Weekly Reminder- Please Be Kind

What is it like in schools? Well at least the school I teach in? This week in my school we had two teachers out with COVID with other teachers not back yet after having COVID. We have specialists, teachers who teach things like art or music, cover classes they normally would never teach. In other words, it is stressful.

What about little ol me? On top of teaching during the day, I am teaching classes in the evening at the college to make extra money. So Monday through Thursday is a crazy busy time for me. Is it any wonder I look like this at the end of the day? lol

I am thankful I can start each day with Jesus. My prayer time, however, has been focused on praying for those who are sick and asking Jesus to help me be a blessing. As I drive around in my van, I have a song on repeat- My Prayer For You by Alisa Turner. It speaks to me during this time.

This is my friendly reminder, weekly one, to please be kind to teachers and school staff. Please be kind to nurses. Just please be kind to people.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Hope in Our Troubled Times

Hope seems to be in short supply these days as we look at life’s circumstances. COVID is ongoing, inflation is terrible in the USA, so much more bad news happening. Where can we draw hope from?

When I was in my teens, two fellow teens I knew completed suicide. They had lost hope. I had similar circumstances in life with them, but I had a sense of, an inkling of hope because a teacher in 7th grade English used the Psalms in class. Yes, that was back when the bible was allowed in school. I had an inkling that somehow God would work things out for me.

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That leads me to where we can find hope in our troubled times. In Psalm 121 we read:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber

We can look to Jesus our creator and Savior in our troubled times. He is our solid constant. He never changes. He has all power. We can lift our eyes to him even if we don’t live near mountains like me who lives hundreds of miles from any mountains. 🙂

I would like to share this song by Alisa Turner. May it be a blessing to you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

His First Days in School-A Boy from Afghanistan

My city has received many refugees from Afghanistan and our schools have had many children from there enroll. My school had a boy from Afghanistan start last week. He is in the ELL, English Language Learners, class next to my classroom.

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I met him last Friday and he seemed happy when I bent down to shake his hand to welcome him. Yesterday I stopped in to say hi to the children and their teacher and I noticed he had his head down on his little desk. I walked over to him and asked him how to say hi in Dari his language. He told me Salam. So I said Salam to him and then looked at the other children and taught them to say Salam and asked them to greet him. All of the other children are Hispanic. When I left the classroom, he was sitting up at his little desk.

Can you imagine having to leave your country abruptly with your parents, coming to a new country, and starting a school where no one speaks your language, at the age of seven years old? It was my privilege to welcome this little boy.

It is important to me to bless children in the morning at school. Jesus thought it was important to bless children. In Matthew 19 we read:

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

It is a scary time for all children during this time of COVID. Children are aware of more than we think. They need small moments of kindness.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Say It Isn’t So- Emergency My Coffee Shop Is Closed

What is a fellow supposed to do? I stopped at my favorite coffee shop simply to buy some ground coffee to take home only to find out it is closed except for calling ahead to order. This seems a bit extreme to me. They have gone back to following 2020 COVID protocols without any mandate from the city.

This is an emergency situation of perhaps catastrophic proportions. The ripple effects of this will run through the city and perhaps the universe.

Can you imagine your friendly fellow blogger not being able to hang out at his favorite coffee shop? Say it isn’t so.

This messes up my whole personal universe. The coffee shop is next to the organic/natural foods store I like to go to for produce and to get nachos. It is also only a five minute drive from the school I teach in during the day.

Fortunately for us, God never closes up access to him for prayer. We can come to him anytime. 1 Thessalonians 5 says:

 Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

If we are told to pray continually, it means God is always listening. He never closes down the prayer line to him

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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.

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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.

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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?

“It’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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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. 🙂 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.