The Terror in the Eyes of a Teacher: September 11th revisited

Here we find ourselves on the eve of that fateful day a year after this was originally posted. It was a day of change for me as well as many others. It had an impact reaching into each person a different way. For me that is where the idea a nonresistance and being separate entered my mind.

Today is September 11,2017. I will never forget that day that America was proven to not be invincible. Although I didn’t know it then I can now see how the events that took place 16 years ago in the past would shaped me in my convections of the future.Β Long before I dubbed the name Pilgrim Nicci and was a non resistant follower of Jesus Christ. I was a little girl in a hallway hearing things I shouldn’t of heard and feeling things I had never felt.

I remember that day distinctly and I remember thinking in my fourth grade mind that I’d have to remember this because it was something big. It was something I didn’t understand but it was big. I was in the hallway of the Christian school that I went to. I had just come in from volleyball practice and I remember feeling mortified because I was just starting to wear deodorant and a bra and I had forgotten both that day. I was lingering near my backpack as I desperately tried to formulate a plan to go talk to my mother who at the time worked as a preschool teacher downstairs in the same building. Time stopped as the principal of the school hastened from the upper grade room to that of my own. I looked up trying to smile but she looked past me as she got my teacher and began to share the morning events. I don’t remember the words that were spoken because they were in hushed tones. Neither of the adults even recognized that I was right there. Part of me was still in a panicked state about my of “womanly needs” and part of me was utterly terrified because I didn’t understand what was happening but my teachers face was contorted and asking the principal about a TV.

Right before they ended their conversation I slipped into the classroom because I didn’t want to be in trouble for eavesdropping and being late to class. All the other volleyball players had taken care of their business and had entered the classroom by that point. My classmates asked me if I had seen our teacher and if everything was ok. I believe they sensed something was off. I told them I didn’t know what was up but I thought it was bad.
The rest of the days events were filled with my teacher coming back in and explaining to the best of her abilities what had happened to the country that we deeply loved.

Recess didn’t hold the fun and games for me as I sat on top of the plastic rock replica. I heard boys laughing and making fun of the people in the planes. I heard girls wishing they could kill the evil people who had done this. I stood up and screamed “THIS ISN’T FUNNY! PEOPLE ARE DEAD! Planes crashing isn’t something to joke about and killing the killers isn’t ok! ” My friends slowly backed away and went on with their day.
I walked home that day and the days that followed and I remember for the first time my parents struggling to make ends meet. Gas prices went up,groceries left the shelves quickly,and fear set in. Life wasn’t the same after that day. And to think I spent my morning wondering if I smelled or if my chest was too big. Others spent their morning dying without Christ or losing a loved one. It’s strange how guilt can arise as an adult from childhood memories.
The months and years after 9/11 would be filled with American patriotism skyrocketing. People who previously hated each other now were friends. Flags would be flown where they hadn’t before. Tears were shed and men were enlisted. One thought in a Barns and Noble bookstore would change my thinking forever. I can’t say how many years after 9/11 this took place but I was definitely under the age of 13. A friend and I passed a row of calendars as we were talking about the normal girl stuff…boys. Oh how my friend loved the idea of marrying a military man! So strong,so brave,just like a modern day knight and shining armor! She stopped and looked at me and asked “Isn’t that the kind of man you want to marry?” My heart stopped and before I could think I said “No,I wouldn’t want to marry a murderer!”.

The rest is hazy but a conversation was had about how I wasn’t so sure that taking a life of someone because they did something wrong to you was ok.

So maybe I wouldn’t go on to understand nonresistance or what two kingdoms was until many many years later. I knew for certain how I believed on this one issue,even when it went against the childish beliefs of my best friend.
I perhaps don’t have the same memories of 9/11 as most Americans do. That’s most likely because I don’t identify with being American. Sure it’s the country I am fortunate enough to be Pilgriming through and oh I’m ever so thankful for its beautiful land and the religious freedom it has..for now.

However my memories of that day is realizing the evil of this world and its effects. The memories of a terrified girl not knowing what terror was when she fretted over her deodorant and bra but realizing what terror was when reflected in another humans eyes.
As long as the earth shall be in existence there will be evil. We have a choice how we deal with that evil. Do we join in and create more evil by battling with the weapons of this horrific world? I propose that we battle as the Word of God instructs us to. We should pick up our spiritual defenses and head fully armored into the spiritual battle. Leaving people alive to flee from their wickedness and change their citizenship unforced but broken in submission. Then only then have we won the battle against this earthbound kingdom.

Why I Deserve to Go to Hell but I Won’t

Are people generally good? Do people do the best that they can? I believe if you were to ask random people on the street they would say yes. I say no. Here is why. Genesis 3:6-13 depicts the fall of man and his response. Those of us that label ourselves affectionately Christians know the story like the back our hand. I’m not saying humans are not generally good because Adam and Eve fell,all though that is part of it. I would argue that it’s because of their response to that fall. Let’s take a slightly deeper look. They ate of the tree off knowledge of good and evil and their eyes were opened to their nakedness. Now here was their opportunity to fall before God and beg of His mercy but that’s not the choice they made. Instead in attempt to hide themselves they sewed fig leaves together. When God confronted them yet again there was the perfect opportunity to throw their hands up and confess their sins. Did they? No, Adam turned the blame from himself to not only Eve but God who created Eve. Oh dear Adam would you have played your cards differently if you would have known the ramifications of your actions? In my heart I would like to think so but I know better.

How do I know what Adam and Eve would of done if they knew the consequences? Simply put, I’ve been Adam and Eve before. I know the tragedy of realizing my sin even though I may have not known that I was sinning. I know the reality of choosing to sin willingly. I even know the pit in the stomach feeling of trying to cover up my sin. I know all to well that humans, specifically Nicci is not good.

Let me share a little bit of the reality of my sin with you. Now if you ask my mom or maybe even people that have known me fa while they may not know my inner heart or the depth of my sinful nature. I am not sharing this to make myself look bad or to bring glory to the person that I once was. I desperately want to call sin what it is and to share that there is redemption available. So let’s pick up when I was thirteen going on fourteen and then the early months of fifteen. I’d say I was the average middle school student. I was pretty innocent and I loved my parents. I was really excited to be going to a new school and moving to a new area,one close to my then best friend! The only thing not so normal about me was that my family was essentially homeless. We lived in a motel and would off and on for a long time. In some ways it was like an adventure and others it was drove me to try to fit in or to be as “good” as my peers.

Soon enough school was in full swing and I was making more friends. One day I got a note from my best friend that was from the guy we dubbed “the curly headed kid”. I didn’t know him but my friend and I would watch him and his mass amount of curly hair get on and off of the school bus each day. In this note was an invitation of sorts to our school dance. To say I was elated would be an understatement. I remember that night as if it happened yesterday. It was so fun and was nearly movie perfect. I could almost imagine the cast of high school musical break out in song at any moment. Yes, it is a fun and thrilling memory. Needless to say as time went on our relationship grew (as much as it can at age 13/14. I mean come on.) and we didn’t remain pure. Despite the fact him and his mom attended Church every Sunday and my mom would drop me off too. I had a desire to follow Jesus but had no clue how to do that. We were fairly active at that little local Methodist church. Unfortunately because of our impure relationship we often times were lying to our parents and that made me feel worse than the after effects of the sexual relationship did. I’d walk home knowing what I was engaging in was wrong. Slowly my time spent with this guy turned from fun or at the very least what I thought was normal to heartache and despair. We’d go to the local Dollar General and he’d steal stuff and I knew it. He’d get more rough with me and I’d start finding bruises on my body that happened while he was “teasing”. All these too big of emotions coupled with my teenaged hormones being out of wack caused me to cut…well what ever you call using a sharpened stick to harm yourself. I had no real desire to hurt myself but I knew tons of other girls did it and I read in my teen books of the angsty characters did it,so why shouldn’t I try? I felt sad and my boyfriend was no longer hurting me in private but now in public too! It all came crashing down one day when he kicked me into the other seat as I was getting off the bus. I retaliated and punched him back and called him a filthy name. The cops were called and of course I was the one to get reprimanded. The bus driver didn’t see what he had done only the punch I threw. Unfortunately I had deleted all of his possessive and hate texts because I was terrified of my mom seeing them. My whole life was one big mess and not a lot of people knew about it. I was dressing the part of a over sexualized teenager during the week and going to church on Sunday. My sin was monstrous and I deserved to go to hell.

“Sexy” expressions are what is displayed on nearly all of my pictures from that time

What we wear does change our actions

I’ve never typed that nor have I shared all the details of that time in my life. I suppose my mother knows more than most and I’m glad through it all she stood by my side.

So how does a filthy beaten down sinner escape hell? How does a person even begin to wash their dirty laundry in their past baggage? How do they lay their baggage down and walk away from it forever? Simply put,YOU don’t. Magnificently though God does! So although you,me,and lots of other nasty sinners have rotting past and there is no escape there is a savior! John 3:16 says For God so love the world (you/me) that He sent His only begotten son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish ( go to hell) but have everlasting life! Isn’t that absolutely amazing news? Doesn’t that make you want to leap for joy? It does me. So Jesus in His time here in earth detailed how a person can inherit eternal life through His life,death,and resurrection. His overarching message was that the kingdom of God is at hand. He showed us very clearly that being in a relationship with Him was so much more than get out of hell free card. It had some requirements and some duties that we must fulfill. You know because after all we are not naturally good. We desperately needed Him to spell things out for us. You see once Jesus’s blood cleans a person all up and the Holy Spirit comes to make it’s abode in us the requirements of kingdom life really are not a burden. They are in fact a joy to carry out. Now I’m not going to lie and say they are easy because sometimes simple stuff like loving my neighbor is hard. That’s where His grace comes in. We won’t ever be perfect and we will have a free will and Jesus knows that. Through our repentance and patterning our lives after His, we will become His disciple. Day by day the gap between you and your past will grow so vast that it’s not possible to cross it to the person that you once were. That in my opinion is where the assurance of salvation is apparent. You no longer see yourself how Satan wanted you to be but rather how God see you! Trust me when I say that Satan will tell you that you are worthless and trash. That you will never be far away from the label of your sin. I’m here to tell you that yes sin is absolutely unacceptable in the eyes of God. It does make you wrenched and nasty. However the relationship you enter into as a baby Christian and journey through into disciple is a purifying process and NO ONE can stake their claim to your life except Jesus Christ!

This is the real me. The me that has JOY!

No,people are not good;but Jesus Christ is!

Much love,

Pilgrim Nicci

You are Only as Hopeless as You Choose to Be

In the midst of living in this kingdom that is not my own it can be easy to slip in to wanting to sympathize or some how connect with the people around that are broken and hurting over what this kingdom has to offer. When things like mass shootings become something that is just a normal, decline of humans being able to connect with other humans because of the false reality that social media and words like introvert have brought to the table,and the American Dream is a vocabulary that a child in ingrained with all through school then yes it is easy to desperately want to feel the hopelessness of it all. However I don’t feel hopeless, I feel thankful. I feel thankful for the kingdom of God and the fact that IF followers of Jesus Christ actually practice what they preach,then there will be nothing like we see as we scroll on our phones. I’m thankful for a community of believers that wouldn’t let a member get so disconnected from reality that they would have no opportunity to socialize outside of their computer. I’m thankful for a job where I’m surrounded by the kingdom of God and its soldiers. I don’t have to worry about being shot in my classroom. Sure it is a small possibility but I have no fear. These children are His,I am His,my Coworkers are HIS! My God doesn’t allow something to happen that He has not authorized first. I rest in that knowledge. I have peace in that knowledge. I can wake up each day and have hope of a beautiful future by that knowledge!

So as I scroll and I hear murmurings I do feel some sort of pity for those that lost their lives and I do feel for those that choose willingly to stay at home instead of be connected with a community. It would seem hopeless IF you didn’t have a loving creator that has this whole big world in His hands!

Before I knew Jesus all I thought about was death and I had great fear of it. Now death only holds minimal sadness. What I fear is a life unredeemed for those that I love. There is still time loved ones to cry out to the God who created you and ask Him to show Himself to you clearly! You then too will not have to suffer as this vain world chooses to suffer.

Eight is Great

There are a few things that have made this new school year a smooth transition. I switched to a smaller classroom,took out DVD classes,and switched to a new curriculum. I was absolutely panicked by the end of last year. I could see absolutely no way that I’d survive the upcoming school year. I begged God to give me a new opportunity elsewhere. I prayed for guidance, others worried over me as a labored and finally made the hesitant decision that I’d return the next school year. Honestly if I wasn’t the one going through the heart wrenching process of finding contentment and ripping layers and layers of laziness away, I would of fired me. Luckily I was given grace beyond what I deserve and was able to grow into my decision. I think I needed somehow to go through this painful process. I needed to grow and rid my life of some things that were holding me back as a teacher. 

 Four weeks into the school year I couldn’t have manufactured a better class. These kids have risen to the challenge of “relearning” and have found joy in structure. Man,if I could give each of my students a million bucks I would! Seriously…come visit sometime and take note of them. I take no credit ( although my flesh wants to). It’s all God who has supplied our needs!

Ok thanks for humoring me as we took a rabbit trail on our way to my actual point of this post. 

 I have found 8 keys to making our classroom run more smoothly. 

1. An electric pencil sharpener. Now don’t you laugh! I had this last year but it was my baby and only I could touch it. Let’s be honest…I was lazy and EVEN with a pencil sharpener I didn’t want to take the time to sharpen all the germ filled pencils. I have let go of my attachment to the sharpener and now each student is required to sharpen their two pencils each afternoon. Oh read that correctly…2! 

2. That brings me to my second favorite classroom item. Wasi tape in assorted colors. I never knew the amazing wonders of this stuff until I had a plan and no way to execute it. Each child gets 2 pencils. Each child child has a color associated with their desk,cubby,and pencils. They are not to pick the tape off, If they do( well I don’t know what will happen but neither do they) something will happen. So far no lost pencils and not tape has been picked! Woot woot teacher/student win!

3. Newsletter&a Teachers binder. I have had a teacher binder every year that I have taught. Some years it gets shoved in a file drawer never to be seen again. Other years( like this year) it’s my right had man! I used to spend HOURS on a classroom email. I put elaborate details about the day,upcoming events,and classroom needs. It became very obvious one year that A. The parents didn’t appreciate it and B. I was resenting that they didn’t like it. So last year I simply did NOTHING. New teachers out there,take a tip. It’s always good to have communication with the parents even if everything is “going ok”. This year I decided to come up with a simple template for a printed classroom newsletter. It’s short,sweet,and to the point. I have fun choosing new colors and I don’t have to worry about parents liking it or not. Once it’s in the backpack I let it go. They have the information and I don’t have to fret about the basic classroom stuff not being conveyed. 

4. “The Hat” AKA the strainer with pipe cleaners. My students get finished with their work for the day they go and grab”The Hat”. They can spend forever weaving the pipe cleaners in and out of the hat attempting to make to next student have a challenge when they try to remove them. All but one student has loved it! 

5. Reading buttons- Sometimes I really wonder if in another lifetime I was a genius! Book buttons were my five second brain child while listening to a student being lackadaisical in their reading. I had purchased these buttons on instagram and had no clue what to do with them. Basically students earn a button during reading class. They must earn 5. Once 5 are earned they can keep them or cash them in for a number of treats or privileges.

6. Line order/Bible memory tags- These aren’t 100% my idea. I stole the line rage idea from our kindergarten teacher. I added a twist with adding the years worth of memory verse references on them. I really struggle with Bible memory in my personal life and as a teacher requiring it. However I see the tremendous blessing in committing the Word of God to memory. So far we are buzzing through our list and it looks like these might only last part of the school year! Please send suggestions!!!

7. Whiteboard calendar-Wasi tape and a whiteboard to the rescue! This also wasn’t an original idea. It was taken from one of the upper grade teachers. This has helped me keep track of discipline issues because I can simply put the punishment and child’s name on the little board for my memory and theirs. It’s erasable and multiple usable!

8. Last but not least GOOGLY EYES AND JEWEL HEARTS- The single best investment of my entire career. Oh and glue dots. If you haven’t watched my video on instagram or Facebook please do. Basically I teach a penmanship lesson and then time my students on theirs writing. Meanwhile I tell them what they are working for. I stick them on my hands,on my glasses,or wherever. They giggle then get straight to work! Oh my goodness handwriting has never been so much fun! 
What are some of your fun “must haves”?
Much love,Pilgrim Nicci

Kids,cactus,killing, and colors…OH MY!

I can honestly say today was a day unlike any other. Up until this point I truly thought I had seen it all. I was wrong. The following stories are nearly impossible to recreate using types words but yet I feel that I must try. I honestly believe today was the most amusing and enjoyable first day of school. Here’s a few stories for your enjoyment.

Little girl: Miss Nicci? 


Little girl: Do you want to know what my favorite color would be if you were to ask me my favorite color?

Me: Sure what’s your favorite color?

Little girl: You! You’d be my favorite color! *gives me a huge hug* I love you and your the best color! I’m glad I’m in your class!

Me:*melts into a puddle of rainbow happiness*

So I’m walking around my teeny tiny perfectly delightful classroom when I see something “a little off”. I see a boy student behind the blinds arms poking through the slots. 

Me:” Hey—-what do you suppose you’re doing?”

Boy:*pulls arms out and falls to the ground bringing with him the cactus in the window*

Me: let me see your hands( he was fine but of course it hurt) see that’s what happens when you disobey…

Boy: Well I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do that.

Me: ( Hmm I guess I didn’t think to add that to classroom rules)

🌡🌡🌡 🌡 🌡🌡🌡🌡🌡🌡🌡
I’m instructing one grade to do something when I look over to see one of my other grades boys eating a purple crayon. Like let’s be very clear about something. He wasn’t licking it or putting it near his mouth…he was taking actual bites and swallowing it! 

Me:Umm—–I don’t want you to eat your crayons. Ok? They are for coloring not for eating.

Boy :(gets a super serious face) *big sad sigh* Miss Nicci, I just really like to eat crayons….and Miss Nicci, I also like to eat grass too.

Me:( I have no real words of wisdom) Well that’s a bit different…

Same boy later runs up to me as they are lining up.



Boy: I killed a mouse!


Boy:Yeah it was just in the grass and I saw it move. So I just stepped on it! 

Me:Huh? You what?

Boy: Yeah I stepped on it and I didn’t know it would do that but it squeaked. I killed it. 

Me:(once again no wise words just amazement…) I guess we won’t need mouse traps now. 

🐭 🐭🐭🐭🐭🐭🐭🐭🐭🐭🐭
I ask my students to think about something they might find while driving that is green,yellow,and red. I was obviously looking for the answer of a traffic light.
Me:—-Do you know what would be those colors?

Boy:Ummm hmmm ummm

Me: Oh come on you know it let’s think.

Boy:ummm hey I know! Green grass…gold….and JESUS’S BLOOD!!!!

Me:Well great try but no that’s not what I’m looking for.
SERIOUSLY? We see grass( ok yes) and gold and Jesus’s blood as we drive? Hey A for effort kid!

I throughly enjoyed today as possibly one of the best first days I’ve ever had. My students were rocking it and seemed pretty excited from beginning to end! 

Are you or a teacher or have been in the past? I’d love to hear your funny kid stories!
Much love, Pilgrim Nicci