Monday Musings

153478-Keep-Calm-And-Pretend-It-s-Not-MondayI don’t know how most of you feel about Mondays, but I actually like Mondays.  I hear audible *gasps* world-wide.  Seriously, I like the potential of Mondays.  I always feel like a brand new week is before me and I have all these amazing plans that all have their start on Mondays.  Unfortunately by Wednesday I start to become aware that all the good plans I had on Monday have become bogged down in mid-week procrastination.  By Thursday I’ve given up entirely and then the weekend hits and let’s face it, I take the idea of R. & R. seriously on weekends.  But then Monday rolls around again and it’s a fresh new week ahead…full of potential!

I remember watching each one of my three children and over the past few years, my grandbabies, Jaxon and Kharis.  When they were babies I observed something fascinating about each one of my children. Yes, I will admit each of them, at the time of their “babyness” were the the cutest babies in the world.  That said,  what I really noticed is how at nearly four months of age EVERY day for each of them was so full of potential.  They would discover something new every single day.  The wonder of hands; how Jaxon discovered he had toes and he could grab them!  Rattles becoming an obsession with my girls.  Each of the babies would milk every day, (literally…hahaha) as they spent every moment discovering more and more about the world around them.

Brett wouldn’t just look at me with those big blue eyes, no, he would STUDY me!  It’s like he needed to memorize my every expression and then he’d try to mimic the sounds that came from my mouth no matter how silly they may have sounded to him at the time.  (He probably still thinks that about me now that he’s a grown man!)  Kharis is absolutely fascinated with watching T.V.  (She may become a couch potato!)  The only time she is upset is when her little body starts to wind down for nap time.  She wants so much to stay awake, to not miss a single minute of discovery that she gets very upset just before she reluctantly drifts off to sleep.

My daughter, Carmen now works as one of the education specialists in an Early Learning Centre and she comes home with stories everyday of her little charges learning the fine art of using the potty.  A big accomplishment for toddlers!  I laugh when she shares because I still remember vividly those “potty training days” with her!  I look forward now to seeing my granddaughter take on the potty challenge this summer!

Growing up is a grand adventure!

Thinking about each of my children and remembering them as babies, there was a wonderment about each new day and as their parent I discovered the world in a new way with them.  Now as an Empty Nester, I’ve lost some of that.  How I wish that I could have that “newborn” kind of wonderment every single day!  To discover, to awake, to find brand new potential not just on Mondays but every single day.  I find myself filled with new excitement on Monday morning, but by the time Monday evening comes around I am already wound down.  I’m ready to sleep.  I certainly don’t weep at the thought of the day coming to an end like my granddaughter does.

As I pondered on that I thought about how I have “wound-down” in my spiritual passion as well.  When I was a new believer, I could not wait to discover, explore and experience God in every way I could.  There were not enough minutes in the day to learn more about Him.  But over time that passion, that zeal, that energy to learn and discover more about God has dwindled.  So this Monday morning I am reminded of a great hymn of faith: “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and especially the chorus:

  • Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
    Morning by morning new mercies I see;
    All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
    “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Morning by morning!  What a great reminder that with God EVERY day is full of potential and filled with His tender mercies!

When Students Read

A group of diverse children reading a book.

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see my Junior High students reading.  One, and I will admit a great added bonus, is the peace and quiet in the classroom when students are doing S.S.R. (sustained silent reading).  Two, books are the great gateways to new worlds and foster imagination and creative thinking.  Three, there is the added benefit of improved spelling scores.  It is said that “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”.  I totally agree.

I am “old school” when it comes to teaching.  I admit that.  There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the sound of pages turning in a quiet classroom.  Yes, there are few that read on their electronic devices, but for the most part, my students are immersed in their paperback novels and it’s a lovely sight!  I also quiz my students in vocabulary and spelling words.  Since September I am pleased to say my students have improved dramatically in spelling.  Yay!  I know it’s not common practice to teach spelling in Junior High, but as I’ve already stated, I’m “old school”.

One of my students is such an avid reader, I have to force her to put down a book long enough to hear directions in class.  She has read thousands of books in her young lifetime.  I am impressed.

Studies have shown, that students who read, seem to also excel in writing, spelling, as well as many of the other subject areas in school.  I have a big banner at the front of my classroom: “Turn the pages of your imagination: READ!”  My students know how important I think reading is.

So here are a few hints to parents to foster the love of reading in their child.  If you have a few tips please feel free to add them in comments.

1.  Start early.  I mean, start reading books to your children when they are toddlers.  Bedtime stories are great times to read together.

2.  When you are doing everyday activities with your preschooler read signs, back of breakfast cereal boxes, anything and everything that has print that can also become a teachable moment with your child.  It will help them learn their alphabet letters and help them to understand that we read all the time.

3.  Buy lots of books for your child.  I know computer literacy is BIG right now, but I’m still a big advocate on buying paper or board books, so children turn pages and look at illustrations from a book NOT a T.V. or computer/tablet screen.

4.  To foster reading in your child, model that behaviour.  Read books yourself.  Turn off the T.V. and immerse yourself in a good book.  Your child will take note!

5.  For older children and teens…read the books they read.  I have never been a censor of books per se.  I generally read the books that are popular BEFORE the kids read them, so I tend to immerse myself in what they are interested in.  That said, there are books I absolutely refuse to read because of their sexually explicit content or profane language or they have a definitively negative or immoral message that goes against God’s Word.  My kids know which books are “banned” in the household, and it’s a teachable moment to share why those books do not need to be read by them or by me.

6.  Lastly, if you want your children to read their Bible, make sure you model reading in YOUR Bible.  Just sayin’ !

Worship Typos – Friday Funnies

z187105942First, I must begin by saying that this blog posting is only meant to amuse (not malign) the well-meaning and oftentimes harassed Worship Leaders in churches across North America.  With trying to find the right balance of Contemporary and Traditional hymns  every Sunday to keep all congregants happy,  it’s a wonder Worship Leaders are not pulling out what little hair they may have on their heads already.  That said, one of the main distractions for me in Worship is spotting typos in the Worship PowerPoint.  As an English teacher and writer it’s hard to shut the editing mode off on Sundays when I spend a great deal of time during the week correcting punctuation and grammatical errors in class and on Facebook.

Jon Acuff, wrote a great post on his Top 16 Worship Music Typos: “Lord, You are more precious than silver… Lord, You are more costly than golf.”  I am still laughing at that one!

I could add a few more to the fray:  (I found these on the web.)

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear the hour I first relieved.”

“Angels we have heard get high.”

“Go tell it on the montain.”  (Wikipedia Note: Montain is a commune in the Jura department in Franche-Comté in eastern France.)

“I was lost in udder darkness ’till You came and rescued me.”

“My God is mighty to sve.  He is mighty to save.”

“Shout to the Lord!  All the earth let us sig” or  “Shout to the Lord!  All the earth let us sin!”

Grammatical Errors: “Your the God of this city. Your the King of these people.”

“You are beautiful beyond description / To marvelous for words”

“How grate is are God”

Copy and paste fail: “The earth is filled with his lory, The earth is filled with his lory,  Holy is the Lord”

The best one yet: “All hail the power of Jesus’ name, let angels prostate fall.”

Do you have any more to add?  Leave a comment today.

A Tribute to Mom

I LOVE Mother’s Day!  I have wonderful children who spoiled me royally yesterday.  My son-in-law BBQ’d a salmon and the other “kids” provided all the side dishes and my youngest made several desserts – lemon squares for me, and “cuppy” cakes for my two grandbabies.  I got flowers and gifts and cards and best of all, they did all the clean-up afterwards!  It was a great day!

Every Mother’s Day I am reminded of my last Mother’s Day spent with my Mom.  Two months later Mom succumbed to cancer so I remember with fondness mingled with sadness that last special day I could honour my mother here on earth.

I had gone home to Victoria knowing it was likely going to be my “good-bye” visit.  We knew our time together was short so we made every minute of that last Mother’s Day together count.  I didn’t know it at the time but I found out after she passed, that she had “weaned” herself off of some of the medication she was taking to combat the pain because she wanted to have a “clear head” to talk to me.  She knew that she would be having last, memorable conversations with me and she did not want her medication to have her too drugged to articulate properly what she wanted to say to me or too drugged to remember my words to her.

I had one goal that weekend: share the Gospel with my mother.  She had grown up in a Christian home but disappointments with the church in general (she grew up in Denmark, just before the Second World War broke out) had led her to becoming disillusioned with religion, church and God when Denmark was occupied by Germany.

Our conversations that weekend were deep and poignant, with me sharing why I was a follower of Christ and she imparting final, experiential life lessons with me.  On Mother’s Day she said, “Lynn, I have made my peace with God.  I’m not afraid to die.”  It was not exactly the kind of answer I wanted to hear but God gave me peace about it.  On July 8, 1990 my Mom passed away and I miss her every day.

Yesterday our Pastor preached the most amazing Mother’s Day sermon I have ever heard.  It was a tribute to all Mom’s, but especially poignant since this would be the first Mother’s Day he would not celebrate with his own sweet mother.  With him living in Alberta and she living in the southern States it was not the miles that separated them this time.  At 95 years of age, his mother had passed away the day before.  The fact that he could courageously, and boldly preach a day after her passing is a testimony in itself.  Just before the Worship service, my husband and another concerned friend asked if he could or should preach that day.  They understood how very difficult it would be for him.

“It will be the first sermon my Mom’s heard me preach in quite a long time,” he said.  “I’m okay and I’m ready.”

Our Pastor then went forward and preached his message and gave a great tribute to his Mom who had been a follower of Jesus all her life.  I’m pretty sure she smiled at him from heaven!

As I gathered my “kidlings” around me yesterday, I remembered our Pastor’s words.  The simplicity of the message at its heart being, am I showing MY children how to follow the Lord Jesus?  Do I model for them  attributes of a Godly mother?  Am I a Proverbs 31 woman?

Admittedly, I fail.  I mess up.  I’m not perfect, but I try to follow the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength.  Have I arrived?  Nope.  I’m not there yet…I’m still a work in progress.

So I hugged on my kids yesterday and remembered the words written on Ruth Bell Graham’s grave marker:

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Amen!

 

 

A New Day

3166We live in a new province.  Oh, we haven’t moved but after yesterday’s historic provincial election we live in a NEW province…an NDP (New Democratic Party) one to be specific.  After forty plus years being a Progressive Conservative stronghold in Canada, Albertans turfed that party out in favour of change.

I’m not a fan of change.

That said, as I prayed yesterday morning, I prayed that God was in control and that whatever the outcome of the election that day, He would direct the leaders of our government to make wise decisions that would (will) affect all Albertans.

I prayed that same prayer this morning for our new Premier Elect – Rachel Notley.  She has a new mandate from the majority of Albertans.  There will be a lot of rookie M.L.A.’s (Members of the Legislature) she will have to lead with patience and wisdom.  She needs our prayers.

So, today in a Province that will be undergoing massive change over the next four years (and did I mention I’m not a fan of change?), I am so thankful that I serve a God Who is my one Constant.  He does not change!  (Malachi 3:6)  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  (James 1:17); “But You remain the same, and your years will never end.”  (Psalm 102:27); “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.” (Daniel 6:26).

 

 

Friday Funnies – English is a Funny Language

I’ve been busy teaching Junior Highs how to tell the difference between a synonym and a homonym, and how to use “their”, “they’re”, and “there” in a sentence…and spelling the words correctly when they do.  Oh my!

So for today’s Friday Funnies, I thought I’d post some pictures that poke a little fun at the English language.

Why English is Hard to Learn

We’ll begin with a box: the plural is boxes,

But the plural of ox is oxen, not oxes.

One fowl is goose, and two are called geese,

Yet the plural of moose is never called meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a house full of mice;

But the plural of house is houses, not hice.

The plural of man is always men,

But the plural of pan is never pen.

If I speak of a foot, and you show me two feet,

And I give you a book, would a pair be a beek?

If one is a tooth and the whole set are teeth,

Why shouldn’t two booths be called beeth?

If the singular’s this and the plural is these,

Should the plural of kiss be called keese?

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,

But though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then masculine pronouns are he, his, and him;

But imagine the feminine…she, shis, and shim!

Anonymous– or is it anonymouses?

An Ounce of Prevention…

It started with a twinge of a sore throat, then I started to feel a little achy and then it had developed into a full-blown head, nose and throat cold.  What is it you’re supposed to do…feed a cold, starve a fever or starve a cold, feed a fever?  I was too sick to care.

I told someone that it would be a miracle if I didn’t get sick after teaching the junior highs last week.  It seemed no matter how much hand sanitizer I used, the germs would not be held at bay.  Sitting in front of me was a young man who sniffled and sneezed and coughed in my direction through most of the class.  I looked into his bloodshot eyes and felt such pity for him.  He should have been home in bed but he was “toughing it out”.  Words I remember saying to my own son whenever he had complained of a head cold.  “You can’t miss too much school.”  I told him.  “Just tough it out!”  I regret saying it to Brett now…perhaps it was he who coughed his mucus-seeking missiles in a teacher’s direction one day and that teacher suffered then as I was suffering now.  Certainly students don’t purposefully set out to sneeze all over their unsuspecting teachers or classmates, but once launched, the germs are given their marching orders to seek out the most vulnerable in the room.   Lucky me.

It would be so easy if there was some kind of invisible “battle armor” we could wear that repels cold germs.  Something like shark repellent maybe…although I suppose if a shark wanted to bite you, spraying him in the face would probably just make him madder and the consequences would be the same.  It’s like that joke about Grizzly Bears in Alberta…hikers are warned to make lots of noise in the back country and carry “bear bells” to “scare” bears away.  The theory is that bears would rather not cross paths with noisy, bell-carrying hikers.  The joke is: what do you usually find in bear scat (droppings)?…Answer: berries and bells.  Get it?

So the same sort of idea holds true when it comes to warding off colds.  I was constantly telling my kids when they were in school to take precautions to prevent getting sick like: take your vitamins, don’t go outside without a coat on, get plenty of rest, eat right…and I followed (still follow) my own advice TO THE LETTER.

The sad truth is that even with my taking the best precautions…a persistent cold germ still managed to get through.

I know there is a point to my telling my children over and over again to take care of themselves so they don’t get sick, but truly logic fails me when after all MY precautions, following MY own advice, here I am sick with a cold.  It’s unfair.

The thing about colds is that it attacks regardless of how prepared or unprepared one is.  So does Satan.

We’ve been studying the “armor of God” in class (Ephesians 6:13 -18 ). “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

The idea here is that we, as Christians, are under constant attack by the worldly enemy – Satan.  Like a cold, sometimes he sneaks up on us and catches us unaware and we cry “unfair”, and unless we have been equipped to fight him we will be totally unprepared for the onslaught to come.  Still there are times we are aware of a battle in front of us and we make every effort to guard against the barrage thrown at us.  We need to be in battle armor all the time.  The trouble always arises when we are totally unprepared.  Then we know we’re in trouble!

So as I sniffle and sneeze my way through another bout of the common cold, I’m reminded that I’ve got an arsenal of cold remedies in my hands (if I use them), and I’ve got people who can bring me chicken soup literally for the soul!  The same is true when I feel the attacks of Satan.  I’ve got battle armor to wear, and I have people who will rally with me in prayer so together we can overcome the enemy.

 

“AaaaaChoooo!”  I wrap my blankie around me tightly.  I cling to it like it’s battle armor for my cold.

“Bless you!” says the Father.

I purposefully adjust the helmet of Salvation that’s tilted at an angle on my head and listen.

“My (child), do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.  Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”  Psalm 3:1-8

I feel that invisible weight of armor covering my body and tightly clutch the Sword (my Bible) on my lap praying as I do that I will be prepared for the next attack.