Monthly Archives: March 2015

A Decade with Anna

Ten Years of Anna

On March 10, 2005 Anna Mae Newton entered our lives. I can still remember how slowly I drove home from the hospital with tiny, little Anna Beans buckled up in her car seat. Hillary and I had created a little person together and now we were responsible for her.

A decade later so much has changed. Our little Beans who was strapped in that car seat is now ten years old and starting to grow into a woman. Gone are the days when I could pick her up and toss her into the air. Tonight she will get her ears pierced as a sort of rite of passage into womanhood.

As Anna grows into a woman and goes through many different changes over the next decade, this is my prayer for her from the writer Ann Voskamp:

A prayer for a daughter

Father who breathed into this daughter…
I pray for this girl being formed into eternity….

May the wind always be in her hair
May the sky always be wide with hope above her
And may all the hills be an exhilaration
the trials but a trail,
all the stones but stairs to God.

God, clothe this girl in a gown of grace
Grace, the only dress that makes beautiful,
the style of Your spirit.

Nourish her on the comfort food of the Word,
Word, that makes her crave more of Christ,
have hunger pangs for Him.

Enclose her in communion with You
You, Love who makes her love, who folds her heart into a roof
that absorbs storms for souls,
that makes her tongue speak only words that make souls stronger.

May her vocation in this world simply be translation
Translating every enemy into esteemed guest
Translating every countenance into the face of Christ
Translating every burden into blessing

When it’s hard to be patient… make her willing to suffer
When it’s ridiculous to be thankful … make her see all is grace
When it’s radical to forgive … make her live the foundation of our faith
And when it’s time to work… make her a holy wonder.

May she be bread and feed many with her life and her laughter
May she be thread and mend brokenness and knit hearts
May she be dead to all ladders & never go higher , only lower, to the lonely, the least & the longing
Her led of the Spirit to lead many to the Cross
that leads to the tomb wildly empty.

Oh, and raise me, Lord, from the deadness of my own sins to love this beautiful girl like You do…

In the name of Christ who rose

and appeared first

to one of His daughters…



My Support for the Jefferson Plan

Below are my remarks to the Jeffco School Board tonight in support of the Jefferson Plan to reorganize our local schools:
My name is Joel Newton and I am a father of two daughters at Lumberg Elementary School in Edgewater. We live within walking distance of Jefferson High School and I hope our daughters will graduate as Jefferson Saints. 
I am speaking tonight in support of the Jefferson Plan to invest in the uniqueness of our neighborhood schools. 
The Jefferson Plan presents local solutions instead of district solutions. The ideas within the plan grew out of conversations between local principals in our area. Teachers, staff, parents and community members have been part of a Staff Advisory Committee, Area Accountability Committee meetings as well as School Accountability Committees. Success comes when those on the ground investing in students are part of the decision making process. 
Second, the Jefferson Plan recognizes the uniqueness of students in our area. A majority of the students in our area schools are Latino and many of them are learning English. This plan focuses on what is working in the Dual Language program and expands this excellent program beyond just the elementary level.
Third, the Jefferson Plan provides an innovative 7-12 model for multiple educational pathways. Too often students trying to overcome the roadblocks of poverty and language acquisition are not expected to excel like students in the suburbs. Our Jefferson Area schools are full of students who can excel if given the right resources and motivations. Our most well-attended parent meeting at Lumberg was a meeting for parents of gifted kids and the room matched the demographics of our school. A 7-12 school gives Jefferson staff six years to invest in the uniqueness of each student in a culture of excellence.
As the Jeffco School Board, this is a time when you can come together in a 5-0 vote to lift up the work of the teachers, staff and principals in the Jefferson Area and approve this plan. Together we can see all kids in the Jefferson Area Succeed.
My dream is that one day a graduate from Jefferson High School will work on the Orion Project at Lockheed. I truly believe this is possible. A student at Jefferson High School should have an equal chance of working at Lockheed as a D’Evelyn student. 
This Jefferson Plan, along with investments from the surrounding community, will make this dream a reality.