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God's Photo Album: How We Looked for God and Saved Our School

Overview

Shelly Mecum and her students had a dream -- and enough courage and faith to make their dream soar. Tirelessly optimistic and fiercely determined to save the struggling Ewa Beach elementary school on Oahu, Hawaii, Mecum mobilized a community to realize her vision: a spiritual quest for God and a brave book-writing adventure. Some 168 young children and their families, ranging from five to eighty years old, toted cameras, notebooks, and pencils across the island by bus, trolley, and glass-bottom boat. Their ...

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Overview

Shelly Mecum and her students had a dream -- and enough courage and faith to make their dream soar. Tirelessly optimistic and fiercely determined to save the struggling Ewa Beach elementary school on Oahu, Hawaii, Mecum mobilized a community to realize her vision: a spiritual quest for God and a brave book-writing adventure. Some 168 young children and their families, ranging from five to eighty years old, toted cameras, notebooks, and pencils across the island by bus, trolley, and glass-bottom boat. Their mission? To find God. And -- each in their own way -- they did: in palm trees and koi ponds, on rugged shores, in the Hard Rock Cafe, and in one another.

Here are their surprising snapshots and inspiring observations, offering unforgettable moments of grace. Proof that no dream is too big, this story will capture the hearts of everyone who wants to know how to find God.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060654535
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Shelly Mecum has been a reading and writing teacher and is now an author in residence at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Ewa Beach on Oahu, Hawaii.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Bus Number One heads for the windward side of the island. Its first stop is the Nuuanu Pali Lookout. The windward side of the island is so called for the prevailing cloud-laden westerly trade winds that blow in from the ocean and stack up against the Koolau Range, unloading misty rains. Rainbows dazzle the eyes here.

From a V-shaped crack, the Pali Lookout provides sweeping vistas of the almost perpendicular fluted cliffs of the green Koolaus, which stretch from the northern to the southern tips of the island, down to the tropically lush valleys two and three thousand feet below and across a verdant plain to the distant ocean. The winds can blow here with such force that walking is difficult. Eight-year-old Sarah Espiritu's pen is blown right out of her hand as she writes in her notebook. A mother reaches deep into her purse and hands her a spare one.

From there the bus winds steeply down to Kailua town to stop for a moment at Kailua Beach. The shade from the ironwood trees at the edge of the powdery white sandy shores provides respite from the burning rays of the sun. Many windsurfers frequent this beach to take advantage of the frequent gusty onshore winds. This beach is equally popular with families because of the safe swimming.

Next they travel to the secluded Community of Lanikai, with its breathtaking view of the uninhabited Moku Lua Islands. These two islands serve as bird sanctuaries. The water is calm here as well, protected by reefs offshore.

The last stop is the Valley of the Temples, home of the Byoda-In Temple, an exact replica of the Byoda-In Temple built nine hundred years ago in Uji, Japan. Onthe drive in, the bus passes a cemetery laid out on wide-open grassy hills. The serenity of the koi ponds, temple bell, waterfalls, peacocks and the striking Curtain of the Koolau Mountain Range transport all visitors to another time and place.

Bus One seeks God in these tranquil locations. And God is found. The children and their families find God actively participating in our world in many surprising ways. On this day, God leads an ambulance to safety. He walks the beaches ensuring that no one drowns. He gives life, takes life, and guides each Soul in between. He sculpts nature into interesting designs as He continues to create worlds within worlds. He tenderly feeds a peacock and is concerned with His creature's happiness. God helps the newborn fish swim through the waves as He helps us swim through life. God likes to swim and be seen, blow and make waves, and grow palm trees tall. He is heard making lots of noise in the form of a bell. God is seen up in a palm tree — singing.

Yes, God is busy in our world. Yet He is not too busy to create pink flowers just to make one little boy happy.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
No One Heard the Thunder 8
God, Only You Can Save This School 16
The Journey: The Best for the Best 52
1 I See God Up in the Palm Tree Singing 60
2 He Is the Rock 66
3 I Have Learned That God Lives in the Hard Rock Cafe 76
4 God Is Here Taking Care of the Living and the Dead 86
5 God's Lovely Dreams for the Future 94
6 I See God Waiting for Someone to Talk To 104
7 I See God Playing Hide-and-Go-Seek 112
8 Another of God's Creatures Has the Chance to Claim the Sky 122
9 It's You I See! 130
10 God Spreads His Love to All of Us 138
11 I Felt God's Presence All Around Me 146
12 I See God's Heart 152
13 I Find God in Imagination 158
14 Finding God, I'm in Tears Again 166
15 God Is Everywhere--and Then Some 176
Is This the School That Wrote the Book? 182
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2002

    Want to get inspired, read this book

    From the first few pages, you know this book is special. The story of one girl/teacher, and what she dreamed. And how that dream came true to save a school. This should be a movie of the week. A wonderful story, a wonderful message. I loved it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2001

    What an incredible journey!

    The book takes the reader along for an unforgettable voyage of discovery. What you think might be just a picture book begins tugging at your heart like a child pulling you by the hand. It was not long before I realized that I was the one looking and that what I was looking for had been there all along. The many stories about the families, the school and the community that are intertwined among the chapters, combine to tell one glorious tale of one sunny day in Oahu when a community found God so that we may learn how to find Him ourselves.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2001

    1 of a Kind!!!

    I met the author at a speaking seminar at the NCEA convention in Milwaukee, WI this past week and instantly my life was changed! She made an impact on me that I can't even describe! I laughed, cried, and sat in 'awe' listening to her story of how this book finally came to be...miracle after miracle... The book is beautiful and I plan to give it as a gift to many! She made a difference in the futures of many of 'our' children and made them realize that NOTHING is impossibe or beyond reach if you believe in GOD, prayer, and never give up! Thank you Shelly, I plan to help keep this quest going and pass the idea on to my children and hopefully many others....to open their hearts and eyes and 'find God'!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2010

    I played a part in this book!

    I was only 7 or 8 years old when this was done... and I still find the story inspiring now that I am 20. If you read the excerpt, the little girl who lost her pen is me (haha). I remember how windy it was at the Pali look out and trying to hold everything without getting myself knocked over was difficult... ANYWAY! I still find it relaxing to pick up this book and read about the miracles and blessings from God from the eyes of children of 4/5 years old to those who are 90+ I recommend it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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