News from Our Blog
Starting Off on the Right Foot!
By Guest Author: Christine Hughes, 5/6th grade teacher
Back to school can be daunting and overwhelming for some students and parents, but
there is no need to be caught in that web. My pigeon pair are all grown up and established in their careers, but I can flash back to those early elementary years when I did feel the weight that September brought, in addition to the many hats I was trying to juggle! I can sit back now, with a smile on my face, and reminisce on what I did, and what I would change if I could go back in time!
Create a peaceful environment at home where your children feel safe, loved, and cared
for. Home should be a haven which can be a springboard for kids to do well in school. I believe that obeying the command given in Proverbs 3:5-6 is a good first step in establishing the tone for the school year, by allowing the Lord to direct our paths by trusting Him explicitly. Make time for family devotions and prayer regularly with the children, to strengthen familial ties and foster unity. Encourage your children to make time for God every day. A prayer list generated by the kids is a good way to see answered prayer and growth in their lives.
Physical needs should also be a priority for a successful school year. 1 Timothy 4:8 says
that “physical training is of some value.” Adequate sleep (10-11 hours), a healthy diet, and
physical exercise are integral parts of keeping stress at bay and functioning well in school. Look for a healthy balance between curricular and extra-curricular activities in order to avoid burnout. Planning ahead and organizing can make for easy mornings, and smooth transitions.
Finally, motivate your child to stay flexible and face difficulties with faith and courage. When they fall, encourage them to get up, try again, and constructively solve their problems. They are not alone. God’s promises are trustworthy. (Isaiah 41:10) I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. There is no reason to fear; you are not alone. God has been there for every tear and every
sorrow (Psalm 56:8) and He will strengthen your heart and help you back to your feet, no matter where He finds you today.
What Kind of Swimmer Are You?
July 2, 2023
By Guest author: Renee Smith, Middle/High School English teacher
Summer is the time for swimming! What kind of swimmer are you? Do you enter the water incrementally? First, you test the water temp with your toes, then bit by bit enter the pool, all the while wondering if you should turn back? Or do you jump right in, regardless of the consequences?
Pool time often reminds me of a quote by missionary Lilias Trotter—but before I share it, let me introduce you to this exceptional woman.
Lilias Trotter (1853-1928) was born in England and raised in wealth and privilege. She was a self-taught artist, whose talent quickly came to the attention of the art world. (One famous critic, John Ruskin, called her “England’s greatest living artist.”) Along with art, Lilias felt drawn to the things of God. In her early twenties, she and her mother experienced the
teaching of American preacher, Dwight L. Moody, when they volunteered at his revival meetings.
Although many encouraged her to pursue an artist’s life, Lilias believed she could not embrace “painting and continue still to ‘seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.’” She found local mission work to do through the YWCA and other such organizations and eventually felt a call to foreign missions.
On her 34th birthday, Lilias applied to the North African Mission but was rejected because a heart condition kept her from passing the physical exam. Because she could support herself, Lilias and two other financially independent women (unusual for that time period) made preparations to go to the mission field on their own and work alongside the established mission organizations.
Upon arriving in Algiers, Lilias wrote, "Three of us stood there, looking at our battle-field, none of us fit to pass a doctor [physical] for any [missionary] society, not knowing a soul in the place, or a sentence of Arabic or a clue for beginning work on untouched ground; we only knew we had to come. Truly if God needed weakness, He had it!"
Lilias and her friends spent the next forty years sharing the Gospel with Islamic women and children, seeing many converts follow Christ in spite of banishment, punishment, and even death. The three women founded a mission, which eventually grew to encompass thirty workers, and Lilias wrote several books.
During her entire time of service, Lilias’s health was so poor that she divided each year between months working in Algiers and months recuperating in England. Of her life, she wrote, “I am seeing more and more that we begin to learn what it is to walk by faith when we learn to spread out all that is against us: all our physical weakness, loss of mental power, spiritual inability—all that is against us inwardly and outwardly—as sails to the wind and expect them to be vehicles for the power of Christ to rest upon us.”
By now, you’re wondering how Lilias Trotter’s bio leads back to swimming. Here’s the relevant quote from her journal:
“‘I am come into deep waters’ took on a new meaning this morning. It started with perplexing matters concerning the future. Then it dawned
that shallow waters were a place where you can neither sink nor swim, but in deep waters, it is one or the other . . .
Swimming is the intense, most strenuous form of motion—all of you is involved in it—and every inch of you is in abandonment of rest upon the water that bears you up.”
In other words, swimming engages nearly every muscle group in our bodies, yet the entire endeavor would be impossible were it not for the water holding us up.
What a great metaphor for living the Christian life!
We must put our “faith” muscles to work—studying and memorizing Scripture, sharing the Gospel, serving others, etcetera. Yet we accomplish nothing for eternity unless empowered by the Holy Spirit that lives within us.
So I ask again, what kind of swimmer are you? Do you dangle your feet in the water or stick to the shallow end of the pool? Or are you ready to jump right into the deep end for the adventure of a lifetime?
***To learn more about Lilias Trotter, I encourage you to check out her biography, read one of her books, or watch the 2015 documentary written by Laura Waters Hinson and featuring Michelle Dockery and John Rhys-Davies.
A Passion for the Impossible by Miriam Huffman Rockness. Amazon
Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper: https://www.desiringgod.org/books/faithful-women-and-their-extraordinary-god
A Blossom in the Desert: Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of Lilias Trotter by Lilias Trotter & Miriam Huffman Rockness. Amazon
Parables of the Cross by Lilias Trotter. Amazon
Many Beautiful Things. Documentary available on YouTube & Amazon
News from Our Blog
Lessons of Self-Control from Jane Austen
Over the summer I read the complete works of Jane Austen. Yes, the math teacher loves to read, especially classics. A recurring theme throughout Austen’s novels is exerting oneself to improve in all aspects of life: spiritual, academic, emotional, physical, and social. The heroines of her novels are always striving for improvement in many aspects of their lives. Other characters do not exert themselves at all and are foolish and selfish, or only striving in areas designed to impress. In Sense and Sensibility, Marianne hides nothing emotionally or socially, while her older sister Elinor tries to teach her that she needs to control herself. After a heartbreak and near death experience she then starts exerting herself to control her emotions and be more cautious in her social interactions. In Pride and Prejudice, the older girls improve themselves with reading and show social restraint, while the younger girls are frivolous, silly, and inappropriate.
When I look at many of our young people many of their problems could be avoided if they would exert themselves to self-control. It is easy to display to the world every thought that comes to mind through social media. Hurtful and inappropriate comments are easy to spread, and can be done anonymously. Spewing out every emotion your feeling, whether appropriate for the rest of the world or not, can be done instantly. Many of these actions are regretted later and create a world of hurt. Much of this could be avoided if we could teach or young people to take even a few minutes to weigh the value and appropriateness of what they are going to share with the world.
Teaching our young people to stop and think before they post is not easy especially when social media is all about the amount and speed your posting; the more outrageous the posts the more comments you receive. The Bible speaks of self-control in many places: Gal 5:23; 1 Thes 5:6, 8; 1 Tim 3:2; Tit 1:8, 2:2, 5, 6, 12; 1Pet 1:13, 4:7, 5:8; just to name a few. We need to continually exert ourselves as parents and teachers to show the value of self-control and to model it ourselves. It is hard to teach our children about constant social media use when we are doing it ourselves. How much self-control do we have when it comes to the phone? According to statistics (2021, statista.com) 79% of Americans spends 3+ hours on their phone every day (not including work), have an average of 33 distracting apps, and check their phone an average of 80 times a day.
I will recommend to parents to hold off giving your child a smartphone for as long as possible. If your child is on social media have a discussion about what is appropriate and inappropriate to post. If they are planning to post wait an hour and see if it is still worth posting, most people don’t want endless frivolous reels to look at, or a minute break down of everything you do during the day.
There are simple modern phones which allow talk and text for communication without the social media. Sunbeam makes several models, and there are phones especially designed for kids such as the Gabb Z2. “Encourage the young men/women to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good,” Titus 2: 6,7a.
Fostering Family Devotions
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"One perk of being a small school is that we are not only a school community but a family. This family has never failed to encourage each other in bad times, laugh with each other in the good times, and push each other to become better... Yes, this school has brought me great memories, amazing friends, academic knowledge, life lessons, and much much more, but the most important thing is how it aided me in making my faith my own."
~ Jennifer Puhalski, Salutatorian, ULCS '20