Sunday, July 13, 2014



Being Called to Teach

           Remember when you got the calling to be a teacher, in your heart.  Hopefully, if you are a teacher you feel like you were called to be one, that it is a passion for you, something you feel very strongly about, a calling.   I was so excited, and yet scared.  I have spent many anxious moments, many sleepless nights worrying about being good enough, worrying over what to say and how to say it, what actions to take or not to take, and test scores, and accountability, etc.  I am sure you have too.  It kind of comes with the territory of anything you do in this life.  Then I realized there is only one we are truly accountable to.  He does hold us accountable, but it is his judgement that matters most.  This still causes me anxious moments, and sleepless nights sometimes, but in a different way.    I feel honored to be called to teach and to be called to be a role model to students.  It brings me such joy.  The blessings are the best!  I mean, how awesome is what we get to do!  I felt privileged, and honored at having been chosen to lead. And yes, anyone who has influence in any job or responsibility, is being called to lead.   I still feel this way.......even more so today, than in the beginning.  The job is even more real for me today than before because now, I know exactly what is being asked of me.  Having said that, it also means I need God more every day as I go into the classroom.  I want to be in God's presence while in the classroom and every minute of every day.  I never want to be without God's presence in my life.  Being chosen to teach is such a gift, honor, and responsibility. One that is so completely humbling.  Why me?  Why you?  How can he believe in us, giving us the resources to do such an enormous job?  By his Grace.  We can do our job, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.  

      After 15 years of teaching  I believe even more strongly that God is going to call on us and ask all of us what we did with the resources he gave us.  He will ask every person that question, and for teachers it may sound like this, "what did you do with the time you had in the classroom with your students?"  "How did you spend the time I gave you on Earth?"  "How did you make a positive difference?"    He will ask us how we used the resources he gave us and how did we use those resources to impact the lives of our students and their families.  He will ask us, "what did you do with what I gave you?"  What did you do with your teacher's heart?  In what ways did you love your students and make their lives better?  How did you use your teacher's eye and how did you see the students in your classroom?  Did you live in a way that others were able to see me in you?  How were you a role model?  How did you take care of my children?  How did you teach them about kindness, giving, and love?  How did you teach them about responsibility and about being a cheerful giver/worker?  How did you live by my example and teach my biblical values?   A lot may be dependent on how we answer those questions.   I hope to make God proud, and live a life where others can see his light through me, and that will encourage others, and their lives will encourage others, etc.  I hope others can see his heart in me.  The Bible says we will know Christians by their works. God gives teachers such an awesome opportunity as we are called to work with God's other children, the innocent ones.  God tells us, "the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it." John 1:5.  I like to think that is how God is talking about the light that we are called to be as teachers.  (Or maybe a different profession for you.) If we are being called to lead, and to teach, then aren't we also being called to be his light, and to shine?  In 1 Peter 4:10 it says, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied Grace."  

     It is God's grace that is the light in our lives.  It is God's love that allows us to love others as we should.  It is God's grace that allows us to encourage and do his work.  It is God's plan that just may be working through us to help the ones we are called to help.  It is my prayer as a teacher that our students see God in each one of us, whether we are praying in school or not.  God bless as you get ready for a new school year!!!  I will be praying, and I hope to use this blog as a voice of encouragement to you.  

Crate Seats

 Lately, I have been seeing these crate seats on Pinterest.  I thought "that is just what I need for my kidney table during small group activities."  As I studied about how to make them, they were described as simple, easy, and inexpensive, so I decided to find out for myself.  I am happy to report, that they are indeed simple, inexpensive, and EASY!  I love my crate seats.  I also know that if I can do it, someone who is very uncraftsy-like, then you can do it too!  (Is uncraftsy-like a word? Well, I think you know what I mean. )  Here we go.  Here is what I learned about crate seats.  I wanted mine to look like this, but there are other crate seats on Pinterest, where they use the opened top to put a fabric storage box in it for storage, which is a cool idea and then it stands up lengthwise and they make the side the top of the seat. Sorry, if that isn't very clear, again, you can find them on Pinterest.  I finally decided that I wanted mine to look like this, so this is how I made my Crate Seats.   

A plastic crate, one for each seat, you plan to make.  I bought mine at Wal-Mart for $3.49 each.

A foam square padding, one square cushion is needed for each seat.  I again, found this at Wal-Mart in the Fabric/craft section, in a package of 4 for something like $6.57. (Sorry, I misplaced my receipt, so going by memory here.) 

Now you need a Wooden square that will fit on the top of each crate. This is probably the most complicated part of the process, but easy.  I bought mine from Lowes.   They will cut the wood for you to fit the top of the crate. This was a big help to me.  You want the wood to be thick enough for your students to sit on it (mine was 1/2 an inch thick) and it needs to be sturdy.  You want it to sit  in the top of the crate, on that little ledge, but not on or over the top.  It helps to actually take the crate into the store for measuring.  I do not recommend just measuring and taking in the measurement on a piece of paper without the crate to look at, because the corners are tricky and it helps the Lowes employees, or whoever is cutting your wood, if they can measure and remeasure, and then check for a proper fit, all while you are at the store.  :) This way you are sure of a good fit.  I was really glad I did that.  I think the wood I picked out was really their cheapest.  It was a huge sheet from outside that will easily cut into 8 pieces. It was a $9.00 piece of plywood.  You can ask them to go ahead and cut it into 8 pieces, I did 4 and then the other half was cut in half, so I could get it in the car and bring it home.  Yes, you do have to take all of the rest of the piece of the wood that you buy. :) I was little confused about that at first, and they said that is confusing to a lot of people.  Mine was about 1/2 an inch thick, and it does not matter what the wood looks like really, because you are going to cover it with fabric.   I spent $9. for 4 wooden squares, and could have easily gotten 8 pieces from the piece of plywood, and either way it was the same price.  The employees at Lowes, were really nice and did an awesome job helping me!  

Material for top of the seat.  I wanted a tiger pattern that will match the curtains going up in my classroom.  A half yard will do two seats.  Just buy a half yard for each two seats, and cut the fabric in half.   The fabric will vary in price, by what fabric you choose.  The fabric I chose cost $2.50 a yard, so my cost per each two chairs was $1.25 for the fabric.   (A half yard was $1.25 and this equals two seats.) 

Next, you will need your glue gun, glue sticks, duct tape (they have really cool patterns for duct tape now) and scissors.  When you have all of this, you are ready to begin.  

Total cost per seat, for me, was $8.89.  I already had the glue gun, glue sticks, and duct tape, so I did not add that to my cost.  I was happy with that.  If you still wish to make one, here we go!

First get out your crate and your wood.  Make sure that the wood fits inside the top of the crate and then set the crate aside.  Place the foam cushion for the seat on top of the wood, and trim to make sure it is just slightly smaller than the wood.  You do not want the foam to hang over the edge of the wood square.  Then cut your half a yard of fabric in half. Again, each half a yard should make two pieces one for each chair.  Lay the foam cushion upside down on one piece of the fabric.  Make sure your fabric is going in the direction that you want it to go on the seat especially if you have a pattern of some type.   So now you have your fabric on the floor, with the foam cushion on it and the board on top of that.    Bring the edges of the fabric over the back edges of the wood.  Hot glue the edges down and then use duct tape go over the edges.  The bottom of the top will now look like this. 

Now, you are ready to sit the cushion seat upright on top of your crate, for the final test.  Voila!!!  You Did It!  You Made a Crate Seat.  I love mine, and thought they were a lot of fun to make.  

I loved the idea of using the duct tape and glue gun.  This way I know when my fabric gets dirty or the classroom theme changes, I can just pull off my fabric and replace it yet again, reusing my crate, cushions and wood.  I hope your crate seats turn out awesome and bring you great joy!  May God bless you as you begin to prepare for the school year. I hope you ENJOY your crate seats, and if you have any questions or something was unclear, please let me know.  I will be happy to try to clear up any confusion'