Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday, May 26, 2009

My Checkbook is the Measure of My Heart

This morning, the scripture verse on my calendar read, "Give, and it will be given to you." Luke 6:38 I realized why New Beginnings Church is so unique! Everyone in my church is volunteer, except for Pastor Larry who is part-time. He receives the majority of his income from Unity Hospital where he is on call 24/7. My church sponsors work in 8 countries, does local prison work, feeds children all through the summer at Mission Shawnee and most recently gave to Run for Life. Last month, the church raised $6,500 at a Bean Supper to assist a 34 year old woman who has cancer. It's incredible to think that our church averages 150 -200 in attendance and yet all of us who do music, secretarial and custodial work are totally volunteer. God has already blessed us so much, we really enjoy giving to other people!

Last night, Kirk called to report on his trip to Vancouver, BC. He said the most touching thing the team did was to help a recently widowed 45 year old woman. She hadn't been able to bring herself to clean out her husband's things, and asked them to help her. She had been a Catholic, and the priest seemed to have no time for her. (Religion is certainly not the answer!) Kirk also baptized a team member who had been a believer for only a short time. He said that he was humbled that she had asked him. I was reminded that last week at my church, a man assisted Pastor Larry in baptizing his wife. It was very touching to see the 3 of them hug when she came up out of the water.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

It's a day to remember family and friends who loved us and shaped our lives. Listening to "Taps" always makes me misty as I think of my Dad who served in WW II in Germany as a chaplain. I will always be grateful that I had the opportunity to return to Germany with him during peacetime and visit the concentration camps. Saturday evening, while watching, "Hour of Power" I heard the most beautiful song written by David Foster. It is "Heaven Holds the Ones I Love". I'm going to get a copy as soon as possible!

Sunday, I didn't think that many would come to my Bible Study class because it was a holiday weekend. There were 13 of us! Paul and Pat Slone were back. Pat fell and broke her hip when they were moving into their new home. She's fine now, and can walk unassisted. Yeah! The lesson was about Barnabas in the book of Acts. His name means, "Son of Encouragement". We as believers have a choice. We can be positive and encourage others, or be negative and critical of others. Actually, the Bible has predicted the future. God is in control, and His children don't need to worry. I've got something really good, and I want to share it!

Choi asked me if I would cook for him and Jason after church. I was taken back by his boldness, but knew that he is leaving for Korea and just wanted to be in our home one more time. (Choi and girlfriend Kasumi got together at our house at Christmas.) I was all ready, but they ended up not coming because Jason's new roommate was arriving from mainland China. They had to drive to the airport. So, Bill and I ended up going to Rosa's Mexican Restaurant on Hwy 177. The food will keep!

Today, I will pick up Mom at 11:30 am. We will barbeque pork ribs again. Mom loves my key lime pie, so I made another one. I also made deviled eggs last night. I always feel a little pressure when Mom comes over because she has a housekeeper and someone who does her yard. I know that she doesn't care, but I still want everything to be just right. For fun, I pulled out the placemats and coasters that I bought in Bali, Indonesia. I can feel like I'm in a tropical resort while being home in Oklahoma. Fun! I also love this recipe: pink Crystal Light mixed with diet Sprite, add frozen strawberries and pour into a tall clear glass. Drink with a red straw to match the strawberries. Another recipe for fun: (I learned this in Japan.) "Cola Waffles" Two cups of Bisquick, 2 Tbls. oil, 2 eggs, 1 Cup diet soda, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 cup frozen blueberries. Bake in Belgian waffle maker for 5 minutes. Enjoy these on a weekend when you don't have to rush to work!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I just read Keri's update which is posted on their blog. Anyone is free to read it. The address is There are pictures of the hospital in Nazereth, and Keri is standing in front in the group picture with a green sweater.

Our neighbor, Mrs. Stockton (75 yrs. old), just came over to visit as I was writing this blog. She noticed that our privacy fence had been taken down and is being replaced. She wants to build one like it on the other side of her house and wanted to know who our contractor is. She's a wonderful Christian lady who keeps watch over the neighborhood. When Bill was gone, her husband noticed me fighting with the lawnmower one day. He sent their yardman over to mow for me. Since then, we took the mower in to be cleaned and conditioned. It works beautifully once again.

It's about time to head for the pool, so I'll continue another day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

I taught 3 classes this morning, ate a ham sandwich in the teacher's room and then headed to Ocean Nail Spa. I had a pedicure last week, and it was time for a manicure. I'm blogging while my boneless pork ribs are marinating in barbeque sauce. Now that the sun has come out I want to grill. When Bill finishes at 4 pm we will head over to the pool. We see the same 4 people everyday, so we feel like we have a small club. The pool is quiet, clean and warm. No children are allowed.

I learned today that I am in charge of the school spelling bee this Wednesday. Tony said he would pay me extra if I would do that. When I offered to pick up some prizes, he said they were taken care of (Wal-Mart and Starbucks gift certificates). No problem!

Galen, thanks for googling Tyrone for me. Tyrone, it seems that you are a brother in Christ and interested in growing in your faith. That's a worthy goal!

Yesterday, was Sunday. Our Bible Study lesson was very controversial and interesting. It was about Abigail helping David and his army after her husband refused to help. It was in I Samuel. Wow! There were men and women in the class who really opened up about problems with former spouses. I become extremely uncomfortable with spouses who put each other down publicly. I have observed wives who made fun of their husbands (or complained) in my presence, and I wanted to smack 'em! I don't understand why good men put up with garbage, and vice versa. Fight in private, please.

Three Koreans, and two Japanese students joined us for Sunday worship. Bill played a trumpet arrangement of, "What A Friend". At the end of the service, Larry (our pastor) asked the students to come to the front for prayer as they are going back to their countries for the summer. As usual, they all wanted to go to China Buffet for lunch. After lunch, I drove to my mother's and took her strawberries that I had cleaned, sliced and sweetened.

Today, Sung Yeung gave us a picture with a very nice letter. He said, "Bill, I never fell asleep in your class." "Marti, I loved listening to your voice in your class." That made me laugh! Sung is going to New York for 5 days on his way to Korea. We all hugged and said, "goodbye".

Saturday, was a work day! We planted two rose bushes, scrubbed down both patios, and got out all the patio furniture. Later, we went to the mall and bought summer sandals. Just for fun, I bought some eye liner which I've never worn before! I got Lancome's soft brown shade. Now, I feel like Miss California (I wish!) I'm so proud of this year's Miss California!! When I listened to her side of the story about those published pictures, I became aware of how evil men can be.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

It seems that I have a new follower. Tyrone, please tell me who you are, and who introduced you to my blog. How did you find my blog?

It is nice to see the sun again after 16 straight days of rain. Last Wednesday night we had a tornado warning for our area. The sky danced with lightening, but it didn't rain hard and there was little wind. It seems that there was action all around us, but gratefully, not in Tecumseh. I was reminded of the scripture that says, "Do not be anxious about anything." The difficulties that come my way are nothing, because I know that God is going to give me the tools to deal with them.

As I drove to school this week, I was thinking about how much I like my job! I always enjoy my classes, and the students are a joy. Teaching part-time is perfect because it gives me time to take care of my personal life. I dropped by to see my mother on Tuesday, and helped her reset her CD player. She had accidentally pushed the radio button and was concerned because she had just ordered several new CDs. We also took time to enjoy her flower garden. It really is beautiful this year.

Keri is on her way to Israel. She and her team will be working at the Nazareth Hospital and attending the Muslim Christian Church. They will also tour the area before returning home.

I am glad that my friend's father is doing much better. I will continue to pray for his comfort.

Noel is hanging in there. If he is not satisfied with the doctor at St. John's, he is considering going to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix for testing on his heart. His pacemaker is not doing its job.

Galen informed the family to go to Citizen Potawatomi Nation Festival website and pre-register for the Bergeron Family Reunion. I noticed that the road to the grounds is being paved. I voted this week for Rocky Barrett to continue as Tribal Chairman. I hear that some tribal members are angry because we don't receive monthly checks. However, I agree that the money should be used for education scholarships, medical, and elderly care. It seems our young want a high lifestyle without working too hard.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

After a full week of activity, it is wonderful to be teaching part-time once again. I taught my classes and put my mid-session grades on the report cards this morning.

Last Wednesday, I taught a full day of classes and then Bill drove me to the OKC airport to pick up Mom. Her plane from California routed through Denver and was an hour late. I sat and finished another crossword puzzle in my book. On the way home, we stopped at Western Sizzlin for dinner. Mom looked so pretty, and was excited about her trip. Tamra earned the distinction of being the top nursing student at the Cal Baptist graduation. Kirk sent us a video. Tamra will continue working at Riverside Community Hospital where she has been an ER nurse.

Thursday, we went to a "going away" party for our student, Saud, at Anne and Dan's house. Saud came to SEI from another English school and had been a failure. We watched him mature and develope in every way possible this last year. The tears flowed and I know that we will see him back in Shawnee again. Bill and I left the party early because I had to drive over to Sherry's to pick up music for Sunday. One of the songs was a modern arrangement of "How Great Thou Art" .

Saturday morning, I planted more tomatoes and talked to the nurseryman about anti-fungus chemicals for the extra rainy weather. (I'm such a city girl!) I also made a key-lime pie from scratch for my mother. In the afternoon, Bill bought me a new chaise-lounge for the patio. That was my Mother's Day gift. Then, we went to the Hornbeck Theater ($1.50 movies) and saw, "Duplicity" with Julia Roberts and Clive Owens. It was So NOT interesting. I wanted to check out the Hamburger King which has been in Shawnee since 1927. We found it on Main St. and tried out the food. Not bad! Students were there in their prom clothes. Across the street was an artist studio for etching glass. The works are gorgeous!!!

Sunday was so busy I couldn't believe it! I closed my Bible Study class early so that I could run to the Praise Team practice. I played the piano for the service and then realized that we had two students with no place to go for lunch. We put them in the car, picked up KFC, got Mom and headed for home. We were all so starved! Later, Noel arrived from Springfield at 5:30 p.m. Mark came with him. After taking the students back and a quick nap, we drove through Taco Mayo and went to Mom's for dinner. Noel had called from Tulsa and asked me to get him a taco burger. It was relaxing to just sit and talk. We didn't think Noel should make the trip, but just like a Greenwalt - nobody tells Noel what to do!

It really was a great Mother's Day. Kelli had driven to Keri's in Chicago, and they called together. Kirk called from Vancouver BC where he is working for a few weeks. I love all the new family pictures. I'm hoping that everyone can be here for the PowWow the last weekend of June.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday, May 3, 2009

I taught my classes this morning, ate lunch with the others in the teacher's room, and then headed to the Ocean Nail Spa for a pedicure. It is so relaxing! Most women yak, but I guess I still have too much Asian culture still in me. I close my eyes and listen to the Kenny G music. From there, I picked up the mail. Keri sent new pics of her family, and a card with a picture of her team that is going to Israel on May 15th. They will be assisting at a hospital in Nazareth where many Muslim people are treated. Keri learned to love the Muslim people when she lived in Turkey. My students from Saudi Arabia are certainly beautiful people!

Last Saturday, we drove to Norman to pick up malaria medicine at a discount drugstore. We saved $102. (Not exaggerating!) Before heading back, we went to the Sooner Mall where I bought a new summer outfit at Dillard's sale. We also ate lunch at El Chico's which seems to be a very popular restaurant. We returned home about 2 p.m. and took a nap before going to see the movie, "Shopaholic". It was shallow, funny and romantic. (We couldn't work in the yard because it was raining.)

Sunday, I taught my Bible Study class. We talked about the legalism in the churches in the South. Because I grew up in California, and lived more than 20 years out of the USA, I can understand why many people don't want to be a part of the church in Oklahoma. Some Christians in this culture are very demanding! I go to church on Sunday morning, and any additional music practices - that's it! My class members really related and told me how much they appreciated the discussion. Christians are "who we are", not "what we do."

Our church was given a professional drum set last week. We have a lady drmmer who is unbelievable!!! Between key changes, she did a short solo. The congregation broke into applause! Fun! Jason Lee, our new Korean student went with us for the first time. During the service, he was taking notes and I found myself writing the root words in his notebook. We were all hungry after church, so we headed for the Chinese Buffet. Sun Kim went with us. She's our sports writer who will be graduating from OBU next December.

I am continuing to learn that I cannot intellectualize spiritual matters. In my "Streams in the Desert" calendar, I came across this prayer. "Lord, open my eyes so that I can see that which is Spirit. Give me faith to believe what I see." Sometimes, I want this so much for people I love, that I find myself crying. I get frustrated when I can see the potential that people have, and they just throw it away. (Maybe it's the "teacher" in me.) So, I just have to give them over to God, and thank Him for what He is going to do. I will wait patiently.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day makes me think of when I was in the second grade. I attended Lakeside Elementary School in San Diego, California. I can still hear the record player over the loud speaker as we danced on the playground. The balls had been removed from tetherball poles and replaced with colored ribbons. We danced until the ribbons had been woven closely onto each pole. I loved it!

Spring comes every year in such an orderly fashion. Either there is an intelligent creator, or it's possible that watch parts could accidentally come together and form a beautiful piece that tells time. Sound ridiculous???

Thursday, I woke up early so that I could pick Mom up and drive her to the airport in OKC by 8:00 AM. --- and still teach my class which begins at 9:00 AM. I wished that I could have flown to California with her for the graduations, wedding, and to welcome Crystal's new baby. Tamra called yesterday to say "thank you" for the gold heart necklace. She was pinned today in a special ceremony. She is officially an R.N. with a B.S. Degree. I am blessed to have such a smart and sweet daughter-in-law!

I talked to my cousin, Teri, at the pool this week. Her mother, MaryAnn, was one of my best friends before she died of cancer. She had helped me to decorate my bedrooms with blue and white motifs. I still really miss her! It's so hard for me to let go of people I love!

Noel is not doing so well. He went to St. John's ER again this week. He might have to have a different type of pacemaker inserted into his chest. He's only 55 yrs. old. We are planning to go to Springfield the first weekend of June. Rosslyn Academy, the school where we taught in Kenya, is having a USA reunion in Springfield. We hope to see many former students and teachers.

This morning, I was trying to think why someone who once believed in God would stop. I thought of the following reasons: 1) feeling that one's failure is too great to be forgiven 2) extremely poor role models of faith 3) a sense of pride and importance that equals self-worship 4) a sensitivity to punishment and reward due to abuse 5) an inability to trust God to judge fairly 6) it's much easier to be "cool and popular" in a secular world 7) the inability to love one's self -therefore "God could never love me".

Number Seven was my problem for years. At last, I have learned to trust God to love me, so that I can love myself and others!