Wellness Wednesdays- In The Green!!! and 2 more weeks

It FINALLY happened. My city went down to green on the COVID risk dial. Our mandatory mask wearing is going away. It is time to celebrate. Life is getting back to normal but what the new normal will look like will be an adventure to explore.

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When we went from red to orange, I bought oranges to share with the teachers at my school. When we went from orange to yellow, I bought bananas. I am not sure what to buy for going from yellow to green, but I will buy something. I will go to the school this morning to close out my room for the school year. Maybe I will just buy chocolate and candy.

Two weeks from today I will finally have my appointment with a specialist at the University Medical Center in a city one hour from my city. My hope is that there can be a definitive diagnosis now that there is proof I have psoriasis. I am not sure if I will start a treatment program that day but I sure hope so. I am tired of waking up at night with pain in my left hand.

Hopefully the city where my appointment will be will also do away with their mask mandate so I don’t have to wear one to the appointment. I am not opposed to wearing a mask it is just that it wrecks havoc with my asthma.

So we are in the green here-FINALLY and my appointment is only two weeks away. Such thoughts lift my spirits.

Thank you for reading, God Bless.

End of this COVID School Year

It’s a wrap. This morning is the final class for the school year for my morning class. This crazy COVID year is coming to an end. This morning we will have a celebration with all of the students being in the classroom and there is so much to celebrate.

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I am so proud of the moms in my class. They began the year feeling uncertain about many things but they stayed with it. They learned a lot of new tech programs such as using Zoom, Google Quizzes etc. There English levels improved noticeably. They helped each other and the sense of community actually got stronger among them.

My assistant was awesome. We had an adventure together and she handled all of the unexpected things well and even tolerated me. 🙂

This school year has been unlike anything I have experienced in my over 20 years of teaching. I am so proud of my students and my assistant for not only making the best of a difficult situation, but for excelling during it too.

I am so thankful for Jesus helping me through this year, for my morning times with him, for how he helped me through his people, and for everything.

It’s a wrap. Looking forward to a better 2021/2022 school year.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Surprise During A Baby Shower

In my morning Family Literacy class, when one of the moms is expecting a baby, we have a baby shower for her. We have been doing so every year. This year one of the moms will have a baby in July and since tomorrow is the last day for our class, we had a baby shower for her yesterday.

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The other moms brought gifts and one of the moms took them to the expectant mom. She opened the gifts while we watched via Zoom. She was about half way through the gifts when those of us in the classroom had a surprise. It was fire drill time. The fire alarms went off and we had to leave the room for about ten minutes.

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I laughed inwardly thinking it was a fitting end to a crazy year. Having class during this past year of COVID has meant having many moments of needing to be flexible. No harm done. We came back after the fire drill and finished the baby shower.

Tomorrow we will have an ice cream celebration in class. All of the students will be in class. Hopefully no fire drill tomorrow. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Thoughts on Shopping from me?

In my English class, we have conversation time using questions I write that relate to every day life. One of the questions is-where do you like to go shopping? We take turns asking each other. The students always laugh when I say, “I don’t like to go shopping anywhere.”

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So why am I writing about shopping? Certainly not to offer advice because I have none. My purpose is to share a conclusion and conviction I have reached.

During the pandemic, I have to admit to buying from a certain GIANT online company. It is so convenient with deliveries right to my door and cheaper too. However, several months ago I realized something. The same shampoo I bought from aforementioned GIANT online company only cost me $2 more at a locally owned natural food store.

So I purposed to pay more attention to shopping locally. Why? 2 excellent reasons in my mind.

1- By shopping locally I can interact with people who live in my city. If I interact with them, perhaps I can share the love of Jesus with them someday. I can certainly share a joke and at least brighten their day.

2- I would much rather help my local economy than some huge corporate giant. Buying locally means my money helps my community which means it helps local people keep jobs.

So my decision was to only buy from the GIANT online company items that I would perhaps only find at another huge company that builds super centers and squeezes out smaller stores.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Still Wearing Masks

We are 13 months into this pandemic and the whole mask wearing thing. This week has been a good example of why wearing a mask is a mixed bag for me. Tree pollen is my main allergy and normally by now I would be taking two allergy meds each day. By wearing a mask when I walk around outside, my allergies have not been so severe.

However, yesterday while sitting in a celebration of life, the flip side of wearing a mask occurred. Breathing my own recycled air through a mask can set off my asthma and sure enough in the middle of the service my asthma cough kicked in.

Teaching a language while wearing a mask has certainly had its drawbacks. I cannot model pronunciation for my students. It makes it more difficult to hear my students while they wear masks.

But overall, the main benefit to wearing a mask that outweighs everything is not what the CDC says. I am not convinced they stop the spread of anything. The biggest benefit in my mind is others feel comfortable around me. I realize people are living in fear and if I want to be able to share the love of Jesus with them, they need to feel comfortable being around me.

So I will continue to wear one until such time as it is deemed no longer necessary more for the comfort of others than anything else. By doing so I can show kindness to others.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

BACK! In! The! Building!

Last night my U.S. Citizenship classes started our new quarter. After ONE YEAR of classes only in Zoom, we were BACK IN THE BUILDING!!!

It was interesting to note that the room my class was in last night, was the very same room the staff had a meeting to talk about what the shutdown due to COVID would mean. What it meant for my classes was being out of the building for one year.

My class will be a hybrid class with half in person in the classroom and half joining in Zoom. It is the same thing I have been doing with my morning class. This was the last piece to come back to somewhat normal for me.

I also spent some time looking through my work station that I had not sat at for one year. There was the container of candy that I kept to give students candy for doing well. All of the candy was stale. It will all be thrown away. 🙂

Life is slowly getting back on track in my city and state. The governor of my state has now set vaccinations to be available for anyone. About half of the people in my city have been vaccinated already.

I am thankful God has seen me through this past year.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- 2nd Dose of Vaccine Today

It has been one year since I have been able to visit my refugee and immigrant friends in their homes. That has been a huge part of my ministry for 20 years. I have missed that so much this past year.

In two more weeks, I will be able to resume visiting my refugee and immigrant friends in their homes. That is because I had my second dose of the Moderna COVID Vaccine this afternoon.

In my city we are doing them at the Arena where concerts are held and the university men’s and women’s basketball teams play. So now I can say I was on the floor of the arena and leave it to the imagination of my friends. 🙂

The first dose did not cause me any problems, though I secretly hoped to gain some mutant powers like super strength, so here is hoping no side effects with the second dose either.

If I have any side effects, I will share them in a future post. Please research and decide for yourself about having the vaccine.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Reunion at a Coffee Shop

I had a wonderful assistant last school year. We worked together so well. My students loved her. She is a bright young woman with a bright future ahead of her. The school year was clicking along and then suddenly in March 2020 it came to an abrupt end because of the shutdown due to COVID.

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My class resumed remotely but the powers to be of the program decided I did not need an assistant due to low numbers joining remotely. It is one of my biggest regrets about the COVID year. We kept in touch a little, but I did not have an opportunity to see her again until yesterday.

Yesterday we met at the coffee shop. It was a wonderful three and a half hours of catching up, sharing about our lives, and talking about issues we both care about. She also gave me some good ideas for my book as we talked about it. One of the issues we both feel strongly about is human trafficking which my book is about.

Reconnecting with people is going to be a process as life slowly returns to “normal”. It is the simple things of life I missed the most like meeting friends at a coffee shop, visiting my refugee and immigrant friends in their homes etc.

Meeting my friend yesterday was a moment that made me feel connected again. It has been wonderful to meet people in Zoom meetings but it is not the same as in person. We need connection. God created us to be relational whether it is friendship or family.

Today is my last day of break. I will probably spend most of it on my book with the fresh ideas from my friend to be incorporated.

How is your Sunday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

2 Coffee Shops In 1 Afternoon-Life In The Fast Lane

Yesterday was a big day for me. It was a day of living large and boldly going where I have not gone for a year, cue Star Trek theme. 🙂

Life is opening up in my city. Yesterday I went to a coffee shop in the early afternoon to meet some friends. We sat outside because it was such a nice day. That is my state for you. 3 weeks ago record cold temperatures and yesterday it was 70 degrees F, 21 C. I made a new friend named Winston. He is a very friendly dog. 🙂

Then I went to one of my normal hangouts for coffee shops to sit inside, drink some Moroccan Mint Iced Tea and work some more on my book. As I chatted with the manager, she told me she was trying to decide what delivery food to order. A prompting in my spirit led me to go next door and get her an order of nachos. Of course I got one for me too.

When I gave her the nachos, she smiled and said, “moments like this make me think God exists.” I could not resist saying, “He does exist, By the way did you know I am a part-time pastor?” She laughed saying she loved it.

That kind of day would have been a normal Saturday for me before the pandemic. But yesterday felt like I was living in the fast lane. 🙂

How is your weekend?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Hamburgers and Deep Conversation- Episode 3

Yesterday after my morning class, I enjoyed lunch with my friend from Bosnia again. Of course we met for hamburgers which are his favorite. I keep forgetting to take a picture of the actual burger I eat, so the one from pixels will have to suffice. 🙂

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The first I said when I sat down was, “my morning class is now on break.” One change we noticed was how full the restaurant was. When we met two weeks ago, there were only a few tables being used. Yesterday all of the tables were full. The COVID situation has improved that much in my city. We talked about how life seems to slowly be getting back to normal in my city.

He told me his sister-in-law is coming to visit for a week, so I sent a message to him and his wife saying, “Next Tuesday will be warm and sunny a perfect day to go to the Outlet Mall and walk around for 8 hours for the three of you.” I send fun messages like that all the time. Then I looked up and said, “You are so lucky to have me helping you.” We laugh a lot when we get together.

So my break started off by having lunch with a friend at the same restaurant that was my last public outing last year when the pandemic hit. It was a life comes full circle moment.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.