Things Just Got Real- Again

The COVID numbers for my city have gone up and a concerning thing for me is the fact that between staff, teachers, and students, 1,800 people missed school recently due to quarantining at home to follow COVID protocols. That is in a city of 300,000 and a large school district.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today we will have a staff meeting to discuss plans for remote learning if one class needs it, one grade level needs it, or one school needs it. It is feeling like March 2020 again. at least this time we know what to do, but the situation is stressful for teachers and staff.

I had a feeling something might happen, so I started having my students in my Family Literacy program practice joining a Zoom meeting with me. I told them it was for them to be ready for summer school classes for them in Zoom. I did not want to cause undue concern, but tomorrow I will let them know why. We will practice tomorrow and every school day next week.

This is the life of teachers during this pandemic. We are entering year three of it. Please be kind to teachers. They have no decision making power and try to do the best they can during this time. Please show teachers appreciation where you live. In other words, please be Jesus to them

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Do I Ever Need Worship Time Today

Looking forward to worship at church this morning. It has only been three days back to teaching and I need worship time. After church, it will be coffee shop time. Yesterday was power nap day and today is refuel day.

Photo by Dan Whitfield on Pexels.com

Don’t get me wrong. I love being with my students in the classroom. But each time I receive an email that there was a confirmed case of COVID in my school building, I ask myself if I am crazy for continuing. We had two such emails in three days. My morning prayer shifted last week from help me be a blessing to I don’t want to go but help me be a blessing anyway. Not a very spiritual prayer I know.

The tempting thought is to retire and spend time writing. I can easily see myself hanging out at a coffee shop and writing every day. That would combine two things I enjoy coffee and writing. Alas but there is no money in writing at least at the beginning and there are bills to pay.

So off to church I go to hopefully be refreshed and then off to the coffee shop.

What will you be doing on this Sunday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Navigating The Coming Year- Psalms 23

We are entering a third year with this COVID pandemic. Not a very cheery thought at the beginning of the year, but please bear with me.

None of us knows what will happen this coming year whether it be blessings or struggles. As I shared in my post yesterday-Starting A New Year-Who Knows? – there is someone who knows-Jesus.

Building on that thought, let’s consider Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

This life is the valley of the shadow of death. Yes, there is beauty in this life and wonderful things that can happen, but for 100% of us, this life is temporary. As Paul wrote in Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned

We are all walking through this valley of the shadow of death. From the perspective of Jesus, death is but a shadow. He defeated death through his resurrection. Shadows cannot harm us. Nevertheless, we might be concerned about what could happen in this coming year.

The reason the Psalmist gives for “I will fear no evil” is “For you are with me.’ Jesus is with us-ALWAYS. He said so in Matthew 28

 I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Not only is he always with us, he is with us to guide us as the Psalmist said-‘Your rod and your staff they comfort me.’ The rod was used by shepherds to guide. The staff was used to defend. Jesus guides and protects.

So as we embark upon this new year, we can look to Jesus to always be with us, to guide us, and to protect us. If we believe in Jesus, than that wonderful promise from John 3:16 applies to us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus is with us now and has an eternal home prepared for us.

So as we seek to navigate another uncertain year, let’s look to Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Starting A New Year- Who Knows?

ÔÇťIt’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Those were the words of advice from Bilbo Baggins to Frodo in Lord of the Rings. I love it for a New Years Day quote.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

If the past two New Years Days have shown us anything, it is that we have absolutely no idea what will happen in a coming year. The illusion that any of us can anticipate what will happen in a new year is gone.

Case in point New Years Day January 2020 I had no clue that everything would shutdown including my school and we would switch to online to finish the school year. I had no clue of all the things that would happen because of the pandemic. I had no clue that cities in the USA would be destroyed by rioters.

Another case in point New Years Day 2021 I had no clue that my colleague I had worked with for 7 years would retire last May and how intense the past semester would be because of it. I also had no idea that I would finally get diagnosed with what I had suspected for years.

On a more positive note I had no inkling that I would meet new people who would become my friends or colleagues at work. I had no idea that the Lord would bless me in the midst of the pandemic with a good year.

None of us has a clue what will happen in the coming year. The difference is the veil of illusion about that is gone, which in my mind is a good thing. Why?

Jesus is eternal. He does not have the boundaries of time, so he is with us now and in the future at the same time. He knows what will happen in the coming year including our own individual lives. Even better, he loves us deeply.

So my dear readers, the only advice I have about this coming year, no matter what it brings, is to look to Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Goodbye 2021-My Wish List Project for 2022

Time to say goodbye to 2021 or perhaps you want to say good riddance. For me it is a mixed bag. The Lord blessed me in the midst of another COVID year for which I am so grateful. But that does not mean it has been easy. I do not have a New Years Resolution mostly because I know how those go. So instead, I have a few ideas I hope to try. But if the past few years have shown us anything, it is to BE FLEXIBLE.

Photo by Djordje Vezilic on Pexels.com

One is a mini project for my apartment. I want to get the old furniture out of my living room and turn it into a blogging/online teaching/other projects center. My plan is to buy some of those light weight folding tables and a decent office chair. If I can afford it sometime in the coming year, a decent video camera.

Another idea is to perhaps do a weekly podcast and see how it goes. The thing to figure out is should I do humor, bible study, or devotional. The comic in me wants to do humor.

Why a video camera? Good question because I have a face for radio. ­čÖé

It is similar to the podcast idea. Maybe start vlogging and see what happens.

I will be super busy the first quarter of the year because dummy me agreed to fill in for two evening courses. I will be teaching Monday to Thursday evenings. But the extra money will be put to my projects.

Do you any resolutions, plans, or hopes for the coming year?

Oh yes, and by the way, Happy New Year to all of my readers even though I feel cynical about it. ­čÖé lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

It’s A Wrap

It’s a wrap today on another semester during another COVID year. Today will be the last class for 2021.

We will start off with a baby shower for one of the moms whose due date is January 17th. That will be followed by what I call The Rotary Store. Rotary Club 14 in my city adopted the school I teach in and has done a lot for the school and my class over the years. Each year they donate items for a free garage sale and the items are nice. The moms will choose what they like to take home.

I am grateful we made it through the semester with none of my students getting COVID and none of their children as well. I am proud of my students for staying with the class even with the protocols we have to follow. Normally on the last day of first semester, they would bring food and we make a party out of it, but this year that is not allowed. We wear masks in the building which makes teaching a language interesting.

One of the moms enjoys craft projects. She takes the cardboard rolls from paper towels and makes star ornaments out of them. She graciously showed the moms in class how to make them for a class project. We gave one to each teacher/staff member of the school yesterday.

We are ending on a high note and this teacher is looking forward to a two week break. My only plans are to relax, spend time with Jesus, blog, and hang out at the coffee shop.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Fitting Way to End the Week of Teaching

On a Friday at the end of another crazy COVID week teaching, what is a fellow supposed to do? If you guessed chill out at a coffee shop you would be correct. Normally on a Friday I would come home right after my afternoon class because Friday is my methotrexate day meaning nap time. But I went to the coffee shop.

The coffee mug they gave me to use was so fitting for my mood.

Yes Tigger from Winnie the Pooh was my coffee mug. The bouncing crazy cartoon character so represented my brain after another week of teaching during this pandemic. ­čÖé

Today I will meet my friend from Venezuela to help her with her English, so she can achieve her goal of becoming a dentist here. Then I will meet my friend from El Salvador to eat Pupusas. Then perhaps back to the coffee shop to hang out a while and do something maybe a little constructive like tell people some of my jokes

What are your Saturday plans?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Gratitude from the Heart of a Child

Little moments during this crazy 2nd year of teaching during a pandemic can be encouraging. Yesterday the moment came from a little girl in 2nd grade. Her mother is in my Family Literacy Class which is for parents who want to learn English and connect with their child’s education.

Part of the Family Literacy Program is something called PACT Time-Parent and Child Together. The parent goes to the child’s classroom for one hour twice a week to see what their child is learning. The classroom teachers welcome this and usually give the parent something to do with their child.

My student went to PACT Time in her daughter’s 2nd grade class. She came back to my classroom because her precious daughter wanted to give me a Thanksgiving card she had made, I think with the help of her mom.

She wrote a message for me inside the card.

She thanked me for teaching her mom.

She was smiling when she gave me the card. I thanked her for the card, which is now pinned up in my classroom. I talked with her for a few minutes and let her know she can be proud of her mom because her mom is a good student in my class.

The heart of a child thanking her mom’s teacher for teaching her mom. Cue the sighs. Cuteness factor off the chart.

Moments likes these remind me of why Jesus said things like;


Jesus said, ÔÇťLet┬áthe┬álittle┬áchildren┬ácome to me, and do not hinder┬áthem, for┬áthe┬ákingdom of heaven belongs to such as┬áthese.ÔÇŁ

and

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.┬áAnd he said:┬áÔÇťTruly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children,┬áyou will never enter the kingdom of heaven.┬áTherefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.┬áAnd whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me┬áÔÇťIf anyone causes one of these little onesÔÇöthose who believe in meÔÇöto stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.┬á

Children are precious to Jesus and need nurturing, love and protection.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Teachers Need Support- Lost One This Week

Yesterday I heard some news that underscored the mental health aspects of this prolonged pandemic, shutdowns, and uncertainty. She was a woman I had never met nor heard of before yesterday. She was at a different school. In my city of almost 300,000 people, we only have one school district, so there are many teachers and staff I have never met.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Yesterday I heard of the social worker at another school. She took her own life leaving three children and a husband wondering why. She completed suicide. Though I never met her and it is not a loss personally for me, it hit home a bit that a fellow educator would complete suicide at this time.

Teachers and staff in schools are on the front lines of this pandemic. We may not be treating patients like doctors and nurses in the hospitals, but we are at risk of exposure more so than most other professions. We are faced with trying to provide education with what amounts to having one arm tied behind our backs. It is so hard to get substitutes right now. Some teachers are choosing to retire a little early. In the USA, the vibe is Thanksgiving Break can’t come soon enough.

So please be kind to teachers. We have no say in decisions made by those above us. If you disagree with your school’s policy, please remember your child’s teacher did not make the policy. They are just trying to make the best of it.

Pray for the teachers you know and the ones you don’t know.

Small acts of kindness can help make a teacher’s day.

Please be kind to the teachers.

If you are struggling at this time, please remember there are people who want to help. God wants to help you. Jesus loves you and wants to walk beside you through the dark times and good times.

It is better to ask for help and stay another day. Remember your story isn’t over yet.

In the USA you can call- 800-273-8255

In the UK you can call- 0800 689 5652

In Canada you can call 1.833.456.4566

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Longing for Normal?

My conversation with my Teaching Para yesterday. This is her first year with me.

Me- I just want one normal day in school.

My Para- What is a normal day like?

Me- We had them before COVID.

Photo by Tobias Aeppli on Pexels.com

During what feels like this never ending pandemic, it is normal to wish for things to get back to normal.

But then even in the best of times, there is still that feeling that something isn’t quite right. We feel that there should be more to life than what this world has to offer.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

What is unseen is heaven our future home. Inwardly we know that this life of troubles is not meant for us. There has to be something more.

Hebrews 11 puts it this way in regards to the people of faith

┬áInstead, they were longing for a better countryÔÇöa heavenly one.┬áTherefore God is not ashamed┬áto be called their God,┬áfor he has prepared a city┬áfor them.

So while yes I do hope for an end to this pandemic and a return to the old normal, the old normal is not what I really long for in the long run. It is heaven with Jesus that I long for, but there are more people for me to share with in this life first.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.