It was like medicine to my soul. I needed a good laugh, one that would melt the stress off of my shoulders. It had been an extremely tough and tiring week, having to teach fourteen children in three different grades. They were not the easiest group of children to teach, but over the week they learned to know what to expect from me and we began to have a bit of an understanding-understanding on their part that if they continued acting like they were, than time off fun activities, recess, and spending time in the principal's office was next on the list. I was teaching Science to my K5 class, and the other two classes wanted to join in the fun too. What child does not enjoy Science? As it was, we were learning about the five senses and we were talking about the sense of taste. I had brought in some different things for them to sample, such as honeysticks, cocoa powder, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt. Of course the first thing they wanted to try was the cocoa powder. I mean, come on, how bad could chocolate be? I put a tiny sample on a tissue on each of their desks, and had them wait until all of them had a little bit. When they were all set I told them they could go ahead and try it. With big grins on their faces they dipped their fingers into the powder and stuck it on their tongues. Within seconds they popped up from their chairs, sputtering, shouting, and some even falling on the floor, legs kicking in the air. Jumping up and down they fanned their mouths and begged me to let them get a drink of water. They went flying down the hallway, (now I know they are not supposed to run in the hall, but this was a matter of emergency) to the fountains and gulped the fresh water until their tongues were clean again. I stood in the doorway laughing, letting the stresses of the day roll off my shoulders. I know, I am so mean, aren't I? And if any parents of those children are reading this, you can rest assured that they loved every minute. As soon as they came back to their desks they eagerly looked at me and asked, "Can we do it again?" No harm done. :) It was the same with the apple cider vinegar, though there were quite a few that actually really liked it and wanted to drink the rest. I wish I had a camera to record their faces...the pinched up looks of sourness was quite a sight to see. The funny thing is now every time I announce we are doing Science, they all look at me with hope in their eyes and ask, "Did you bring stuff for us to try again?"
It is moments like these that help ease the pulling and stretching of hard times, allowing us to catch our breath and realize that we can continue on. With the first/second grade teacher out for who knows how long due to emergency surgery, and with sickness raging through the school, it has been an extremely tough couple of weeks. I have taken her class of six first graders and one second grader and added them to my own. A sub had been around in the mornings, until her two little girls caught what was going around and she had to step out for a few days. My own children were battling the fevers and colds, and I was so glad Joe was not in the midst of his busy season for work yet because he was able to stay home with the sick ones and watch them. God has been working even in the midst of the hard times and giving us little breaks here and there to help us see that He will not give us more than we can handle. If He thinks I can handle this extra workload, than I will trust Him to give me what I need to deal with the stretching and the pulling. As I approach this new week ahead of me with all the unknowns, I will focus on the Lord, not looking at circumstances surrounding me, and I will keep in the mind that the joy of the Lord is my strength.