"O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together."
Magnifying the Lord - rejecting the desire to complain about circumstances and instead focusing on God, his character and how I see him at work. It's a daily challenge. I'm working on it, though I'm sorry to say there's probably been more failure than success. I'm thankful for the grace God extends to me despite my failures! Anyway, what better way to magnify the Lord than to share a moment in the classroom when it was clear that the Holy Spirit was at work.
We were just finishing up a Social Studies unit on Me and My Family and were waiting for a special celebration with our families to begin. I had covered just about everything that I had planned but I had yet to get to the little lesson I had wanted to teach on being a part of God’s family. Fifteen minutes remained. Not much time but God just directed my thoughts back to that lesson. So I called my students to the mat and we talked about God’s family – how God wants everyone to be a part of His family and how we can do that by accepting the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus through His death on the cross. Before long, one little boy right in front of me raised his hand. “I a-a-am part of Go-o-od’s fa-a-mily,“ he stuttered. “I’ve a-a-sked Jesus into my heart.”
“Wow, Junior! That’s amazing!” I said. “Did you know that when you are a part of God’s family, God takes cares of you just like your Mom and Dad take care of you and your sister? God takes care of you because He loves you!” I wish you could have seen the smile that just lit up that little boy’s face. It was beautiful! Before me was a child who knew the confidence and peace that comes from knowing that you are cared for not only by an earthly family but also by Our Heavenly Father.
Next, a hand was raised on the back of the mat and a little girl said that she too had asked Jesus to come into her heart THREE times. Thinking that not unlike me as a child, she might be struggling with fear and wondering if she really belonged to Jesus, I assured her that she really did belong to him and she didn't have to keep praying to receive him as her Saviour. She promptly raised her hand and assured me that she wasn't afraid. She had asked Jesus into her heart three times because SHE LOVED GOD SO MUCH!
Our fifteen minutes were drawing to a close. I just asked my students if anyone would like to pray and thank God for making a way for us to be a part of His family. We pray every morning together but my students rarely volunteer to pray so you can imagine my surprise when several hands went up all over the mat. Being part of God's family is A BIG DEAL and there were lots of little thankful hearts so we had some popcorn prayers. Everyone prayed out their sentence or two thanking God that they could be part of his family. I listened and my heart was blessed and I'm pretty sure that God must have been smiling too.
This picture received high praise from me this week. My teacher's assistant and I "ooohed and ahhhed"over it. You might be wondering why. The answer to that question would be because the student branched out from his normal color palette - BLUE.
Judging by the work in his writing folder, I think it's safe to say that blue is this kid's favorite color. In fact, I'm pretty sure that in 12 years of teaching I've never had a kid so obsessed with one color. I wonder if he's ever heard of the Blue Man Group? It could be his dream job!
It all started with dirty walls and an inspiration photo.
I was planning on painting and had been toying with the idea of some accent walls, particularly a green one in my living room/dining room area. Then along came my friendly neighbor, lover of adventures in color, who found this inspiration photo in an HGTV magazine.
She was lobbying for not just an accent wall but green cupboards too. My cupboards were about three different colors of wood and not in the best of condition. In the magazine, I loved it! Painting over my actual wood - agonizing decision. I'd like to tell you that I had just dipped my paintbrush in the bucket of "fresh cut grass" when my neighbour reached out her foot and tripped me, forcing my hand but she's far to nice for a trick like that! Somehow, with my full consent, my apartment fell into a bucket of "fresh cut grass" and I'm still deciding how I feel about it.
My very own version of "The Big Green Monster."
Just enough paint to do the bottom and then decide about the top.
Pretty Close Match
I found this cool material shortly after returning to Niger and decided it would be fun in my office/guest bedroom. So I decided to go for some bold color in here too. I may still be deciding about my big green monster but I can tell you this, I'm sold on this room!
So what do you think, should I go all out and do the top cupboards too? And how about taming the green monster - any decorative thoughts? Feel free to drop by and see it in person. :)
Children are thinking, always thinking. It can be oh so entertaining to get a glimpse into what they are thinking.
This week during Writer's Workshop we've been reading some Mark Teague books and comparing the setting, characters, problem and solutions. I began by reading the book Baby Tamer. Amazon's summary says, "The noisy and clever Eggmont kids, otherwise known as a baby-sitter's worst
nightmare, meet their match in Amanda Smeedy, baby tamer." After reading, one little boy raised his hand and very seriously said, "I was baby tamed once." I just about cracked up! I'm pretty sure he may now think that being "baby tamed" is the correct verb for being "baby sat."
Sometimes it surprises me the connections that kids make. I went into a few classrooms today to take some photos in an attempt to get a little bit of new content for our school website. My camera was with me in the lunchroom and I was taking some pictures when a third grader asked me, "Are you leaving, Miss Botheras?" I kind of laughed and said, "No, why would you think that?" To which he responded, "Well, you have your camera and you're taking lots of pictures. People usually do that when they're leaving." And that, my friends, is a Third Culture Kid - never too young to be aware of the comings and goings in their life, they learn to recognize the signs early on.