Jesus Validated People Others Overlooked

During conversation time with my students in my Family Literacy classes, they are all moms, I incorporate the week’s vocabulary words into the questions we ask each other. Last week one of the words was remember because I was explaining to them about holidays like Martin Luther King Day. I explained it is a day we remember him and what he worked for because he was a very important person in the history of our country.

One of the questions was, “what do you remember about the first time you met the teacher?” I strive to have a class culture of it is okay to say how one feels. One of the students answered, “I wondered where is Kolade.” Kolade was their teacher. He is a kind gentle older man originally from Nigeria. He was my assistant for one year and my friend. He had a stroke and is not doing well now.

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When she shared that she wondered where he was, my response was, “I understand. He helped you a lot and is so nice. He is my friend. I am sad about it too.” By responding that way, it validated her feelings and her sense of personhood. If I had responded any other way, it could have left her feeling less than. It is my hope that the moms always feel they can be honest.

Jesus validated people he encountered. He saw people others overlooked. He treated people with a dignity others would not. One such case for me is one of the healings Jesus did in Mark chapter 10. A blind man called out. “Son of David have mercy on me. Others rebuked him telling him to be quiet. But Jesus told them to bring the man to him. Jesus took note of him and asked:

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

Jesus healed the man others wanted to shun as not being important. Jesus took note of him. Jesus treated the man with dignity when others would not.

We seem to be in short supply of people validating others in our time. So my question for my readers is what is an encounter Jesus had with someone that is meaningful to you as an example of Jesus validating the person?

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.

Things Just Got Real- Again- Part 2

A few days ago, I shared about my school district’s plan for possible 100% remote learning for five to ten days on a class by class, grade level by grade level case in- Things Just Got Real Again.

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Because of the number of children missing school and staff shortages and some teachers needing to stay home to either quarantine themselves of take care of their children needing to quarantine, it was decided and announced yesterday that the next three Fridays we be no school days. There will be no school, but it will be a planning day for teachers to work from home.

This is a stressful time for teachers everywhere. In some places, they are still doing 100% remote learning. In some places they are still doing hybrid classes of some remote and some in class. Please be kind to teachers by sending a note, dropping off something like fruit, or whatever.

In my case, that would be drop off a cup of black dark roast coffee, but none of you live near me, so prayers are appreciated. 🙂

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.

How Often Should One Wash A Coffee Mug?

A question that perhaps one of the great debates of our time is- How often should a person wash a coffee mug? The moms in my morning Family Literacy class seem to have a different opinion about this than I do. 🙂

The moms in my class seem to be of the misguided opinion that I should wash out my coffee mug every day, but I tend to disqualify their thoughts because they put sugar and cream in the coffee or drink fancy drinks that do not qualify as coffee like pumpkin spice.

My thought, and perhaps the only correct view, is that one does not need to wash out a coffee mug. I drink my coffee black, the only true way to drink coffee, and by not washing out the mug it gives character to a cup of coffee much like aging fine wine.

Which side of the great debate do you align with?

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.

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.

2021 in the Rearview Mirror

One of the questions I was asked in my Q and A with Me post yesterday was whether I would make any New Years Resolutions and how I would celebrate New Years. My reply was basically not sure and that I am cynical about New Years. My thought is that the problems I had on December 31 are still there on January 2.

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But I thought I would reflect on 2021 now that it is one day away from being completely in the rearview mirror.

The year brought about unexpected changes as each year does. So here are the highlights of those changes.

My Ministry

After 14 months of not being able to have my weekend groups at church because of COVID, we started again in May. It has been a blessing to have a 78 year old woman from my church join us on Sundays, Our Spanish speaking friends love that she tries to learn new Spanish words. The Lord brought some new Spanish speaking friends to my group and one of them also meets with me for help with English, so she can become a dentist here like she was in Venezuela.

Teaching

My colleague who I had worked with for seven years retired. We made a great team. First semester was a rewarding challenge as I took over her role. With it being another COVID year, there were challenges, but Jesus was there to help all the way.

I also returned to teaching at the college in person in the evenings. It had been 18 months since I stepped foot in the classroom there.

Health

FINALLY, emphasis FINALLY, I was diagnosed with something I suspected five years ago before going on the long and winding road of specialists. I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in June and started medication. It was five years to the month in March that a Dermatologist diagnosed me with Psoriasis from the time I told my GP I thought I had Psoriatic Arthritis. That led to an appointment in June with a Rheumatologist.

Blogging

One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is meeting new people. It has been a blessing to connect with new blogging friends in the USA and also from places like the UK, Canada, Kenya, The Philippines, and more. For me blogging is more about the interactions with others than it is about stats.

Will I do anything for New Years? It depends. I might go to a celebration at a Hispanic Church, but the artic weather that is all over Canada right now is supposed to drop down here for a brief visit, so if it is super cold, I might just stay home and watch Lord of the Rings. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

This May Surprise You But….

The semester is officially over. I left the school a little while ago and my two week break begins now. This may surprise you but the first thing I did was head to the coffee shop.

My mind is a bit of a mush right now. The past few days have been crazy busy. But I have plenty of time to relax. For now I can enjoy that magic beverage called coffee.

Two weeks of nothing that needs to be done, no doctors to see, sleeping as much as my heart desires, spending time with Jesus, hanging out at the coffee shop, binge watching shows, and taking naps.

No snow for Christmas which is more than okay with me. Tomorrow will be 60f/15c. I am hoping we have one of those warmer winters. It is a cycle we have seen all my life 2 or 3 hard winters, 1 really hard winter, and then a mild one. After the past winter, I am ready for a mild one. We have not had a mild one for a while.

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.