Sunday, October 19, 2014

Love

     Today I read a blog post from Kara Tippetts. If you have not read her story, read this post then spend a lot of time on her other posts. She is a woman of amazing faith and inspiration. Today her post was about her husband and about his love in times where she has needed comfort as well as every other day. She is so much more eloquent than I will ever be.
     Her post made me think about people who have loved me unconditionally, shown me grace or mercy at times when it has been greatly needed, friends who are always there even if it has been a really long time since you last spoke to them, and people who see who you aspire to be especially in the times when we are less than perfect.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

purpose

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.- Jeremiah 29:11

Now may the God of peace—
    who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
    and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
21 may he equip you with all you need
    for doing his will.
May he produce in you,[e]
    through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
    All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.- Hebrews 13:20-21


     I am grateful and joyful that God has created me to fulfill a purpose with my life. I do not always know God's will for my life but I think He has put me in a position where I am in contact with hundreds of people a year, many whom I develop personal relationships with. I enjoy my work and love knowing that my talents are serving a purpose. I know that my successes are not my own doing, but that God has given me the tools I need to change the lives of others. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Manners

     Today I was walking into school with 1 31 Gifts bag full of school papers (The utility tote with the insert for the hanging file folders), a bag of flashcards I had graded, my lunch, 2 dozen donuts and a box of munchkins with a ripped handle. As I was getting out of my car, I noticed one of my chorus guys approaching the door. I yelled across the parking lot and asked if he would mind holding the door for me. Not only did he say "Sure," but he also walked over to my car to see if I needed any help carrying things. 
     I have rediscovered this week that I love good manners (and parents that expect their kids to follow them). This has not been prompted by some bad event where I wish people had done something differently, but from deep appreciation of seeing kindness. I was even thinking today that many Christians talk about showing Christ's love- but don't necessarily follow basic manners that would help do that. 
     Here are some examples of manners I've seen this week:
     -normal "please" and "thank you"
     - door holding
     - Our 6th grade went on a trip and a little girl was struggling with her sleeping bag and pillow. Her 8th grade brother walked by, saw her struggling, smirked a little and then walked over, took her stuff and walked it to where they were going.
     - Today a few kids stayed after class to straighten up piles of music
     - I bought my 8th graders breakfast today. Every one of them thanked me.
     - Older kids at church working with the younger kids
     - People listening without interrupting 
     - A retired teacher coming back to help her replacement with a field trip and mentoring her

     I have a group of 8th graders who have created a culture of respect and kindness in their class. Can you imagine how much different the world would be if people just acted with manners and respect toward everybody else? Can you imagine what joy you would feel if you knew that when you entered a room, new place or situation that you could just be yourself without people being rude or demeaning?  Here's hoping...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quotes about joy

I'm feeling a little exhausted today so I decided I would keep this post simple. Here are a few quotes I have found about joy tonight.















Teaching

Paige Faure as Cinderella, Andy Jones as the Prince in "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella"(
(Picture from the Providence Journal's theater review of the National Tour of Cinderella)

     See that handsome prince? Well, he's one of my former students. I got a chance to see him perform in Providence, RI tonight. (which is why I'm posting at 12:30 am!) Honestly, I saw him in this musical twice while he was on Broadway (once in the ensemble and once as Prince Topher.)  I couldn't be prouder. One of my colleagues organized a trip for our current theater students to go watch him. I'm so happy for him. If you get a chance to see the national tour, go do it! It was wonderful.
   
     I'm so blessed to be a part of the lives of so many students. Last night, I took my sons to go to see the middle school hockey team play. During afternoon announcements, the hockey game was announced and one of my chorus boys (who is on the hockey team) raised his hand to ask me if I was going. When I told him I was, he got this big grin across his face and told me that he was really excited because he was starting. While we were at the game, many kids on the team came and said hello. Two girls from chorus also came to chat with me after the game. There was even an 8th grade boy who took some time to hang out with my sons.
     This weekend 2 of my former students got married. About 50 of them wished me happy birthday. A current 8th grade student found out it was my birthday and made me cupcakes.

    It makes me extremely happy to see the success of the kids I work with. Watching them grow is greatly rewarding to me. The lessons I have learned from my mentors are passed down to my students and occasionally I will see a glimpse of those things peeking out. What joy, and great responsibility, is it to be able to have a teaching role in the life of a young student.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Relationships

     I'm going to confess something, although I am what many people think of as "a people person" I often get lonely. So, relationships are something that cause me great joy on one side but can also be painful or sad on other days.  Yesterday was my birthday and with that came the many, many "happy birthday" messages on Facebook. Realistically, some of these people are friends or family, some are acquaintances and some are people I have just met a connection with somewhere in life. I spent some time yesterday thinking about all of these people. Let me tell you about some of them. Some of you might find yourself in more than 1 category. 
     My friends- I have some pretty amazing friends. Some are practically superheroes. I get joy from watching how incredible some of you are. I rejoice with you as I watch you teach your children or just navigate through life. I learn from you as you go through life's lessons- some easy, some not so much. I am blessed by your compassion, grace and mercy. Sometimes I'm surprised at how different you are from me, but I love the fact that I am part of your life. I hope over this year we can deepen our friendship.I also appreciate that you are a part of the life of my family. 
     My colleagues- I'm really lucky that I work with a group of incredibly talented people who really care about the kids that they work with. I love that the students have so many different personalities to learn from. There is at least 1 person at our school that any kid will be able to develop a great relationship with. 
     My family-  I have a small family on my side and a large family on my husband's side. We have a ton of kids in my family and it is really exciting to watch them grow up and develop into their own little people. I have a few great spiritual role models in my family and I thank you for being living examples of Christ in my life. My husband and children bring me great joy every day. There isn't a day that I'm not laughing at home.
     My penpals- As I said the other day, some of you actually know me better than some of my other friends. I appreciate you sharing your lives with me and taking the time to sit and write me deep, personal letters. I think about you often and hope that someday I will meet many of you in person. Seeing a letter from any of you is a perfect way to brighten any day. I look forward to continuing to write and seeing what this year has in store for us!
    Former students- I feel really blessed that I'm still in touch with many of you. I am excited to follow your careers, family life- babies and weddings! and life in general. You all have so much potential and I'm excited to see what God has in store for all of you. It made me smile yesterday to read my birthday wishes and to see that I had students from almost every year of teaching (except for the ones who are still in high school/middle school because I won't friend them.)  I am also excited that many of the relationships that started in my middle school choruses are still going strong in your personal lives. You guys are also a great blessing to me, just like (most of you.. lol) you were in my classes. 
     Former teachers- Some of you have no idea what an impact you had on my life- whether it was making me feel at home in your class, challenging me to grow,  teaching me that I didn't actually know everything, letting me into your personal life, encouraging me to be a better musician/student/Christian/person in general. I can name a handful of teachers who made me into the person I am today. 
     Church friends- Again, not only am I lucky to have you in my life, but so isn't my family. I'm blessed to be a part of a great group of believers that challenge me personally and spiritually. 
     Musicians- I love being able to share my heart and talents with some amazing people from across the world. There are so many things that can be said through music when no other words can communicate them. Many of your messages brought me back to specific times when I have performed in groups with you or worked with you to bring the best out of our students. 
     Art friends- I am amazed at your talent and creativity.  Some of you have taught me some fun things and have really opened me up to try to new things. If you asked me about art a year ago, I would have told you that I'm horribly bad at it and then I would've not even tried. You inspire me!
     Bloggers- Thanks for all the challenges you give me and for reading my blog. I appreciate the accessibility I have to so many different people with expertise in so many different subjects. I can't wait to get to know some of you better. 
     Acquaintances- So why are we only acquaintances? ;) Thanks for the birthday wishes. I'm sure we have connected for a reason. Here's hoping we figure that out this upcoming year!

   Now that I have said all this, I will admit that  I have a lot of people I am friends  or family with/to, but not too many that I have super close relationships with. Sometimes I think that I keep friendships on a surface level on purpose, but other times I really want to challenge myself to develop deeper relationships.  I read a quote today that said: "In our hurry-up culture, relationships often end up on the back burner, and it’s one reason we’re starving spiritually." I would love to develop more in depth relationships with more people this year and get to know some new people too. Later in the article I just references, the author quotes C.S. Lewis as saying  “Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life. If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I should say, ‘Sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends.’

    Thanks again for all the birthday love!

   
     

Monday, October 13, 2014

Quiet time

   Today is my birthday and I had a wonderful time with my husband and my boys. This weekend was a bit of hard weekend though. I was feeling a little overworked at the end of last week so I took some time Saturday to just be quiet. Sunday was a disaster and today was nice but I definitely would like to take some time tonight to sit and thing.
     When I can spend time reflecting, I am able to hand things over to God rather than stew over them. "Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:29-30
     A few years ago at the Global Leadership Summit, I heard a wonderful woman names Mama Maggie Gobran speak.  She had the following quote about silence and it has stuck with me ever since:
  • To be in silence is to be fully inside your own self.
  • The silence is the secret – the first step – to finding treasure.
  • Silence your body to listen to your words.
  • Silence your tongue to listen to your thoughts.
  • Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart beating.
  • Silence your heart to listen to your spirit.
  • Silence your spirit to listen to His Spirit.
  • In silence you leave many and be with the One.

    I'm grateful to have a God who gives me His time- even if I'm babbling.