“…a little bit of this, a little bit of that”

the ramblings and musings of an elementary music teacher and aunt extraordinaire

The power of a compliment February 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 6:08 pm

(I feel half of a need to apologize for yet another post about my youngest music students, but this one is just too good to keep to myself.)

One great upside of working in an elementary school is that they love to pay compliments. They love to receive them, and they love to find ways to reflect that back to their teachers. Usually, it’s a comment that they like my shoes, hair, shirt, or singing. Occasionally, it’s a comment like, “You’re so nice.”

This morning, I had the 4-year-old preschool class. They only meet on Wed. through Fri., so they were having their Valentine’s Day party today.  They were WOUND. UP! One of the activities we do with this group is tossing a beanbag up and across a circle while the students follow the shape of the beanbag with their voices.  We like to give every student a turn. Normally, everybody stands until everyone has had a turn, but I often have trouble keeping track of which students in this group have had turns.  So, this week (I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this sooner) I told the students that we were going to do things a little differently.  I said, “As soon as you have caught and tossed the beanbag, I want you to sit down.”  This is when I heard the compliment that made my day.  One little boy said, “Oooo, so creative!”

Yes, apparently this move ranked me as a creative genius.


An Elementary Valentine February 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 11:29 pm

I’m sure this breaks some kind of single girl code, but I love Valentine’s Day. I like the color palatte. I like the candy. I like the kind gestures. I love how excited my students get about it all. I wonder if I would like it this much if I didn’t work at an elementary school. I do, though, so I get little cards and miniature-sized candy treats. This year, there were lots of cute little cards, and even a tiny pot with strawberry seeds. Seriously, how cute is that? This particular Valentine just melted my heart, though.

It came from a kindergarten girl. red heartMy favorite part, though, was her explanation.  With a very excited smile, she handed it to me and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day! I made this for you. ”  I thanked her, and she excitedly said, “It’s a red heart.”  Then she paused, hung her head and said, “…but I didn’t make it very good.”    Two second later she was chipper again. “I hope you have a very good Valentine’s Day.”  Then, she smiled and went on her way.


On families February 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 5:57 pm

Yesterday in my preschool music class, I was introducing instrument families.  I explained that just like human families, sometimes we can recognize instrument families because some instruments look alike. Just to clarify, when there are adopted students, I word that part a little differently. In this this particular class, though, there are only 4 students and I know all of their parents.  So, I said, “Do some of you look a little bit like your mom or dad?”  Three of the four immediately said yes and wanted to tell me who they look like.  One boy had a very confused look on his face and was shaking his head.  I said to him, “Maybe you look a little like your brother or sister?” He continued to shake his head. I said, “Well, maybe you look like your cousin, or an aunt or uncle?  Or maybe you look like Grandma or Grandpa?”  At this, he gave me a quizzical look and said, “No, I don’t look like them at all. They’re bigger, and they’re kinda…crackly.”


Sweet forgiveness February 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 8:15 pm

Yesterday was a very rough day at school.  To start with, I didn’t feel well.  On top of that, there was the emotion of the 10th anniversary of my best friend’s death.  I was sick, tired, and emotional–not exactly prime form for teaching.  Anyway, I blew it in my first class. My sixth grade students were also at less than their best, and at the end of a particularly rough class, I gave them a pretty rude lecture.  I knew right away that I’d screwed up, and this was only emphasized by the sixth grade teacher noticing how silent they were when she got them from class and popping her head back in with a shocked look and “What happened?!?”  She saw me later in the day and told me that the class was still out of sorts.

So, when I saw the class this morning, I knew I needed to make a priority of making things right with them.  That’s what I did first.  I had been harsh, unkind, and insensitive.  I told the class that, and I told them what made the day so hard for me.  I told them I wanted them to know what was going on, but I also knew that was no excuse for my harshness.  I asked them for forgiveness.  They were so sweet in speaking up quickly to tell me they forgave me. I was incredibly touched and encouraged by their sweet, sincere forgiveness.  They were such a powerful example to me.  They were a small representation of the sweet forgiveness Christ offers, and they gently reminded me that I need to just as quickly forgive others.


10 years later February 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 10:37 pm

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the death of my best friend.  The thoughts of this post still ring true.  I’m once again amazed at how much I can still miss a friend who has now been gone far longer than I knew her.  I still bring to mind some of the encouragement she gave.  (She was awesome with the encouragement.)  For example, I remember one particular Sunday morning during the summer I spent living with her and my cousin.  I got dressed for church that morning, and she commented that I looked “like a million bucks.”  I still remember that because I hadn’t really felt pretty in a long time at that point, and her simple sentence changed that.  I also remember her faith.  That summer, we spent lots of time talking, making cards with stamps, and hanging out by the pool.  One time, she mentioned how fervently she was praying for God to give her a child.  She said she was praying for a clear answer from God within the year.  She told me that about six months before she died.  It’s strange how these different random thoughts are brought to mind, but with this memory, I was struck with God’s goodness.  This prayer of Marcy’s was answered very clearly.  It wasn’t the way I would have chosen, but God knew what was best and answered.  I pray that I can have that same kind of faith–to fervently pray for clear answers and be ready for God’s response when it comes.

So, I’ve shed a few more tears today.  I miss my friend.  Still, I look forward to the day when I will meet her once again in the presence of Jesus!  The following poem was written by my other cousin’s wife (so she was Marcy’s sister-in-law.)  I want to share it because it captures Marcy so beautifully.

Taken From Us Way Too Soon by Cathy Halo Parker
Taken from us way too soon
She glowed just like a night time moon
Her eyes would dance and pierce your soul
Encouraging others was her heart’s goal 

And coupled with her sweet, sweet spirit
Was a fiesty side, oh to be near it
A fiery glance she’d shoot your way
And you’d never expect what next she’d say

But that’s what made her full of life
A daughter, sister, friend and wife
She loved on people, her special feature
And children called her their favorite teacher

When she struggled with illness on a hospital bed
She invited my kids up, a story to be read
She let them color pictures there too
She was a joy infuser in all that she’d do

And always when David would leave for the store
“Bring me back a present” as he’d walk out the door
She was the one who could keep him in line
And she loved him so dearly all of the time

On that day God took her and called her away
None of us knew just quite what to say
But God had a plan for this beautiful bloom
Wanted to display her in His heavenly room

So we remember her with fondness and love
With the assurance she’s with the Father above
And one day we’ll see her, this angel to greet
As we gather together before Jesus feet.


Time passes sweet Marcy, but you are forever on my heart. I can’t wait to share in the joy of Jesus with you!

Marcy Sue (Ursiny) Parker – full of life and love and dearly missed 

Marcy was 27 when a blood clot in her leg traveled to her lungs and God took her home.


In keeping with the 10-day weeks….. February 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — marlise @ 8:45 pm

I don’t normally post about my days, but I feel like I need to process today in writing.  I knew before it started that it was going to be a long day, but I had no idea until it started….

It started with a church business meeting.  These annual meetings usually go all morning.  Everyone gives reports on the ministries of the church.  That was very encouraging.  We look at the close of last year’s budget and the anticipated budget for this year.  That (with the obvious challenges of the current economy) took a little extra discussion, but went very well.  Again, we were encouraged by how the Lord has blessed and provided for the needs of the church. Then, we closed with a time of confession.  It was a heart-breaking public confession of someone who holds a leadership position of sorts in the church.  It was heart-breaking, painful, and beautiful all at the same time.  God is working in His people, showing mercy, calling for forgiveness, and even using the ugliness of this sin to glorify Himself.  It was exciting, overwhelming, and exhausting.

From the meeting, I needed to leave a few minutes early to make it to accompany a regional music audition for a high school student.  The audition was an hour away, and I needed to get home to eat lunch and change before hitting the road. I walked out of the church building to find about 4 inches of snow on the car (and parking lot and roads).  Apparently, there was some sort of “flash blizzard.”  Seriously, the weather man had only anticipated a dusting of snow that would stop around noon. I knew the trip would be slow, so I hurried through changing and grabbed a banana for lunch. It snowed the whole way to the audition, and I hardly saw any evidence of any plowing.  I did, however, see several cars that had slid off the road. I did make it safely to the audition, though. It kept snowing through that whole time.

Since I was in that town anyway, I decided to stop at my bra store.  Yes, I have a special bra store.  I wear a very difficult size to find, and this place is awesome with specialized fitters and a huge selection.  Not cheap–but awesome.  Apparently, these places are very rarely found in the states, but that should not be true. I only discovered this place about 6 months ago, but I can’t believe what a difference it makes to wear a bra that really, truly fits. I was the only customer in there.  The three workers were very glad to see me.  They said the weather had kept everyone away.  I spent way too much on bras, but I’m set for a while, and I got one that was very pretty.

Then, I travelled slowly through more snow and more unplowed roads to get home. The weather man was oh-so-wrong.  The snow didn’t stop falling until about 4:45, and it was at least 6 inches.  Even by Indiana standards, that is far more than a dusting. Anyway, I had hoped to stop for my niece’s birthday gift on the way home. Her birthday is tomorrow and I had gotten ideas from my sister at the church business meeting, but I realized that I had left my list of ideas at home in my haste to change and hit the road.  I quickly (well, as quickly as I could in 6 inches of snow) ran in to get the list and head to the store.  She loves Adventures in Odyssey, so I headed to my local Christian book store.  I got to the door at exactly 5 p.m. just to find out that’s what time they close on Saturdays.  I tried the locked door and headed back to my car.  Then, a very nice store employee came to door and let me in.  He said it was OK because there were still other customers inside.  Wasn’t that kind of him?  I had to hunt a little, but I found a CD set that she didn’t already have.  I think she’ll love it.

I then headed home, down my unplowed alley, into my unplowed driveway and was home for the evening.  I proceeded to spend a little more than the next hour shoveling.  Timing couldn’t have been much better, though.  I had just enough daylight to finish the job, and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset as I shoveled the last couple feet of my driveway.   Now, I’m inside for the night–warm, tired, overwhelmed, and processing.  I’m trying to finish my laundry and will probably watch something on netflix tonight while wrapping the birthday gift, sipping hot chocolate and all the while pondering God’s goodness to me and my church and considering what I’ll wear tomorrow with my pretty new bra.


So my weeks are about 10 days long…. January 25, 2011

Filed under: what I'm learning — marlise @ 11:17 pm

Yeah, the blog post a week thing is more like one every 10 days so far this year. I have to pick my battles, and this is one I’m losing.

It’s a kinda weird year so far, so long weeks are really just par for the course. I’d elaborate more, but it’s late at night, and I have a feeling that elaborating would turn to irrational ranting, and really, who wants to read that?

I’ll just leave you with two thoughts:

1.  I feel like my school’s being really stretched right now. Physical issues, deaths, families really struggling…..and the list goes on. It’s heartbreaking and hard to process. I even honestly get a little overwhelmed in praying about it. And getting overwhelmed doesn’t even make sense, because I pray to the God of the universe who knows all the details and can handle everything I can tell him and way more.

2.  I’m not sure what to make of this or what God’s trying to show me, but I’m less than a month into this year, and it’s already been a year marked with lots of unwanted attention. From males. I mean, I know there’s no such thing as a perfect man. I know every man will come with some amounts of baggage, but these men come with truckloads of it.  And they are persistent.  And I try to be graciously clear in letting them know I’m not interested.  Seriously, though, how do you tell a person you’re not interested, in fact, you’d prefer they didn’t call or text? Is there a way to do this without being very rude?   Really, I’m open to suggestions.