Thursday, August 21, 2014

How Do I Respond?

Thank you Holly for making us think
more deeply about our journey.
Come and read more post or link your own post
at Holly's blog on Thursdays!

“How I treat a brother or sister from day to day, how I react to the sin-scarred wino on the street, how I respond to interruptions from people I dislike, how I deal with normal people in their normal confusion on a normal day may be a better indication of my reverence for life than the antiabortion sticker on the bumper of my car.” 
― Brennan ManningThe Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out

When I was reading through the quotes by Brennan Manning, this above quote really hit home. I have been back to school for four days (no students yet just tons of meetings and PD). There are changes in staff, procedures, curriculum, room assignments etc. How do I respond to these changes?

There are some students that have transferred to other schools, students who are returning after being gone for a few years, and brand new students coming who do not speak any English. How do I respond to them?

We have to talk about data and scores at school. Who are your bottom 30 (%)? That seems to be the most common phrase that I have heard in connection with student data. How do I respond to the teachers that are overwhelmed by the demands to change and show better scores? 

What is my response to these and many other difficult circumstances, situations and people, will often tell others the story of my faith as well. Am I able to show God's love and respond with love even when I get tired and frustrated?  Am I able to offer words of encouragement and sprinkles of joy when they are most needed?

I am thinking that this school year, I need to make sure that I know how to respond. I need to be ready. I need to get ready by walking closer to Jesus as there is no way that I can respond the right way without wisdom from Him. So, this school year, I want to value life by being an encourager and joy spreader!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Day Back for Staff

New school year is really happening. I might not be quite ready, but it will still happen. Regardless of not being quite ready, it was fun to see everyone on Monday.

Here are some of the comments that were heard around the tables and rooms:

"Oh, this looks great. Who helped you?"

"She's not coming back? What happened?"

"Last year we had eight babies, how many will we have this year?"

"How can we build better relationships this year?"

"New math curriculum....that will be interesting."

"Her mother passed away a month ago."

"Give the pregnant lady some more cookies!"

"He's coming back? I thought he said he was transferring...."

"Do we really have to monitor gum chewing?"

"Let's continue to make progress with our bottom 30%!"

"So happy to see you!"

"What can we do to help?"

Then this morning on the way to school I listened to Rita F. Pierson's TED talk on relationships. I was inspired! I hope you will be too!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Joy Comes in the Morning

My title for this post comes from an old song, It really seems so fitting to the JOY that I am writing about today. The photo is one that I took during the super moon one morning when I was still awake. Light in the darkness will bring such JOY!

My father-in-law has been at a rehabilitation center for the last month after major surgery. He is 84. His recover has been slow, but he is getting ready to go home in a few days. While he has been at the rehab center, he has had some difficult evenings. Feeling disoriented and not really living in the present. But as the morning comes, he is again determined to complete his therapy and get stronger in order to be able to go home.

During these few weeks, I have had the chance to spend some time with him. It really has been my privilege and JOY to spend time with him. We have played Skipbo cards, listened to Christian music on his television, talked about good memories, and pondered about famous people passing away and their reasons. We have laughed! Some because of fun things that have happened to somebody we know (maybe one of the great grandkids), stories about the past or my student stories. JOY has never been far from our thoughts!

My father-in-law loves Gaither music. I think he has all the videos or DVDs that they have ever made. I would prefer a little different kind of Christian music, but on Sunday dad (that is how I have always called my father-in-law) and I sat in his room and listened the Gaithers sing music recorded in an old chapel. This brought JOY to dad. And if listening to these songs brought JOY to him, then it was JOY that I would happily embrace.

Many times JOY is not about what I want, but seeing others happy, will bring so much more JOY into my life! Sharing in the JOY of others, brings JOY into my life. So today, rejoice in the fact that nothing can separate us from God's love. Not even the confusion that evenings or age might bring to us. We can always find JOY in the morning.

Thank you Holly for helping us to share truths about our spiritual journey with others. As we share the JOY with others, we are also filled with more JOY.
Check out Holly's post and read more posts about JOY, or even better, link your post at Holly's site.

Holly's Blog

Thursday, August 7, 2014

God's Awesome Nature


It is Thursday and Holly is calling us to share the stories of our spiritual journeys. Please check out Holly's blog to read about more awesome journeys with God. Today Holly asked us to share about AWE and WONDER. 

When I was writing my post on Tuesday, I posted a few pictures from my vacation, but I think there is more WONDER and AWE that can shine through those photos.

Every morning at the lake three of us would get our coffee, jacket, blanket, books and journals and walk the few feet to the beach where we could sit and watch the sun rise. There wasn't much talking happening as each of us was involved in our own morning meditations. But ALL of us were in AWE of God's nature as we watched the first sliver of sun become visible on the horizon. Slowly, the sun started to take shape. It became round. Still very pale. And then suddenly, there was a reflection on the lake. Like a river of light coming straight towards me. It was AWESOME!

There was such peace at the lake. The time in the mornings surrounded by this peaceful WONDER of nature really set the tone for the days. Peace remained with us throughout the days. We were in His presence. God met us during these times. There was no hurry. We had time to soak up His presence while being amazed by His creation. By the time we were ready to head inside to eat breakfast, the sun had come up. I was ready for the day.

I miss the lake. I am still writing my morning pages early, but I miss listening to the waves hitting the shore and being surrounded by nature and its beauty. Perhaps it is time to find new beauty and wonder a little closer to home. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

This and That Mixed with Fun

Could there be a better way to start your holiday and sitting by the bonfire and enjoying fun with friends. And the mosquitoes? All MIA!

Sitting by the shore, writing my morning pages while watching the sunrise; what could be more beautiful? Sweaters and socks were needed, but the sounds and the view along with warm coffee made these mornings unforgettable.

Peace. Peaceful. Contentment.  Beauty. Amazement. 
Confirmation of Creator's perfect design.

Checking out the views from up high. The only thing missing was a boat ride down below. Still, peaceful.

Hiking the trails was a perfect activity. 
Some even braved the steep downhill.

Home cooked meal on the barbie, great people around the table, and
a breathtaking view over the lake: perfect ending to a perfect day.