Kingdom Academy

shepherdess and sheep
shepherdess and sheep

Do not be afraid, little flock, for the Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Luke 12:32

I look at the framed picture hanging on the wall in my bedroom. It's a classic painting of a shepherdess with her sheep.  And I remember my preschoolers 1998 and their moms.

I think of the privilege I have had to be that shepherdess pointing them to the Chief Shepherd, Who Himself also is the Good Shepherd.  Jesus is the Great Shepherd...and Guardian of their souls and mine!

So when it was my turn to lead teacher devotions that year, I knew I had to share about my preschoolers.  They had become my Kingdom Academy... not primarily because they learned so much spiritual truth through me, but because they taught their teacher (a.k.a. shepherdess) about the simplicity of devotion to Christ.

There were many ways they taught me.  But I'll just share three...the simplicity of prayer, the simplicity of forgiveness, and the simplicity of blessing.

Prayer

Early in the year, I taught the children the Bible story of the storm at sea and how Jesus came, walking on the water, to His disciples who were in the boat.  I explained that Jesus got into the boat when the disciples invited Him in.  Then He calmed the storm and rode with them the rest of the way to shore.

I then told the children that our classroom was our "boat."  We could invite Jesus into our classroom to be with us.  One of the children said, "Well, let's do it right NOW!"  And he burst into prayer!

tree huggers
tree huggers

So there in the hallway, I laid my hands on them one by one and prayed over each in turn...unique words and blessings for every child.  I wish I had journaled the blessings...alas! I didn't :(

But what I'll never forget are the eager little faces...as each child waited his turn to be blessed!  No dry eyes for me...and a lesson learned in the value of blessing others!

So dear sweet ones, I bless you and say that your lives are full of promise...as you face your futures, walking with your Savior.  Honor HIM, for He is worthy!

Carson
Carson

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

I Am A Promise I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.

Brian
Brian

I can go anywhere that He wants me to go I can be anything He wants me to be I can climb the high mountains I can cross the wide sea I’m a great big promise you see!

I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice

Andrew
Andrew

I’m a promise to be anything God wants me to be Anything God wants me to be!


Pre-school 1998...HS Graduation 2012

Yes, it's that time again...graduation! Some of you may have read my post last year when my Dream Team graduated.  If not, you may want to take a look at that PK story.  It tells how a teacher like me, who emphatically doesn't DO preschool...ended up DOING preschool...and LOVING IT!

But now Graduation 2012 is a new year and a new group of graduates.  This is the year that my last PK group graduates from high school.

You may wonder how I think of this group, if the other was my Dream Team (after all, how many Dream Teams can one have?).  Let me just say, I remember these five precious four-year old's as my Free Spirits.

At times, these little ones seemed to bounce off of every wall...not in a bad way, mind you...but in a four-year old way! My Free Spirits kept me on my spiritual toes.  And that was good!

In fact, as the year went on, I came to think of this little group as my Kingdom Academy.  Why, you might ask?  Because God in His grace did some very special things...amazing to this "non-preschool DO-ing" teacher!

But I'll leave that for my next post.  In the meantime, let me introduce you to this year's graduates from Mrs. Loyd's preschool:

First there's the princess and only girl in the midst of four boys...Amy.  Amy was always smiling, caring, helping.  In fact, when the boys started telling her, "Amy, get me this...put away that," I had to jump in to rescue her from the chauvanistic  :)  males of the group.  Seriously though, Amy is an only sister in a family of boys, so enough said!

Then there is Carson.  Carson would read my bulletin boards as I put them up.  When I asked him who taught him to read, he said , "No one!"  And I believe it!  Carson had a sensitive conscience and often struggled with what was right and wrong...a smart little guy.

Brian was our budding artist.  He loved to draw and color.  He didn't love when there was too much "upheaval" in the classroom...a man after my own heart!

David was the pray-er of our group.  Often when I would say, "Let's pray," David would burst into prayer.  He often didn't give me a chance to lead out as I had intended.  David was very spiritually sensitive and repented easily when he did the wrong thing.

Last but not least is Andrew Andrew joined us in the middle of the school year.  I remember his grateful spirit.  Shortly after he joined us, Andrew said to me, "Teacher, thank you for letting me be in this class!"  He also thanked the Lord in prayer one day for "Mr Potato Head, my cat peeing and pooing in the litter box, and even for my teacher!"

In the next blog, I'll tell some more about these dear ones...

But right now, I want to thank you, dear Amy, Carson, Brian, David, and Andrew, for enriching my life with your free spirited innocence and love and life!

Your names and little faces :) are forever etched in my heart!

See, I have written your names in the palms of My hands... Is 49:16a

 

The Class of '65 Turns 65

Jan's senior pic
Jan's senior pic

You heard it first here, people...or maybe not!  This year the class of '65...the beginning of the Baby Boomers...the "American Dream" era...is turning 65!  And that's me! Even though 65 is the new 55... when you go on Medicare, I'm sorry, 65 is 65!

But I'm not bitter...truly!  I've lived nicely in "La, La Land" thanks to my sweet, care-giving husband who takes care of all our business and finances.  But now I have decisions to make because I'm turning 65 a year and a half before him!  I need to make my medicare choices in the next few months before my birthday!

vanity mirror
vanity mirror

It's not that "aging" hasn't stared me in the mirror for years...it has.  Years ago, I remember my mother-in-law telling me how she marveled as she looked in the mirror, "Who's that old lady staring back at me?"

Even though my mom tries to add some perspective, "Why are you telling your age...you're just a KID!"  Keep in mind that she's 87!

Daddy & me wedding day
Daddy & me wedding day

In some ways, aging has sneaked up on me...

But I'm the same high school girl who got crushes, the same college girl who fell in love with "the Man" [click here to see him and read about our 40th anniversary];

baby Jeremy and me
baby Jeremy and me

the same young woman who was walked down the aisle by her Daddy;

the same young mother who gave birth first to a beloved son and then to a darling daughter;

the same woman who raised them, nursed them, educated them, agonized over them, and then launched them

baby Beth & me
baby Beth & me

into their own adult lives...to fall in love with their own "Loves" and have their own babies.

And I'm still that same woman staring back at me in the mirror...praising God (not without a few tears) for those years and for time I still have with "the Man" [click here to see how I almost lost him].

The question is "Can I age with grace and spiritual beauty grounded in the LORD and His love"...even if I've become "invisible" to the "youth & beauty" worshiping culture around me?

I love and hold to the beautiful promise (and prediction) the LORD gives his aging children in Psalm 92:12-15 [note: I've made the reference specifically female, though it could be either] --

fruitful plam tree
fruitful plam tree

The righteous woman will flourish like a palm tree,

She will grow like a cedar of Lebanon

Planted in the house of the Lord,

She will flourish in the courts of our God.

She will still yield fruit in old age;

She shall be full of sap and very green

To declare the Lord is upright;

He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him!

My heart's desire is to continue to declare Him to be my all-sufficient Rock through my words and deeds as long as the Lord gives me life and breath on this earth.

LORD Jesus, may it be so through the power of your Indwelling Life.  Amen!

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This is just for fun...while I'm still 64...until June 16, 2012:)


Then...and NOW

PK HS graduation 2011
PK HS graduation 2011

This is a sequel to my last post.  Some of you have wondered about those little 4 year-olds and what they must be like now.  So here is bit of past, present, and (potential) future. Look, read, enjoy, and PRAY for these dear young people...that they will each fulfill God's purpose in [their] own generation. Acts 13:3

XEC - PK 199704
XEC - PK 199704
Sarah Lusk...now
Sarah Lusk...now

Sarah says, "I plan on going to Cedarville and double majoring in Psychology/Nursing for the first semester or year. After that I'll either go on to get my PHD in Psychology or maybe become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. And that's as far as I 'know' right now!"

XEC - PK 199703
XEC - PK 199703
David McNeely...now
David McNeely...now

David says, "I'm attending Anderson University in the Fall and, for now, the plan is to major in business administration with a minor in entrepreneurship. I've been interested in investment real estate for the past 6 years. Though I have not begun my career in that, I feel as though it is my passion. I feel as though it's what I'm supposed to do. Call me crazy, but it's what I love!"

XEC - PK 199702
XEC - PK 199702
Mackenzie 2011
Mackenzie 2011

Mackenzie plans to study either Psychology or Social Work.  She will attend a community college and then complete her degree at Wright State University.

XEC - PK 199701
XEC - PK 199701
Patrick.jpg
Patrick.jpg

Patrick will be coaching Athletes in Action (AIA) Youth Basketball this summer.  He is planning on attending Johnson University in Knoxville, TN in the fall to study Preaching and Youth Ministry.

XEC - PK 199705
XEC - PK 199705
Jared Smiles
Jared Smiles

Jared says, "Next year I plan to attend Wright State University, with my major still to be decided. I am working full time this summer as an STNA CNA for United Church Homes Trinity Community in Beavercreek and enjoy that very much."  As far as careers go, Jared considers counseling as one of his possibilities.

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When I was preparing for the birth of our first child, I came across a book of proverbs for children.  I framed several of them for the nursery.  My favorite is Proverbs 16:1 (LB):  We make our plans, but God has the final word!

I've found that to be so true in my own life over these many years. As you walk with God, at times you never know where He is taking you...

XEC - PK 199706
XEC - PK 199706

..like teaching preschool at Xenia Christian School in 1997-98...

And I wouldn't have missed it for the world!!!!!

So my dear graduates, may this song, sung by Chris Tomlin, be your song also now.. and throughout your entire life:


Preschool 1997...H.S. Graduation 2011

Back in June 1996, I "retired" from homeschooling.  Beth had graduated from my 8th grade and was then attending Xenia Christian High School.  Jeremy was already a freshman at Grace college.  So I was "foot-loose and fancy-free" (relatively speaking)! Then in December, my friend Donna called to tell me that they needed a preschool teacher at Xenia Christian Elementary for the second semester.  The current teacher was having a baby.

I told her immediately and emphatically, "I don't do preschool!"

But she coaxed me with, "But, Jan, there are only 2 four year old boys in the class."

My daughter Beth said,  "Mom, you've got to do it...you still have lots more mothering left in you!"

I thought, "Wait a minute!  I love four year olds.  That's my favorite age!  I can sort of 'homeschool' 2 four year old boys!" So I took the job, insisting to the principal Bob Colaner that I was only going to take the job till the end of the school year.

Well, guess what happened!  I fell in love with those two little boys, Geoff Evans and Adam Bealert!  And I was hooked for the next two years!

That leads to the next school year 1997-1998...and the group I affectionately refer to as my "Dream Team":  Sarah Lusk, Mackenzie Nestor, Jared Holloway, David McNeely, and Patrick Penewit.

And these precious persons are graduating from high school this very year.  How could that be?  How did they grow up so fast?  I know you parents of these dear ones are asking those very questions.

You might ask why I think of this class as my "Dream Team"?  This was a group that I could do almost anything with -- they were so cooperative and enjoyable!

One of my favorite things was to go on field trips. [I always say that I was a "field trip mom" when I was raising my own kids.  They accuse me of making every family vacation into a field trip...and I did!]  Well, with just five children who were cooperative, we could go lots of places and do lots of things:  Bowman and Landes Turkey Farm, Sugarcreek Preserve, the library, and others.  At every place, I remember people commenting on how cooperative these 4 year-olds were.  Music to a teacher's heart!

Now, lest you think these children were rigid and boring, I want you to know they each had a unique personality.

Mackenzie was a born leader-type;

Sarah, sweet & gentle;

Patrick, lively and "Tigger-y";

David, somewhat serious but with a dry wit;

Jared, positive and fun-loving.

I recorded in my journal an interesting conversation three of us (I'll let you guess who) had on the last day of school that preschool year.  We were eating scrambled eggs (not green!) and toast.

One of the children said, "We are a present to Jesus." Another answered, "What we DO is a present to Jesus." I said, "Who we ARE is a present to Jesus." [see John 17:20,24; Ephesians 1:18] The first one said (with a little glowing face), "Yes, who we ARE is a present to Jesus!"

And that's how I think of you dear students, now young adults.  You are presents to Jesus, to your families and friends, to the world...and to Mrs Loyd.  Thank you for enriching my life with who you each ARE.  The memories of that year together stay with me.

And I thank you and your families for your love, prayers, and support during our family crises that very year when my son had cancer and my daughter, surgery.  God used you all in important ways in our lives that year.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,...for I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-4,6

When I was at my grandson's preschool Grandparents Day in February, the children sang a wonderful song that would be just as fitting for my Dream Team's graduation.

So this song comes, dear Sarah, Mackenzie, Jared, David, and Patrick, with wishes and prayers for a future bright with God's promise and blessing.  May each of you follow HIM every day of your lives...because HE IS WORTHY!

I Am A Promise

I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital "P" I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin' to hear God's voice And I am tryin' to make the right choice I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.

I can go anywhere that He wants me to go I can be anything He wants me to be I can climb the high mountains I can cross the wide sea I'm a great big promise you see!

I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital "P" I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin' to hear God's voice And I am tryin' to make the right choice I'm a promise to be anything God wants me to be Anything God wants me to be!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBBui-sT2Hk&feature=related[/youtube]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL3adt7K58M