Last week for the Valentine’s Day celebration, the 4th Grade students focused on the gift of encouraging words! Each student had the opportunity to write a word or a phrase that described each of their classmates on a poster. Posters were filled with: “A GOOD FRIEND, CREATIVE, FUNNY, KIND, COOL, and AWESOME.” We discussed that taking time to share positive words with others – help make people feel special, seen, valued, and LOVED.
Additionally, Mrs. Fink’s Class had the opportunity to continue to share words of love and encouragement to those outside of the St. John’s Community. The students decorated Valentine’s Cards that were taken to a ministry in Tustin that connects with those in nursing homes. The 4th Grade students put so much love and effort into these cards – knowing just how big of a smile it would bring to someone’s face.
Celebrations, parties, and holidays have looked a bit different in the classroom this year – but we are certainly finding ways to creatively celebrate together and making wonderful memories!
Recently, Lutheran Schools united in celebration across the country. National Lutheran Schools Week was celebrated with fun dress-up themes, virtual assemblies, games, video devotionals, and more! This year’s theme was “Sent to Serve.” After being reminded of so many who serve around us, here at St. John’s and in our families each day, the students had a chance to serve a special group of people… our military.
Operation Gratitude sends thousands of care packages each year to deployed troops, veterans, new recruits and first responders, and a personal letter is often the most cherished part of that care package. Each student had the opportunity to write a personal note of thanks and encouragement to a soldier hero. Students in grades K-8 participated in this service project, but here are a few pics of some 2nd graders and their letters.
Over the last couple of weeks, students in 2nd grade have been scouring baby books and photo albums to identify the top ten events of their personal timeline to date. Among the list of significant events are family trips, first lost teeth, first broken arms, the birth of siblings, first steps, baseball games, surgeries, the day they were baptized and many, many more. Each year, it is always interesting to see which events students choose as their most iconic, memorable, or life changing.
At the beginning of last year, I’m sure none of us realized that we were about ready to enter into an iconic, memorable, or life changing event on our timelines as well. Much has changed and this event called “COVID-19” has affected us all in so many ways. Yet these timeline projects remind me that this event is temporary and our timeline keeps moving. While we have not always enjoyed the changes that this event has brought, it has molded us nonetheless. Just like these students recognize, sometimes the most influential events in our lives are not the ones we enjoy going through.
I am excited to watch the students create their timelines over the coming weeks because they have so many more to add! What a gift it is to step back and see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished, and then find joyful anticipation for the future. We, just like these students, have so much left on our timelines. Let us find hope (and rest) in an open future that is in the hands of a God that can change, restore, and heal.
The phrase, “His love endures forever” is repeated 5 times in Psalm 118 showing us that God’s love is unchanging in the midst of changing situations. In Psalm 136, it is repeated 26 times as a reminder of God’s never-ending love for us. As my class reflected on God’s love enduring forever, they also reflected on the things for which they are thankful.
After brainstorming a “thankful list” on their own, each student wrote a psalm of thanks and repeated the phrase, “His love endures forever” after each item. It was a great way to think about all the good things that God has given to us, even during these uncertain times. As we continue to live and adapt in this ever-changing pandemic world, it is with thankful hearts that we can praise God for his endless love, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness that never fails.
Give thanks for the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 118:1 and Psalm 136:1
It has never been more important to take care of our own mental and physical health so we can be there for our children’s.
“He has made EVERYTHING beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
What a trying time we are all in right now. Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. As parents our job is to protect and guide our children but in this temperamental and unpredictable world, it can seem quite challenging at times, especially in 2020. If we don’t know what the future holds, how can we guide our own children through it? It has never been more important to take care of our own mental and physical health so we can be there for our children’s. All we can do is take care of today and leave the rest of our worries at the foot of the cross, HE has got you and your entire family in His hands. His love for you and your family is unconditional and more than we can ever imagine.
When you are anxious or stressed, take a moment to think of one or two things that you are thankful for. I am so thankful for the students at St. John’s, I say this with sincerity. As the PE and health teacher for elementary-aged children, I see students in grades K-6 each week and every day they make me smile. Their smile and excitement brings me back to the basics in life. Thank you for trusting us at St. John’s with your sweet children! As we pause and head into Thanksgiving break, share with your children things that you are thankful for. Ask your children what they are thankful for. Get outside and spend time in nature, being in nature can ease anxiety for people of all ages. Take this unprecedented time to spend time with your loved ones, be active together outside: go on a hike, a walk, go to the park, the beach, or the mountains. We are truly blessed to live in a place where it doesn’t get too cold in the winter, we can still enjoy the outdoors.
Yes, this is a challenging time, we are all feeling it in various ways, but God is transforming us and our children. He has not left us, this is one of His many promises. We will come out stronger through this, God has each of us in the palm of His hand. Remember, diamonds were not formed overnight, they were formed over time under extreme pressure. Just like diamonds, God is making us beautiful.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving St. John’s families. Praying for each of you.
Mrs. Christine Miller
For ideas for hikes in the area download the app called “All Trails” 😊