Things Are Not Always What They Seem

   Things are not always what they seem. When we went to Rich’s ten year reunion, some came up and said that they thought he was a snob, because he never talked to anyone.  WOW!  Anyone that knew Rich, would laugh at that . . . he was just shy and stayed away from drama.  

Sometimes we put on a “mask” and just let people see what we want them to see. Things are not always what they seem.  

    We as teachers do need eyes in the back of our heads and ears that tune into the little things.  Do we see students that don’t fit in the small desk and chairs.? We tell them to sit up and pay attention, but do we understand that their parents are in jail or gone?  Do we understand that they haven’t a clue as to what we are doing but just don’t know how to ask for help. . . Do we understand that their is no food at home? Or twelve people are living in their house and it is too noisy to sleep. . . or they have been abused???  

     Things are not always what they seem. . . talk softer, make our students feel safe!  Let them know how we care and we make mistakes often.  Love knows no failure!  Guide, love, nurture

. . . sometimes things are just not what they seem!


     Micah 6:8 . . . “what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”  May I always remember things are not always what they see. . . and show love and mercy to my students first and foremost!  They may not remember what I taught them

. . . but they will remember how i made them feel. . . loved and special!



Dad . . . Still Singing Songs

Anyone that knew Dad, knew that he loved to sing and had a beautiful bass voice . . . to list all his favorite songs would take many pages.  He won a singing contest at the nursing home singing Amazing Grace. The Taylor University choir was visiting on another day. Someone told one of the students that it was Dad’s birthday.  She came over and asked, “John can we sing happy birthday to you?”  Dad smiled and said, “That would be great, but I’d rather you sing Amazing Grace.”  She turned to tell the others but before they could start, Dad started singing.  Soon everyone one joined it. . . it sounded like a choir of angels. The gal came back over to him and said, “ You really can sing!”  Dad chuckled and replied proudly. . . “I have been singing all my life!”


Another favorite. . .

Take My Hand Precious Lord


When my way groweth drear
Precious Lord linger near

When my life is almost gone;

Hear my cry, hear my call,

Hold my hand lest I fall,

Take my hand precious Lord,

Lead me home.


. . . .Nearing life journey’s end,

By my Guide, be my Friend,

Give me strength Lord,

To overcome,

I’ll not go alone,

For by grace I’m Thine own

Take my hand, precious Lord,

Lead me home!


Precious Lord, take my hand,

Lead me on, let me stand

I am tired, I am weak,

I am worn.

Thru the storm, thru the night,

Lead me on to the light.

Take my hand precious Lord,

Lead me home~~~~4/18/15

Charity. . . What Can You Do?

Charity. . .  I Corinthians 13 praises charity. Dad loved this chapter. . . I can have knowledge and faith thinking that is really good stuff, but if I have not charity. . . I am NOTHING!  . . .
“Charity suffereth long and is kind. . . it is not puffed up. . . it is not easily provoked.  Charity never faileth. . . And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three, but the greatest is charity.”


A giving heart is a wonderful thing to have. There are so many needy people in  our communities.  They are all in need of different things.  It isn’t always money.  TIME. . . what can you give? Mentoring our students. . . helping them read, practice math and spelling. What a wonderful gift.  Hike through Mounds Park, sit and visit on a porch. . . just be with them. Play games. That is a gift. Helping others get groceries, mow yards, trim bushes, wash windows, clean house. . . all those are such needed gifts.


KIND WORDS. . .notes, cards, and letters are a dying treasure.  Send them to a nursing home, veterans, and people in your community. There are refrigerators that need children’s drawings. . . that will bring a smile and lift a spirit.  Let them know they are special and appreciated.


MONEY  and charity are not synonymous. . . but just one form of charity.  We all have our special organizations that have touched our lives that we make our donations.  It was during our first few years of marriage that I would pay bills on Saturday night.  A portion of what was left was given to the church.  I thought this was what God would think responsible, taking care of the family.  Sometimes it was more and sometimes it was much less.  But one of our ministers spoke on giving to the church should be first and all else would fall into place.  I began paying more money, a constant amount. . . the other bill have always just fell into place.


We have a wonderful, giving community.  Home Ec Clubs, church organizations, and individuals have supported our lunch program for students that need help.  School supplies are plentiful too.  You would be surprised how many glue sticks and pencils it takes for a year.  We have volunteers that help with after school homework or eat lunch with students that just need a friend.


What can you do?. . . the greatest is charity!

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?