On Genesis, Preparing my Heart, and God’s Plan.

Today I finished reading the book of Genesis. It wasn’t the first time I’d read it, but it was the first time I’d read it this quickly–in about 2 weeks. A friend of mine invited all she knew to read through the bible with her this year using the Read Scripture app. It’s produced by crazy love ministries, and the Bible Project has videos throughout the app that explain overarching themes of each book or section of a book and help me think deeper about what I’m reading. I also love that the videos don’t dive into the controversies (for example, whether Genesis 1 and 2 are meant to describe a literal 7 day creation or not), but they do cover what’s important–God’s story for humanity as shown through his Word.

I’ve been trying to be more consistent in my reading of the Word ever since I graduated from college, but it’s been an ongoing struggle. Mornings I’m too tired, or I don’t know quite what to read, etc. I’ve had a lot of phases where I’ve been focused on a part of Scripture, but nothing that lasted more than a month or 2. I can’t promise that this app will be something I’m faithful in reading for more than the next month, but I can tell you that it’s been good for my faith in the last 16 days. I know that as I get closer to baby coming and then in the summer when our little one, God-willing, makes his arrival, I will likely be tired. But I also know that this is a great time to prepare my heart just as I’m preparing our 2nd bedroom to be a nursery.

So what did I “get” out of reading Genesis? I was reminded of God’s plan for each person. Abraham lived for decades before God called to him. Sarah thought that she could never be a mother and laughed when God told her she could! Jacob was devastated when his son, Joseph, was “killed,” but his brothers’ betrayal led to the nation of Israel growing in Egypt and really surviving through the years of famine. Joseph thought his life was over as he was thrown in prison for doing nothing wrong, but he was rescued years later through an odd connection. Brothers were upset for not receiving a blessing they thought they deserved, but God had a plan for each sibling. God is at work, and he has been for so many years. I have every reason to trust Him. He knows what He’s doing.

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Faithfulness Springs Forth From the Earth

I have been memorizing Psalm 85:8-13 over the last few weeks. Verse 11 really stuck out to me today–so here are my thoughts.

I started memorizing this passage because verse 13 stuck out to me.

Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.

Psalm 85:13

I understood this to mean that my righteousness (moral correctness) would allow the Lord to come beside me and help me through each step. If I did the right things, the Lord would be with me. But as I studied verse 11 today it struck me that my role is really not righteousness.

Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.

Psalm 85:11

I am not a righteous person. I fall short every day.

But the Lord, in heaven, is righteous. That’s why righteousness looks down from heaven.

My job, my role, is to be faithful (loyal, constant). I have been placed here on earth, and from the earth comes faithfulness. To trust in Him, to obey his Word, to walk humbly and seek justice consistent with the Gospel–this is my job as a faithful earthly servant of the Most High God.

So after thinking on this, I decide to look to Matthew. I read the first chapter, and right away notice Mary’s faithfulness is bearing God’s son, Jesus. Then Joseph’s faithfulness to God in staying with Mary even though the world said to divorce her. Then the Magi’s faithfulness in following the star, leaving their homes, looking for Christ but also heeding the dream which said not to return to Herod once they did find him. It goes on and on. Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt when told to and then going to Nazareth (as prophecy foretold) simply based on Joseph’s fear of returning where Herod’s son now ruled. Joseph responded to his circumstances and was willing to go wherever he was supposed to. He was faithful. And even the prophet’s faithfulness in saying what they learned or heard from the Lord even when they didn’t understand it, to the benefit of all of us looking back on how Jesus fulfilled these prophecies. In just 2 chapters of Matthew, I see how the people’s faithfulness to the Lord is a righteous act, and how that faithfulness is rewarded.

Just some thoughts…take ’em or leave ’em.

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Summer & 2 Timothy

It’s been much too long since I wrote, so here goes.

The school year ended yesterday for teachers at my school. However, I’m writing this from my desk in my classroom. Summer school supplies are ready to go (begins Monday), I spent the morning tutoring, and Nathan and I are trying to put together a schedule for next week. In short, summer is a different season, but still busy for this teacher.

Here is a quote that has been on my mind as of late:

1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. -from 2 Timothy 4

Careful instruction? I know what that is, I’m a teacher. As I was dissecting this, I realized that reprimanding, rebuking, and encouraging other people with patience and careful instructions means that, as a Christian, I need to know my stuff. I can’t be a good instructor unless I have strong content knowledge and pedagogy. I have to know what I teach but also how to teach.

So what is the content I must know in order to “preach the word” as Timothy and all believers are charged? The Word of God and the story of God, which includes my story as a believer! And what is the methodology I need to teach effectively? This verse says it–I need patience. My take-away: I need to be in the word MUCH more than I currently am. And I need to stop being so quick to assume, quick to speak, quick to anger, quick to ANYTHING. I need to be patient and wait. (this might require some listening on my part)

Not to go off-topic, but this also reminded me to politics. In order to speak truth, whether in the form of correcting, rebuking, or encouraging–I need to show patience and I need to know what I’m talking about. I need to research my content, but also be patient.

That’s all, folks. I hope to write more this summer–because reading is the key to learning, but writing is the key to thinking.

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I Have a Dream (by 5th graders)

I have a dream for everyone to have a healthy life and stop polluting our environment.

I have a dream that higher people won’t abuse their power and if they make promises they keep them.

I have a dream that if a man can do it, so can a woman.

I have a dream that first we try peace, and then we try war.

I have a dream that people will stop polluting. We can stop polluting now and make the world a better place.

I have a dream that one day this nation will have clear air for me and everyone in and out of this country.

I have a dream that one day everyone will fish and love doing it 🙂

I have a dream that world hunger ends. People shouldn’t be hungry while other people are stuffing their faces.

I have a dream that there will be no air pollution from  gas power cars there will be solar power cars .I have a dream that we don’t have to cut down trees to make paper. 

I have a dream that one day there will be no bullying. That everyone will respect each other nicely.

I have a dream that one day there will be no war and that people in the Army will be able to defend our country and not to worry about ISIS and other terrorist.

I have a dream to be an art teacher.

I have a dream for world peace, basically.

 

 

 

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Writing Time

When my students come to writing we usually begin with a story. We practice reading as writers, reflecting on how the author uses a certain writing technique and how it sounds to the reader.

Next, we write. I mean we, because when the kids begin to write I do as well. I usually only write about 3 minutes before conferencing with individual students about their work, but in that time I get to think about my own life for a few moments and remember. Here are a few of these writings…

St. Patrick’s Day

I was born on St. Patrick’s Day. Carried home from the hospital in a shamrock, it immediately became an important holiday in my family. On my birthday, March 17th, the world wore green. All for me! Or so I thought. Parties included games like “drop the shamrock in a jar” and we ate green cake with green frosting yearly. I always wanted to be Irish..

In kindergarten my birthday is especially vivid in my memory–all because of Abe Galinsky. He pinched me–and I was in green! Ok, so it was only one tiny green leaf on a black ladybug dress. But it should have counted! It was my birthday, after all. I don’t really know if I can forgive him for that.

Perfume Cat

In a velvety box tied with a ribbon, inside a cardboard box labeled “memories,” under a ping pong table in my parent’s house, lies a cat figurine. It used to be filled with perfume, so when you twist the top of the cat off (it opens like a bottle) it still smells nice–like my Great Grandma Ragna. That’s who it belonged to. She died when I was 7, and my parents let me walk through her house and keep 1 thing to remember her by. I always like this perfume cat she had in the bathroom, so it was an easy choice.

Writing from the point of view of a thing

I am a ring.
I am valuable, a burden, a debt.
I shower with you, I feel every hand shake, I never leave. At least I’m not supposed to. I get thrown when my owners are made. My life on the wearer begins at a wedding, or at a proposal.

I am a pen. I slide along pages as if I control my own destiny, but I move with the writer. I create words that create laughter, tears, and anger. My movements can start revolutions and end wars. I have been around many years. I love my job.

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Words

I wrote nine pages since Monday!
She’s chasing me with boogers at recess!
I left my PE clothes at home…
I left my homework in my bedroom..
I was with my dad this weekend…
I don’t know..

-blank stare- (sometimes speaking louder than words)

We still need 3 more object pronouns!!
He’s bleeding!
They both have 100% of their bodies.
Can I go to the bathroom?
Can I return this book?

Can I take a test?
Can we use the pillows?
Do we have homework?
What is our homework?
Do we clean the lunch tables today?
What are we supposed to do?
-quiet- The kids are at art.

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How did writing feel?

“How did writing in your notebooks for 10 minutes today feel?” This was the question I asked 3 classes of fifth graders–ranging in writing abilities from about 2nd grade level all the way up. The answers each time? “Peaceful.” “Calm.” “It was so quiet that I felt like I was the only one here and I could picture my story in my head like a movie.”

These are some of the kids who talk all the time–especially when they’re not supposed to. They probably like to talk even more than me.

We live in a noisy world, and we rarely take the time to really reflect on something that we want to reflect on. When my students took the time to write about something that interested them, and they forced themselves to be quiet in a noisy world, they felt peace.

This is why I blog. This is why I write when I ask my students to write. It’s all about taking the space we need to reflect on our lives, our experiences, who we are, and even what our imaginations can create. This helps me to be healthy emotionally and socially, and I hope it allows my students to become healthier, too.

Side note: Today I wrote poems about a Stenguin Berry (a penguin-strawberry) and a peel (a potato that is also an eel). It doesn’t always have to be serious, sometimes our imaginations just need some space to breathe.

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