Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is Bob Here?

Learning measurement for Thanksgiving
Handshake, hug, or high 5 before you leave!
The captain of the Union troops
Fighting the Civil War
Field Day is a time to learn, too.

Jesus had 12 disciples. This year, He gave me 12 disciples. You know, a disciple is a learner. Twelve is an amazing number, the perfect for teaching. His work in granting me my 12 wasn’t complete until February, but each day was a treasure.

They made me laugh. Who imagined it would take until March to note that “number order” referred to the number assigned each child for keeping track of books and grades? Who thought that “choose the best answer” implied you could choose the one you thought sounded the funnest, though you knew it had nothing to do with the question. Who knew that dormant seeds remain in the dormitory and how the English settlers expected to find gold nuggets was a mystery since chicken nuggets were a modern invention?

They’re so smart. We learned the difference between a battle and a war by having the Civil War. We learned about taping pieces together to change fractions and putting word bubbles around quotations. We learned that Pluto is only a planet in NM, that the apostle Peter had a really big mouth, and that you can figure out the meaning of a word from the sentence around it.

They are learning to love. This, perhaps, is the biggest blessing for the teacher. We learned I Cor. 13, but we also learned to practice God’s kind of love. From defending a classmate upset because no one believed the story he told, to sympathizing over a burnt cookie, to sitting with one who did not feel like playing, compassion was a key player with “my” children. We prayed for missionaries, moms... pigs and the burial of dead pets. They learned the principle of not yelling "me first," encouraged their teacher, and developed a skill of finding life lessons in every area.

My 12 were not really mine, but God’s. He created, He redeems. He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun... And I will miss them. :-)

(P.S. In case you were wondering about Bob... He was our favorite invisible friend. Can you find him in the pictures? More to come, I hope).

It May Be a Bittersweet Month

I do realize that it’s June as I write this, yet my reflections are from the month of May. That’s part of the sweet side. I usually have a few days, right at the end, when I can reflect... after nine months of nonstop brain labor, such reflections are restful.

Nine months of brain labor. Nined months of investing into the hearts and minds of children, children who I may never see and probably will never work with again. Thus the bitterness. I love “my kids” as I call my students. I may tire, yet I hate the thought of losing them. See comments accompanying pictures.

That one’s obvious I guess. May is more than that, though. May has holidays... Memorial Day, Mother’s Day. Truth be known, the former means little to me. We brand sometimes. Often it’s my first weekend off, so I’ll gad about the country a bit. Maybe the start of summer activities, but nothing life-changing or significant.

Mother’s Day is different. I have a great mom, of course; more than we 7 who bear her last name would champion that statement. The truth is, though, that Mother’s Day for us is the date of bittersweetness....

One year ago, on the eve of the holiday, I returned fromColombia. My mom was thrilled. She invited friends over and I wound up being more honored than she, unfortunately. It was GOOD to be with my family, to eat hearty healthy food, to have hugs all around and feel NM sunshine. Many stories to be told, much of life to catch up... yet for me, it was sad. I left my “mothering” role, my almost 4 year old, miles away. I left the only circle of friends who lived nearby that I’d ever had, including one of the best friends I’d ever had. I left a language, a classroom, a people that I loved, not knowing when I could return. Sometimes, even now, my heart longs for my “tierra querida.”

Two years ago came a blow greater for all of us. My beloved “Grandma,” my dad’s mother, had a stroke on Mother’s Day weekend. The memories are choppy: moments by her bed, moments of stories, relief at some news, and tears at other. A family scattered united in the hospital... Grandma’s greatest wish was for all of us to visit at once. She heard our “Happy Mother’s Day” greetings, this we know... that perhaps is one of the sweetest notes, for the following morning she met Jesus as we met the dawn. She is with Jesus, for this we are thankful, yet how much we’ll miss her. Always she valued relationship, so I can I pray for the sweetness of her memory to influence us - a lady in every sense of the word, a lady who could make the least refined feel welcome in her home, who understood the art of being a keeper of the home.

Back to Mother’s Day I must refer to my mom. She, certainly, probably most remembers Mother’s Day of 2001. My older brother had had a rough couple of weeks; we’d gone to visithim along with family friends. All of us, playing happily in the pool, then we realized that our precious baby Danny, my six year old autistic, cp brother, was missing. We searched, we prayed, we cried. We found him, but it was too late. The angels had taken Danny. The results were final the next day. Joe said, “Well, if he’s in heaven, he can have sugar now!”

Yes, he’s in heaven. The sweetness of that thought carried us through and encourages us all to look toward Jesus, the Author of our faith, the Author of our story, the Author of bittersweet moments which remind us of the comfort despite our earthly trials.

We know not what next May will hold, but we know Whom we have believed. We are persuaded that He is able to keep that which we’ve committed unto Him against that day.

(P.S. I’m not technological enough to paste my old pictures; instead I’ll share new ones with a similar significance and a relation to the memories)

Field trips are fun memories...

My little 'Jito

Grandma would be so proud.
We aren't all here, but we are a family.