Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Lord Answers Prayer

For those of you who were praying for my girls in the fourth grade, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart! I had been searching my mind for a few weeks. I knew that there was discontent and strife between some of the girls in my class. Some were down right rude, but it was done in such a way that it went under my radar. All I knew is that I sensed it in my spirit and the Lord was prompting me to do something. The "something" is what I wasn't sure about.

Two weeks ago, the fourth grade was in charge of the skit and message for elementary chapel. I had my class do a modern twist on the Good Samaritan parable taught by Jesus. Our play was placed in NYC and it went over very well with all the kids in chapel. Afterwards, I talked about the fruit of the Spirit called kindness and goodness.

I illustrated this message with a story about my mother, Judy, and a girl she knew at the children's home that Judy's father directed, let's call her "Minnie". Minnie and Judy's relationship has always been a strained one, but early on it was very difficult. My mother had about one hundred "adopted" brothers and sisters at a given time. Minnie was one of these "sisters".

I don't know the hurt in Minnie's life but I do know that she let it out on many of her peers. She decided to let that anger out on my mother. She told all the girls in the children's home to shun my mother. No one could play or talk to my mother. Minnie was a very convincing girl. People did not cross her, especially since she had stabbed a girl clean through her hand with a sharpened pencil!

Well, my mom purposed in her heart that she would just heap loving-kindness on Minnie's head. No matter how unkind Minnie was towards Judy, Judy would just love on Minnie at every chance she could get. Minnie came to my mom one day and infuriatingly asked why she was being so nice to her when she was being so mean back. My mother just replied that Jesus loved her and she loved her too. Well, eventually the shunning came to an end and slowly but surely Minnie gave her heart to Christ and became more kind.

I was hoping this story would hit some heartstrings of some of my girls. Well on Friday the 25th, I read I Corinthians 12 about how we are all part of the body and how each part cannot do without the other. I also spoke to the class about how if you hurt one Christian you are hurting the whole body of Christ because he is the head. You are not an individual Christian all by yourself. I saw some wide-eyes at that point. I could tell that the Holy Spirit was revealing a new idea to some hearts.

I asked the entire class to think about who they might have hurt throughout the year. I also asked them to think about those who had harbored bad feelings against people. Then I instructed them to write out a letter to God asking for forgiveness for those actions or thoughts.

The kids really responded well, boys and girls! Most started writing furiously. I had many that asked me if they could talk to others privately and ask forgiveness. I gave them that time. After about thirty minutes of asking for forgiveness one to another we got in a circle and prayed as a group, squeezing hands to signal who was next. I had many fourth graders ask for forgiveness from God out loud in the group. It was a powerful moment. The kids then threw their letters into the a garbage bag and everyone had a chance to stomp on the garbage bag. We then got on our coats and sang as we trekked to the dumpster, "If the devil doesn't like it he can sit on a Tack...I'm so happy, so very happy. I've got the love of Jesus in my heart..." We counted to three and threw the garbage bag into the dumpster and everyone cheered and clapped! It was absolutely amazing!

Throughout the day, boys and girls went to each other and were continuing to ask forgiveness of each other. I told them at the end of the day that I was so happy about how God had worked in their lives today and how we should always remember this time. I also told them that Satan doesn't like it when Christians have unity and now Satan would tempt them to act in wrong ways. We are not perfect and we can make mistakes, but we need to ask God each and every day to help us choose His love.
We prayed one last time and they went home with a note to parents of what miraculous event happened at school that day.

I got a few thank-yous and responses from parents this week. One parent replied that she thought it was the best lesson the fourth grade has learned this year. I couldn't agree with her more, especially since it was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit!

This week has shown trials for some of my students, but I provided an opportunity this past Friday, Feb. 1st. I started Bible with the idea of how God doesn't always show us all the anger or all the sin that we need to deal with or give to Him all at once. He reveals to us what He needs to work on in us little by little. I had some more kids that needed to go to one another and repent and ask forgiveness again. Others wrote letters asking God to show them areas that they couldn't see themselves that He needed to work on. I think I will need to do this every couple of weeks. So I have a new discipleship goal for my students. I am trying to give them accountability for their actions and guidance for how to take those steps as Christians living day by day. Thank you Lord, for your direction in their lives and mine!

New Word For Gideon

This is going to be a real quick one today. Many of you figured out what the word "pooncock" one from a few months ago. Well, I have a new one for you! Yesterday Gideon told me that he made a "rammocka" at school. Does anyone want to take a guess at what this word might really be? He was very excited about his creation.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day at the Camden Aquarium

Kenny and Gideon had a wonderful day at the Camden Aquarium in NJ on Saturday. It is right across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. Mommy wishes that she could have joined them, but she had a marathon day at school getting grades, lesson plans, and bulletins boards updated. Report card grades are due by Tuesday morning of this week. But Daddy did a great job of taking pictures in lieu of mommy's absence. Thank you, Kenny!

Gideon says that his favorite things about the aquarium were: the SHARKS first and foremost, then the hippos, and then all the wonderful fishies. Kenny's favorite part was watching Gideon's pure amazement at each new exhibit. It was quite fun!

They did a four-D Sponge Bob presentation together at the aquarium. The audience got to participate with the 3-D movie and again Gideon had a lot of fun.

Gideon and Daddy took the long way home. As soon as Gideon got in the car, he was out like a light. Of course, I have to say, he was our "little sleeping tiger". He got his face painted at the aquarium. Once I saw him later on the day, I couldn't get him to stop growling and prowling. It was very cute.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Awesome Evangelism

You have to listen to this story. It is an amazing testament of God's faithfulness to a little man who served him for many years. It will inspire you to continue the good race for His Glory!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthay, Becky!

Well, I am leaving the birthday music on for a few more days! Becky, Kenny's sister, is having a birthday! Yeah! She has her celebration day this Sunday the 27th. She usually gets to celebrate her birthday with many yelling men most years. Her birthday always comes on SuperBowl weekend. Awww, poor girl! Becky, we hope you have a wonderful birthday and we wish we could be there. Take Care, Sis.

On another note, Kenny received a wonderful package in the mail this week. For the past few months Kenny has endured a mask that was too large and was actually giving him a permanent hematoma right between his eyebrows. Ouch! Well, Dave and Janet Vogt, Toby's parents, sent Kenny a new mask that fits him perfectly this week. They owned a medical supply company and part of their stock was the sleep apnea machine equipment. I actually heard this great sigh of relief come out of him when he tried it on the first time. He immediately laid down and took a quick catnap with it on. It was perfect! Thanks, Dave and Janet! We appreciate it so very much!

This week has been nice. Only a four day school week. However, I am dealing with a lot of "girl" issues in my classroom right now and need prayer for them. I am actually thinking of having a girls' sleepover with a footwashing ceremony and communion as well as other activities. Hopefully this will bring more unity and more kindness into the lives of these girls on a daily basis. It is getting pretty intense with petty comments, emotions worn on sleeves, and more.

Gideon is starting to develop a bit of a cough. We have been using the nebulizer in the evenings before he goes to bed each night and it seems to be at least preventing the hacking from getting worse. Hopefully this will remain the case.

Again, best wishes to Becky! May you have a great birthday!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Birthday Weekend

Kenny and I riding on the subway from uptown to downtown NYC.

First, if it is hard to read this blog with the music and singers playing in the background you can scroll down and at the bottom of the right hand column & there you will find the music that is playing. Click the pause button and you won't have to read and listen to singers at the same time. I just think this is great celebratory music to have for this particular blog posting! Happy Birthday, Honey!

Well, we had a great time celebrating Kenny's birthday this past weekend. We did get the chance to go up to NYC on Saturday. Gideon was watched by a co-worker of Kenny's named Jodi. Jodi brought her two daughters to play with Gideon and from what I hear they had a blast and a half.

Kenny and I arrived up in Manhattan about 1:30. We walked around the theatre district and finally settled on buying tickets for The Farnsworth Invention. It was a great play with Hank Azaria and Jimmi Simpson. Click on the link above for a great synopsis of the play.

We had some time to kill before our 5:00 reservations at Plataforma, a Brazilian steakhouse. We decided to take the subway over to Ground Zero. We didn't get a chance to see much due to all the construction. We saw the temporary makeshift memorial and also toured St. Paul's Chapel directly across from the site. This church played an integral part in the volunteer rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts in the days, weeks, and months that followed the 9-11 tragedy.

We didn't stay very long before we realized that we probably should head back. On our way back we definitely experienced the real subway crowds of NYC. We were packed like sardines on the way back and more and more people kept getting on without a soul getting off. Yikes.

We had a wonderful meal at Plataforma. The waiters come around with large skewers of meat. Sirloin, prime rib, lamb, turkey, chicken, sausage were par for the course. They also had a delectable food bar as well. It was quite an experience. For those in the Louisville and Cincinnatti area, the site says that one is coming to Cincy fairly soon.

"The Farnsworth Invention" was very enjoyable. Both Kenny and I agreed that we enjoyed it a lot, but we couldn't believe that for our first chance to see a Broadway show we picked play and not a musical. Oh well, hopefully there is a next time. The play let out about 10:15 and we were back at our house in Lakewood by 11:40. We love our new GPS system. Thanks again to Papa Tom and Grandma Judy. We LUV it!

We spent a lazy day at home on Sunday. On Monday, Gideon and I stayed home for Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday. We made homemade PB cookies. They were very yummy.

We are so grateful for another year of life together as a family. Another year of life learning how to serve Christ more each and every day, little by little! Another year of adventure! Thank you Lord for it all!

I am getting ready to teach my students the Presidents in order. I was looking up songs on the internet to help teach them and I have posted a really cute one of a little girl that will steal your heart. Sounds like she might be from New Jersey at that!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Exciting Snow!

We had a great time after school today. It started snowing right before carpool. The kids in carpool line were all sticking out their tongues trying to catch snowflakes. I think I even stuck my tongue out until I thought some other parents or teachers might be watching me critically. I can't help it! I am just a big kid at heart when it comes to snow especially.

I was so excited when we got home and there was a bit of snow on the ground and the big wet flakes were still coming down! All the way home Gideon and I were commenting how amazing God was and how pretty he had made it on the trees, bushes, leaves and ground I kept hearing Gideon reflecting under his breath, "Beautiful!". I agree.

Well, we didn't miss our opportunity to play in the snow and fortunately I had just brought my camera home from school and I had it on me. I didn't have my new video camera, but at least I got some moving pictures of Gideon making a snow angel. It was so fun!

Thank you, Lord for small wonderful SNOW!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Little Drummer Boy

The boy in the above video is phenomenal and must have been practicing on his pots and pans since he was Gideon's age or before! We showed this video to Gideon today so it would inspire him to use pots and pans. He wanted a "real" set of drums and was very distraught that mommy and daddy were not going to get him a big set. We kept telling him that pots and pans are just as good as the "real" thing, but he wouldn't believe us until he saw this kid above. Now he is banging away. Of course, now that we have him happy about his pots and pans we are having to tell him to be very quiet so our neighbors in the apartment don't start banging on our door and yelling at us! Yikes!

Down below you can view Gideon's attempt at whacking at the drums! As in the famous words of the Go-Go's "We got the beat, we got the beat! Yeah! WE got the beat!" Well, sorta!

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Year, New Vision

Hello! Hope everyone had a great first week of 2008!

The Lord is really pressing some new visions for our family and what he would have us to do as far as ministry for him. Please be praying for us as we seek Him earnestly the next few weeks.

We would like to start a Bible study in our apartment building. This should be interesting to see what happens when we post the fliers. I don't know what the reaction will be from the Jewish tenants or others. All we do know is that this is what the Lord is pressing on our hearts to do and so we shall do it and trust in Him.

Kenny's back is feeling better. Thank you for all the prayers. He still has some pain and will probably go see a chiropractor as soon as he can get an opening in his schedule.

Kenny's birthday is coming up! He will be 33 years young on January 20th! We hope to go up to NYC that weekend and celebrate with a dinner and a Broadway show, Fiddler on the Roof. This would be the first time up there together without Gideon. It will be nice to go out on the town as a couple and not a threesome. Wow! Freedom! That's a new concept...especially in New Jersey without grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and teenage nieces at our disposal.

Happy Birthday to my sis-in-law, Meaghan Sutherland. I believe she is turning 24 on Tuesday! Hope it is a good one, Meag!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year's Day!

Gideon and Momma have been busy this New Year's Day. We have been building a tent-house for Gideon. He has most of his favorite stuffed animals in it.

Kenny is laid up right now. Yesterday Kenny was walking across the bedroom and "kink!" his backed was thrown out! He has been in really severe pain. Please be praying for him. He goes back to work tomorrow and really needs to be feeling much better than he is now. We are hoping it is just a pulled muscle and not a slipped disk. He can barely make it across the room right now.

School starts tomorrow for Gideon and for me. Only three days and then a weekend. What a treat!

Hope everyone had a great celebration last night. I sat home and watched HGTV to ring in the New Year since both my boys were in bed already. Fun! Fun! :)

Oh by the might have noticed that we now have audio on our video clips. We got a little video camera as well for Christmas and we can't wait to use it even more to make great memories!

Weirdness in New Jersey

I thought that Kentucky had a good share of odd people, but evidently one of them moved up to New Jersey.

This car is set up (and I do mean UP) right across from my school. I finally had to break down and capture the image. I just had to share it with everyone.

It appears that the car is set up on some kind of jack system and then the jacks are draped with a black tarp. The car has lit snowflakes draped upon it with a inflatable snowman snowglobe
strapped to the top with bungee cords. It is quite a sight!

I think the cherry on top is the sign that instructs people to use the next driveway. I think people understand that they are NOT getting down this driveway!