Tuesday, March 31, 2009

True Worship

Playing with worlde again . . . helps to visualize scripture. This comes from John 4: 21 - 24

True Worship


Wordle: true worship

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Teaching with Technology in mind

Technology

I've spent a good portion of my time in the past several months working on a techonology project for school. 2 administrators and I, a mere teacher, have been learning everything we can about "Web 2.0" technologies and trying to figure out how we could help teachers learn to incorporate these amazing tools into their existing curriculum. After many hours of work we have come up with our "plan" and next week will present it to other private schools in our region. Then comes the fun -- implementing the plan!

In the process of all of this, I've learned so much. I've always loved "playing" on the computer, but now I'm seeing amazing ways I can integrate this "play" into the work I do. It's not so much about teaching "new" things. Instead it's about using new tools to accomplish the same goals.

For example -- a fun toy I found is at http://www.wordle.net/. It can take any text and create a graphic from the words. Below is a sample wordle from my teams project page.

Wordle: Breakfast Bunch

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Faith

Just over a month ago, my daughters received news that they were accepted to a missions team travelling to Guatemala this summer. Even when they were applying to go, I looked at the cost of the trip and expressed doubt --- It's an expensive trip for one child, let alone two! Both of them quickly reminded me if God wants them to go, he would provide.


They sent their letters out exactly a month ago. Outwardly, I applauded their faith and encouraged them. But inside, I doubted. They had three deadlines to send their money in: 25% on March 1, 50% on March 15 & the final 25% by April 1. I looked at it and thought, there are kids who have been working to raise their support since last fall. How could we seriously expect to raise over so much money in only 6 weeks? I even thought through how I would encourage them if the money didn't come in and they had to wait until next summer. But my girls continued to hold on to their faith.


By the March 1 deadline, they had exactly what they needed. By March 15, that had more than the 50% deposit they needed; and as of today, March 19, exactly one month from the day they sent their initial support letters, they have everything they need --- with 2 weeks to spare.


I am amazed --- not that God could provide, not that my kids had faith --- no, I am amazed at myself and how much I doubted. WHY am I surprised that the money came in? I knew in my heart that God could provide. I never doubted that he could. I just really didn't know if he would.


Long story short --- I'm amazed to realize just how weak my faith can be, and I'm thrilled to know that God is in the business of stretching the faith!


I guess that means instead of being overwhelmed by the amount of work that I have to do, I can trust that God will enable me to get it done. Instead of worrying about our families' finances and fretting over how to save money, I can trust that God will always meet our needs. Instead of wondering how my school will survive in this tight economy, I will trust that God has a plan. Instead of worrying about how to raise money for me to go to Ensenada, Mexico with my church, I will trust that once again, God will provide.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Change

Change is good -- soometimes.

There are many changes I like. I love the changing seasons. Personally it would be very hard for me to live in a place without four distinct seasons. I love each season for different reasons – and I love the change that comes with each new season.

I like to change the looks of things, to rearrange a room, to add new pictures, to change colors, to reorganize things so they are more efficient. Change can break up monotony.

Watching children grow and change is so exciting: New words, new accomplishments, new discoveries. Even with teens, the change is sometimes subtle, but little changes reflect growing maturity.

Yes, change is good.
But change is sometimes uncomfortable.

My husband recently changed jobs. It was an awesome change – but stressful nonetheless. There’s still so much for him to learn, and there are still so many “unknowns” as he steps into each new day.

Change is happening in my church as a new pastor will be officially installed this weekend. It’s not a total change because the “new” pastor has been on staff for several years and has been gradually assuming the cloak of leadership as our “old” pastor has been moving into new areas of ministry. It’s a good change, a sign of growth. But it is still a change. There’s the excitement of the new things coming and the sadness of the old things ending.

Change is a constant at my school. In the 4 years since I returned to work, I’ve served under 3 different principals. My classes have changed every year. Even the bell schedule has been different each year. The only thing that doesn’t change at the school is the fact that things always change. This week we saw yet another change: a teacher of many, many years resigned. She was (is) a beloved teacher and her leaving is painful. She is someone that I have grown to love and respect over the years, and I am so sad that she has left. BUT I’m also happy because one of my dearest teaching friends has returned to the school as the long-term sub. She is an amazing teacher, and I know she will do a phenomenal job. I’m thrilled because I get to visit with her more often again. I am sad for one friend and happy for another – I’m torn.

I’m not sure why, but I sense that other changes are on the horizon. My instincts are saying the changes are big; I can’t say why or what or even who the change involves. But I feel something coming. There’s a part of me that wants to put my head under the covers to hide and avoid the change. But there’s another part that wants to peak out and see what’s around the corner.

The good news in the midst of change is that God is in complete control, and he NEVER changes. Whatever change may come, I trust God. I know that he has a plan and he will use changes for good. Someday, I’ll look back at this season and be grateful for the variety, the beauty and the growth that comes from change. But for now, I’m just going to hold on tight.