Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas
With no room at the inn
So a manger was taken
To give life from within

A baby was born
From a virgin most plain
For a lesson that taught us
God loves everyone the same

The wise men would follow
A star shining bright
To lead them to the king
Giving us all eternal life

So in the season of advent
We wait and prepare
For the birth of our Savior
In intentional prayer


Tis the night before Christmas
And my parents are here
To celebrate the season
With good ol’ British cheer

I waited at the airport
For them safely to arrive
Until at last, reunited
We hugged and we cried

The past few days
We have spent all together
Riding double decker buses
And battling stormy weather

Now Christmas Eve is upon us
And how we do glee
At the ordainments adorned
Amongst the great Jesse tree

During church today
Voices sang Silent Night
Reading the Gospel of Luke
By Warm candle light

So tonight we will rest
All snug in our beds
And give thanks to God
For a stable roof over our heads

But for now I must say,
With much awaited delight:

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Counting Gifts through my Camera

Waking up exhausted on my last day of teaching for the term, I grabbed my camera in hopes of regaining some energy as I focused my lens into my heart to give thanks.  I pointed, I focused, I clicked and I prayed; always numbering the gifts God has created into this life of heaven.  With the added challenge of capturing my day without capturing the faces of any of my students, I hope you’ll enjoy some of the moments I caught in rectangular form.   

#587. The unsettled rareness of being the only fish in the belly of a whale

#589. The predictable wind hitting my skin from the roaring rush of a train

#590. The busyness of a waiting to-do list, keeping hands and hearts full of passion

#591. Preparing simple tools for infinite learning

#592. The power of a glue stick and some bits of paper

#593. Patience lining up paper corner to corner

#594. Allowed time for free imagination

#595. Tiny hands creating big works of art

#596.  Finished progress reports for every student, revealing growths, hidden strengths, and many focuses for next term

#601. Feeling the Holy Spirit alive in London

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Very Merry Unbirthday to You!

It was a normal Tuesday morning; waking up early and catching the tube, changing at Elephant and Castle to catch my train and journeying onward to school.  Overcast skies, children filling buses in their jumpers and beanies, Metro Times scattered across sidewalks and bins.  Typical Tuesday. 

Walking into school, I was greeted by my center manager, very cheerful for an early Tuesday morning.  “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KATHARINE!” were her first words to greet me, along with a birthday card and various British mints and chocolates.  I was so surprised for various reasons…one of the main being that my birthday is not until December 31. 
“Thank you so much Ann! *awkward pause* But do you know today is not my birthday?” 
After spending the remainder of our morning administrative tasks laughing in the enjoyment of a mismarking on the staff calendar, I was left filled with the love only an act of random kindness can bring.  The tasks seemed lighter, the children seemed more willing to learn, their progress reports seemed more hopeful than anything. I realized by celebrating an unbirthday (as explained by the Mad Hatter, there are 364 unbirthdays in a year) I was allowing Christ to enter more fully into my heart.  I was noticing his gifts.  I was rejoicing in his presence.  Of course, nothing changed in my actions – it was all a change of mind.  A change of heart.  And suddenly all of my actions had meaning and purpose to carry and shine God’s love. 
In the waiting of advent, in the coming of the birth of Christ, I pray that I continue to celebrate each day as an unbirthday.  A chance to prepare my heart to receive the greatest gift of all on the birthday that saved us all.  A chance to unwrap the full love story of Christmas 

A very merry unbirthday to you!