Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Heart and Sole

Wednesday of Holy Week: Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. (Hebrews 12:3)

I have the hardest time actually writing in my Bible. I know, I's a book for study, so writing in it is supposed to be part of the process. I just have a hard time adding color to the perfectly white, printed page.  UNTIL NOW!  Thanks to Mary Anne, a pal from Bethany/Disciple, I now have these great Twistable Crayons to use.  I've used the thicker ones for years, but these skinny ones are absolutely perfect when underlining/highlighting text!  Sweet!

Ah, Mr. G.  He's the gentleman that comes by Flagstone a couple of times a week to read to the children in Kindergarten, and basically causes trouble in any classroom he passes!  He always stops by the music room and joins in the fun - dancing a jig, kazooing, singing his own version of our classroom songs...
With his name being Mr. G, I spend most of the year explaining to the first graders that NO, we are not related!   A kid at heart, he can always be found wearing some kind of costume.  Headbands, bat ears, you name it.  He clearly outdid himself this week with the bunny ears...and tail!

What's that, you say?  Why, it's MORE SHOES!  
Thank you Debby, Kelly, and Lori!  
Your generosity is awesome!  

I finally grabbed a picture of the humungous crates at church!  Check those out!  I have this feeling we're going to need 3 more after all the services on Easter Sunday!  WOW!  Soles for Souls!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life is Good

Led our Disciple class on Monday, and our text for the week was Ezekiel. Played some Louis Armstrong ("Ezekiel Saw De Wheel"), showed some pics of artist renditions of the first chapter, and of course, had to include an edible object lesson from the 4th chapter!

Ezekiel 4:9 - Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.

Now, I don't know about you, but I don't remember reading about any cinnamon or raisins in that Biblical recipe. And we're not even going to talk about verses'd lose your appetite!

Hey! My new red fish has learned to float vertically!
Good job, little buddy...oh,, man!
I am so done with fish.
Pretty sure they're done with me, too.

Check it out! A big ole pile of SHOES!
Hooray and thanks, Brownsberger Family!

Life IS good!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Singing about Toilets

You can leave now: "Ms. G, we've talked it over as a class, and we've decided that we can live with a substitute teacher for a while. You need to leave us and go on American Idol and win!"
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Kid: When did you get married?
Me: I'm not married!
Kid: You're wearing a wedding ring.
Me: No, I'm wearing a ring on my right hand. When you wear a ring on your left hand, you're married.
Kid: So, you're not married.
Me: No, I'm not married.
Kid: Hmm. We've got to work on that
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Me: Where's your brother?
Kid: He's not coming to school today. He fell off the monkey bars and had to go get some crunchies. (crutches)
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
"Ms. G. we need to stop singing so low.
If we sing any lower, we're all going to burp
and that would be rude and very unmusical."
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Kid: You'd look better with another human nearby.
Kid. Married. You should get married. Everyone looks better with another human nearby.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Me: What's a fife?
Kid 1: Well, a Spork is a spoon and a fork, so a Fife is probably a knife and a fork.
Kid 2: Yes, that's it - a fife is a Spork's brother!
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
I had just finished telling the kiddos about the importance of taking care of the classroom instruments and how we don't have money to keep repairing them. One response:
Just how much money does it take
to fix those tangerines, anyhow!?
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
When asked who wrote a particular piece of classical music, the standard response I receive is: Baby Einstein! While the Baby Einstein videos certainly done wonders in exposing my kids to the works of Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, they truly believe that the name of the composer is Baby Einstein! I've got some work to do!
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
I wore dark nail polish ONCE. Their reaction?
"Oooh, that's just not good look for you, Ms. G."
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Choir Kid: Why are we singing about toilets?
Me: WHAT!?
Choir Kid: Toilets. "In peril, we have plungered..."
Me: PLUNDERED. We're singing about plundering - robbing, stealing, like the bad pirates did.
Choir Kid: I think it might be better to sing about toilets!
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Things I've Learned Today

Things I've learned today:

If you leave your punch-ball too close to your running vacuum cleaner, the two WILL make contact.  I've also learned that a burning rubber band makes an AWESOME smell in your home.  One smell that NO Febreeze spray bottle can even come close to touching.

I've learned that America Supports You, little brother, and so do I!   Care packages on the way to Haiti, filled with the most BOY things I have ever purchased in my life.  I've also learned that the teenager who checked out my items at Target couldn't help but raise his eyebrows when the multiple packs of Beef Jerky and Men's Fitness magazines were set upon the counter.  Bring it.  

I've learned that randomly playing with hair gel on a 
Saturday makes me look like Boy George.  Bad move.

I've learned that rubber bands no longer come in normal colors or normal packaging, and that this sweet rubber ball is almost too cool to use.  Almost.  I will keep it away from any vacuum cleaners, however...

I've learned that if you ask, you shall receive.  Christie, one of my parents at FSE, rounded up 70...SEVENTY...pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls!  SEVENTY!  She owns a local store, They Just Keep Growing, which is an awesome consignment and boutique for kiddos.  Amazing generosity!  THANK YOU!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yearbook's done, Brenda's back!

Hello, again! Been a while since I've been able to blog! As soon as I returned from the Retreat, it was time to begin Operation: Produce Elementary School Yearbook! It (happily) took up all of my photo time over the last month, and is finally complete! Nicola and Annie were awesome teammates, and I'm proud of the work we've done - we sold over 300 copies of this year's book! Woohoo!

And now, for some recent stories and pics from the life of Brenda!

Remember the Lasagna Dinner from back in February (details here)? Here's another pic of Pastor Carrot, Leslie the Emcee, and Pr Ruth Ann. Such a fun night!

Our school organized a Health Faith, and my job was to lead the kiddos through Brain Breaks. Here we are tracing a sideways "8" in the gym.

(Note: fun photos removed from original post...)

Every 5 minutes, we rotated groups and repeated the activity.
Every. 5. Minutes. Oy.

I successfully lead 45 groups through this lesson.
And then there was the 46th lesson...

...the 46th lesson. The lesson that concluded with a child tossing his cookies all over me! Poor little guy! I should have been the one with the crossed eyes!

Pretzel Power! Here we are at Confirmation, baking pretzels. We've used baking as a metaphor for spiritual growth during Lent. Anytime I can EAT the metaphor works for me!

Baby Brenda: Anniversary of my Baptism: March 11, 1979. Love the fingers - I either understood the Trinity early in life or am displaying the baby gang sign "W" for Word!

Preparing for Easter at Bethany!
We're going to go BAREFOOT on Easter to help victims of the Haiti earthquake. It's a national movement - read more here!

My crazy 6th graders - I let a few of them pull out the instruments and was once again blown away by their sheer chutzpah and talent! They sang and played an original song (yes, the garage band concept does still exist), asked for a microphone, and completely enthralled their classmates!

Not only did they do a great job for their classmates, but they lobbied our principal for a mini-assembly after our upcoming Field Days! They've been given 20 minutes to perform! Way to go, kiddos!

Safety First: the kids were asked to create a circular song (one that starts and ends with the same problem, e.g. "There's a hole in the bucket..."). This group decided to create a flat tire song. It's not so much the flat tire or the smoke pouring from the hood that caught my attention, but rather the AIRBAG the kids felt they had to include for the driver! HA!

Another case of the kids grabbing the camera during our class. Yes, that would be me rocking out with the 5th graders. "Follow the Leader" by the Soca Boys. Scarves mandatory.

I-19. O-75. B-4. Go ahead, say it...B4 (before what?) Family Game Night at Flagstone - Two and a half hours of reading BINGO numbers to a lively Flagstonian crowd. I had one kiddo plant himself in the front row promptly at 6:30 and didn't move until 8:20 pm! This kid loved BINGO!
Do you see what I see?

Hein-Fry Lecture Series here at Bethany. Here's visiting lecturer Dr. Rick Carlson, Pr Beth Purdum, Pr Ruth Ann, and Pr Ron. Lecture topic was "Hearing the Word: Teaching the Bible in the Parish and Beyond."

Dr. Carlson lectured, Pr Purdum responded, and then we were able to engage in a discussion as a whole group. Personally, I'm amused by the looks on our faces; Bob (in white), thinks we look spiritual and cerebral. We'll go with that!

Sweet pea! Here is Miss Emma, Nicole's little one, on her Baptism day! "Called by the Holy Spirit, trusting in the grace and love of God..."

Fishicide: when your pet fish jumps to his death from his bowl not 2 hours after you cleaned it, and you narrowly avoid stepping on his carcass (which is now stuck to the carpet far below). I just know somehow I'm going to be blamed for this...

Meet the new members of this already crazy household: Fish 1 and Fish 2. Now, those aren't their official names. The little guy in near the blue stones shall be called KOOSH, and still working on the the other guy. I know, I know...WHY get two more FISH...

Tuesday, March 23: horrible snowstorm here in Colorado, especially down here in Castle Rock. I tried to make it to Church Council, only to realize that driving a small Hyundai in an evil snowstorm just might not be the brightest of ideas. I pulled off at the hospital exit (9 miles up the road), only to have the road disappear before me and BOTH of my wiper blades give out. They were literally screeeeeeeching along my windshield as I slid into the ditch. Awesome.

After digging myself out of this ditch, using my handy-dandy travel shovel of course, I pull out my Tie Dye Duct Tape (bless the Holm Family and their lovely Christmas gift), and tape my blades back together so that I have even a chance of making it home alive.

Clearly, God wasn't quite ready for me to join Him, as He had many MANY opportunities to take me during this horrid drive home. I was wet, I was scared, I was stressed. Ugh.

I finally reach my home, only to find it without power. The first 2 hours were okay, as it was still warm. The next 2...not so much. Then power would return...then go out. Each time it came back on, I'd get something else done: gather the extra batteries, charge the cell phone, turn up the heat. Phone calls from friends and families helped me keep in touch with the outside world, and I can now locate every blanket in my entire home.

When I finally calmed down, I was able to sit and somewhat enjoy the nature-imposed silence and darkness. I lit enough candles to see what I was doing, and took comfort in Delia's angel, Hope.
Enough snow for a Snow Day.
AND Gummi Bears in Granola.
For Breakfast.
It's the little things.

Heeeeeeere, little Hyundai...come OUT!

After the crazy-business of the last fews weeks, I'm always looking for signs of hope, peace, and love. Thank you, frozen wet winter gloves, for reminding me of this message!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Moments of Silence

I recently spent a lovely weekend out of town at Bethany's annual Lenten Retreat. St. Malo's Retreat Center was close enough to feel as though you didn't spend all your time traveling, and far enough away to feel as though you could leave all your cares and concerns behind. The silence in the mountains was incredible - something I long to find in the hustle and bustle of my life. To be honest, I'm still having a hard time adjusting to being back in town.
St. Malo Retreat Center - Allenspark, CO
(near Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park)

Close to 40 members of our congregation attended this Retreat - some having come for over 15+ years! Candles, nametags, and hymnbooks - one of our first worship times together.

Pr Ron reading THE Good Book (the Bible). The Good Book (Gomes) was one of the key books we used to explore how we as Lutherans read the Bible. A helpful resource in starting the conversation. Other texts included: Christ in Culture (Niebuhr), Bake and Be Blessed (Garrimone), and Have a Little Faith (Albom). I was reading round the clock to prepare for this Retreat!

The colors of the entire center were vibrant
and inviting. We played outdoors for hours.

The fresh snowfall from the evening before
made everything absolutely picturesque.

The view from the balcony.
I loved being able to see the Chapel.

I was fascinated with the massive icicles.


The Statue of Christ, overlooking the Chapel.

Ron and Anada, hand in hand
during our afternoon quiet time.

I love this picture for many reasons: finding this kind of beauty in February is just a gift in and of itself, I somehow captured a falling drop of water (right side of photo), and the rays from above are just, well, heavenly!

Can you tell the time spent outdoors was wonderful?
Those hours made my soul burst with joy!

You are never too old to make a snowman...

Taizé evening worship: simply put, it's a worship service that can be thought of as one, long prayer. It involves thoughtful, repetitive music, and moments of silence. Again, something I don't get a lot of in my day-to-day life, and something I've learned I crave.

A moment in the candlelight...

Our artists in residence, Griff and Marion. Marion had brought along a flip-book of all her paintings - amusing creations, full of puns and clever ideas. She told the story behind each one of them in a completely deadpan manner! We were in tears! I hope to be able to help her scan her artwork in for future presentations, and will certainly upload the link!

From the reverent to the ridiculous: a game of Guesstures around the fireplace. Michelle is trying her very best to get us to guess PILOT. We were able to piece together AIRPLANE and DRIVER...but apparently PILOT was too challenging for us at 10pm!

Pr Ruth Ann leading one of many caring conversations throughout the weekend. I was so proud to be part of a group of such thoughtful, respectful adults. We were able to disagree with kind intent and figure out how to move forward on many issues. It was one of those weekends that challenged you to support and explore exactly what you believe. Powerful.

I love this photo of Sue Ann, deep in thought.
This is a woman who lives and breathes her faith.

Faith Formers, the first half....

...Faith Formers, the second half.

Soaking up the whole experience.