Friday, September 25, 2009

Spent up is right

The past two days have been incredibly busy! I still love my class, but my goodness, if they don't learn our routines (that we practice DAILY and reinforce positively and negatively DAILY) I might go crazy. It's a serious possibility. It's a good thing they are cute as buttons and crack me up.

Anyway, behavior isn't the problem, it's my desire for a T.A. :) I would love a personal secretary, but alas, I can't hire one. My frustration this week has come from every else's immediate deadlines and the fact that I feel so pressed for time anyway, even 5 minutes to fill out a form is hard to find. Well, maybe 5 minutes to fill out one form is ok, but after dozens of such requests, I just can't find the time. My planning period is spent, well, PLANNING and I rarely have time to turn in field trip money right away or fill out class ranking forms before they are due. I'm not sure how teachers who always "have it together" do it. I wonder if I'll ever get there!

I find myself, on this cloudy, rainy Friday afternoon very sleepy and a little sick. Joel is feeling the same way. I came home and ate french fries. And I don't feel a lick of guilt.

This is our date night and this is our schedule:

Catching up on the Office, Community, and Glee.
Eating lots of comfort food.
Falling asleep when most people are heading out on Friday night.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Roxanna Slade

Joel and I went on a mini-date to Quail Ridge Books the other day. We totally splurged, but who can resist with the GREAT sale they had going?

I bought In Defense of Food, which I heard in an interview on NPR but we've both been wanting to read the book. I also bought a super cute, super organized planner which makes my life so much calmer. And then, I bought a book by Reynolds Price. If you've ever seen the Quail Ridge bathroom, you know it's awesome. Its walls are covered with framed autographed photos of authors who have visited the bookstore. Every time I go in there, I always see Reynolds Price's photo, so I decided to buy Roxanna Slade. It's set in rural NC, which always catches my interest. So far, it's really interesting. But here's this paragraph that I just love. I've reread it so many times, I couldn't resist posting it:

" Life, in the world I occupy, is an adequate blessing-whatever pain may bear down on me from the skies or elsewhere...I would be a person who worked at proving, to however few doubters through the hardest times or easy days, that the actual world is worth all your strength. Never hold back a cent of all you own and bear inside you, spend it all, die empty-handed. Any trace of stinginess is worse than dying young."

I haven't posted in a while because I've been so darn busy, and in my mind I've been turning this notion of being poured out to those around me. I feel like the Lord has put this burden on my heart: don't waste time. Don't waste a second. Don't miss a single opportunity. I've been thinking a lot about my biggest fears lately.

A while ago, Joel and I had a conversation about them, and while I'm sure I mentioned something trivial, I wasn't being honest. I'm most scared of having anything left when I die. I realize it's a morbid thought, but those who make an impact aren't those who have anything left at the end. They have nothing, because they gave it all away. And while it terrifies me to think of the implications of that, it scares me even more to think of the alternative: that I will squirrel away silly things I can't take with me.

When I was a runner, I always hated how I had this tendency to finish a race with energy. I was completely unwilling to push myself to the utter brink during a race, worried that I might puke, cramp up, or pass out. But at the end of the race, I knew I could have done better. I just feel like it's so easy to do that...and I'm still there most of the time. Wading in the baby pool when I need to be diving deep.

So after all this mulling, I read that quote, and it was so artfully written, it took my breath away. I read it three times and then made Joel sit through my little read-aloud with full explanation (he's such a good sport).

Happy reading everyone :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

If Nothing Changes, NOTHING CHANGES!

This simple phrase has been playing over and over in my mind today, at least 100 times.

Last night, at small group, we discussed this passage:

Luke 5:33-39
33They said to him, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking."
34Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."
36He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.' "

I will be the first to tell you I have never understood this passage. It's one of those that I make a mental note to return to and never get back to. But I am so very thankful that the Lord equipped our small group leader to make this passage oh so clear. And this is basically what I understood:

Jesus calls us to a new relationship. Fasting was a spiritual discipline that was used typically in times that were not celebratory, but Jesus was calling His disciples to celebrate with Him, the bridegroom, while He was on earth. That part was always easy to's the wineskins and garments deal that was like a different language.

So I apologize if my explanation is poor, but here goes: Taking a piece from an new garment and using it to mend an old garment ruins both garments, because the new is left with a hole, and new piece will shrink when washed, thus tearing away from the "mended" garment. They're both ruined.

A wineskin stretches as the new wine ferments. Putting new wine into a well-stretched wineskin will burst the skin. So it ruins the wineskin and the new wine.

Okay, got it. But how does that apply to me?

I think this passage is about leaving that old life and Jesus bringing new life to restore our relationship with God.
But also, He's concerned with the day to day.

There are old systems in my life that need changing. Just like the Pharisees had a very rigid, legalistic way of doing things, I have a set way of going about life. But I desire a new, full way of life. The things is, I go about it by just wishing that my life would change and that it would change while I maintain the status quo. And I don't want to say, "The old is better," like the Pharisees would say. I can't do the old things and have the new life.

There are so many areas in my life where this applies:
I can't continue speaking to my students the same way and expect their behavior to change.
I can't continue to leave my clothes out and expect an organized closet.
I can't continue my old ways of interacting with my husband and expect our relationship to be different.
I can't continue to skim over Bible passages and spend 5 minutes in prayer and expect my relationship with the Lord to grow.

I know this list could go on and on...and believe me, this day has been full of those areas. But it's also been a full day. My relationship with my students today was wonderful. My teaching was engaging. Joel and I had great conversation while walking at the lake.

Change is possible...but I know that I need to make room for the new thing that the Holy Spirit is doing.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

For Erin

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"
-Anne of Green Gables

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

2nd week update

It's the second week of school, and I'll bet you can tell that I've been so very busy.

I really love my new class...they are extremely chatty, but very cute. I think I'm remembering why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place! It's embarrassing to say, but after last year, I really thought I had made a mistake. But I knew that the Lord had called me to this. But this year, a few things have changed. Here goes a list:
-We have a new member of our team, and she's awesome, and I feel like I'm learning so much from her!
-I have been taking time each morning before the day starts to pray and journal about a short verse. And starting the day off like this has really set my heart at peace. I am so prone to running into my room anxiously and trying to do everything at once. But now, knowing that I've tried to carve out 10 minutes to sit quietly with the Lord, I've found myself planning ahead more. I make those extra copies or write out that morning work the day before, so that I don't have to do anything when I come in in the morning.
-We are changing the way we do so many things this year. As a team, we're collaborating A LOT. It's exciting to be brainstorming like crazy, trying to find the strategies that will help us become better teachers and our students to become better learners.
-Although I have 24 students (4 more than last year) my classroom set up seems more open. This is VERY important to my general sense of peace when I walk in my door in the morning. Things seem so much calmer.
-The students I have are diverse in backgrounds.
-They are all very social. This is good because we have great conversations, but it's also a tad bit annoying because they LOVE to talk...all the time....without stopping....eek! While I can tell chattiness and off-task behavior will be an issue this year, that's not really that different from any other third grade classroom! And I'm thankful that my students aren't hugely defiant like last year. That is a breath of fresh air.

Currently, I'm trying to think of songs to use during transition times so that my kids are at least all singing the same thing rather than talking about a million things at once. I just don't want to have songs that drive me crazy because while my kids are young, they're not preschoolers! I was thinking of using some earlier Beatles songs, like Penny Lane maybe, and a James Taylor song or two. Any ideas?