I Still Can't Believe It!

Tonight I went to Awakening and joined some friends for service. Jaye Thomas led worship, and I just stood there amazed. I have been living here ten months now, and I still find myself stopping and thanking God for placing me here. I have said for years that the Prayer Room was "Home" to me, and well, Awakening has that same feel for me as well. Seven years of prayer, and I'm here.

I am still amazed. Absolutely amazed.

And you know, I don't want to lose this feeling. I don't want this to become "normal" to me. I want the wonder and awe of God to still catch me by surprise. I still want to be able to say "Thank you, God" for even the smallest things he's blessed me with here.

And above all, I don't want worship and the music here to become "normal." As Jaye led us in "I gotta reason to dance, dance, got a reason to lift my hands" (it's a chorus out of IHOP) I just stood there and smiled.

Then I thanked God.

I was reminded: I am home.

Life.
Is.
Good.

Eyes to See, Ears to Hear

During Onething 2008 Laura Hackett's song "Put On Christ" became the theme song of the conference. I love Onething Conferences, as there is always a song that winds up becoming the theme of the whole thing. I remember singing at the top of my lungs, with my favorite phrase being, "Give me eyes to see, and ears to hear." I think that so much of our walk this side of heaven is to see what He sees and hear what He hears. In light of Sunday's Sermon, I am trying even harder to do that. I look at each of my students and try to see what He sees in them, and hear what He is saying about each of them. Today that was somewhat challenging with one of them.

I had an incident that challenged me to show Christ to a kid who was not doing what she should be doing. And, I am constantly amazed at how God guides me through moments and then later we talk about what it was all about. While I have no idea what today was all about, as I even sit here now and scratch my head trying to figure out the little person's logic (I even called her parents to let them know, and we're all stumped.) and I know I am not much different. I imagine that I do things and others scratch their heads wondering what I was doing.

So tonight I have spent some time prayer over my little person, as well as over my own life, seeking His will instead of my own. (I think that was something that the kid was trying to do.) Some days go better than others, but that's okay. Just as I told the kid tonight, today was just one day, and we get to start all over tomorrow. I love that about God. Today was one day, and tomorrow is a new day. I love that!

I will continue to pray for eyes to see and ears to hear...

Life.
Is.
Good.

Excited!

Today we had our last interview for the LifeSkills opening in my school. Earlier this year, our LifeSkills Teacher Resigned and we have had a substitute in that room since then. I have been praying for MONTHS over the position, praying that God would put the right person in our SVE Family. We had interviews Monday evening, and another one today, and the gal who interviewed today was offered and accepted the job! I AM SO EXCITED! The Lord is bringing a wonderful, experienced Special Educator who is a perfect fit into our school! I can't tell how excited I am! Honestly, tonight I feel the most excited I've felt this Semester.

I also thought it was cool how my principal caught me earlier today and we were chatting and I told her that I was REALLY happy here. I said this right after my eleven o'clock crew walked out, joking with me as they left. Then we had the interview and Crista was offered the job! She is a gift from God!!! I am SO SO SO SO SO SO SO excited!

Also, there is unofficial scuttlebutt that I have some help headed my way in the fall with my caseload! I was told today that I have the highest Learning Center Caseload (25+1 coming) in the entire district! I'm glad help is coming. I needed to hear that...I seriously needed to hear that!

It is always fun to see God answer prayers. He answered my prayers for help with my caseload, as well as for the perfect teacher for the LifeSkills Classroom! Woop!

Life.
Is.
Exciting.

Is Jesus Enough?

This weekend has been exactly what I needed. Last night, God started knocking on my heart again...and I started talking again. It was a night I will never forget.

Tonight I went and drove shuttles and went into the service when the traffic of people died down. Worship was fantastic. It was led by Misty, and I was in a deep place with the Lord again. It wasn't Misty, it was the Lord....it was GREAT. The gentleman that came out to preach was one I had never heard of before, but he is now someone I will never forget. His name was Stephen.

Just as Allen Hood's Message back in 2003 rocked my world, tonight's message was just as powerful and memorable. I was challenged to think "Is Jesus enough?" I will admit, that has not been alive in my heart. I've been stuck. Stuck on dreams and hopes of things that haven't come to pass yet. Stuck on things that concern ME and not the Lord. We were posed with a question..if I get to the end of my life, and those dreams don't come to pass (this is a paraphrase that is adaptable to my situation, he geared it slightly different for the full-time IHOPPers) will Jesus be enough? I wish I could sit here and say "Yes, of course, Jesus is glorified in all do now right now", but honestly I can't. No, I'm not knee-deep in sin as a former church I belonged to preached, but I have been focused on dreams, and not so much on the Lord.

I used to walk out my walk and constantly say, "Lord, is this pleasing to you?" or "Lord may this glorify you". I don't do that as much anymore. I think I need to shift my thought-life a bit.

I was also challenged tonight with, "Let's say those dreams don't come to pass, and my reason for being here is for a student or friend of mine to see Jesus." Is Jesus enough for me?

I dunno.

I do know that I want it to be though.

Guess it's time to start praying....

Life.
Is.
Challenging.

Identity

Tonight was a wonderful night!

First, I went and served at the School Carnival at the Token Redemption Counter. It was a lot of fun, as kids came and went, working hard to get the prizes they wanted. (Imagine my own pain when I had to tell about 4 of them that we were out of what they had worked so hard for!) It was a lot of fun to interact with the kids, as well as the other staff members. We laughed a lot at each other, as well as the kids. It was fun.

After that, I went to IHOP-KC, and had a wonderful time. This may not make sense to anyone, but tonight was the easiest it's been for me to enter in and pray through things than it has been in a LONG time. I wound up sitting up front by the stage, and was reminded why I moved here.

As the leader started singing some oldies, yet goodies, I was reminded of 2001 when I discovered IHOP. I also thought about the fact that I prayed for 7 years to be here. And, I stopped and thanked God. I also realized that for the first time since last Summer, I feel at peace. I also feel close to God again, in a way I haven't felt lately. I was also reminded that my identity is in Him, not in this world. And within that, I feel at peace...

Life.
Is.
Good.

Double Identity by Haddix

This week I have been hooked on another Haddix book. The title of the book is Double Identity. It is about a girl who is dropped off at her "aunt's" house while her parents leave her to "take care of things." It is a WONDERFUL book that I have enjoyed each evening right before I have crashed. I picked up this book because on Monday, both the public and school libraries did not have the next book in the Shadow Children Series that I am reading by Haddix.

Tuesday the other Shadow Children Book came in, so I will start it tonight after I finish Double Identity.

I also picked up three other books from the library tonight on my way home that I had reserved online.

Love. It.

Life.
Is.
Good.

Wiped Out!

Tonight I find myself really, really tired. It's not uncommon for me to be tired the day after such a physically exhausting day like I had yesterday. I want to blog more, and honestly I have papers to grade and things to do for school. Unfortunately, I also have a nervous stomach and am not in the best of moods.

Therefore, I think it's time to crash.

Life.
Is.
Good.

Jeff City Field Trip #1

Today I had my first field trip with my new school, and I LOVED it. I sit here now, absolutely exhausted, but I think I learned more on this field trip than any other one I have been on as a teacher.

We started out the day at the Capitol Building. We went up to the Whisper Gallery. The kids could whisper and hear each other across the room. It was really cool. It was a long way up (and not for those afraid of heights) and it was worth the walk!

After that, we went and had a brief tour of the building. I will admit, this was the weakest part of the field trip as the speaker had to speak softly as the kids walked through the building not being allowed to talk. Truthfully, it was a waste of 30 minutes. I'm not sure I learned anything on this point of the day, so I can only imagine what the kids gained from it.

After that, we got to see the House and Senate in action. I will say that we stayed in there longer than I would have liked, but I did learn a lot about the process, and the kids did too. The House adjourned for the day at noon and is not back in session until tomorrow at 10 (wish I could do that at my job!) so after lunch we were allowed back on the House floor, and the kids were able to participate in a mock bill and debate. It was really cool. The kids honestly learned a lot about the process, as they had to ask the Speaker for permission to talk, and so forth, just like we had seen earlier. That was one of my favorite parts of the day.

We ate lunch on the steps at the Capitol Building and it was a LOVELY day outside. The kids did fairly well eating outside on the steps, and honestly we all needed to sit for a while.

After lunch we went across the street and received a tour of the Supreme Court. This was another highlight for me. We had a tour of the building where we saw the Library and the room that looks like the room where cases are heard. (Apparently they have a room just for tours, and isn't the real room.) I have always been interested in what the Supreme Court does, and while it wasn't necessarily new information for me (Thanks, Mr. Schriener!), it was cool to see.

We ended the day at the Governor's Mansion. While it was nice, it wasn't my favorite part of the day. By this point in the day, I had a couple little people that were REALLY pushing the boundaries (They weren't assigned to my group though! My group Rocked!) so I spent more time managing behaviors than listening to the tour guide.

One very helpful thing for this whole day (Which included 2.5 hours there AND back in the bus!) was that we were on a chartered bus. That's right, we had a DVD player with TV's, a bathroom for kids to use, and comfortable seats. That REALLY helped. I can't imagine that trip in a regular school bus. (I wouldn't be surprised if we have to next year though due to budgets!) It was quieter than a regular bus, and it was a smooth ride! While it is my hope that the bus isn't what the kids remember most (Unfortunately, for some, it could be.) it did help make the trip memorable.

For my first field trip here, I sure enjoyed it and learned a lot.

Now, I have a book to read.

*grin*
Life.
Is.
Good.

Estimation

One of the skills I teach my little people is estimation. Sometimes I scratch my head and laugh as they tell their views on their estimations and I refrain from telling them that their ideas aren't quite what I was trying to teach them. It's a skill that I continue to teach all year long, as it's a life-long skill that they will use the rest of their life.

I start teaching the easy stuff. Do you have enough money to purchase the object on the piece of paper? (For some, it requires a lesson in money first.) Then we move up to how many objects can we buy if you have $10.00? We keep moving up and up in the curriculum. Sometimes kids catch on right away, and sometimes it's takes longer.

I feel like I'm the kid that is taking a while to get it.

I was thinking yesterday that I tend to overestimate people. I think that's a good quality actually...seeing the best in others when everyone around you is pointing out what is wrong with a person. The only draw back to that philosophy is it sometimes leads to hurt.

I often open the door to relationships, seeing the best, wanting the best, hoping for the best, and sometimes it still falls apart. Drama will occur, and I will often think, "It will be okay, the person can handle it." Then I find that I was wrong, and the other person can't quite handle things the way I expected them to.

I recently walked through this, and while no harsh words were said, it bummed me that the other person couldn't handle my setting of boundaries in a responsible way.

Have you been there? It seems to me that the older I get the more I expect people to be mature. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn't.

So, as I was pondering this yesterday and today, I came to a few things.

First off, God loves it that I see the best in people. I can't imagine viewing people any other way.
Second, just because some people can't handle the "stuff" with me, I trust that God used me in their lives in a positive way.
Third, Drama is a part of life. Unfortunately. It's just up to me to walk it out as God leads.
Fourth, God says to forgive repeatedly, so I will not pick up anything short of that when my estimations are off-base.
Fifth, Insecurity makes people do stuff that they normally wouldn't do.
Sixth, I'm not going to let the people that I overestimate keep me from loving others. Life is too short to do that!

So, I pray that this speaks to you on some level.

As for me, I have a book to get back to reading. *grin*

Life.
Is.
Good.

Among the Hidden by Haddix

I haven't posted for several days, and there is a REALLY good reason for it. I mean, between work, after-school commitments, and walking Jay, my week has been packed! Okay, not really. I mean, it has been busy, but I still managed to do Facebook, email, and grade a few papers. Therefore, it clearly wasn't THAT busy!

The main reason I haven't posted is because I'm sucked into a new (to me) book series. I have always LOVED to read, and it has been SO MUCH FUN to have a new series to read!

Among the Hidden is the first book in the Shadow Children Series written by Margaret Haddix. The stories take place in a futuristic society where it is against the law to have more than two children. Any third child born in a family is called a Third Child. Third Children are kept in hiding, where no one about them except their immediate family. The law is enforced by the Population Police. The role of the Population Police is to find Third Children and kill them. The story is about Luke (Lee), and his life as a Third Child.

I am currently on book #4, Among the Barons. With the exception of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, this is the first Series I have been sucked into this much. Margaret Haddix is a gifted author who knows how to write chapters that make you NOT want to put the book down. I even carry the book back and forth to school just in case I have a time to read the book. (I never do, but you never know when it could happen!) While it is a book written for young adults, I have found it thoroughly entertaining as an adult. (Some might argue that I am a kid at heart though!)

It makes me want Summer to start! I have another series I want to read after I finish this one. There are 7 books in the Series, and I'm on book #4. It's fun to have books to look forward to reading!

If you don't have a book to read currently, I HIGHLY recommend this series. But I warn you, once you start, it's hard to stop reading the books!

I would write more, but well, I have a book to read!

*grin*

Life.
Is.
Fun.

Life Is Good!

Tonight I was feelin' a bit down, and couldn't really explain why. It was a really good day, but I was feeling down. I came home and walked Jay, and it was a beautiful evening. After eating dinner, I decided to go shop a bit. Jay and I got in the car, and went for a drive.

We went to the new shopping center here in Lee's Summit. While many of the stores are still being built, I came across one that made me turn around...THERE'S A LIFE IS GOOD SHOP HERE! I have never been in a shop that sells ALL Life is Good stuff! I'm sure the gal working there thought I was a bit weird as I kept talking to myself as I walked around saying, "Oh, this is cool!" or "Oh, how cute." I wound up buying a Life is Good shirt that I plan to wear to school tomorrow.

And, as I was driving off, I heard the Lord say to me, "See, LIFE IS GOOD."

*grin*

Life.
Is.
Good.

Where'd the Weekend Go?

Seriously, where did it go?

Tomorrow I get to be with little people again, but it seems as if the weekend just started.

Hum........

Only 6 more Mondays after tomorrow though!

WOOP! WOOP! WOOP!

Summer is almost here.

LIFE.
IS.
GREAT.

Beauty

Today I spent my day driving the shuttle, and I was amazed at the beauty of today. The weather was PERFECT...not too hot, not too cold...and the trees looked beautiful as I drove from FSM to the Prayer Room. Between the trees, the geese at the pond, the people outside the Prayer Room sitting at the tables, and the wonderful people getting on and off the shuttles, it was a nice day. It was WONDERFUL to be outside enjoying the weather even though I was inside the shuttle!

During my second shift, a rainbow appeared over FSM. It was hard to see at first, but really cool once I saw it. After that, there was a REALLY COOL rainbow over the OVERFLOW lot. It was REALLY neat. I loved it.

It all made me glad it's Spring.

What a beautiful day!

Life.
Is.
Good.

Another Evening of Wii!

This evening I had RockStarPara and her little people over to play the Wii! We had SO MUCH FUN! We laughed a lot, and REALLY enjoyed the evening. My favorite part was how much we laughed. It was really cool.

One year ago I was working through so much "stuff" and now I feel like I'm the old (yet new) me.

Love. It.

Life.
Is.
Good.

Barnabas Bound!!!

Today was a really good day.

I could share MANY stories.

But I won't.

I will just tell the news I got when I went to the mailbox...

I'M BARNABAS-BOUND FOR TERMS 7 AND 8 THIS SUMMER!

I have always wanted to do two weeks out there, and this Summer is it!

I will get to participate in my usual Autism Week, as well as Blind/Visually Impaired and Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Week!!!

I'M SO EXCITED!!!

Life.
Is.
GOOD.

Laughter

Today I was pondering the joy of my job. I was giving the MAP test, and the kids were REALLY trying their hardest. They were VERY intensely focused upon their tests. (Most of them were at least.) Then blondekid's pencil flew onto the ground, and I started laughing. Needless to say, it broke the ice and was exactly what we all needed.

This afternoon I was talking to my paras and I wound up laughing at something. I mean, REALLY laughing--Laughing to the point it hurt.

I thought about it and realized that I haven't laughed like this in years.

It feels great.

Life.
Is.
Good.

Big Mike!!!

There was a student that I had for four years who became one of my first favorite students. I first had him as a First Grader when I was student-teaching in a Regular Education Classroom. He was already labeled for Special Education Services and attended special classes that year. Mike was tall, even as a first grader.

I continued to have Big Mike in second, fourth, and fifth grades in the Special Education Setting. Looking back, I was a YOUNG teacher (He was in the first class I had as a Special Educator.) and I'm not sure how much I taught him academically, but I do know that I taught him to believe he could become anything he wanted to be.

Even as he went on to Middle School and High School, we stayed in touch. He would drop by once in a while to let me know what was up in his world. He even nominated me for the KSN/Continental Auto Mall Teacher of the Month in 2005. This past July, he even helped me move to L.S. Needless to say, I think we've both impacted each other's lives in a positive way.

Football became his thing, and he became known as Big Mike. His name is synonymous with JHS football, and everyone knows who he is and what he's all about.

Today I received a call from him. He called during MAP testing and I called him back.

As it turns out, Big Mike is graduating High School next month (Which is HUGE, I was afraid that may not happen.) and has a full-ride scholarship to a college to play football and attend classes. He said, "Yep, four years of college so I can get a teaching degree and get outta there."

He also said I will be receiving an invitation to graduation in the mail.

And for the first time in my life, I truly learned the definition of PROUD.

I also realized how cool my job is and what it can do for the little people.

And the big ones too!

*grin*

Life.
Is.
AWESOME.

The Little People

One of the perks of teaching Elementary School is that the kids are smaller in size than I am. I have to admit, I REALLY like that. Therefore, I call them "The Little People." They all seem to enjoy that, believe it or not!

Today we continued our state-wide assessment, and I was impressed with one of my little guys. He worked EXTRA hard on one problem until he figured it out. It took him four tries until he got it. It amazed me. At one point, he called me over and showed me his scratch paper that said, "I wish it had ______ as an answer choice." I grinned, and said, "Sorry." He grinned back. THEN he went back to figuring it out. LOVE. IT.

Some of my other students thought they had all the questions answered correctly when they didn't even use their scratch paper. Which made me scratch my head...

At the end of the day, I was walking back to my classroom when two third grade classrooms started picking on me because I like KU. The funny thing is that I don't know many of those students personally. They just know me as the teacher who likes KU. *grin*

Works for me.

I tell ya, I love Little People Land!

Life.
Is.
Funny.

A Prayer

Dear God,

This weekend has been AMAZING. I feel closer to You than I've felt since I moved here. Between shuttles, services, and a couple new CD's, You have shown yourself to me in some rather intimate ways. And for that, I thank You.

I'll be honest, I don't want to go to work tomorrow. I want to be with the kids, but there are a few parts of my job that are just HARD and I want to just be in the Prayer Room with you instead.

So, since I can't be in the Prayer Room all day tomorrow, I pray You'll guide me through tomorrow, as well as this week. I pray You'll stay close to me, and speak to me in a LOUD voice. PLEASE help me tame my tongue, as that is what I'm the most nervous about at this point.

Help me to see Your kids as my own, and to treat them as nothing less than Your children.

Especially in those tough moments, I pray that Your Spirit will guide me.

Help me to be your eyes, hands, ears, and voice.

Your Word says that if You can be for us, who can be against us? Please help me remember that tomorrow.

May You be glorified in all I do.

I Love You,
In Jesus Name,
Amen.

Pain Free

Today I was reminded of something I take for granted.

My Health.

While I have been diagnosed with Crohn's, CP, and have had issues with migraines, I am in really good health. Most of the time I feel great and RARELY miss work. I don't have daily pain from anything. I usually walk pain free.

This morning I awoke with a headache. I figured it was because I slept in until ten, and so my food schedule is off. (Why is it that the older I get, the harder it is to go off my eating schedule? *grin*) So, I let Jay out and ate. Usually this relieves it. As it turns out, it didn't.

At that point, I stopped and prayed.

After that, I took two pain relievers.

I was still in pain.

I decided to take a long, hot shower. Sometimes that kills it.

That didn't do it.

So, I ate lunch and walked Jay.

It still hurt.

So I started watching "The Blind Side" again and started doing work for school.

Then it REALLY hurt.

I stopped working, got the heating pad, turned out the lights, and tried to sleep.

I wasn't able to sleep, and it hurt more than it did before.

At that point, it was 4:00, and I had to head out to drive shuttles. I REALLY wanted to call Richie Rich or Papa Bear and cancel. However, since it's one of my favorite things to do, I got up, fixed a sack lunch for dinner, and headed out.

I started driving and REALLY praying. I was in SO MUCH pain.

At about 5, I took another pain reliever. I also continued to pray as I drove.

I almost told Richie Rich when I signed in that I wanted to go home and sleep due to a headache. (Especially since he didn't know I was driving tonight!) But, I didn't.

As the evening continued, my headache would get better, then worse, then better. Gradually, it started getting better. I prayed and prayed. Honestly, I listened to my new CD as I drove, so it got my focus off me and on Him.

By the time 9:00 got here, it was GONE. Completely gone.

At which point I went into Awakening and REALLY had fun.

I sat there during service and pondered how much I take my health for granted. If you've never had a headache like I did today, you don't understand. However, if you have had one, you totally get it when I say that I feel like a whole other person than the person I was at 3pm this afternoon.

And, you know what?

I thanked God for what He's given me.

There are SO MANY people in this world who struggle with pain like that day in and day out.

And I don't.

Thank You, God. I am blessed beyond words.

Life.
Is.
Good.

GOOD Friday!

Today was cool because:

I didn't have to go to school.
It was cloudy outside and I got to sleep in.
I got to cuddle with Jay as we watched The Blind Side.
I took an extra long shower since I didn't have to be anywhere right away.
I got stuff done that needed to be done.
I drove shuttles. On the shuttles, I prayed for people, encouraged people, gave a prophetic word, and received a prophetic word.
I went to Awakening where I got to soak. I also got to give a prophetic word there too.
I get to stay up late reading my book.

Life.
Is.
GOOD.

"I Hate This Day! This Day Stinks!"

I remember being an eighth grade girl in a new school, and my favorite teacher was Hops. Hops was my P.E. Teacher in 8th and 9th grade. She taught me a lot in the short time I was at WJHS. I could go on and on about what she taught me, however, tonight I can hear her telling me one very important thing: "Don't hate people. That's not right. You can not like them, but don't hate them." To this day, I can still hear her say that. And, I remember it changed my thinking. I resigned myself then and there not to hate PEOPLE.

Today I have determined that it's okay to hate a DAY though. Today was my own version of a "no good, very bad, day." Okay, in the end, it wasn't a life-ending day. I mean, somewhere, someone was diagnosed with Cancer today. Today, somewhere, someone was told that someone they love just died. Okay, so it wasn't the WORST day I could have had, but it was a TOUGH day for me.

An incident occurred at school today that made me fight tears in anger. Anger isn't typically an emotion I wrestle with, but today I felt it deeply. And, as much as I hate to admit it, it affected the rest of my day. Which isn't like me either. I typically let stuff roll off me and I reply with, "Ah, life goes on." I have spent the afternoon pondering and praying.

In the end, I think tomorrow I will be able to say "Ah, life goes on."

For tonight however, I really do hate this DAY.

The good news is that it's only one day.

Hum....

Life.
Is.
Character-building.