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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Everyday Santa Claus

A few weeks ago my student Reedson walked into class one morning with a hot commodity in tow. After dropping his backpack at his desk he turned to me and said, "Good morning, teacher. Look what I have for snack today!" He was holding an entire package of chocolate wafers. I had an immediate flashback to sitting on the playground curb at Lake Forest Elementary School's after school daycare and smiling from ear to ear when my coffee filter was filled with those same vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry wafers. "Yum, that's going to be a great snack!" Beaming, Reedson put the package in his bag for safekeeping.

Morning recess rolled around and Reedson called three of his friends over to his desk. I heard them whispering and then Reedson zipped his backpack shut again. "We'll have them at afternoon recess," he said as they ran outside to play.

Afternoon rolled around and I was filling homework folders at my desk while a few girls ate and another erased the chalkboard. Reedson walked in. After surveying the scene he pulled out his chocolate wafers and made the rounds. "Here you go. Would you like one?" he smiled as he went from classmate to classmate. A chorus of "thank you!" followed his every step. After he gave a wafer to all the girls and me, he shuffled outside to share with his other classmates. I leaned against the doorway enjoying a little taste of my childhood and watched as Reedson distributed his wafers to every single 1st grade classmate before enjoying one himself.

At 6 years old, hospitality and sharing are already etched deeply on my students' hearts.

I sat down at the table outside our classroom and pondered what the situation would have looked like had I been Reedson. It took me less than 10 seconds to realize it - there's no way I would have shared with everyone! Six-year-old Emily would have given a few to her closest friends, maybe, and kept the rest for herself. A snack as good as chocolate wafers? Hello, more for me!

But not Reedson. No one even had the opportunity to ask if they could have one; he opened the package and what was his immediate action? Let me share these with my friends. Let me give one to everyone. Let me pass these wafers out like it's the most important job I'll do all day.

That's just it. Hospitality and sharing ARE the most important jobs we all do on any day. The sharing of food, a text or a phone call, letting that annoying car merge in front of you, paying for someone else's coffee. Hospitality and sharing lead to conversation, conversation to acceptance, acceptance to love.

On that day in March, Santa traded in his red suit for a school uniform and his bag of gifts for a package of wafers. Reedson showed me what it's like to be an everyday Santa Claus. With every chocolate wafer he shared he gave out a message, too: you matter to me, I want to give this to you, I want us to both enjoy this. Acceptance, sharing, and joy in a simple gesture.

I want to be an everyday Santa Claus. On any given day I want to sprinkle a little bit of positivity and a pinch of joy and throw a whole bucketful of kindness into this world. If you pass me on the side of the road those are the things I want you to be drenched in.

What about you? What do you want to pinch, sprinkle, or pour into the world today? We're all a little different and your recipe won't be the same as mine. Thank goodness the world needs all sorts of people and every single thing we have to offer: humor, love, music, peace, poetry, acceptance, patience, art, a listening ear, gratitude, courage, honesty. The list could go on and on.

Whatever you have, I hope you can give it today. I hope you remember that none of us are perfect, but we can all do our best with whatever we're given. I hope you can see the important, vital role you play in this world. I hope you can say "amen" at the end of the day and see the small moments where you tried your best to shake, sprinkle, and drench the world in whatever is important to you.

I hope Reedson and his wafers will remind you to be an everyday Santa Claus every month of the year.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

March Comings & Goings

March brought some exciting travel opportunities to my schedule and the change of pace was exactly what I needed after a longggggg February. First was a long weekend in Guam to chaperone our PCS Spelling Bee winner for the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee and later in the month a trip to Ant Atoll for spring break and my birthday!

Principal Bernie and I enjoying good food in Guam!
Look out point while driving around Guam
The one and only Father Fran Hezel! So thankful he took time out of his schedule to show us around!

Out to mass and dinner the night before the spelling bee

I don't have any pictures from the actual spelling bee competition but it was quite the morning! Our PCS speller did a great job amidst the tough competition of 50 other spellers. The winner was a very excited 5th grade boy from Guam! I not only got to relax, eat, shop, and experience my first in-person Scripps Spelling Bee, but I learned so much about Guam in just a few days. We stayed with Principal Bernie's family and I learned a lot about the history of Guam and Chamorro culture from our conversations. Guam is very different from Pohnpei and I'm so glad I had the chance to visit!


A few days of my spring break looked like this. It was glorious.

The sunset on my birthday just kept getting more and more vivid. I will never forget turning 24 on much a beautiful atoll! 

The view from my hammock.

Lastly I'd like to give a huge shout out to my friend Myvy's Uncle Victor for sending every student in my class an awesome Power Rangers toothbrush and toothpaste!! We had a few fun lessons on dental hygiene and the kids were bouncing off the walls to be the proud owners of new toothbrushes. About half of my class didn't regularly brush their teeth before our lesson, but now each one can keep their teeth healthy and clean!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy week!