Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Sunshine Day

Psalm 67:1 "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, "

That verse speaks volumes to me ever since I arrived home yesterday from the statewide conference for ESL teachers. At 5:15 a.m. yesterday morning the radio alarm began to sing and I stumbled out of bed, making my way to the blue and white plaid love seat in my living room for my morning meditation and reading. It was hard to focus.

My prayers went something like this:

"God please let everything go smoothly. Help me find a parking spot and the room and then I need to set the equipment up. I pray the Internet service works well and I remember everything. I pray I have confidence, courage, and boldness to do this and that I would have the same peace I had when I went in for my very first major surgery. I pray I have that peace again;a warm blanket of peace that completely covered me. I did not feel nervous then, I pray that when it comes time, I'll be able to feel that same peace again and deliver this presentation well, but first is getting there and finding a good parking spot."

I spent the next hour getting dressed, primping in front of the mirror, and preparing breakfast while I rehearsed in my mind what I needed to do. I even had time to make my bed that morning. I tried visualizing myself walking into the room and setting everything up with out any problems. That was difficult, so I tried to imagine how much more relaxed I would feel while driving home after it was all over.

This was my very first time presenting a workshop at a statewide conference. I had practiced the presentation in front of my colleagues at my home school, but today would be in front of new folks I didn't know, in an unfamiliar place, and I had no idea how many would choose to come. This was really stepping out of the box for me. It was not on my list of new things to do this year, but when the opportunity presented itself, I thought, "Why not? I'll give it a try." Thus, I submitted a proposal to the conference committee this past spring.

Conference day had finally arrived. At 6:30 a.m., I gathered up my lap top, the document camera, my pull along suitcase containing all the additional materials and headed out the door into the frosty cold air. When I glanced up at the sky, it was pitch black with the little dipper lit up brightly. The windows of my SUV were covered heavily with frost. It took about 10 minutes or so just to let my vehicle warm up and for the frost to melt away. Soon enough, I was on my way, headed north to the Crowne Plaza Hotel. During the next hour, I observed darkness change to light as the sun came up. I was hoping that would be my spiritual experience with this new endeavor I was embarking upon.

There was little traffic, so I made it in time and found the parking garage right next to the hotel. I hate parking garages. I think they are creepy places. It was jam packed. I had to drive up to the sixth level before finding a spot. There were a few other vehicles in front and behind me, looking for spots as well. Luckily, we all found something and rode in the elevator together.

Once inside, everyone was very nice and helpful. After signing in and receiving the conference materials, I was directed towards the ballroom for the keynote speaker. While transitioning I spotted the Imagine Learning display amongst other booths in the hallway. I went up to the gentlemen, the same two men from the elevator, and said, "I use this!! It's a great program."

They were so encouraged to hear some one's students were benefiting from it. They invited me to their demo. workshop at 9:00 a.m. to come and share how the computer program has been useful to my own students. I agreed. Guess where it was? The same room I would be presenting in later that day. Whew! I found the room and the projector and cables were already set up! I felt so relieved. The rest of the day I attended a few other workshops and grabbed a bite for lunch in Kelsey's, one of the Crowne's restaurant. After lunch, I walked back out to the parking garage and discovered many of the cars were gone. I took the elevator to the 6th floor, hopped in my SUV to drive closer to the floor level, and got the materials I needed for my presentation.

When it came time for me to set up, I was able to get the document camera connected to the projector and my laptop as well as lay out all the other materials. I was on my way and I didn't feel nervous. Instead, I was calm and excited to share how I use this new technology in my classroom. Slowly, about ten to twelve people filled up the room and picked up a handout. One of the participants, Mr. Hill, was a man whom I've crossed paths with before and assisted me in translating for parent teacher conferences.

Over the next hour, I demonstrated how to use the document camera for reading writing, and art activities and it was FUN! At the end, Mr. Hill commented, "Thank you so much for doing this. Didn't she do a great job?!" Everyone clapped and I smiled thinking of the grace God had shown me for that day. It was a sunshine day. His face shone upon me, letting all the details fall into place and run smoothly.

It is humbling because I know He didn't have to do that. He doesn't have to do anything for you or me, but He chose to show His grace and grant success in a new endeavor. Our God is a gracious God!

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