Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Moments with Mimi--A Visit Back in Time

Hi!  Can you believe May is just around the corner?  And just behind that, summer vacation?!

Just wanted to take a minute and share some of the May resources I have available in my online stores. Simply click the links below to check out these resources for yourselves.  
We are so excited to have so many new faces along for the journey aboard Bryant's Brain Train!  As many of you may already know, my mom (Mimi) guest blogs each Monday to share with us a bit of inspiration and wisdom.  It is so hard to believe that it has almost been a year since Mimi first joined us.  I thought it would be neat to revisit Mimi's original post this week.  I am so thankful for her words of hope and help each Monday. Now let's head back in time to Mimi's very first post...
A Tribute to My Dad 

As my 2 oldest grandchildren were swimming in my pool the other day, I found myself repeating words to them that I said to my own children. Even funnier, they were words my Dad said when he was on pool duty with my children over 25 years ago. Isn't it strange how we say we will not "say what our parents” said -- as we repeat the exact wording with identical enunciation?! The moment made me smile and brought back sweet memories of Daddy who has now gone on to be with the Lord. 

My dad loved to teach me, but more importantly -- he wanted me to learn -- from the art of Bridge to the importance of being on time to Sunday School. He believed in the necessity of teaching, but more importantly -- the love of wanting to learn. Somehow, he intricately wove the two together in one piece of fabric...all my life. 

So, this first Monday is a tribute to my Dad who took the moments to teach his only child to love to learn. Actually, he possessed the innate skill that is known today as “siezing teachable moments” with children, only he did so long before books and articles were written on this topic. With most circumstances he taught as he talked directly to me. He seized moments to discuss anything from the gift of gardening to the placement of politicians -- and much in between. I was probably the only 5 year old that could use a wooden Coca Cola crate as my stage to recite the Gettysburg Address or that could tell her 2nd grade teacher which fertilizer was the best to use while handing her a bouquet of the garden's finest tulips. He spent a lot of precious time teaching me the why’s and what’s of life. 

I guess for all of us, including my Dad, we have a heart's desire to give more to our children than we had in our lives, so Dad you have your heart’s desire granted...I pray not just for opportunities of the priceless scattered ” teachable moments” he gave to me. I seek more. I desire a more intentional way of life with my eyes always toward Heaven, my feet never leaving the Christ-like path, and my heart always in the moment prepared to teach. 

I desire all the days of my Kingdom calendar to be filled to capacity with teaching others to want to learn. And yes, let it be from gardening to politics and everything in between. I want to teach the beauty of gardening -- but to also show that is it from my God who is the Maker of all Beauty. Let me share the importance of politics -- but share that it is more than electoral votes, appointment of rulers, and service to country. I want my life to teach so that one day the Lord of Lords will say, “Well done, your time was well spent.” Mimi (AKA Anne)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Moments with Mimi--Hair Bows and Hugs

Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Class on Track (Classroom Man
First of all, let me share how ecstatic I was to be quoted in the TpT newsletter this week!  Super exciting to see my name in print and super thankful for the extra blog and store traffic as a result!!!  Exciting stuff!   This week's TpT newsletter article was about classroom management, a topic covered by many of the resources in my online store.  Interested in viewing these?  Simply search Shannon Bryant's Brain Train under the topic of classroom management.  The original resource is pictured above, and the link is shown below.  The one shown here has a traditional train theme, but there are several classroom themes for you to choose from, including farm, bees, pirates, garden, etc.  Tons of tips and goodies to try!   

This week's post from Mimi is a great one, so I hope you enjoy!!!  It literally left me in tears.  I am so thankful for God's provision and blessing.  Sometimes it is good for me to remember and reflect on just how good He has been--unmerited favor--and I praise Him wholeheartedly for His healing of our Sadie!  

This has been a tough week for so many...don't forget to let the ones you love know just how much you love them!  Have a wonderful week!  Shannon :-)

Hair Bows and Hugs 

As I read my daughter’s comments last week, I immediately knew what my post would be about this Monday. It is not about Sadiebug’s 6th birthday, but rather about the second week of her life. Yes, we had a meningitis scare, a hospital stay, a kidney reflux diagnosis, and several sleepless nights. Whew—she came in demanding all of our attention!!! 

The scare this brought to our family is as vivid in my mind as the taste of my morning coffee that I am sipping. The times my girls have called me with traumatizing news about lives are branded forever in my thoughts. 

But I never want to forget the good that came from it all—THAT is forever branded in my heart. 

What do you do when you think you may be losing something so precious, so small, and so awaited? You panic for the moment and pray for the duration…and find a white bow for her hair!!!! I went to my daughter’s house the night that Sadie was so sick in order to keep her older brothers while all of the testing was going on at the hospital. 

Shannon was blessed to have her best friend there on staff and guiding them medically, so I took watch of the boys back at home so that Kevin could also head down to the medical center. The boys were sleeping soundly in their rooms, and I was praying sincerely in hers. 

By morning, things looked much brighter, and I was off to the hospital to see exactly what was happening. Sweet little 7 lb Sadie was in her white knit gown, adorned with beeping monitors and small tubes—but she was still there, and she would get better!!!! 

I was able to navigate her from the hospital crib onto a pillow on my lap. As she lay sleeping peacefully, I rubbed her tiny back and head with all the love a Mimi can muster. But something was amiss!!!! It was her hair bow. 

You know how when all first, long-awaited, little girls arrive to a family, we feel the need to shout, IT’S A GIRL!!! It is usually with the color pink, tiny ruffles, or big hair bows. Since, the hospital was providing the plain white attire, I could at least provide a bow!!!! Funny how we long for the little things to bring our hearts and minds back to normality and safety. I can remember thinking that if I could just get Sadie’s bow in place, all would be complete—tubes or no tubes. 

When I returned on my afternoon visit, I had found a small, Velcro bow and lovingly placed it atop her tiny head. I returned to my position, holding her in my lap on the pillow, while rubbing the tiny little back, only this time the bow was in its proper place. 

I smiled this Friday night—a good 6 years later—as Sadie and I were out in the rain in my backyard, planting broccoli and Roma tomatoes. These plants were leftover from the ones that she had earlier planted in her “newly” decorated pot. Tonight Sadie’s blonde hair is much longer and braided, with a big black polka dotted bow that was now getting damp and dirty as she played in the potting soil. 

As Sadie readied for bed later that night, I leaned over hugged her and kissed that sweet head goodnight. Yes, it was resting peacefully on my pillow, and yes, I left the big bow in its place—even at bedtime—and remembered. 

What we do to show our love to our children should be as tender and just as personal as in that day; when they are small on that pillow, laying in our laps at a mere 14 days old. But we should also remember to have fun and laugh, even while planting vegetables in the rain. And by all means…it is OK for the bow to get dirty!!! 

But as they grow older and busier, a gentler chord should be struck and held by us for each of them. They grow up and grow out of arms reach very, very quickly. Don’t lose the tender moments that love requires. Let your affection manifest itself and be poured out, not just with endeavors, but with a loving hold of their hearts and a tender stroke of their precious lives. When they no longer will fit on the pillow, they always fit in your arms! Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne)

Matthew 26:6-10 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Moments with Mimi--

Hi, everyone!  With the news coming out of Boston today, it is easy to be overwhelmed with sadness and discouragement.  It devastates me as a parent, a teacher, an American,...Our prayers are with those so tragically affected by the attacks in Boston.  Please join us in praying for them as well!!! 

Mimi's post today reminds me of just how important it is to carry on, to keep the faith, to hold out hope in all circumstances.  I pray that you find encouragement in her words as well.  Beauty from ashes...that's His promise!!!  Shannon
Life Comes from Recalculating 

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reminded of a saying that goes something like this…If at first you don’t succeed, try and try, again!!! 

Although, that phrase may be an encouragement to some, I am not one of them. When I hear that phrase, I quickly revert to one of my favorite expressions…only a foolish person continues doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result!!!! 

Yes, there is a place for ENDURANCE with TENACITY and PERSEVERANCE at all costs in order to stay the course and achieve a desired result. But often we fail to recognize that sometimes it is necessary to back up, reassess the situation, and attempt a different approach. 

It is kind of like the obnoxiously-toned GPS that I have. The voice screeches—recalculating, recalculating—as it provides me a new and different approach to my desired destination. Whether or not I like the sound of the voice of the GPS is immaterial; it is warning me that I need to recalculate. 

The other night at our nursing home ministry, I was honored to be holding the song book for a precious elderly lady friend that is a stroke victim. She loves the singing and musical part of our service. She cannot see very well, nor can she hold anything with her partially paralyzed arm. Last month, she forgot her glasses, could not see at all. and so she just hummed along with the piano playing. This month upon entering the room, she proudly held up her glasses with her good hand, as if to say, “This week I got it!!!” 

Shortly into the song service, I realized that she still could not focus enough to read the words on the page. I was not sure if it was the lighting in the room or her failing eyes, but clearly she was doing all she could and seeing was not happening. We re-positioned her book and adjusted her glasses, but to no avail. At the end of the service as I leaned over to hug her goodbye, she literally “lit up” with another idea. I could see it on her sweet face. She excitedly exclaimed, “I have a large magnifying glass that hangs around my neck. Do you think that we could try it next time?” “Sure!” I responded. 

Secretly, I thought that the next time, I would just make it easy for her and fix the problem myself. I said, “But next time, you tell me three of your favorite songs, and we will sing them. Then you won’t even have to hold the book or see the words at all!” With each try, this lady whom I sat beside, had come up with a different approach. 

Later in the week, I have thought of my girls and their accomplishments, great and small. They together and independently exhibit more determination than most people that I know. When obstacles present themselves to my girls, they just hurdle over them, or they too recalculate their path. They seldom give up on accomplishing their objective. The “unknown” is but another adventure for them. The “unheard of” is just not spoken by them yet!!! 

I have been privy to witness the excitement and participate in their adventures. Truly, I have seen them seize moments that would paralyze most. Against all odds—literally and figuratively—they have loaded minivans with furniture that others said would not fit, while smiling as they drove away. They have staked in party tents in windstorms that others said should be enough to cancel the party. 

They ride the momentum of the challenge and call it an adventure. More times than not, I have actually felt them take real pleasure in the CHALLENGE itself. What an accomplishment!!!! 

Having thought about this all week and about my sweet friend in the nursing home, I don’t think I am going to let her know that I have three of her favorite songs prearranged and ready to sing. For I have come to understand that she, like my girls, “light up” when another idea or possible solution comes to her. Next month, we will just figure out how to hold her book, her magnifying glass, adjust her glasses, and sit where the lighting is better. If that doesn't work… then we will sing her songs. I can’t wait to see what the next idea or adventure will be… Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne) 
2 Corinthians 8:2, “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Weekend Sale in Honor of Sadiebug!

Just a quick update for you...Our little one is turning 6 today, so I am hosting a weekend sale in her honor!!!  You will find 20% off of absolutely everything in my stores on both Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook.  There are tons of new resources to choose from, as well as lots of familiar favorites.  Hope you will make plans to stop by and shop!  Just click the links on the right side of this web page to direct you to my stores.   
Sadie was such a blessing for our family when she joined us in 2007.  After a series of losses, we were ecstatic that a healthy baby was finally on the way!

  I had convinced myself that another precious boy was on his way to us, so I was absolutely thrilled to find that Baby Girl Bryant was actually on the way!  With a houseful of boys, Sadie's arrival was confirmation to me that the Lord truly does know the desires of our hearts.  

At just 11 days old, however, Sadie experienced a major setback, and we faced a parent's worst fear.  Baby Sadie--feverish, lethargic, and not eating--was rushed into her pediatrician's office for a midnight meningitis test.  Thankfully her spinal fluid was clear, and they frantically began to check for other causes.  

On the same day that we held her 2 week old photo shoot, Sadie was rushed to the children's hospital.  Diagnosed with kidney reflux, our girl fought to make a full recovery, but whew, those were some stressful early days at the Medical Center!

I am so thankful now for her health and for the joy that she brings to our household!  She has such a zest for learning and living and reminds me of just what joy there is in being a little girl! Happy birthday, Sadiebug!  We sure do love you!!!

Happy Friday, tomorrow, everyone!!!  Shannon :-)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Moments with Mimi--Learning from Movie Night

Well, back from Spring Break and time for another inspirational Monday Moment with Mimi.  Today you'll read about Mimi's movie adventure with my boys--Tucker and Tate--and their dad, Kevin.  Enjoy!  Shannon :-)

Learning from Movie Night 

Last week was our long-awaited Spring Break…the precious week of “loosed” grandchildren and free time (that “Mimis” like me look so forward to) had finally arrived! I would like to say that our week was full of sunshine, low-key trips, and relaxed fun. But it was not so!!! 

What we had was so much greater—a week filled with rainy days, eventful trips, and more adventure than I could have planned. For that I am grateful and will have much to post about at a later date. But for tonight–just a simple story… 

My grandsons are enthralled and quite knowledgeable about the writings of J.R.R.Tolkien, the author of many suspenseful tales such as the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. To be completely honest, I have never invested time or energy into reading any of his writings. But since the boys are such fans, I felt the need to at least be familiar with his books and characters. 
Several months ago, the boys asked me if I was gong to the movies to see the Hobbit in surround sound with them when it d├ębuted. Of course my answer was YES (not that I had a clue what it was going to be like.) They were excited and conversations were plentiful about the coming of the Hobbit movie. 

I went to the library and checked out the book, so I could at least speak with some intellect about this “seemingly” simple story line. This was my first attempt at understanding the plot and the characters of this series. (For those of you who would like to do the same, it is not for the faint of heart!!!!) As I read page after page, nothing came easily. Actually, some of it did not come to me at all!!!! 

The story, set in Middle Earth many long years ago, is made up of characters that are literally “foreign.” For the most part, I was not reading this tale for enjoyment. I was endeavoring to expand my own horizon into my grandsons’ horizons. Weeks later the movie finally came out, and we were off. I was actually getting to join with the boys and their dad for “Boys’ Night Out.” 

As we found our seats, I found myself sitting with one vacant chair to my left and my son-in-law to my right. The boys were further down, on his other side. As we were waiting, I leaned over to my oldest grandson, who was seated a couple of seats down and whispered, “Tucker, you may have to explain some of this later, because I got confused with some parts of the book.” 

I leaned back and smiled to myself; “confused with some parts of the book” was a stretch. Truthfully, by the time we finally made it to the movie theater, I really could only remember “some parts” of the story. Nevertheless, the movie began! 

As the first scene opened with the surround sound blaring, my oldest got up, and plopped into the empty seat to my left. I said, “What are you doing?” He responded, “Mimi, you may have questions, and I want you to understand!” He sat there next to me the entire movie waiting to answer my questions, but more importantly asking me, “Mimi, do you know what is happening in this part?” 

What a precious memory and a simple reminder that I took away from our movie night adventure. Yes, now I am much clearer on the characters from the Hobbit, and in addition I am eagerly awaiting the rest of the story to hit the big screen. But also, I am forever touched by his 13-year-old willingness to explain and help me understand the book…not out of duty, but out of love. 

As Easter weekend has passed, I am reminded of another simple Bible story from the Gospel of Luke. Two men were talking on the road to Emmaus after the resurrection. The Lord walked alongside of them and joined in the conversation. When they recalled His teachings, they said, “Did our hearts not burn within us as he explained the Books of Scripture?” What a powerful testament to the act of explaining with love. 

So, like Tucker and even more so like Jesus, we should all be moved and willing to share with those less informed than us. We can give insightfulness to the characters of THE BOOK. Possibly in doing so, the hearts of others may be stirred and excited to know about the rest of the story—Christ’s story— as well!!!!! Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne) 
Luke 24:32 “They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’”

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Night Fit for a Princess!

Tonight we had the chance to take these 2 sweet dancing princesses to see the ballet Cinderella, as performed by the Russian Traveling Ballet Company.  It was a wonderful show, and the perfect way to help Sadiebug celebrate her upcoming 6th birthday!
The night reminded me again just how beloved these fairy tales are to generation after generation!  
In case you would love to bring a bit of fairy tale fun to your classroom, the links below will take you to my interdisciplinary Cinderella resource pack.  

Thanks so much!  Shannon :-)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter and an Update on This Week's Monday Moment with Mimi!

Hi, and Happy Easter!  I am so thankful for Easter Sunday, for warmer weather, and for SPRING BREAK this week!!! :-)  

Here is a snapshot of how I got to start my Easter morning...surrounded by these precious faces in Children's Church!  We celebrated this precious day by opening our set of Resurrection Eggs together and making "empty tombs" as our craft.  I just loved hearing their little voices shouting with excitement that the tomb was empty because Jesus is alive!
Here are my own kiddoes dressed up in their Easter best.  :-)  Love these little ones!
Of course, Easter wouldn't be complete without fun traditions like coloring eggs and egg hunts with cousins...
Mimi is taking a mini-Easter break, so she will be back next week for her weekly inspirational post.   But for this week, she, Poppy, and all the fam wish you and yours a very happy Easter week!  
He is risen; He is risen indeed!  Blessings, Shannon :-)