Sunday, November 27, 2011

and the list goes on

I have nothing profound to say today.  And when I looked at my collection of quotes, nothing stood out for me either.  So - the list of gifts will stand on its own.  And that's okay.  Noting the gifts is a gift in and of itself.

691) books and the power of story
692) creativity
693) friends who help pull together a costume for Book Character Day
694) grade 1 and grade 4 students writing stories together
695) parent volunteers
696) students helping each other
697) colleagues who help me out when my car "dies" (Thanks T.T., B.K., and S.B.)
698) celebrating and thanking with family
699) finding new sweaters - and then the bonus - sweet sale price shows up at the till
700) a gift of a book - thanks S.B.
701) homemade cinnamon bun with a mug of peppermint tea
702) being able to celebrate my niece's 22nd birthday with her

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Licking the Bowl Clean

"...taste the goodness of God and savor  long — not wolfing anything down because life is dessert  and worth licking the bowl right clean."
  Ann Voskamp on her blog A Holy Experience - Weekends are for Dessert

I've been pondering the words from Psalm 46:10 this last week or so.  "Be still and know that I am God."  And that means that I have to remind myself to be still.  It's a busy time for teachers right now as it is time to write report cards (although we always laugh and actually wonder what time, except for holidays, is not busy). And it is hard to be still when I feel the weight of the task.  It's a good task, I suppose, and an important one, but it can be all-consuming.  I didn't get as far as I wanted to yesterday (perhaps my goal was somewhat overly ambitious) and I found myself tempted to continue working on report cards today.  Seriously tempted.  Even though I have a firm policy about not doing school work on Sundays.  It even crossed my mind when I came home from church today.  It would be so easy to just take an hour or two and work on a few more.  It would make my week easier.  But would it really. 

I need to be still and rest.  (And sharpen my saw.  See a post from a couple of weeks ago.)  In my being still, I checked out a link from A Holy Experience.  And, to my surprise, there was some "stuff" there pointing me back to Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."  I don't think that's a coincidence.

Here is some of what I found there. 

When God said for us to be still and know that He is God, I think He meant it as a gift for us. When the voice of the shame of inactivity becomes louder than the voice of grace, let that be a red flag of warning. Allow yourself to sit long enough so the anxiety gives way to rest.

Maybe I should consider scheduling in time for wonder.

It doesn't say be still and feel, it says be still and know.

.....leave room for your soul to breathe....
Chatting at the Sky   These may not all be on this post, but they are from this blog (I'm pretty sure).

So, today, I am trying to wait for the anxiety about getting report cards done to dissipate.  And looking to give my soul room to breathe.  This is one way.  To focus on the gifts God has given me in the last week.  The ones I have seen, anyway.

672) the bright light of moonlight in the dark night sky
673) coming home to a clean house (Thanks, K.V.)
674) coming home and finding that the snow has been cleared from my sidewalk.
675) being able to do the same for my neighbours
676) parent of a student who volunteers - last minute - to help out for a field trip, responding to a need
677) successful art projects completed by students
678) silk long underwear
679) the delight of students after playing outside
680) the generosity of a student to another student
681) the other student's willingness to accept her offer
682) the student in turn trying to find a hat for another classmate to wear
683) a student demonstrating her desire to learn
684) someone who willingly helps me out by watching my students so I could meet with a parent (Thanks, S.C.)
685) playing with words and having fun with sentences
686) laughing with students
687) administrators who are willing to go outside with students during cold weather
688) a warm home
689) hot peppermint tea
690) sunny blue Alberta skies

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Response to Life

Father, You have given me this day.  May I live it to Your glory.  Let my response to life be an encouragement to those around me.  You give me purpose.  Amen.
That's it.  Nothing more to add to this.  It speaks for itself.  And I really need to repeat this every morning.  Maybe every afternoon and evening, too.

The list of gifts continues.......
643) words of encouragement
644) a young girl applying life principles to a major event in her life
645) full moon in a sky tinges with pink
646) students finding solutions to a challenging problem
647) Remembrance Day
648) talking and laughing with friends
649) encouragement from parents of students
650) hugs from children
651) messages from friends and family on my answering machine
652) lunch with family
653) a day with a friend
654) enjoying the creative gifts of others
655) the beauty of the golden rolling hills of the foothills
656) panekoeken
657) warming up under a cozy fleece blanket
658) giving a friend a home-made bag for her birthday
659) celebrating a friend's birthday with her
660) students delighting in what they have accomplished
661) watching students find ways to solve difficult problems
662) a guest speaker who gets students thinking about important justice issues
663) Saturday morning quilting with friends
664) the giggles over vacuuming fabric fluff off my feed (and clothes, truth be told)
665) trying out an idea found on the Internet - a Jelly Roll 1600 quilt

666) dinner out of my freezer, a reminder of the gift my community is to me
667) moonlight filtering through the clouds, creating a beautiful and mysterious glow
668) scalp massage while getting my hair washed prior to a haircut
669) the sacrament of baptism, where God's claim on a child is demonstrated
670) the picture of community surrounding these children and families in prayer
671) the deceptively simply combination of flavours - carrots, ginger, onion, broth - creating delectable soup

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sharpening the Saw

Suppose you came upon a man in the woods feverishly sawing down a tree.

“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”

“Over five hours,” he replies, “and I’m beat. This is hard.”

“Maybe you could take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw. Then the work would go faster.”

“No time,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing.”

By Steven R. Covey

This little story has been quietly sitting on the list of quotes that speak to me.  And yet, it hasn't truly entered into me.  I'm not so good at taking a break for a few minutes and sharpening that saw.  I need to really work at that.  Hmm.  Should that be work?  Or should that be rest?  In my heart, I know what feeds my soul.  But my head takes over and the tyranny of "the list" takes over.  This week I sat and simply read for an hour one night.  And I couldn't believe just how much of a break that was - how much it revived me.  My goal is that next week I will try to take some breaks during the workday, and maybe even sit in the staffroom for more than 5 minutes during one of the recesses.  My goal is that I will sharpen the saw so that the work I do can be of more benefit to those around me.

I do know that stopping to think of the gifts of the day also helps to sharpen my saw.  The list continues.  (My students have far surpassed my list.  Last I saw they were over 1030.  And this since September.  A few have really latched onto the concept.)

601) the colours and promise of a beautiful sunrise
602) inspiring keynote speaker
603) time with colleagues
604) new ideas springing from workshops and speakers
605) the mystery and beauty of fog shrouding the prairie landscape
606) having time to chat with a friend
607) hospitality shared with me
608) a wonderful walk with friends by a lake on a beautiful autumn day
609) breakfast and a movie with loved ones
610) spending time with one of my sisters at the teachers convention
611) time to appreciate creative gifts at an art show
612) a sunny, crisp autumn walk
613) Sunday afternoon phone call with my parents
614) the heartfelt prayers of children
615) dinner and conversation with friends
616) parent volunteers
617) a day in the mountains with students
618) seeing students appreciate and encourage each other
619) seeing students demonstrate fascination with God's creation
620) the warmth of a school bus after a cold and windy day outside
621) being the one caught in traffic and not the one involved in the accident
622) watching students help each other
623) students who want to learn and who accept responsibility for learning
624) planting orange tulip bulbs in memory of a special young man
625) a weekend with one of my sisters
626) harvesting carrots with children

627) watching 2 children run excitedly to give my sister a hug
628) spontaneous invitation for dinner
629) celebrating Reformation Day with a combined church service
630) standing in the peaceful woods, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, and hearing water gurgling over stones

631) sunshine sparkling on water which flows through golden grasses

632) a gift of soup for dinner
633) dinner with family members
634) sitting beside a young boy who is delighted to show me a computer game
635) hugs in the hallway
636) laughing with students over unplanned jokes
637) a meaningful illustration in chapel
638) conversations with parents of students - working together towards a common goal
639) a lesson/activity which goes exceptionally well, and having an administrator walk in during that time
640) big, fluffy snowflakes that make you want to catch them on your tongue
641) sunshine that melts the frost on the car
642) being able to help a young girl and lend her shoes to wear home (and that she knew she could come to me for help)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quilt of Hope

There is an online Quilt Festival going on right now.  I enjoy looking through the blogs, admiring the quilts, and reading the stories of the quilts.  And I decided that I would add my quilt and story to the mix. 

Technically, this is not yet a quilt.  It's not even quite a quilt top as it is waiting for two more strips to be added to the edges.  But it is still my quilt of hope. 

Here's why.  Last spring I suddenly had to go in for surgery.  And it was pretty serious surgery.  I ended up having the opportunity go out of town the weekend before the surgery.  The object of the weekend away was a quilt show in a city nearby.  As my dear friend and I wandered around the quilt show, I said that it probably wasn't a great idea for me to be buying any fabric at the time.  My friend just looked at me and told me that I should not be saying that.  Feeling duly chastened (and having been given permission to buy more fabric), I bought a bunch of fat quarters in browns and blues.  Those fat quarters ended up being the basis of this quilt top.  It truly is my quilt of hope. 

(Oh, and God was good.  The surgery went well!)

Check out the other quilts in the festival.

So, apparently I don't know how to add buttons so the button doesn't work.  Use this link.     Bloggers' Quilt Festival