Monday, October 31

Breaking News

Just for the record...splitting classes midway through the year is not a piece of cake. For what it went pretty smoothly. But let me just say that a roomful of crying third graders breaks my heart and makes me want to cry too.

I was so sure of my list today...which students go to which teacher...but I walked away thinking, "oh, no what if I didn't put them in the right place? Should I have kept this one and let that one go?" One little guy cried loudly for 15 minutes and I felt as if I was abandoning him by sending him to another class. Then again, I had two others crying because they wanted to leave my class...hmm...that really says a lot. Poor kids I wish I could have found an easier way to drop the news on them.

Ughh...I hope this gets easier. I know it's for the best...smaller class sizes mean better education. It was like giving away my own children.

Sunday, October 30


Friday, I was pulled out of my classroom to speak with my principal. She had finally made the decision to pull in another teacher and had come to pass on the news. Effective class would be cut in half. 26 to 13.

So tonight, I have carefully split my students into two lists. It's going to be great for them...they'll get more of the attention that they need. And I am going to be WAY better off...I will finally be able to focus on teaching and not so much on behavior management.

In some ways, I feel that I have failed a couple of the students. I won't be able to get them through the year...they will be going to the other class. It's been a tough 10 weeks and there won't be any reconciliation or time to improve. But then again, I remind myself continually, it's not about me...I just need to keep moving and handle what's in front of me.

I almost feel as if this was an answer to my prayer on Thursday. The "God please help me get these kids under control, because I don't know how" prayer. I'm looking foward to the possibilities.

Thursday, October 27

Who's in control?

I think I need to start carrying a notebook with me. All through the day I think of things to write about. And then I sit here, in front of my computer, and not a thought comes to mind.

Today was tough. Thursdays seem to be that way. I actually stood in my classroom before lunch and prayed out loud. "Lord, help me to make it through this day. Lord, help me to get these kids in order. I don't know how. Bring peace because I don't know how to bring it." I think the kids thought I was talking to myself. They proceeded to raise their hands for the quiet signal and actually got themselves to quiet down. One of my little girls said, "Miss T., just raise your hand so they'll be quiet." I listened to her. :) I was on the verge of tears. Then this afternoon, it was just chaotic...a quiet chaos...but chaos nonetheless. And wouldn't you know that that is when the reading coach came in to observe my classroom? I spent 45 minutes getting the kids ready to go home. Well, tomorrow is another day...

I sat in my classroom at the end of the day Tuesday and began to feel a strange flutter way deep down inside. "Could it be that I am starting to love these children?" I asked myself. And not just love them because they're kids and that's my job, but really, truly care about their lives. 26 little minds and hearts. They are full of the anger, hurt and predjudice passed down through their parents. And there the struggle lies because they are also full of love, a desire to be useful, a desire for purpose, talents, laughter, and ideas. So my personal struggle is this...I want to solve their problems, bring peace where there is chaos, train them to love instead of hate. I want to teach them to succeed and grow and become independent thinkers and learners. And I just don't know how!!! I want to know how. But do I want to struggle as they struggle?

I am finding myself in situations of predjudice and judgement and inferiority. I am finding that my pride is being taken down. I am find a new place for humility to plant itself. I am finding that I am not always right and that people are going to point out that I am not right. I am finding that even if I am right people will not see my point of view. I am learning how to stick up for myself. I am developing a thicker skin than I ever thought I'd need, but have always secretly longed for. And in the midst of it all...God's grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. And really it's not about me anyways. It is ALL about His plans and purposes for these little ones and for me.

If I could
wrap my arms around it,
it would seem too small, too comprehendable.
If I could
reach out to touch its surface,
it might appear to be movable, and somewhat controlled.
But there it lingers, beyond my reach, too wide for my embrace
And I do not understand how it draws upon my heart.
So I surrender to His touch and rest in His embrace
To bring me to the place of understanding
A place where I walk in love.

Sunday, October 23


After school on Friday, I sped off to see a friend of mine in Greenville, SC. Seven hours later I was at her door, ready for a good nights sleep...after all of the catching up of course!!! This friend of mine was my roomie in college for awhile. We were also road trip buddies from OK to NY every school holiday and summer. After her wedding this summer, I promised a since they were having another friend in town this weekend, I decided to go visit too.

After lunch and shopping in a North Carolina mountain town, we met up with some other friends for dinner and dancing. Now, I have to add a disclaimer right here....I LOVE to dance. Growing up (ie highschool, early college) I was normally the wallflower at any occassion with music. My confidence lacked, my groove did not seem to match the music, and to top it off...guys did not come in abundance for the asking. Last night, was only the second night in my entire life (the first was at the above mentioned wedding) that I have truly enjoyed dancing. I felt as if I belonged out there in the middle of the crowd. My dancing buddy knew how to lead, so all I had to do was follow, and to top it off I was in the midst of people that I totally trusted.

I watched the other latin dancers move around the crowded dance floor. Old couples, young couples, awkward couples, graceful women, confident men, twirling, releasing, holding close, letting go. The loud music cut out voices, but conversations did not end.

As I danced, I thought about my life and about romance. I thought about the fact that, given circumstances a year ago, I would have married someone who never would have danced with me. I thought about the much different place that I would be in. Had I stayed where I was, I would never have known the joy of coming out of my private living room dance sessions :) and really dancing with someone else. And there, in the midst of twirling and smiling and stepping I felt a twinge of heartache. Because, I realized that this night would end. It would end as all others night had and would. I would go home the next day. Friendships and acquaintances would go back to routine, my heart would go back to manner mode, and I would continue as before. In the midst of the dance, I was warning myself that it would end.

I hate that warning. I hate it even more when it has proven true. I try to ignore it in moments when I am most ready to believe that love could be possible. I try to hold it in moments of fear and vulnerability. Driving home today, it was the same warning that shed light upon the state of my heart. I am afraid that true love will not come again. I am afraid that the dance is only a dance. I am afraid because I want so much to stay upon that dance floor. I do not want the dance to end. I do not want my dancing partner to leave.

I want to dance. For the rest of my life.

Prelude to a post

I built another temple to a stranger
I gave away my heart to the rushing wind
I set my course to run right into danger
Sought the company of fools instead of friends

You know I've been unfaithful
Lovers in line
While you're turning over tables
With the rage of a jealous kind
I chose the gallows to the aisle
Thought that love would never find
Hanging ropes will never keep you
And your love of a jealous kind
Love of a jealous kind

Tryin' to jump away from rock that keeps on spreading
For solace in the shift of the sinking sand
I'd rather feel the pain all too familiar
Then be broken by a lover I don't understand
'Cause I don't understand

One hundred other lovers, more, one hunderd other altars
If I should slow my pace and finally subject me to grace
And love that shames the wise, betrays the heart's deceit and lies
And breaks the back of foolish pride

Jars Of Clay - Jealous Kind

I watched as a young girl of no more than 21 sold herself to a crowd for 100 dollars. And as she danced, I saw her crying out for more. She had traded attention for love, and a smile for security and trust. She had entered the contest at the approval of "friends" and after hearing the conditions she had stayed to prove that beauty belonged to her. Her sad and lifeless eyes broke my heart.

I overheard a husband speak to a stranger about his wife. Instead of dancing with her, he asked the stranger to teach her the steps. After all, he was with his friends too, having a good time, why should he cling to his wife, when someone else could fill her need?

Three recent marriage breakups. Two close friends and an acquaintance. I am hearing the perspectives of two wives and one son. What happens when commitment is no longer commitment? Was it ever based on sacrifice? Was it ever a love beyond circumstances? Why does it seem that life is crowding out the very substinance of our lives?

This song sang the very words that hung over my heart tonight. How many loves have come in the way of my love for God? How many loves have turned me in a different direction? Will I ever come to a place of loving Him and receiving a love that comes through Him? How many people have I allowed to take the place of a void only He can fill? How long has He called for me and I have not answered? How do I respond now that I know?

Sunday, October 16

Restoring Order

The second marking period starts tomorrow. I think I have a better grasp on things. And so I am starting out with new guidelines, new procedures...the way it should have been at the beginning. I am praying all the way, that God helps me to restore or rather to establish the order that I and these third graders so desperately need.

Want to see the world from the comfort of home? GoogleEarth

I took the day off from church, but was delighted to find that I didn't have to miss the service. I am so thankful to have found this place.

By the way, welcome back brother...I missed you! I'm so proud of you can't wait to hear your voice. :)

Tuesday, October 11

Letting it all out

There's nothing better than being able to trust a friend with what's really on your heart. Thanks for listening tonight. It's been hard to take my thoughts and put them into words. More so, it's been hard to trust the words that I knew would come out. Memories, safely hidden in a drawer, kept just in case a better memories did not come along. Fears, that would expose how truly vulnerable I have felt. Hopes, that appear too high or unattainable...and yet still remain as hope. I'm pulling these things out into the light, thanks for helping me sort them through.

Sunday, October 9


"All I once held dear, built my life upon,
all this world reveres and wars to own,
all I once thought gain I have counted loss,
spent and worthless now compared to this.
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing you. There is no greater thing.
You're my all, you're the best, you're my joy, my righteousness, and I love you, Lord."
-Graham Kendrick
Saying I love God is one thing. Acting upon it is the test of my heart.
I have seen many days and many seasons already in only 26 years. And I know that even still, I will be asked to trust God more, to drawn even nearer, and to step out in faith for things I have yet to see.
As I write this tonight, I am reminding myself that I cannot turn back. I cannot return to things that have held me down. I cannot hold on to things that will not move me forward. I cannot grasp for things that are not mine to keep.
I have to let go of...
dreams, possibilities, people, plans, money, expectations, assumptions, control.
I have to trust...
that God is who He said He is...
that I don't have to earn His love...
that He will take care of my needs...
that He will show up when He said He will show up...
that He will come and walk with me.


Read this post .

Thursday, October 6

World Peace

I called my professor today; finally, after surviving two months of third grade. She told me everything I knew already, she encouraged me to keep going. Somehow, just hearing her voice assured me that I could go on at least another week. I can't quit these kids, but I sure can't keep going with the way it is.

If I could just find myself in prayer, then it would probably be better. Call it stubborness, call it at the end of my rope, I'm just sitting here wanting to sulk and think about nothing but the silence of my own home.

Dr. M. said one thing that sticks with me tonight. "Keep track of where the students are at the beginning. Even if they don't seem to be where they should be by January, you will be able to see some progress. You won't reach all of them...there will be some that won't move on. Focus on the fact that you can help a few.

I think my problem is that I want to save the whole world. If all of my students are not progressing, then I feel like I'm failing. It's hard for me to leave any of these kids behind...and yet if I'm waiting for the stragglers then I am neglecting the ones who are ready to move ahead.

If we could all just get along. If I could find a procedure that keeps the kids following directions all day long. If the kids would just learn that fighting in school is not going to solve their problems. If I could just find a balance.

If I could just trust God to order my steps, to bring peace to the chaos. If I could just stop and listen for the sound of His voice.

Tuesday, October 4



...a word commonly Christian speaking of lives lost in the armed hopes that love will seem greater...words seem deeper...acts seem less selfless.

I wonder how many of my "selfless" acts could actually be recorded as sacrifice. I wonder how many times I have really given up "me" in order to specifically help another person or wholeheartedly serve God. Oh sure, a bit of discomfort seems to qualify for recognition. But how long should that discomfort last? And how far am I required to go?

My limited understanding has caused me to act as if a fulfilled requirement or a small dose of pain is enough.

This season that I am going through...causes me to take stock of what I have deemed right and good. I am not always going to be comfortable. Life is not always going to be easy. My friends and family are not going to be perfect.

Sometimes I will stand as a lifeline to someone else....if I so choose. But the scary question is...will I choose it? Will I get off of my couch, after a long day at work, when all my mind and body want to do is veg? Will I get off my couch and pray for a friend whose husband has left her and does not yet have the hope that God will help her through? Will I even answer her call late at night? I want to say YES. But I am finding, though, that it is a struggle...even in something so small as a phone call.

Even my attitude about I willing to go every day? Knowing that my children will be less than perfect? Knowing that I will be given more expectations than I "feel" like I can handle? Knowing that for some reason God has placed me here?

What if I just turn my face and decide to live for God's purposes and not my own. What if I choose to say that my discomfort is worth it, if it means the discomfort of someone else will decrease? What if my discomfort leads someone to God?

Sunday, October 2

Another week begins...

Here comes another week, Monday being just an hour away. I am slightly looking foward to tomorrow. I am slightly looking forward to what the week may bring. Which is more than any other week's getting better. :)

On Thursday my jump drive came up missing in my classroom. I was sure it had been left plugged into the computer. And yet, at the end of the day, there was no trace of a small piece of technology that held the last two years of my written, working, and photographed life. I was sure that one of the students must have unplugged it and even more frightened that it had been stolen. I searched the floors and some desks along with another teacher who came in to help. I asked God to help me and then I realized that it might have been thrown away. The other teacher and I walked down the hallway to the janitor's cart. We began to search through bags of garbage. And there it was, at the very bottom. What if I had only assumed that it was stolen and had given up? I never would have seen it again.

On Friday I got to school and realized that my phone was not in my purse. I thought I remembered putting it in my purse. At the end of the school day I called from my classroom phone to see if I had left it at home. Dad informed me that he had found a piece of metal with an antennae in the driveway....and then pronounced that there was no damage. I remembered back to when I had dropped my purse that morning in the driveway. What if I had driven over it?

Saturday, I realized that these instances were not coincidental. I was driving in my car on my way to meeting mom and dad for dinner, and I was hit with the thought...God's grace is evident in my life. I'm starting to see that more and it's bringing a lot of peace to my heart.