Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thank you, Lord...for my childhood

Dear Heavenly Father,

Forgive me for taking my childhood and my country for granted. Hardly ever giving it a thought. In light of what is going on in the world and the only seems right to really stop and thank you. To thank you for as much as I can think of.

Thank you for blessing me with good and loving parents. They never abused me...physically, sexually, or emotionally. No one in my family did. Thank you! Thank you that you always fed me. I never worried about whether or not I would eat. In fact, I could go to the refrigerator or cupboard pretty much anytime that I wanted to. In the morning, I never thought twice about getting lunch money from the dish on mom's dresser before leaving for school. It was always there. I always had access to clean water to drink and to bathe in. It was easy to get walking for miles and hauling it home for me. I never had to wear torn or ragged clothing...or shoes that were too small. I had a choice every single day from a variety of clothing hanging in my closet or in my dresser drawers. If I wasn't satisfied with that, I could usually borrow something from one of my sisters. And that wasn't all...if I was bored with my wardrobe, I could usually coerce my parents to drive us to the mall to buy something new. I had more than one pair of shoes. My clothes were lovingly washed regularly and folded for me. I always had a winter coat, boots, knit hats and gloves in the winter....not to mention a home to be warmed and welcomed in. I had a bed to sleep in. I never had to fear that a rocket would hit my house as I slept...or anytime for that matter.

I was allowed to get an education...even though I was a girl. It was free! I could even walk to school or ride a bus there every day without fearing for my safety. I had access to textbooks, school supplies and a school library. I had good teachers. I went to a school that I felt safe in. We had all the equipment that a school needed in the 1970's and 80's...and even extra things. I was not scorned by the kids at school. I was accepted, for the most part. No one accused me of being a terrorist or a murderer because of my race or religion. Sure, there was the occasional bully...but because of my secure homelife...I believed I was worth something, in spite of what they tried to tell me. I was reassured by my parents over and over again that I was created by a loving God, that I was a good girl and that they loved me too. I was encouraged, praised, believed in...and yes...occasionally disciplined when I needed it. I was taught to be able to discern right from wrong. I had excellent role models who practiced what they preached. Thank you. This gave me security and direction. It made me understand who I was and who I could become as I grew up.

I didn't have to be afraid that people would discover that I went to church, owned a Bible or that I was a Christian. We did not have to meet secretly in someone's house or barn to worship. No one was going to arrest my parents because of their relationship with Christ. I had pastors, youth group leaders, Sunday school teachers...and later on I had Young Life leaders who modeled the Christian life for me, handed me the torch of faith and cheered me onward! Thank you for other people in my church growing up...who I knew were Christians and impacted me. They were not always formal teachers, but they taught me what it meant to love and follow God just the same. They are too numerous to list, but I can think of a few key people. Mrs. M DeVries, Mrs. J DeVries, Mrs B McGovern, Mrs. M Lamberts, Mrs. C Lowater, Mr. S Justice, J Perez,....too many to name! At my church, I didn't have to worry about rebels breaking in and chopping off someone's limb, burning down my church, or killing my pastor. It sounds so horrible to speak of...but these are real things that Christians around the world sometimes have to face. I just cannot imagine the horror of it.

In my country, I can say what I want and choose what to believe...even if it isn't politically popular. I do not live in fear! I can disagree with my neighbor without them reporting me to the authorities. I had the freedom to choose any career that I wanted to pursue. There were no social or economical barriers for me. I never had to sneak off to take a dangerous boat ride to the shores of a foreign country just because the leaders of my country were so evil. I was never denied entry to any country. I don't remember ever feeling hated or ostracized because of my skin color.

As a kid, I had a bike of my own. I could just hop on it and ride it to a friend's house or to the dairy to buy an ice cream or candy. I did not fear my friends' parents or the shop keepers, come to think of it. They were friendly. I lived in a good and safe community. Even strangers were pretty safe when I was growing up. If I got hurt, someone helped me. In fact, I remember becoming very ill once when I was out running as a teenager. (Probably because I wasn't much of a runner....but that's another story) An older couple stopped and asked me if I needed help. I was so sick that I couldn't even walk home. They gave me a ride in their car to my house. I never found out their names. Thank you for that blessing...that you sent people to help me when I needed it.

As a child, I had toys, pets, and a swing set. I could turn on any electrical device with a simple switch on the wall. The electricity didn't go out constantly. We had heat and insulation in our house. Our house was sturdy. It had 10 rooms in it, plus an attic and garage! (Not to mention several closets) I even had my own bedroom for part of my childhood! We had a clean, working toilet and shower in our house! I could watch TV, listen to the radio or go outside to play in the neighborhood. I went camping, swimming, roller skating, ice skating and to birthday parties. We had a big garden in our backyard that yielded a crazy amount of vegetables. I didn't always appreciate it as a kid...but I sure do thank you for the nutritious food I had as a kid today! I heard not too long ago about some kids in Haiti who have to resort to eating dirt cakes just to fill their stomachs! Wow! Lord, I thank you so much for every bite of squash that my parents made me eat as a kid. I hated it...but thank you for that squash! I also had access to affordable healthcare. I had immunizations that kept me healthy and regular dental care so I had good teeth. I even was blessed to have orthodontic work to correct an overbite. Thank you!

I had a mother who asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday, and I always got a present. Grandma and grandpa would come over, and they would give me hugs, kisses, and some money in a birthday card. They would say, "You can buy whatever you want with it." Sometimes I even had a friend stay over night for my birthday. I almost always had someone to play with because I was blessed to be the middle of two girls. One was two years older and the other was two years younger. I was never too little or too much older to play with either one or the other. Thank you for my sisters, Lord. We are still good friends today. My dad always had a job, and he and my mother were always healthy. I never had to go through the loss of either one of them as a kid. Dad would come home after work and he was always glad to see us. I would climb up on his lap and he would read a book to me. I remember seeing my parents kiss each other. They loved each other. I never worried that they were going to get a divorce.

Heavenly Father, I could go on and on and on and on about what a wonderful childhood and upbringing I had. Not everyone is as blessed as I was. Help me to realize this everyday, never to take it for granted, and to have compassion for those suffering in this world. Help me to love every one of the teenagers in my school who come into the library that I am fortunate enough to be able to work in. Help me to love every one of the kids who hate libraries and never set foot in one unless forced to do so. Help me to always recognize that the tough and defiant kid...might be hurting inside. Maybe they are not living the ideal childhood. Or maybe they are...but don't realize it yet. Holy Spirit, I need your help to see them the way you see them.

Thank you! Thank you! I have not said it enough in the past...and I know I won't say it enough in the future.

Thank You, Father!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Miracle of the Eggs

It was August of 1990. I was 23 years old and working at a Christian summer camp up on Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. I worked in the kitchen and was one of the head cooks. I had a crew of about 8 high school students working under me. We were up bright and early to prepare breakfast for some 300 teenagers who were campers that week, plus staff. 

Something had gone terribly wrong with the order for food that week. We did not have nearly enough eggs to feed everyone that morning. We began panicking, checking and rechecking the walk-in cooler, hoping to find more eggs that we knew weren't there. Finally someone in the kitchen said, "Hey...Jesus fed 5000 with a few loaves of bread and some fishes. Let's pray." So together we prayed about it and asked the Lord to make it enough. I opened my eyes and saw the same measly amount of eggs. Never-the-less, we counted out the bowls for the number of tables and began divvying up the eggs into each one.

"Ugh!" I thought to myself. Each bowl had barely enough eggs to feed four or five people! Each of the dining room tables had somewhere between 8-10 chairs....which undoubtedly would each be filled by a hungry teenager. We put the bowls on the counters for the servers to come and take to the tables. I remember feeling somewhat embarrassed. Although I hadn't been in charge of ordering the food, I was the assigned head cook in the kitchen that morning. It was on my head that day! Tony, the other head cook, was either safely still tucked into his bunk...or out in the dining hall expecting to eat a hearty breakfast just like everyone else out there. I envied him at that moment. Me? I felt like hiding!

I waited to hear the inevitable complaints that there was not enough...or to see the empty bowls come back to the kitchen with expectations for being filled once again. Yes...I had little faith that our prayer had been answered. I waited...and nothing happened. All I heard was the happy chatter and laughter of campers and staff coming through the open door to the dining hall. 

Soon it was time to start clearing the tables. The bus boys and servers went out to gather up the plates and serving dishes. All of us were stunned to see many of the bowls coming back with some scrambled eggs still in them! How could this be? Did a lot of the campers pass on the eggs that morning? I heard a shout into the kitchen from one of the counselors, "Hey cooks! Thanks once again for another awesome breakfast. It was delicious! You guys are the best!"

I was amazed! (And still am...truth be told.) I started inquiring amongst the campers as to whether or not they had eaten scrambled eggs that morning. The vast majority said they had...which is normal. I could almost hear Christ saying to me, "Why do you doubt me? Oh you of little faith."

The kitchen crew dubbed the experience, "The Miracle of the Eggs." I've long since lost touch with the people I worked with that summer. We were from all over the country. New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Iowa, Ohio, Maryland, and Massachusetts to name a few. I wonder if they tell the story of "The Miracle of the Eggs." If you hear someone else tell it, I was there. It really happened!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

An Education is Golden

Another employee at my school took this picture last week of the high school I work at.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

New Family Members

It is interesting to note that so far...not a single day at Wayne has gone by where I haven't met at least one more Christian since meeting Lynne on Thursday. Today it was two students. These two girls come in every day to the library and are so sweet. This morning I noticed that one of the girls had a Bible verse written on her notebook. I stopped, indicated the verse with my hand, and said, "I'm your sister." Both girls were very happy about it. One said, "Yay!"

God has been faithful in answering that prayer I lifted up last week to help me find other Christians at Wayne! More than I could imagine!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Happy Anniversary to us!

It has been 23 years! How old do you think my husband is in this picture? Take a guess.

Friday, October 02, 2015

I Showed Up!

I set my alarm early this morning so I could get to school by 6:50. That would get me there early enough to park, walk into school, unlock the library, boot up the computers and get to the room of the teacher who hosts Friday morning fellowship.

I found out about four more Christians who are my coworkers. (Can't say I met them because I had met every one of them already) That's four more besides Lynne...the woman who I met yesterday. I was also told that our superintendent is a Christian too. I feel very blessed!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

He hears me!

I was thinking about my Christian coworkers at Martha Brown MS. I miss seeing and interacting with them. I got into the car and started the commute to my new school. And then I said to God, "Could you show me a Christian at my school, Lord?" I knew that there had to be some. That was the prayer I lifted up either yesterday or the day before. I don't remember which.

Today a woman came into my library. She asked me if I had any Christian books in the collection. I said, "Do you mean fiction books, or information about Christianity?" It didn't turn out to be either. She was looking for a specific title. She couldn't remember it though. I said we could look on Amazon to see if we could figure it out if we knew part of the title. Then we tried Christian Book Distributers.

I told her I was a Christian too...because I assumed that she was. Then she told me that there are a few others and they gather on Friday mornings before school in a teacher's room. I told her about the prayer I had lifted up a few days earlier. I said, "You're the answer to my prayer!" She told me that she didn't really know why she had asked me if we had any Christian books because she knew we really didn't. I said, "You asked me that so that I could find out you are a Christian!"

Tomorrow I will try to make it to the fellowship group.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

30 Years

The weekend before last, I did something that I never thought I would do. I went to my 30th high school reunion! I had always been afraid to go. I was afraid that I would see that someone. That is totally foolish because God clearly spoke to me on the bus 28 years ago and told me that I would never see that someone again on this earth. Oh me of little faith and unbelief! There was always a lingering doubt for me...thinking, "What if?" I knew that seeing this person would never be a good idea for me...and God knew it too. That is why God promised to protect me from that. Have you ever heard the saying, "Is that a threat, or a promise?" This saying just came to mind and it actually made me laugh out loud. I had originally viewed the Lord's message to me as a threat...but now see it as a loving promise. I am now happy to say that my faith and trust has grown so much that I no longer fear seeing that someone at all. There is no "what if." I'm so sure of God's promise to me that I am positive that that "someone" and I could both be wandering around the same department store, at the same time...and the Lord would never have us see each other. Why did it take so many years to really believe this? I don't know! It's crazy that I would have ever doubted my Lord.

Anyway...back to the reunion. I had a surprisingly wonderful time! It was really fun. I was afraid that I wouldn't have anything to talk about with anyone. I can be quite introverted at times. However, I had no trouble at all. What was unexpected was how much I had to talk about with people that I never even hung out with in high school. It was like we had been the best of chums or something. I had been rather quiet in high school and was convinced that most people probably didn't even remember me. I was proved wrong. I'm glad I went. I almost didn't, but was talked into it by Phil S. He is now a parent of one of the kids at the high school I work at. He saw me during open house and told me I should go. He and I had been friends in high school. He told me that I may regret some day that I never went to one. I got to thinking about it and decided he was right. I should go to at least I did.

Jamie came to the reunion with me. I have a running joke that I can never take my husband with me anywhere where he doesn't find someone he knows. I thought that my 30th reunion would be safe. Nope! Not safe! We get to the reunion...which was packed full of people milling around, hugging each other, etc. Then I see one of my classmates wave to Jamie from across the room, and he waved back! It turns out that they know each other because LaBarge Media (my husband's place of employment) worked with the company she works for to produce some promotional video for them. Of course! She was very surprised to find that he was married to someone she had gone to junior high and high school with.

It was really quite fun to catch up with people. The only thing that bothered me was that I also had hung out quite a bit with kids who were either the year ahead of me or behind me...and I would have loved to see them too. Since it was not their reunion, they naturally were not there. I would have posted a picture, but I did not take any. A friend of mine sent me one of him and I...but he asked me to please not post it anywhere...because he is now a Catholic priest. He didn't think that it would be a good idea for a photo of him with his arm draped around a woman be published on the Internet. Especially while he was wearing his liturgical clothes. It was really quite innocent...just his arm around my shoulders to pose, but I really understand his concern so I am honoring him by not posting it.

I was also quite complimented by a classmate named Richard who told my husband that the woman my husband married had been the "queen of nice" in high school. His exact words. (Never mind that he was a bit sloshed when he said it) It is very nice to be remembered in a positive light.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Another Really Cool God Story

This story just happened sometime this past week and was relayed to me Friday night after returning home from Hannah's bridal shower.

Audra had called while I was away and had spoken to her father and had told him the following story:

Audra and one of her roommates, Molly had gone to the dining hall to get dinner. It was quite crowded, so they took two open seats at the end of an otherwise crowded table. It turned out that the table was full of students from The International Club.  Many of them were international students of course. They were all very friendly and engaged Audra and Molly in conversation. They asked where Audra and Molly were from. Audra usually answers this question by saying, "New York State" or "Near Rochester, NY." But this time she said, "Canandaigua, NY." Immediately, the boy sitting next to her, who was from Sri Lanka, said, "What?! My mother was an exchange student to Canandaigua, NY!"

Wow! Small world! But it gets even better. Apparently his mother became so close to her host family that they still keep in close contact. Her host parents consider her to be another daughter. They have even gone to Sri Lanka to visit her, and her family has flown to the USA to visit them." The boy told Audra that he has been to Canandaigua to visit his "American grandparents." He asked her if she knew the M_______ family. Audra said that she did not. At this point, he probably thought that this would be the end of the discussion. Oh no....God is much too cool for that!

I came home and Jamie told me the story. As soon as he mentioned that there was a boy sitting at the table from Sri Lanka, I thought to myself, "Oh...that's the country Sally M's exchange student was from." (I had actually met this former exchange student when she and her family visited the US. Sally had brought her along to Community Bible Study) When he finished telling me the story, I said, "I know the host family!" It was so exciting to me. Jamie does not know them because I only knew Sally and her daughter Julie through CBS. Jamie doesn't go to that.

I immediately texted Audra: Find that kid from Sri Lanka again and ask him if his American grandparents are the M_______s!

I also messaged Julie on FB: Does your former exchange student from Sri Lanka have a son who goes to IWU? If so, my daughter just met him. They ate dinner together.

I got a text back from Audra: Yes, that was definitely the family. He had asked me if I knew them.

Then I got a message back from Julie: Yes! I love it when God connects people together like that!

I also got a message from Sally today because she was pretty excited about it too. I told both Sally and Julie that I have a son and a daughter going to IWU and that they have a car. If their "grandson/nephew" would like to visit them over a break, he has transportation!

Now isn't that a really cool story? Of all the Christian Universities in the US, he ended up at IWU. Of all the crowded tables with two empty seats, Audra and Molly chose that one. And Audra including the name of her town when saying where she's from. I know that God orchestrates these very fun things because He just loves blessing his children!

Friday, September 04, 2015

What I Learned in August

1.  It is harder than it looks to drop kids off at college.
I don't really consider myself to be an overly emotional person. I've never been the helicopter mother. I've allowed my children space to grow up and be independent. I know college will be good for them, but at the same time I worry and I really miss them. The house seems very empty. Eight and a half hours away is very far.

2.  Life has some crazy surprises.
I never expected to be hired by Wayne CSD this summer. I hadn't even applied for the job. The principal of the school called me up to tell me he had learned about my credentials and asked if I would consider interviewing for the job. The first question of the interview was a disaster and I was sure that I had lost the job at that very moment. They liked me anyway!

3. My regular reader from Mountain View, CA is using a proxy IP address.
I was curious about this regular visitor so I decided to do a little sleuthing. I figured out that the IP address connected to that visitor is a proxy IP.  I don't know why this person thinks they must hide their location while reading my blog. Maybe they will comment about this and enlighten me.

4.  The school district that hired me over the summer does not have air-conditioning in its library!
This is horrible. This is not just because I am self centered and like to be cool on hot days. (Although that might be part of it) It is very bad for the books to be subjected to heat and humidity. I've noticed that some of the books, especially the older ones, smell a bit musty. I will be trying to change this.

5.  My new office has a motion sensitive light. When I'm working at my desk, it will turn off and then I'm in the dark. it isn't totally dark, but this is still quite annoying. Especially since the motion sensor cannot "see" me so I cannot simply wave my arms around. I must get up and go around my desk to turn on the light. I will be buying a desk lamp very soon.

6.  The woman that the Lord impressed upon me heavily to pray for approximately 11 years ago had a bout of cancer right around the same time.
I just found this out last weekend. When I was lead to pray for her many years ago, I felt strongly that it was her health and that it might be serious. I begged the Lord to heal her and spare her life so that her husband wouldn't be broken-hearted and alone. After my prayer, I "reasoned" with myself that I was being rediculous and that my obsessive thinking and imagination was getting the best of me. I still prayed 'just in case', but figured that it was probably nothing. Last weekend I stalked her on the Internet. (Yes, I admit it...but don't we all do this with people from time to time?) That was when I learned of her bout with cancer.

7.  This same woman is a beautiful daughter of Christ both inside and out. 
This fills me with joy. I think she must be a wonderful woman and I'm glad she was the person the Lord chose.

8.  My son is an impressive leader and is very comfortable taking on roles of great responsibility.
This summer, he took on the job of being assistant program director at a Christian camp in the Adirondack Mountains. My husband and I went up to the camp to pick up our daughter who had been a camper for a week. We got to see Allen (age 20) in his role as assistant PD. He lead with authority and even prayed for all of the campers and the camp speaker who was about to give a message. It brings great joy to us as parents to see him growing into a responsible adult who follows the Lord.

9.  Allen has climbed 41 out of 46 of the Adirondack high peaks!
I am so impressed and proud of him!

10. Our daughter Alicia is quite knowledgeable about the constellations.
We were in the backyard at Jamie's sister's house. They live in the country, so you can see a lot of stars on a clear night. Alicia pointed out several constellations to me. She was able to name them and tell me about the Greek and Roman stories behind them. She is a quiet girl and I was impressed with her excitement and willingness to share her knowledge with us. I asked her if she had learned it in school. She said no. She learned it because she was interested in it and researched it on her own. Her librarian mother was so proud of her!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

One Bird Left

We drove out to Indiana on Friday to drop off Allen and Audra at school. We stayed in a nearby hotel and arrived on campus to move them in on Saturday. Audra has two roommates who seem nice. They spent quite a bit of time setting up their room, decorating, and in discussing organization and decorating ideas. There was even some discussion about different devotionals they have used. Allen showed up to discover that his roommate opted not to transfer to IWU. So Allen has a single for now.  He quickly unpacked his stuff, put together his bed, and declared himself settled. We managed to purchase a car for them so they have transportation. Since the trip out is 8 1/2 hours, this should make things a bit easier for them and us.

These were taken yesterday evening...just before gathering in a circle to pray as a family for them. We said our good-byes and then left. I'm glad that they have each other and that they get along so well. They always have. I feel very good about the school and it's strong Christian stance. We attended a worship service last night to welcome new students. During that worship service, a prayer was lifted up for the new students and a short message on following Christ was given. I couldn't help thinking about the contrast between this experience and the experience my parents had when dropping me off at college. My college was clearly not a godly environment. My roommate was definitely not a believer. There was nothing to welcome new students and certainly no worship service, although I believe that my parents prayed for me as they drove away that day. I think leaving me there must have been difficult for them. I feel at peace about leaving them there...but think that they could have chosen a school that was closer! ;)

We will miss them. The house already seems a bit quiet. Now we must adjust to having only one child left. Alicia is in eleventh grade this year...which means that in two years, we could have three children in college at once! I don't know that they will be home before Thanksgiving break, but there is a parent weekend in October.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

An Unexpected Answer to Prayer is another crazy story where God left me with my mouth hanging open. I think He really enjoys doing this for His children on occasion.

I was nearing the end of my delayed grief. It had been really a difficult thing to go through. I was glad to finally begin seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. One day I cried out to God and said, "Lord...I'm getting this! I'm accepting it. I'm okay with this now...but can you please just let me know somehow that he (the one I lost) is following you? I just really want to be assured that he is walking with you." I had almost forgotten about that cry out to the Lord when about two weeks later, God suddenly just dropped the answer into my lap.

Before I tell you what happened, I need to tell you the following as background information. At this time, I had been corresponding with a childhood friend who was living in Ohio. Quite frankly, this woman was driving me crazy. She was sending me multiple emails a day...mostly full of nonsense. You know the of puppies and kittens, urban legends, stories that ended with instructions to "send this to 10 people if you love Jesus," and the like. It got to the point where I pretty much stopped opening the emails she sent. I just hit delete.

One day I opened my mailbox and against my better judgement, I opened one of her emails and actually read it. I'm still not exactly sure what made me do it...but I know it was definitely a God thing. The story was quite a touching one about the friendship between Steve Green and Rick Husband. When I got to the bottom of the page, the author identified herself as a secretary of a church, which she named, along with its location. I immediately recognized the name of the town because of sending the letter of apology to first of the two individuals mentioned in this post.

"Wow," I thought. "I wonder if this is the church that he and his family go to." Honestly, I figured that there were probably a dozen churches in this town and probably some more in neighboring towns that he could have attended just as well. In any case, I decided to look at the church's website just to see what sort of church it was. I did not expect to see his name or anyone else's in his family. My husband and I are very active in our church...and yet, you cannot find either of our names on our church's website anywhere. I just expected to go on the site and see names of staff, a mission statement, what sort of ministry opportunities they offer, etc.

When I went on the site, I was surprised to find an entire church directory on it. There it was-his name, his wife's name, their address, and phone number. It even mentioned that his wife was the children's choir director. I was absolutely stunned and knew it was God's way of showing me that this person and his family were following Christ. To be honest, I was also a little annoyed by the church for putting this directory on the site. I just thought it was a bit of an infringement on the privacy of its members. (Jeepers! You never know who's going to run across it...crazy x-girlfriends for example!) A couple of weeks later, I still couldn't believe how my prayer had been answered. I just had to go on the site to look again. The church directory was no longer there.

I was just so amazed that God had really cared enough to answer my prayer. I had not gone looking to find the information. I had not stalked him and his family trying to answer this question. The answer had just been given to me! Even the disappearing church directory such a short time later was proof to me that the Lord's hand was in this.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"The Preacher" Writes Some Words

I have quite a few very cool stories that show me how real God is or that he just wants to bless us with something amazing. I'm going to record some of those stories here. I just feel like they should be documented before they are forgotten or lost to time. Some of the stories have something to do with the trial I have spoken about recently...others don't. The other day I thought of one that should be put into the same category as this one.

Allen was always a unique child because of his hunger and thirst for Jesus and the Word of God at such a young age. Before he started school, he would sit at the kitchen table and painstakingly copy down Bible verses word for word. He would usually use the box of memory verses that we used as a family. He would ask me to read the verse to him and then he would slowly copy each letter, each word, each punctuation mark onto a piece of paper. Meanwhile, I would be doing the dishes or cooking dinner. I was so intrigued by his dedication, but I had no idea what the Holy Spirit was doing in this little guy's life while he worked hard at this until he started school.

He started kindergarten at Canandaigua Primary School and had Mrs. M as a teacher. From time to time she would pass out paper to the children and tell them that if they knew how to write any words that she would like them to write them down. She would put these papers in a binder that she referred to as a journal. If they only knew some letters, that was okay too. She didn't expect anything amazing from the children, but this exercise usually gave her a good indication about how the children were progressing with writing. Usually lists of words were short...including words such as mommy, daddy, dog, cat, a, the...or would include a very simple sentence. But not my Allen. This is what he wrote:

Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Matthew 22:37 

This was quite a shock to the teacher. She was so stunned that she had to keep the paper and tell me about it. This woman was not a believer as far as I know and didn't quite know what to do with Allen who was constantly talking about Jesus in class. She sometimes referred to him affectionately as "the preacher." Meanwhile, the classroom aid was quietly cheering Allen on because she was a Christian herself. To be quite honest, I was quite surprised too. I had no idea that he was capable of writing something so intricate without having to copy it from another source. He even knew the biblical address of the verse. I truly believe that the Holy Spirit was actually teaching my 4-5 year old how to read and write. I also knew and was blessed that these words of truth were seeping deeply into Allen's mind and soul. This actually has brought tears of joy and gratitude to my eyes.

Somewhere in my stuff, I have the very paper that he wrote out the verse on. I found it and added it to the post. I also added a gospel tract of sorts that he created (with his own words that I added to the back) around the same age.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fear not...nor let your anxiety take over your thinking!

Yesterday, I went into the library at my new school just to look around. I took Audra with me because she wanted to see it. I looked through every cupboard, drawer and file cabinet. I looked at the book shelves and figured out where all the light switches are (one can never take that for granted). I looked at what technology is available and my teaching space. I started considering how I would arrange my office.

Suffice it to say...I was a bit overwhelmed. I started to feel some mild anxiety but managed to think my way out of it. However....this morning I woke up with a knot in my stomach and general feeling of dread. That is basically what depression feels like and it stinks.

I had applied to five different school districts since June. I got turned down for three of them after one interview and never even got called for another. The last one was a part time position in a really nice school district in Monroe County. I had some very strong connections in this school district. When I went in for the initial interview, which was just with the principal, he basically told me that due to some raving recommendations and my previous work in the district, that I was their top candidate. Wow! I thought, "This is it. I don't even care if it is only part time." I would be working in a large HS with another librarian who is full time. They used to have two librarians at that HS and were hoping to build that up again. I also knew that there may be a chance of getting a full time position in another school in that district since I know of an upcoming retirement next year. I was happily envisioning myself working for this school district soon.

I was pretty content, when I got a phone call out of the blue. It was the principal of the HS in Wayne CSD. He told me that they had a full time position open and didn't get many applicants. He had learned of my credentials by looking through the digital applications online that had been made public to all the school districts that used this particular service. He found mine and was sufficiently impressed. He wondered if I would be willing to come in for an interview. I had actually heard about the opening but missed the deadline for applying. I decided not to worry about it, so I hadn't given it another thought. I agreed to come in.

By this time, I actually had my heart set on the part-time position. I figured that I would go into Wayne, only to have it confirmed that the school district with the PT position would be the better choice. That was not what happened. Instead, I was pretty impressed with the place. The principal and assistant principal were very personable. I immediately felt very comfortable with them. I was called in for a second interview a week later and felt the same thing. It wasn't at all what I expected. Now I knew that I would have to make a decision because I knew that I would be offered both positions. (I just knew...sometimes you do) The next morning was my second interview for the PT. It went very well, and I think that it would have been a good choice.  I know I could have been very happy there, but decided on the FT at Wayne.

So...back to this morning. I woke up with this knot in my stomach. Ugh! I hate when that happens. I just started having all sorts of doubts about my decision. It didn't matter what I was thinking, because the decision had been made. I had already notified both schools of my intent. I just had this general feeling of, "What have I gotten myself into?" Typical of depression, I was sure that I didn't really have what it takes to be successful at the FT position. I wish that I was positive thinking all the time...but I'm not. I had to go in to school to do paperwork today and meet the superintendent. I prayed on the way up there that the Lord would allay my fear and anxiety. I had been pretty sure that I had felt his leading to choose this school, but now was assaulted with doubt (oh me of little faith).

I went to the district office and met with the super. As soon as I sat down with him, I felt very comfortable. I met several other people and everyone was very nice. I was feeling good again. I also was quite happy to learn that my salary will be very comparable to what I got when I worked in Webster. I had assumed it would be less because it is a more rural district than Webster is. I went over to the HS to go into the library again. Then I started meeting all sorts of teachers who came in to say hello and introduce themselves. One of the English teachers told me that she had already reserved space in the library for September. I met my mentor, who is going to be a wonderful help to me. I have heard nothing but positive things about my full time aid. I can't wait to meet her.

So ...the Lord certainly allayed my fear and anxiety today. I have the weekend to relax. I will be in a few different days next week...but not every day. Allen comes home from the Adirondacks tomorrow. He and Audra will be around for one week and then they will head off to school at Indiana Wesleyan University at the end of next week. Yes...they both chose the same school. That is quite nice for us. (Gordon just did not give us a realistic financial package, so IWU was the choice) After we drop them off at school, I will have quite an adjustment to make with only one left at home. How did the time go by so fast? I'm glad that I will have a new job to keep me busy...not to mention that it will help cover the bills. My first day of school is August 31. The first day for students in our district is Sept 2. Alicia does not start school until the day after Labor Day.

I am sure that when I get into the swing of things at my new job that this blog will become very quiet once again, but maybe not.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Job

There has been a change of status for me as of yesterday afternoon. Yesterday morning my status was "unemployed."  I am happy to say that I am now employed by Wayne Central School District as the librarian in the high school there.

It needs a lot of it has been neglected for many years. Rolling up my sleeves today!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

God is Slowly Working On Me...As I Surrender

So...God is good.

He knows the way I take, and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

God is still working on me and I know that when He is done, I really will come forth as gold. The thing is, God works very slowly on us. It takes a lifetime for him to complete his work in us.

Really, it's kind of exciting. What's next, Lord?

I still want to be like that lady from the retreat center, no matter what it takes.

Photo by my sister, Martha Teal. Stolen by me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


On June 7th, we received the shocking news that our friend, Louie Rudin passed away. His example of walking closely with Jesus Christ will always be with me. His was a race well run!

The first time I ever saw Louie was when I was a senior in high school. That fall, I went on a weekend retreat to Watson Homestead with Young Life. Louie was a YL leader in Seneca County and was the retreat speaker that weekend. (In fact, he was my husband's Young Life leader) I don't think I ever laughed so hard in my life! He had an incredible sense of humor...but best of all, he loved the Lord with all of himself.

About 5 years later, after I graduated from college, I became a YL leader myself. I had the privilege of getting to know Louie as a fellow leader. He would often drive up to Rochester to come to our leadership meetings on Saturday nights. He always had a smile on his face and kept us all laughing.

The first few times he came to leadership he said, "I ought to bring my housemate to this. I think he'd like it." One Saturday night he finally brought him. It was Jamie! I had actually met Jamie a few months earlier when we were both counselors at YL's Saranac Village. I married him about two years after Louie reintroduced us. It was one of the smartest things I ever did!

Louie was in our wedding. In fact, he drove the car we rode in from the church to the reception. On the way, he drove us through the McDonald's drive through in Penfield. He thanked the workers for coming to our reception and ordered us a drink and some fries.

Although we hadn't seen Louie in many years, we always considered him to be a good friend. The testimony of so many people at the memorial service was impressive as they got up one by one telling how Louie had introduced them to Christ or encouraged them in their walk with Him.

Louie will be greatly missed here on earth, but he is in a better place! Some day we will see him again.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Almost to 46!

Jamie sent this picture yesterday from the Adirondack Mountains. He met up with our son, Allen to do a little hiking. Allen has been working as the assistant program director at a Christian camp up there.

Allen has now hiked to the top of 39 out of 46 of the high peaks. (Jamie is up to 7)

I love these two men in my life!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ian Morgan Cron on Pain

I really wanted this with the previous post, but it kept messing up the format of all the paragraphs. I gave up and decided to post it separately.
Please take the time to watch this and pay close attention. It is totally spot on! It was when I ran towards my pain that I finally found healing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Praying the Alphabet

Sometimes I slip into doubt. The enemy does not want me to trust in my Lord and savior. Instead, he wants me to question God's love for me. He drums up every sad memory he can to attack me. He reminds me of how people hurt or betrayed me. He whispers the grievances I have felt towards others...and stirs it up again. He reminds me of my failures and tells me that I could never minister to others by telling them about my deliverance from spiritual bondage. He tells me that my story is a total joke because I am not living victoriously. He tries to make me believe that my Lord does not have my best interest in mind...that He is actually a cruel God. The pit of despair looms near...threatening to swallow me up in it. I've been down this path many times and I know that the only way to get through it with victory is to go to the foot of the cross. To fall on my knees before Him. To regain focus on God's truth and who He is.

Sometimes I "pray the alphabet." The Lord showed me this trick one night as I lay in bed. I often have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Too many racing thoughts. I have quieted my mind by lulling it to sleep with dull thoughts. One of the ways I have done this is to go through the alphabet and for each letter, say as many names that I could think of beginning with that letter. It shuts off the crazy, worrisome thinking and replaces it with the mundane. So I would start. "Ann, Amy, Abigail, Antoinette, Alice, ...Barbara, Bernice, Betty, Bernadette, Babette,...Colette, Catherine, Christine, Cassie, Cassandra, Camille,..." (I'm not sure why, but I always stick to girl names) Usually by the time I got somewhere between H and N, I had fallen asleep.

One night as I lay in bed, not only did I have racing thoughts, but they were all the attacking thoughts that I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. I started the alphabet name wasn't working quite as well. It came to my attention that the Lord inhabits the praises of his people. If I praised Him, how could anything negative be present? Satan hates the praises we lift up to Jesus. He cannot stay around for that. I decided to try praising the Lord using the alphabet. There are no hard and fast rules for this. Sometimes I linger on a letter and come up with several praises or attributes. Other times, it is just one.

Heavenly Father, you are Almighty, you are Beautiful, the Beginning and the end. You Created the heavens and the earth. You are my Deliverer. You are Eternal. Your love goes on Forever. Great are your works, Oh Lord! You are Holy, the great "I Am." You have Justified me. You Keep me in the shadow of your wings. You are all Knowing and Loving. Father, you are the Maker of everything. You Made me and have promised to Never leave my side. Only you, oh Lord are worthy of my praises and my full admiration. You give me strength to Persevere and to never Quit the race set before me. You have promised me Rest when I come into your presence. You are my Salvation and my Truth. You bring the Ultimate Victory against the lies of the evil one. You are Wonderful. Yahweh. Thank you, that I will be one day in  Zion. In your very presence. Why do I get so hung up on things here on Earth, Lord? Why do I not trust you? Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me all the time. Every minute of every day...even when I am straying away from you. Help me to be ever faithful to you each day. Amen.

As you can see, sometimes it doesn't end at "Z." Sometimes I keep going and drop the alphabet entirely or I start over. Sometimes I fall asleep in the middle of it, but I know that my Father doesn't mind...just as I didn't mind if one of my children fell asleep while I read to them. I have never prayed the same alphabet prayer twice. Sometimes I vary it to be a prayer of gratefulness and I name blessings he has brought to me.

I hope this post encourages you and gives you a tool to use to combat the lies the enemy tells.

(If anyone can come up with something for "X" or another "Q,"  just leave your suggestion in the comments.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yielding to His will for me

The Lord has shown me again and again that He knows everything that will happen to me and He is not surprised by it.

I need to absolutely trust Him. Why shouldn't I? He loves me. He has been there in my darkest times. It was then that He whispered to me to choose life. It was difficult because everything within me was screaming out for me to choose the opposite. I heard that whisper and clung to that. He brought me through it.

He has told me things that at the time, I did not want to hear. But now...years later, I find comfort in. Things that made me say, "No. Lord! I cannot bear that! Why? Please don't!" and now I look back and say, "My Heavenly Father knew. He knew. And it was all right in the end...He knew it all before it happened. It went all according to His plan."

I just want things my way sometimes. I am very arrogant to think that I know a better way.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Through a Glass Darkly

Most of the time I feel pretty I am doing well in spite of life's bumps and bruises...(and festering wounds). At those times, I can be joyful and go about life with little worry or concern about life's disappointments, both present day and in the past.

Lately I have been struggling again. I have to cling to the hope that it will all become clear one day and I can look back on this life and say, "Of course! Now it all makes sense why God allowed that to happen. In fact, it was part of his plan and it was perfect!" For now, I see through a glass darkly. I sometimes feel like I am clinging for dear life to a raft in the middle of an ocean...where the waves are buffeting me and threatening to pull me under.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


We had a graduation party for our daughter on Saturday. In spite of the rain, it was a success. I'm thankful for the great accomodations at Onanda Park.
Congratulations Audra! We are proud of you!

Friday, June 05, 2015

Some Really Eerie Similarites and Lessons I've Learned About Life

My oldest daughter Audra.
  • My daughter is 18 years old. 
  • She looks something like me.
  • She doesn't like running.
  • She has seriously considered choosing mathematics as her college major.
  • She works in our town's public library.
  • She is going to her senior ball (which is tomorrow night) with a young man named Steven.
  • She and her date (along with their group of friends) are going out to dinner before the ball at a restaurant in Bushnell's Basin.
When I found out that last one, I thought to myself, "Please do not tell me that it is Richardson's Canal House." (It still exists...I checked)

"What is the name of it?" I casually asked.

"Branca's," she said.

I really felt a sense of relief hearing that. Keep in mind that my daughter knows absolutely nothing about my own dating history. No names, dates, restaurants, etc.

The only thing she knows is that I worked at the public library in my home town too, I did my undergrad in math, I'm not a runner,...and that people say she looks like me. 

She does not really want to be like me at all. She says she will NEVER become a librarian.

She will be going off to college in Indiana in the fall. I am praying that she transitions well to college life, that she will never encounter the serious trouble with major depression that I experienced during my sophomore year (my first year at a college away from home). I don't think I could bear seeing my daughter go through that.

If she ever does go through that, she will know that depression is a medical condition that she is not at fault for. She will know that she can get medical intervention. These are all things that I did not understand all of those years ago. No one understood. I was pretty much on my own with it. My entire life was turned upside down that year and I experienced my greatest heartbreaks, losses, and pain...all because of major depression. It took me approximately two years to recover physically from it...but many more years to recover emotionally. I also know that the Lord planned all of it and that He was with me during that time. I even believe that it was His plan that the people in my life misunderstand me and come to false conclusions about what was going on. Some of them completely turned their backs on me. It was an awful, but necessary pain for me...but I still don't want any of my children to experience it. I can't control that. I need to let go and trust God for His plan in their lives.

I have forgiven the people who hurt me and I have forgiven myself for hurting others, but sometimes I still feel the bruises in that most tender spot in my heart and have to remind myself that...

He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept his ways without turning aside. Job 23:10-11

It is true that I went through that horrendous experience. It really ended up being one of the most pivotal points of my life. It has shaped who I am today, but through it all...I kept my faith in Christ. I have come to the conclusion that walking with Christ and learning to put Him first in your life is what life is really all about. It is not about falling in love and getting married, and having children, a great career, and then saving money so you can retire comfortably. I'm not denying that these can be truly fulfilling things in life, they can be. But life is about making the choice to follow Christ...and sticking with it, even when life throws you some curve balls.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

My Famous Nephew

Seen in the break room at Pal-Mac Intermediate School.

And some of you are saying, "So what?"  (I could hear you)

What is totally cool is that the design on this little paper cup was created by my nephew, Jim. He is all grown up now and lives in St. Paul, MN and is a graphic artist. How many of you can say that you know someone who created art that was put onto paper products that are being used (and thrown away) at picnics all across the USA? Pretty cool, huh? Check out my sister's post: Designer Paper Plates

What added to the coolness of the moment was that the school's art teacher walked in and I told her about Jim's designer paper plates. I told her he grew up in that little town just north of current location. She took the paper cup to show her students and talk to them about it!

Is that cool or what?

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Today my husband ran a half marathon. He's done a full marathon before and several triathlons. I haven't.

I really admire runners. I admire their tenacity, their grit...their drive. I'm a little bit intimidated by them too if I'm honest about it. I just don't seem to have what it takes to be successful with running. Whenever I have run...I've always wanted it to be over. I've never loved it. I once made up my mind that I would run in a 5k. It was not an easy one either. I trained all summer...and at the end of August I ran that 5k without stopping. I did it! I wasn't very fact, I was among the slowest in my age group. After it was over...I was glad! People had told me that running would be addictive, but I didn't feel any withdrawal symptoms when I didn't run again.

Somehow, when it came to running, I didn't have the tenacity and drive and grit it takes to keep it up. I've tried to make myself love it...but can't seem to do it.

Years and years ago I dated a runner. He wanted me to become a runner too. I remember feeling my stomach knot up whenever he alluded to me taking up running. Little did he know, I was already struggling with my sense of self-worth and couldn't figure out what he saw in me. I carefully hid those feelings from him. Having him express his disappointment that I wasn't a runner didn't help matters. Later on in life, I met and married Jamie, a non-runner at the time. I remember telling him how I didn't like running. He felt the same and I remember feeling a sense of relief.

But alas there came a time when he decided to try running in our church's annual 5k race. For him it WAS addictive. He had to run another and then another one. Soon he was wracking up too many 5ks to count. They were getting too easy. So he moved on to longer races. Then he tackled his first Marathon. After that, he couldn't find contentment, so he started training and competing in triathlons. We even birthed a runner! Our son, Allen enjoys the sport very much. Jamie and I hang out with people who run and compete. Luckily for me, there are few others like me in our crowd. Two or three other wives who aren't into it either...and even a husband or two. All along, Jamie has never asked me to run...or has even hinted at it. He seems comfortable with me being who I am...but I admit that once in a while there is this 18 year old girl inside of me who struggles with a feelings of inadequacy.

I really am proud of my husband and how he has this drive to do this sport.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Peeling the Onion

I should nick name our house, "The Onion"...for whenever we peel back a layer to do some work...we discover more work that needs to be done. In this case it is the porch roof, which had been leaking. Naturally, we discovered rotting old plywood...which we removed. Then..of course we discovered rotting planks. The joists had some damage, but seemed solid we are going with them.
We hope to eventually tear off the entire porch and rebuild it...but for now, we need to focus on the problem at hand.

And of the process of climbing in and out of Allen's bedroom window to access the porch roof, his windowsill seemed a bit loose. Upon investigating beneath the old metal window wrap, it was discovered that the wood itself was mostly nonexistent because of dry rot and carpenter bees. So we ditched the wrap which was over said sill...and now we need to rebuild the bottom part of the frame.

I am grateful for friends that come and volunteer to help my husband. A true blessing.

I am so thankful that progress has been made on The Onion this weekend.

My husband also casually mentioned the possibility of painting the house. Here's hoping! I have been longing to paint it for years, but have been respectful of my husband who did not want to waste time, energy and money to paint when he plans to update the siding.

Whenever I am tempted to complain about the progress of fixing up The Onion...I have to remember this:

By the world's standards, I have it pretty good.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

This Old House

Do you remember this post with this picture?

Now the little house looks like this.

I'm not sure what happened to all of the things that Alicia and I glued on it in 2009. The only thing left on it is one of the keys and the penny. The wrench, ruler, gasket and two other keys have all disappeared. Where? I don't know, for I never saw any of the items on the ground. 

It is kind of sad what time has done to the little house, but yesterday I discovered that in spite of appearances, the little house has a family of chickadees living in it. 

It seems like there could be a good sermon illustration somewhere in this. Let me know if you think of one...include scripture references.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Clinging to Truth

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. (‭Psalm‬ ‭40‬:‭1-3‬ NIV)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

More Winter Outdoor Fun

Last year my husband and son, along with Ed, a family friend, went winter hiking in the Adirondacks. This year was no different. I think this might become a yearly tradition for them.

Here they are a on top of Esther Mountain.

Allen and Jamie, along the trail yesterday.

Allen standing at the peak of Whiteface Mountain.

Technology is really something, isn't it? Remember the days when we would have rolls of film to take home with us from our excursions? We would have to take them to a film developer, wait several days, pick up the pictures...only to discover that most of them were lousy. All of these pictures were taken yesterday and uploaded onto a computer last night! Hurray for technology!

I am glad they are making memories together this way.
In the meantime, I am home preparing for their arrival today. Last weekend was Allen's 20th birthday but we are celebrating it this weekend since he will be home. Yesterday was Pi day...but it was this morning that I managed to bake the banana cream pie that Allen requested.

Incidently, did you know that you can bake a cream pie using almond milk and it turns out wonderful? Allen has a lactose intolerance...and actually I suffer from that a bit too. Just so you know, almond milk makes a great cream pie and you would never know you weren't eating dairy!

They should be home in a few hours!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Another glorious day on the ski trails!

Today I went skiing again with my friends, Lisa and Martha (not my sister). The sun was again shining just gloriously. It was great to be out in God's creation. It was just beautiful...about 30°F, with a slight wind.

I discovered that a couple of the trails that Gretchen and I had skied last week were completely gone because of drifting. Here is Martha trying to blaze one of these trails...but we had to turn around. It got to the point where we had not idea where the trail was. Were we on the trail or simply in the middle of the woods? Not only that, but the snow was too deep.
You can't tell by this picture, but I was actually coming down a hill! I am pleased because I am still standing. I only fell three times.

The Meitners certainly have a beautiful place.
All of these photos come courtesy of Lisa. I wish I had taken one of her now.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Beautiful Sunny and "Warm" Day

It was a beautiful day today. It was warm! About 23°F or so! The sun was shining vibrantly. I went cross country skiing with my friend Gretchen. Just what I needed to help boost those serotonin levels. If I was as fabulous as my sister Martha is...I'd have all sorts of beautiful pictures to show you....but I don't. You will just have to use your imagination then!

Picture two ladies (both of us librarians, does this help with the image? ...just kidding)...skiing through the woods and sometimes out again...with two dogs (beagle mix, german shorthair pointer). One dog happy and excited about the whole energy, german shorthair pointer and the other...older, slower, fatter...but pretty happy just the same, beagle mix.

I had a great time...I'm not sure why I haven't done this more often.

Friday, February 27, 2015


It was one year ago today that my mother went to her real home in heaven. I know she's in a much better place and much happier too.

(That is baby Simon in her lap. One of her great grandchildren)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Getting through this month.

I will have to say that February is not one of my favorite months. There seem to be a number of significant losses that have occurred in my life during the month of February. I'm looking forward to this month ending. Only a few more days to go.

Today I had the day off because I took Alicia up to Rochester to get her spine looked at. She has scoliosis and we need to go to the specialist from time to time. The good news is that the curvatures in her spine are not getting significantly worse. The lower curve measured slightly greater, but not alarmingly. The best news is that Alicia seems to have stopped growing. She has topped out at 5'3", (That is three and a half inches shorter than I am.) This is good news because that means that the curvature won't get any worse. I never imagined that I would end up with a daughter who is significantly shorter than I, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised since her father is on the shorter end of the spectrum.

On Monday and Tuesday I began per diem subbing once again. I am not too thrilled to end up doing that again...but I am trying to be thankful for any work. Besides that, God had a few surprises for me.

On Monday I subbed at the 3-5 building in Pal-Mac district and saw one of my former students from Dewitt Rd. On "moving up day" in June last year, I had a handful of kids who came to the library because they were moving away from Dewitt and wouldn't be attending there anymore. One of the boys, J told me that he had moved to Marion and was currently being driven to Webster to finish out the year. Just for fun we "Google-earthed" his school. We found Marion Elementary School quite easily and he seemed pleased. However, there he was on Monday at the school in Palmyra instead. Apparently his father decided that they would move over the summer once again and so Palmyra it is. I said, "We Google-earthed the wrong school, Bud." He said, "Yeah. I know."

The next day I subbed at Schlegel Road Elementary School, which is within the same district as DeWitt. When I walked into the building, I saw one of my students (M) walking down the hall. He didn't appear to notice me and I couldn't think of his name quick enough to get his attention, but it was still nice to see one familiar face. I figured that would be the end of it.  At some point during the day, I had to deliver a book to a fifth grade classroom. I walked in and waited for the teacher to notice I was there, when I noticed a boy to my left calling to me. It was another former student. (C).  He seemed genuinely happy to see me. I have to admit that he was always one of my favorites. He was quite the little reader and always willing to discuss the books he was reading and tell me which books I should definitely read next. He was also always well behaved and a bit of a scholar. He was the kind of kid who didn't mind talking to a 40 something year old lady. That type is rare...believe me. He told me that I should get a job next year at the middle school he will be attending. That one made my day! Unfortunately, that probably won't be likely as I don't anticipate the librarian at that school being done with her job.

When I returned to the library, I was expecting a special ed class to come in. In walked 3 more of my former students. These three didn't move...but are now being bussed to the new school because of the services provided there. They are autistic and nonverbal...similar to my own brother, so it is hard to say whether or not they recognized or cared that I was there. That didn't matter to me because I understand not to take it personally. It still was good to see them. The above picture is of one of these sweet little boys that came in today. I took it last year at DeWitt.

Today I am nursing a bit of a cold and can't seem to get warm. I'm not liking the prospect of being ill.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

He's Got Your Back!

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for well-being, and not for calamity, in order to give you a future and a hope. 12 When you call out to me and come and pray to me, I’ll hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015


We just finished taking the tour of Grove City College. It is about -1°F (I just checked) so we were sufficiently frozen. Audra had her interview and I think we were sufficiently impressed by the place. My memories of taking a tour myself back in 1985 are pretty faded. There are a number of new buildings and I just don't have many clear memories to compare it.

Allen is still trying to convince Audra to go to Gordon with him.

I'm glad that my kids are having the opportunity to look at different colleges in order to make a decision. I really didn't have that when I was planning to go away to study. The only reason I had the Grove City tour was that an interview was required. My father obligingly drove me there for it and the tour was included. I will say that it was a bit of a turning point for my father's attitude about me going to school in the first place. He seemed more supportive after that, but my parents still had absolutely no clue about how to help me find a college that fit me well. As it turned out, I never got another tour anywhere and showed up to the college I ended up choosing, to see it for the first time as I registered for classes. I remember feeling a bit disappointed. It wasn't what I thought it would be...but I knew I had to decide to like it and make it work. I didn't want my father to say, "See? I told you so." It was a rather stressful way to start the semester. I decided to like it. What choice did I have? Attitude is everything. I'm so grateful that I know better than to put my kids through that.  All in ended up working for me. God was near me as I started the college journey and I got an education.

We are in a hotel room...warming up with hot chocolate and tea. Happy to find warmth and shelter.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

God is Near

I am thinking of the Conrow family today. Last week they held their 6 year old daughter as she died from brain cancer. I can only imagine the great sorrow they are feeling. I've been in touch with Amanda's grandfather, who was my high school geometry teacher. He was a wonderful man of God and always encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. He sent me an email this morning with heartfelt words from his daughter, Liz.

I've been broken-hearted before. I've been crushed in spirit. I remember in high school when my brother passed away, I taped a Bible verse on the wall next to my I would see it as soon as I woke up in the morning. I did the same thing in college during a difficult time.

Psalm 34:18

18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I know that God has given me a heart that is able to empathize with in a way, thinking about their sorrow brings back some memories of my own sorrows. I don't want to think only of myself during this time. I don't always know how to transfer my empathy into a proper way of caring for others.

Just pray for this family.  They have buried their little 6 year old daughter this past week. Their arms feel empty and their hearts are broken.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Last Day At Martha Brown

"And after they duck taped my husband to the tree..."

So why would anyone have any reason to begin a sentence like that? on, my friend!

Yesterday, it was my last day in Fairport CSD as school librarian at Martha Brown Middle School. I threw a little party in my homeroom to say goodbye. I brought in a gallon of cider and some timbits from Tim Horton's. One of the boys said, "Mrs.B can you show us another video that your husband's company made?" So I showed them one of my favorites. Snow Day from 2010.

After they finished watching it, I had to tell this story.

"After they duck taped my husband to the tree, a Canandaigua school bus came by. The driver stopped the bus, opened the door and said, 'Is everything okay here?' He then called in a report about it to the bus garage."

 I'm not sure if the report made it to the police after that...but that whole incident just makes watching the video all the more amusing to me. Dave and Jason LaBarge certainly make the work environment fun at the company they own.

Anyway...the kids all really enjoyed the video and I hope you do too. I will really miss it at Martha Brown. I cannot say enough about that school. I thought the staff was great! The students were too. I loved every day of my job there. I honestly can say that there was not one single day that I felt like I didn't just love my job!

P.S. I only showed them Snow Day....not the video that immediately follows it.