Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I'm Thankful For...

Yesterday was a great day to reflect on all the things the Lord has done for me this year. As I look back to this time last year, I had just heard that Vienna Christian School needed a Special Ed teacher and was still trying to figure out if this is where the Lord was leading me. In December, I sent out my first round of support letters. So many things fell right into place. My lease was up at the right time, I had just paid off my car, my parents had a place to store some of my things. I started to sell my things and they either sold for asking price and a couple times the people gave me more than asking price...when does that ever happen? My support came in a couple weeks before I was scheduled to fly out. And it was just evident that this is where the Lord was leading me. Once I was here, the Lord provided a great apartment and furnature. I'm living with a great roommate!

The hard part of this year was leaving my two jobs that I loved so much. I came here and wasn't sure what my purpose was. I went through many tears and frustrations. I had expectations that weren't met. I realized that I had a lot of pride in my old job. And I brought that pride here thinking I would be able to bulid this program with no problems. The Lord really streached me and taught me that I needed to rely on Him and that I wasn't as great as I thought I was. And for that, I'm thankful. I'm also thankful for my first graders who are the smartest and cutest first graders in the world! They keep me on my toes and they keep me laughing! I'm also thankful for my 3 special needs students...I pray that the Lord will allow me to show them they are able to succeed and there is no better way than to show them Jesus in the process!

I'm thankful for my family that I left behind. My dad had surgery a few weeks ago where they found some pre-cancer. He also got some skin cancer removed. I'm so thankful that they found it and got rid of it! I'm so thankful for my Dad! I'm also thankful that my mom was able to get her knee replaced. It was a long stretch of pain for her but I'm thankful the surgery went well and that she is walking again without a walker or cane. I'm very thankful for for my mom. I'm also thankful for Dustin (my brother). He and his fiance, Alex, are getting married in June. They just moved to a nicer part of WI and have a puppy named Molly. Dustin was able to get a keyboard and a computer to set up a new music studio. I'm thankful for my brother. Alex has been a blessing to our family. She is such a sweet girl and I'm thankful that she will be my sister!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Dish Out Consequences Because I Love You

Some how on Thursday of last week I started to explain to my class that the reason I gave consequences when the students disobeyed was because I loved them. Then that conversation moved to why parents punish us. From there I felt the Spirit moving to explain how we are all sinners and deserve punishment from God. From there we had a lovely conversation about how God came to earth to take that punishment away. We must have talked about this for a half hour (and this is a long time for 1st graders). The kids just kept asking questions! It was amazing! They were a little concerned that we weren't on schedule and we should have been doing phonics...but I explained that this conversation was probably the most important thing we could talk about! After that conversation, I could tell that the kids were still thinking about it. Questions came up in their journals....they were asking questions like..."What happens to people who die that don't know Jesus." It's crazy that little 6 year olds can comprehend something so big. And it's amazing that when kids ask these questions I'm free to have a half hour conversation with them about it...whether they come from a Christian family or not!

On Friday, I gave a detention to one of my middle school students for not turing in homework. When she came to serve her detention I told her I gave her that detention because I cared deeply about her and I wanted the best for her. She rolled her eyes (she's in 7th grade) and said, "I know Miss Braun...I know, ok?" This student is so far behind in school she has given up trying. My goal is convince her that she is capable of graduating and show her God's love in the meantime. This student's father is Islam and her mother claims all relgions are right. They have decided to let her choose whatever she feels like...and then put her in a Christian school. What an opportunity we have!

Please pray that the Lord would continue to open doors of conversation to share about Him.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How I Help my Teacher

Today's journal article was "How I Help my Teacher". One of my students wrote, "When I help my taecher I listin to her so I can learn something from her. I know math, phonics, reading, all ckinde of things. Also I learn'd something to God loves us so much."

Another one wrote, "I help my teacher when she can't remember where her things are." This is true! I carry things around my classroom and lay them down in strange places and then I ask the kids where I put it! Ha!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

This is How We Christmas Shop!

Today was my first experience at the Wiener Christkindlmarkt (auf dem Rathausplatz). Rows and rows of ornaments, nativity scenes, jewlery, baby items, name it! Since it's so cold out, they sell hot punch in real mugs. You can also get sandwiches, hot dogs, and candy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall Festival

Last weekend was fall festival! It was a time for all the students to come come with their families for an evening of fun. Each teacher manned a booth. This is one of my students at the fishing pond. It was the weekend of Halloween and so I was picturing all my students coming in costumes. One of my students told me she was going to go home and get all dressed up. But what she meant was she was going to go home and put on a pretty dress! I manned the arm wrestling booth. One of my students getting beat by his sister.