My Lesson, Praising as I Ought

Penny Schwap wrote of her grandson’s 4-H heifer.  He had high hopes for the fair.  She was a beautiful animal. . .  but she was stubborn and easily spooked.  Because she could be a danger to others, she couldn’t be taken to the fair. Penny compared that behavior to parts of her life when she missed out  on God’s best for her. . . because she stubbornly wanted to do it her way!  Her prayer, “Guiding God, You want the best for your children.  Help me remember that, when I follow you.  I’m always a part of your main event.”


One of my greatest lessons in life is praising God with a thankful heart.  Learning to praise him in the good times is easy.  Praising Him in the hard times is much more difficult.  . . Praise Him in the strong times. . . Praise Him in the weak times.  Are you getting the message?  Praise Him in every condition.  Ours is not to question how or why? . . . God in His supremeness has a plan–THE PLAN.


“How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

In a believer’s ear

It soothes the sorrows

Heals his wounds

And drives away his fear.


It makes the wounded Spirit whole

And calms the troubled breast

Tis manna to the hungry soul

And to the weary, rest.

. . . Jesus, My Shepherd, Husband,

Friend, My Prophet, Priest, and King,

My Lord, my life, my way, my end.

Accept the praise I bring.


Weak is the effort of my heart,

And cold my warmest thought,

But when I see Thee as Thou art,

I’ll praise Thee as I ought.


First Ten Days of School!

Here we go. . . The first ten days of school:
1. Build a community! Talk about strengths and weakness of all the classmates. Stress that you are a classroom–a family of learners. Do many activities that promote co operative learning, communication, listening, etc. Activities can be found in TRIBES and James Leslie’s Camp Adventure manual.
2. Teach procedures for success at school. Where do you put belongings? When and how to sharpen pencils? When to interrupt teacher? When NOT to interrupt teacher:), Where to get supplies and tools? Where to put finished work? Where to put homework and notes from home?
3. Start a Job Chart. . . teach a couple of jobs each day so that students can walk in and get started independently at the beginning of school. NOT COPY WORK! You will be able to check homework, meet with students, take attendance without interruption. The next day, review previous jobs and add two more. Jobs can be based on standards and skills: Science, Soc Studies, Math, Language Arts. Workshop Way had jobs by grade level that I used for years. . . then I tweaked them.
4. Discuss bullying. . . what it is and what it isn’t. Why it happens and how to respond as a bystander. Lester Laminack has a book, Bullying, with the five stages and mentor text to use with each.
5. Tattling. . . no need for it! You need to know if someone is hurt or property is destroyed. . . what to do, how to handle, art of walking away!
6. What to do when you think you are finished with an assignment or project. . . how do you know you are finished? Job time is great for those to go to when others are finishing up, but make sure they aren’t in a hurry to do that, and not finish the assignments.
7. Teacher/Student conference time and place. . . important conversations whether it is in Reading, Writing, Math, Sc/Soc time. Private area that you can meet individually. You may have a conference area that would allow meeting with small group. Teach the difference.
8. DEAR time is important. Teach students how to select just write books for their tubs. I had mine select 4 and they kept them for the week. We talked about practicing basketball and baseball and doing some of the skills over and over again. Reading a book over again will make us stronger too. I would drop a couple in their boxes . . just to make they had some that were truly just right. My library was sectioned off: LA area, Science Area, Social STudies Area, Fiction, Non Fiction and Poetry areas. Getting them back in the right section was always a challenge.
9. Writer’s Notebook. . . the purpose of this is for the student to be able to write whatever they want here. . . seeds of stories to plant, ideas that may or may not grow into stories. It is NOT a journal for prompts. It is NOT a reader’s response notebook.
10. Begin the day with a positive greeting to welcome them to school. They need to feel safe and loved during this time. End the day with DEAR time, discussing the joys of the day, reading to them. . . a calm and positive time to get ready to face the bus ride or home life. . . it can be a tough world out there.
Your first ten days are the most important of the year! . . Be simple, be kind, be supportive, be a community of learners including the teacher! Have a great year!!

Thus Far. . .

Thus Far . . .


Monday was a beautiful day.  Yuri and I were enjoying the morning in the gazebo. . . dew on the grass sparkled like diamonds.  Birds were  singing a beautiful aria. A gentle breeze was fluttering the flag quietly. . . I pondered. . . a hymn, one of my favorites.


Thus far the Lord has led me on:

His power prolongs my days.”


What did he see in me that He would give me life –twice?? He continues to give me strength for the day, for the battles of the world.


“And every evening shall make known

Some fresh memorials of His grace.”


Every night when I lay my head on my pillow, I thank God for my church, my wonderful family, my great country, my friends. I thank God for His love, grace, and mercy.


I lay my body down to sleep;

Peace is the pillow for my head.

While well appointed angels

Keep their watchful

Stations round my bed.


In vain the sons of earth or hell

Tell me a thousand frightful things,

My God in safety makes me dwell

Beneath the shadow of His wings.”


Worries and fears have often plagued me throughout my life.  Am I good enough — as a person? A wife? A mom? A teacher? A friend? I always seem to fall short.  Would Rich survive? Would the girls be okay? Could I go on alone/ The list goes on and on and on.  But I have found whenever I look up, put one foot in front of the other, God is by my side–Never to leave me alone.


Much of my time has run to waste.

And I, perhaps, am near my home;

But he forgives my follies past;

He gives me strength for days to come.


Thus far the Lord has led me on.”

Heaven. . .

Heaven. . . we are all curious about Heaven. . . I am sure it will be magnificent.  Isabel Wolseley wrote wondering there would be yellow roses, verbena, or hollyhocks?  Will there be homemade ice cream, juicy watermelon, or cinnamon/honey baklava?  AJ asked why Pap didn’t take his red Chevy to Heaven, and would he miss us as much as we miss him?  Dakota wrote about a friend, Lance, . . . what would he be doing in Heaven on Christmas.  We all have visions in our mind.  I’m pretty sure Mom would be hoeing in the heavenly garden. Dad would be in the choir, and Wilma would be leading the singing. . . and Rich. . . he would be on a long distance run or doing the Air Force exercises that he loved to do. . . strong and healthy again!


Some say we won’t know our loved ones, because souls have no images like here on Earth . . .we won’t even care because we’ll be so amazed by all the beauty.  That may be true. I don’t really know.  But I think I’ll ponder and believe that I’ll know Rich again. . . even for just a little bit.  We have hugs and kisses to give, stories to tell, and walks to take.


We’ll meet our friends who’ve gone before

Over in the heavenly homeland

Yes, meet and greet to part no more

Over in the heavenly homeland.”


“This grand city we’re told

Has its streets paved with gold,

And its walls decked with jewels so rare;

There our Lord is the light,

And His love their delight

And His praise they’ll ever declare.”


How about you. . . what are your thoughts?

Leaning on a Wall

I had a lovely weekend with church family and a blessed service. God has a plan.
It is a beautiful day this morning in the gazebo. 70 degrees already. . .cloudy and a gently breeze blowing. Wind chimes are softly singing. My devotional book has touched my heart and leading me into many places and directions.
Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye my people, saith your God.
I pray all that are struggling will be comforted. . . those that have lost loved ones, those that are troubled and lost, those that I have no way of knowing their needs. . . but God does.
We all need a strong wall to lean on now and then. Leaning on a real wall (to rest and get our second wind) releasing tension in your shoulders, arms, stomach. you can feel the stress release. . . try it.
Elizabeth Sherrill wrote, “In time of crisis, we learn to lean on God just as you would a wall in your home. It’s when we learn the difference between believing God and trusting Him. . . let me notice walls today–remembering that the walls of your city stand forever.”
Psalm 56:3 “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”
I watched the Patriot (Mel Gibson) last evening. It was a sad time of war in our country. I pray God will bless this nation and the war of words and deeds will end . . and we can unite as one nation again!


Do you get so busy in your life that you barely notice your surroundings?  I do! Busy is a funny word. . . busy with mundane chores? Busy with enjoyable tasks?  Busy with TV watching?  Busy with watching birds?  I think we can really make time for the things we love. . . but are you too busy to notice your community?  How can you help?  What can you do to improve your little area?  . . . small little things can mount up for a big change–get busy about changing the world. . . one small random act of kindness every day. . . be a BUSY world changer!!


May 23, 1947. . . Today would have been Rich’s seventieth birthday!  Amazing! It just wasn’t in God’s plan.  I posted several pictures. . . many commented how Brock and AJ resembled him

. . . I thought so, but thought it was just me.  I think about going to the cemetery. . . I know he isn’t there.  Where and what do I do to feel closer to him?  Lunch at Red Lobster?  Mow and care for our church that he loved dearly? A walk through Christy Woods, our “Owen County,” get away during college?  Resting in the courtyard that he loved. . . a shaded, peaceful, escape from the world.  This evening will be a ballgame watching Brock.


I know I don’t need to go anywhere  to be with him. He is with me always, because his love is in my heart.  That was the biggest surprise in his death.  I thought I would have to stop loving him when he died—SO NOT TRUE. . . my love continues every day!  We said for ALWAYS!


In his last days, he wanted me to promise three things. . . . 1.  Mow the weeds under his red Chevy! :), 2,  No flowers on his grave, but always put an American Flag, and 3. Be Happy!  I have kept all three promises.  My family, friends, students, have brought me much happiness and joy in these twelve years since Rich left.
This travel of grief is a personal journey.  . . you can’t avoid it, go around it, or try and skip it. . . . You just have to muddle through the best you can. No one can do it for you. BUT know that the love you felt will last . . . ALWAYS!!!