Have I Told You How Much You Mean To Me Lately?
On Fridays during lunch, the school counselor, Marshall Hesslau chooses three students to be the recipients of positive affirmations. Without fail, each student chosen beams from ear to ear as they walk up to the large board where we will be writing positive words that apply to them. Hands go up across the lunchroom to say something nice about the chosen recipient. The kids tell the student how fast they are at recess or how smart they are in class. Hands go up to say they are nice or funny or the best brother ever. The kids just love it and the mood of the lunchroom is joyful and kind.
It is so simple. It so powerful. What do people think of me when they are thinking of my good qualities? We almost never get to hear it. And yet it means so much. A simple act of kindness or a pleasant thought that we actually tell the other person can truly alter a relationship. It can change it for the better and change a person to think about the good in themselves. It is contagious.
As we head into Catholic Schools Week at SHS, we are really pushing our positive thoughts and energy to the front of our brains. We want to reflect on the times when someone has been positive to us and use that energy to keep the affirmations moving forward. So we are challenging ourselves to think about the effort it takes to clear the sidewalks after a snow at the school. Or how the lunch lady is always on time and our food is always hot. Or how one of our classmates let us borrow a pencil. Or how my teacher is so patient and joyful and wants me to be great every day. Then, we want to think about how we can pass on the kindness. How can we make someone feel special with a small act of just noticing that they are special? During Catholic Schools Week we want to share our positive outlook for the people in our lives and we hope you will join us. Let’s open our hearts and let the goodness flow to our soul and our brain. We want to spring into action with positive actions and words. We want to make it a habit. I hope it is a habit our students will take with them for the rest of their lives. There is no better way to honor Jesus than to honor his people with an open loving heart. We cannot wait to share our positive affirmations with you.
Anne Atkin, Principal
Is the Devil Trying to Ruin My Life?
We have all been in that place where family get-togethers or work relations, even friendships take a turn for the awkward or uncomfortable. Wait. What did you just say? When we spend a lot of time with people or interact with them often, it is almost inevitable that we will, at some point, offend them. Even the sweetest and nicest people are still human and can say or do something stupid. Pope John Paul II “Stupidity is also a gift but one mustn’t misuse it.” What does he mean? I am really not sure of the context of this quote but I cannot help to think that when we say something stupid we are really not being empathetic conversationalists. Easy to do, especially if you talk a lot. Ugh…why did I say something so stupid and offensive? According to Webster’s, stupidity is a lack of intelligence or common sense. Common sense is a practical view and approach to ourselves, to other people, and to all aspects of living. It is how we deal with issues and problems, how we manage our own thoughts, our beliefs, our attitudes and how we cope with other people. Common sense is what we learn as we live. It is how we change for the better as a result of all of those lessons. Apparently, we can always gain more common sense, no matter how old we are.
But someone we know and enjoy is deeply offended by our stupid actions. Now what? A dark cloud has been placed over a once lovely relationship. We would gladly turn back the clock and never have offended anyone. Lesson learned. But it is too late. Somehow we will have to move past the hurt. It feels a bit impossible. I am hurt that you reacted the way you did. You are hurt because you feel judged or offended by my words or actions. The feelings are very dark and we are left heavy hearted. How do we keep the devil out of this severed relationship and get back to our warm sense of community provided by the Holy Spirit? Grace. Divine grace. Grace is given when we ask for it. It is our free will to put God into these situations. We have an obstacle that is so difficult that we cannot remove it without special Divine help. So we dig deep and decide that love of good and fear of evil is what will heal us. This leads to forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others. Continue to ask for God’s grace and talk to trusted people who know how hard it can be to truly forgive and let the Holy Spirit into our lives. The rest will work itself out. Free your heart from the pain inflicted by being just plain stupid and let the Divine grace given to us by Jesus’ example be the light out of the darkness. It is okay to make deeply personal mistakes. It happens to everyone. It is what we do with our weakness that strengthens us. Our weakness can make us holy and asking for grace will bring us back to the people we love. God’s grace and forgiveness can keep the devil out of our relationships and keep us growing together even when it is very hard.
Anne Atkin, principal
End of the Year Thank You
As 2018 comes to a close, it is with a huge heart that I acknowledge how filled with blessings we are at Sacred Heart School. It has been a year of growth and joy. This year we welcomed many new families, several from St. Mary’s on the Lake. Our families are high energy and supportive of the teachers and staff. They bring such optimism and love for Sacred Heart School and Catholic education. With our many partners, we have been able to create a school culture that yields strong academic and personal growth for our students. Many of our families are friends outside of school and have created bonds for their children that will last far into the future.
This year we have also been very blessed by our parish community and I am so grateful. We have had an outpouring financially, and prayerful outreach along with wonderful volunteers who are ready to support the school any way they can. We have had the opportunity to combine the school and church for many events and the outcome has been so fun.
Let’s continue to support each in 2019 as we grow and learn from each other.
Anne Atkin, principal
As we continue our favorite legends and traditions of Christmas. This week we have:
Legend of the Donkey’s Cross
Legend tells us that the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday followed Him to Calvary. Appalled by the sight of Jesus on the cross, the donkey turned away but could not leave. It is said that the shadow of the cross fell upon the shoulders and back of the donkey. A cross marking found on many donkeys today remains a testimony of the love and devotion of a humble, little donkey.
Symbol of the Lion and the Lamb
The Bible tells us that when Jesus returns to Earth, all who were enemies will live together in Harmony, even the animals. The powerful lion will lie down with the gentle lamb, and love and peace will reign. Christian beliefs attribute the qualities of both the lion and the lamb to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Embodied within Christ are the lion’s majesty and might, as well as the lamb’s innocence and gentleness. Love the complete Christ, both lion and lamb, and rejoice that He is King!
Legend of the Christmas Bells
According to early legend, bells rang throughout the world announcing the birth of Christ. The ringing of bells during the joyous holiday season still adds delightful accompaniment to favorite carols and is a significant part of the Christmas celebration. High in their towers, suspended between heaven and earth, church bells have called the faithful to worship for centuries.
Anne Atkin, Principal
Dear Sacred Heart Families,
The students continue to prepare for Christmas by praying during advent for the poor and lost. We remember to include people in the hospital and those who are in special need of prayers. The students are thoughtful and careful to include all of the people who are close to them; who are struggling and need Mary’s intercession. We begin every school day this way and it truly is the best way to open our hearts for the coming of Jesus.
We had an assembly this week and talked about some of our Christmas legends and traditions.
Silent Night ~ This year commemorates the 200th anniversary of “ Silent Night,” the world’s most popular Christmas carol. Written by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber in 1818, the cherished hymn was first sung with guitar accompaniment on Christmas Eve in St. Nicholas Curch in Oberndorf, Austria. A chapel was later built on the site of this church. Bronner’s Silent Night Memorial Chapel in Frankenmuth, Michigan was built as an authorized replica of the chapel in 1992 in thankfulness to God by Bronner’s founders Wally and Irene Bronner.
Legend of the Poinsettia ~ Mexican legend tells of a boy who had no gift to put by the figure of the baby Jesus in church on Christmas Eve. On his way to church, he heard an angel tell him to pick some dried weeds for his gift. As he laid them beside the other gifts, the weeds turned into beautiful flowers. Dr. Joel Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, brought the plant to the United States where it was named poinsettia.
We finished the assemble by partaking in the American tradition of caroling. The students walked around the block and sang some of our favorite Christmas songs. Many of the students had never been caroling and thought it was funny to walk around and sign at the top of their lungs.
We have enjoyed spending time together this advent and we have opened our heart to the small joys of Christmas.
From all of us at Sacred Heart School, Merry Christmas and may God bless your families.
Anne Atkin, Principal
As we move through the advent season at Sacred Heart School, we have many special activities planned for our students and their families. This past week the 5th/6th grade orchestra students performed at the Anderson~Marry Funeral Home Open House. Under the direction of Mrs. Martinez, they made beautiful music. This is so amazing considering this is the first year for orchestra and the students have only had their violins or violas for 2 and a half months.
Next week, the 1st/2nd grade class will tour the Thompson Museum and on Tuesday we are taking an all-school field trip to the Hudson Cinema to watch the movie The Grinch with our families. On Friday, December 14th, the Emmaus Group will be hosting a special birthday celebration for Jesus. A special thank you to Linda Higgins for coming to the school to celebrate. On Saturday, December 15th, the students will be performing Carol and the Bells at 3:00 in the Church Hall, followed by a cookie exchange. All are welcome to attend. Our hope is that the students will learn that they are able to bring a lot of joy to our community during this season of preparing and waiting for Jesus.
May God bless you this advent season!
Anne Atkin, Principal
Posted by Anne Ellison Atkin on Sunday, December 2, 2018
Christ is Coming- Advent for the Weary
Every year when the Christmas season starts to roll out, I think of the VeggieTales movie “The Toy That Saved Christmas.” In the beginning of the movie, the kids are home alone and a package is delivered. They tear into it and a metal circle with a red button on it is revealed. They all look at each other and then one of them says, “push it.” He pushes it and a Christmas tree, fully decorated pops up to the ceiling. They all look back at it in wonder with a collective “oooohhhh”…Instant Christmas! One of the veggie kids receives the brand new Buzzsaw Louie in the mail and when he pushes his nose, the Buzzsaw Louie toy says, “You need more toys.” Larry, the cucumber says, “now that is the true meaning of Christmas!” Buzzsaw Louie unexpectedly says, “No, it isn’t.” The kids are confused. “Christmas isn’t about whining and begging for toys,” continues Louie. “Well then, what is it about?” asks Larry. Louie doesn’t know but he sets out to find the true meaning of Christmas.
I love this movie because it pokes fun at us. Advent is about waiting and preparing. Waiting is really hard for kids. It is really hard for adults. We want to begin celebrating Christmas earlier and earlier. That is okay. We are all ready to enjoy the fun and celebration that is connected to Christmas. Many of us have to think about Christmas very early to have time to prepare: to make cookies, to assemble packages, to rehearse for the Christmas pageant, to buy presents, to coordinate the company Christmas party; the list is endless. We are so busy and we have high hopes for the enjoyment our hard work will bring the people we love during our beautiful celebration.
But Jesus was born in a manger; in a stable. No glitter. No bling. No sparkle lights. Simple. Pure. Joyful. The most perfect gift ever given. A savior.
This advent, let’s remember that the best gift we can give is us. The gift of kindness to everyone. The gift of dedication to the people who count on us, the gift of hard work and service to our people. Come Holy Spirit and light my path to Christmas. Let us remember that we are enough. That we are a gift from God and we are truly blessed by God’s gift of Jesus. Let Jesus be our light, our truth and our savior this advent. The rest will figure itself out. Let this be an advent for the weary. May we find peace and solace as we do Your work to bring love and joy to the best celebration the world will ever know. Let our hearts be calm and our spirit joyful.
Anne Atkin, Principal
If you would like to watch this Veggie Tales story, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifIIayHN1po.
Thank you for supporting Catholic Education in your community.
We are so blessed! Sacred Heart School has the lowest tuition rate in the Diocese of Lansing, and one of the lowest in the state. We would like to keep it that way. We want our message to the community to be that Catholic education can be for everyone who wants it and who wouldn’t want it? Our small school community feels like a comfortable sanctuary for our families who are out navigating the world. It can be wild out there with busy schedules, heavy workload, invasive social media and just the pressure of raising a family. Sacred Heart School is the calm in the storm. Our students get the one-on-one attention in a loving, yet orderly setting. It is truly a school where learning and virtue are sacred; where students are taught to persevere. There is something magical going on in our halls and the formula for confident students is working.
On Saturday, it was clear that the community has taken notice. The “Be In our Heart Gala” brought overwhelming support for the school. The excitement and love for our little school was undeniable. From alumni, teachers, families, community members and supporters the message was clear: We love Sacred Heart School and believe in the power of Catholic education for the future of our country.
Thanks to all of you, we were able to raise $28,400 in profit at our gala.
Anne Atkin, Principal
GRATITUDE~ OUR LIGHT IN THE STORM
It is the time of year when we talk about gratitude. The days are getting shorter, and the darkness that comes so early in the evening tends to slow us down. It is the time of year when we reflect on how fast the days are going and how quickly we are coming to the end of another year. Where did the time go? The leaves have fallen off of the trees; the growth in the yard is done. We are gearing up for the frost and the wind and the cold. It is the perfect time to think, and with Thanksgiving approaching, to think about what we are thankful for. Most of us feel truly thankful for our family, our health, our home and maybe our job. But what about the times when being grateful is the last thing on our minds?
This week the students were challenged to think about times when things were not going their way. Times that seem a bit like a disaster or, at the very least, a disappointment. It seems that those are times when we need gratitude the most and we are the least grateful. Kallie, in the fifth grade, gave a great example. She told us that her family had adopted two dogs this past week and she had taken them for a walk in the woods. On the walk, she slipped and fell in the mud but she was grateful. Whatever for….we wondered. She was grateful that she was able to hang on to the leash. She knew the dogs would have run off and she might have lost them forever. Being muddy was a consequence that she accepted joyfully when faced with the thought of losing something precious.
It is easy to lose our joyful spirit when times are tough or stressful. I don’t know about you, but the season of gratitude is exactly what I need. My joyful spirit has been waning. Life can get hard, really hard; and the risk of failure can make it hard to see clearly. It is time to thank God for everything. To stop and open our eyes to the things that have become murky in our own struggles. We have so much to be thankful for. I pray that I can open my eyes and see everything in a new Divine light. Lately, I have been thankful to our church and school community. As a stranger to Hudson, Sacred Heart has been my rock and my home and I have learned an immeasurable amount from the people here. It has made all of the difference in my life and I am truly grateful.
Anne Atkin, Principal