Friday, May 13, 2011

His love endures forever.

So we have been studying poetry in the 3rd grade world. For devotions we looked at Psalm 136. The "His love endures forever" chapter. So we wrote our own Psalm 136, and I couldn't help but share it because it was a really beautiful poem where I got to see what my students praise our God for, and what he really means to them. Each student wrote their own first line, and we put in the "His love endures forever."
He always love us.
His love endures forever.

He forgives are sin.
His love endures forever.

He created the earth.
His love endures forever.

He love us does not matter what happens.
His love endures forever.

He diad [died] for me.
His love endures forever.

He made us a big and beautiful world full of creation.
His love endures forever.

When he create the earth.
His love endures forever.

He is good and strong.
His love endures forever.

When he crate [create] us and earth.
His love endures forever.

He do everything.
His love endures forever.

He does everything for us.
His love endures forever.

He forgives me everytime I hurt him.
His love endures forever.

He die for my sins.
His love endures forever.

He made us and he send his Son to for died.
His love endures forever.

He forget when I do rogn [wrong] things.
His love endures forever.

He forgive all the time.
His love endures forever.

Glory to God who made heaven and earth.
His love endures forever.

[Revised Psalm 136 by Doulos 3rd grade]

Sunday, May 1, 2011

from presidente to perfection.

Last week for Spring Break we went to this more-than-marvelous beach for a couple of days called Fronton. Doulos takes our 6th and 10th graders there to study about the coral reef and lobster habitats. I have heard great things about it, so we HAD to go. [See next blog post for pics. Trust me you will want to see them Paradide I tell you.]

All along the beach there there is what we like to call "sea glass." We, mostly the Americans who visit, are obsessed with it. Basically it is just broken Presidente bottles, or other alcoholic beverage bottles that get tossed in the ocean. Then it spends a little time in the ocean getting all roughed up, and then we pick it up and find that its the most beautiful thing we've ever seen. I am convinced that the locals that live there break the bottles on purpose and then watch us from afar laughing it up and wondering why in the world we collect this trash. But let's be honest it's not my first time to collect trash from the side of the road hoping to create something. But that's another story.

As I was collected I couldn't help but think how perfect the sea glass was. I didn't care if I was crazy. I love this stuff and can't wait to make some sweet jewelry. I felt like as I was walking up and down the beach collecting it, God said,

"Hey Leah, this is YOU. This is exactly how I desire you to be. Broken."

I thought about it, and said, "well of course you want me broken. I know that. I know you will give us hard times. Blah. Blah. Blah." But as I continued walking and collecting, I noticed that I only picked up the ones that were REALLY roughed up. I threw back the ones that still had some sharp edges, and said, "they're just not ready yet." I wanted them to really spend some time rolling around on the bottom of the ocean, getting beat up by rocks, waves, coral, sand. THEN I wanted them. Then it dawned on me.

This IS how God desires my heart. He wants it to get pushed around by the waves, get messed up, roughed up, scratched up for quite some time. The more I am rolled around, the more beautiful I become in His eyes. He will be with me every moment of it. And one day, He will come along the beach, pick me up and say,


"The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God." Psalms 51:17

Ancient Egypt Expedition.

We finished our spring expedition (basically really long unit that we do at Doulos). Spring semester topic: ANCIENT EGYPT. Here are some photos from our 7 weeks! 

Making Egyptian jewelry with paper and magazines:

[Daniel and Andersen]

[Cristina always sticks her tongue out when she works!]

[Our Egyptian pose with our Egyptian jewelry]

Writing our non-fiction research papers. I was beyond impressed with how they did with this! 

[Carlos coloring his final copy. He likes to stick out his tongue too. May be it makes you think better, and I didn't get the memo.]

[Amanda and Brian]

For expedition night we made a model of a pyramid out of boxes. Then painted it. With mud. I have to admit, the kid in me REALLY loved it.  The teacher in me saw mud on the walls. I was a kid that day. 
[Our pyramid ready to paint.]

[We had some help! Mrs. Kerrie, the art teacher, and Josh, a guy from the work team that comes every year before expeditions to help up from Mosaic church in Ohio. Couldn't have done it without them.]

[What a radient smile from Abigail.]

[I got a little mud on my pants that day. They now have splattered paint and splattered mud. They will now be my '3rd grade pants.']

[Cristina looks less than thrilled.]

[The finished product. Doesn't it look like the real thing? ha.]

I will leave you with a final picture that has nothing to do with expeditions. But it might go down for my favorite picture of a student. Andersen was just enjoying a delicious cupcake from Elena's birthday, and ended up with a dirty 'stache. Classic Andersen. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Deliberately sharing life together. 
Eating. Living. Working together. 
Profoundly interdependent. 
Carrying burdens. 
Sharing with one another. 
Speaking truth in love. 
Serving one another. 
Confessing to one another. 

This is how were were made to live. This is how Christ intended it. All of those things I wrote above I have seen and experienced firsthand within the past 3 weeks. 

When I think about this community that I have been given I am nothing short of overwhelmed with gratitude. With joy. With pride in my God. 

A couple of weeks ago, when I went to Portland for the Expeditionary Learning (EL) conference, I was able to step out of this life I had been a part of since August, and really truly come to see the beauty of it. Much to my surprise, there was not much of a "Christian community" within EL. I was blown away because every one of their design principles [self-discovery, having of wonderful ideas, responsibility for learning, empathy and caring, success and failure, collaboration and competition, diversity and inclusion, the natural world, solitude and reflection, service and compassion] are so biblically based in my mind. I came back not just ready to use these new great teaching ideas, but more importantly to be back in my community and to share what I had seen and noticed. I left the conference and wahs able to be at home in Dallas for a few days and once again blessed by community. 

Since I've got back every single day I have been been 'wowed' by our God. This verse pretty much sums it up: 
"But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goddness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. One you had no identity as a people; now you are God's people. Once you received no mercy; now you have recieved God's mercy." 1 Peter 2: 9-10 

"We are a community. 
We are not ourselves by ourselves. 
We are born into communities, 
we live in communities,
we die in communities.
Human beings are not solitary,
self-sufficient creatures." 
-Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson

Sunday, April 3, 2011

life in the month of march.

Ok so here's a rundown of my life this month. So much for the more frequent posts. Now I am here doing a really long recap! I would like to say that March has been absolutely incrredible. And here's a few reasons why:

1. Went to Samana (beach on the north coast) and went whale watching with a great group of ladies! Saw a mom and baby whale while we were on the boat tour! It was pretty exciting!

2. Got to play "skip bo" (or something similar..I'm positive we were not playing by the correct rules) with some new neighbor friends! 

3. Got to take some engagement pictures for Brittany (an intern this semester at Doulos) and Matt! They were such a joy to photograph! 

4. The same day, me and Stef (also an intern this semester) took photos of Brittany and Matt, and since her boyfriend was in town we snapped a few photos of them too! They are so precious and so fun together! 

5. Doulos had service week. 2nd and 3rd grade went to a public school, Escuela Rincon, and did activities with the elementary kids. It was really great to see our kids grow in being selfless and what that looks like. I just wish we could do this every week! It was incredible! 

[the 5 staff from Doulos that went the conference. Robyn, Tim, Patrick, me and Abby]

[Instead of staying at a hotel we had the wonderful opportunity with staying with this couple, Roger and Karen. They were such welcoming hosts that made our time in Portland so much better.]

[morning view on the way to downtown Portland]

6. Went to Portland, OR for an Expeditionary Learning conference. It was nothing short of spectacular. I gained a lot of knowledge to take back to Doulos, and also it also reinforced a lot of things that I already knew and loved about Doulos. And of course we got to play a little in Portland and eat some killer food! 

7. On the way back from Portland I had a couple of days to spend in Dallas. Of course it called for a dinner at Babe's with this great crowd.

Friday, March 4, 2011

[dia de indpendencia]

2.25: The day that the Dominican Republic gained it's independence from Haiti. What better way to celebrate than to have every class in the school perfom? Dancing, singing, reciting poems etc. 

[Some of the high schoolers perfomed a wonderful dance with even more wonderful skirts. I wonder if I can borrow one sometime...]

[SOME of my class singing a song]

[That afternoon we had Revolution (an all school assembly) and the 4th grade danced to "Lean On Me" by DC Talk. It was right up their ally to get to break dance]

[Me and some of my students waiting for Revolution to start]

[capturing beauty]

2.27: So I know I am moving backwards in my posts, but I thought I should catch up a little bit. So I have this friend, Sarai. She works with me at Doulos. Last semester, I noticed what a beautiful woman she was. I thought to myself, "Man, she would be a great model." So I told her this, and then about 3 months later I actually got around to taking photos of her. She is quite an incredible woman, who has such a mighty heart for our Jesus. Here are a few of my favs from the shoot...

Thanks Sarai for the opportunity to capture your beauty.