Sunday, August 10, 2014

Surviving and Thriving Amist Change

Change is scary.  Change is hard.  Change can make us feel like we're loosing control.  And for someone like me who is a self-admitted control freak  likes to have a little control, this can feel overwhelming and stressful.  So this school year is already starting out making me feel a bit "anxious".  My team has 3 teachers....2 of those teachers will be new this year and I am mentoring both of them.  I have a new Assistant Principal, 2 new Special Education Coordinators, and new Music teacher and Social Worker, neither who have ever worked with children with cognitive impairments.  My anxiety has risen just writing this!  However, life without change grows stagnate.  It prohibits growth and learning.  Without change we no longer strive for excellence.  We become complacent and happy with the status quo. 

So.... regardless of my fears and anxiety, I refuse to stay put.  I refuse to become content with "the way things are".  I yearn to move forward, to learn and grow from new experiences, new people, new thoughts and ideas.  And I look forward to the opportunity to share my experiences, thoughts and ideas with others.  
Through my fears and anxieties, I will embrace the coming changes.  I will learn to thrive among the newness of my surroundings and the people around me.  I will celebrate with my new team members as we work together to create an amazing learning environment for our special students.  I will empower them to create creative, fun, challenging classrooms for children.  I will actively engage with my new Assistant Principal/BCM as we learn a new IEP program together and work out the nuances of how we will conduct our IEP meetings.  I will support my new SPED coordinator and be open to new ideas and processes. I will collaborate with the Music Teacher and Social Worker as they learn more about my students and I will be encouraging and supportive of their process.   I will be positive, confident in myself and new colleagues and embrace the change that is coming.  

I will survive.... and I will thrive!

Rebuilding a Community, One House at a Time

Well, I'm late again!  @muellerholly Spiritual Journey Thursday has once again come and gone.  But better late than never I guess.  This week the focus was on Awe and Wonder.  My first thought is: how can you not look at this incredible world we live in, even with all of it's flaws and problems, and not be filled with the Awe and Wonder of an amazing God and Creator?!  I have that feeling on a daily basis, usually inspired by the smile of a small child, a beautiful flower, a view of Lake Michigan, a kind word from a friend, or just the intricacies of our human body.  However, last week I was able to participate in a short term mission trip to Brightmoor, a community in Detroit, Michigan and though Awe and Wonder may not be the words you would think of when you first enter this community, it is the feeling I left with!

Upon entering the Brightmoor community my eyes saw poverty: burned out buildings, over-grown lawns (jungles, really), broken windows and broken dreams.  Awe and Wonder where a long way from Brightmoor!  

But it didn't take long before my heart began to see something more..... hope, conviction, determination, pride, faith and a deep, abiding love in Jesus Christ and the absolute belief that God is alive in the community and will help the people of Brightmoor rebuild.  We said many times on this trip that we came to give hope to the community when in reality they already had hope.  They just needed the hands and feet of others who shared their hope!!   Once we started working along side the people of Brightmoor, their hopes and dreams came alive in us as well.  We were determined to leave in 3 days hopefully having contributed in some small way to making life a little better for the families living there.  

As we walked and drove around the neighborhoods, we could already see the progress.  Many of the houses have been boarded up and painted with beautiful murals to prevent drug dealers from using the abandoned property.  A new school has been built.  Sidewalks and walkways have been cleared and cleaned up to allow safe passage for children walking to school.  Community gardens have been developed.  Parks have been made safer.  Those committed to living in the community have begun taking pride in their property and maintaining their homes and yards.  Families are digging their own personal gardens.  The local churches are helping families purchase and rebuild abandoned homes, some who are owning their very first home.  We had the honor of working on one such home.  
 (This is post rehab)

So, where does Awe and Wonder come in, you ask?  It is in the miracle of what Jesus Christ is doing in the Brightmoor neighborhood.  It is in the hope of a community that most would say should be hopeless.  It is in the children of the community that spent their summer break working along side mission groups to help paint, clean, hammer, plant, mow, weed, organize and celebrate their neighborhood.  It is in the families that have taken pride in their homes and community.  It is in the energy, dedication and determination of the Brightmoor Aldersgate UMC staff to make a difference.  The Awe and Wonder are in a community full of hope, ready to do Whatever It Takes to rebuild their community!  And it is in a God that is so good that His love pours out of the hearts of all who's lives have been touched by the people of Brightmoor.