Monday, December 16, 2013

Message from Keith de Laet, Elementary Principal

I am always intrigued to read about things that happened on this day in history.  A quick look at reveals that 154 note worthy events have occurred on December 16 throughout history.  Of course one person’s interesting event is another person’s dull moment so I will not list all 154 items, you can certainly look into that for yourself if you have interest, but here are a few that caught my attention.  These events took place on this day, December 16th, in the year listed:

1653 - Oliver Cromwell sworn in as English Lord Protector
1770 – Birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, Bonn, Germany, composer (5th Symphony, Ode to Joy), (d. 1827)
1773 – The Boston Tea Party
1893 - Anton Dvorak's "New World Symphony" premieres
1897 - 1st submarine with an internal combustion engine demonstrated
1913 - Charlie Chaplin began his film career at Keystone for $150 a week
1915 - Albert Einstein publishes his "General Theory of Relativity"
1944 - Battle of Bulge begins in Belgium
1953 - 1st White House Press Conference - President Eisenhower
1962 - David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" premieres
1972 - Miami Dolphins become 1st undefeated NFL team (14-0-0)

Days are amazing things when you stop and think about it.  They are same amount of time for everyone and there are always seven of them in a week, but one person can have a great day while another has a bad day.  It was the same “day” on the calendar for both people, the difference was the events that day contained for each person.  Sometimes the same event can create a good day for some while creating a bad day for others.  Take, for example, fans of two teams watching their teams play for a championship.  The winning team will certainly enjoy a great day, while the losing team will wish they had it to do all over again.

I also find it interesting that some days are very special and they are recognized for that at the time.  The day of a wedding, the birth of a child, or a graduation may be a day like that.  It’s a special day and everyone knows it at the time.  There are other days that can be just as life changing, but we only realize that when we look back on it.  Maybe the day when a person first meets their spouse, or the day when you first cross paths with someone who will be your best friend for life.  It may not be seen at the time, but something life-changing has just taken place.  When I look at the life of Jesus, I believe that His birth was a life changing day and those around it knew it at the time.  I also believe that His death was a life changing day, but no one realized that until after His resurrection.  We call it Good Friday now, but I believe that it was seen as a bad day by the followers of Jesus at the time.

When I reflect on this dynamic it causes me to elevate the value of each day.  Each day is a precious gift from God, and opportunity to both share and experience His love and the wonder of creation.  I think Joshua realized the importance of this dynamic when he challenged Israel in Joshua 24:15 to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, … But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  As a nation, Israel needed to draw a line in the sand and create a significant point of no return.  They needed to anchor that in a specific moment in time.  Our lives may not need anything so drastic, but we have the same moments and the same time that everyone else has.  As believers, we have the opportunity to receive each day as a gift from God, use it for His glory, and teach our children to do the same.  Every day looks the same on the calendar, but they are very different in hearts of the people who live them.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Message from Elizabeth DeArcos, High School Teacher

This semester, my creative writing students are reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.  It makes me happy that one of the most popular writing books is written by a professed Christian who sprinkles thoughts on faith throughout the book.  Lamott spends a lot of time discussing the overwhelming feeling of attacking something as big as writing a novel.  Nothing scares writers as much as looking at the scope of a project.  It’s debilitating, and often, our excuse for procrastination.  Lamott’s solution is to change her focus.  Instead of looking at the project as a whole, she likes to use a one-inch picture frame and what can be viewed within that amount of space.  Then, a novel becomes just a chapter, a chapter just a scene, a scene just a paragraph, a paragraph just a sentence.  Once we take the fear out of where to begin, or how to continue, we’re free to work without so much pressure.

I find that Lamott’s approach works well in life as well.  I’m a stressed out person by nature.  My mother will readily tell you about taking me to doctor as an infant and the doctor telling her that stress plagued me.  And I can’t decide if choosing a profession in which I consistently have to be flexible and go with the flow is helping me or hurting me.  Regardless, when I am faced with the task of planning the school year, planning a unit, planning something that would typically overwhelm me, I find what fits in a one-inch picture frame and start there.  

With the end of the semester approaching quicker than we’d like, only to be followed by the holidays, stress is upon us.  My encouragement to you is a borrowed story from Anne Lamott and the source of her title.  When she was a young girl, she watched her older brother try to write a report on birds.  He had three months to write the report and of course, had procrastinated until the day before.  He was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by stacks of supplies and books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task.  Her father sat down beside him, put an arm around his shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

Message from Faith Daniels, Drama Teacher

I watched as my 3 year old daughter struggled with the crumbling pie dough.  Over and over she tried, on her own, then said, "you fix this Mama”. I gathered  the pieces of dough so I could roll it out, however, every time I tried there were her little hands trying to help, but getting in the way. Again I tried, and again there were those tiny helping hands, getting in the way and making it impossible to fix the dough.  Finally, I said “I can’t  fix this till you take your hands off”.

Years later the Lord reminded me of this story as I cried out in despair.. “ why don’t you do something?” I’m praying, reading the Word, tithing, and going to church, and I am still fighting this disease.  It was then He reminded me of the story.  He couldn’t fix anything till I took my hands off and trusted HIM! I was trying to earn my healing.. trying to “do” instead of just “being.” 
Some of us are experiencing challenges:  unsaved loved ones, illness, financial struggles, and most of all the anguish of unanswered prayer. If that is you,  maybe you will think about "taking your hands off the pie dough” and LET GOD FIX EVERYTHING!  

To this very day if I am tempted (and I often am) to try to "fix things  myself” I remember that THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S 2 Chr. 20:17 and that it is JESUS who ALWAYS causes us to triumph. 
2 Cor. 2:14

As we approach this Holy Season, it is my prayer that all of us will relax, rest, trust and be thankful we can ”take our hands off the pie dough”.

Thank you seems so feeble, Jesus, for who You are and all You have done for us!  I love You!!