Are you listening…

This video has been making the rounds on face book and emails lately, and for good reason.  Our God truly is amazing. 
My theme verse for my music classes this fall has been Psalm 19:1, “The Heavens declare the Glory of God.”  We discussed what that means and what it would look like.  The 3rd graders came up with this:  A Tree brings God glory just by being himself; being what God made him to be.  I thought that was pretty good. 
Then this video crossed my computer screen from several different people this week and I couldn’t wait to show it to my students.  I heard whispers of, “Wow, that is so cool,” and, “How Beautiful.”  I had to agree.
Enjoy.  Oh, and be what God made you to be.
Question:  Did you see that black and white stripy fish thing?  Wasn’t that awesome?

A Lesson From My Teacher

Mrs. Sloan read IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE to our little cherubs the other day.  I love that book.  And obviously the publisher loved the popularity of the book as well, hence the additions of IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PANCAKE and IF YOU GIVE A MOOSE A MUFFIN.  I think the sequels are rather redundant and not quite up to par with the original so, for this blog’s purposes, I’ll stick with the little mouse guy.
If you’re not familiar with this classic allow me to lay it out for you.  The scene opens with a little girl giving a mouse a cookie which leads to him needing a glass of milk.  That plot line alone should tell you you’re in for an action packed thriller.  Anyway, one thing leads to another until finally, after an art project and a nap, the little guy is ready for another glass of milk.  And chances are, if you give him a glass of milk, he’s going to want a cookie to go with it.
I’ve adopted this methodology in my own life.  You see:
When I make my bed every day I notice the rest of my house (life) looks better too.  When I come home from work and my bed is made I hang up my clothes instead of just plopping them on the chair.  That makes my room all nice and tidy.  So if my room is organized I wash the dishes after dinner instead of just leaving them in the sink.  And if my kitchen is all sparkly fresh I want the bathroom to shine as well.  It’s kind of like an IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE style of housecleaning.
So see, everything you need to know you DO learn in Kindergarten (or Pre-K).
The idea of making my bed every day came from Dr. June Breninger.  Dr. June passed away this month.  She was a great teacher and example of Godly living to me and all the thousands of people who crossed her path. She will be greatly missed.
Question:  What are some simple life lessons you have learned along the way?

Who is in Your Flock?

John 10: 1-5   “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
My other “hat” at school this year, in addition to my music teaching gig, is being an aide in the a.m. Pre-Kindergarten class.  Now, having been a teacher for many years I can honestly say that 4 year -old children are my least favorite age to teach.  My favorite would be 3rd or 4th graders.  They are old enough to know how to do things but young enough to not give you attitude because they know how to do things.
Students in Pre-K can hardly walk without falling over let alone walk in a straight line down the hall without crashing in to at least 5 or 6 other children in the process.  I keep telling the head teacher, Mrs. Sloan, it’s a good thing they are cute because if one more of them makes a break from the middle to the head of the line I’m gonna freak-out. 
We have two preciously adorable Asian girls in our class.  One speaks virtually no English and the other has enough vocabulary to get by.  She knows things like, “No.”  She is really good with that word.  Their mothers are the epitome of Asian beauty: flawless complexion and petite little bodies.  I hate them.  They are very soft spoken and watching their little daughters you would think they would be as well.  But, not to stereotype, there has got to be an elderly grandmother living with them.  The little girls will be working quietly, then turn their head towards us and holler out, full force, “TEACHA.  TEACHA.”  “My name is Miss Dana, may I help you with something.”   “TEACHA.  TEACHA.”  “Yes, we’ve established I’m your teacher, Miss Dana, what do you need?”  “TEACHA.  TEACHA.”  This goes on all morning.
On the fourth day of school we discovered one little boy REALLY wants to finish his projects.  It doesn’t matter if it is time to clean up or not, he REALLY, REALLY wants to finish what he was doing.  Or, as he very emphatically told me, over and over, “I.  Want. To.  Fini.  Shit.”  It was all I could do to keep from using my own expletives back at him, but since I’m a professional I refrained.  Not to mention it is a Christian school.
Another little girl was saying good-bye to her friend at pick up time but her friend didn’t see her open-hug-expectant-arms.  Her bottom lip began to quiver at the over-sight so I ran over and offered her a hug.  She looked up at me and smiled and I asked her if she knew my name.  “It’s Mrs. Sloan.”  I said, “No that’s the other teacher.  I’m Miss Dana.”  Her mom laughed and said her daughter had told her that her two teachers were Mrs. Sloan and Mrs. Slawn.  She was glad to clear up the confusion.
Well, my students may not know my name but they do know my voice.  The gospel of John says:  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. I keep that verse in my head every morning.  When they look back at their Pre-K experience, I don’t care if they remember my name, but I do hope they remember my voice.  A voice that spoke kind words of love over them daily.  A voice that encouraged them to keep trying and do their best even if the task is difficult.  I want them to remember someone who thought they were the greatest kid ever even in the midst of being corrected.
Isaiah 40 says:   Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Not one of them is missing.  I may not have children of my own, but God has entrusted me with these 16 kids this year.  Mrs. Sloan and Miss Dana will treat His creations with care…even if it kills us!!

Call 911

I don’t know how the emergency system of calling 911 came about or who created it, but it is a pretty cool system.  Call that number and police, fire trucks or an ambulance will come blaring down the street to your rescue.  With nifty tracking systems they can find your location even if you can’t speak to give your address or tell them what’s wrong.

Yesterday at church, on the 10th anniversary of September 11th, our pastor shared another way of calling 911.
Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Sometimes I choose to dwell in that shelter and sometimes I don’t.  It makes more sense to rest there though.  I know that.  But even when I’ve wondered off alone and don’t know where I am, I can call out His name like a 911 call.  He knows where I am even if I can’t speak or tell Him what is wrong.  He knows.
Prayers to our nation and to all who lost loved ones on 911.

Stay-Puttedness #2

A month or so ago I mentioned I was pondering my stay-puttedness issues.  I believe I said something like, “Check-in this time next year and see if I have stayed put or am living somewhere in Alaska.” 
Well, I’m not exactly in Alaska but I did move about seven miles west of where I had been living for the last eight plus years.  This move wasn’t my preference, but if I want to keep teaching at this small private school I need to downsize my monthly expenditures quite a bit in order to survive comfortably and not fall into the whole foreclosure scare.  So, this week I put my house up for rent, packed up my 3 bedroom, 2 bath house and moved into a basement studio apartment.
Yowsa, who knew I could accumulate so much stuff in such a short time.  When I first bought my home, one bedroom stayed completely empty for an entire year.  Another bedroom only had my piano and a chair.  My bedroom didn’t even have a bed for the first couple of months. Out of the 4 closets in my house only two had things in them:  my bedroom had clothes and the front closet had my coats.  And the garage only housed my car.
But fast forward 8 years and 9 months and it is a completely furnished home filled with 8 years and 9 months worth of stuff.  And it was just ME.  No one else.  All that stuff is mine!  And now I am cramming it all into a tiny studio apartment!!
So, I guess I learned one thing through my study of stay-puttedness:  Moving helps you throw out the stuff you don’t really need and are too lazy to pack.
Next week I hope to do one final Italy posting.  This past week and a half has been difficult to post because I didn’t have Internet at home because of my move.  So, hopefully all these little details will be worked out soon.  Thanks for your patience and sticking with me.
Question:  When was the last time you inventoried all the stuff you’ve collected over the years?