Archive for February 2012

So glad we made the switch

Friday, February 10, 2012

By the end of Ben's second grade year we knew something had to give. The poor kid was not having the elementary school experience his big brothers had. There were numerous reasons and, in the grand scheme of things, he could have done fine but we felt led to move him to our local private Christian school. (Talk about eating crow and "never say never") That year was the school's 50th anniversary and they were offering $99/month scholarships to 50 families for the first year at the school. Almost a fifth of what their normal tuition would be. We definitely weren't rolling in it but knew we could curtail a few items from our budget and find a hundred bucks.

Because Ben had attended there for preschool, we knew and recognized many families at the back-to-school barbecue. The first question I was asked over and over was "what about your other boys? Just Ben?" I couldn't resist. My typical response was: "Ben's the only one we're raising Christian. The other two are experiments." The look on their face was priceless. Seriously though I knew there would be a difference in sending one of our children to a school where everything we are teaching our children and everything we value is reinforced in the classroom. As opposed to the public domain where virtually the opposite happens. But I also knew that we were led down a different path with the other two boys and I have to trust God with that.

Last year was a bit of a tough transition. After being on the same schedule as his big brothers, it wasn't easy to switch gears to a different calendar, different start and end times and no school bus. Ben is a rough and tumble physically active boy and he struggled t0 find many other male classmates who shared his love for sports during recess. (But he did find a tomboy who has 3 brothers and can totally hold her own. They have a total love/hate relationship, of course.) He really missed his friends and teammates from the previous years but it seemed like he saw them just as much, if not more, than he did when they were at the same school. In spite of the minor disappointments, I still knew we made the right decision.

When the tuition bill came in August for the first installment for the 2011-12 school year, I believe my heart skipped a beat. Even though I knew it was coming, there was still a bit of panic. In that moment I could feel God whispering, "just trust me. I led you down this path and I will take care of the details." If you know me very well, then you also know that trusting God with finances has been a lifelong battle for me and yet I had such peace about it. I truly saw it as an investment in Ben's eternal future, not a sacrifice of all the material extras that vie for my attention and wallet.

I'm happy to say that we haven't doubted our decision for one minute. Fourth grade year will definitely go down in history as the "banner year" for Ben. I had heard all about Ms. M. from parents who had gone before me. If you have school age children then you know that rarely is there a teacher that some parent doesn't have a beef with. I have yet to find one in this case. After day one of this school year, I haven't heard one negative comment from Ben. In fact, I think there might even be a little schoolboy crush going on here.

December is when I saw such confirmation that these were the perfect surroundings for Ben. I was at the school helping with a book fair during the after school shift. I happened to be standing in the hallway where the students walk by on their way out to the carpool pick up line. Ben had come down with the stomach flu the previous night so wasn't at school that day. As his class passed me by, one little girl turned around and said, "Oh, how's Ben feeling?" Immediately another boy said, "Hey, how was your final?" (Apparently Ben shared this concern as his prayer request that week.) If this isn't evidence of Ms. M. building a classroom community, I don't know what is.

The icing on the cake came just a couple weeks ago. I was helping Ben with his homework. He had a quiz the following day on Bible knowledge. I looked over the worksheet on prophets before I asked the questions. One of the fill-in-the-blanks was "If you were on the playground with a friend and he asked you why you believe in God, what would you say?" His answer: "Because all of the prophecies I have read about have all come true and I can just feel it in my heart!" Isn't that absolutely precious???

I could go on and on but I'll just say I am so incredibly glad we made the switch.


More than halfway there

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I know I haven't posted a thing about this quarter--and with good reason. Let me just start by saying that I am so happy it's the shortest quarter of the year (11 weeks) and I'm even happier that it's more than half over. (We are in the middle of week 6!)

After fall quarter, I was convinced that my second-time-around college career would continue to be rosy. It never crossed my mind that every professor and every subject from here on out wouldn't be anything but dynamic, engaging and mentally stimulating. After spending 12 weeks with a really special group of secondary education students, I was sure that all my classmates would be equally as fun and friendly. Boy, was I wrong.

In my previous college life, winter quarter was never my favorite. Not only is it my least favorite season, it always seemed to be the term that only the most boring of subjects were taught and usually at the worst possible times of the day: 8:00 a.m. and/or 4:00 p.m. Leaving in the dark and coming home in the dark is not something I jump up and down about. It would be easier to stomach if I was excited about what I was experiencing on campus.

So what's the difference this time? For one, last quarter I had two courses that I was required to take during my first term. Same with 16 other fellow secondary ed. students. This combination made for a natural comraderie within the classroom. No one person dominated the discussions and it was a true learning community. This quarter there are also two mandatory courses to be completed by the end of my second term. The difference is that all education majors take these classes, not just those interested in teaching grades 5-12. And there are 45 of us, not 16. It's hard to facilitate discussion and one or two students typically dominate or parrot the professor's views. Second, I'm taking my first class on how to teach English to middle and high school students. The class is at 8:00 a.m. so I'm leaving for campus at "dark 0'clock". The desks are jam packed into the room. The professor gives no potty break for the entire two hours and the cup of coffee I downed on the bus can't last in my bladder that long. And the set up of the material doesn't lend itself to much interaction between the students. Third, on the two days I'm in class from 8-2, I go straight from the bus stop to help with a reading tutoring program until 4:00. After leaving the house at 7:10 a.m., it just makes for a really long day. Finally, I have a 1 credit technology class that I'm taking online that uses more of my time than at least two of the other three classes combined. I have had every single assignment returned to me for the most nit picky reasons. ARGH!

All is not lost though. There is always a silver lining. Last quarter I met two of the most lovely young ladies. I posted about them back in November. Although we have no classes together, the two of them are together most every day. Just about every week I hear from one or both of them and we connect on campus or at a coffee shop for a quick check-in. They lift my spirits and put a smile on my face on the darkest of days. A couple days ago I got text from one of them asking if I could meet her because she made me something. She took one of my family pictures off Facebook and did the coolest sketch of us. On the back she wrote, "I hope you are in my life forever!" This is what keeps me going. The relationships. The true heart connections. And I suspect this is the same thing that will keep me going when I have my own classroom. There will be days, weeks or even months when I may strongly dislike my job and one special student will appear with a sweet note like this or a parent may send me a message thanking me for what I've done in a child's life. Then, just like now, it will make the bad days pale in comparison.

I'm holding on to that. And that I only have 28 more days until finals....not that I'm counting or anything.

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A Wretch Like Me

Monday, February 6, 2012

I loved this devotion that landed in my email box today. (I just couldn't say "in my inbox") It so confirmed the frustration I feel in my own suburban, comfortable life. I especially love the question she poses regarding why we don't see our need for a savior when we're building our own kingdoms. I don't want to live that way but I'm so guilty of it. Lord, please show us all our desperate need for you no matter what our lot in life.

Click here to read it:
A Wretch Like Me


A Public Declaration

Friday, February 3, 2012

I don't know about you but I was raised in a denomination that believed in infant baptism--and preferably as soon as possible after birth as to "get rid of your original sin." Since joining a non-denominational church as an adult, their doctrine believes that one should choose as an adult to be baptized by water as a outward declaration of one's belief in Jesus Christ. This is based on the Scripture in Romans 6:3-5.

A few weeks ago Ian approached Trey and asked if they could go to breakfast. With Ian this is code for "I have something big to talk with you about." He shared that at his middle school youth group they had been learning about baptism and he felt he was ready to make a public statement of his faith. If you know Ian, then you know that doing anything publicly is HUGE. After their breakfast Trey felt a nudge that this was his time, too. Like me, he experienced infant baptism but had never participated in a water immersion style baptism as an adult.

Trey and Ian's youth pastor met for lunch and Trey expressed his desire to be baptized and then baptize Ian with Scott. It was a incredibly touching moment. You can tell by the pictures below.

The coolest part of all was what Ian posted as his Facebook status the following day. "Thank the lord for I have been baptized as I take one step closer to knowing my identity in Jesus Christ and understanding who he made me to be." (I didn't change anything)

I'm excited to watch Ian's walk with God and faith in Him truly become his own.