leaky ceilings

"...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone and the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:17

Well... last year I wrote all those e-mails on the changes the Lord was making in my life up at Wears Valley Ranch, and all the growth that was happening, which, let me remind you, was HUGE! This year... now don't get me wrong, there's still A LOT of changing and growing happening for me, and I'm sure you'll continue to get books about those things as well (in fact, I've already started the next one!! haha)... but in addition to the changes in my life, my eyes have been opened WIDE to the changing power that KNOWING GOD has in the lives of these kids I work with, and how necessary it is that we show them how God can change their lives COMPLETELY! hmmm... and the same thing, really for all of us, actually.....

Our students memorized and discussed that passage from 2 Corinthians for several weeks last semester... It's so neat to watch them start to live out that verse and let go of their past behaviors to seek the life that God has planned for each of them... These kids are so wonderful... Every day we have issues, and every day some kids take steps back and some take steps forward... For instance, the last two weeks have not been the easiest, the majority of the kids have been out of control and moody... However, this week has so far been loads of fun, and those same kids have been ready to learn, open minded and happy to be here.... You can't expect or look forward to excellence everyday from kids who haven't experienced anything of an excellent life... What you learn to expect is, step by step, each kid to slowly allow the Lord to work in them and through them... then, eventually they start to decide for themselves that they want to change... it doesn't always stick, and sometimes they return to their old ways of doing things... but more often than not, they come back, and reopen their minds and their hearts to what the Lord can do for them! I'm everyday reminded of my time at Laurel Ridge with Arissa... during those few months, I repeatedly said in these e-mails that she consistently was the most difficult and the most joyful part of every day for me... in fact, I continue to say that to this day, and I probably will forever, but that's without a doubt the most congruent comparison to my time here... some days are so hard, I could go home and cry for hours, but I don't, because I love these kids so much, and no matter what they say or do, or how they try to hurt me, I will never stop loving them, and I would never trade even the most difficult minute of my time here for anyting else, and just a smile, a pat on the back, or a silly comment wipes away all the "hard" about this job... These kids keep me laughing so much that I'm rarely put back for more than a minute or two... hahaha, just thinking about them right now makes me laugh... they are so funny!

That was totally off topic... well, kind of... anyways, the changes I've seen here in these great kids are so often minute, but every miniscule change for the better is HUGE, because it means that these kids are seeing what they've never seen before and that they like it and wanna see more of it... and that's a total God thing, because eventually they'll see that the difference in their old lives and the lives they're learning about and living at Eagle Ranch is that God is here and God is moving... whether they recognize it now or not!

Right now our school consists of two trailors... they are old and inconvenient... and when it rains outside... it rains inside... BUT the great thing about these trailors is that everytime we look out the windows of our history classroom, we see the wonders of this incredible, beautiful new building that's going up behind us! In about a month, we'll leave these leaky trailors and move into this beautiful brand new school that the Lord has provided for us! Wow, I just went in there today, and it's the most absolutely beautiful building, inside and out! What a wonderful and gracious God we serve! He has truly blessed this place, financially and with an amazing staff to love these kids and amazing kids to love this staff! And what a beautiful illustration He's given us of what we're trying to teach these kids... Throughout this school year, we have literally watched this new school be built from the ground up... we cancelled our first classes one day so we could go out and watch them put the roof up... it's been a long process, but this new creation is almost complete, and when we move in, we will all find GREAT joy in watching them tear these trailors down! it's gonna be the coolest... and here we are, with these kids... it's been a looong process, and it will continue to be a long process, but what joy we will find in seeing the Lord tear down the trailors in these kids, and fix the daily leaks in their ceilings for the rest of their lives! That will be even cooler!

Man, I love these kids so much, they make my job so enjoyable and easy! My prayer is that the Lord will continue to tear down the trailors in these kids, and fix the leaks that have damaged them and continue to damage them emotionally, physically and spiritually... God can create in them what He's created in our backyard here, and it's a great adventure to watch greatness be built in them from the ground up! Wow! The Lord continues to blow my mind as He teaches me about myself through these kids He's so graciously put in my life!! My other prayer is that we as a staff and myself as an individual always recognize when we daily "spring a leak" and constantly praise God for patching our ceilings... hahaha, is that too much metaphorical talk for one e-mail? you get it, right?

Well, anyways.... Thanks for all your prayers, I love you guys so so so much, you're wonderful!! Thanks for sticking around through all of the joys and the trials of my life, and the Lord's constant guidance and grace! Keep in touch!!!

Anna Kathryn

"I thank my God everytime I remember you;
in all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy!"
Philippians 1:3-4

Here are some random stories/whatever for your reading enjoyment:

I've attached a picture of the new school, with a little edge of our trailors in it... I wanted a good full picture of the trailors with the new building in the background, but I couldn't get far away enough... I'm sure you can see where I was going with it...

David, one of my 7th graders: "I hope we do this tomorrow too... you're my best friend... or, one of them.... you're my favorite teacher... I mean, second favorite... well... you're my favorite parapro..."

Richard, one of my 8th graders: "I'm having a bad day, I'm in a bad mood... but I'll probably be in a good mood now... you always put me in a good mood... I don't know why... maybe it's cause you're always in a good mood..."

a note from one of my students:
"Ms. Buffington, U R a madd sweet teacher. ur fav student, Kyle"

Talking in history about who will be the next president:
Ravon: "Do you think it'll be a woman?"
Cameron: "Miss Buffington!!!"
Sean: "Yeah!! Miss Buffington, you should be president!!"
hahaha, can you imagine??

"Will you spin the frog?"
-many of my students, many times a week.......

Today was a good day.... I realized one reason why I love my job so much as I'm driving back from getting ice cream (instead of going to class) with 4 of my students in my car, and we're listening to Hilary Duff as loud as possible and then old school Puff Daddy tribute to Notorious B-I-G comes on, and of course I remember all the words, and the kids are like "I bet people think you're crazy when they see you driving down the road and it looks like you're talking to yourself, but you're really talking to your car!!" ...if they only knew...... This is a great place... God is good.....

I did some organizing of my email lists the other day, and here's what I found out: I've been sending these emails since the night before I moved to Tennessee, August 15, 2004... that first email went to 34 people... It's been a year and a half and here's what's changed: Now I send these emails to three different email lists... There are 41 people on each list... That's 123 people! That is crazy!! I didn't know I knew that many people!!