April 24, 2012

Change is...

Change is ___________.  How do you fill in that blank?  Do you love it or fear it?  I don't know how you feel about change, but one thing is true.  Change is inevitable, and it happens to all of us. 

My friend, Lisa Ray, and Dede Fischer have just beautifully captured another truth about change in their new book, The Joshua Tree.  No matter what the change might be, God is there every step of the way. 

Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

This beautiful book, illustrated by Pamela Walker, uses the Angel Oak as inspiration for the setting, and Pamela has cleverly hidden eight angels inside her drawings throughout the story. 

Set in the surroundings of a beautiful old live oak draped in Spanish moss, the animals of the forest lived a very happy and carefree life.  The tree, who had been there longer than any of them could imagine, was a constant source of wisdom and comfort for them.  Beside this wise old tree ran a mighty river.  Unlike the old tree, the river was constantly changing, and except for an occasional drink, the animals were wary of it.  Life was good.

Then came CHANGE.

A violent thunderstorm strikes and the forest is set ablaze.  They immediately turned to their wise old tree for shelter only to learn that they would have to face the one thing they feared the most...the river.  In her last moments, the tree told the animals about the "One, the Maker and Giver of life, who loved and watched over them always. No matter where they were, He would always be with them."

I won't spoil the rest of the story for you here, but have faith.  It ends well. 

I love this book.  I love the setting, the little animal characters (even the possum) and beautiful drawings. But most of all, I found myself reflecting on my own situation and feeling a wonderful sense of reassurance.  Yes, Grammy fears change.  But I, also, believe the message of the book and Joshua 1:9.  I encourage anyone who thinks they or someone they know might be faced with a change to have this book on their bookshelf or give it as a gift.  You can order it directly from Lisa's website.  I have bought three already and may be ordering more.  You know Grammy.  She loves to give a good book away.

Lisa and I met as fellow teachers in a middle school.  She taught social studies.  I taught in the special education unit.  We underwent a big change together.  We instituted a team teaching concept where we planned classes and shared teaching responsibilities instead of "pulling out" the special ed students for isolated tutoring. Lisa and I made a great team.  More importantly, the model of teaching that we strived to achieve, made a positive impact on the students, and after all, that is what mattered most.   We even trained other teachers in other schools and districts on how they, too, could implement such a model.  I remember Lisa using a little story in our training sessions, where she dubbed herself the "Queen of Routine" prior to changing to team teaching.  She has also authored another book, Once Upon a Time, Y'all - Southern Origin Stories, available at Mast General Store. 

Off to make a change...


  1. For me, change is terrifying. I'm working on being less afraid of moving forward in life.

  2. Just ordered one for Erica. Think they may all need to read it as they prepare to move. Maybe me, too.