Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Year #18 Is A Wrap


It is hard to believe it is the first day of Summer Break, as this year was my hardest year as an educator. I am proud of the kids and the challenges they overcame in order to end the school year. I am looking forward to some rest more than anything.

The end of the school year is always so bittersweet. Letting go of my sixth graders was a mix of emotions, but I was excited for them more than anything, as they step forward into the Middle School land. After the early release of school, I walked over to take a picture of one student with all of his teachers. That blessed me, as that kid meant a lot to me throughout his career. However, the most memorable moment came from one of my girls.

She came over and hugged me and held on. I didn't expect it, as she isn't typically a gal of emotions. She held on, and I just let her. When she pulled away, she had tears in her eyes. She was a little embarrassed because she turned to her Mom and said, "Okay, let's go." I am blessed because I get to tutor her this Summer and will LOVE every moment of it.

Each year is unique from the year before, and I look forward to a Summer of recharging my batteries in order to serve my amazing students next year. This Summer will be full of Camp Barnabas, tutoring, sleeping, and reading. I can't wait for my reading time, as I haven't gotten to do it as much as I would have liked to this year. *grin*

Day 1 of of 71. Yes, I counted. Best. Job. Ever.


Today will include lunch with a friend and a movie later for a belated birthday celebration.

For now, I think I'll read my book. *giggle*


Sunday, April 02, 2017

God's Encounters to End the School Year Strong

I've been in a character-building chapter at work. I'm not going to get into the "whys" of this chapter, as He's definitely encouraged me throughout the chapter. I mean, everything that is worthwhile in life is challenging in some way. *wink* *grin*

So I want to post the three sheets that sum up the past two weekends, and I'm not even done yet. Tonight I have a concert in Lawrence to attend, and another one this coming Saturday as well. He's filling me up as I am in the downhill slide at work. Thank You God, for the ENCOUNTERS. This side of Heaven is a TON of Fun.

Please don't misread this, I ADORE every single one of my little people, things have just been more challenging this year. So, He's given me these things to hold onto:

Tonight is Michael W. Smith.

Bethel is about to release a new album, and I pre-purchased and got 3 new songs!

He speaks to me in Music.

Thank You God for ministries during this time in our History. We are blessed beyond measure. *grin*


Friday, March 24, 2017

True Godly Friendships

Today I got up and took a road trip to see one of my all-time FAVORITE people, Karen. *grin*

We met at Pizza House, and words cannot express what our time there meant to me. As she described her recent trip to Haiti, I LOVED hearing every bit of it! Karen is made for the Nations, and it is always so much fun to hear about what God does with her and through her on those trips. *grin*

We could sit for hours and talk, and be perfectly content. Today though, we did something new. *grin* We went and saw a movie at a theatre in Springfield that was actually playing a SuperTramp song! *giggle* It was a theatre that took us back in time, and we had SO much fun! It was awesome to experience it with Karen, and hope we do other movies at that theatre in visits to come. *grin*

I dropped Karen back at home before getting more pizza to bring back. *grin* We prayed for each other before I left. That is ALWAYS a favorite thing to do with her. We typically pray for each other before we depart, and the older I get the more I value that. Truly.

After the movie I drove home, and I pondered quite a bit on the drive. I was in the car more than I was with Karen, and it was TOTALLY worth it. True Godly friendships mean the world to me, and I definitely have that in Karen. We don't have to lay ground before we say something, we jut say it. We're both alike in just enough ways that time truly flies when I'm with Karen.

She's a blessing from the Lord, and I was driving home I said a prayer for me to get more of those types of friendships here.

I. Am. Blessed. *grin*


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Shack *****

This afternoon I went with two friends to see the movie, "The Shack". I give it two thumbs up, or five stars, or whatever your system is for movies. It was the BEST movie I've seen in a LONG time! *grin*

I read the book in 2008, and I devoured it! It is still on my nightstand, not because it speaks to me more than the Bible, but because it took the Christian Life and put it into modern terms. Now, don't misunderstand, IT DOES NOT replace the Bible. Period.

I will say, God used it in my life to draw me closer to Him in the midst of the hardest season of my adult life.

Due to the depth of the book, I went into the movie today with low expectations.

Fortunately my low expectations were blown outta the water! *grin*

Sometimes Hollywood takes books and makes them into something that is NOTHING like the book. And sometimes Hollywood makes Christian movies so far out there, I'm embarrassed to be a Christian. (Sad to say, but true.)

I am SO GLAD that I wasn't let down.

This movie did an incredible job of putting life into perspective, which is something I absolutely love! *grin*

I could tell you what touched my heart, but I want everyone I care about to go see it.

It's not "turn or burn" Christianity.

It's love.

That's what we're called to, to love each other unconditionally. *grin*

Run, don't walk, to see it.

You won't be disappointed.

By the way, I want to see it again. If you wanna go, message me. *giggle*

You won't regret it!



Monday, March 20, 2017

Thoughts on Spring Barnabreak 2017

I am ALWAYS amazed at how much I go into events at Barnabas expecting the same thing over and over again, while in reality every trip is unlike any one before. There are always new people, experiences, and memories to be made there. While I'm wiped out today as I write this, that's totally cool because I'm on Spring Break this week and naps can happen at any time. *giggle*

I like to blog about my trips there because I don't want to forget what happened out there. So, you (once again) get the bonus of reading my ramblings as I remember this past weekend. *grin*

I arrived late on Friday due to my teaching responsibilities, but I'm so glad I arrived Friday night so I could jump right in on Saturday. There was a paper on my bunk reserving a bottom bunk for me. I just grinned, as it felt so right. *grin* I talked to a few people when I got in on Friday, but I honestly wanted to sleep as early as possible because I knew Saturday would be a busy day. *grin*

I was up and at IP at a little after 8 and said hi to some of my friends. I found out first thing that Avery made my reserve sign for my bunk. I just grinned, as that was just so awesome. *grin*

Lauren rolled up behind me, and I was so excited! I got up and immediately hugged her! The cool part is that it's camp and that is just what happens out there. *grin* It was SO GOOD to begin my day with Lauren at camp. Totally.

I looked out at the crowd and just smiled. The incredible part of Barnabreak is that some people return that couldn't give a whole week during a summer, but can serve for a weekend. So, I saw so many amazing people that are too many for me to list. However, those women have touched my heart more than they could possibly know. Truly. *grin*

When IP was dismissed to breakfast, I stood there waiting to figure out where my girls from my cabin were located. *grin* Adrian helped me, so it didn't take long. I jumped right in, and was so glad to be in the cabin I was in. Truly. We had two cabin Moms, which worked out SO WELL. *grin*

I typically write about my campers in my cabin. I pondered this on the drive home, and honestly Barn-A-Breaks are so quick that I can't learn everyone's names. I will say, all of our volunteers did a GREAT job in our cabin. As I sit here I can't think of one girl that I was with more than any other, as our cabin was fairly high functioning.

I found out immediately that Martha Grace was in our cabin. Gosh, I was so excited! Martha Grace is an infamous camper that EVERYONE knows. She is precious, and it was so much fun to be around her again. My favorite Martha Grace moments were in the cabin when we were hanging out and she would come and go from me. I can't really explain it in words, but, it's precious and I soaked up every second. Totally. *grin*

I had Lauren again, and she has really grown up. She didn't bite like she used to, which made me just smile. She's also good at communicating via sign language, and I loved it. She is precious.

Jennifer. Ohmygosh, I haven't had Jennifer in my cabin in about 4 years. She is an adult with Autism, and I adore her. She says almost every thought she has, and it's precious. At one point she got upset because she wrote "B8" (our cabin) on our poster but it looked like a young person's writing, and one of our other campers flipped over the poster and started over. Poor Jennifer's feelings were crushed. We worked through it, and I was SO GLAD I was able to help her calm down. She will forever be a favorite of mine, as she's so much fun and loves people in her own way. I'm so glad she's coming to Term 1, so I will see her again! *grin*

Chelsea. Oh, Chelsea and I have been in a cabin together before, but this trip we REALLY connected. One of my things is finding a funny thing to do with each camper to make them smile or laugh. With Chelsea, we had our thing, and it was SO MUCH FUN. Every time I was around Chelsea, I could feel the love in the air. It was SO good. At the end of the weekend we were in the shirt shack and I said "bye" to Chelsea and she came over and gave me the biggest hug! I adore that young lady. Truly.

Emma. Ohmygosh, Emma was such a bright spot in our cabin! Emma is a young lady (16 years old) that reminded me so much of me when I was her age. Okay, well, Emma was more mature than I was at 16, but, we walk alike, have similar haircuts, and I REALLY enjoyed watching her on Saturday. She jumped right in (just as I did as a kid) and was a really good basketball player, and sang the National Anthem so well. *grin* I can't sing like she does, but we walked the same way, and just had a great time. I found myself wishing I had more time with her, as I would've enjoyed getting to know her better. It was priceless. Totally. *grin*

Oh, I should mention the National Anthem, as it was part of our March Madness Tournament. Our second activity was in the dome with basketball games with cabins against cabins. We sang in between every game, and it was so precious. We had some campers that can seriously sing. Emma got up there and REALLY nailed it. It made me smile. Yeah, we had a few that couldn't sing at all, but I even enjoyed that because in the "real world" they wouldn't have had that opportunity. We did our usual camp modifications to the song, and it was truly a highlight for me. It always is, but, I enjoyed it even more this time. Seriously.

We had amazing volunteers, and I can't came name them all. Without name tags and enough time, I was at a loss. I did enjoy talking to the teens though, and they all did a fabulous job.

I sit here and it's so hard to explain Camp to people who hadn't been there.

Those people, campers, volunteers, and staffers, have no idea how much this I love them. They are my family, and every trip out there feels like a family reunion. I realize that the staffers come and go, but, that's cool too. I get new friends all the time out there, and they all LOVE JESUS!

I'll admit it, Friday night I was exhausted and I wondered briefly if I should stay home. I'm so glad I didn't though. I'm exhausted now, but that's okay. Spring Break is a gift and a nap can happen at any time.

As I was leaving to load my car up, my dear friend Kay was on her porch (they live at camp) and she asked when I was returning. Truthfully she would love to have me all summer, and I would love that but I don't know how that would work. *grin*

I said something to her about how much I love camp.

Kay replied with something that has had me smiling since, just because it was such a cool thing to say.

Kay said, "Camp loves you too. I love you, but you need to know that CAMP loves you too!"

Perfect way for me to end the weekend.

I love Kay, and Camp, and am ready for Summer to get here SOON.

For now though, a nap needs to happen.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Love on a New Level

Today's post, once again, is more for me than for you.

This past week I was challenged on a new level by a student.

I've had students act out, and have had my fair share of behaviors that God gave me to work with a student on, but this week He initiated me into a new level of love.

I had a kid look at me and say, "No" after I had given a direction. He said he didn't care what I said, he didn't have to do what I said. It was the single most disrespectful moment of my career, as he said more than I will share here.

I came home that night and prayed.

The student and I had a good relationship until that day.

I didn't understand, even though I had tried to reason with the kid, but he wasn't going to let the wall go down at all.

Of course, leave it God to put me in my place. *grin*

I have done the EXACT same thing with God. I have heard His voice and said, "No". Maybe not out loud, but in my heart.

I've seen things and told Him, "Um, please don't choose me for that experience this side of Heaven."

How selfish am I?

That kid wasn't purposely made at me. He simply didn't want to do his assignment or move to a different chair.

I have done the same thing with God.

That evening, I put on my song that is touching my heart in this season, and took time to be with the Lord. I won't share what He said, but I saw a change the next day.

You know what happened?

The next day the kid tried harder and even offered me gum since his class was having Gumapalooza.

Don't get me wrong, he wasn't an angel, but he did what I asked without complaint. To me that's a step in the right direction.

I am learning that moving forward is so much of what life is about. Nothing, this side of Heaven, stays the same for long.

That being said, He requires more of me because I work with young people. Over and over again, this year He's challenged me to love students unconditionally on a level like never before. I have several that are not easy to love, for different reasons.

For instance, that gum offering, that was his apology. Yes, he's used words before, but, he's not from a home like the one I lived in. Apologies are hard for him.

Behavior success takes TIME. When I say time, I mean A LOT of time.

I'll take small steps, no matter how small, as long as they're a step forward.

That kid needs to be cared for unconditionally. God will guide me in it. I won't be perfect like He is, but I will love on a new level throughout this semester.

I can do it, because He loves me that way. *grin*



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Thoughts On A Humbling Week

This is a post more for me than for you. Truly.

I have pondered what I wanted to write about a week full of love given to me, on a level I NEVER expected.

This week I was given the Learning For Life award in Lee's Summit, Missouri. Words cannot describe how this week felt. I will be honest, I knew ahead of time. In the middle of a character-building week in December, I got the call that told me I had won the award for January. I was smiling inside and out, and honestly told only a handful of people. They didn't tell me to keep it quiet, I simply didn't want to be a showoff. I don't do the job for awards, I do it to teach kids the skills they need later in life. Truly.

In the 2006-2007 school year, I was given two awards in my previous district. In that chapter, I learned what follows an award. However, I didn't expect what I got this week.

Moving from my previous district to this one has been full of highs, lows, and everything in between. In the midst of this season, I've had unconditional supporters, and others who were less than that. I think that's just part of life though. Not everyone will understand my world. I get it.

However, this week I have received love on a level I never would have expected.

I received the most touching emails that I have printed for my physical scrapbook.

I've had staff members drop by to congratulate me.

I have also had people I don't even know congratulate me.

All of this attention has been humbling.

I know God made me to teach. I have simply been doing what He made me to do.

Some days are wonderful, and some days are full of challenges.

I wouldn't trade it for anything though.


So, I hesitated in sharing this story, as I don't want to be a showoff.

However, I write for me and not for you. Years from now I'll want to read my thoughts and feelings about this week. So, you just get the bonus of reading what I'm thinking and feeling. *grin*

Thank You to all who have taken time to congratulate me. Every once in a while God chooses to show us how loved we are, and this week I have definitely felt the love. Thank you!