Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chicken Pox

Many of you have called and asked how my first week is going. Thank you for all of your prayers! I love my class, and I have many interesting stories about my funny kids. I will include several funny stories at the end of this blog, but I want to begin with the latest info. This morning, I was sent home from school with the chicken pox. Yes, that's right, I never had them as a kid, and that finally caught up with me this week. That used to be my interesting fact about myself. You know, when you play "2 Truths and a Lie," or "I Never." What a bummer. Now I have to lead with, "I grew up on a blueberry farm." Bo-ring. When I was a kid, I remember my mom making me spend the night with kids who had them and playing with other kids at their houses when they were sick, just so I would "get it overwith" and not have it as an adult. Seems to me that "many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." If you remember anything about how to deal with them or speed the process along, please please oh please let me know. If I've been around you at all in the past 2 or 3 days, and you haven't had the chicken pox, you should really be on the lookout. I'm sorry. I didn't know. I blamed my sore throat on talking all day at school, my exhaustion and achiness on it being my first week with the kids, and the little spots/water blisters that started appearing on Monday on being stressed out. I thought surely they were hives. Everyone I asked about it said the same thing.

Just since I began this blog, I discovered a pock (is that correct?) in my mouth. This is no fun.

God is teaching me to trust Him, that's for sure. All week I was worrying about preparing and being ready, and today that pretty much got squashed into the ground. I am worried about how my students will respond to a substitute when we haven't even completely established the
routines and procedures well yet, and now I have no choice but to just wait and see how it goes. I suppose I'm thankful for the chance to rest and think and pray and read and try to keep my mind off the itching.

I just got off the phone with my dear friend Amy Hamm, and she is going to the store for me so I don't dehydrate... Thank you!

Ok, now on to how funny my kids are. Here are just a few of the things I've heard so far...

(after talking about the movie Hairspray)
"When I'm grown I'm gonna make a movie called HairButter."

(conversation between myself and a kid who missed the bus after school)
"My dad's name is Wilmer too. I'm a junior."
"That's great. Do you think you'll name your kid Wilmer too?"
"I don't know. (long pause) I don't know if I'll get married, I can't tell the future."

I also have a student who LOVES Mabel Simmons aka Madea, and he always quotes the movies. It's very hard for me to control myself and not jump in and start quoting too. They know I like Madea and that I have seen all the movies and some of the plays, but I think I'll let it stop there. There's a fine line between teacher and friend. :-)

Thanks again for all your prayers! If you want to pray more, pray that if the Lord wills it, I will have a speedy recovery and that it won't be a severe form since I'm an adult. Thanks so much!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

First Day of School

Tomorrow's the big day... I've been preparing my classroom for a few weeks now, and now it's finally time for it to be filled by kids. Here are a few pictures of my room, the rules, and all 30 of the desks that will more than likely each be filled up soon. I currently have 27 students, but it looks like the numbers keep going up. I treasure your prayers that I will be consistent in my classroom management, show no favoritism, and do my best to teach each of these kids. Thank you!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Puritan Thoughts...

Tonight I was reading in The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. It's a great book, and it's really been amazing for me to see the similarities between my own heart and someone who lived hundreds of years ago. We are the same. Both longing for something greater than ourselves. Both steeped in our sin. Both wrestling with the same human nature and tendencies. As I was reading tonight, I came across one simple sentence that caught me offguard.

My trials have been fewer than my sins.

Recently I have been experiencing a sense of loss and sadness, thinking on the past, my family I once knew now being non-existent, and dwelling on the thought that I have not yet been given what I want for my future. How often (and recently) I have come before God with a sense of entitlement. Entitlement to His forgiveness, to an enjoyable and painless life, to receive the things I want. This prayer, lifted to God so many years ago, helps me to see that I have no entitlement. I should only stand in awe that He would choose to pour out His grace on me, of all sinners. Were the numbers of trials in my life equivalent to that of my sin, I would be unable to stand. I have not been treated as my sins deserve, not through any reasons of entitlement or my deserving it, but because God is gracious.

Thou hast done for me all things well,
hast remembered, distinguished, indulged me.
All my desires have not been gratified,
but thy love denied them to me
when fulfilment of my wishes would have
proved my ruin or injury.
My trials have been fewer than my sins,
and when I have kissed the rod it has fallen
from thy hands.
Thou hast often wiped away my tears,
restored peace to my mourning heart,
chastened me for my profit.
All thy work for me is perfect,
and I praise thee.

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;
therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.
For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal."
Job 5:17-18

"If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared."
Psalm 130:3-4

Every ounce of pain, sadness, joy, sorrow, frustration, gain, or loss is - as His child - meant to bring me more intimately to Him, pointing me to His grace, His goodness, His love, that I may abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

When I am tempted to complain that my life is not what I think it should be, may I remember that my trials are fewer than my sins, and be thankful and humbled before our great God.