Son of God

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Ten years ago the movie Passion of the Christ made waves in Hollywood.  It rocked the theaters with a rivoting portrayal of the last week of the life of Christ. I remember sitting in the theater and watching people walk out because they couldn’t bear to watch the torture Christ endured.

My husband and I were dating at the time. We went together to see the movie. As with everyone else, we sat in tears as we caught a glimpse of the sacrifice Christ made for us.

Now, ten years later, it is time to return to the theater. This time we are celebrating the birth, life, and ministry of Christ,  as well as the death and resurrection. A new movie, Son of God, will release in February.  A dear friend of mine shared the news with me not too long ago. We now are making plans for our youth groups to go see it.

As a teacher, I am excited that my students can get a taste of what life was life when Christ walked the earth. They can see him stand on a mountain and calm the sea. They can hear him command fishermen to cast their nets and command the dead to rise.  They can witness the awe on the faces of the crowds as Jesus heals. 

Each Sunday I try to bring to life the words in the Bible, but know I fall short. This movie can give my youth group a new way to meet Jesus.

To learn more, head to http://www.sonofgod.com

Blessings!

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Apple Cider Doughnuts, a Cup of Coffee, and All Things Comfortable

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I had a moment last night, while grading papers, when I realized just how much work lay ahead of me this year.  Our new group of fifth graders are very sweet, but they are a LONG WAY from where we need them to be by June.  As I sifted through test scores and fall assessments, I found that nearly half of our students are significantly behind in reading, math, or both.  Let me tell you, I went to bed praying for some miracles!

Times like this make me feel like I have an uphill battle facing me.  I was touring a Civil War museum in Richmond, VA, last spring when a tour guide explained what that meant.  He said that the army on top of the hill had the element of surprise, the momentum of fighting while running downhill, and the advantage of sight.

When I awoke this morning, I was still feeling defeated.  I prayed, again!  Then I got up, ran to the kitchen, fixed coffee, heated up an apple cider doughnut, and sat in my pjs for a few minutes.  The comfort found in my morning treat just made all things better!

Sometimes a little bit of comfort can help us strategize for the battles ahead.  I may still be facing an uphill battle, but my position is improving.  Often, I only need a little cheering up before I feel enough motivation to run up the next hill.

I am not a huge fan of seeking comfort foods, but these apple cider doughnuts did the trick!  God doesn’t always speak directly to us, boom directions down at us, or send an angel to guide us through.  Sometimes He just allows us to find comfort in our everyday lives!

Blessings!

Fear and the Unnecessary Worry It Brings

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For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT –

See more at: http://www.womensbiblecafe.com/2011/05/50-scripture-verses-on-fear/#sthash.Tw4GW8ti.dpuf

I am currently reading a daily devotional by Joyce Meyer.  I love her work because she often writes about how to face fear as a Christian.

A new principal joined our school this year.  Any time there is a change in administration, fear creeps in as well.  Next to the coffee pot, while waiting for the copy machine, passing each other during the day, and while on bus duty, I have heard so many concerns about what might happen in the future.  

I understand the fears of my colleagues.  Each principal can make many changes that affect our jobs.  However, living in constant upheaval and worrying about what might happen will not make me a better teacher.

As a Christian, Joyce Meyer points out to us that we should only fear God.  In all aspects of our lives, He will lead us through, He is in control, and He can handle whatever our life throws at Him.  He promises to not give us more than we can bear, but He also reminds us of what is most important in life.

I have a choice today at work.  I could go through my day worrying about what next week will bring.  I could also go through my day as we are told in 2 Timothy, with power, love, and self-discipline.  To me, that means making sure my team feels confident in their abilities to do their job well, loving my students, and trusting that God will help me handle any change that may come my way.

Regardless of your career, I hope you are not living in fear of what may come.  I hope you are living with confidence in God.

Blessings!

 

The Calm Before the Storm: Times Filled with Hope and Motivation

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In just a couple weeks I will be back to work full time again.  That means early morning postings on the blog at 5am, the 5pm dinner rush, evenings full of preschool activities for Superhero Son, lots of papers to grade, and the stress of school work piled on top of cooking, cleaning, and caring for my family.

Since that first summer after I had Superhero Son, I have felt a sense of loss when the summer winds down.  I love our days of hanging out in our pjs, the summer activities, time with family at the lake, and not working on Tuesdays when my husband is off from work.

When the end of summer is upon me, I feel like I need to treasure every minute with my kids.  However, something inside of me kicks into high gear, and I feel drawn to my classroom.  I acquire this need to get it ready for anxious fifth graders.  I have an amazing amount of motivation to be supermom!  At this point on the calendar, I believe I can do it all.  I can be the perfect wife, mother, and teacher. Then reality sets in!

I wish I could bottle that energy, motivation, and confidence and use it when I falter in a few weeks. At some point I will have to remind myself that I am human and not perfect.  For now, I am off to conquer the world!

Blessings!

I Love Getting a Do-Over!

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21 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

I got my haircut last week by a guy named Will.  It was the first time he had ever cut my hair, but he showed promise when he walked in sporting his spiky purple ‘do.  After the usual small talk, he asked me why I was a teacher.  My first response was, “Not for the money!”  He replied that he had never met a teacher who didn’t go into it for reasons more noble than money.  After thinking for a moment, I told him I liked teacher because you get do-overs.

He asked if I meant that my co-workers or boss were forgiving of mistakes.  I told him that I meant we forgive ourselves and strive to do better the next year.  I could tell he was confused, so I tried to explain as best I could.

Each year, we work as hard as can to do our best for the kids.  We love them, care for their basic needs, teach them manners, honor, respect, integrity, and all of the content the state and school district require us to teach.  And every year we fail to be perfect.  At the end of each year, I know there is a kid in my class with whom I should have done something different.  There is always one that I failed to reach, motivate, and prepare for life.

In most businesses, failing means the loss of a client or loss of money.  In education, failing is unacceptable.  We cannot afford to lose the children.

However, each year we get a do-over.  We get to try again. We get a new batch of kids ready for our knowledge, love, and best efforts.

As I sit in meetings this week, prepare my classroom next week, and await the arrival of my co-workers and students a couple weeks later, I will strive to remember to forgive myself.  This passage from Matthew doesn’t just apply to forgiving our brothers; we must forgive ourselves.  We are not perfect; only Christ is.  We are created to do our best.  When we mess up, we must forgive and move on.

This is a year of change and a year of hope in my school.  The best part is a fresh start, a do-over.

Blessings!

 

Idle Hands or Taking a Break

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“She watches over the affairs of her household     and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

Allow me to clear up a misconception about teachers.  We DO work during the summer.

I listened to several people explain their summer plans this week.   Most are busy with education related activities.  They are either teaching summer classes or they are taking classes themselves.  Some of us serve on committees that will meet over the summer.  All of us will take some time to rethink our curriculum, make changes, gather different resources, and gear up to try it a different way.  

My favorite comment was from a teacher who explained all of the work she was doing in June and August.  She is teaching classes most of her summer.  Then she got very serious, looked me dead in the eye, and said, “But July is mine!  Nothing but me, my kids, and our pool!”  

I thought about her comment.  She is right.  We work nonstop throughout the school year trying to make progress with the students.  We neglect our homes, our kids, our poor husbands, and ourselves.  July is ours!  We earned the right to take a break!

We will not be “eating the bread of idleness” this summer.  We will enjoy ourselves, our families, and the time we have earned to relax!

Blessings!

Change? Sometimes We Just Don’t Want Change!

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Change scares us!  Many of us try to avoid change because the fear of what lies ahead in our lives scares us more than staying put! For those of you who are nodding your heads in agreement, I am right there with you!

Our house is on the market!  The realtor came to get signatures on all of the paperwork, photograph the house, and go over showing guidelines with us.  The entire thing was slightly overwhelming.  I don’t want strange people wondering around my home.  I don’t want my home to be transformed into a “show house.” As if I could keep it clean enough for that!

The idea that our lives are changing scares me tremendously.  But you know what bothers me the most about it?  Once get moved into our new house, I hate the thought that someone else will make changes to my old house.  I want everything to be left the way I remember it.

You know that feeling when you go off to college, come home for a visit, and realize your parents have changed something in your bedroom?  Yeah, that feeling that you wanted everything to be as you remember it.

I have some students really struggling with that right now.  My kids are getting ready to graduate fifth grade.  They are heading off to middle school in the fall.  They aren’t scared of middle school, but they are incredibly sad to leave our elementary school.  We have several in tears by the end of each day.

Just this week, though, I finally figured out what they were so upset about.  They want everything to stay the same at our school once they leave.  They are all worked up about it because one of my teammates will switch to second grade in the fall.  The students do not like the idea that, if they come visit, she won’t be in the same classroom anymore.

So what do we do with these feelings?  Do we let them hold us back? No!  If my house sells, I will pack it up, wave goodbye, and move on to a bigger house. My students cannot remain in fifth grade. They will graduate, hug us goodbye, and zoom off to middle school in August.

I learned years ago that God’s plan for me is better than any plan I create.  This means that He creates the change in my life more often than I do.  We do not need to fear change, or be saddened that we can’t go back in time.  It isn’t easy, but if we pray to hear God’s will in our life, He will lead us on our journey!

Blessings!