Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Thankful...

A few weeks ago, some very special people came to Lima on a Sunday morning to thank my parents for the tremendous influence that they had upon their young lives. Like many other GBS students, my parents worked at Main St. mission, dad being the pastor for 3 or 4 years. I won't go into all the details, but I was astounded that a family of 6 siblings, all adults now in their 40's or early 50's would call me to say that wanted to plan a surprise celebration, and then follow through and give their appreciation in such a touching way...



Today is my dad's 39th spiritual birthday, and often I'm reminded of how different my life would be if it weren't for that milestone in his life. He wouldn't have married my mother, which means I wouldn't be here (at least in current genetic form) but more than that, I wouldn't have had the chance to live the wonderful life that God has given me. I don't mean that my life would have been bad, for God gives each of us the opportunity to accept His gift, but it would have been drastically different. Since I love the life He has given me, I'm so thankful that Wednesday, September 29th, 1971 found my dad on his knees at the altar in a humble little country church in Asbury, IL, and I'm thankful that dad accepted the call to preach, which he had received 13 years earlier as a 5-year-old boy. Every choice from that time to this has impacted my life, and I'm grateful for parents who have been sensitive to the gentle leadings of the Holy Spirit.

I hope you often think about the people who were God's instruments in your life, and I hope that we all realize the power of our influence, and understand that our decisions, even the small ones, always reach further than we would ever dream!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

They're Gonna Hate Me For This!!!

While we were on vacation, the kids became frustrated with their little sister. They were trying to play a board game, and she was "interrupting". I took her to the back of the camper, and began to teach her one of those little clap routines that we spent hours with as young girls. When we had one down, we went out to put on a show for the rest of the family. It was really funny, and Allison loved every minute of it. Don't you know, the boys all the sudden became very interested in our "girl fun", and pretty soon they were doing it, too. Male intensity cracks me up...I thought they were going to bloody each other's hands in the process! I couldn't post this on the family blog because they would absolutely kill me if they knew the world was watching...too much baby fat showing for their liking!

video

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Praise You Because...

Last evening I had the privilege of beginning an 8-part series for our local Women of Worth chapter, and as I write this today, I am still overwhelmed by the intense love of the Father for his "girls"! David spoke with such confidence in Psalm 139:14 (NIV) when he said, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
So many of our frustrations and problems are rooted in the fact that we fail to remember Who created us, and how much we are loved by Him! We strive to live up to the expectations of a variety of people (some of whom would never be pleased with us anyway), and we fall short. Or we measure our worth by the airbrushed, embellished people and possessions that society deems valuable, and that unrealistic picture overwhelmes us with feelings of insufficiency. Maybe we too often peer over the fence into someone else's world, which seems so much more glamorous and exciting, and our current position in life seems pale and drab in comparison. Whatever the reason, too many women are feeling defeated and unfulfilled.
So today I feel God is saying to me, "I know every detail of your DNA. I know your strengths, your weaknesses, your desires, your fears, your failures, your abilities, your inferiorities, and even your dreams. I put them all within you, and I called it good. Please accept yourself. Learn to love the person that I love. Every bit of her. Instead of spending your time working to make yourself more acceptable to other people, study Who I am and live to please me. I am gracious, merciful, and patient, and I long for you to experience genuine happiness and fulfillment in Me. My plan for you began before you took your first breath, and will not end until after you breathe your last. I love you, and I will take good care of you. Until next time..."
So, with David I am saying, "Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Friday, September 17, 2010

News Flash...

Well, the big man of the house has decided it's time to...drum roll, please....lose some weight. He said that being closer to 400 lbs. than 300 is a little unnerving. I wouldn't know, thank goodness.

Now, the only impact this has had on me so far is that he decided to do it the very night I had devised an evil plan for him to escape to Dairy Queen (after the kids were in bed, of course) to get us each a Blizzard. Wouldn't you know. Anyway, he sweetly told me that he would get me a Blizzard, but since I find it really hard to sin by myself, I declined. We remain Blizzardless to this moment.

In thinking about the whole issue of weight loss, I am amazed by the difference in the way each gender approaches the issue. If I were going on a diet, for instance, I would probably choose a point in the not too distant future, but not right at this moment, to begin the effort. This would provide some time to mentally prepare, enjoy some forbidden "fruits", and stock my fridge with acceptable, palatable, or even just tolerable foods. I'm guessing most women would do the same.

Not a man, however. A man says, "Hey, I'm going on a diet. Like now." And from then on, every decision that involves the digestive system is made with the goal in sight. Funny.

So, here's to my hubby and his challenge. I know he can do it. And I'm planning, February 31st, 2011, to join him in this effort. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Over the last couple of years, I have felt a little less than patriotic. I guess our current political situation has clouded my emotions a bit, and I need to refocus on the great people who have fought and died for our freedoms. Anyway, one thing for which I am constantly grateful is the fact that in this great country we are allowed to educate our children in the way we feel is best for them, both spiritually and academically. We don't all have the same convictions on the issue, and that is fine. We are, as families, individually responsible for doing what God has asked us to do, and He will require what He has asked. So, at this point in our lives, we are blessed to be a part of a Christian day school. We are all fulfilled in this, and clear that it is God's will for us. Thank goodness He isn't asking me to homeschool...some of you are great at that, but I'm plenty happy to have Mrs. Pouzar doing the honors for my kids! :)
So, again this year, I am teaching kindergarten/preschool three days a week, and co-teaching in the Upper Level classroom on Tuesday and Thursday. It definitely keeps me on my toes...such a big difference in age, curriculum level, and maturity! It is working rather well, though, and I am happy to be where God can use me, even if it means I'm never really sure what day it is or where I am supposed to be...at least when I first awake in the morning!
When I first began to teach kindergarten, going down to three days a week and being home the other two, I became a little ansy about those two days "off". I applied with Lima City Schools to be a sub teacher in the elementary (just for the experience of it, I guess), and after spending time on the phone with Ohio's Dept. of Ed. (not exactly the friendliest office on the planet), as well as the Academic Dean from GBS (where I received my Elem. Ed. degree), I was told that I would basically need to aquire an M.Ed. and a state teacher's license before being permitted into Ohio's classrooms, even as a sub. The Dean from GBS put it to me this way, "We did not train you to teach in public education. We trained you to teach in the Christian day school." At 27 years of age, that statement impacted me greatly. Not too long after, we were given the opportunity to attend Liberty, and I was able to choose the degree that most interested me, not feeling pushed toward an M.Ed. just because. I'm thankful for God's direction, and for Him keeping me from some things that could have been a distraction from His plan for my life. So, after lots of rambling, I'm enjoying where He has placed me during the 2010-2011 school year!
I took this pic for Aaron's mom, since she forgot her camera that morning. No one was more thrilled to be in kindergarten than this little guy!

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I spend my day with this sweet little group. I am having way too much fun teaching them how to read, and sharing with them the wonderful stories of the Bible. They are so eager to learn, and doing so well!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reflections...


I am always in awe of the way God knows our desires and how He arranges His best for us in a way that is so far above anything we could have done on our own! Early in the spring, as I anticipated summer vacation, I asked God to help me to find His will for my summer. Although my income is pretty minor, it does make a difference in our monthly budget, and through the years, we have learned to save a cushion for those months. Beyond that, I really enjoy various types of work. I like diversity in routines, and as a person I need time away from home. Some people don't understand that, and that's fine. As long as God, hubby, the kids, and I are ok with it, that's what counts, right? Anyway, the things that were coming to my mind as possibilities were definitely not what God had planned.
In mid-May, a lady at church asked if I would be interested in helping with a home care case for an elderly man who was transitioning from a rehab center. I am always interested in new cases, and this was one that came with perfect timing...literally right at the end of the school year. If you have ever done home care, you understand that you have no idea what kind of a situation you may encounter. For better, or for worse. So, I was a little nervous as I drove the 22 miles from my home to the country home of the patient.
Within less than a minute of arrival, I was completely at ease. I had just entered the home of one of the sweetest elderly couples on the planet! Married for over 70 years, my patient and his wife were hardworking farmers who had been successful because of their diligence and frugality. At 92 and 94 years of age, they were still very much in love, and so full of kindness to the caregivers. We had so much in common with our love for God, family, and friends.
During the month of June, the patient progressed, and he was able to enjoy the next few weeks, but in early August he began to develop some issues. He declined steadily during August, and we wondered when his final day on earth would come. There were about 10 of us working part time, providing him with around the clock care, and each had qualms about being on shift at the time of his death. Hospice was involved all summer, since he was terminal and wished to die at home, and they were a blessing with various aspects of his personal care.
I was on schedule to work the night of August 11th. It was a Wednesday night, and I had a feeling I should skip Prayer Meeting to rest. I didn't know what the night would hold. As I travelled through the countryside toward the patient's home, I specifically remember saying to God, "Please don't let him die on me tonight." There were a couple of reasons why I didn't care to be the one. #1, being a PK, I have been at the bedside of many dying saints, but never with a dead body. Some had struggled greatly during the last few minutes, and I just didn't feel like dealing with the emotion of it. #2, home care is different that working in a facility. In a nursing home, you are surrounded by people 24/7, in the home - if there happens to be anyone else around - they would likely be sleeping during 3rd. shift.
Just as quickly as I breathed that little prayer to God, it was as if He immediately responded, "But what if I want you to be the one?" I felt a sense of calm, and told Him to use me wherever He could.
About 2 hours later, that's exactly what He did. As I sat at the feet of my patient, he drew his last breath. During the next few hours, I was able to help prepare him for the funeral home, hold his grieving widow while she cried, pray with his children and in-law children in the absence of their pastor, help the funeral director with information and pictures, and just be there. They asked me to stay the rest of the shift, and we shuffled around until about 4 a.m. making funeral arrangements, moving medical equipment, etc. After that, we rested for awhile in the living room. Just about daybreak, I opened my eyes just enough to see my patient's widow sitting in her recliner, sobbing in grief. I tried to imagine her pain...his death was not a surprise, but 70 years is a long time...a lot of memories...
So my summer was full of breathtaking sunsets, fresh country air, miles of cornfields, rainbows, sunrises that I didn't know existed (lol), watching the growth of baby calves, and making new friends. Although I know I will never measure up to Lucille, a farmer's wife who at 92 still keeps up a big house, cooks killer meals, and looks fantastic, I hope that I'm able to leave a legacy like the people who I was privileged to know this summer! Here we are, quite matchy in an unplanned sort of way...

(The table behind us is one of the many beautiful pieces my patient made, even during the years in which he was legally blind.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oh, Baby!

I just ran across some photos from my 13th wedding anniversary...I'm sure you'll be impressed..haha! Our anniversary, which is August 2nd, most often falls during Vacation Bible School. We're used to it, so we just spend the evening at church doing whatever our task entails, and celebrate if and when we have time. This year we were able to get away for a night in Ft. Wayne the Friday previous, and didn't plan to do anything the day of, mostly because I spent the entire day at the church helping with VBS prep, and Greg came to help as quickly as he could get off of work. After VBS, we felt the need to eat dinner, and did the risky thing...took 4 extremely exhausted kids with us to Applebee's to celebrate 13 years of love and happiness. It was a little hard to "feel the luv" at first, because little Alli (who normally wakes up very cheerfully) had fallen asleep on the short drive into Lima. She didn't awake in typical fashion, and cried for at least the first 15 minutes we were in the restaurant. I'm sure most people were wondering why we didn't take our sleepy little family home and put them to bed! Our waiter brought us a special treat "on the house", and it was quite romantic to share a large sundae with our kids...sort of. It ended up being a neat experience with our waiter, who was probably single and in his mid-20's, and wanted to know the secret of our being together, without regret, for 13 years. We were able to share with him that communication, commitment, and our relationship with God were the greatest factors in our happy, fulfilled marriage. He was appreciative of the input, and shared some of his story. I hope we were able to have at least a small impact on his future decisions.
And so, that is the story of Anniversary #13, 2010.






Thursday, September 2, 2010

These Days...

I enjoy blogging. Although my infrequent posts would indicate otherwise, I really do love everything about blogging...sharing family updates, swapping useful information, peeking into the lives of others...love it. Lately I have been too busy living to actually share about it, but I have kept up with your blogs, and felt a connection by seeing what happens in your world.
Since I'm just using a little downtime in my classroom to type this post, I will just share a few simple things of which I was reminded this summer. Hopefully I will be able to expound on them, with pictures, over Labor Day weekend.
  • God is an amazing Friend...He is pleased to give us our desires as long as they are not in conflict with His will.
  • It is not the length of time we have known someone, but the experiences we share together that determine the strength of our bond.
  • Death is so final and can approach so silently. Sobering thought...
  • Children don't need expensive vacations filled with roller coasters or Mickey Mouse to be happy. A campfire under the stars or a makeshift water slide with a hill, a tarp, and a garden hose are enough to provide hours of laughter and fun. Quality and quantity of time...both are so vital.
  • A house is just a temporary residence, a place to hang your hat. Sometimes you just have to let go of that security blanket and see what comes next!
  • Nothing is quite as beautiful as watching the church, the Body of Christ, function together in perfect harmony, each playing his own part while getting the job done.
  • Each season of the year brings its own thrills, as well as its own unique challenges. Savor each one, 'cause once it's gone it ain't comin' back!