Tag Archives: the little pot

Contain Humility

 

 

 

Humility

 

This week our saints are focusing on humility. At CCA we illustrate it with placing dirt into Little Pot.

humility

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Pot-Dawn-Stephens/dp/193398211X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410796644&sr=1-1&keywords=Little+Pot

 

 

Our word humility comes from the Latin word humus. Humus means good soil. We tell our saints that Little Pot wasn’t excited about being filled with dirt. However, dirt is what is needed to grow fruit. Just like humility is necessary for us to grow the fruit of the Spirit.

 

In chapel last week we read several verses about how God feels about humility.

I will bless those who have HUMBLE and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word -Isaiah 66:2

 

Do nothing out or rivalry or conceit

In HUMILITY consider others as more important than yourselves

Everyone should look not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others -Philippians 2:3-4

 

We learned that humility IS NOT

Downplaying or thinking less of yourself

Feeling sorry for yourself

 

And, that humility IS

Knowing the truth about yourself and where you stand with God.

Knowing you can’t do things without God and that you need Him.

Know that God knows you better than you know yourself.

It is saying, “God, I need your help!”

 

It is hard for children to pray for themselves. Often their prayer requests are for others. We ended our chapel by asking each child to put a scoop of soil into Little Pot and pray “Lord, I need your help ___________.” It was precious to hear the requests each of them made for a need of their own.

 

 

And as God always does for me, I can never teach a lesson that isn’t hitting home with me too. While giving this lesson, the teachers and I have been reading a book by Nicole Unice called “She’s Got Issues”.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Shes-Got-Issues-Seriously-Stressed-Out-ebook/dp/B007TWKY8K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410796037&sr=1-1&keywords=she%27s+got+issues

 

This week it dealt with control. It is no secret to anyone what a control freak I can be. This book, however, put my need for control in the context of my own humility or lack of.  Pray with us as we all work on gaining a deeper understanding of how to be humble.

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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Time to SHINE

 

CCA teacher presentationThe 2014-2015 School Year has officially begun!

On Tuesday, August 26th, our saints will bust through the doors with smiles and anticipations of all that is to come. One of the main reasons I love education is because each year creates a fresh new start.

This year begins my 5th year at CCA and the 25th year since my first year of teaching. Time really does fly when you are having fun!  

At CCA, we will still continue to strive to be like Little Pot  and bear the fruit of the Spirit every day. http://www.amazon.com/The-Little-Pot-Dawn-Stephens/dp/193398211X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389929790&sr=8-1&keywords=the+little+pot

 

We will also remember the lessons Tea Pot taught in 2012, as we serve others. http://www.lulu.com/shop/dawn-stephens/tea-pot/paperback/product-20960223.html

 

In 2013, we kindled our light with a little clay oil lamp. This year, we are ready for the potter to place up high on a lamp stand, so we can SHINE!

 

I am looking forward to SHINING with the teachers and staff at CCA. They are amazing and I love working alongside of them.

 

We will SHINE with technology! This past summer we added new interactive white boards in every classroom. We will continue to equip each of our saints in kindergarten through sixth grade with their own Kindle Fire too. We also remodeled the front office and added new touch screen computers for check in.

 

We will SHINE with the children’s ministry at Central Baptist Church, Central Station. They will share our classrooms and cafeteria, which now doubles as an assembly area. http://www.discovercentral.org/#/central-station-for-kids

 

We will SHINE as we achieve AdvancED accreditation this year. AdvancED is the largest community of education professionals in the world. It was created through a 2006 merger of the PreK-12 divisions of the North Central Association (NCA) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)—and expanded through the 2011 acquisition of the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC). http://www.advanc-ed.org/

 

 2014-15 is going to be an amazing year!

 

 

 

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.

vision (2)

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!

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.

Principal From the Black Lagoon

principal from the black lagoonToday my children gave me a Mother’s Day gift.

It was the book, The Principal from the Black Lagoon. I remember reading the Scholastic “Black Lagoon” books to my students years ago. When I started my job as Principal at Central Christian Academy, the four year old class at the school were making up all kinds of stories. Like my office was painted black and I had a great big paddle. I have to admit the first week on the job caused a sense of fear that simply came from the “unknown”.  The students not knowing the new principal or how I would handle discipline worked to my advantage.  Anyway, my own teenage daughters loved the dinner time stories each evening of the day’s events of students being sent to the principal’s office and how I handled each offense.  They thought I would need a copy of this book for my office.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do. It is much more dear to me now that I sit inside that office each day and watch children undergo the drama of being “sent” there. Thanks to the media, our children today have very little that cause them fear.  And my office is painted in a very cheery way and there is no paddle. Instead, there is a Little Pot full of treats.

But, when they misbehave or disrupt class, they still need to know that there are consequences. So as they come in and sit there looking up at me, I realize their own imagination is driving a fear inside them. I always talk to them about their behavior and let them know the immediate consequences as well as the future consequences should it continue. But as one four year old little boy stated when I was finished asking him if he understood? – he replied, “Yes, but your office isn’t black.”  Trying not to smile at him, I then said in my principal voice . . . “You’re right, it’s not black – but you still need to correct your behavior.”

You’ll need to read the book to fully grasp the idea. – but once you do, you’ll see that being the Principal form the Black Lagoon is OK with me.

Little Pot teaches the SOLs – A kdg lesson plan for VA public schools

This lesson plan was used with The Little Pot book at

Ingleside Elem. School in Norfolk, VA

It was written by Ms. Clark, Art teacher.

pinch_pots

Grade/Class: Kindergarten

Big Idea: Celebration

Lesson: Clay Pinch Pots

Essential Questions:

  • Why do artists use clay?
  • What sorts of things are made out of clay?
  • How can artists manipulate clay?
  • What can a pot be used for?

Art SOL(s)/Objective:

K.3          The student will identify and use textures—sight and touch; and patterns—natural and man-made.

K.9          The student will describe the sequence of steps in the making of a work of art.

K.10        The student will use motor skills (e.g., pinching, pulling, squeezing, twisting, pounding, rolling, folding, cutting, modeling, stamping) to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of art.

K.11        The student will identify people who make art as “artists” (e.g., painters, sculptors, printmakers, architects, graphic designers).

K.12        The student will identify the purposes for creating works of art.

K.16        The student will discuss and explain ideas and expressions in personal works of art.

Other SOL Correlation:

K.4       Investigate and understand that objects can be described (by color, shape, texture, size, and position)

K.00 NC          Communicate ideas by explaining processes

Assessment (Rubrics):

The student will follow a sequence of directions.

The student will demonstrate motor skills by manipulating clay.

Materials: Red  low-fire clay, one styro tray per student, assorted clay tools, clay cart

Visuals/Instructional Resources:

Artists/Artwork:

Children’s Literature/Picture Books: The Little Pot, Dawn Stephens

Vocabulary: clay, pottery, potter, kiln, author, illustrator, pattern, texture

Motivation/Anticipatory Set: Author/Illustrator Dawn Stephens will visit the classroom and read her book, The Little Pot.(setup clay and trays during the story)

Procedure (include checking for understanding and independent practice):

Demo the steps in making a clay pot:

  1. Make a ball.
  2. “The Hokey Pokey” Poke your thumb into the ball of clay.
  3. Pinch and turn, squeezing the sides so the hole gets bigger.
  4. Use tools: Add texture, pattern, and eyes to your little pot!

Read the rule: The clay must stay on the tray, or we’ll take it away!

After reviewing the steps, students go to their seats to make their pots.

Teachers and assistants will write the students’ NAME and CLASS on the bottom with a pencil.

Closure: As students are finishing their pots, ask, “What will you put in your pot?” and “If you were a pot, what kind of pot would you be?”

Town Mouse, Country Mouse, Content Mouse

town country mouseTown Mouse, Country Mouse, Content Mouse

Based on Jan Brett’s Town Mouse Country Mouse

This book was one that I always read to my students to help them learn about the differences in rural and urban environments. It really is about the mice discovering that they need to learn to be happy with what they have and that the grass isn’t greener on the other side.  The Bible also has a lot to say about us being discontented.  And I’m ashamed to admit that I personally struggle a great deal with this concept. I think because I am a very determined and self driven person, I continually strive for more than I have. This trait has been a benefit to me at times because it is what drives me to achieve more and better myself. However, it has also been a fault within my relationship with God. Psalm 84:10 gives us an interesting perspective about the best place for us to live. In it David says he would rather spend one day being doorkeeper in the house of God than dwell in the house of the wicked for years. Basically he is saying it is better to just to be near God (by the door) than to live amongst the wicked or away form Him.

In this story, the country and city mice focus on the things that are wrong with the places they live. I tend to do the same at times. It seems easy some days to focus on the things that go wrong in my life. I assume that others have it better. If I could only trade places with them I’d have it better. If I had that opportunity, however, we all know that I’d see that their situation isn’t any better than mine. In fact, just like the mice, I’d quickly remember how good my life was. We tend not to appreciate things until we no longer have them. In Proverbs 30:15-16, we are warned about never having enough.

My struggle is in finding the balance between being content with what God has given me and is doing in my life, and then patiently waiting for Him to do more. I think the key is to measure success as God does and to be able to rest in Him. We are told to hunger and thirst for righteousness. That could indicate that a level of discontentment exists within the amount of righteousness we possess daily as Christians.  Even Little Pot struggled with this as the potter emptied and filled it and it continually wanted more of something. I think the real issue is that we search for contentment in the wrong things. Even when it comes to God. We focus on the things God gives us instead of living in His righteousness. We are truly only content when we give what we have away and share with each other. Little Pot needed to learn that it wasn’t the things it would “hold” that would make it become useful. It was the ability to grow fruit and give it away.

The trouble the mice have in this story isn’t just that they find their current home unsatisfying. It is also that they are unable to cope in their new homes. If they had just taken the time to visit with one another and learn form each other, they could have had the best of both of their worlds.  They would have found contentment not in what they got from each place but in the fact that they helped each other.

As long as I focus on me, I will remain discontented with life. If I focus on others, I will be closer to where God is. Even if I am only at the door of his awesomeness.

Disclosure: These ideas are that of this blog and teachers using this book, not the author or publisher of the book. To purchase this book through amazon you can click on this widget and help support more Bible Lessons in Children’s Literature


For more Bible Lessons in Children’s Literature click on the links below:

A Porcupine Named Fluffy – Living Up To “The Name”

Corduroy – The Search For a Friend

The True Story of The Three Little Pigs

The Tale of Peter Rabbit Seven Blind Mice and the Cure to Our Blindness

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Hungry Christian = New Life

Learning the Bible from Pinocchio -by Debbie Boush

Harry the Dirty Dog: Lost Dog, Lost Son Where The Wild Things Are

What you Hold Verses What You Grow

I am taking a blog break from our Bible Lessons in Literature today. Lately I have had several other bloggers and friends asked me to go into more detail about how The Little Pot story and book came about. It has been a life changing event and one that is opening many doors for me to share with others about how God is using me.  You can listen to my story on my facebook videos or read the highlights below.

What You Hold Verses What You Grow

When I was young, I was often asked about what I would be when I grew up.  I felt quite a bit of pressure to know the answer to that question. Frankly, though, I had no idea. I knew that I liked to draw pictures and make up stories. Both of those things usually got me in trouble in school since I drew pictures instead of listening and the stories I made up were sometimes interrupted as lies. I did imagine that someday I could use those things to be a children’s author and illustrator. Since school never went well for me, I knew that I did not want to be a teacher.

I came from a Christian home I was taught that I should pray for the things I want. Therefore, I simply prayed and asked God to make me an author and illustrator and then waited for Him to do so. It never seemed to me that He was actually doing that. When it came time for me to go to college I told my dad my plans and he said I could not become an author or illustrator, because I’d never make money doing it. I searched for another career that would allow me to draw pictures and write stories for kids and I found one. It was a teacher.

I figured since God didn’t seem to hear me about the author, illustrator thing I might as well go into teaching. I did and found that I loved it. I felt so full and complete. I knew that I was doing exactly what God created me to do.  I taught for ten years until one day I knew that God wanted me to stop teaching and stay home with my children. One of my daughters had severe asthma and maintaining her health while teaching fulltime seemed impossible. I reluctantly quit and became a “Stay-at-home-mom”. Now, I admire woman who do this a great deal, but I never felt it was for me. I loved being with my children, but I also wondered continually if God was using me.

My husband sensed that I wanted to work again so he bought me a company to run.  Running your own company may sound exciting to some, but for me- it was not exciting at all. It was terrifying. I had taught Kindergarten, First grade, and Second grade. One year I taught third grade and realized the third graders were smarter than me, so I went back to teaching Kindergarten.  I couldn’t even keep my checkbook balanced. So, I had no idea how I would run a company. It seemed that’s what God expected me to do. So I did it. And, after some time, I began to love it. I wrote business plans and drew characters for my website all why staying home with my kids. I thought I was doing exactly what God created me to do. I felt full and happy. The only part of running a business I didn’t do well was the selling of stuff. And since I didn’t sell things, my company didn’t continue to do so well every year.

As my daughters got older and healthier, my husband suggested I go back to work and that we sell the business. I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now I was all grown up and was suppose to go find a job. I prayed again wondering why God wouldn’t make me into an author and illustrator. It seemed I just kept doing these random things in life without knowing their purpose. I told God I take whatever job came along and that I’d do anything except, of course, sell stuff. We both knew I was not any good at that. Eventually a company called saying they wanted to talk to me about a job. They were a publishing company and I was very excited. I hoped they would want to publish my stories or let me illustrate for them. I was wrong. They did offer me a job, but it was in sales. They wanted me to sell their books.  I did and eventually I got really good at it. I even had opportunities to write lesson plans for their books and draw pictures of things to go with those plans.  This was the best job of all. I knew I was doing what God had created me to do and I felt completely full and happy. I did this for several years until the company decided they were no longer going to close the division I worked in.  My job no longer existed.  At this point, I was completely shattered and confused. I began to think of all the things in life I had held and wondered what I would do next.

Through all those jobs, a story began to develop. It is the story of The Little Pot. In this story, The Little Pot is continually filled and emptied with things. The potter puts papers into it and it believes it will be a smart paper pot.  But the potter makes another vessel for that purpose and then empties Little Pot. Next the potter fills it with coins and it thinks it will be a rich coin pot. But the potter makes another vessel for that purpose and Little Pot is empty again. Finally the potter fills the little pot with dirt and a small green plant. Little Pot assumes it will be a beautiful flower pot. It still is wrong, however, because its flowers are really fruit.  Little Pot finally discovers that it is a fruit pot and that its true purpose is to bear fruit for the potter.

Just like Little Pot, I had to discover that through all the jobs I held and all the titles I carried, God had one purpose in mind. I was to bear fruit for Him.  The author, illustrator thing did finally happen for me, but it isn’t the thing that makes me feel full and content.  I know now that I can’t find contentment in what I hold. I can only find it in what I grow. Along with a sequel to The Little Pot, I am currently working on a story coloring book for Operation Blessing to use on the mission field in Haiti.

Not working a job and focusing on just bearing fruit has been a bit scary financially, but I know it is what God wants me to do. He continually gives me opportunities and provides for me at the same time.

To buy The Little Pot book, simply click on the “Buy Book” icon at the left or find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble .com, or ask for it at your local book store.

Lessons with Peter Rabbit

peterrabbit&littlepot

The Biblical principles in this book are being shared by:

Kathryn Hughes, Kdg. teacher at PROMOTE in Chesapeake, VA

-thanks Kathryn.

 

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter. has several parallels to scripture. 

1. Peter is expected to be obedient to his mother, as we are to be obedient to God. (This can also correspond to Adam & Eve in the Garden)

2. Peter disobeys and after he’s had his fill and a tummy ache, He realized his mistake (remorse). 

3. He searches for the way out. How many times are we tempted to ‘knowingly’ cross the line only to run in circles before finding the gate?  The way out is the Gate, (Matt. 7:13)Jesus says, “I am the Gate”, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  (John 14:6)

4. Peter is running for his life from Mr. McGregor. Peter loses all of his possesions. There are times, when we must lose everything we have in order to find Christ. (Luke 18:18-23)

As you read this wonderful classic story with your children, relate the lessons Peter learns to the Biblical principles God has for us in His word.

 

For other bible lessons using Children’s Literature:

Seven Blind Mice and the Cure to Our Blindness

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Hungry Christian = New Life

Learning the Bible from Pinocchio -by Debbie Boush

Harry the Dirty Dog: Lost Dog, Lost Son
Where The Wild Things Are

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and a Chance to Pray

Children Who Love Jesus may be at risk of catching: A Bad Case of Stripes

Is Your Mama a Llama? Are you the image of God?

The Paper Bag Princess and The Paper Bag Christian