Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Life's Work

When I begin to think over the past few months about being a teacher, I realize just how vital "thinking" has been. For whatever reason I'm not the kind of person that can just do something in life. I have to think about it.

I want to be connected to the people around me. I want to live each day and go to bed each and every night knowing that I have given all that I can give and received all that I was supposed to receive.

Seeing the first set of children that I taught and sending them into kindergarten/ teaching another group for the first half of the school year, has really taught me some things about myself.

1. I am not typical.
2. I wish to educate differently and support parents as I do so.
3. Teaching a child is most effective and nourishing for the child when there is a  partnership between a teacher and parents, when the two agree to be on the same page.
4. I teach individuals.
5. It's harder to teach the way that I know I was born to when there are 22 children in my classroom, but it can and will be done.
6. I want to be the facilitator for a school someday...................................

I want to facilitate and environment where parents truly do wish to see their individual child thrive and are willing to support that education not only financially, but with their presence. I think it could be the grounds of "coming together."  A place where parents can be involved in the community of helping to teach their child. When parents leave to go to work everyday, I want them to feel as though they have left their child with members of their family, and know that their children are discovering their passions all day long.

I want the children to know how completely special they are and how what they bring into their school, no one else can. I don't want them to ever represent a number or a test score. I want to know them as Larry the amazing artist, or Kerrie the child that is a whiz with the Leggo's. I want to know them, their families, and their passions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Shift in The Prayer

24 is coming up fast. Someday's I feel younger and someday's I feel older. I've never quite understood this whole age thing. Mama's right! The older I get, the more I realize just how little I really do know. 

Recently I've spent focused time in prayer for a mate, someone to grow old with. I've prayed, "God send the perfect one," and "So! What are you waiting for?" I've asked God over and over again what he's doing, and even taken matters into my own hands a few times and tried to force things that truly I knew couldn't be the right things for me. I don't regret anything, because everything has brought me right to the place that I am now. 

Where are you right now, Michelle?
I've come to a place where I can no longer afford to "take matters into my own hands". When the seeking of ANY relationship becomes more of a priority than my relationship with the almighty, I am no longer in balance, and I am no longer the vessel of full use that I was created to be. 

Here's the ticket: 
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I will diligently seek the master's plan. I don't want to ever pray selfish prayers, but always move forward in life living only to glorify God's kingdom. 

This life is a vapor and by no means what it's all about. This body is fragile and will be quite empty at the moment my spirit passes from it. The only legacy that will matter will be the legacy of God's love, the same legacy that continues to be passed through my family from generation to generation. 

So, I ask myself these questions, and challenge you to do the same: 
Where's your focus? What matters from an eternity standpoint? What doesn't matter? Is your energy poured into reflecting the love of Christ and depending on him to have all of the answers? Because He truly does. He created our brains that ask the questions, surly he knows the answers. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011


It's hard to navigate some situations in life. We go along doing what we perceive to be right to the best of our abilities. A lot of times we go at it from a human perspective, because after all, we are only human.

It's often hard to work within God's plan when we snatch the keys out of His hand. It's our free will. It's what He's given us. We sometimes choose to go about handling a situation with our very own set of rules and our very own way of right. I don't know about you, but that often gets me into trouble. When I pretend not to know that there is a divine hand at work in everything that I am, I tend to lose sight of where the true "win marker" is.

My true "win marker" is for God's love to be personified through every interaction that I have. I am fully certain that my purpose within this world is to share His love with every person that I come in contact with.

Sometimes the way that love should be shared is hard to determine. Sometimes when I look at situations with my carnal mind, it's hard to discern what God's best display would be. Through prayer, and through spending time in His word I know that He will supply understanding of every situation that I find myself within.

It's easy to get lost...........................................
In a moment in time when new age philosophy is in everything around us, it's easy to place too much trust in things that have no solid ground work. You see, lot's of people like to say, "The answer is inside of you." While it sounds really noble, I don't believe it. That sounds great, and perhaps from the standpoint of a Savior living within us, that would make sense, but from the world's definition of that statement, I'm not in agreement. I've searched within "myself" to figure things out and let me just tell you, I don't have it. It's not here. Myself is fresh out of answers.

Take this:

Colossians 2:8 ESV 

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

 As Christians, our discernment has to come through Christ Jesus, because after all, He is the author of every story that our lives will ever tell. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'd Rather Have Jesus

  1. I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
    I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
    I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
    I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
    • Than to be the king of a vast domain
      And be held in sin’s dread sway;
      I’d rather have Jesus than anything
      This world affords today.
  2. I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
    I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
    I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
    I’d rather be true to His holy name
  3. He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
    He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
    He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
    I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead

My heart's cry. I feel like I could have written this song.I've come into such a new understanding of just how much Jesus means in my life; how vital to my existence and success my relationship truly is. Yes. It's true that it's the answer that my parents always gave me, but it turns out that it was a pretty good answer. Trust me. I've searched, and time and time again I come back around to the same feeling of needing to fall into his arms and submit my insufficient-ness. There's no other that supplies what I need, and the acknowledging of the fact that I do need, is something that hasn't come easy for me. It's ok to need. It's ok to need other people, and it is most certainly ok to need a relationship with an entity that poured out His life for me. 

I will be true. I am a vessel. God has imparted me with so much ability to administer love. He has put so much love into my life so that I can share it with others. I have a strong family. I have a family that prays in agreement. I have a family that extends beyond blood to include many other willing vessels. We are known for our faith that binds us together in the hardest of circumstances, and it is my renewed opinion that no matter how crazy you think I may be, it's as vital to me as oxygen. 

I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Never Settle for The Path of Least Resistance

My second year of teaching has kicked into high gear. I'm moving into week three and I'm loving it more than ever.

This past week I've uncovered some things about myself. It's really almost too much to put on paper, even digital paper.

So when I graduated from college I had this huge metaphor that I used for the "exit" process called capstone. I constructed it over a period of time using the things that I had learned to guide the delivery. I was very attached to it. It felt just right. It was basically very much reflective of my blog's title, "From the Spark to the Flame." I ever so carefully thought about my student teaching experience and I compared what I had learned to the elements a flame needs in order to burn efficiently. In case you're not aware, fuel, oxygen, and heat are what it takes. I had come to an understanding of all of that. I knew what the elements were and I knew that I was going to be able to maintain my flame.

For the longest time when I started out I was very focused on the way in which I taught my kids. I made a special point to always allow freedom within the classroom. I wanted them to be able to rationalize. I wanted them to know why they were doing the things that they were doing. I fought forcing compliance. My class looked very different than some. I am certain that at times it looked "out of control." And you know what? Maybe it was out of my control. I deeply believe that children should be the owners of their learning. Adults get in the way too much. We force our ideas of "right." We do this in hopes of creating a social norm.

Through all of this I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I wondered how the system would respond to these children who were coming out of my classroom thinking freely. These children had spent 10 months with me and I had done everything that I could to cultivate creativity in them. Why? Because if they can understand that learning is something that they own, something that flows as freely as they breathe, they would always love it. My goal was for them to love it.

I've watched as my first group have pushed their way into kindergarten. I've heard many stories and checked on quite a few of them. I've conversed with teachers that teach some of them and with school staff that have seen some of them. It seems that there is an ongoing theme. They all miss Pre-K.

Why? That's always my next question. Kindergarten is supposed to be just like all of those books that I read to them to get them ready. As reported to me by many parents.............the books that I read to them are inaccurate. It seems that kindergarten looks nothing like those books at all.

So, over the past couple of weeks I've pondered "compliance." Do I force these babies, and I say babies because they are truly just 4 and 5 years old, to comply to sitting like soldiers and learning in one single way that I find to be appropriate.

My answer is still a resounding no.

There is such a flame living inside of these beings, and if I can't be a catalyst for that to become even brighter, then I don't want to be a teacher. If I can't cultivate creativity and advocate for them to be accepted as free thinkers, then I can't do this job.

I know I look different. I know they look different. But I am more than ok with it.

A friend of mine that teaches kindergarten spoke with me today. She said that she knew which ones were mine without even looking at the paperwork. She said she knew because of how alive they were.

That meant everything to me. That was sheer confirmation in my soul that I had given these children what they needed. All teachers don't appreciate the "alive" factor. Some resist it entirely. I've seen that this week, too. But even though they don't appreciate it, it forces them to ponder what they need to do. Luckily I've formed parent alliances. Luckily the parents of my students were just as knowledgeable about the way that I taught their children as I was. I let them in on as much of the theory as I could. I linked them as much as I could. Why? Because I wanted them to know the foundation of my reasoning.

Most parents agree with me that there is a special light inside of each one of them. Most parents agree with me that unless we as adults continue to allow that to be ok, it will lessen by the year until the elements that the flame needs are dampened entirely.

So I guess at this point my metaphor is a little backwards from before.......because I've seen it in reverse. I can see how the flame can become just a spark in a very short period of time if we're not careful.

And it is disheartening, but I do believe that I have done what is right. I do believe that these children that I've sent forward into the world will birth what they are purposed for. They are conductors of change. I feel that more strongly than any of the opposition.

I am truly blessed that they teach me so much. I am blessed that my interactions with them and with their families provide fulfillment for my life.

I have felt great resistance. But from that resistance has come a peace about my teaching philosophy that will never be shaken to its core again.

I'm a 23 year old female that knows exactly what her purpose is.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flaws in The Process

Has anyone ever told you, "Just trust the process"? I've heard this more times that I can count, and with many things I believe that it's an okay theory. Trusting some processes are no doubt, what has to happen. The process of healing for instance. Healing is a natural thing. Healing is a process that I trust.

But, and you knew that was coming, what about those processes that are flawed? What about the systematic processes that we walk through in life? Processes created by other humans. Are we not supposed to question those processes in order to make sure that we're getting where we need to be, or getting what we need out of it.

I question certain things, and whether it's right or wrong, it's what I've come to do. Sometimes it makes me crazy. Sometimes it helps me make discoveries for myself. Often times it helps me to connect with another human that has had a similar thought.

Perhaps seeing the flaws within a process are just my way of processing. Perhaps it is all "Just a process" and I should just trust it.

Yep. Certifiably CRAZY!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"I Know It Everyday"

I've witnessed this conversation between a friend and her son many times:

Friend: Guess what? 
Son: You love me. 
Friend: How did you know that? 
Son: I know it everyday.

As some things often strike me, this conversation did. There are things that happen in my life that I feel like are God saying, "Guess what baby? I love you, and I'm going to show you everyday." Everyday there is joy. Everyday there is peace. EVERY DAY there is love in my life. Even on the darkest days there are glimpses of purpose and I know every day that my maker loves me. God let's me know everyday just how powerful his love is. I'm thankful that I can hear Him.