Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Best Kind of Thankfulness

There are plenty of things to comment on in the news lately, but I would like to follow the idea of another blogger and author, Mary and Me, and write my own list of thank yous.

1. I am thankful that Christ has only brought upon me about 2 days of 'dryness' in the Spirit. (They were quite horrible)

2. I am thankful that I live in a state and community and family that works, prays,plays, loves each other together.

3. I am thankful that even though I work at a public school this year, some of my coworkers and I have already prayed together for things at work. (thus annointing the workplace)

4. I am so grateful that I have many faults that compel me to call on Jesus Christ.

5. I am most grateful, thankful, awed, that I may still be allowed into the Kingdom of Heaven despite myself because of the Sacred Blood spilled from Jesus Christ the Son of God, and that I am allowed to die into Him when I receive the Eucharist.

I'll stop here, and think of something scientific to write about next time. But truly, the cognitive capability of gratitude and memory of the miracles worked on our behalf, is the very essence of an exercise in the unknown.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Joy of New Life

Yesterday my older brother named his first child.

His little wife was in labor a long time and she lost lots of blood during the process. Luckily, I was caught behind a wreck in completely stopped traffic and I texted both my brother and my friend who teaches at a Catholic high school. She was able to pray with her classes all day. I am so grateful for it, now that I find out more information about the hard birth and surgery my sister-in-law experienced afterward. You'd almost think where they were was a third world country. (But it was America)

I am glad to hear she is doing okay. And her experience only makes me desire to have children one day even more. I could tell today that my brother is a proud father when I received an email announcing the news of the baby. He's always been quite allergic to initiating emails.

In praying for them, I hope to know that all things depend on God's Grace, and that our actions are only an extension of God's Grace. She needs healing safely and to be out of pain. Please pray for Natasha.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Queen of Angels and the Amphibian

Exercise time for this Burmese Python is being let lose in the activity room with the doors closed. Her name is Hera and she currently lives at BREC's Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center where I worked this summer.

While I did gain an appreciation for this type of wildlife, I didn't use extra time to 'play' with the snakes. Hera is actually getting too big to handle and will soon be moved to Florida at a preserve area that specializes in big snakes.

Snakes, interesting as they are, are still feared immediately by people who are not familiar with wildlife. Even the program aides mentioned to me after I left that children say they are taught that snakes are evil. When I was there this summer sometimes the visitors from other places surprised me with their fear or indifference for snakes that are healthly for the environment. Where I grew up, there was a large swamp that backed up to a levee and canal. In the neighborhood, we often had visitors of the no leg sort crawl up in cars or on porches, and then they'd had to be delt with. But Kingsnakes, garter snakes and grass snakes help the flow of the food chain when they visit the neighborhood.

All of these creatures are part of God's grand design. The second day at work I held a ball python named Deuce. He stayed curled up and cold. It was a little creepy at first, but the animal was very calming after I relaxed. In my mind I was trying to think of the references in scripture to snakes and why the perception is what it is. The main one I think of is Our Lady crushing the head. This image is the most visible in Catholic churches where I live in the Marion statues of the Queen of Angels.

These constrictor amphibians squeeze the last life out of their prey after the initial strike. Then they swallow it whole. Much like the capacity of addiction and sin in the life of man. But in the natural world, the prey can sometimes fight back during the struggle by clawing or knawing out the flesh or eyes of the snake. In the spiritual realm, coming up from a recurring sin can be a similar struggle.

Even though I didn't 'play' with the snakes while I was working, and I am obviously not interested in studying herpetology, I did try to educate the children and people that came in about the watershed area and pollution that effects it. I couldn't really educate about the grace of God at a state funded program, but I was educated and reflective about the role of the serpent in the foundation of the world and the image of sin.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Best Jerusalem Bible is a Well Loved One

I have been looking at a Jerusalem Bible on the shelf of my favorite used book store for about , oh... 2-3 years. Hoping each time I go in that it's still there and I will feel like having a reason to spend the 25 dollars all at once.

I bought it today! Along with a new Swann's Way by Proust. It has a two fold purpose for me, get back into knowing every nook and cranny of scripture and remembering those wonderful college years attending noon mass at LSU with Father Jacques Seynaeve. I loved it when he was serving for mass. In that time period, most of the time there would only be about five or so of us attending daily masses. Another girl and I would almost rush to see who could help him the most in the sacristy. He could never remember our names, and almost every time I mentioned my last name: Schmitt, he'd say "Oh, (something in German)" and I would say, Father I don't speak German. But I was always, always completely charmed by him, and the fact that he looked like an angel in only his alb.

I decided to take his class on the Gospel of John. I think at that time, I wasn't experiencing the power of scripture yet. But one day I opened up the gospels and they came alive in a moment. Then I took his class.

He slowly and carefully dissected the words for all of us to understand. He loved his large Jerusalem bible and touted that it was the 'best' bible to use for study. (Probably because it had originally been written in French, his native language.) He is Belgian. I still have my notes for the final oral exam. I will always remember I forgot to use the word shema.

When I loned the bible I used for that class to my brother, and then he moved to CA, I wanted it back for a long time just to read my notes and marks written amongst the pages of John. I finally received it back when I flew there a year or two ago after several years. Inside were all the trappings of a wonderful Catholic experience helped by a scholar of the scripture.

I don't know where Fr. Jacque is today, but I hope he is well. I know Father Jacque must be charming all the young people in Belgium! And today I would love to tell him I purchased a Jerusalem Bible of my own and hope to use it in a Theology program this semester, God willing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Exciting Education Experiment

Oppositional Defiant Behavior is not new to me as a teacher. The one or two behaviorial issues I've had in the past diagnosed in my classes were only considered behavior issues because I worked at Catholic schools without a full support staff.

At my new school, one taken over by the state and given to a charter system, I am teaching the same grades I taught last year at a Catholic school. It is a mostly impoverished area, but people generally have jobs. I don't think I have any students that are officially oppositional defiant, but the signs are telling.

Here's the rub, I feel oddly challenged and fulfilled in this position. Children who live in a culture of poverty only know what they know. Because I finally finished my master's and received the 'official' teaching certificate, I can finally go and work where plenty of other certified teachers have quit before.

While it was sometimes boring to study all of the educational theory and science, it comes in handy while modifying My behavior, to show love to students who do not experience caring on a daily basis.

It has only been a full week of school and tomorrow is Friday, always a Yea! from me on that one no matter the past week! But I don't think I have ever put so much effort into a first week of school before. I didn't have too. I like it and I like the students, they are very real, like me.

I don't have grand ideas for my position, I'm only hoping to use some technology and show them lots of love. Which is the key, I hope, for great success and desire to do well.

Education is true Freedom after all!