Monday, October 3, 2011

Senior year is going too fast...!

Cherith's senior year is going too fast--Lord, please slow things down a bit!

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;

my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things

too great and too marvelous for me.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,

like a weaned child with its mother;

like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord

from this time forth and forevermore.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Important Qualities of a Teacher

By Christine Danielewicz

August 5, 2011

To discover the most important qualities of teacher, a person must look to the greatest teacher who ever lived: Jesus Christ. Christ displayed the qualities of wisdom, humility, love, and sacrificial commitment. Without these key character traits, no educator can hope to succeed.

It takes great wisdom to handle the serious, complex issues that teachers face daily. According to Proverbs 9:10 in the Bible, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (ESV). Jesus, the Holy One, responded wisely to every problem he encountered.

Along with wisdom goes humility. It is hard to tell which comes first. It takes wisdom to learn humility, and it takes humility to develop wisdom. In Philippians 2:8 we see that Jesus “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (ESV). When conducted in humble obedience, our teaching can accomplish all that the Lord desires.

In dealing with children and their parents, outstanding educators show genuine love to those they serve. Jesus and his followers did not show partiality (Acts 10:34, James 2:1-12); neither can teachers. Great educators make every child feel as if he or she is a valued student—even those who do not like them or their subject matter. Just as Jesus lovingly prayed for his persecutors from the cross in Luke 23:24, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (ESV), outstanding educators show genuine concern for those who may be apathetic, insolent, or defiant, so students know that, even when they are experiencing firm discipline, their teachers want the best for them.

Excellent teachers have a “whatever it takes” attitude to ensure that children learn. Jesus withheld nothing, but sacrificed his very life on the cross so that perishing people could live. Likewise, exceptional teachers are willing to sacrifice so that children can learn. Having been entrusted with treasures of knowledge and understanding, outstanding teachers enter the classroom knowing that “…to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48, ESV).

Wisdom, humility, love, and sacrificial commitment lay the foundation on which solid instruction is built. Teachers who develop these qualities are prepared to meet tough educational and behavioral challenges. Their instruction produces outstanding results.

Lord, please grow these qualities in us!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

When you think that what you hope to do is impossible...

When you think that what you hope to do is impossible, remember this.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalms 37:4

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Memory of a Beautiful Friend and Woman of God: Debbie Krebs

Whenever I think of Debbie
I see her smiling;
I hear her cheerful voice.

She's telling someone,
"Way to go! You can do it!"
and so many other joyful words of blessing.

She's giving a hug,
holding out her hands
to give help, healing, hope.

I may not see her for a long, long time.
We didn't know she'd be leaving so soon.

Now when I think of her
I'll get that ache in my heart
and wrestle again and again with
how things are and how I wish they were.

It should not be this way.
She should have stayed
and lived and loved a little longer--
so much longer!

But Jesus will make it up to us,
and when he brings us back together,
we won't remember the time apart.
We'll talk of how he rescued us
and walk together always
on a road that never ends...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Creative Summer Learning

Venture Into Creative Learning This Summer

By Christine Danielewicz

When school is out, your children don’t have to stop learning. Over summer vacation the world can be your classroom as you venture into creative learning experiences together.

Your school may send home a summer reading list, but your children don’t have to tackle it alone. Bob and Kathie deFilippo of Mechanicsburg, Pa., gather their four children ranging in age from 15 years to two months old in the living room, outside under a tree, or anyplace that’s comfortable for regular enjoyment of literature. Kathie is usually the one to read aloud, and Bob sits right down with Mia, Mason, Marco and Max to enjoy the adventure, historical fiction, fantasy, or whatever type of selection is chosen.

“I don’t want them to just get through school,” Kathie says of her children. “I want them to enjoy learning.”

Don’t limit yourself to school assigned books either. Take time this summer to read things on topics in which your children are especially interested. Just listening to you read will help boost your child’s reading achievement, but it can also be beneficial for them to follow along in the book as you read, or even to read aloud with you to develop speech fluency. You can make this easier by checking out an extra copy or two from the library.

Look for great bargains, too, so you can even purchase extra copies of books. Then your kids can underline or highlight as you read. They might want to mark their favorite parts of the book, interesting or unfamiliar words, or changes in character or plot. You can get Dover Thrift Classics unabridged editions of timeless books for just a few dollars a piece. Catalogs from companies like Christian Book Distributors carry these and other great selections in their homeschool catalog, but you don’t have to be a homeschooler to order them. It’s okay to use Spark Notes to help you understand what you’re reading as long as you’re not using them to avoid reading the entire book.

You can take a break from workbooks to review language. One of the best ways to improve grammar, word usage, and style is to follow great models of language. Poetry is often squeezed into a short unit during the school year, yet it contains some of the richest language you can find, full of beauty, wit, drama, action, mystery, and even masterful nonsense. In her book, A Family of Poems, Caroline Kennedy reminisces about a family tradition instituted by her late mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. For a special occasion, Caroline and John would be required to copy a poem and decorate the page for a relative, and these were eventually put into a scrapbook. They didn’t always feel like doing it, Kennedy remembers, but she often thinks of many of the poems and treasures the memories of them kept in the scrapbooks.

Math can be more meaningful for your children if they are using it for real life activities. Help them make up a budget for back to school supplies and clothes. Plan expenses for a vacation. Let them manage a yard sale. In the process, they can be reviewing basic facts, computation, problem solving, decimals, fractions, percents, ratios, and percentages. Whew! That covers about a year’s worth a material. Maybe it will cure them of asking, “Why do I have to know this?”

Science and history can really come to life if you are willing to do a little research and travel. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, though. Check around for the numerous historical and outdoor sites that can offer great educational experiences. In addition to the more famous Liberty Bell and Gettysburg landmarks, places like Fort Hunter Mansion and Park in Harrisburg can take your family back to colonial times, providing hands on activities to help you live out history together.

Many parks have staff members who provide fun educational programs for students. Asbury Woods near Erie, and Wildwood Lake Sanctuary and Nature Center in Harrisburg, provide indoor and outdoor activities, plus lots of information to take home with you. Even if you’re not a hunter, you’ll learn so much from a visit to some state game lands, like Greene Township’s Siegel Marsh in northwest Pennsylvania, which includes 1,343 acres of woodland, open fields, ponds and marshes, along with an indoor education center.

A third grade field trip to Pymatuning State Park in Linesville was so memorable to me that my husband and I took our kids back for a picnic, and we found lots of other interesting sites along the way. A fish hatchery and wildlife viewing area make it unique and contribute to its popularity as the most visited Pennsylvania state park. In turn, I’m sure they’ll take their children to Lake Tobias in Halifax, Pa., after experiencing the fun of having an elk step up into the front of our bus during our Safari tour there.

Pennsylvania author Toni Albert has written great books that help kids learn by doing. My own children enjoyed her spring and summer Ecojournals (fall and winter Ecojournals are available, as well), which showed them just how scientists observe and record information about nature by including Toni’s own day-by-day journals. No dry technological language can be found in these—just a lively look at all of the life that’s waiting to be enjoyed right outside your window. There are terrific projects to do together and space for your children to keep their own notes about their daily observations.

For more science education, you can find science centers and zoos that have reciprocal membership systems. When you get a membership to the Erie, Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh Zoo, for example, you can get free or discounted admission to over 100 other zoos in the nation. When you buy a membership to the Whitaker Center For Science and the Arts in Harrisburg, or the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, you can also visit over 250 other science and technology centers.

Don’t forget to include the arts in your summer ventures. Educators have found that these are not frivolous or optional, but essential to child development and learning. Without the stress of homework, summer is a great time to get started on a musical instrument, which can be rented for very affordable rates, depending on the instrument. Turn off the top 40 and give your local jazz or classical radio station a try. Better yet, take in a live concert. Summer is the season for free outdoor concerts at parks, fairs, and other events. Seeing the musicians who love their art in action can make a great impression on your kids. You don’t have to necessarily sit in a chair for the entire program either. Lay a blanket on the ground and play a quiet game, or walk around while you listen.

Art is not just for artists. Stephanie Herr of Camp Hill, Pa., had no special interest or experience in art until she married her husband Dan, whose father is Paul is a professional artist in Lititz, Pa. Now Stephanie teaches art at a Homeschool co-operative for elementary and middle school age students. Art history is never boring in her classroom. When she teaches about Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the boys and girls tape a sheet of paper to the bottom of a chair, lie down underneath it, and paint just like the master.

“Don’t see a house; see a square of red,” she tells the class when studying Monet and the Impressionists. “Don’t see a tree; see a streak of brown.” She encourages the children and their parents to take their watercolor paints outside and paint just like these innovative artists.

Her favorite artist is Georgia O’Keeffe, known for her close up paintings of flowers. “Summer and Georgia O’Keeffe go hand in hand,” she recommends to parents looking for an alternative to summer hours in front of the Xbox. O’Keeffe wanted to make sure people didn’t just walk by the flowers without noticing them, so she painted them big. Often one blossom will take up the entire canvas. Garden centers or your own backyard will provide plenty of petals for you to color or paint. Don’t forget to relay Stephanie’s number one rule to your children: There are no mistakes in art!

Now, with all of these things to do, will your kids have a moment to say, “I’m bored”?

(Originally published in The Pennsylvania Family Institute's Pennsylvania Families and Schools' column "Beyond the Booster Club: Tips for Parental Involvement," Summer 2006.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Not Quenched, But Sometimes Obscured

"Many waters cannot quench love," but sometimes the pollution of life obscures it.

Lord, please let your love show through always...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Music to Learn By

Music makes memory work so much easier. You can learn about a wonderful Bible memory CD here:

There are several ways you can get a chance to win a copy, as well.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Be slow to speak...

A beautiful poem from Bonnie Chase...

Gettysburg: <!--StartFragment-->

Be slow to speak, quick-sp...
: "Be slow to speak, quick-speaking mouth. Your pride and self-seeking are fading. Purity and life echo from you. Filth and dust, dirt and..."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Maryland Forsythia in April

Hybrid branches blend
spring's yellow and summer's green
blooms between seasons.

Awkward looking like
my life. Transitions obscure
past joys and new hopes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Don't be so judgmental and legalistic...

A post by Scott Jamison got me thinking this week. It's so common to throw around the words "judgmental" and "legalistic" any time there is a discussion wrestling with how to live in this world without being "of the world", or with developing friendships with sinnners but not "friendship with the world."

If we discuss our discomfort with specific types of entertainment or concern about an issue, we might be accused of being too concerned about things that don't matter and not focused enough on love.

Yet a person wrestling with these things may not be finger pointing or judging others at all. There may be a battle going on in a person who wants to, like Paul:

"count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that comes which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--

that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and my share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus...

and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you." Philippians 3:8-15

To many people, "counting everything loss" and "forgetting what lies behind" means turning their backs on many painful things that are in their past life before meeting Jesus--drinks, joints, vulgar movies, steamed up back seat windows, sensual music, ungodly philosophies, to name a few.

To them "pressing on" means seeking and being involved in things that point them to Jesus and our life with him.

So if someone says or posts something that might seem legalistic or judgmental, keep in mind that it may not be legalistic or judgmental at all, but rather an honest attempt to keep the faith and be ready when Jesus comes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Things Unfolding

I loved this devotion from Tim Tomlinson, President of Bethlehem College and Seminary.
The Second Coming of Christ always stirs up different kinds of emotions in me: hopefulness, comfort, contrition...Any others?

With all of the political turmoil and potential explosiveness happening in Egypt, Libya, and several other countries in the Middle East, and even nearby Wisconsin, it is both understandable and easy to begin to worry about the future. What happens there will surely have an impact on the rest of the world to one degree or another.

The temptation when such potentially cataclysmic events occur is to be anxious about our own well-being and that of our families. As natural as that is, it is still an inappropriate reaction on our part. The Lord has not called us to a spirit of fear, but rather one of absolute faith in His sovereignty over all the earth. Whatever kind of earthly crisis or disaster you fear or become anxious about, the only solution is to remind ourselves of the absolute authority of the Lord over all things.

"John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so, Amen. I am the Alpha and Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:4-8).

Six observations from this passage which help me deal rightly with earthly worries are:
  1. The Lord is eternal. He was, he is, and he will be forever!
  2. Jesus Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth--whether they worship him or not.
  3. Jesus loves us and has, therefore, freed us from our sins by his blood. This fact alone is more important and crucial for our well-being than any other thing in the universe!
  4. We serve a God who is glorious and who has dominion over all things forever.
  5. One day he will return to earth in the clouds and everyone who has rejected him will finally see him for who he really is--and they will be terribly sorry.
  6. The Lord God is the beginning and the end of all things. He is the Almighty God!

May you and I trust wholly in the sovereign God of the universe and rest completely in him.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Parallels That Mothers Make

I found myself noticing two interesting parallels this month:

1. Working on a hard passage of music is like comforting a colicky baby. No matter what you do, the baby cries and it seems like he will never feel better. Sometimes no matter how much I work at mastering a passage, I continue to trip over the notes and it seems like it will never smooth out. I know that my students feel this way, too.

But research tells us that the the colicky baby does feel our comfort and that it does make a difference, even if he doesn't show it. And working on that passage faithfully will result in beautiful music someday if we don't give up on it.

2. The last month before a big concert is like the last month of pregnancy. It is a wonderful time, but I can't wait for delivery day to just love and enjoy that baby. At at concert time, I just can't wait until the students are all up there playing and just enjoying the music they have worked so hard to share.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Partnering to Remember in 2011

Looking forward to using this great resource to help hide God's Word in our hearts this year so we can be ready to share our hope when the opportunity arises (1 Peter 3:14) and so that it can change us and keep us from sin (Psalms 119:11).

Also, among many other things, these wonderful blessings of memorizing Scripture pointed out by John Piper:

Conformity to Christ - Bible memorization
has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus steadier
and clearer.

Daily Triumph over Sin - As sin lures the body
into sinful action, we call to mind a Christ-revealing
word of Scripture and slay the temptation with
the superior worth and beauty of Christ over what
sin offers.

Daily Triumph over Satan - When Jesus was
tempted by Satan in the wilderness he recited
Scripture from memory and put Satan to flight.

Comfort and Counsel for People You Love
- When the heart full of God’s love can draw on the
mind full of God’s word, timely blessings flow from
the mouth.

Communicating the Gospel to Unbelievers
- Actual verses of the Bible have their own
penetrating power. And when they come from our
heart, as well as from the Book, the witness is given
that they are precious enough to learn.

Communion with God in the Enjoyment of
His Person and Ways - The way we commune
with (that is, fellowship with) God is by meditating
on his attributes and expressing to him our thanks
and admiration and love, and seeking his help to live
a life that reflects the value of these attributes.