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.

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.

A Surprise Blessing on an Artic Day

Yesterday we had an artic front come through. As a disclaimer, I realize it is nothing compared to what my Canadian friends have endured recently. 🙂 It was the kind of day that I did not want to go anywhere. As I was chilling out at home, get it?- chilling out at home on a cold day? I slay me sometimes lol.

So anyway as I was chilling out at home, I heard a familiar sound. Someone was calling me through Messenger. I looked and noticed it was one of my former students. She had been at the Hispanic Catholic Church and was on her way home with her husband and children. Her church has tamales sometimes. She had gotten some tamales and wanted to bring them to me. She was outside my building with them. I went outside to greet her, she handed me the tamales and said-mucho frio-very cold- and got in her car. I thanked her via Messenger. 🙂

As a teacher there is nothing like the blessing of a former student thinking of me and doing something like that. This morning as I was praying, I prayed for her and her family. I have many fond memories of her in my Family Literacy class.

Today is another artic cold day here, my Canadian readers can now laugh at me, and fortunately there were enough tamales for me to enjoy today as well. Nothing like warm Mexican food to warm the insides on a cold day.

I will post this on my Facebook because she is my friend on Facebook. Hilda muchas gracias mi hermanita en Jesus. Eres muy amable me recordar. Dios te bendiga y tu familia.

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.

Food from Students Became Food for the Soul

It has been a semester of dealing with the unexpected every day. To say it has been the most challenging one I have experienced is an understatement. Yesterday morning I woke up tired and feeling like maybe I should just retire already. I felt like this:

I prayed for a while and was brutally honest. I basically said something like, “I feel like just retiring. Show me something if you don’t want me to.” Not the most spiritual prayer I know.

I went to teach my morning class and for the first time ever two students brought me food. I have had students bring me food before, but usually one student every four weeks or so. Yesterday was a doubleheader. 🙂

The green frozen soup is called Pozoles. It is a soup popular among my Mexican friends. It is DELICIOUS. The other is Briyani a rice dish with chicken and other things. It is also DELICIOUS.

Maybe there is truth to the saying the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

There will be more days ahead that will be challenging, but it is encouraging to know students appreciate a teacher. Food for the stomach became food for the soul.

Elijah was weary once. God’s response was to send an angel to feed him. We read about in 1st Kings 19:

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”

The angel fed him twice. Two students brought me food. Okay Jesus, I got the message.

Has God shown you something in interesting ways recently?

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, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

and

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to 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. 

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

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful Jesus Led Me to Study Spanish

In June 2010, I was in Ensenada Mexico with a group from my church. We were there for a missions trip One morning while I was praying during that trip, I felt Jesus show me that he wanted me to learn Spanish. My church paid for me to take Spanish classes for one year.

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Over the years it has been a blessing in ministry and teaching, but yesterday a whole new aspect was realized. I was in my classroom getting ready when the phone rang in my room. It was from the front desk. A woman from Mexico needed help and the liaison was not in the building. They asked me if I could help. I went down to see if I could help. She needed another copy of a paper for her doctor to fill out for vaccinations for her daughter. I translated for her with the school nurse. It was the first time I translated for the the school.

Having that experience yesterday motivates me to practice my Spanish even more. Having that experience and being able to use Spanish to help my beginning level students in my afternoon class fills me with gratitude that Jesus showed me he wanted me to learn Spanish eleven years ago.

What are you grateful for today?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.