Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving Thanks

Every Sunday morning, after I leave me beautiful little 2-year-olds with their next teacher, I head over to our 1st - 3rd grade junior church. There is always a little trepidation when making that short walk across the parking lot. You never know just what to expect from week to week.

I'm not going to lie, today the natives were restless. We came up with all the standard's a full moon; they are ready for their break from school; they are just bad, bad kids (just kidding). When our cherubs are having days like today, you can't help but hope that whichever guy is giving the message/lesson that day is really, REALLY interesting, because if he isn't chances are there will be lots of little children in trouble before the day is over.

Jonathan got up to speak. "How many of you are thankful for everything all the time?"

I always love questions like this. He effectively caused 83 kids to lie in church. Who wants to be the only honest one and not raise their hand on a question like that?

Then he asked, "Who wants money?" At this question, there were 93 hands raised...83 kiddos + 10 workers. We ALL wanted money!

A random child was chosen, and Jonathan gave him a penny. He went back to his seat. This continued on with three of four children. Then, all of the sudden, he called one girl back to the front after she got her penny. She had said "Thank You." Her reward for being thankful for the small things was a dollar.

I was kind of struck by how this all played out. There were probably not 5 minutes between the first question about thankfulness and the second about money, but they had already forgotten to say "Thank you."

I am sure most of them were thinking that a penny is not worth giving thanks over, but still...I couldn't help but wonder how often we as adults do the same thing. We receive so many small blessings each day, yet we never take the time to stop and thank the Lord for it. If we can't appreciate what we've got, then why should He give us extra.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
~ I Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thank You, Josh

I have spent the last several weeks preparing for a colossal project for my Social Studies methods class. The project is essentially creating a one-day children's museum from the planning stages to the presentation stage and then completely disassembling it. The project was a HUGE success, at least from my perspective. We studied immigration through the years, beginning as early as the 18th century. My project partner and I chose to study the Italians. We created a twelve-foot tall replica of the Colosseum in Rome, a twelve-foot tall replica of the leaning tower of Pisa, an outdoor Italian Caffe (that's how they spell it in Italy!), four 13x2 foot gondolas, and an Italian flag the size of a queen-sized bed sheet. We also served homemade cherry gelato and homemade double chocolate biscotti with hot chocolate. Yes, it was awesome. I'm not ashamed to say it. But while we did do a lot of work, we cannot in any way take all of the credit for what was accomplished today.

I have this AMAZING brother who came to my rescue more than once this week. He sacrificed a night and two days to our project to help us make it absolutely perfect. He built a door frame, made gladiator swords, hung props from the ceiling, helped make our caffe front become a reality. He also was willing to help the other three groups in the project to hang banners, flags, etc.

The best example of how great he is happened last night/this morning. He left campus yesterday afternoon (after helping us) to go straight to work his 4:30pm-2:00am shift. We continued to work through the night. We had completed all of our decorations and set up except for those previously mentioned 13x2 foot gondolas. They were giving us fits. Both Brittany (my project partner) and I were ready to throw those things out the window. Speaking for myself, I was quite close to tears. They tried to get me to call Josh knowing that he could calm me down and get the job done successfully. But it was 2 am. He was at work. He hadn't slept in 19 hours. I couldn't call him. Plus, I couldn't find my phone. I decided that was God telling me to let it go.

Then, across the room, my phone started ringing. I could have cried then, too. There could only be one person who would call me at such a strange hour - Josh. I looked at my professor and said quite simply, "God made him call me." The first words out of his mouth were "Hey, are you guys still working? Do you need help?" To make a long story short, my very sleep deprived brother came straight back to Shawnee after work to help us finish up. He sent Brittany and I to go get some sleep and promised that he would finish it.

This morning, we found 4 beautiful gondolas that survived an entire day with 60 5th graders climbing in and out of them. Did I mention that they were made out of only cardboard and pvc pipe? They were so well put together, in fact, that we had problems getting some of them apart after it was all over.

I'm not done singing his praises yet. He finished our gondolas sometime after 4. He drove back to OKC and caught approximately 1.5 hours of sleep before going back to Shawnee. Throughout today, he acted as street vendor, waiter, & bus boy during our presentation, taking breaks to go to class, but always coming back. He helped take about a billion pictures throughout the day. He stayed for almost all of our clean-up time before he left for work again...without sleep.

I love my brother. I have always loved my brother. I will always love my brother. Today, though, my brother is my hero.

Thanks Josh.

The Gondolas

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Colosseum

Our beautiful Caffe'

The Street Vendor Cart