Saturday, December 22, 2007

To You and Yours

Well, I am hitting the road for the Christmas break! I will most likely not be blogging until after Christmas. Everyone have a wonderful holiday and enjoy your families! Be safe! Love to you all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Today's Debate

I often joke around that I don't teach first graders, I teach theological thinkers. The funniest thing about it is that I really isn't a joke. Here is the latest in the MANY conversations that I overhear almost daily. Keep in mind that I have come in midpoint and am not sure exactly how this came up:

A: No, not really. I mean, he's not really like us. More like a spirit.

B: Yeah, that's what I mean. He used to be a man but now that he's in Heaven, he is just a spirit again.

A: Right. He was a man like our dads but what made him different was God's spirit inside of him. Now his spirit is back with God in Heaven. He was both here on Earth but now he is just spirit - like God.

B: You know we will be like that one day. Just spirits with God. In Heaven.

A: Heaven is like here, right?

B: Yeah, but prettier and only our favorite things.

A: So I guess heaven is something really great. I don't get why people are afraid to die if it is so good.

B: Me either. With Jesus and God there, it will be pretty good.

At this point, my girl came and thrust a monster puppet she made in my face and I could no longer hear what they were saying. SIX YEARS OLD! The discussion of Christ's humanity vs. Christ's deity. Then, the talk of heaven. We all know how concrete that one can be. I have to admit, I feel very humbled to be able to sit (or stand) off to the side and listen to these beautiful conversations. One co-worker's boys hoot and holler at every girl that comes by them or that they see in a book. Another co-worker has many students that are just now learning the English language. Next door, my teammate is battling severe learning disabilities. Me? I have the spontaneous discussions about God and other deep spiritual matters. What a blessing!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Arboretum

On Thursday, the first grade took our fall field trip to the Houston Arboretum. It was such a nice day! Except for the random train whistle, I completely forgot that we were in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the US. I just wanted to share some very special moments that occurred on our trip.

One of the areas in the Arboretum was the wetlands. Our guide called it "the Swamp". As soon as he said we were going into the swamp, one of my precious, sweet girls got a death grip on my hand and frozen in her tracks. I looked down at her saucer sized brown eyes and asked what was wrong. She told me she didn't want to go into the swamp because there were orges that lived there. Stifling a laugh, I took a few moments to reassure her that Shrek did not live in this swamp. She eventually joined the rest of the class. What an imagination!

My student that I blogged about two posts ago started a new medication on the day before the field trip. We were unsure how to prepare for this trip with her. We got an adult to be assigned specifically to her. To our amazement, she was the best behaved child on the trip. During a few moments of down time, my class ran around and played tag. She stood on the side and watched for a couple of minutes. Just as I was about to approach her, the first genuine smile I have seen this year exploded across her face. She ran into the mix and played with her peers. The next day, she was announced as the star student of the week for our class. The other students stood up, clapped for her, and yelled. She was so proud and the other students celebrated with her. I had to step in the hallway and cried tears of joy. The light is getting brighter everyday.

To kill time on the bus, my students took turns making up riddles. Here is my favorite (read as a script):

T: I am not a man but I my name is a man's name. I have a son who went away from me. He got nailed. Then he got un-nailed and came home to me. Who am I?
R: Jesus!
B: NO! Not Jesus! T said he had a son. Jesus didn't have a son. God did. Jesus got nailed!
Me: Why did Jesus get nailed?
T: We were bad. Then when Jesus got nailed, we weren't bad anymore. God was happy we weren't bad anymore and that is why Jesus got un-nailed.
B: Yeah, that is what I heard in my cad-i-chasm class!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

From Ear to Ear

There are so many things to say but I just cannot find the perfect words to for what I am currently feeling. So here is the gist of it: I am happy. Truly, contently, trustingly, peacefully, fantastically happy.

God is good!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


As much as I am enjoying first grade, there is a student that I have that is extremely difficult. Actually that is an understatement. Every teacher up through 5th grade, every custodial and cafeteria workers, and every regular parent knows this child by face and name. No one wants to have her in their rooms. No one can connect with this child and no one wants to try. She has been both verbally and physically aggressive towards her peers and the staff. After three and a half months, I am emotionally, mentally, and physically drained.

Today, for the first time, I broke down and cried. I was at school until almost 7:30 tonight getting the environment ready for some new actions we are putting into place to try to keep her in a regular ed classroom. Tomorrow, I have an hour and a half meeting to "get on the same page" and to make a few things legal. Then, we implement the new plan on Thursday morning. While I have great respect for the men and women coming up with this plan, I do not see the next few weeks being pleasant ones. I expect full resistance and pushing the limits by my girl and I have very little to give to her anymore. On the way home, all I could do to keep myself from pulling over and just falling to pieces was listening to Chris Tomlin singing "Everlasting God" over and over again.

Please pray for wisdom in how to interact with this child. In so many ways, I feel for her but I am almost to my breaking point with her. I beg you NOT to pray for patience! I am terrified of what that lesson might look like after seeing what our day in and day out dealings are. I just need a calm spirit and clarity of thought when choosing words and actions with her. Especially over the next two and a half weeks!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

My Favorite James

For a while now, I have enjoyed the music of James Taylor. He has a such a clear, unique voice and beautiful, stirring songs. To transcend 5 decades and touch the hearts of people no matter the climate of the times or the generation is a testament to his gift. His music brings a smile to my face like few others can. A few nights ago, I downloaded his Christmas album and it reminded me how talented he is. He has taken his place in my top five favorite male musicians (slightly behind Michael Buble, of course). I would like to officially add "seeing James Taylor in concert" to my life list. It won't change the world but it is a selfish pleasure.