Drill Time.

At the beginning of every school year, school are supposed to take part in drills of every kind — it’s imperative that we practice safety protocol with our students in order for them to understand how we can best handle a crisis situation.

Today was my school’s lockdown drill. My school last year never even had a lockdown drill, even after the events that transpired in Newtown, Connecticut. Isn’t that absurd?

This morning upon arriving at school, I felt a little nervous about the drill even though I knew it was just a drill. I had everything ready — my crisis folder was prepared, I locked the door before the kids got to the classroom, and I even put my green room number cards in appropriate places so I wouldn’t forget to display them. I was feeling confident.

The announcement came over the intercom saying we were in a lockdown. I had already explained to the kids where we would sit and how we would sit and why it was important to follow those directions during this time. As the principal got off the intercom, the kids moved directly to their spots along the cubbies of our classroom library and I went to the door to check the hallway for any stray kids before closing it and shutting off our lights.

I was (and still am) so proud of those kids — they were so quiet and calm and followed directions so beautifully. I couldn’t have asked for better direction followers! As we sat in the dark room with rainbows on the floor from the paper on our windows, the door handle jiggled.

See, I knew this would happen, and I explained it to the kids. “The police officers are just checking to make sure our door is locked — you don’t need to be scared about that if you hear someone trying to get in — remember, this is just a practice.”

Thank God it was just a practice.

As the door handle jiggled, force was applied to the door and the officer was able to enter the room.

Despite the fact that I knew it was a drill, I think my heart still skipped a beat.

I was so impressed with how calm my kids stayed — a whisper from the group asked how the police officer got in when the door was locked. I didn’t really have an answer.

After the drill was over, I explained to the kids that sometimes old buildings have doors that don’t lock properly anymore, and that someone would fix our door as soon as possible. They had a lot of questions about lockdowns in general, and we had a good discussion about staying safe in school (even though that discussion might not have covered the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts).

The kids went on their way to specials soon after the drill. When I had my time alone I just kind of sat in disbelief.

I went to the door and made sure it was locked — the handle didn’t move. I closed the door and stood in the hallway staring at the handle, then at the rest of the door. I jiggled the handle — nothing. I used more force when trying to open the door and boom — wide open.

All I could think about was what would have happened if that hadn’t been a drill. What if that was real? What would I do? How would I keep those kids safe? I tell them that my top priorities are educating them and keeping them safe.

My biggest fear was that they didn’t feel safe in our classroom anymore.

I’ve spent the last four weeks with these kids building our classroom community — making a safe, comfortable environment where kids can learn and make mistakes and share with one another. I feel like that classroom community building has gone quite well thus far to be honest. I have a student who just moved from Costa Rica this year who doesn’t speak much English, but his mom says that he feels more comfortable in my English class than his two Spanish classes. I learned just how comfortable he felt when today he decided to volunteer to lead the class in our main idea chant (complete with hand motions) and read our learning objectives for the day. Not only did he do a great job participating, but he read the words on the screen perfectly.

Community building is a key component to having a safe, successful classroom.

All of this work we’ve done as a class to make one another feel comfortable and safe — had that all been compromised now?

I’m still thinking about it. I know it wasn’t my fault since the door was locked and I did everything else right (the police officer praised my class for following protocol so well), but what would I do to keep those children safe? To what extent would I go to ensure their safety?

This school year alone, there have been five school shootings in the United States. Just this year! You might think, “Oh, well it’s already the middle of September, so that is kind of far into 2013” — no, my friends, we’re talking about this school year that started four to five weeks ago.

It’s silly to ask, but — what is WRONG with people? It’s obvious that there is evil in this world. Truly, my heart hurts for those who seek to hurt children.

Praying so much for our schools, our country, and our world.

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eve carson.

the spring of my senior year of high school was the same time that unc’s student body president, eve carson, was shot to death in chapel hill. i will never forget hearing about it on the news and my mom being terrified to let me leave since there were so many similarities that my mom saw in eve and myself.

since i started at unc, there have been memorial services and things of the like every year, the eve carson scholarship was created, and we celebrate eve and her legacy for a week in march every year called “every moment counts.”

honestly, i wish i could have met her. she seems like such an amazing person, and after reading about the incident of her death for nearly four years i can only imagine how wonderful she was. this article in particular sparked my interest:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/12/unc-student-eve-carson-begged-captors-to-pray-with-her-before-they-killed-her-says-murder-trial-witness/

i think it says so much about eve’s character and her relationship with Christ that she wanted to pray with her captors. her whole story really puts things in perspective for me — even though she was in a time of ultimate fear and despair, she still relied on Jesus.

i’m reminded of james 5:13 when i think about her wanting to pray with the men who kidnapped her — “is any one of you in trouble? he should pray.” i can only imagine that she was praying as hard as ever that night, but friends, our prayers do not fall upon deaf ears! as hard as it is, we need to understand that the answers to our prayers are not what we always want them to be. God is in control; He knows what He’s doing.

it kind of takes me back to jason’s accident almost five years ago now. he was a wonderful person who loved the Lord and his life was taken from him for no good reason known to man. even though jason passed away, he and his story were able to save so many people.

despite the great amount of sadness that this brings, eve has not been forgotten, and neither has her faith.

i definitely look forward to meeting her in heaven.

i need words,

as wide as sky, i need a language large as this longing inside, and i need a voice bigger than mine and i need a song to sing You that i’ve got to find. i need You to be here now, to hear me now. (david crowder*band)

sometimes i’m just kind of at a loss for words. normally i would feel as though that’s a bad thing, but it’s good to have moments for silence and thoughts. i like to think that music aids in contemplative states — here’s an abbreviated list of a few songs i’ve been listening to a good bit as of late:

  1. how great: david crowder*band
  2. enchanted: taylor swift
  3. the prayer: kid cudi
  4. stay with you: john legend
  5. skinny love: bon iver

give these a listen and see how they affect your thoughts. music is powerful like that, isn’t it?

unfortunately…

don’t you hate getting emails with that word in it?

unfortunately.

especially when it’s after something along the lines of, “we appreciate you coming in for the interview. unfortunately, you have not been selected…” and so on and so forth.

i applied to be part of unc dance marathon’s overall committee and got called back for an interview. needless to say i was ecstatic and i was nervous when going into the interview — this was a big deal to me. i went in the small conference room in the general alumni association building and did my thing to the best of my ability.

i received an email this morning with that not so fortunate word “unfortunately” in it.

needless to say i was surprised when my reaction wasn’t tears or experiencing a great breakdown. strangely enough, i felt rather calm. weird, i know. yes, i really wanted the position on the overall committee. yes, i was dedicated to doing everything i could to better the marathon for the following year.

and yes, i am still in love with dance marathon.

i’ve been praying a lot for God to guide me in the right direction with things in general — i really need to learn to step back and let HIS will be done, not mine. He’s got a plan and in the end it will all work out bigger and better than i could ever imagine.

so i took this seemingly unfortunate news and put a positive spin on it — i turned to the age old cliché of “when one door closes, another one opens” — and this is something i find to be true.

i know i didn’t get this position, and i admit to being bummed out for a few minutes after reading the email, but what awesome things must God have in store for me next year?!

reading in 1 peter 4:10-11, i definitely found even more solace.

“each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. if anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. if anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. to him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. amen.”

regardless of whether or not i’m part of the overall committee for dm, i need to serve others with my gifts that go beyond being a good planner of an event. regardless of what i do next year, i need  to do everything in Christ so that He may be glorified. God’s got a plan, i know it, and i’m trusting him with it. maybe i’ll do more shows next year, or have a job, or be involved with dm as a sub-committee chair, who knows! that’s part of the excitement i think. it’s scary sometimes trusting your life with God, but the payoffs in the end are so worth it.

thankfully, i don’t count this as a truly unfortunate circumstance — it’s merely a bump in the road of getting to my final destination.