Faith 2

The Tragedy in Moving

Bev was practically a stranger, but I sensed that I had to ask anyway, “if you feel like you know me well enough, would you speak to the principal for me?”  Bev said “absolutely,” and within a week, I had a teaching job five states away and 15 minutes from my mom and dad.  This move was both a dream come true and a nightmare. I was leaving my twin sister and her family plus a spiritual tribe that I had spent nine years cultivating.  But I was completely certain that this journey was determined by God, so with that knowledge, I started packing.

Moving from California to Missouri was not my family’s first transition, nor was it our last.  In my adult life, I have lived in 8 towns and 17 houses.  I have packed and unpacked. I have hung pictures and filled holes.  I have made friends and left them.

In each town, each church, each move,  sweet, thoughtful gestures demonstrated to me that God was always with us in the leaving and the arriving: Filled pantries, loaded trucks, unloaded trucks, baby showers, Thanksgiving dinners, campfires, church camps, hand-me-downs, help with house projects, coffee dates.  I can’t even begin to list the precise moments and the precious people that showed me, “Jesus is here.”    

I want to list each of you, but the task reminds me of John 21:25,If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”   I would like to tell you what your relationship and kindness have meant to me and how you have been the hands and feet of Jesus, but I can’t.  There isn’t enough time, or enough paper.

And I guess that is the tragedy in moving-– that each precious friend that I’ve encountered may not know that I still think of you, and I’m still encouraged. Your memory will flash through my head, and it still makes me smile.

So if you are reading this, know that I remember you, I love you, and you hold a special place in my heart.  I’m no Paul or Timothy but I understand more every day Philippians 1:3-4, I thank my God every time I remember you. 

And I remember you a lot.

 

 

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Faith 7

Do you see me crying?

 “Do you see me crying?  When you see me crying, you can cry.”

The first time I heard my dad say this to my little nephew Max, I was offended, to say the least. What did he mean?  Of course Max was crying; he was 2 1/2 and had just gotten in trouble.  Why shouldn’t he cry?  But that wasn’t the last time we heard that comment from dad: “When you see me running through the church, you can run through the church.”  “When you see me jumping on the couch, you can jump on the couch.”  I completely disagreed with this treatment, but because I respected my dad greatly, I didn’t say a word about his “cruel” comments. After all, I didn’t have any children, so what did I know?

Then I started my own family and began to see what Dad was talking about. My dad would never cry or throw a fit in public, so why should Maribelle (or any child.)  I would never throw spaghetti on the floor during dinner, so why should little Lissa?  I began to understand that even from the youngest age, I was the model for my children. In a sense, Dad was giving the kid version of Paul’s request to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Through trials (and many errors) I discovered that the number one rule of parenting is this:  You can only reproduce who you are.  If you want kids who are kind, that’s who you need to be.  If you want children who don’t lie and treat others fairly,  you will have to do the same.  Conversely, if you want children who yell and scream or punch holes in the wall, well, that is an option, too.

My one goal as a mother has always been to have children who seek God with their whole heart, so from my very first baby, I would wake up every morning (and still do) to study the Word of God and sit in the presence of Jesus.  I do this hoping and praying that my children will follow my example—not as a manipulative tool or an activity to check off the list, but because I want my kids to have the kind of blessed life described in Psalm 91.  Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” My children are not grown yet, but so far I feel like they are “turning out.”

As a parent, what do you want for your children?  Who do you want them to be? Think about it and pray over it.  Ask God to give you a vision for your life and for your children.  Ask for a chapter in the Bible from which to lead.  Because, like it or not, when your kids see your actions, there is a tremendous chance that they will follow.

If you think you’ve already messed up and your kids are lost for good, there is still hope.  God is the great God of hope, forgiveness, and second chances.  He can restore everything that has been lost with your child, but that is a story for another post.

God bless you as we raise the next generation!

Classroom Ideas 0

Silent Monkey

School is four short weeks away, and most teachers are scrambling to fill their teacher tool belt with as many tricks as possible.  I love to play a game on the first days of school called “Silent Monkey.”  Now, you may call it whatever you like, but I call it “Silent Monkey” because I play the game with a stuffed Monkey named George the Third. This is also a great game to play during the year when students are getting droopy or you’re moving from one activity to another.

Here are the rules:

  • Students sit on top of their desks (kids LOVE this part of the game.)
  • One student starts with the monkey (or duck-billed platypus, whatever you like.)
  • The student with the monkey says another student’s name and throws the toy to said student.
  • If the person who throws the stuffed animal makes a bad pass, that student is out and must sit in his seat.
  • If the student receiving a good pass doesn’t catch the stuffed animal, he’s out and must sit in his seat.
  • Anyone else in the room who MAKES ANY NOISE AT ALL (laughs, oohs, ahhs, mocks, etc.) is out.
  • The game ends when only one person is left (or the timer goes off.)
  • Note 1: I personally set a timer for 2 or 3 minutes, then the game is over.  Students honestly can’t handle the game longer than that.
  • Note 2: When I’m feeling tired or lazy and don’t want to participate myself, I assign a respected student to be the judge and make the call whether a student is out or not.
  • Note 3: The stuffed animal should be weighted.  Each type of stuffed animal lends a different dynamic to the game- if you change types of stuffed animals often, you can consider it a lesson in aerodynamics.

To Summarize:

  • If you don’t say a name before you throw, you’re out.
  • If you make a bad pass, you’re out.
  • If you don’t catch a good pass, you’re out.
  • If you make ANY noise (except the name if you’re the one throwing) you’re out.
  • When you’re out, you sit in your seat instead of on the desktop.

Have fun, and let me know if you come up with any great variations.

 

 

Parenting 2

So you want to raise a monster. . .

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It seems parents everywhere are racing to create the most horrendous monster on the block.  I’m not sure why, because when I was young, parents wanted to make sure children were enjoyable, hard-working, and God-Fearing.  But if you are one of the parents who wants to raise a monster, here is my advice:

  • Let your child be in charge—have them choose the restaurant, vacation location, what to cook for dinner, or whether they will do chores or not. Never discipline your child when they tell you no or hit you—and make sure to laugh at how cute it seems in the moment. (e.g. “Listen, Linda”)
  • Constantly tell your child how great and amazing they are at everything, and be sure to lie to your child by saying they can be whatever they want to be. When your daughter brings you an ugly picture, don’t say, “What is this?” Instead, act like the drawing will be the next to hang in the Louvre.  Also, do not be honest about your child’s natural talents or gifts.  If your son is uncoordinated and slow, I’m sure he can still be a pro football player if you say it enough times.
  • Instill in your child the idea that they are better than everyone else and should always come first. Make sure your child has lots of t-shirts that brag of their superiority and accomplishments.  You might also buy your child several shirts that put others down—just for good measure.
  • Make sure your child spends all of their extra time involved in activities and entertainment so they will never discover a passion that could actually turn into a career. Fill every waking minute with fun and games  so that when your child graduates from high school, they won’t know how to work hard for an extended period of time, nor will they have any idea where their useful, productive talents lie.  This will assure that your monster is on your payroll for much longer.
  • Make sure your child always has a screen available. Make it possible for them to watch TV or play games anywhere at anytime: church, the line at the grocery store, driving 10 minutes across town, or when visiting with their grandmother.  This will insure your child has a 60 second attention span, learns conduct and morals from TV stars, and is incapable of conversing with adults.
  • Raise your child on cliches and slogans instead of the truth. Here are some useful ones:
    • When God closes a door, He opens a window.
    • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
    • If God leads you to it, he’ll lead you through it.
    • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (of course this is a real scripture, but just remember, it has nothing to do with sports.)
    • And maybe the best one: Everything happens for a reason.

 

This, of course, is not an all-inclusive list, but it should get you started on the best beast on the block.

Sarcasm aside, as parents, one should always ask, “What does this action or attitude look like when my child is 16 or 36?”  Because after all, there is no magic day when your child will “wake up” and be a grown up.  Becoming an adult is a process that begins as soon as a child is born.  As parents, we must always remember that we are raising our children to be successful and enjoyable adults– not monsters.  

Parenting is a challenge, but it’s the best job on earth.  Stay tuned for great ideas for raising your child into an outstanding adult instead of a horrendous beast.

Teacher Encouragement 0

SYNSYSN Days 21-30

One way to improve student achievement- on my end anyway-  is to improve me, so for these last days of prayer for the next school year, I am praying through Romans 12.  (I am going to work on memorizing the chapter this week as I pray.)

Day 21- God help me be willing to sacrifice for my job and my students.

Romans 12:1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Day 22- God help me not to fall into accepted patterns of behavior (like griping and complaining) but renew my mind daily to think like you.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Day 23- Give me the humility to not think too much of myself but to see myself as I really am.  

12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Day 24- Help my teammates and me to understand our gifts and work together for the most amazing sixth grade year ever.

12:6. . . We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. . .

Days 25-30- There are too many character traits in the next verses to list, so for the last days, I am reciting the last half of this chapter as a prayer for myself:

Rom 12:9-21 
  • Love must be sincere.
  • Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 
  • Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 
  • Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 
  • Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 
  • Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 
  • Live in harmony with one another.
  • Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position (Or willing to do menial work) 
  • Do not be conceited.
  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 
  • Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Should your next school year start now?

Should your next school year start now? Day 2

Days 3-9: Should your next school year start now?

SYNSYSN?-Day 10

SYNSYSN? Days 11-12

SYNSYSN Day 13

Day 14

Days 15-16

Days 17-20

SYNSYSN Days 21-30

Teacher Encouragement 2

Days 17-20

One of the hardest students to teach is the lazy one– you know, the one that won’t even pick up his or her pencil.  Over the next few days, I am going to pray for the student that has a propensity toward doing nothing.

Day 17– Father, help each student to not be a sluggard:

Proverbs 24:33-34
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
Day 18: I’m praying each child will understand that hard work pays off.
Proverbs 12:24 Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.
Day 19:  I’m praying that every person in class will practice doing all work to the best of his or her ability.
Col. 3:23  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. . .
Day 20- God, help my charges to be not just talkers, but doers.  
Proverbs 14:23  All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Teacher Encouragement 1

Days 15-16

Jay was a student in my first hour English class the first year I taught at Webb City Junior High School.  He was a child who couldn’t sit still and talked CONSTANTLY, but if you know me at all, you know I actually enjoy the child with a lot to say.  However, what I didn’t enjoy about Jay was his stubbornness concerning correction.  He was a fool, if I may be blunt.

We have all had a student like Jay, who refused to take correction or grow.    Over the next two days, I’m praying that each of my students will want to learn and accept discipline.

Day 15: Lord, please help my students heed correction.  
Proverbs 15:31-32–Whoever heeds life-giving correction
will be at home among the wise.
Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,
but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.
Day 16: Lord, please help my students to be discerning and not fools.
Proverbs 15:14-
The discerning heart seeks knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
Teacher Encouragement 1

Day 14

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]–blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. [I Sam. 3:1; Amos 8:11, 12.] (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

My mantra for my students all evening has been this verse, but in the King James Version, of course:  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  

I am praying that every single one of my students, past and future, will know the redemptive revelation of God.  I am also asking that each person who has passed through my classroom will experience the earthly and spiritual blessings of keeping God’s Law.

 

Teachers, if you are just starting a prayer journal for your students, here are the links to catch up:

Should your next school year start now?

Should your next school year start now? Day 2

Days 3-9: Should your next school year start now?

SYNSYSN?-Day 10

SYNSYSN? Days 11-12

SYNSYSN Day 13

Teacher Encouragement 3

SYNSYSN Day 13

My heart plummeted today when a friend mentioned checking students’ test scores. So I’m not going to lie to you, I’m praying like crazy today (as I did everyday last year) that my students will have exponential academic growth.

 

SYNSYSN? Days 11-12

SYNSYSN?-Day 10

Days 3-9: Should your next school year start now?

Should your next school year start now? Day 2

Should your next school year start now?

 

Teacher Encouragement 3

SYNSYSN? Days 11-12

With Father’s Day approaching, I feel it’s important to pray for my students who don’t have a father.  

Day 11-  I’m praying that my students will know God as a father.  

Day 12-   I’ve actually had students whose father was absent because he was in prison. I’m praying for every dad in prison to give up his rebellious ways so he will be released to return home and be a good parent to his child.  
4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds 
rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families
he leads out the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
If you need to catch up:
Teacher Encouragement 4

SYNSYSN?-Day 10

Hello Teacher Friends!!

When reading  today’s proverb, the tongue was mentioned over and over. We all know how a word harshly spoken can ruin a class period, so today I am praying verses 1 and 3 for students AND for myself. God, help us always speak the right words.

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:3
Here are links to the first articles in case you missed them and want to catch up with us:
Teacher Encouragement 5

Days 3-9: Should your next school year start now?

I’m off on my 25th Anniversary trip today- so I’m posting a week’s worth!  Love you, and God bless you as we each prepare for our next school year.

Proverbs 19:21 became my mantra for the end of the 2016-2017 school year.  I think I’ll post it above my classroom doorway next year and make all of my students memorize it.  I know that words have power, and I need to profess life and not death for my classroom and my students, so I’m going to use this scripture as the basis for my prayer journal for a whole week.

Day 3

Proverbs 19:21 “Words have the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I will profess life for my students.  My students will experience exponential academic growth.

Day 4

Proverbs 19:21 “Words have the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I will profess life for my students. My students will practice complete honesty.

Day 5

Proverbs 19:21 “Words have the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I will profess life for my students. My students will give kindness to others on a daily basis.

Day 6

Proverbs 19:21 “Words have the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I will profess life for my students. My students will experience peace and joy in my classroom.

Day 7

Proverbs 19:21 “Words have the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I will profess life for my students.  My students will love to learn and to complete their work with excellence. 

Day 8

Proverbs 19:21 “Words have the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I will profess life for myself. My students will have discipline and self-control.

Day 9

Proverbs 19:21 “Words have the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I will profess life for my students.  My students will have respect for the teachers and their classmates.

 

 

 

Teacher Encouragement 5

Should your next school year start now? Day 2

The 2016-2017 school year was my worst ever emotionally, but I’m anticipating 2017-2018 to be one of the best.  I am beginning a prayer journal for my students and their needs right now, today, June 6, 2017.   I’m going to prayer for my students and every facet of the school year beginning with one scripture or request a day and adding a request each day.  Will you join me? Do you have a scripture that we can pray?  Maybe 2017-2018 will be the best teaching year for all of us!  

June 6– Psalm 19:14.  This year in my classroom, “May the words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

June 7- Malachi 4:6a- God, we know that students don’t learn well when their homes are in chaos, so we are praying that you will heal families that are broken. We pray you will  “turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents. . . ”   We pray that fathers everywhere will be drawn to you and to their children.   

Teacher Encouragement 5

Should your next school year start now?

The 2016-2017 school year was my worst ever emotionally, but I’m anticipating 2017-2018 to be one of the best.  I am beginning a prayer journal for my students and their needs right now, today, June 6, 2017.   I’m going to pray for my students and every facet of the school year beginning with one scripture or request a day and adding a request each day.  Will you join me? Do you have a scripture that we can pray?  Maybe 2017-2018 will be the best teaching year for all of us!  

June 6– Psalm 19:14.  This year in my classroom, “May the words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Faith 0

Wait for It. . .

167.1 seconds— That’s the average wait time on an order at McDonald’s. 243.7 seconds for White Castle. The average wait for Olive Garden in Orlando is 45 minutes for lunch and an hour for dinner. As for Disney’s Club 33- If you’re a member, you often have a two-week wait for a reservation. If you’re not a member, the joke is that you may have to wait a lifetime.

I don’t mind waiting for fast food.  But for whatever reason, I do not like waiting on God. I want my need met NOW, my prayer answered in 5 minutes, my life changed in a day. I have a list a mile long of what I want from God–and much of the list I feel are promises but many lines on the page are stained from tears of sadness, disappointment or impatience.

I need to learn from Abraham. When Abraham was 75 years old, God promised him he would be a great nation with as many descendants as the stars in the sky and the sands on the seashore. And Abraham waited. And waited. And waited. In fact, Abraham waited until he was over 100 years old before the promised child arrived.

Isaac was still just a child, not a nation. But Abraham never stopped believing that God would give him a nation. I am impressed that he waited over 25 years for a son. However, I am most impressed that he still believed that God would give him that nation even when he only had the son and a few offspring. Abraham couldn’t see it– indeed he NEVER saw the nation in his lifetime. But he knew God, and he knew God would keep his word.

I want to be like Abraham. I want to believe what I don’t see. I want to know God is working everything for good. Maybe I won’t ever see that good, but it does not mean that God is not working it. Abraham died believing – knowing– that God would come through on his word. I want to have faith. Not fast food faith that waits a few days or weeks, but real faith that is confident in what I hope for and assured about what I do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

So I will be like Abraham, even if it takes a lifetime.

Teacher Encouragement 0

You can do it!!

Tomorrow is another great day to be a teacher!  We have been given an amazing opportunity to shape young lives by handing out knowledge, love, and encouragement.  It is no secret that I have been discouraged lately, but last week, a teacher friend named Becky pulled me aside and said, “You are doing a great job!”  Her words were simple, but I was amazed how much they encouraged me.

So I’m here to pass along the same encouragement to you.  You can do it!  You are a great teacher! You have a classroom full of students because God wants you there and He needs your exact gifts and talents with the exact students who will come into your room.

Tomorrow and every day after, I want you to remember a beautiful passage in Acts 17, “God determined the times and the exact places that we should live. God did this so that we would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

God put you where you are so you will reach out to him for wisdom and help.  But more importantly, He put those students in your room so perhaps they would reach out and find God.

So remember, you can do it!  You can do it!  You can do it!!