New (Church) Year’s Eve, New Blog Directions & Adventures with Moana

I’m enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving weekend and it seems like a good time to pause and write. In many ways, it’s the calm before the storm – midterms begin for us on 14 December and there are too few school days and too much content for me to teach between now and then. And we get an unexpected day off as our football team is playing (for the second year in a row) for the Ohio state title next Friday. Awesome (yet one less teaching day.)

Have you noticed a somewhat different direction for this blog? Yes, the mission and the writers have shifted. The original purpose (see the “About” for details) was to share ideas and insights about technology – especially as it can be used to support the work educators do in their classrooms. This focus, over time, expanded to include internet resources which could make us smile, think, and pray.

After taking a hiatus from writing here over the summer and enjoying time reading many novels and other books, I returned in the fall with a new focus. Every school day since mid-August, I’ve created and posted a presentation about the Saint O’the Day. This is a labor of love as I’ve grown in devotion to the saints and I desire to share what I’m learning about “our extended family in Heaven” with my students and others.

The writers of this blog have shifted too. Initially it was a trio of us creating this site. But time commitments and interests change. Tera, my Religion colleague, is now our Campus Ministry Director and our excellent retreat program (plus the day to day of teaching) takes much of her focus. And Rachel, my colleague who teaches Spanish, has become the publisher of our weekly faculty/staff newsletter (and is doing a great job with it).

So, that leaves me (Rick) – freshman and sophomore Religion teacher, husband of a fellow Religion teacher and school colleague, dad of a teen and near-teen, aficionado of technology, music, wine, walking, and life in general!

And Happy New (Church) Year’s Eve. On this very last day of CY2016, the lectionary reading has Christ assuring St. John and us: “‘Behold, I am coming soon.’ Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.” Furthermore, we pray in the Responsorial Psalm: “Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!”

Yes, 2017 begins for us tomorrow with the changing of the colors and the lighting of the advent wreath. As I wonder about what adventures this coming church year will hold, I’m listening to the main song from the wonderful new film (which I saw on Thanksgiving): Moana. It’s all about hearing one’s calling and discovering strength to courageously pursue it.

I’ll be back to share more during Advent. Until then, may you hear the voice of God, see the light of Christ, and be drawn this church year towards the horizon “where the water meets the sky.”

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State Dept. + Teaching About Climate Change = Use of Disney’s “Frozen?”

Apparently not.  According to this article in the Washington Post, a senior State Department official approached Disney with a request to use the “Frozen” characters in a series of PSA and related media.

The official, Adm. Robert Papp was quoted in the National Journal:

“I said, you’ve taught an entire generation about the Arctic,” Papp said, relaying his conversation with the Disney exec. “Unfortunately, the Arctic that you’ve taught them about is a fantasy kingdom in Norway where everything is nice. What we really need to do is educate the American youth about the plight of the polar bear, about the thawing tundra, about Alaskan villages that run the risk of falling into the sea because of the lack of sea ice protecting their shores.”

The Post writer continues:

“Papp described the executive as perplexed at the idea that Princesses Elsa and Anna, Olaf the snowman, and Sven the reindeer would star in PSAs making dire warnings about the rapidly warming Arctic. The executive told him, ‘Admiral, you might not understand, here at Disney it’s in our culture to tell stories that project optimism and have happy endings.’ ”

And as the writer concludes:

“So, Disney doesn’t see the whole climate change thing ending well?”

Apparently not.

 

A Funny Way to Find Out School is Closed for a Snow Day

Well, the chances for a Snow Day tomorrow are melting as quickly as the slush remaining in my driveway after I shoveled the few inches of wet snow this morning.  The National Weather Service has downgraded us from a “Winter Storm Watch” to a “Winter Weather Advisory” to no watch or advisory at this time.  Apparently, the forecast for Central Ohio was wrong as we’re dry while Northwestern Ohio is getting hammered by snow.  As I tell my students, a Snow Day is like real estate – all about timing and location.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the process I used to find out my school was canceled for the day.  Via the Washington Post, here’s a funny, clever way to tell your school community “School is Closed”:

Aviary Photo_130672938103664942

My apologies if you now have the “Frozen” theme stuck in your head yet again.