Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lesson 51: A Royal Pain

I can't resist posting the royal wedding that I remember---the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.  I was 10 years old and the memories of that very early morning deeply etched into my little girl brain are still with me today.  It amazes me that my own daughter will be exactly 10 when she watches Prince William wed Kate Middleton tomorrow morning.  Fast forward 30 years and you don't have to wake up early for fear of "missing it."  In the age of the DVR and youtube, how can one really miss anything?  I, of course, am setting my alarm early and will be traveling to London via my TV set.  I've always been honest with my weird sleeping habits, so you know I'll be awake (as will be my mother).  I have recently learned the amount of sleep one needs is actually an inherited genetic trait--so thanks mom.  I naturally wake up early, but even I may need a little extra caffeine boost.  I'll be drinking tea instead of coffee tomorrow morning.  I even bought some English Breakfast Tea and Earl Grey.  I can't wait to try them.   So it's tea and crumpets for me tomorrow in honor of the royals I've been following my whole life.  They fascinate me. 

You know that famous movie line from Jerry Maguire--"You had me at hello."   Well, the royals had me at the coach.  I can still remember watching Lady Diana arrive in that horse drawn coach.  I never believed in a Cinderella story more than that day.  I spent the rest of my dating days always searching for that handsome prince.  I wondered how Diana fit all of that dress inside of that carriage.  In my book, it is one of the most beautiful gowns in the world.  Nothing in my mind has ever surpassed it.  I can't wait to see what Kate wears tomorrow.  I picture her in something sleeker, but we shall see.  The mystery of it all makes for half of the excitement.

Unfortunately for the 1981 royals, the Cinderella story turned out to be a more modern version but sort of worked in reverse.  The marriage that was full of hope and promise turned toxic and ended.  It had a happy beginning and ended in the most tragic way--the death of Diana caused by our obsession with her.  She was like the beautiful, coy fox, pursued by the English hunting hounds.  An event that forever changed the world. 
But life goes on and a new story unfolds.  It begins tomorrow with England's promise of a future King and Queen, hopefully with a modern twist, more human and accessible to the people who love them.

Why the title for this blog?  It is especially for my little Crown Prince of Firman, Sam.  For the last few days he's been a royal pain in the arse, both literally and figuratively---he's constipated.  So Sam has been making me, his father, his sisters, his teachers, his classmates, and anyone else who comes in six feet of him miserable.  The world is waiting for the big event in England tomorrow morning.  We are all waiting for the big event of our own--poop.  Sam had some success tonight, so he went to bed a happy, little man.  I don't think I'll wake him up at 4:30 am to watch the wedding.  I suppose I'll fill him in later.  He'll be cool with that.  Sam's not much for the mushy stuff.  Right now he's into WWF wresting.   'Nuf said. 

Night, night everyone.  I'll be off to London in a few hours.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lesson 50: All of Creation Sing With Me Now

Lesson 49 was for the break of day on Easter Sunday.  Make sure you check that one out if you haven't yet.  It is my hope that you've spent the day with family and friends, at church, eating, sharing, loving and hopefully reflecting on the true meaning of today.  So here is another favorite for tonight.  Again, this does not need my words to help with interpretation.  The lyrics say it all, so let the song speak for itself.  Enjoy the voices of Mercy Me and think of this as the sun sets on this very blessed Easter Sunday.  All of creation, sing with me now--even in Slovenian. ---My blessings to you, Eloise

Lesson 49: Morning Has Broken

For Jesus and for all of us.  Blessed Easter, Eloise

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lesson 48: Woman at the Well

This is a really unique clip that I thought would be great to share with you for Easter week.  Pastor showed us this in church a few weeks ago.  I thought this modern spin on the storytelling of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well was superb.  It doesn't need my words for interpretation though.  Watch it for yourself and let it speak to your soul.  You can find the reading in John 4:  3-30.  That can be your vacation reading assignment from this teacher.  Since your homework is short, you must also review the previous blog posting that is the partner to this lesson.  Also review Lesson 47:  I Found Him in Another Life to look at this story in another form.  Teachers not only love vocabulary, but they love to compare and contrast things.  Both are great.  And for my LOST friends, you won't believe the link I found.  Enjoy both posts for Easter week.  Lessons 47 and 48 are sure to stay with you.

Lesson 47: I Found Him in Another Life

OK, OK.  I know SOME of you are sick of the LOST references on this blog, but there are many LOST fan followers, too.  This one is just too good to resist!

When I first saw the actor who plays Desmond Hume on LOST, I felt like I had seen him before in a movie and it haunted me.  The LOST audience first met Desmond when Jack, Locke, and Kate found him down in "the hatch" after they rather rudely blew the door off and invaded his private dwelling.  Desmond was the person responsible for pushing the button every 108 minutes.  Later in the series, we found Desmond had actually met Jack while they were running the stairs at a stadium.  Because I am a teacher and love any opportunity to build my readers vocabulary, the physical feat of running all the steps in every section of a stadium is called a Tour de Stade.  Paul J. Weitz Stadium may soon hear the sound of my sneakers against the metal bleachers.  That sounds like a fun challenge to consider (IF SPRING EVER DOES ARRIVE!).   It is Desmond's character who is responsible for saying one of my favorite LOST phrases.  After a brief conversation with Jack, Desmond said as the pair parted, "See you in another life, Brother." 

Well, I found Desmond's other life.  He was Jesus!   Well, okay, pre-LOST he PLAYED Jesus.  Still a great honor nonetheless.  I recognized him from something I saw in church years before that.  Here is a clip that is another version of the Woman at the Well story.  It is from a visual Bible series that was used often in church services. 

Ahhh....that is the sound of something clicking in and finally making sense.  Did you ever have something that bugged you for years and never left you?  You'd forget about it for awhile, but something deep in the recesses your memory would always bring you back to....."where have I seen this person before."  There is a sweetness in the moment that it all comes together.  A knowledge coming to fruition.  That is how the real Samaritan woman at the well must have felt when she met Jesus and figured out he was the real deal.  How sweet for her.  How beautiful for all of us.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Lesson 46: 50 Powerful Words

I was explained the concept of "spiritual maturity" this past week.  It was a concept I had never considered before and was best illustrated through my son, Sam.  Hang on through the serious stuff, because you can be sure with the mere mention of Sam's name, something funny is sure to follow.

Pastor explained that we are all growing along a continuum of understanding about spirituality.  The plan is that through living and learning and loving and even suffering, we grow stronger in our faith and are continually learning new things.  There were a few things I had wrong that I thought were right and when I discovered that, I couldn't figure out how I had been so blind.  Pastor, in his kind and gentle way, assured me that making discoveries such as the ones I made that week were natural and part of being human.  He illustrated how that when we are young children we learn the "people" of the Bible.  Then we mature and learn the stories, the Commandments, and the verses that connect us to it all.  When we begin to connect the meaning behind the words and feel them in our hearts, it is then we make the big connections, when we are ready to and have more maturity.  We then just don't "go to church" but we are there and actively listening and applying what we learned to our daily lives.

Louie and I always ask our children what Sunday school was about on the way home from church every week.  Poor Ellen.  The task always falls on her as Natalie isn't a champ in the expressive language category but always manages to smile and say, "Church good.  Jesus."  Good enough for us.  The message got through.  Sam, on the other hand, usually tells us "who was bad" (never him, of course), what snack they had, and who tried to take his chair. 

Last week we told Sam before he trotted down (scratch that--ran down) to the church basement for Sunday school, that he needed to listen and think about the lesson, and tell us about it when he came back up.  He looked up at us with those big, blue eyes and nodded in his fake-angelic way.  After church we were waiting for him in the narthex and we saw the double doors burst open.  Flying through it at top speed was Sam, carrying two cut out figures glued onto Popsicle sticks.  He crashed into me at top speed, almost knocking me over, hugging my legs and poking my butt with the ends of the wooden sticks.  "Mommy, I paid attention!" he cried. 

The figures appeared to be of Peter and the rooster.  We assumed the lesson was one leading up to Easter, about Peter denying Jesus three times before the cock crowed.  When we asked Sam to tell us about them he exclaimed with great excitement, "This is a guy and this is a chicken!"  My family and everyone in earshot got a chuckle out of that one.

This showed me that Pastor is right--we do all grow.  I cannot expect Sam to understand all of it at this level of his maturity.  I am happy with where he is now---the guy and chicken stage of development.  He's learning the people, then the stories, then will come the verses with lots and lots of words.  It is when he begins to connect meaning to those words through good teaching and guidance that the realness of it all begins to happen.  From there his heart will change as well as his thoughts, words, and deeds. 

This has led me to thinking a lot about words this week.  I suppose that is because I write lots and lots of them between my job and my blogging hobby.  Words are only just letters put together, sometimes phonetically (remember, I speak English, Slovenians, our language doesn't always make sense), and are essentially worthless unless truth and meaning are behind them.  Otherwise they are just letters on a page. When words connect to meaning, and the understanding brings about living, breathing actions--that is where we can begin to really live by our words and more importantly The Word.

I found this youtube clip and it is one of my favorites.  The 50 Powerful Words that Uplift and Inspire deserve some recognition on my blog.  Since you know that I have a "thing" for numbers, you sense the message must be timely for me to post them as Lesson 46 instead of waiting until Lesson 50.  I felt a sense of urgency to share them; they couldn't wait.  Many of my followers are "wordy" people--obviously because you like to read and are enjoying this blog.  You will surely love this.  But even for you logical-mathematical minds who would rather solve an algorithm, you may enjoy the nature footage.  We surely do live in a world full of beauty.  Take some time to watch this clip.  Watch it twice if you have to--once for the words and once more to soak in the beauty of nature.  There is something for everyone on this clip.

From my reflections this week I have learned that I am nothing but a work in progress, no matter how high of standards I set for myself.  Just another flawed human on the continuum of spiritual maturity.   I am learning and growing and loving and making mistakes.  Through this process I believe that by including these words in my vernacular, more growth will come.  So, I will do what Eloise does best--learn new vocabulary in the way I encourage my students to.  I am going make my own copy of these words and post my list in a very special place so I can refer to them again and again until they become part of me. 

Hmmm...... decisions, decisions.  Where should I put this very special, life changing list?  My special place needs to be somewhere I frequent and I go to every day...... Got it!  They are going on the 'frig.  Perfect.  (Don't judge, Slovenians--it is just what we do--Americans, like our language, are hard to understand, too).

Peace--which means state of tranquility; freedom from disturbance (Sam's in bed, so I can write this in truth),

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lesson 45: War and Peace

I know what you all are thinking.  No, it's not.  I think you all did a double take, but this is not a picture of my father.  It is a picture of Leo Tolstoy, supposedly the author of the best novel ever written.  I've always been curious about the dude, and have been reading about his life much as of late.  War and Peace is his greatest known work and many cultural and literary references are always made to it.  Listen for it; you'll hear it often now that I mentioned it. 

So, who's brave enough to try to tackle the book?  Me.  Yep.  I'm going to do it.  Something I've always wanted to do--read War and Peace, cover to cover, to see what all the fuss is about.  I am taking my own advice, for once.  I tell my students that if they want to learn to be good at something, they have to find people in the field they are interested in and apprentice themselves with them.  Seek out the best in the business and watch them.  Learn from them and do what they do.  Ben Franklin did just that and look how far he got in life.  So, it is time for me to read Tolstoy. 

Obviously, I'll be busy for awhile, so if you don't hear from me, this is what I am doing.  I'll give you updates every now and then to let you know how the story is unfolding.  And in case you are wondering, the book is about Russian history and my copy is 1,386 pages long.

I am not sure how this will go over with my 46 Russian followers.  From what I've been reading about Tolstoy he got mixed reviews from the government at the time.  He doesn't look like that happy of a person, but made friends with Gandhi during his lifetime and became a devout Christian, so he can't be all that bad.  I guess it is time for me to find out.

Mir (that's Russian for peace),