a picture of grace

Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them:
"Your eyes have seen all that the LORD did in Egypt to Pharaoh,
to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw
those great trials, those miraculous signs and great wonders.
But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands
or eyes that see or ears that hear. During the forty years that I led
you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out,
nor did the sandals on your feet."
Deuteronomy 29:2-5

Those Israelites were a stubborn group! The Lord blessed them over and over and over again, and they hardly ever recognized His grace on their journey... They griped and complained, worshipped foreign gods, disobeyed His commandments, griped some more and complained a lot... and yet, the Lord stayed with them, and continued to bless them.... He didn't make them understand His blessings, He wanted them to see it for themselves.... They rarely did.... until the day got closer and closer for them to enter into the Promised Land!! Then it became abundantly clear how blessed they were at that point and how the Lord had been blessing them all along!

What I've come to realize about myself in the last few weeks and months is that I am JUST LIKE the Israelites! I have been AMAZINGLY blessed my entire life, and God knows I don't deserve even a little bit of what He has blessed me with! But He has showered me with His blessings anyways! Even when I totally disregard His hand in my life and my actions... Even when I totally credit myself with the exciting things that happen in my life... Even when I have put myself and anything worldly in front of Him.... He has continued to shower me!

So this school year, wow, has been amazing! Such a picture of what grace looks like! Finally, my eyes have been opened completely to how blessed I am.... Beyond comprehension, no lie! I know that I don't deserve to be blessed, I deserve to suffer for my sins... I continually go back to what David wrote in Psalm 103, "The Lord does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities!" Wow! I praise God for what He's doing in my life over and over again everytime I recite that verse in my head! I don't know why it takes something completely out of this world amazing to give me sight of the Lord's constant blessings, but I'm glad I can look back, in complete sincerity, and thank God for everything He's done in my life, and see even the hard things as blessings from Him, used for my betterment, to bring me closer to Him and experience Him in new and different ways....

Let's talk about Eagle Ranch Christian School, '06-'07:

I've had this new teacher to work under this year... He is a true blessing to me! His whole family is such a blessing! It's an amazing thing how the Lord brought him away from house parenting at Eagle Ranch, and into the science classroom at Each Ranch school... I'm so grateful to get to work under him and spend time with his family! He challenges me and encourages me daily, he is a true man of God and I admire him so much! I praise God for bringing him into the school and my life, and I very much look forward to another year as his faithful parapro... haha, we have a lot of fun, and can bond over our love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so it's a pretty good time...

All the children I've ever worked with, whether the 1st and 2nd graders I worked with in college, or the kids I fell in love with at WVR, and now all the kids the last 2 years at Eagle Ranch.... they are all such a HUGE blessing to me! It never fails to blow my mind how God uses the very people who He has sent me to teach, to teach me! That is a blessing I have never failed to recognize! Last year, I loved my students... One thing that discouraged me was the difference between the relationships I had with my students at Eagle Ranch in comparison to the relationships I had built the previous year with the kids at Wears Valley Ranch... The difference is huge, WVR is such a family setting, and I'll think of those kids as my family for the rest of my life... At Eagle Ranch, I'm strictly a parapro, I have limited time to build relationships, and that was hard for me last year... This year, I have let that go, and made the absolute most of the 5 hours a day I have with those kids, and especially the three minute breaks between classes! I've built some great relationships and I love those kids with all my heart! We've started taking 15-20 minutes every Monday morning to pray with the kids... Each staff member has 3 or 4 kids who we break apart from the group and pray with... At Eagle Ranch, we work with several kids who try very hard to steer clear of all things 'God related,' so when one of them asks if he can pray during that time, it is a time for rejoicing! His prayer reminded me of my early prayers with Arissa... I cherished every word, and I know the Lord saw his sincere heart as he spoke to Him... I absolutely love that time with those three guys, it restores a connection in my life that I miss so much about WVR... What a blessing that I have that opportunity!

Last year, I was blind to the blessing the Lord gave me in the people I worked with and the community I was placed into... This year, I have embraced them, and been enlightened to how great they each are and how much I can learn from them! I have become a part of an amazing community at Eagle Ranch, another thing that I missed so much after I left WVR, and the Lord has put some amazing people in my life who are irreplaceable... He truly has blessed me so much with a community of believers that I feel very much an accepted part of! I thought I lost a family when I left WVR, but the truth is I didn't lose a thing! I still have a strong connection to my Tennesse family, and I've gained a new family in Chestnut Mountain, GA!

I'm a pretty lucky girl.....

Just kidding, I've adopted a motto this year, it goes like this: "I don't believe in luck." I say it 100 times a day.... I believe in God, I believe that God loves His children and blesses them adundantly, and I believe that He has shown His grace to me this year and all of my past years through His amazing blessings! I hope you're aware of His constant blessings in your life too, even when things are hard, or you feel so undeserving, because, just like the Israelites did after they entered the Promised Land, we will continue to mess up... But for some reason, the Lord continues to love us, to shower us with His grace, and He sees us through it all!!

I thank each of you for your continued prayers throughout this journey! I love you all so much! Your prayers are felt and very much appreciated every day that I walk through the doors at Eagle Ranch school, and I couldn't ask for a better group of people to be praying for us! I can see it in the kids, and I can sure see it in myself, y'all are being used in an enormous way as you pray for us! Thank you so so much!

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

I finally have compiled a great list of quotes and conversations!! I hope you enjoy these, they're a long time coming!!

Question on a quiz:

What is the difference between the earth’s rotation and the earth’s revolution?

Best answer:

The rotation is when the earth moves around and the revolution is when Jesus comes back to the earth.

Praying with three of my boys one Monday morning:

Student: “God, make this a nice day for all of us…. Make this a nice day for Miss Buffington… Help Miss Buffington’s Chia Pet’s hair grow…”

Student: “So we’re made out of the same stuff that diamonds are made out of?”

Todd: "In a round about way..."

Student: “Wow, I didn’t know I was so valuable…”

what she doesn't know is she's far more valuable than diamonds!!

Student 1: “What is a wallaby?”

Me: “It’s a lot like a kangaroo…”

Student 2: “Yeah! Kinda like Miss Buffington…”

a little hard to follow, but this is a great one:

Student 1: "What came first, the chicken or the chicken sandwich?"

Student 2: "The chicken, otherwise where would the chicken for the sandwich come from?"

Student 3: "Y’all, it’s in the Bible, God created animals…"

Student 4: "Chicken sandwiches are in the Bible?"

Student 1: "You guys obviously aren’t reading your Chick-Fil-A cups…"

One student’s thoughts on the food chain, from lowest on the chain to the highest:

"Turtle -> Snake -> Raccoon -> Deer -> Cow"

Todd: "So what you're saying is the deer eats the raccoon and then the cow eats the deer?"

Student: "Right...."

Quiz question:

What is the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources?

Best answer:

Renewable-Tupperware, Nonrenewable-plastic bag