We had just finished playing on the playground. We were walking back to York Academy of Discovery, holding hands, and looking at the nature around us. One of the children noticed a leaf and said, “What if that leaf came alive?”
I replied, “If that leaf came alive it would fly up and pinch Emmalynn’s nose.” (The kids laugh.) “Then,” I continued, “it will fly to Uri and pull on his ear.” (More laughter) “Last, it will fly to Kinlei and tickle her toes.”
What a silly leaf! We liked the leaf; it was our friend. The leaf blew around us. We loved the leaf, and the leaf loved us.
As we continued our journey back, we noticed a leaf blowing in the wind. It landed in the street. The kids were sad that the leaf was in the road. They worried that it would get run over by the cars. One of the kids said, “It’s okay, the leaf is already flat, so the cars won’t hurt it.”
Another child chimed in, “Well, it’s okay – the leaf can come alive again and float up into the sky. It won’t be dead; it will be alive!”
It was a windy day, and as we completed our journey, leaves continued to blow and float and dance around us. Some came close to tickling our noses. The leaves seemed to be alive!
I will not give up. I will not give up. A little boy at York Academy of Discovery sat quietly, following a booklet of Lego instructions as he built a Lego vehicle (a street sweeper). I was amazed at how well he was doing: looking at each page, following the diagrams on each picture, building on his own. I told him if he needed any assistance, I would be happy to help. He said that he wanted to put it together all by himself. I walked the room, observing the children as they played. I heard the little boy quietly say, “I will not give up. I will not give up.” And that sweet boy continued to construct and did not give up. He was still working when his mom arrived to take him home. He only had a few steps left. So, we marked his page and he took it home. His mom later sent me a picture of the completed vehicle which he finished on his own. He had not given up. His smiling face was next to the vehicle he had constructed. It was a proud picture of accomplishment!
It’s not easy to keep going when things get tough, when things are hard. It’s easy to become frustrated. It’s easy to give in. It’s easy to quit. I loved the self-talk that took place that afternoon – “I will not give up.” We made a big deal of the fact that he kept trying. He was motivated, motivated to accomplish that task. No one told him he had to build it, no one told him he needed to do it on his own. He made the decision to build that vehicle following a set of instructions. That little boy saw it through to completion telling himself not to give up. I loved it!
We had talked about persistence, frustration, and about not giving up. This was the kind of experience you dream of as a teacher, being able to witness an outcome of your teaching. My heart was full as I left for home that afternoon.
Later as I thought about that experience, I told myself – now if YOU could only do the same. When you are down, ready to quit – try saying, “I will not give up.” Continue through the struggle. Practice what you preach. Say it again, “I will not give up.” Keep going, there’s only a few more steps. You got this. Even if you fail, it is about the journey and the discoveries you make along the way. Remember – “I will not give up.” This is so hard you all. So hard. So hard to keep going when you can’t see the future. So hard to keep going when it all seems in vain. So hard to keep going when it looks like failure. So hard. So hard. “I will not give up.” Come on, just a few more steps. “I will not give up.”
My mind shifts to my Savior, sent on a mission. He prays for the Father’s will to be done. The pain He experiences, emotionally and physically to complete the journey – who else could endure it? I read his loving words to the people. I hear his anguish in the garden of Gethsemane. He does not defend himself to Pontius Pilate. Jesus continues the journey. He does not give up even through temptation. Jesus hangs on the cross, forgiving others for they know not what they do. He experiences the ultimate pain – “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus completed the task, saving all mankind. What a difficult journey, but what a victory. His victory becomes our victory. He did not give up.
Say it, I will not give up,
York continues to support children and families. York Academy gives thanks for all those people involved in our program. God has blessed us.
York encourages family reading experiences. One way we do this is with our Books for Kids. A $30 donation allowed the children to select their own books from an order form. They were careful with their selections because they knew they only had so much money to spend. So each child asked many questions, changed their minds a few times, and finally were confident in their choices. Then it was waiting time. They were so excited when the books arrived. The kids requested that we read them in class. They were eager to show their parents/guardians the books. Last, the books went home with the children; the books they selected were theirs to keep.
York cares! We were able to provide a new winter coat, boots, hat and mittens for one of our children through a donation. Thanksgiving baskets with turkeys will be provided to parents who request it. York finds ways to make a difference!
Our York students also give back. Even though we may have little, we can still help others. We teach our children that there are many ways to do this; it doesn't always have to be money. We planted mums and perennials at the Arts Alliance in several pots around the building; the mums and perennials were a donation. The kids loved the planting experience and learned about service to others. York also gave a check to Jacob's Well for $51 by bringing in coins to help mommies. Currently, the children are bringing in canned and boxed goods for a local food pantry. Developing compassion for others is important to York Academy of Discovery.
This is just a small glimpse into York Academy of Discovery. We love our children. We love our families. We wish you God's blessings.
Do you still love me? Even when I make mistakes, even when I do things that are not nice, even when I can’t do something…? Will you still love me? Children wonder about this question. Sometimes they fear the answer.
This past week at York Academy of Discovery, we read the story – Mama Do You Love Me by Barbara M. Joose. The little girl in the story wonders if her mama loves her even when she makes mistakes and even when she does some “naughty” things. Her mama reassures her that sometimes mama gets angry, but mama still loves her.”
With young children mistakes happen regularly. So it is with our program too. Nearly every day the kids make mistakes. I make them nearly every day also. We are learning that everyone makes mistakes, and we are learning that in most cases we can fix those mistakes. Even though mistakes are being made, we still care about each other and love each other.
A few days after we read the story it just so happened that one of the children spilled part of her lunch onto the floor. I assured her that everyone spills, and I will clean it up. The little girl wanted to fix it, so she got up to help me. I told her to just sit still for a minute…but before I was able to finish the sentence, she got up and accidentally stepped on top of the spill. Now we needed to clean both the floor and the bottom of her shoe. The look on her face; she was surprised and sad at the same time. I could tell how bad she felt, so I gently told her to stay still and I would get some paper towels to clean the bottom of her shoe: “Stay still or your shoe will leave more footprints to be cleaned. Our little sweetie stood very still while I went to get some soapy paper towels and a few wipes.
As I was gathering the necessary cleaning items, the little girl said in a somewhat quiet and fearful voice, “Teacher, do you still love me?”
I stopped what I was doing and looked directly at her softly saying, “Yes, I still love you. It was an accident. I still love you when you spill.”
A big smile came over our little one’s face. She looked at the others and said, “It’s just like the book! She still loves me! Teacher still loves me!”
Yes indeed, the teacher still loves you! I couldn’t help but reflect on our Savior. Many times, I have asked my “Teacher”, my Lord, if he still loves me, wondering like a little child how He could possibly love someone who makes so many mistakes and is so inadequate at carrying out His will. And then I hear a gentle, whispering voice in my ear, “How I love you child! You are mine!’
My Teacher Loves Me,
York Academy of Discovery is very sad to learn about the passing of Charlie Reinbold. Charlie was a strong, loving, and kind man. I came to know Charlie through his wife Karen, who worked with me when I served as principal. Charlie was a frequent volunteer at our school both during the school day and with after school activities. He was a helpful listener, supporter, and encourager as I experienced some difficult situations. Charlie believed in me, and he believed in a dream – the York project. He became a member of the founding group that established York Academy of Discovery many years ago.
We don’t always realize the value of a person that God has directed to us. But I knew that Charlie was a gift. Charlie never hesitated in his support of our project or in his support of me personally. I trusted him, and when he questioned – I listened.
How do you describe someone who touches your heart? I guess the best place to begin is to say that Charlie was a true friend. I was blessed to have him in my life and believe that he was God sent. He helped to “still the storm.” He believed in the power of dreams. He traveled the journey and did more than his part.
My heart and prayers are with those loved ones still among us. To his wife, Karen, we send our love and God’s blessings. We share in the sadness of this loss.
Charlie “has fought the good fight. He has finished the race. He has kept the faith.” He will not be forgotten. The LORD now holds him in His loving arms.
This morning as I greeted the day, I asked the Lord – “What do you have in store for me today? What obstacles must I overcome? What beauty will touch my heart this day? Bless my work today O Lord. Bless York. Bless all the children and families who you will direct to our educational advocacy program. Bless all the young children in thy tender care. Bless our world. Make your face to shine upon us. O be gracious to us.
Thank you for loving me so much that you sent your one and only Son to die upon the cross. You are my rock, my hope, and my Salvation. Mold me and create an upright spirit within me. Forgive my transgressions and direct me to your grace. Give me the faith of at least the size of a mustard seed.
Hold me in your loving arms O Lord, and never forsake me. On the days where I feel like a lost sheep, search for me and bring me close to you. You are my rock and shield. Let me not forget.
Ready me for the day. Give me strength, courage, and steadfastness. I love you with my imperfect love. I raise my eyes to the heavens and search for you. I know you are here, surrounding me with your love. Guide me this day.
I thank you God for the people who will help and assist me today. Touch their hearts and minds so we may be a blessing to children and those in need. “Lead us on a level path, where we will not stumble.” Our hope is in you!
*I wrote this yesterday as I faced what I believed was going to be a difficult day with many obstacles and roadblocks. The Lord brought me a sense of calm and a sense of hope and a sense of peace. He sent me people who would listen and guide me. I made it through the day.
“The mail’s here grandma!” Uri said excitedly. Uri looked forward to getting the mail each day. So, Uri and grandma walked to the mailbox. Grandma looked inside. The mailbox was taller than Uri, and he could not see into it. Uri shouted, “Is there a book for me?”
Every month since Uri was a baby, he received a book in the mail. Uri looked forward to the days when a book would arrive. Lately, grandma got a little sad thinking about Uri and these books. Uri was not the only one who loved the day of book delivery. Grandma loved them too.
Grandma thought about all the days the books had arrived and Uri’s delight in receiving these mail deliveries. In a few short months, grandma thought, the book deliveries will end. The month Uri turns five is when the books will stop. It was only five months away – five more books.
Grandma would miss those days of book arrivals. Book day held special moments that grandma would dearly miss:
Grandma thought to herself, “Our little boy is growing up.” Soon the last book will arrive. This will be a time of endings and new beginnings. When the book deliveries stop, other endings are on the horizon. It will be a short eight months from the ending of the book deliveries that will make grandma both happy and sad. A few months after the books stop, Uri will enter kindergarten. Uri’s regular time with grandma will end all too soon. Grandma felt a lump in her throat and tears were forming in her eyes. Grandma’s last grandchild will soon receive his last book, and then her last grandchild will soon start school.
Grandma wishes that she could hold Uri close and experience all the wonderful things they shared together for many years to come. But Uri is growing up as all little boys do. Grandma knows that Uri will still come to visit, and they will still have special moments together. Grandma looks back at pictures of Uri during his time with her and remembers the love and wonder they shared. She cries in her heart.
Grandma will enjoy the moments she and Uri have together before the last book arrives. They will continue their journeys to the mailbox and continue to discover the joy of books. After the last book, Grandma will continue with book reading until the day Uri begins school – the books just won’t arrive in the mail. And the day Uri begins kindergarten, grandma will cry tears of sadness for what will be no more and tears of joy for a boy growing up. In October, the last book will arrive.
BEcky – Written for Uri during the virus May 12, 2020
Grandma snuggled with her grandchildren. The old lady looked at her grandkids who were getting ready to hear one of her ridiculous stories and said, “Today, I think I will tell you a story about your Papa. Now, this story is very true. But it also has a part that is not true. So, this story is both fact and fiction. As I tell the story, see if you can figure out which things are real and what is not real. Let the story begin!”
A while back, when your parents were little, Papa and Grandma decided to take a trip to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis. Their children, Andy and Dan, were excited. Christa was not excited because she wasn’t born yet. Andy and Dan were looking forward to seeing the horses, eating soft pretzels, and best of all – going to the petting zoo. This was going to be a FUN day! Little did we know that it was going to be fun for everyone except PAPA!
The family was enjoying the trip. Grant’s farm was an exciting place. Andy and Dan had explored much of what Grant’s Farm had to offer. Now, it was time for the petting zoo. Andy and Dan were eager to pet all the animals. Papa had told the boys that they might even be able to feed some of God’s creatures. So, into the petting zoo they went.
Andy & Dan were not afraid to touch and pet those gentle animals. Papa bought some special food that the animals could eat. Mommy and the boys were busy enjoying the feeding frenzy. Papa went over to feed the goats when he noticed a nanny goat standing on a park bench. The nanny goat had a big belly; she was going to have a baby. She looked hungry. So, Papa walked over to the nanny goat and let her eat out of his hand.
Little did Papa know that in the tree above him was a guinea hen. The guinea hen looked down and saw a good target. She had a belly ache and needed to poop. Papa was nicely petting and feeding the nanny goat when he felt something tap him on the shoulder. He turned around but no one was there. He heard a guinea hen calling to him, “Sorry, I tried to hold it in. But you kept feeding that goat, and the poo just started to flow out of me.”
Papa looked at his shoulder, and there was a big pile of poop. Now this was a big guinea hen, so it really was a big pile of poo. Papa shook his fist at the guinea hen. Then he gritted his teeth. He even said a few words that I won’t mention under his breath. Ohhhhhhh was Papa mad!
Andy and Dan had walked over to see what Papa was up to. Their eyes grew wide! “Daddy!” they screamed, “There’s poop all over your back!” Papa ran to find a restroom. In the restroom, Papa proceeded to take off his shirt and wash it in the sink. He was calling the guinea hen names as he took care of business. Then he had to put on that wet shirt, and Papa was not happy.
Back at the petting zoo, mommy and the boys were laughing so hard that they almost peed their pants. Poor Papa he had to wear that wet poopy shirt the rest of the day. Luckily the sun was out, so the shirt did dry after a while. This was a day that the family would never forget. AND it was not the last time that a bird pooped on Papa!
Did you figure out what was fact and what was fiction? The answer is below:
Everything in this story is true except for one part – The part where the guinea hen talks. Guinea hens can’t talk so the part where the guinea hen talks to Papa is not true.
Poor Papa really was pooped on by a guinea hen!
Written for my grandchildren during the virus – May 6, 2020
Rain poured from the sky. No thunder. No lightening. No wind. Just rain. Grandma could picture each of her grandchildren playing in this wonderful downpour. That old woman missed the days she could watch the joy of her grandkids as they splashed about.
In their own homes, each of the grandchildren looked out their windows. They nodded to themselves and prepared to explore and enjoy the rain. Grandma had always encouraged them to play in the rain when it was safe. The grandkids put on their boots and old clothes. They ran outside ready to discover the rain falling from the sky. Heads were tilted back as the kids let the rain roll down their faces and necks. Clothes clung to their bodies as the rain drenched their clothing. The kids stuck out their tongues catching raindrops to experience the taste of rain. Each listened to the pitter patter of raindrops as the rain hit the cement. They felt the wetness against their skin. They smelled the freshness that sometimes comes when rain is falling. They watched worms slither and move in delight. The rain fell in columns. Puddles were forming. The kids chased and ran and jumped. Laughter and screams filled the air.
Before returning inside their homes, each grandchild had captured a raindrop on their finger. Each had a unique plan for their own special raindrop. They were very careful not to lose the drop of rain as they entered the house.
Uri took his raindrop and placed it on a small plate. He ran to get the magnifying glass and began to explore the properties of a raindrop. Uri used all his senses as he discovered this little drop of rain. Uri was like a scientist on a journey of discovery.
Eva gathered her paints and brushes. She took her raindrop and mixed it with all those colorful paints. Eva worked for hours creating a beautiful work of art. She named her artwork – Rain.
Eli took his raindrop and put in on the floor. He proceeded to practice his slide into home plate. Eli’s mom nearly tripped over him as he slid to the base. Eli missed baseball and remembered the look of his muddy uniform during a rainy baseball game.
Matthew used his raindrop as a soccer ball. He kicked the raindrop back and forth with his feet. One time the raindrop flew so high that Matthew headed it into the goal. Rain never stopped Matthew from scoring his goals.
Lucas wanted to learn all about raindrops. He kept his raindrop on his arm as he read books about rain, looked up rain on the internet, and talked to his daddy about rain. He even shared the raindrop with his dad. This made his dad feel very special. Lucas grew in knowledge of rain.
Lilly loved the rain. She put the raindrop on her head as she danced and twirled around the room. The raindrop slid to her arms, hands, legs, and feet. It made her movements graceful and thoughtful. Her dance told a story of rain.
Judah used his raindrop as inspiration. He went to work with his DJ system and produced music that echoed with the beat of raindrops. Crazy Lion played the music mix for grandma over the phone. It made grandma want to dance. Judah named his mix, The Rain Bop.
Willow took the raindrop and placed it on her cheek. She let the raindrop slide down her face as if she were sad and crying. Willow, a teenager, was missing all her friends, especially her best friend – Alan. Willow watched as the tear hit the floor. “When will I ever be able to see Alan again in person?” she wondered. Willow held her raindrop in her heart.
Papa had walked into church with a raindrop on his finger. The raindrop slid into the baptismal bowl. Papa blessed the water and baptized a baby. The baby became a special member of God’s family. Papa remembered the baptisms of each of his own grandchildren whom he loved with all his heart.
Grandma thanked God for the raindrops sent that day. The raindrops reminded her of the love she has for each of her grandchildren. Grandma sat back and pictured each of the grandchildren with their raindrops. Grandma, like Willow, put all the raindrops in her heart and dreamed of a sunny day when she could see her grandkids once again.
Written for my grandkids on a rainy day. Yesterday, April 23, 2020.
Grandma was getting ready to put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. Uri ran to grandma and said, “Grandma, can I wash the dishes?” Uri loved to help grandma, and he loved to wash dishes. Grandma could not resist her little Uri. “Of course, you can wash the dishes!” She gave him a big kiss on the cheek.
Grandma helped Uri pull up a chair to the sink, fill the sink with dish soap and water, and handed him the dishcloth. A couple of Uri’s cousins and Eva (Uri’s sister) became interested in what Uri was doing. They asked Uri, “Can we help you do the dishes?” Uri nodded his head and smiled.
As the grandkids were working away, Grandma said, “Ohhhhh, I hear something. Listen, I think those dishes are screaming!” Uri’s eyes grew wide with wonder. “Do you hear the screaming?” Grandma asked. The kids all listened intently. And this is what they heard:
“Uri! The soap is in my eyes! It’s stinging. I can’t see! There’s too many bubbles and the soap is in my eyes.” The dish was screaming and crying. Stop Uri!” Uri looked at that dish and explained in a gentle tone, “This is ‘no more tear’ soap. It won’t hurt your eyes. If we don’t use soap, you will still be dirty.” Uri proceeded to wash the dish until it sparkled. Then Uri gave the dish to Eva so she could rinse the soap off.
“Eva! AAAAAHHHHHH! It’s too hot! Stop! The water is too hot!” Eva told the dish, “It’s warm. See I have hot and cold on. That makes warm. But I will turn the cold on a little more so you stop screaming.” Eva turned the cold faucet on a little more and rinsed all the soap off from the dish. Then Eva turned the water off and passed the dish to her cousin to dry.
“Matthew! Ouch!! That hurts! You are scrubbing me too hard with that towel! Stop! I’m all dry.” Matthew looked at the dish and at the floor. He saw wet spots on the dish and water dripping onto the floor. “Look,” he said to the dish, “See these spots of water? I need to dry those off. And look water is dripping all over the floor. I have to get you dried off and quick before you start to shiver!” So, Matthew dried the dish until there were no more wet spots. He even wiped up the wet floor. Then Matthew passed the dish to his brother Lucas. Lucas put the dish into the cupboard.
“Lucas! Not so hard! You bumped me on the other dishes, now I have an ouchie! Stop being so rough. That hurt!” Lucas took the dish out of the cupboard to inspect it. This is what he told the dish, “I don’t see any cracks. I don’t see any broken pieces. I only see a cute little dish.” Then Lucas gave the dish a kiss to make the dish feel better. And he placed the dish back into the cupboard very carefully.
The dishes were done! Grandma thanked each of the grandkids for their help. She gave each one a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Now the dishes can rest and sleep. They must feel so comfy now that they are clean. I don’t hear a peep coming from any of the dishes.”
Later, as Eli, Judah, Lilly and Willow walked by the kitchen, they all heard a squeaky, clean voice calling from the cupboard, “Hey! Kids! Tell your grandma -Next time use paper plates!”
Written for my grandkids during the virus – April 19,2020