Friday, May 15, 2009

To God be the Glory

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us," ~Ephesians 3:20

Today the little kids have their end-of-the-year parties at preschool. I just cannot believe how fast this year went by, and how gracious the Lord has been to us this school year, particularly to me. I keep thinking about and meditating on the above verse, and how the Lord has truly shown Himself to me through this verse not only over the course of the school year, but my entire life. He has answered so many prayers, and provided for me in ways that I never could have imagined. God really is so good despite the fact that I am so undeserving of any of His blessings. Let me share just a few of the ways the Lord has blessed and encouraged me:

· Salvation- this in itself is a miracle and you can read my testimony here.

· Meeting TJ- read about our life together here and here.

· Miscarriage- God used my grief for His glory. Read about it here.

· TJ’s salvation- I’ve not yet shared the details of this monumental day on my blog. Second to my own salvation, TJ’s salvation has had the biggest impact on our relationship as a couple, a family, and in our serving the Lord.

· My sister’s life- I was not a good role model for my sister and carried much grief as an adult because of some of the ways she followed in my footsteps. I have been praying for her for a few years, and it is evident the Lord is at work in her life. I could write an entire post on the many ways God has answered both mine and her prayers, especially over the past year. Again, the Lord worked another miracle and He’s not finished yet! Hopefully I can get permission to share some of her testimony, because she has an awesome one!

· School- where do I begin? Over the years I have been in school, particularly at WU, the Lord has provided for our needs financially (we went from a 2 income to 1 income family); convenience of WU ( TJ working at WU & the preschool 2 minutes away) and the availability of classes in the mornings while the kids were in preschool or in the evenings when TJ was home; childcare in the form of preschool (plus all the wonderful teachers there!), TJ’s lunch hour (he spent many lunch breaks watching kids while I was in class), & babysitters to fill in the gaps, especially this past year while I had to attend WU full-time.

· WU faculty- having been at WU for 5 years (to finish up 2 years worth of schooling, LOL!), I really got to know most of the faculty in the College of Education on a personal level, particularly in the Department of Special Education. Relationships with faculty members were fostered and maintained because of TJ working there (he keeps in contact with many of them simply because of his position at WU). The Lord has used those relationships to open up many doors of opportunity for me and allowed me to share my faith with others, especially in this last year.

· Teagan- I don’t mean to list her like she is a blessing and my other kids aren’t, or that she is somehow more “important” than my other kids, so please don’t take it in that way. Rather, I am listing her because of how the Lord has worked through her. She has a developmental delay, and you can read about her progress and God’s divine intervention in her life (& my life) here, here, here, & here.

I could go on, but this post is long enough already. As I look back and reflect on the ways the Lord has worked in my life, in my family’s lives, I am humbled. I am a sinner, not deserving of any of this great work, but because of God’s love, grace, and mercy, I am where I am today. I would be a fool not to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in my life or circumstances, and in all ways and in all things I give praise and rejoice in the Lord (Psalm 57:7; Psalm 106:1; Philippians 4:4; 1 Peter 1:6-7).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pray for Brandon

"When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them." ~Psalm 11:3-4

I'm still here. Not much to say or write about in regards to me or my immediate family, at least not anything that really matters in light of eternity.

Received some news this evening at church. Brandon, a 12-year-old boy in my church, battled a brain tumor at the age of 9. He found out this morning it returned. His mom, Kristy, notified my pastor this afternoon, and my pastor notified the church family tonight. Yes, I wrote church family, because we are a family. We laugh together, cry together, encourage and support one another, and pray for each other. Brandon's news is testing the foundations of our faith as a church; however, as the above verse continues, the Lord still reigns and is in control over the situation. In my human-ness and limited understanding as to why Brandon is going through this fiery trial, I am praying and repeating this truth in order to stand firm in "my rock and my fortress." (~Psalm 18:2). Brandon and his parents are meeting with the neurologists next week to determine what to do. Please, as the Spirit moves you, pray for Brandon and his family. They are special people and dearly loved by all who know them.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Let the Countdown Begin!

I just wrapped up my first week of being out of school. Surprisingly, I stayed constantly busy! I thought I would have more time to get all of my "To Do" list items completed, but I was wrong. With the few weeks of school that remain for the kids, I am trying to stay involved and volunteer. I spent time in the classroom at the preschool and Th's school this week, as well as chaperoned a field trip yesterday. We had fun and my kids are enjoying the one-on-one time with me.

I am also trying to get ready for VBS. I am teaching again this year. I have the privilege of teaching the 5/6th grade boys. I am excited and need to get working on decorations for my classroom. The theme this year is "Polar Extremes." I thought I would decorate the class with a snow theme. I plan to incorporate some fake snow, if I can find it at the craft stores. Since it's almost summer, I don't know if it will be available to purchase.

Despite everything else, most of my thoughts revolve around my future preschool class. I am so excited to begin teaching in the fall! When I was at the preschool, I surveyed the classroom and am trying to figure out what my daily schedule/routine will be with the students. I have some awesome ideas I want to include! I can't wait until the summer so I can get in the room to begin moving furniture around and figuring out where I want my "centers" to be. I am also still planning out my centers. So far I came up with a play center, a sensory area that will help stimulate the 5 senses, a reading center, and a "learning" center where the children can practice skills they are working on (i.e. matching colors, shapes, letters, writing, etc.). My plan is to put the children in groups of 3 or 4 and have them rotate around the room at various time intervals. Along with the various centers, my assistant will work with a group and I will work with a group, teaching new skills.

Doing the class in this manner promotes independence and self-control because only a few students will be working with me or the assistant at one time. The others will be in their assigned centers, working/playing independently. I do better in a structured environment and need to know that the students all have a place "to be" rather than letting them do whatever while I work with a small group. For me, that is too chaotic and I can't keep track of who I have worked with and who I haven't.

I am also still trying to decide on a class pet. I love animals, with the exception of reptiles, so this has been a difficult decision for me to make. I personally want a rabbit, but since we've never had a rabbit as a family, there is a high cost associated with getting one because I'd have to purchase EVERYTHING for it. I don't want fish as I think they are boring. I want something hands-on that the kids can play with and care for. I am leaning towards a hamster or turtle, but I really want a rabbit! I may save up the money I receive from graduation to purchase everything, although there are some other instructional items (computer software) I want that are costly. We'll see.

To help get my room ready, I have enlisted the help of TJ. I have asked him to make me a water table with a lid and on casters. But, he can't get started building it until I can get in the classroom to take some measurements. I also need to find the plastic insert I want to use to hold the water. It actually probably won't hold water; I actually plan to place other textured materials in it (i.e. bird seed, pine cones/dried leaves, wood chips, sand, rice, beans, etc) and hide items for the kids to find. This develops fine motor skills, teamwork, and higher-level thinking. The kids have to really use their brains to find what I have hidden. I know my own kids love this "game" when I do it at home, so I'm sure the kids in my class will enjoy it, too.

Today we are getting ready for my graduation party and Teagan's dedication next weekend. Most of my family and some of TJ's family will be here, along with friends from school, church, and the MOMS Club. I wish more family could attend but for various reasons they won't be here. I am looking forward to the weekend-long celebration, but it is stressful planning it. TJ has done a lot for my party, arranging the location and sending out the invitations, helping to ease some of the burden. Now we are down to the menus and trying to figure out what we need; today will be busy with shopping as next week is jam-packed with obligations each night of the week.

Until next time. . .