. I could see him struggling with it as well.  I was worried.  He, for the first time, pulled out a piece of paper and wrote something down, greek I think and then talked me through finishing it for myself and I understood.  Really understood what he was talking about.  I finished that nights work and closed my book taking my first real breath with out sighing. He looked at me and smiled. 

"You know, she is teaching you more than Algebra don’t you?"

"What? I replied"

"She is teaching you trigonometry and higher levels of math than just college algebra."

"That witch, I said." 

Then he just laughed.  He said to me,

"You haven't worked on plain algebra for at least two weeks.  What you are doing  is the math that I have to do in figuring up roadway designs and bridges."

 I couldn’t argue with him.  I just didn’t know.

I wish I could tell you all that I made an "A" in that class.  It would be a cold hearted lie.  I was worried about passing.  Working homework was one thing, but taking tests was another.  The last night of class I struggled with the beast inside of me to keep my temper in check and not shut down at the insanity of math.  I was stressed and the last to finish the test by at least 45 minutes.  The teacher smiled at me when I turned in the paper, she knew  the trouble I was going through.  The next morning and most of the day I worried about passing, about fighting this dragon that chased me through life.  I am by no means an unintelligent person, but math crippled me.  Then about three in the afternoon I got a call from my teacher, she thought I would like to know the results of the test before she posted them.  I took a deep breath…

"You passed."


 I thanked her profusely and hung up the phone.  Then I cried and shook all over, a soft cry that shook from within and released a warrior who could do anything.  I had defeated the one thing in my life that I felt held me back.  My last dragon was slain.  The future is mine.

~Curtain~