Tuesday, August 28, 2007

But Clouds Got In My Way

"So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way."
- Both Sides Now
Joni Mitchell

My Daughter reminded me that last night there would be a total lunar eclipse. Living in L.A., she would have the better view as the full moon would be high in the dark night sky.
Here in Pennsylvania, I would only see the eclipse until the sun rose at dawn. But I forgot to count in the clouds which almost eclipsed the eclipse.
We watched it together. Quietly comparing our views on our cell phones.

I had gotten out my birding scope and took a few pictures through it with my digital camera.

I was struck by how many people were up and moving around here in the Lehigh Valley. The trash collectors stopped at my curb and took away two bags. The newspaper carrier put the Morning Call on my porch. My neighbor walked out to his garage and then left for work.
And I wondered, did they know? Did they realize that the earth’s shadow, cast by the sun, was falling over the full moon.
In all fairness, at times you could not see much as the clouds hide the moon and as the sunlight washed it out. Birders talk about a "naked eye" bird. That means you do not need binoculars or a scope to see the bird. Well, this was not a "naked eye" eclipse. You had to look.
How many times don’t we look?
The phrase "clouds got in my way" came to mind. I smiled thinking of the classic Charlie Brown strips when Lucy comes in from right field with any number of variations on the old excuse, "the sun got in my eyes."
But where did that phrase come from? It was a song. Donovan? Judy Collins?
Ahh... Joni Mitchell.
Great song. I just read the lyrics. I think copyright thingees prohibit my posting those lyrics here.
But you can Google them. The song is "Both Sides Now".
Then let me know if you really know clouds, love, life.
At all....
Not to mention the moon, sun and sky.
Or the tender love of Mother and Child.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Mother Requests Our Prayers

Laura Conway has emailed me to say that her child Jamison Nicole has been born 3 months premature. Baby, Mom and Dad are currently at the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Laura has asked for our prayers and looks forward to bringing Jamison to Church for her baptism. The family has a blog to give updates on Jamison's progress. http://jamisonnicole.blogspot.com

+ Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We commend to your loving care this child Jamison Nicole. Relieve her pain, guard her from all danger, restore to her your gifts of gladness and strength, and raise her up to a life of service to you. Hear us, we pray, for your dear Name's sake. Amen.
-from The Book of Common Prayer, p. 459

Friday, August 24, 2007

We are the Ones - A Short Film by Paul Hopkins

So I'm trying something new. If it doesn't work, you all will not see it here!

Click here: We Are The Ones - A Short Film by Paul Hopkins

This is a video produced by Star Thrower that the Diocesan Stewardship Commission is considering. What do you think? Would it be useful as an inspirational, motivational tool in parishes?

Post back.
Canon Lexa

Monday, August 20, 2007

Gentle Rain is Our Reminder

It's a rainy Monday here in the Lehigh Valley.

As I look out my front window, determining if I need a raincoat or an umbrella, I pause to think of all the people who have lost loved ones, homes, crops and businesses in the floods this summer. These heavy rains have fallen in our own Midwest States of Texas, Oklahoma and Minnesota. These heavy rains have fallen around the globe in Great Britian, Bangladesh, China, and North Korea (where 500 bridges were washed out).
Our rain today is gentle. May it remind us to pray for and give for the relief of others.

+Gracious God, as we give thanks for all the timely and seasonable blessings of our lives, we pray that you will bring both hope and relief to all those who have suffered from the extreme floods of this summer, we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, who dwells with you and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Third Annual Peach Festival Draws Crowds

By 10:30 a.m., the Kitchen Crew had sold 28 homemade peach pies and there was a short wait for Crystal, the Face Painter. The weather was almost perfect for a summer day in August. People lingered at tables enjoying peach crisp, peach cobblers and peach muffins. Some walked the Labyrinth. Children earnestly completed drawings at the "Coloring Contest" center.

Winners Announced

Ann Marie Sanderson won first in the story narrative category with her drawing entitled, "The 1st Peach Arrives". Rhys Williams, age 5, took first for most original. And Laura Rau and Ciera Bachman tied for first in best drawing of a peach. Dylana Labenberg is also recognized for a colorful butterfly. Congratulations to all the artists.
All the drawings are on display in the Parish Hall.

"Thank You, All"

A "huge thank you" to everyone for worked, baked, and donated items. Both the entertainment and advertising were underwritten and those costs did not come out of our profits. We cannot name everyone here and hope you all know that in mentioning these few, we recognize all parish members. Barbara Schlosser, Kitchen; Ken Schaffner, Parish Yard Sale Table; Frank Schlosser and Mack West, physical arrangements and Betsy Diely, Labyrinth.

The Bottom Line

We anticipate raising $1300 this year. This is $300 over 2006.

Report by Sally West and Canon Shallcross,
Event Co-chairs

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Pies are ready!!

Peach Festival!

St. Margaret's Third Annual Peach Festival and Church Yard Sale

Saturday, August 18th -- 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come early to buy a peach pie and get the cream of the flea market bargains.

Free face painting 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Coloring contest for children.

Lots of good food. Peach goodies (with and without ice cream), hot dogs, soda.

Call 610-967-1450 for more information.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

25 Years of Quality Preschool Education

St. Margaret’s Nursery School in Emmaus – 25 years of quality preschool education.

For 25 years, St. Margaret’s Nursery School in Emmaus has been providing quality early childhood education to children in the Lehigh Valley. It is at the end of this 25th academic school year that St. Margaret’s Nursery School (SMNS) should be recognized as a fine institution for preschool learning and should have its accomplishments and achievements highlighted.

St. Margaret’s Nursery School is a place where children have always come first. This philosophy is consistent with the goals of the school. The goals of the school are well-reflected in the curriculum. The school is especially equipped for the young child. The child can grow emotionally, socially, physically and academically under the guidance and supervision of qualified teachers. With a room full of opportunities, the child can move freely, experiment and make discoveries – and consequently develop those skills which are most appropriate to the child’s individual needs and age. An atmosphere which reflects creativity, understanding and respect for others fosters the growth of self-discipline and confidence.

St. Margaret’s curriculum also emphasizes the fact that an important part of early childhood education is to remember that it’s not just about teaching skills, it’s making sure the children are enjoying themselves too. Having fun makes them more receptive to the process. The children are learning without even realizing it. The school joins with parents in this vital responsibility, always stressing the act of learning as a positive, fun-filled experience. To assist with this, the school provides a monthly newsletter to update parents on children’s activities, their new learning skills and upcoming events.

St. Margaret’s Nursery School offers many classes for children of different ages and with different needs. The MMO – Mother’s Morning Out program is for children age 2 years and above. This is a child’s first independent play group experience. This experience helps the child to develop a good feeling about him/herself and about school. The 3-year old class is an introduction to basic readiness skills, to developing social skills and to participating in individual and group activities. The 4-year old class meets the needs of this age child in readiness and social skills and aids in preparing the child for entering kindergarten. The Pre-Kindergarten class is designed for the child who will benefit from an additional year of preschool, is advanced for the 4-year-old program or who is affected by school district entrance dates. More independence is encouraged with increased emphasis on fine motor skills. Enrichment activities such as science, literature, Spanish, sign language and phonics are also introduced.

As many SMNS graduates can attest, the curriculum at St. Margaret’s Nursery School fully prepared them for kindergarten and beyond.

“We played games, did activities and we did experiments. We learned numbers, letters, words, colors and songs.” Amanda, Age 6, Kindergarten

“I learned how to write my name, letters and numbers.” Samantha, Age 9, 4th grade.

“I learned a lot – how to be more open. I was shy and they make you meet all new friends and be creative. We also learned the alphabet, months, and seasons and weather.” Kelly, Age 15, 10th grade

“I learned a lot – the ABCs, pledge of allegiance, God Bless America, how to make my letters.” Reilly, Age 8, 2nd grade

“I had a paper in Pre-K that I learned sign language.” Shannon, Age 9, 4th grade

In addition to the advanced curriculum offered at SMNS, there are many special activities planned for the children each month. For example, there is lunch bunch in which the children can stay for an extra 1.5 hours and have lunch and play. When Shannon (age 9) was asked what she liked most about St. Margaret’s Nursery School, she said, “I liked to do lunch bunch.” This is a fun time where the kids get a fun lunch and get to spend more time with all of the other children doing free play. Other special activities include the Halloween parade, the red-white-and-blue parade (for President’s day), pajama day, dinosaur day, train day (the school’s emblem), and of course, all of the holiday parties including a large Thanksgiving Feast. Also, there are many programs that are brought into the nursery school for the children to learn from and to enjoy. Some of these are the Burn Prevention puppet show, the therapy dogs, and the firefighters. The children even take a field trip to the Emmaus Public Library to further their interest in and to stress the importance of reading.

Two other special events that the St. Margaret’s Nursery School Board of Directors sponsor are the Parent/Welcome Picnic held at the beginning of the school year and the Spring Fling, a fun and entertaining carnival held at the end of the year. Both of these events are family oriented so older siblings love to come back for these events. When asked about St. Margaret’s and going back to visit, Reilly, Age 8, said “I went back to visit. It was fun. And I love the St. Margaret’s picnics!” These two events are a fun way for families and students to meet new friends and socialize.

For 25 years, St. Margaret’s Nursery School has been providing a positive, fun-filled educational learning experience for children in the Lehigh Valley. Run by a Board of Directors and operating on a budget based upon annual tuition and a few donations, St. Margaret’s provides a wonderful education with a well-trained, dedicated staff – a staff that includes a director, certified teachers, assistants for each classroom and Grandparent Helpers. The staff truly perform their job for the love of teaching. They are an exceptional staff who enjoy coming to work every day, seeing the children, and knowing that they are providing the kids with a great educational start. It is a place where children hug their teachers, trust them and respect them. So many SMNS graduates return to visit the teachers because of the large impact that they have had on their life. When asked about their teachers at St. Margaret’s, here are some of the things that were said:

“I liked them. They don’t yell when you do something wrong. They explain it more.” Reilly, Age 8, 2nd grade

“I really liked the teachers. They were really there for you. One day when my mom was late to pick me up, I was scared and they hugged me and cared for me. They were always there for me.” Kelly, Age 15, 10th grade

“They were really nice. I talked to them a lot.” Samantha, Age 9, 4th grade

Parents are starting children in preschool earlier and earlier. Children who start young get the basic social skills that they’ll be able to use throughout their educational careers and later in life. Preschool can start the foundation for basic skill such as listening, interacting, taking turns and washing hands. St. Margaret’s Nursery School can provide all of these skills and so much more. Because of the extraordinary staff and curriculum at St. Margaret’s, children can be expected to learn more than just your basic skills.

Currently, St. Margaret’s Nursery School is enrolling children for the 2007-2008 school year. There are openings in all classes. For more information, please call the director, Linda Reinbold at 610-965-8474.

St. Margaret’s Nursery School hopes to continue its strides in early childhood education for another 25 years. The children of the Lehigh Valley can only be so lucky.