The pastor was on fire today!

He got a round of applause at the end. That doesn’t happen too often. He even went late! The sermon included the word ‘sloth’, a story about a woman who collected termites to sell for food in the Congo, and a baseball come-from-behind story from his youth. You might say he was all over the place, which he often is. But today he kept building and building and building to this great climax.  He totally had me the whole time and I hope my 16 year old son too.

He doesn’t always attend with me, one of the many downsides of divorce. I know he doesn’t want to be there, but I still take him when I can. Cinnamon rolls are a good incentive to get up and get moving. At least he doesn’t kick and scream like a toddler. But it’s still pretty obvious to those around us that he’d rather be anywhere else. I say a prayer that he will get something out of the morning. Anything, just a small inspiration, or reminder that God loves him and it’s okay.

Today was about passion.   God wants us to have a passion for our purpose in life. He wants us to have joy in our day and live it to the fullest. The termite lady had passion. She enthusiastically shared how she rose early every day to harvest the termite mounds which was hard and dangerous labor.  She cheerfully sold them till the crawling critters were all gone and didn’t understand the question about did she ever get bored with doing the same thing seven days a week. In my mind, I saw this grizzled, older-than-she-really- is face grinning back at our minister as he tried to understand through the interpreter her story.

I won’t even attempt to retell the baseball story. It had physical recreations, suspense and a surprise ending. He really hit one out of the ballpark, no pun intended! I couldn’t help but think about the lessson I had just taught kindergarteners about what makes a good storyteller. Well, our pastor has it. Passion for his purpose, his job, and it comes out loud and clear in his sermons. He weaves bits in and out and ends up with a marvelous story that incredibly supports the verses from the Bible. It is an art and I am very appreciative.

Just like my yoga teachers. Sometimes I think they are making us do these weird poses so they can post on YouTube. But somehow by the end of class it all makes sense. They weave us in and out of various posisitons to meet the needs of our bodies and provide balance in the end. I am always amazed at how it all comes together. One minute I’m feeling clumsy and the next I’m looking like a Degas dancer balanced carefully waiting to be scuplted by the master. Maybe it’s like that in our journey with God until we find out what our purpose is.

My son didn’t confess to an ephiany today. He did tell me he loved me in the car on the way home. A small step.

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Totally inspired!

I missed yoga today. Looking at the schedule I realized that the Ladies Day Out I planned to attend would make it impossible to get to any of the 3 classes offered. I always think it’s a great way to stat the weekend. Well, this event was even more wonderful. From the keynote to the breakout sessions I was inspired, amused and my eyes were open to the possibilities of God in and around my life. From the young minister who lost her mother at age 4 to the woman at 36 who ‘finally’ married a man she met 8 years previously and had an instant 17 year old son. Stories touched my heart. Tears touched my cheeks. In the end, I felt lifted high, elevated to a new level which I hope I can maintain.

I used to attend these type of events regularly when I was younger. Somehow I got out of the loop and stopped attending. I can’t imagine how much further I’d be on my spiritual journey now if I had stayed on track.

But that’s not the point. I’m on track now and not planning on getting derailed. It’s too important.

 

Writing in Nature

Today my 4th graders amazed me! We are starting to read Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and we looked at a portion of it which is like a poem about nature. After having them draw a picture of what they visualized, we went outside and used our senses to create our own poem about the nature around us. We are lucky to be next to a pond with ducks and a fountain and nearby woods. It was a lovely morning with lots of visual inspiration and plenty of natural sounds. We didn’t spend too long at it, but I was amazed at the beautiful imagery produced, the use of personification, sometimes rhymes. And they loved sharing with each other. It was one of those great teaching moments! I tried my hand at it too, but wasn’t as impressed with my own work.

Watch, Listen

Ripples in the pond reflect the dappled colors from the clouds.

How many different birds do I hear, chirping contentedly? 

I wish I knew their names, especially the one that just flew by, eager to arrive at his next destination.

The ducks think we’re going to feed them.

The flapping of their wings as they tumble with each other can’t compete with the splashing fountain

joining nature’s symphony of sounds and sights this cool morning.

Is anyone listening?

I might as well have been speaking Russian the last few days in my Enlish-speaking classroom. It feels like no one is hearing what I’m saying or following directions accurately. What is so hard about answering questions 3-6 when that is what the instructions say to do? Verbal or written, it doesn’t seem to matter. Is it me or is it my students who are off? Did having a week off mess up our rhythm or melt our brains? Does a weather change really affect their attention spans? Who knows the answers to the mysteries of the universe? Better yet, who will share them with me? Maybe this is why some people take a vow of silence or have selective mutism. If no one’s going to listen, why talk?

The reality is that I too don’t listen sometimes. It even happened today with a kindergartener. I guess I was expecting one answer and he said something else. I started responding to what I thought he said and then I stopped myself and I apologized to him.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening like I should have been. Please tell me what you said again.”

Maybe that’s all I want from others. An apology. Remind me that you think what I’m saying is important or worth listening to. That it matters. That you value it.

Or rather, do I need to decide first if what I’m saying is worthy enough to be said?

Tired, tired, tired!

Story of my life lately. So much to do and so little time. But honestly, I bring some of it on myself. Signing up for an online course, doing a weekly Bible study, and a writing challenge. I tutor twice a week and manage a student club. I do like having a full life and trying new experiences. Maybe I thrive on it. Course I also like to sleep late and take naps!

 

I’m more awake tonight!

Ok, so my son was impressed. Finally!

“Your’re doing Skype?”

“No, Hangout.”

“But you don’t even know these people!”

“They’re from my school district.”

He left, no longer impressed. Oh well.

I was impressed with myself. A new technology tool to try out. I don’t like seeing myself on camera though or hearing my voice. I don’t want to know what I’m really like! It was like a conference call where everyone tries to talk at the same time and a constant echo makes it hard to understand. But when I typed my comment, everyone understood that! Actually it was nice idea. We are all taking the same online class and this was an opportunity to touch base, ask questions, share wtih each other. I may have been the only particiapant that wasn’t working at the district level or an administrator.

I’ve also worked on a lot fo apps this week to get book groups ready for my students. Edmodo, Quizlet, PowToon, Padlet. All cool options and easy to use. I’m trying to reduce the amount of papers and grading to do, but still make sure there is a high level of comprehension and interaction between the students. Now I just need to get them enough computer time to do all the fun things I’ve planned..

I do like to try new things and keep learning. But you’ll also hear me moan at times about how hard it is to keep up with it all and why can’t things just stay the way they are. What’s made this time easier is that I’ve had some extra planning time to ‘play’. Try things out and see what happens. Explore, like we want our students to.

My yoga teachers are always good about reminding us to explore, or engage our bodies where they are at the moment. Giving us the freedom to adjust poses to fit our needs. I need to be more cognizant of doing that for my students in my classroom.

I didn’t do my writing yet!

My head has been bobbing for the last 10 minutes while I ‘watched’ a video for an online course I signed up for. I told myself I would quit at 11, but now it’s 11:13 p.m. And I’m just realizing I forgot to write today! Well, actually I didn’t forget, just didn’t start writing till 45 minutes till midnight! The good news is that I didn’t say oh well, it’s late, do it tomorrow. Same thing happened with yoga class this afternoon. I was exhausted and could have been easily talked into skipping it. But no one was around to do that dirty work so I went to class. Of course I was reenergized as I always am. It is almost magical how my body and my mind succumb to my yoga teacher letting her remold me into the better person I was at the beginning of the day. So I’m writing now, finally slightly more awake, thinking about word choice, trying to catch typos. And working on my discipline. Very important in writing and in yoga. It’s a practice they say. Getting the mat out and working on postures. So is writing. A famous author once said the first part is to get your butt in the chair and to start typing. Okay, I’m here!