Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Eyes

Envisioning, perceiving, adjusting
Is it a thorn bush with roses?
Or a rosebush with thorns?

The eyes determine who, what, and how we will see
At times vision may be clouded, severely obscured
While other times it's clear
Clear as crystal on a brilliant, sunny day

Do you vex between the two?
I do.
The battle rages on almost daily
What special lenses are required to help you see?

What shall I choose to put in or upon the frame of mine?
After all, my eyes can lead me astray
Eyes determine one's future
Directing our actions and triggered by light

Mine are only half open sometimes
Eyes close up reflect one's heart and pain
like the mirror you face early in the morning
What do your eyes behold this day?

Saturday, March 26, 2011


"Mmmm," the old GE refrigerator hums at a high pitch sound.

"Tick,tick,tick,tick," strums the living room clock.

Sunday morning

Cars swish by outside her window
The neighboring blue jay caws aloud
It is only Elena
Listening, breathing, sitting on her blue, plaid loveseat

"What must he want now? Will he ever stop cawing?" she wonders
Perhaps it is that long awaited announcement of spring he makes

March 20th
Bright, warm
Sunny as the eggs one would fry with bacon for breakfast
Elena's stomach is empty, about to grumble

The humming of her old GE fridge has ceased for a moment
Beaming rays of the sun stream through the east side kitchen window
Revealing a pathway of light that leads into her living room
The clock ticks on as cars continue to stream by

"Where did the blue jay go?" she inquires aloud.
His cawing has also ceased.
Perhaps he is filling himself of the seed scattered below.
She catches a glimpse of two small kingbirds darting to the rooftop above.

Except for her amongst numerous books, photos, and furniture
One may say the apartment is empty

The birds outside begin to caw even louder now.
There is a fullness of sound beckoning her to arise and partake.
Partake in the newness of life offered this day.
Like a newborn babe exhaling its first cry upon entering the world
So is this first mourn of spring

Sunshine brilliantly calls aloud to her,
"I am yours!
Rise up and come!
Embrace me that your arms maybe full and no longer empty.
Rise up!
It is God's day!
It is a new season!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hope-To be Full of or less than

“Peter Rabbit gut stug under the net. He stop triying and giv up,” Christene read aloud from her journal.

“So, what’s a word that would describe Peter Rabbit?” I inquired. Christene pondered the question deeply as her lips protruded outwardly and her dark eyebrows pointed inward and down. I gave her a minute or so before making some suggestions. When I said, “Hopeless.” Her lips shifted to the right. She had never heard that word before. Thus I began to explain what it meant to be hopeful or full of hope. I used the example of her hope that her mother would return from school this Saturday. When one has hope, they don’t remain sad. Instead there is a looking forward with anticipation of that long awaited event. One may even do something to prepare for the other’s arrival. Christene might make her mom a picture to surprise and welcome her.

On the other hand, when one or a situation feels hopeless it is quite another story. There is a sense of what’s the use? Why bother? It’s easy to become that way, especially when things never seem to change. Poor Peter Rabbit thought he’d be trapped under the net forever. He may have even thought of the other rabbits baked into a pie or simmered in stew. Oh me, oh my! Yes, it’s true. He stopped trying to get out and wept bitterly. Most assured, Peter felt everything was quite hopeless.

Somehow this brings me to connect with Abraham and Sarah in the Bible who really had no hope UNTIL that one day when God made them a promise. He promised a child and descendants that would be as numerous as the stars and grains of sand by the sea. Although they had every reason to be and feel hopeless at ninety something years old, God made them a promise. Much later, He delivered. If only I had a promise; a personal promise just for me. I can think of all kinds of things to wish and hope for, can’t you? Well really only a few are most true and dear.

Without a promise, there is simply NO HOPE! So many times, I can feel and act like that impetuous Peter Rabbit, getting myself all tangled up and without any hope. Yet if I knew that my desires were God’s desires and that what is important to me, is important to Him then I would rest assured. I would know it’s going to be OK. I could and would anticipate. I’d even prepare. It would be as if the net wasn’t even there. Age would just be a number, not a hindrance. There’d be no worry. No care.

Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Sarah laughed, but later came around. Peter, well he did not end up as rabbit stew or pie, but I’m sure it was a long time before he ventured into Mr. Macregor’s garden again. Me? Hope is available, but I’m still under the net and not really sure what I can or should hope for at this time in life. I know what I’d like, but again without a promise, there’s just no hope.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Beauty Within

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” the old adage goes. One of my ESL students took this literally to mean it is only books that we need to look inside and read before making a judgment. He is still learning that a proverb has far deeper meaning behind it. However, another student from the same class understood it perfectly.

Pepe is a bright nine year old youngster with a determined attitude and good heart. In addition, to learning English as a second language, he is challenged by Dyslexia. There are times he works with a partner on reading and writing activities because his literacy skills are equivalent to that of a first grader at this time. Although he has to work twice as hard as many other students, his love and respect for others has never been hindered. He is one of the friendliest and most gregarious students I know. When he first came to our school three years ago, he didn’t speak a word of English. He would enter the classroom joyously greeting everyone with, “Hola!” He learned to speak and understand the language rather quickly and soon changed to, “Good morning!”

As an ESL teacher, I give my fourth grade students a new proverb to reflect upon and then respond to questions about each week. I ask them to make a connection to their own life and explain what it means to them. For Pepe, I meet with him every Thursday morning during my prep and his library time to assist him in reading the questions posted on our class blog. When I asked Pepe to tell about someone he met and later became friends with, he was beautifully honest. He said, “There was this kid Ryan in my class and when I first met him he just looked kind of strange to me.”
“So what happened after you got to know him? What surprised you about him?” I inquired.

“Mmmm, after I got to know him and we became friends, I was surprised how considerate and respectful he was. Today he’s one of my best friends,” Pepe responded.

“What did you learn? What does the proverb teach us?” I read from our class blog on the computer’s screen while trying to contain myself with excitement.

Pepe explained,” You shouldn’t judge someone because of their face or body. You should give them a chance.” Pepe dictated, as I typed his response.

Yahoo! He got it! Even though he is only reading on a first grade level and dyslexic, he understood the principle and knows how to apply it to his life. Given the opportunity to wrestle and respond to a higher level thinking question, Pepe passed with flying colors. Some of my other English language learners didn’t get it right away. They needed multiple examples before understanding the meaning behind it.

What a privilege and confirmation. I feel encouraged even more so now to set aside that extra time for individual students who need the opportunity to show what they know in a different way. This was my first year teaching ESL to fourth graders in quite a few years. It was also the first time I gave students a proverb of the week. Without a doubt, I plan to continue with it next year.

In addition, I look forward to working with Pepe more. The nine year old second language learner from Mexico came with little to envy. He spoke not a word of English and has found it extremely difficult to learn to read. Some kids made fun of him because of his large, round frame. Others have laughed when he stumbled to sound out words and read them aloud.

Me? I have been able to catch glimpses of the great beauty within this boy. I feel honored to be given the opportunity to teach him. He is an amazing boy who no doubt will grow into an even more extraordinary young man. As a teacher, I see him as a living example to the old adage. No, we should definitely not judge a book by its cover or even the first few pages inside. Given the chance, everyone can learn and everyone can make a difference in making our world a lot nicer to live in. Pepe is just one example of that.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Burning Brightly

He takes the boys out
One three and a half, the other only two
Picks up the groceries
Giving his wife some quiet time alone
Returns later with a smile and greets her with a kiss
On to start a new fire
Out the door he goes to get more wood

His beloved refreshed
She has neither need nor time for worry
She nurses her newest one while talking with their friend

Moments later he's off to pick up dinner
A most delicious meal
Stuffed shrimp, Salmon, and Penne a la Vodka
Next he brings out the wine
Fills his beloved's and their friend's glasses first
Last he pours his own

Kind, sweet and most polite
He is a good provider
Faithful Father, husband, brother, son, uncle
Lover of God

His beloved adores him
His children thrive
His parents most proud and bragging I'm sure

Beacon of light
Set upon the mountaintop
Surrounded by those who love him
Providing clean, crisp water to all who come
Shelter and protection
Humbly and most contently serving

A light burning softly
Softly and brightly
A light perched high for the entire world to see

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Power of Kindness

I rushed to the phone tonight, bursting with good news to share. One of my students journaled this week about his memories of his coming to an American Kindergarten for the very first time. He shared about how he could not speak English and was fearful that the teacher would scold him for his lack there of. Instead, he discovered the teacher was nice. More importantly he shared that this experience taught him that even though it was hard to do something new, afterwards it became easy.

In the near future, Kim will enter junior high. This experience happened to him years ago. It has stuck with him ever since. Furthermore, it has given him the confidence he would need to keep doing and trying new things.

HALLELUJAH!!!! Isn't that why teachers teach?!

We long to inspire our future generations.

We work to prepare them for what they will inherit.

We pray they will far surpass us when it comes to stewardship and leadership.

We want them to be confident and play nice.

When we lead and model kindness we can never go wrong.

I'm so thankful for those who do!
I'm so thankful for each day we are given to show it.
Every new face and friend is a privileged opportunity awaiting the sunshine we have to offer.

Never underestimate its power!