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- 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.

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.

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.

Jesus Prayed for Our Unity- John Chapter 17

One of the most poignant experiences I have had was in Constanta Romania in 1997. It was not too long after the fall of the communist dictatorship. I went to the boardwalk area with Romanian friends from the church that organized the English Camp I taught in.

When we got there, we joined a large group gathered to sing worship songs. There were young people, college and high school ages, from various churches, Evangelical, Lutheran, Baptist and even Catholic and Orthodox. They were singing worships freely. The thought that hit me was that not many years before that, there was no way they could have done so.

They were gathered to worship a person-Jesus.

Yes there are doctrinal differences between the various groups, but their focus was on Jesus and worshipping him.

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When Jesus was praying in John 17, at the end he prayed for all who would come to faith in him. He prayed for unity for those who would come to faith.

 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

That early evening in Romania was a picture of what Jesus was talking about. People who profess faith in Jesus coming together.

I am not saying we disregard doctrinal differences. I have no plans to join the Catholic Church for example. But would I worship together in an open air setting like that time in Romania? Yes.

What I am talking about in my post is our attitudes especially public ones. For example, when Lauren Daigle won an Emmy she came under attack by some Christians because she did not express her thanks the way they felt she should. Others criticized her for appearing on Ellen. In both instances I thought people were being petty and in both instances those who do not know Jesus noticed.

Those who do not know Jesus watch us and our attitudes about each other. Jesus prayed for our unity. Our unity does not mean we all have to think exactly the same. It is about our attitudes toward each other even though we have differences.

If Jesus prayed about it, perhaps we ought to pay attention.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When God Reaches Us Through Others

Friday I shared about it being the day I do my weekly injection of methotrexate in my post My Friday Morning Routine. It means that by the end of the teaching day, I am ready to go home and take a nap. This past Friday it was a four hour nap.

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After my injection Friday morning and right before I left for school to teach, I checked my email and saw this message:

I’m hoping you have recovered from your strenuous drive that you endured this last Sunday.  I’m sure the rain caused even more tension. 

Seriously, I just wanted to let you know I’ve been praying for you these past few days.  As one of the elders at First Free, we are praying for the individuals of our church family. Of the numerous prayers in scripture, I’m often reminded of Paul’s prayer in Eph 3:14-21 as a model prayer.  With this passage in mind,  I am praying that you would know the three dimensional depths of the love of Christ and that you would experience this love that surpasses knowledge.  As the passage states, HE IS ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

Certainly, if you have other specific prayer requests, I’d love to come alongside you and pray for you.  Let me know if there are some specific items you have on your heart to pray for. 

The reason for the strenuous drive comment was my joke with my pastor who ran a half marathon last Sunday. My comment was, “not to brag but while you are running the marathon, I will be driving six miles to church. Impressive I know.”

Receiving an email from someone I had not received one from before simply to let me know they were praying for me was certainly a boost for my day.

We can tend to think of the big things and overlook the small ways that God reaches us through his people. My friend from church sent the email Thursday evening, but I did not see it until Friday morning after my injection. Jesus prompted my friend to pray for me knowing I would not see the email until Friday morning. Even in the small things, God is at work in our lives.

I hope this post causes you to consider who God would want you to encourage this week.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Ten Second Panic Attack

Tuesday morning this week, our school librarian came into my room to check on my classroom iPad. She was checking on whether it was one of the ones to be replaced. As she was checking the iPad, she mentioned she needed to check the Chromebooks because maybe they will not be supported soon.

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While she was looking at them, I had a ten second panic attack. Thoughts went through my mind of, “I use them so much what will I do?” and “my class is ruined” just to give a few examples of what was going on in my mind.

Then she said the magic words, “they will be okay for this year.” Suddenly my ten second panic attack was over as relief came over me.

This is just a humorous example of something that is in the back of the mind of teachers at this time. During this second full school year of the COVID pandemic, in the back of our minds can be the thought of- What’s next?

That is why my morning prayers start with, “help me be a blessing to my students and fellow teachers” and “I need you to give me the strength for this day.”

So is it any wonder this is how I feel sometimes? lol

So dear reader, please remember to be kind to teachers this year. We are still dealing with the craziness of COVID.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Preparing Others for His Death- John Chapter 16

When we through John 16, we need to keep in mind that the things Jesus spoke to the disciples about all happened within a little over 40 days from the night he spoke with them that we read about in John 16. John chapters 14 to 16 are about Jesus preparing the disciples for his impending crucifixion, resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Try to envision the real life drama that took place in real time for the disciples.

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In John 16:16 Jesus tells them:

 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

The disciples were confused and distraught by this and asked themselves questions.

What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.

Jesus was speaking of his impending death and resurrection. There is also application for us as we wait for Jesus to return. For Jesus his return is in a little while. Jesus is eternal and some 2,000 years is nothing to him. For us, it causes us to wonder where he is and when he will return.

Jesus then goes on to say.

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 

While the religious leaders were rejoicing over their temporary victory and others gloated, the disciples mourned the loss of Jesus because of his resurrection. Imagine their joy to see him after his resurrection.

Jesus compared it to a woman giving birth.

 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

I don’t think any woman rejoices over the pain of childbirth, but they rejoice holding their newborn baby. For the disciples the arrest, torture and crucifixion of Jesus was a time of sorrow, but to see him again after his resurrection caused great joy.

Jesus shared a great truth about prayer with them.

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

We need to be careful and not think of this like a genie granting wishes, any wish, a person makes. The key is in Jesus’s name. If we ask in his name, it implies we are seeking his will as we seek to live for him and serve others.

Then Jesus refers to his ascension.

In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father

The Father loves us. Why? Because we believe in Jesus. The Father sent Jesus and Jesus returned to the Father in heaven.

What wonderful news that the Father loves us. We can rejoice that our Savior Jesus is with the Father in heaven.One day Jesus will return to earth. Until that time, we have work to do here and can pray to ask God to help us along the way.

We can look to Jesus so that our times of grief and sorrow might turn to joy in due time. If we have doubts, we can remember how the disciples must have felt when Jesus was crucified and then when he was resurrected. The resurrection of Jesus gives us the victory.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Fall Break Is Over-I Reached My Goals

My short, very short, fall break is over. It is back to my morning and afternoon class. Even though the break was short, I did accomplish some goals. It helps to set attainable goals. 🙂

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I managed to take a nap every day as in power naps. I also slept later getting up at 8am instead of 6:30. I am well rested and ready for a four week run of busy days until Thanksgiving week.

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I made it to the coffee shop three out of four days. In so doing, I was also able to bless the staff with my brilliant jokes.

Yes, Spanish practice took place in person. Sunday evening I visited a family from Mexico and practiced Spanish over dinner. Homecooked Mexican food, friendship, and Spanish all in one wonderful evening.

The most important goal was spending time with Jesus. Having my mornings free allowed me to spend more time listening to worship music and praying.

So there you have it, My goals for my four day break were achieved, It is almost inspirational especially the naps. lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Perceptions Vary

The looks on their faces said it all that October morning many years ago. My young Vietnamese students were shocked to see how their teacher was dressed. It was a typical mid October morning where I live. It was 35F/1.6C but would warm up to 65f/18c in the afternoon.

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My young friends were wearing coats and gloves. One even had a scarf and winter hat. They saw me walking in shorts and a sweatshirt. They could not believe their eyes. They were worried and asked, “teacher aren’t you cold?”

A similar scenario occurred in July 2015 in Brazil. When it is summer in the USA, it is ‘winter’ in Brazil. I found their winter to be quite comfortable and nothing like a Midwest USA winter. One afternoon I walked into the university I was teaching at wearing pants and a short sleeve shirt. It was a nice afternoon for me of 65f/18c. I walked past the office for the young women working in the media/internet department. They waved for me to come in the office. They were wearing coats. They asked me, “voce nao esta frio?” Aren’t you cold?

Perceptions vary. One person’s nice day is another person’s cold day.

Perception is why I need to spend time reading God’s word. At times my perception of my circumstances is that they are too difficult. I need the reminder that nothing is difficult for God. Then I can look to him in prayer to ask for help.

Do you like cool days? What would you think if on a morning of 35f/1.6c, you saw me walking outside wearing shorts and a sweatshirt?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.