Sunday, May 24, 2015

Chrysalis Time



This spring, I visited a butterfly farm on an island in the Caribbean.  I was intrigued with the four stages of development of this spectacular creative design of our God. The stages of its life cycle are the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the chrysalis (pupa), and butterfly (adult).  Each stage of development is a vital part of this cycle.  The Monarch butterfly is of special interest to me.  I love the way God marked its chrysalis with a special series of golden gem-like dots that resembles a crown along the circumference.  If you’ve ever read about the migration of the fourth generation Monarch butterfly, you know that they are the only insect that migrates annually to a warmer climate 2,500 miles away.  The first, second, and third generation of monarchs only live about six weeks. They hatch, develop from larva to pupa to butterfly and then fly toward their goal as far as their lifespan will allow.  The next generation picks up where the parent left off and continues with the mission. And so on.  But the fourth generation makes a cross country trek that allows them to winter in Mexico.  That makes them quite unique and very intuitive to the plan for their lives.  As I reflect on this, I think back to how they must instinctively know how to follow that leading.  They are wired to know to follow this leading.  It’s as though they have a multi-generation life purpose. 

I see this in the life of David, King of Israel.  He had a goal of seeing the temple built and worked toward that goal, but God had plans for his son to follow in his footsteps and complete the mission. I also see this in families that have a legacy of ministers.  It seems there is a transfer of anointing when the previous generation passes into eternity.  The next generation often steps into the position or office of ministry that the previous member left vacant.  The new generation moves the plan further along and with greater anointing.  Not every plan of God can be completed in just one generation.  He knows the bigger picture.  He knows what He has in store for us from the beginning of time.  Do you desire to respond and follow His plan for your life?
  I find it interesting that there’s also  a part of the life cycle that is a time of just “stopping everything” and settling down to be still and quiet while they undergo the marvelous metamorphosis.  This is the chrysalis stage.  They must go into the chrysalis after the last shedding of the old “skin” of the caterpillar life.  They attach to the branch with a strong silk stem-like stick and writhe out in order to pupate.  The chrysalis seems to me to be the most miraculous part of the butterfly’s life cycle, yet to the naked eye, nothing is happening.  It’s just hanging onto the branch for such a long time if you consider how short its life is.  But yet, this part of its life is so critical in its development.
Every one of us needs this phase of our life cycle.  Maybe the time waiting for a request to be answered is vital to us as well.  The Creator knows that without “Chrysalis time”, we may be vulnerable to attacks of predators if we launch out too early.  Perhaps the time attached to the branch is a time of becoming more reliant on Him.  Could He be helping us to be able to emerge as a changed person with greater abilities than we had before the secluded waiting time?  Like the butterfly, perhaps the changes are taking place at a more rapid pace than we realize.  Maybe if we’re patient for His timing, we’ll emerge out of this protective case and be able to stretch our wings and soar to heights we never imagined.

Maybe the waiting time is to get us ready for the new phase that we’re about to step into either in our personal lives, or in our spiritual calling.  We don’t want to miss this phase or it might be detrimental to our development.  We’re going to need all the strength that this exercise in patience will produce.
Isn’t it better to wait on the Lord’s timing than to skip an important phase of our development.
 He promises…
Philippians 4:19The Message (MSG)
19-20  You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.
I’ll never understand how all of the life stages of a butterfly transpire, but I’m certain that each phase has an important part in its development.  I can also be sure that if God took such good care with His plan for its life, He’s going to take good care with each stage of mine.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Quiet Prayer Time

Why does morning prayer time make a difference in the day?

In the stillness of the morning waits the perfect opportunity to spend time with the Father. Like waking up to a "Good Morning kiss"  from your spouse, the Designer of your day desires to discuss His plans with you first thing before you get on the clock.  Taking time to be in His presence isn't the complicated, formulated detailed format of a Director's Committee Meeting, but rather a stop in the coffee house chat with your dearest friend.  Scriptures repeatedly state that if we will just break away and draw near to Him, things will be so much better off in our frenzy.  He promises to actually organize our day.

What?  He'll do that?

Yes, He says He orders our steps aright, or other words, He'll put things we need to do in the right sequence to be the most productive and efficient if we just will listen to His plan before putting our own into motion.

Psalm 37:23 in the Message version states,
                "Stalwart walks in step with God;
    his path blazed by God, he’s happy.
If he stumbles, he’s not down for long;
    God has a grip on his hand."
Whose hand are you holding as you walk through your day?  Are you starting your day asking His presence to guide you so that you CAN follow His plan? Are you poised like a runner at the starting gate of a race, on the ready, set, go?  Don't you prefer to start your morning with a gentle loving kiss from your lifelong love?  Waking to sweet conversation about how your day together will unfold?  

He desires the same of us.

"Come away my beloved" is His passionate request. (Song of Solomon 8:14)

In Psalm 119 we read,
          (verses 129-136 The Message)
Every word you give me is a miracle word—
    how could I help but obey?
Break open your words, let the light shine out,
    let ordinary people see the meaning.
Mouth open and panting,
    I wanted your commands more than anything.
Turn my way, look kindly on me,
    as you always do to those who personally love you.
Steady my steps with your Word of promise
    so nothing malign gets the better of me.

It's never too late to start the rest of the day thinking about how you can open up your heart to His leading and guidance.  For THIS is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24 KJV)

Prayer for the day:
Heavenly Father, I thank you that you've created this day for Your good pleasure and You've allowed me this waking moment to enter into Your Presence.  I'm filled with JOY because of Your goodness!  Lead me this day in the paths that You have designed for me.  I choose this day to serve and surrender to Your plan.  Keep me in the center of Your good pleasure for I know that Your plans are the best ones for our day together.  Thanks for Your indescribable love and mercy that give me a fresh start today!  I love You Lord!
Amen, so be it, and so it is!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Making the World a Better Place

What can I do today to make my world a better place?

I can begin to declutter my mind, my environment, my life.
I often just want God to bless my mess, and I don't think that's going to happen.  Spring is the perfect time
to start to rid myself of the things that are just taking up space with no purpose.  I'm sure you have those piles in corners of your mind and guest bedrooms, too.   I want to begin giving away things that are no longer useful.  I began this process a couple of years ago by cleaning out my attic of old games and books that I really wasn't saving for future grandchildren.  (That was just my excuse for not taking to them to the local shelter.)  There's a sort of relief that comes from parting with things that don't have purpose in your space.  If it's taking up space, then it should be of some importance, otherwise, what's the point.

I think this spring I'll make a point of making my mind less cluttered, too.  I'm going to be more introspective about what I spend my energies and thought on and see if I can become more productive in my thoughts and actions.  Clutter can cause you to feel uncomfortable in your own space.  I think it's time for a good spring cleaning.

Care to join me?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SCBWI MD/DE/WV Spring Conference March 29, 2014

It has been way too long since I last made effort to write on this blog. What's my excuse?  None that is valid.   I made an attempt to start writing this blog when I was still working full-time as a teacher.  Since retiring in May of last year, I traveled to Denmark and Sweden to visit my daughter, and I  recently returned from a wonderful week-long Western Caribbean cruise. 
What keeping me from continuing the pursuit of writing?  I think about writing, but I just don’t DO IT!  I keep my thoughts tucked inside the closet of my mind where others can’t critique them. 
Yet, there’s no joy in that. We are placed here to have interaction and relationship with people, no matter how difficult and complicated those interactions can be.  I am here to be salt and light, or I lose my savor (Matthew 5:13 & 14 KJV).
Honestly, I  think it’s fear that silenced my voice.  I’m quick to encourage others by saying,
          “Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from success.”
However, I'm guilty of that myself. 

So why  the SCBWI MD/DE/WV title for this post?
I decided to attend a conference on writing, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference for Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia at the end of this month!
During my career as a teacher, I researched the importance of children’s literature and early literacy.  I love to read children’s stories to young children.  But do I really have what it takes to write for children?
I’m not sure I even know what that requires.  I have read books on writing children’s lit (for dummies) and have joined a group for authors and aspiring “wanna-be’s” to investigate the process.  I don’t want to let fear hinder me from taking on a new challenge. I have even started a draft of a manuscript for a children's picture book.  This conference may just give clarity to the next steps in the process of writing for children.

There, it's out in the open.  It feels good just to put it out there.  I’m going to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

What’s holding you back from your desires?  Why not give it a try? Let your talent out of the closet.  I challenge you to press on.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Today I made a wordle for my class at SCS.  I hope they like it.Welcome 2012-13 wordle

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New tech experiences

I recently tried my hand at Facebook. I really like this tech tool because it allows me to reconnect with my fellow alumni from Nederland, Texas Class of '79. I was excited to see what my friends previously lost to me are now doing. I like the feature that is similar to Twitter to see what everyone is up to. It's great! I think everyone should give it a try and see who is on that you know! Even my son from U of MD CP is on!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Graduate Research Project Rubric

I am including a link to my rubric that I am planning to use to evaluate the Descriptive Writing/Picture Narrative my students/subjects are writing and recording using VoiceThreads.com. It is adapted from the Rubric for Delaware Student Testing Program for Writing. The link can be found at:
http://www.rcampus.com/rubricshowc.cfm?code=R26W2C&sp=yes