Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Ebenezer Stones

     This week in school, we read about how God stopped the waters of the Jordan River so that the people of Israel could walk across into the Promised Land. As they were crossing, God asked them to gather 12 stones from the river bed and set them up as a memorial. A reminder of what He had done for them (Joshua 4). This is not the only story in the Bible where we see people setting up a rock or rocks as some sort of reminder.  Another example can be seen in 1 Samuel 7:12 "Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the LORD has helped us.'"
     I have been different places in the past where they have you write something important on a stone as a reminder, and I decided that it would be fun if we set up a classroom, memorial, stone, pile of our own. So, this morning we headed outside in search of rocks. I wanted them to write something important they had learned over the year, something they wanted to remember. We went over ideas of what that would look like and then they had some time to think.
     They came up with some good things to remember! Here are some of them.

Don't be afraid.
Don't worry.
Think good thoughts.
Trust myself.
Don't give up.
Memorize Scripture.

    These are all things that I need to be reminded of constantly in my own life as well. In fact, I find that a lot of time, the lessons that I most often go over with my students are ones I am working on learning myself. 
    So, our windowsill museum has grown once again. I do like our collection!

"You can't be too careful what you tell a child because you never know what he will take hold of and spend the rest of his life remembering you by." ~Frederick Buechner 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Seek Peace

     I was reading my Bible the other day and I came across this passage,
Colossians 3:15
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."
     This says that we are supposed to be ruled by peace. That sounds so wonderful to me. To be ruled by something means to be under its authority. To be under the authority of peace sounds like safety, comfort, and assurance. Unfortunately, I all to often allow fear into my mind and heart, and fear leaves no room for peace. Without peace there is no joy and that is not a good place to find yourself.
      But the One who created your heart knows that fear will try to cripple it, and He asks us to seek Him. He offers peace and He wants to breath it into the very fiber of our beings. Seek the One who designed peace and joy, the One who created laughter and delights in you.
Psalm 34:14
"Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."
     Pursue peace. Set your mind and heart on it and go after it with all that you've got. Because when you are pursuing peace, you are pursuing Jesus.
     There is something so completely peaceful about a Spring evening. I've had the windows open the past couple of nights and to hear birds sing and the rain gently fall floods my soul with the peace of the Creator. Seek peace, soak it up, and allow your faith to grow.

     On a side note, Norbert the Turtle got a tank upgrade this weekend.

Happy Sunday.

"God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing." ~C.S Lewis

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Best Surprise Ever

      I got a wonderful surprise this weekend. It was out of the blue and it permanently etched a smile onto my face. This guy showed up at our front door. My brother Jordan.

      My good friend Larisa and I had plans to go to the play "The Enchanted Sleeping Beauty" this weekend. She lives about 5 1/2 hours away and was going to head  up after work on Friday. What I didn't know was that my brother Jordan(who lives in far away Nebraska and I don't get to see nearly enough) was coming with her. It turns out most everyone knew but me. Needless to say, I was beyond surprised when at 10:30 on Friday night I opened the door to let Larisa in and saw Jordan standing behind her. I screamed pretty hard.
     We had so much fun. Jordan and I moved to Bemidji the Fall of 2010 to go to school. Larisa lived right across the hall from me and we became really good friends. This weekend we laughed so hard over so many memories.
We walked the campus.

Had lunch out.

Laughed hard, stayed up late, played multiple rounds of 65(non of which I won) and had a wonderful time.

And then we saw the play. When Jordan and Larisa both still lived in town they were in multiple community plays together. So the Chief's Theater is a special place for both of them. 


"The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it." ~Hubert Humphrey

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dinosaurs and Cake

     Today during science class, we were reviewing what we had learned so far about the moon. We were going over the first moon landing and how it happened 20 years before I was born, when one of my students raised his hand and with a cheeky grin said, "So, when the dinosaurs were here." Funny boy. We had a good laugh.
     It was snowing earlier. Oh April, I thought you brought us showers! Any way, what else is there to do but bake a cake with fluffy frosting.

     So may your snowy April eve be delightful. Dinosaurs, cake, snow and whatever else it may hold.

"April is a promise that May is bound to keep." ~Hal Borland

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Glimpse Of The Past And A Look At Today

     I was scrolling through some of my old pictures yesterday and I came upon this one. It had the caption, "Someday I will have a bigger window and hopefully a bigger jungle. "

     We lived in a tiny little apartment and that was all the space I had for plants and even that was pushing it because the pots didn't really fit on the windowsill. Looking at that picture made me realize that that particular dream has come true. Currently my jungle looks like this(and this picture doesn't even show all of it.)
     Life is on the move and it's a good and beautiful thing. May your day be full of sunshine and joy!

"Enjoy the little things in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."
~Kurt Vonnegut 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Joy and Salt

      A pinch of salt can make or break a good meal. Without it, otherwise delicious food can be bland, unexciting, and sometimes downright unpleasant. Joy is like salt. Without, it life is sad and dull. It says in Nehemiah 8:10 "The joy of the LORD is my strength." The joy that comes from the One who gave us this life is what keeps us going. Joy can make or break your day. 
     The days I choose to rest in the joy of the LORD are wonderful. All seems right with the world any my heart can rest, it is good and beautiful. When I'm resting in joy, the day doesn't need to have anything special in it to be good. It's good simply because of that overwhelming joy and peace that is given to us by the One who created joy and peace. Joy is the salt that makes an ordinary day, extraordinary. 
      But then there are those days when I don't choose to rest in joy. Those days aren't so good. They are the days when I let fear, worry, stress, a bad attitude etc. settle in. Without joy, there's no salt, no flavor, life is bland or even scary. John 10:10 says, "The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that you may have life and have it to the full." That's right, the enemy of our souls' main goal is to "steal, kill, and destroy..." And when we let him steal our joy, we are letting him steal our God given strength. Without joy, we become weak and easily deceived by the lies the enemy so desperately wants us to buy into. 
       All to often, I find myself being robbed of my joy. My Love is constantly reminding me that in my struggle with fear I must follow the advice of Philippians 4:8 which says, "Finally brethren, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." He asks me to literally go through and list the good and beautiful things of our life. The things of joy and peace that are salt to my soul. I do have a truly beautiful life! 
My salt this week: 
   *A house crammed full of wonderful friends and laughter. 
   *Crayons all over my floor and hugs from sweet babies. 
   * The excitement of science fair at school and my wonderful students. 
   *Laughing with kids over the possibility of April Fool's jokes.
   *Thoughts of this summer's garden.
So much joy, so much goodness, so much life. Don't let it be stolen! Happy Friday. 

"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy." ~Leo Buscaglia