The Best of Rooms — by Randall Thompson

Christ, He requires still, wheresoe’er He comes,
To feed, or lodge, to have the best of rooms:
Give Him the choice; grant Him the nobler part,
Of all the house:, the best of all’s the heart.

This is a beautiful piece as well:

“The Road Not Taken”by Randall Thompson

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
And that has made all the difference.

Addendum:
My oldest sister posted this beautiful recording today. Good timing sis.

LATIN TEXT:
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:
Where charity and love are, there God is.
The love of Christ has gathered us into one.
Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.
Let us fear and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).

Phenomenal rendition of "Ubi Caritas" (Latin Hymn)

OK I just discovered this and was floored. I dare you not to be moved as I was by this rendition of the first stanza of the Latin hymn, “Ubi Caritas”. Listen all the way through.Kings Return clearly need to put out an entire album of Latin hymns. Their voices transcend the physical limitations of ‘song’ as the Spirit indelibly weaves Himself within their collective art. What a gift. I so hope they do more…LATIN TEXT:Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.ENGLISH TRANSLATION:Where charity and love are, there God is.The love of Christ has gathered us into one.Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.Let us fear and let us love the living God.And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).•••#song #hymns #Christ #Jesus #love #Latin #Church #voices #chant #harmony #classical #quartet #talent #music #instagood

Posted by Jonathan Roumie on Sunday, July 5, 2020

 

Turns out you can build community in a Zoom classroom — from chronicle.com by Rachel Toor
A professor finds that personal essays are surprisingly effective in building relationships in a synchronous virtual classroom

Excerpt:

Over the course of the quarter, they got to know one another by reading those sandbox essays. The writing became more vulnerable, more authentic, and, frankly, a whole lot better. That was a function of learning tools and tricks from published writing, but also of getting more comfortable using their own voices.

Next fall I will continue to use the sandbox. The spring semester taught me other lessons, too, about how to help students adjust to one another in a synchronous classroom, and to a professor they’ve never met in person. Here are some other things I want to remember to do when we are once again online.

 

From DSC:
As the technologies get more powerful, so do the ramifications/consequences. And here’s the kicker. Just like we’re seeing with trying to deal with systemic racism in our country…like it or not, it all comes back to the state of the hearts and minds out there. I’m not trying to be preachy or to pretend that I’m better than anyone. I’m a sinner. I know that full well. And I view all of us as equals trying to survive and to make our way in this tough-to-live-in world. But the unfortunate truth is that technologies are tools, and how the tools are used depends upon one’s heart.

Proverbs 4:23 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

 

Good cop/Bad cop — from LinkedIn.com by Razel Jones, a former colleague at Calvin College (now Calvin University). Razel was a great man and I’m very glad that I got the chance to work with him.

Excerpt:

I usually am very solution-focused and full of ideas for how we can try to make things better… but, these last few days, I’m empty. More than the last few days…I’m threatened. I’m hunted. I’m labeled. I’m vulnerable. I’m unsafe. I’m unprotected. I’m disrespected. I’m undervalued. I’m dehumanized. But, most of all… I’m tired.

 

1 Chronicles 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
    and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
    for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
    you are exalted as head over all.
 

Proverbs 4:23 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

 

Romans 11:33-36 New International Version (NIV)

Doxology

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

 

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

Fear the Lord
(i.e., per DSC: respect Him, listen to Him, revere Him, give Him the credit that’s due His Name, to obey Him, to trust in Him, and to seek His counsel)

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

 

How the research on learning can drive change — from gettingsmart.com by Chris Sturgis

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

#2 Learning results from the interplay of cognition, emotion, and motivation.
The brain does not clearly separate cognitive from emotional functioning so that optimal learning environments will engage both. It’s important that students feel safe if learning is to be optimized. When we are afraid, our amygdala becomes activated making it harder to learn. Do students feel valued? Relationships matter in creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging. Are schools designed so that teachers and professors have the opportunity to build strong relationships with students? Do students feel that the school and teachers want them to be successful? Do they have chances to receive feedback and revise or do grading practices simply judge them?

 

From DSC:
Two instances — plus a simmering question — instantly stand out in my mind when I read the above paragraph.

First instance:
It was years ago and I was working at a Fortune 500 company outside of Chicago. I was given the chance to learn how to program in one of the divisions of this company. I was in a conference room with my brand new boss. I had asked him a question about a piece of code, which clearly must have let him know I had some serious misunderstandings.

But instead of being patient, he grew increasingly frustrated at my lack of understanding. The madder he got, the worse my learning became. My focus shifted from processing the expected syntax of the code — and the content/instruction overall that he was trying to relay — to almost completely being concerned with his anger. My processing shut down and things deteriorated from there.

Second instance:
My mom was a classical piano teacher for decades. Though she was often loved by her students, she could be very tough, strong, and forceful. (This was true of several of my siblings’ music teachers as well.) Most of the time, she developed wonderful, strong relationships with the vast majority of her students, many of which came back to our house around Christmastime / New Year’s to visit with her (even long after “graduating”).

I mention that as background to a different context…when I observed my mom trying to teach one of my nieces how to do a math problem in the kitchen of our old house. Again, the teacher in this case kept getting increasingly frustrated, while the student kept shrinking back into their shell…trying to deflect the increasingly hot anger coming at them. The cognitive processing stopped. The amount of actual learning taking place quickly declined. I finally intervened to say that they should come back to this topic later on.

(The counselors/therapists out there would probably rightly connect these two scenarios for what was happening in my mind (i.e., not wanting to deal with the other person’s growing anger). But this applies to many more of us than just me, I’m afraid.)

A simmering question involving law schools and a common teaching method:
In law schools, one of the long-standing teaching methods is the Socratic Method.

Depending upon the professor and their teaching style, one student could be under intense pressure to address the facts, rules, the legal principles of a case, and much more. They often have to stand up in front of the class.

In those instances, I wonder how much capacity to actually process information gets instantly reduced within many of the students’ brains when they get the spotlight shown on them? Do the more introverted and/or less confident students start to sweat? Do their fear levels and heart rates increase? With the issue of having other students attempting to learn from this grilling aside, I wonder what happens to the amygdalas of the students that were called upon?

You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of the Socratic Method IF it begins to involve too much emotion…too much anger or fear. Not good. The amount of learning taking place can be significantly impacted.

A professor, teacher, or trainer can’t know all of the underlying background, psychology, personality differences, emotional makeup, and experiences of each learner. But getting back to the article, I appreciate what the author was saying about the importance of establishing a SAFE learning environment. The more fear, anger, and a sense of being threatened or scared are involved, the less learning/processing can occur.

 

Healthy looks different on every body...and learning looks different with every mind.

 

From DSC:
I started today (Friday, April 10th) out by reading the Verse of the Day from BibleGateway.com — Romans 5:6-8 (NIV):

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,
Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,
though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It took me a while to grasp why Christians call this day “Good Friday,” as it represents one of the darkest days in history. “What’s so good about it?!” I often wondered. For we Christians believe that our LORD Jesus Christ had to knowingly go forth into a very hostile situation, upset the power structures of the day, and knowingly and willingly journey into His own torturous, pain-filled murder. A murder that would pay a price, a debt that He didn’t owe. He paid for that price for us…for our sins.. for me…for my sins. It was our/my debt to pay, not His.

And what’s more…Christ, hanging on the cross, experienced the feelings that God had forsaken Him. If you’ve ever had those feelings and that experience, it is a deep, dark, lonely place. Everyone else and everything else feels like a million miles away. It’s a place of being in one of — if not THEE — harshest deserts that life can throw at us.

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”  (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34)

But Jesus Christ did pay the price. He completed the work that He was sent to Earth to do. By doing what He did, Jesus Christ tore down the obstacles of us being in relationship with — and in direct communication with — our Heavenly Father.

So that IS good news. It’s because of what the LORD Jesus did on the cross that Christians say that this is a “Good Friday.” 

Thank you LORD for YOU!
Thank you for your grace, courage, strength,
forgiveness, and for your extravagant love!
On this day we remember what you did for us.

And on Sunday, let us exclaim:

 

From DSC:
A reminder to myself, and perhaps it will help someone else out there as well…

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

Not sure why, but Daniel Willingham’s words come to my mind:
“Memory is the residue of thought.”

Plus, I ran across this graphic as well:

 

Psalm 25:4-5 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.

 

Isaiah 25:1 (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

Praise to the Lord

25 Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
    you have done wonderful things,
    things planned long ago.

 

Psalm 34:18 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Proverbs 17:9 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
    but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

 

An Existential Crisis in Neuroscience — from by Grigori Guitchounts
We’re mapping the brain in amazing detail—but our brain can’t understand the picture.

Excerpt:

Neuroscientists have made considerable progress toward understanding brain architecture and aspects of brain function. We can identify brain regions that respond to the environment, activate our senses, generate movements and emotions. But we don’t know how different parts of the brain interact with and depend on each other. We don’t understand how their interactions contribute to behavior, perception, or memory. Technology has made it easy for us to gather behemoth datasets, but I’m not sure understanding the brain has kept pace with the size of the datasets.

From DSC:
The word “mystery” comes to my mind when I read parts of this thought-provoking article — as does the phrase “Glory to God!. 

As I’ve watched my mom slowly leave us due to Alzheimer’s (as did my grandma on her side) and as I’ve watched my good friend prepare to leave us due to cancer, I’m also reminded to be grateful for the people in my life when they’re still there. Plus, I’m reminded to be thankful for good health when I have it. It may be cliche, but it’s true. And I’ll end this posting with another one:

“One doesn’t know the worth of water until the well’s run dry.”

 

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