Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spontaneous Star Gazing

Last night we had a power outage. Sadly, I learned at school today that a car had hit a power line. I hope and pray that they are okay. I was blissfully unaware of this last night. In fact, I was enjoying the lack of power. Everything was dark and I was amazed at the number of visible stars in the sky! 

I decided to spend my hour of personal prayer laying on our picnic table and gazing up at the stars. (I have a healthy fear of centipedes.) It was incredible! I saw some meteors, including one really spectacular one that seemed to travel further than the others. I was in awe of God and the stars seemed to be in awe of Him, too.

I kept thinking of a line from my favorite poem, i carry your heart with me [i carry it in]: "and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart" - E.E. Cummings. How the Lord holds and enfolds the universe!

Then at the Children's Mass today, we sang a praise and worship song called Just Like You by Matt Maher. I had never heard it before but it sums up my prayer experience under the stars. It's amazing how God works like that. You can read the lyrics to Just Like You by clicking here.


In my previous entry, I wrote that my students planned how we would decorate our door for the annual door decorating contest:
 There is a zombie and he is trying to break into a car. Inside the car is a man eating cheeseburgers. On the roof is a Frankenstein head with spider legs. 
 (I had forgotten that they also wanted a ghost above the scene, and for the vehicle to be a truck, not a car.)

The following picture is the result. Note that the work I did was minimal and a lot of it consisted of printing out pictures that the students copied through free-draw. Since we used construction paper, it was impossible for them to trace the pictures. Other than that I only drew a few things myself. They did most of the work and drawings/cut-outs and I am so proud of them!

Our Halloween Door! Just in case you are wondering, Frankenstein is saying, "I'm your worst nightmare!" Notice the bag to the left of it. One of my students sewed it for her friend, including the pocket, which she said was the hardest part. I'm jealous of an eight-year-old who can already sew. Just saying.

God bless you and your week.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Family, Ministry, Community and Prayer


I recently said aloha to my Grandma Beechnau. She died just over a week ago. I really don't know what to say about her. Nothing really describes her well. She's just...Grandma. She had vascular dementia and she had been suffering for long time so her death was bittersweet. I am so grateful that I had wonderful visits with her while on home visits. Sister Julie Ann and Sister Mary Ann even got to meet her and they loved her.

Vascular dementia is caused by strokes and this affected her speech. For some reason though, whenever she made a joke, her speech was clear. She never lost her sense of humor. 

She would go back and forth between remembering family members and not remembering them. I have been blessed in that in every interaction I've had with her she either remembered me or still made me feel remembered. 

When my Grandpa Beechnau had died, my cousins and I didn't understand where Grandpa had gone. It was explained to us that he was feeding the birds with St. Francis (his best friend). Now I have an image of the three of them feeding the birds together. Except Grandma's paying more attention to the flowers. 


In other news, we have already completed the first quarter of the school year. We did standardized testing this week. It was the second graders' first standardized test of their lives, but no pressure for the teacher. ;) I kind of had fun teaching them how to fill in bubbles: a circular motion is best. I feel like I am going to start dreaming about proctoring the tests: Put your figure on Sample A. We will do Sample A together. Make your mark heavy and dark. 

It felt good to finish the tests today, and right after this we planned how we are going to decorate our classroom door for the Halloween Door Decorating Contest. I taught the students how to brainstorm. I love brainstorming! It's when creativity really shines through. After brainstorming, we moved to voting and somehow we are going to create the following scenario on our door:

There is a zombie and he is trying to break into a car. Inside the car is a man eating cheeseburgers. On the roof is a Frankenstein head with spider legs. 

I love the creativity! And I love how the children laugh when we get to the cheeseburger part. :)


One of the people who Sister Verone visits let us borrow a movie about St. Damien. It is an excellent film and this evening we enjoyed watching it as a local community. It is called Molokai: The Story of Father Damien. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this relatively newly canonized saint, Father Damien is a priest who heroically served the lepers of Molokai. He and St. (Mother) Marianne are truly inspiring. We were edified by their courage and how much they personally sacrificed so that others could more fully live. There were moments of humor throughout this film and it was simply enjoyable to watch. 

Sometimes YouTube can have some nice talks to medicate on...similar to spiritual reading. Lately, I have been listening to talks from this year's Steubenville Youth Conferences. They are for high school students but I love the this year's theme, Chosen, and there are some good messages for all of us. Here is their YouTube Channel that has the talks: Steubenville Conferences

 Here is a video explaining this year's theme: Seriously, doesn't watching this video make you want to go there right now?! Good thing they generously upload the talks to YouTube.

 And here is an excellent talk from one of this year's conferences about relativism, the truth, and compassion. It's probably the best talk I have heard on the topic, and it is given by one of my favorite priests:
Enjoy. :)