Monday, January 28, 2008

What won't you give?

What is the one thing that you find difficult to give to God? A relationship, a situation, finances your health? I think everyone has something that they just don't want to give up to the Lord. For me it is my body. I just don't want to give my body to his work and glory. It so easy for me to give other things to him. I'm always willing to give of my heart, mind and soul but God also calls us to give our body. In the bible he even refers to it as his temple. My temple is not looking so hot. If fact I'd think it a stretch to even refer to it as more then a shack. I don't take care of things until it is way past the point of repair. I've even kept an infected gallbladder for about three years now. Well something changed in me when Mom Sweetapple died. I was the one that first saw her death certificate. I cried with I read the cause of death as 1. heart failure and deterioration 2. obesity 3. smoking. She was so young but she has basically given up on her body. In all other ways Mom Sweetapple was so full of life. She had a sharp mind, a beautiful soul and a loving heart, but her body just wasn't a priority. I decided then that I don't want to leave this world with work still left to do. On Thanksgiving day 2007 I ran/jogged/walked and cried my way to the finish line of my 1st 5k with my friend Rachel. I'm going to be honest when I say that I wanted to give up at least 5 times. I was talking to Jesus like a crazy women asking him to either kill me or get me to the finish. It was HARD! I've been working out and trying to get my body stronger. I want to keep running. I want to do two more 5k runs this year. I want my body to be full of health. I want to be able to view it as God's temple. Created by his hands for his work on this earth. I want our family to do physical things. I want to be able to run and catch my children. I know that God is working in me to be the person he wants me to be and part of that plan is my physical heath. I know he will get me to the finish. He works diligently and never gives up. Neither will I.
Prayer: Heavenly merciful father I ask for your help in transforming my body into a visual testimony for all that know me. That others will be motivated to know you because they can see how you have changed me. I want to come closer to you on this journey. I want to be made new in you. May the Holy Spirit be my strength when I am weak. Lord hear my prayer. Amen!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Learning more then I teach.... being more then I am.

This past week as been full of so many lessons for me. Last Saturday I had about 40 students perform at district solo and ensemble, almost 30 of those 40 got 1st division. It is the best my students have ever done at Solo and Ensemble. Of all those 1st place divisions the two students that taught me the most is my learning challenged student Sarah (name has been changed) and my emotionally scarred student Jason (name also changed). Sarah has been learning the same two songs with me for three years. She has worked so hard. She has awful anxiety about singing and three years ago I'm not sure I ever dreamed she would ever be able to sing at solo and ensemble. Last Saturday she did. She got a 1st! When I told her she and her parents all burst into tears a joy. Her dreams and three years of work paid off. She was beaming with pride and accomplishment.
Then Jason. He was left with his brothers in a crack house abandoned by his mother. Now raised by his grandparents. He just wants love. He also sings with all of his heart. He managed to pull the worst solo and ensemble judge in the history of the MSVMA. When he was finished the woman proceeded to rip him apart making him cry. This is a big, strong wrestler type boy. He is tough. He does not cry easily although I know he often has reason to do so. This judge told him that he shouldn't sing. She actually told him to look into playing an instrument instead of singing. She broke his heart. His dreams were crushed.
I guess you could say the mama in me came out. I went up to the judge and told her how very proud I was of him. She just rolled her eyes at me.
I went to Jason and we talked as he cried. I stood up for him. I know he now trusts me even more. I told him to sing on and he is.
These two situations made me realize how important my role as a teacher is. I am the holder of many dreams. It also made me think of God's love. Some days we get a 1st place other days 3rd seems even too lofty a goal. I pray that the Lord guides my words, my actions and my teaching.
I know that they hold so much weight on the hearts of the children I teach. I am thankful for the opportunities it brings to help them grow. One day I am going to write a book about my students. The hundreds of kids I think about every day. Each one with a different story. Each one with a song to sing. I pray they are still singing today.
This week I am taking my own kids Ryan and Ruby to a new doctor to help us on the Aspergers journey. I am praying this weekend that he gives me information and guidance so I can help my children. I know God has special plans for them. They are filled with such joy. Tonight Ruby informed me that I can no longer call her Ruby Olivia She has officially changed her name to Ick Sweetapple! Lord help me!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A lesson in the yuck.

I am sick. I realized today that I always get sick the week after my Grammy's birthday. Every year. So what is God always trying to show me the middle of January every year? Maybe to slow down? It never fails that it's also in the middle of my most busy time. Solo and Ensemble, lessons, church, more lessons, my theatre company. I run all day long every day from one thing to the next. I guess this is Gods only way to stop me and get me to refuel and reflect. I know that God as my father might need to throw me a road block like sickness to get me to stop and be thankful. Today I have been thinking of my dear students who are such a blessing to me. I know they must be freaking out that I wasn't in school today. I'm sure they are worried I won't be there to help them this weekend. I know even if I had to be wheeled in I'd be there. I was thinking of my friends Amy, Francie and Charity today. I'm so thankful for them. I've learned so many great lessons from them. From Amy I learn obedience and faith, from Francie I learn strength and joy and Charity I've learned about endurance and perseverance. For so long I prayed to God for friends to help me grow and these are the beautiful ladies he choose. I praise him and thank him. I also thought about my husband. His faith has finally been restored! Praise the Lord! Once again I can lean on him. I'm so grateful for God working in him and our marriage. I would never have thought that my illness would show me so much or be such a great teacher. I thank God today for the road bocks and diversions. There are always blessings down his road.

Prayer: God my heart, body, mind and soul are yours. I give myself only to you and your work.
May I contiune each day to know you more. Dear Father my I be a blessing to others in your name. For you are so holy and worthy of all the notes of praise I can raise.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A good day!

Today I woke up and decided because of the snow I'd go to the gym after work. Who wants to drive in that at 6am. YUCK! Working out would have to wait today.
I must have pushed the snooze button a dozen times. I ate breakfast went off to work. Things started looking challenging as soon as I hit the road. Traffic was awful. In fact, I thought about turning around and heading right to Starbucks to recover. I got to work late. My first three students all cried during their lessons with me. erf. I again start to think maybe God never wanted me to get up this morning. Maybe I should have stayed in my bed with Steve and the kids all cuddled up and warm. My fourth lesson wasn't much better. This student challenges every comment or correction I make. ugg. (Starbucks is now calling my name.) Did you know they came out with the Skinny Latte because of me? I got in my car to go back to teaching location #1 and I started to listen to a new gospel cd Steve got me this weekend. Man, did it totally get me back on track. WOW Gospel hits RULES! I started to pray. loud. in my car. I asked Jesus to use me to reach my students. Help me to encourage and build them up. I went back into the school and my student Jessica blew me away with her singing. THANK YOU JESUS! Her voice is so mature. A voice that last year when I started working with her had a laundry list of problems. I became so thankful. I know the Lord WAS using me to touch this girl and give her confidence in herself. The rest of my afternoon got even better. Lunch with a former student. More great lessons. Then as I was leaving to go home I got a call from a friend in need. Ryan, Ruby and I got in the car and drove our friend across town because he needed a ride. I was thinking on the way back home.... time to RELAX what a long day.... then, God said: hit the gym! I did 3 miles on the tread and 2 miles on the bike. Came home, dinner and now I'm just about to put Ryan to bed. It's PJ day for him at school tomorrow. If only it were for me as well. Oh how fun it is to be 4 years old. I'm so thankful for the lesson the Lord taught me today. Lean on him. We are never enough. Life is always going to be hard. Press on. Tired, weak, weary. When everyone else seems to have jumped out of the boat and swam to Starbucks for break, stick to it. For the Lord is always with us and he knows it, It is us who forget.

Josie's verse of the day:
Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.