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The wonder planted

as she looks at the first bud,

real cultivation.


She’s imbued with a

curiosity too deep

for shovels to dig.


Hands dirty, eyes glued,

thoughts forming, bouncing, streaming

towards new clues.


Growing ideas of

her own as she pours water

on thirsty soil.


freewill, choice and The Giver


Ok, so I’m writing this on my iPad; here’s what I’m calling a stream-of-consciousness post of my thoughts after reading The Giver, specifically on the topic of free-will. I’ll preface with a clarification before I start – the difference between free-will and choice: bring introduced to all of the options. In The Giver, the community had choices – especially more at a younger age, while they are still figuring out their passions – but the did not have free-will. Many choices were taken away from them (by taking away their memories of other options). This reminded me of who we are – as humans in general, and as believers in the Lord.
We actually are made and trusted with complete free-will, even though God is still completely sovereign. Because none of our choices are taken away from us, even as believers, we still have the ability to sin. We make wrong choices sometimes (thank the Lord, for He is sovereign and continues to work out these things for our good and his glory), but making those choices – although sinful, wrong, and betraying the One whom we love – still empower us to see that we actually have free-will. We have the ability to choose, and the choice between every possible option created. As his children, he leads, teaches, and guides us to make the right choices, as any perfectly loving Father would, but because we are undeniably human (and gifted with true free-will), we inevitably will sometimes choose wrong. We sin. But because our Father knows our condition, as humans, as his sons that he chose to bless with free-will, he created a way to still save us. To still reconcile us to himself through all of it. Because he must punish wrongdoing (for he is a holy, perfect, blameless God) he chose to put all of the punishment not on us, the ones who rightly deserve it, but on his Son, Jesus, the Messiah – the one whom he promised to send from the first breath of free-will. And because we trust that Jesus took this blame and punishment for us, instead of us, in our place, He declares that we are trusting what we should be trusting (Himself – who is perfect and not ourselves, who are not yet) and we are how He’s created us to be once again, because of Jesus. We can come into the presence of this holy, just, loving God not because of our free-will, but despite it. The ironic thing is, we exercise our free-will not only to make the right decisions, but the wrong ones too. So, I would argue that real, true, unrestricted freedom can only be accomplished through Jesus Christ and the blessing of free-will. Our ability to choose wrongly, shown by our successes as well as our failures, demonstrates, ultimately, our ability to really choose.

School Outside


Clouds occupy the air as students
would the halls in a perfect school,
waiting patiently to file into the classroom –
singly of course.

Not one head turned, faces beaming,
hands at their sides, bubbles in their mouths.
Yet these have an unknown destination,
traveling where no man can see,
converging just beyond our eyes’ reach.

Who taught them how to stand in such a straight line?
I know it couldn’t have been my students.
But maybe today we’ll have school outside, I think
they could learn something from these obedient clouds.
Then we’ll return inside, only to have
their creativity break free once again.



Down in the Valley


Last Friday, I went with a good friend to a concert at Stubb’s to see The Head and the Heart.  They are riveting and vivaciously spirited live; if you have a chance to see them, I would highly recommend it. Here’s a taste of their style.  As an added bonus – you can download two songs for free on their website right now..



they’re forever lost in the sound of the air

i try to grasp them, to bind them, to tie them

to a page, but they’re never the same

as when they first left my mouth.


i would run too, if i was a word.

who lets themself be taken captive?

at least put up a fight for your well-deserved liberty.


and anyway, it’s much better to be free,

to be left up to faint wisps of memories

and vague rememberences of interpretations.


i can see them now, scattering

just out of reach and tangled enough to disguise

their true form from the eye

of the one whose mind follows them

around every winding corner.


so for now, i’ll just let them be,

ever-reaching lines never destined to be bound

and gagged by writing implements,

running with their descriptive arms raised high….

naked. uninhibited. wild.

oh, Christmas… Let’s be friends.


Christmas and I normally don’t get along.

I don’t enjoy a two-week change in a perfectly good schedule, miles of driving, and singing songs about an overweight grandpa that watches me ALL THE TIME.  I especially don’t enjoy songs* that sugar-coat the birth of our Rescuer into something clean, quiet, and calm.  Don’t get me wrong, I teach first grade, songs with talking animals and little boys playing instruments are great – but when fiction and fact are constantly mixed, its a little tiring to say the least.

But, through all of this, I’ll fight to be her friend.  Because it’s inevitable that we’ll meet face to face, year after year, whether or not I’m ready for her.

So Christmas, here’s to you.

Right now, you’re just two days away.  You’re the day we, as Christians, have set aside each year to remember and remind each other of the moment in history where the mystery was revealed to earth – where it met heaven, met the truth, met its Rescuer.  The one life that changes how all life views itself in the prescence of God.  Because now, by faith, we can have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because now, each time we mess up and act in ways that are so incredibly offensive to God, when we deserve nothing but death, He exchanges life.  Real life.  Abundant life.  Real abundant life that is eternal – that begins exactly where we are now, on earth, but lasts forever.  Let us rejoice that He changes things – people, realtionships, situations – He doesn’t let them stay broken and dead.  Let us rejoice that our bridegroom was born.  He was born among the poor, the hurting, the dirty, into the roughest of situations – that He could redeem it all.  Every entrenched area was uprooted by his hands and words.  And it still is.  We have hope.  We have hope because our Rescuer came and did not rest until death was killed.  Hallelujah.

Let us remember our warrior-bridegroom.  Let us rejoice that He’s coming back very soon.

So thank you, Christmas, for existing.  Thank you for meeting me each year.  Thank you for setting aside this time.  Let’s be friends.  Real ones.


* Now, here’s the thing, music deeply affects me.  Concepts that can’t be expressed any other way are able to make sense when people communicate them with strings and drums and various metals.  So, where I’m going with this may not strike you in the same way, and that’s fine.  This is my blog, not yours.  You don’t have to agree with what I say, and there’s beauty in that as well.

the daily indelible adventures of first grade


dear first grader,

thank you so much for bringing three fuzzy caterpillars into my classroom without my knowledge, only to have them escape. i’m sure the one that ended up in the music room enjoyed your sweet singing, and the one in our class thoroughly enjoyed the drawing center…  but i just must feel bad for the poor creature that found a different fate in the hallway.  students swerving at the sight of his marred body; the red fuzzy figure pancaked atop the linoleum floor.

the event of the day for sure.
i will see you tomorrow,

miss ratterree

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