Tag Archives: Childrens Books

Our first chapel of the year

 

Friday, we held our first chapel of the year. I love Chapel. It is the time each week that our whole school comes together to worship. This year is extra special because we have a new stage and are able to use the cafeteria. (We have outgrown all other rooms in our school).

The chapel this week focused on Little Pot.

We each shared what we would like to be when we grow up. Then, we discussed that no matter what God allows us to be or hold, He expects us to grow fruit. The coming weeks, we are going to revisit our vision and go over the steps God uses in our lives to grow the fruit of the Spirit through us.

 

Here are some pictures of our first Chapel Time together.

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Reflections of 2013 and Expectations for 2014

I love New Years.

It is a great time to reflect and think about choices we’ve made

and what we want to accomplish in the next 365 days.

I’ve been preparing for a new ladies Bible study in January

that begins with the idea of, “What do I want to get out of this”.

That idea can drive you crazy if you try to search for a good reason

to every decision you make each day.

It has me evaluating everything before I do it.

I’ve discovered my life is so busy that I often find myself on auto pilot,

forgetting why I do what I do.

Those of us that are parents or work with children

know just how fast time can go by.

If we don’t strategically set a course for our lives and the children in them,

we miss some great fruit bearing opportunities!

The teachers at CCA set the course every day.

They write and carry out plans that will allow

our saints to reach their fullest potential!

Personally, as I reflect on 2013 and CCA,

I’m still in awe of what God does in my life and in our little school.

This past year didn’t go by without some very big challenges.

We had some staffing changes that discouraged me in many ways.

I probably had more doubts then I have ever had as I went through 2013.

My Moto has often been, “Fake it till you make it!”

(I work hard at faking success).

But, those close to me know when I’m faking, and at CCA,

we’ve become a very close family.

I knew there were some things that I couldn’t fake with the CCA family.

I once again found myself on my knees,

begging God to make something of me and this little Christian school.

I remember telling Him how alone I felt at this job.

I told him I would need some amazing teachers and staff people

by my side to pull off what I felt He wanted me to accomplish.

Then, He basically told me to get out of the way and let Him work.

I wasn’t supposed to accomplish anything. He was.

So once again I thought of Little Pot and emptied myself.

I humbled myself and began to allow God’s Word to take root in me…

I focused on living straight…

I made new relationships…

I gained more knowledge…

And then, God grow fruit through me.

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Sounds like our CCA vision – huh?

The vision of CCA is a journey that God takes us on over and over.

Fruit never stops reproducing itself.

Cultivating our lives,

so we can be the vessels that bear His fruit is a challenge every year.

So, what are my expectations of 2014?

Well, simply to live each day with purpose and

continue carrying out the vision of CCA in my own life.

I will humbly plant God’s word into my life,

live with integrity,

foster relationships,

and bloom knowledge.

I’m leaving the fruit bearing up to God.

As I do that,

I am very excited about some specific milestones

that I and the CCA family have ahead of us.

We will prepare to update our accreditation.

Our enrollment is already showing signs of growth for next year.

Two of our teachers will have new additions to their families this summer.

(I’m so excited to share in their lives as they bring new babies into the world.)

In my own household,

My oldest daughter will graduate from college and then marry a great guy.

(I’m very excited to plan the wedding with her!)

My youngest daughter graduates from high school.

Then she’ll follow my second daughter to Liberty University.

(My house will feel empty in 2014)

I am looking forward to spending more time with my husband.

We will celebrate 25 years of marriage this year too.

While I see the plans our family and friends have ahead,

I know God’s plans are what must be done.

The one thing I count on is that He is in control of 2014.

That makes my expectations miraculous and fruitful!

making the little BIG

I have been getting the same message from God in several different venues this past week. I suppose it’s something He wants me to take notice of. It’s a pretty simple concept and one that we shouldn’t need reminding of. But, obviously I’ve needed to hear it, so maybe others do too.

His message is “The little things matter to me! – It’s my job to make them BIG!”

 

 

downloadI first heard it while I was doing a devotional on Ruth. My youngest daughter and I are doing the Kelly Minter, “Living Room Bible Study” on Ruth together. Doing it with my daughter has given me such a great perspective on this woman and the book in the Bible that contains her story. This week’s lesson focused on the kindness of Boaz and it struck me how simple little acts of kindness made such an eternal impact on so many people.

 

 

 

download (1)The second time was when I watched a video by Pete Briscoe called The Bema. It is a dramatization of a man who goes to heaven and stands before the throne of Christ where his life is celebrated. I can’t do justice by explaining how powerful the video is, so I recommend you watch it for yourself. The message that amazed me was how the little things that had no effect on him had an eternal impact on others. Heaven celebrated the littlest action when it was done in the name of Christ, and it struck me how simple little acts of kindness made such an eternal impact on so many lives.

 

 

The third time was watching our friend day video for this week. It was by a family at our school that I invited to church on Friend Day. That took such little effort for me to do and I was basically just doing my job without thinking how it could impact lives. Listening to them tell how being invited by me impacted their lives and knowing now how many lives they are impacting by being at Central absolutely amazes me.

 

 

1377139_10153349199655431_1285784542_nThe fourth venue was on facebook when I came across pictures of 600 children in Leogane, Haiti with coloring books that I had illustrated a few years ago. The opportunity to illustrate that coloring book seemed a simple little task. Now, seeing how many lives are touched by it puts me in awe of a God who can take a simple thing and multiply it into something so wonderful.

 

A little boy had five loafs and two fishes (something very small within his own hands). 1383082_10153349189500431_849884290_nBut, given to Jesus it became a means to reach thousands. I’ve been thinking about the little things that take up my time throughout the day. The principal’s desk at CCA has been covered in papers and a list of things that need to get done. Throughout the day those little tasks get interrupted by children coming in to take plastic fruit for the little ways they show kindness and occasionally by a child who is causing a problem that needs an administrative/parental solution.

 

 

Some days I leave feeling I haven’t accomplished anything of value. Then, I realize every little thing I did wasn’t about bringing value to me. It was to bring value to Christ; and He asks for very little effort. He loves to take the little and make it BIG!

 

 

The Creation – as retold by Janice Green

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Today I have the blessing of sharing you with a children’s book titled Creation. This book is the Biblical story of Creation retold by Janice Green
Janice is a retired teacher / librarian. Her ability to connect with kids shows in her writing. In a time when people (even Christians) embrace evolution as truth, it is refreshing to find a book that stays true to the scripture and the literal description of How God created the earth. Janice understands that our student’s beliefs will be challenged by the secular world and she knows the importance of giving a child a strong reliable authority of God’s word.
A difficult task in writing children’s stories about the Bible is that children will see the stories as fictional. Janice explains that the Biblical account is not to be looked at as a myth. She takes a student through each day of His miraculous works. Each page includes verses from scripture and thought provoking questions for children to discuss.
The pictures in her book are the best part. Janice is also a quilter and the pictures in her book are quilt squares (hexagons) that she used to create one of her many Bible quilts. Parents are given instructions in how to create a quilt with their own children. I love the way Janice has taken the story of creation and made into a tangible quilt and story book that students can interact with.

If Only I had a Green Nose

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Today at Central Christian Academy, we had green noses. (Well, at least the cool people had them) Or so we thought. The teachers had green noses and we invited any student who thought they might be cool enough to wear a green nose too. Almost all the students chose to get one. Many of our students didn’t come and get one at first. Then when more and more students in their class got them, they gave in and followed too.
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Then at chapel we read the book If Only I had a Green Nose by Max Lucado. It is another story about Punchinello, the puppet. In the story Punchinello really doesn’t want a green nose, but he finally gives in to the peer pressure and gets one.
After he does though, the Wemmicks (the other puppets) decide green noses are not cool anymore and they all begin to repaint their noses to another color. This continues and becomes exhausting to Punchinello. He realizes that he just wants to be exactly how Eli (His maker) made him.
In Chapel we then talked about how we should be proud of how God made us. It is easy to give into peer pressure and want to be like everybody else. But God made each of us unique and thinks we are special and beautiful the way we are. We can keep trying but we will never feel that we “fit in” with the world. And, that is perfectly ok. God will always help us to be the person He created us to be.
It hurt a bit for Punchinello to let Eli sand the paint of his wooden nose. Sometimes it hurts a little when God has to “sand off” the worldly stuff we’ve added to our lives too. But, He will and in the end we are so much happier being exactly who God wants us to be.

This book is available in our school library or can be purchased here:

Little Pot’s Growth Chart

Little Pot grows fruit and we know that the fruit it grows comes from the Holy Spirit. So how does it happen? What are the steps? Recently I worked with an awesome team of educators at Liberty University to develop a leadership model.  We agreed that leadership comes when we can transform what we know into the lives of others (which is also fruit bearing).  Together we came up with five steps.

First we must remember we are created by God and are simply vessels made for His use.  Envision yourself as clay pot.  You are an empty vessel and waiting for the potter’s filling so you can grow into a great leader. 

Step 1- Humility

            To grow a leader, the potter fills you with humus or soil. Humus is “a dark brown or black colloidal mass of partially decomposed organic matter in the soil.  It improves the fertility and water retention of the soil and is therefore important for plant growth” (“humus,” n.d., para. 2).   The word “humility” is derived from the Latin form of humus. In the Bible Christ explains a parable about a seed (the Word of God) and three types of soil. (Luke 8, New King James Version [NKJV]).  In verse fifteen, He says “the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15, NKJV). God’s word may be planted within you but without humility it cannot take root and grow. 

Step 2- Integrity

            The seed of God’s word planted in humility will stem integrity.  Integrity is necessary for leaders. It isn’t the prettiest part of a plant or the part that others first notice.  However, it is what holds the plant together.  It is the part of the plant that brings nutrients up from the roots.  Our integrity is what we can have to stand on.  “A person with integrity does not have divided loyalties (that’s duplicity), nor is he or she merely pretending (that’s hypocrisy)” (Maxwell, 1993, p. XI).  Any damage to the stem of a plant can jeopardize the life of a plant.  In the same way, anything we do to damage our integrity will jeopardize our leadership. 

Step 3- Relationships

            Integrity that stems from God’s Word rooted in humility will begin to form relationships.  Consider your relationships to be leaves that reach out as you grow.  By fostering relationships we are able to become a more effective leader.  In every relationship we form we act as either a leader or a follower.  Each has specific roles and relate differently to this model of leadership. 

Step 4- Knowledge

            Once relationships form and integrity has stemmed, knowledge will bloom.  In the growth model, think of knowledge as a flower.  Others are drawn to the flower part of a plant, just as they are drawn to your knowledge.  Knowledge is not the final quality, however.  It is not the potter’s plan for us to simply draw others toward us and admire us.  The flowering part of our leadership plant has a much greater purpose hidden within.  We obtain knowledge so that we can bear fruit and reproduce it into another person’s life.

Step 5- Transform

            The final quality and stage of growth for a leader is being able to transform God’s Word into someone else.  Growth is a cycle and must reproduce itself.  Think of your little pot that you filled with humility so God’s Word could be planted and take root.  You stemmed integrity, formed relationships, and bloomed knowledge, all so you could bear fruit. It is important to know that within each piece of fruit a seed exists.  That seed is still the Word of God and is ready to be planted into another vessel or person who is full of humble soil.

What we can learn from our pets.

dog picAt Central Christian Academy, (the school that I am principal of), we had a very special visitor in our third grade class today. Our third graders recently finished their first literacy unit, “Mr Popper’s Penguins” by Richard Atwater. In the book, Mr Popper has to train his many penguins. He learned a lot from having penguins for pets. Today we asked a local boy to come share with them about his pet, a service dog. The boy explained how the dog is trained to tell him when he needs to take his medicine. The students were fascinated by the story and I thought it would be a good opportunity to share another book. “My Invisible World” is a book written by Morosha Winokur, an eleven year old girl. The book is about her life with her brother and his service dog. Here is an interview I did with Morosha’s mom at Book Expo America in New York City last year.

Click on this link to purchase a copy of the book.

A book for April – Child Abuse Prevention Month

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By the way - the egg in the picture is for
Little Pot's egg hunt this month on facebook

Today’s Fruit Pot book is called,

MY BODY BELONGS TO ME

it’s by Jill Starishevsky

April is child abuse prevention month. I met Jill on line through Social networking and got a chance to talk with her last year at the Book Expo in New York. She was just releasing this book that helps parents teach their children about sexual abuse. Jill is an attorney in New York and has had to handle a great deal of these cases. Therefore, she knows all too well about how this horrible crime can creep into our homes. Moms and Dads, it is an issue that we have to address with our kids and this book can make doing so much easier.  I wanted it to be our fruit pot book this month because we have ignored this topic with children for far too long.  It’s time we stop making excuses to why they haven’t talked with our kids about it. Watch this video, buy the book, and read it with your kids!