Common Core and “Chantilly Lace”

8th

The air is thick with tension. It is fifth hour — two hours after lunch — and Mrs. Snyder’s students (who are as sleepy as she is) are practicing with TAXING Common Core “expository reading” and “evidence finding.” Hearts are heavy-laden and burdened with the pressure. We can cut the air with a knife.

Mrs. Snyder sits at her desk, scoring papers, while the students strain their tired little brains with this high-level reading activity. Her heart goes out to them because they really are giving it their “all.”

That is when Mrs. Snyder gets a hair-brained idea:

Since the bell will ring soon, it is time to liven the place up!

She secretly goes onto YouTube and types in “1950’s music” (because the lyrics are sure to be “safe”). She finds a link, cranks up the volume, and hits “play” — not knowing which golden oldie is going to grace their ears.

Suddenly, out of the speakers comes nothing but a loud, DEEP male voice — no music:

“HELLLLL-O, BAAAABY!!!  (Yes, it was “Chantilly Lace.”)

…surprising Mrs. Snyder more than anyone — and then the wild music cuts loose and shatters the walled silence!

Kids look up, stunned at first by the booming voice, wondering who on earth had just stepped into the room.

Then, once the music starts, and they get over the shock, the atmosphere rocks with hilarity — some of the more sanguine students jump out of their seats to dance!

Mrs. Snyder is bent over with laughter, recalling the astonished expressions, tears streaming from her eyes.

Mrs. Snyder still laughs today, remembering that moment!

She wonders if her students remember.

Life is just way too serious sometimes, don’t you think?

… as You Were Comforted

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The world is full of comfortless hearts. I’ve been there.

Do you ever wonder why you are passing through some special sorrow?

You must pass through afflictions if you are to be useful vessels and make an impact in the lives of others. So, in a sense, your own life becomes the “hospital ward” where you are taught the Divine art of comfort. You are wounded so that, in the binding up of your wounds by the Great Physician, you may learn how to render first aid to the wounded who cross your path.

After ten years have passed, you will have come across others who have been afflicted as you are today. You will tell them how you suffered and were comforted; then, as your story unfolds, you will find yourself sharing the healing balm that God once wrapped around you. That is when you will know why you were afflicted (at least in part), as you will see God use the wealth of your experience to comfort others.

Remember … God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.

(Paraphrased from “Streams in the Desert” January 11.)

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Isaiah 40:1

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.   2 Corinthians 1:4

I Stand in Awe

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I don’t know how He does it! I just know He does!

Two speaking engagements in one week — right on the heels of Thanksgiving, birthday parties, houseguests, hand injury, college class, minor surgery, AND home repairs (which required the moving of furniture and boxing of “stuff”) — all of which resulted in a bit of disequilibrium!

I have never been this “unprepared” this close to a deadline!  When a bit of the furor had subsided, and I realized that time was a’ticking, I sat down to put it together.

But I was FROZEN!  Nothing came! I mean NADA!  

My communication with God felt strained. There was a “blockage” of some sort!

I prayed.

I confessed.

I tried again … to no avail.  Not just silence, but deafening silence!

Then I started to freak out a bit.  (Yep! I’ve been known to do that!)

Giving up around midnight, I fell asleep. I tackled it again the next morning with a bit of fear and trepidation … but something “magical” had happened …

except I don’t believe in magic.   I believe in God!

I cannot take an ounce of credit for what happened next. This Holy One I serve continues to astound me in the most remarkable ways!

The keyboard was set ablaze by His Sprit as verses and principles pummeled like pearly pellets!  Within a couple of hours, the skeletal framework (which I had prepared some time ago) was filled with meat — LOTS of good, hearty meat!

My spirit spun somersaults as my fingers frolicked their way to the final point.

And I stood in awe … in awe of Him … once again!

Speak His Name

11425212_10206847017603018_2846635866596509018_nThe Apostle Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane—he did not care.

There was only one thing he lived for—to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of “the love of Christ.”
~Oswald Chambers

Praying all our hearts will burn with passion for Him today and that He will give us opportunities to not “JUST” do good, but to speak words of life into others (WHILE doing good).

Without the words, we are merely “doing good” in our own name — the “social” gospel — and that breaks God’s heart.

May we capitalize on the “good” He gives us to do by speaking the name of Jesus to those He puts in our paths to help today!

Ebony and Ivory

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After fifty-plus spins around the sun, ebony and ivory and I are together again!

1964 — the year of my first very real broken heart.

My parents divorced.

Dad disappeared.  Mom moved away.

Life was drama-free in foster care …

but I longed for a piano.  It was in my blood.  And I grieved.

Months earlier, I had stood with streaming tears and body wracking sobs,

watching “the men” roll my beloved piano out the door …

and out of my life.

My heart split open and sorrow spilled out.

Twelve years old — and the death blow of a thwarted dream ripped at my soul with razor-sharp claws.

But God, in His profound mercy, had a plan.  A remarkable plan!

Because that’s just how He is.

He first brought me into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ … and then He filled my threshing floor full of grain until the vats overflowed with new wine and oil (Joel 2:24).

He deftly restored to me the years the creeping, stripping, gnawing locust had eaten.

And among the “restored” was a piano (for my daughters, because I was too busy to practice),  but I had a piano!

Though I didn’t take up playing again, I enjoyed the art vicariously through my girls.

Now, however — albeit five decades later — I have both a piano and time — His gift to me!

And I will praise the name of the Lord my God who has dealt wondrously with me (Joel 2:26)!

Now … every note I play is my song unto Him … my gift in return.

Ebony and ivory …

and a restored little girl … with a heart full of praise!

Joel 2:24-26 and Psalm 40:1-3

Are You Being Righteous?

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I’ve been hearing phrases like, “She is ‘worthy’ to ______” (fill it in).

Or, “I hope they are being “righteous.”

Hmmm. Where does that come from?

The Bible says no one other than Jesus Christ is “worthy” (Revelation 5:4).

It also says in Romans 3:10 that “There is none righteous, no not one.”

And Isaiah 64:6 says that all of our so-called righteous deeds are like “filthy rags.”

So much for our own goodness.

That is a problem.

And that is exactly why Jesus came!

He actually *became* that ugly sin of ours when He died for each one of us on Calvary and took the penalty we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21).

When we place our faith and trust 100% in Christ’s work on the Cross — not in our own works or in our church affiliation — and ask Him to help us turn from our old way of life, He forgives us, clothes us in HIS righteousness, and transforms us into His image, day-by-day.

No good work or church affiliation could ever do that for us.

I have decided to start speaking up in love when I hear the two phrases mentioned at the beginning of this post. People need to know that 100% of the debt we owed (eternal punishment) has been paid by Christ’s work on the Cross.

Christ + NOTHING = Eternity in Heaven.

There is none righteous, except One.

A young woman named Jochelle understood that.

Won’t you receive Him today?  Trust ONLY in Him, turn from your sin, and invite Him into your life.

There is NO “one true church” except for the “church” made up of believers all over the world who have trusted only in the God-man, Christ Jesus.

If one is trusting in a church to earn favor with God, or trusting in his/her own “worthiness” or “righteousness,” that one will sorely miss the mark

…………. for eternity.

And that is a long ………….

………….long ………….

………….time.

Why I Teach

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(Here we are, beginning our day with calisthenics.)

I came across the following article that I wrote two years ago — my last year of teaching.  It reminds me of why I chose to teach.

“Hopefully, some great learning took place in my classroom today … but two really cool things happened that had absolutely nothing to do with Common Core standards!

1) During first period, one of my boys came up to me and sheepishly asked if it would be okay for him to read the Bible during silent reading time in my class. He pulled out his Bible and showed it to me, holding it with great care. It smelled new, and some of the pages were sticking together. I could tell he was excited to start reading it. What a sweet, tender moment that was in my day (and hopefully his). I told him ‘yes’ with a great big smile on my face … and the Lord was surely smiling, too.

2) I was invited to lunch by the home-ec class. My young “chefs” were four 8th-grade boys. One boy extended his arm and escorted me to the table, pulling out the chair for me, and scooting it in as I sat down.  The other three busied themselves with bringing menu items to the table and serving up the plates. THEN … after our plates were loaded and everyone was seated, they asked me if we should ask the blessing. (Other students and their guests were already gobbling up their food.) I smiled and said, “Whatever you guys want to do.” They looked at each other and bravely said, “Let’s pray.” So one of the boys did … and it was no short prayer!  I’m glad they somehow knew that would be important to me.

As the world grows uglier and uglier, my little world at East Minico Middle School just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter … and I’m fairly confident that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.”

Moments like these were the real reasons I chose to teach.

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I miss these little notes kids used to write to me on the board.  Here is a phrase that I (an ENGLISH teacher!) used to say to my students.  Jake got me back!  🙂