Thursday, September 5, 2019

The 8 Keys of Excellence on YouTube

I had the amazing privilege of working for, and being trained by Supercamp, by Quantum Learning. It was the best teacher training I ever received  (and I have a degree in Education), and the best quality learning program I've seen. Their core is the 8 Keys of Excellence, which I have connected with the Fruit of the Spirit (There are 9, but I put kindness and gentleness together). These are 8 principles to live a life of excellence, and keys to success. Since I am teaching (mostly) 5th-8th graders, I also added an element from Supercamp learning (mind mapping, the maze, labels, SLANT, affinity process, above the line, VAK, OTFD and AAMR) which I think are interesting and important:
1.Integrity and Peace with Mind Mapping
2. Failure leads to Success and Joy with the Maze
3. Speak with Good Purpose and Kindness/Gentleness with Labels
4. This is it and Goodness (giving grace) with Slant
5. Commitment and Love with the Affinity process and Love Languages
6. Ownership and Faithfulness with Above the Line
7. Flexibility and Patience with VAK
8. Balance and Self-Control with OTFD and AAMR

I found videos on YouTube for each of these subjects, and I am excited to incorporate them into my classes at the International School! I made a YouTube Playlist, if you would like to be able to use this for your own teaching or knowledge. Just wanted to share!

Monday, September 2, 2019

September Sunday Funday

Our weekly vlog: ya get two this week! Yay! The first one we actually made a couple of weeks ago, while we were still making decisions, but now it is finalized, and we are (working towards paying off for the next couple of years from) buying land!

This is officially my parent's favorite video we've ever made:

We had a lovely week, and Caid was able to receive training to become a school chaplain, opening doors to minister any public school in Brazil. This weekend we went to two different birthday parties--which was quite a lot for us. Brazilians go all out--or not at all, it seems. At Living Stones we celebrate birthdays because most of the kids do not get to have a party, as the level of parties is set pretty high (and very costly). I would not be surprised if the two parties we attended each cost a YEARLY minimum wage salary in Brazil (around USD$3,000). We were honored to be able to celebrate with these special people in our life. 

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Why do you keep going back? " I am going back because I feel like I should, and yet I am not at all going back because I feel like I should because I have lots of people telling me I shouldn’t. I am going back because I feel like I am needed, but I am going back because they don’t need me at all..."
2. Missionary Memes: We've been sent used lingerie and broken happy meal toys before...just sayin. 
3. How to Reach out to Vulnerable Children: "So what does it take to reach out to a 12-year-old on the edges of society? Thankfully, Jesus shows us where to start."
4. The Life Changing Power of Representation: I don't think you get this until you have lived somewhere where you AREN'T represented. Where everywhere you look...you don't see yourself. 
5. What Have you Seen? "When I listen to the things many American Christians think are important, what we "see" on a daily basis, I listen politely but so often I think of my Kenyan sister and wonder, "What she would think?" 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Sunday Funday Birthday

Happy Birthday to me:). Thank you for all the social media love and care! Our weekly vlog:
I know our vlog is absent of the normal two cute curly heads, but I think these stories are important too (and there will be more than one vlog posted this next week to make up for it).

It was a lovely week full of teaching and choir and Living Stones, and friends over and Taco Tuesday. Poor Jessica is catching up on shots (they require a lot here), and Sofia went with me to her first funeral (please do pray for our dear friend Sara and her family, who lost an uncle). The body was late to the funeral, so we actually left (at 9pm) before it arrived, but not before a confused Sofia went up to Sara and asked where her uncle was (oh dear). Conversations about death are very interesting with four year olds.

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. Unintended Consequences: From yours truly.
2. For those following the Amazon fires, please check this out and know that with all the media, something is being done now. Brazil is huge, and this is no where near us, so no worries on our safety.
3. Yellow Shirts and Wobbly Knees: this explains culture shock well.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Unintended Consequences

I think what worries me (some days) and scares me (on bad days) most about parenting is the unintended consequences.
I think being an intentional parent is one of the most important things about parenting. Planning how to train, guide, discipline, and raise this human being. Planning how NOT to react when they (act just like you and) are being ridiculous. But no matter how intentional I am about what I do and don't do, my kid is going to still have a whole bunch of problems, and pain, and stuff to work through. Because life.

And thank goodness I can trust God and just work on loving Him and loving them and when one day my kid comes up to me and says, "You really messed up on/with/because of this and this..." hopefully I can sit with grace and listen kindly (or maybe just nod) as they work through things. Because unintended consequences.

When I say to myself "I will never do this like my parents," I now wonder what events/life/culture led them to their reaction, and doing that in the first place. In general, from the basic family history I've received, I think parenting has gotten better over the generations of our family. I don't know much about my great-grandparents: they seemed to do the best with what they had--but it wasn't much during the great depression. And my grandparents, I love them, but wars and work and not really understanding relationships...my parents took the best of what they were given and kept moving. Not that my parents were perfect. Nope. I do hope that I do some things differently than they do: but I also see a lot of what they did as working to fix what what was done to them.

The problem is that for every action, there is a reaction, and we can't control what it is. We study history all we can, but over and over we are surprised at the unintended consequences that happen from our (hopefully) good intentions.

I think this is powerfully seen in politics (switching the conversation to politics here). Giving politicians the benefit of the doubt, let's assume they mostly do have good intentions at heart (because I am looking at the world as I want it to be). But one bill leads to one thing they never saw coming, which changes something else, to something else--and it gets scary really fast. That is why history is so important, especially in politics, to try to see these things ahead of time.

Because it is easier, let's look at Brazilian politics instead of American (assuming most of my readers are American). Bolsonaro has been called the "Trump of the Tropics." He has the same unfettered and raunchy mouth. In my personally opinion, it is a bit more dangerous in Brazil because the US government has always been established with many, many checks and balances. Brazilian government does not have such a foundation, and instead has a foundation of corruption and personal power.

Currently, the Amazon Rainforest is dangerously burning, and the president has said it was fake news, and perhaps the fires were set by NGOs (when it is around 90% sure the fires were set by ranchers wanting more deforested land). It has long been said that this rhetoric (in the USA as well) is just words, and at least, "We know he has no filter, rather than the two-faced politicians we don't know where they stand" or "He might be crooked, but he's bad at it and the other crooked ones are good at it."

The problem with this view is the unintended consequences (switching from president bashing to personal responsibility here). I was pretty young, but I remember the president Clinton scandal. I remember the uproar at his lack of character. I clearly see that lack in current presidents, and yet, from the same people who upheld character in the past, I see them giving a free pass, a "Yes, but..." I hear "Yes, he is horrid, but look at the results, the economy." "Yes, but he is better than the other options."

I cannot parent with this rhetoric, and do not think we should politic (made up word alert) with this rhetoric. I have no idea where the unintended consequences are going to take us, but I know it isn't anywhere good. I cannot give up on character, even if the other options only have fake character. I pray that God would give us the creativity to do something different than just resign ourselves to what options we have, or to embrace it because it gives us some of what we want, at the sacrifice of our character. I pray I would have the courage to walk this path with God, to trust Him with the unintended consequences.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sunday Funday August

Our weekly vlog:

It was a really great week until Thursday, when Sofia and I got a bit sick--but we pulled through, and are both back to normal. Caid officially signed the papers: we are investing in a beautiful piece of land in Carpina. It is good to put down roots (a bit), and while we don't know if God will lead us to build a home on that land, or sell it to buy an already made home, it is good to move forward in that direction for our family. We enjoy having people over to our home (especially Taco Tuesday), and love having Pastor Assuerio and his family for dinner. They are heading back to Africa in two weeks (they were home for a three month home assignment), and we will so miss having them as neighbors! English class at the trash dump community and Cajueiro Claro were so great this week. Frank is visiting, and took this wonderful picture at Cajueiro:

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. If I could tell you three things: "Time is so much shorter than you think. You are so much richer than you think.You don’t have to find your calling."
2. When Life Knocks you Down Again: "God said it again, “You know where you fall. You know where to fall. You always land in the same place. On me.” “Wait. Falling is bad though. Falling is what weak people do. Falling means not trusting enough or learning enough or growing enough, right? It might mean I’m holding onto hurt or sin or unforgiveness.” We always make falling out to bad."
3. Josh Harris made the Right Decision: another way of looking at things with the two high profile Christians I've seen lately officially "Leaving the Faith." I think a lot of these feelings and questions a lot of people my generation are going through right now, and how the church has and is responding is a very important issue to discuss.

NOTE: It is my birthday next week, and I am getting an upgraded website as my present: one with a blog included in it...so things, eventually, as I get it together, will look a little different:).

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Sunday Funday Father's Day

Happy Father's day! Before you tell me I am late--in Brazil it is celebrated the second Sunday of August. Here is our weekly vlog:

I can feel the weeks begin to fly by now, as we settle into the second semester with school and Living Stones programs. We are super excited about the special play at the International School at the end of the year, that we are practicing songs for already (I may or may not be singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star over 30 on Mondays). We are also excited about the Living Stones Weekend at the Gathering Place on October 25-27, that I will be flying in (solo) for. A really neat thing about this semester is that I have a chance to teach English at the Trash Dump Community (our partnership with PPC) as well! I really love those kids, so it is great to be back with them regularly (even if I end up stuck in the mud, as you can see on the video above).
One Amazing Dad

Reads from the Interwebs: 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

August Sunday Funday

Our weekly vlog:
So I am a bit behind, as this was our week with Shelbyville in July, but it is all good:). The first week of school was quite amazing actually, as Jessica (my little shy introvert) loved her first (and continuing) days at school! Sofia jumped back into school with joy, but Jessie came home singing and smiling (not as common). Mondays are my crazy days, with 9 different classes, from ages 3-14, but we are getting the organization down well. The rest of the week Jessica and I just go to school in the afternoons, with 2 or 3 classes a day. Tuesday through Friday mornings I am then free to work on Living Stones things and visit all the programs, as well as teach English there. It is interesting to see as Caid begins his music ministry, how much more music is a part of my English teaching as well.

Caid has choir at our home on Mondays and Saturdays, teaches choir at the school on Mondays, music at the trash dump community on Wednesdays, helps with Jessica while I am at Living Stones, and is expanding his music ministry and building connections in many other locations, as well as giving voice lessons. And don't forget, Taco Tuesday at our home with our English speaking community. It is looking like a full, amazing semester!
First day of school for us girls

Reads from the Interwebs:
1. If you send a Missionary some cookies: do you know the book this is based off of? It is rather perfect:)
2. "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" author says he isn't a Christian anymore: Growing up with him, and seeing many of my friends and aquantences entering this same life choice/phase/whatever it is...this is something we need to be praying about and be ready to respond as Jesus would have us to. 
3. Cross cultural Economics: "For example, our 50,000 Kenya Shilling per month rent could be $350 US dollars one month and $500 USD the next all depending on the KSh/USD comparative value. This changed our cash flow from month to month at times from famine to feast or vice versa."
4. The Stranger: " I get a bathroom break, my son plays happily while I talk to a ticket agent, and I have extra hands for my luggage and my little boy. “It’s nothing dear”, they say. But it IS something. Every kind intervention counts. We never forget them." 
5. When your last goodbye was your last goodbye: "Mary died this year . . . on the wrong side of the planet. In the city and with the people she loved . . . but nowhere near me. Wrong side. I love living abroad . . . but this part is stupid." SO IMPORTANT. 
6. Waiting is a kind of Hope: beautiful bird story for the soul.