Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Message to My Grandchildren

Dear Caleb, Hannah, Selah, Sofia and Kyle,

You are growing up in a world that mocks faith. You will have teachers and friends who speak against God and the Bible. Remember, the opposite of faith is fear. Faith requires action, and fear will paralyze you from becoming everything that God intends you to be. We use faith everyday. I vividly remember the first time I flew on a 747 jet. I wondered how the plane could move, let alone get off the ground. I was apprehensive to say the least! After experiencing many flights, I ate my dinner, watched a movie and then went to sleep for 8 hours. I still don't really care how the plane works! I just want results!

I learned a lesson about faith when I lived in Kenya. Bill and I loved the movie, "Born Free" and wanted to visit the home where Elsa, the lion was raised. As a side trip, our driver stopped at Hell's Canyon for a short hike. I followed the Masai guide very closely. At one point there was a steep drop. We had to slide on the rocks and then jump down about 3 feet. No problem! When I landed, I realized that I was on a narrow ledge. Below me was another 7 foot drop with a river flowing through the canyon. Now what?? The guide began to crawl along the wall of the canyon until he reached a path on the other side. I was supposed to do that!! I was paralyzed with fear. I just knew that I would fall and a helicopter would have to pull out my dead body! I watched Bill make it across safely, and then it was "do or die". I prayed as I listened very carefully to everything the guide told me to do. I had to trust this guy completely! My face was toward the wall of the canyon so I could not see. I held on to the jutting rocks and put out my foot. I felt with my feet until I found the crevices, and then continued sideways ever so slowly. At last I was on flat ground again. The view was absolutely breathtaking! I would have missed it if I had not stepped out in faith and let fear dictate. Having faith gives you the courage to DO things that might otherwise seem impossible. Yes, faith requires action. In every case, Jesus asked the people in the Bible to show their faith.

Don't decide whether faith in God really works by watching and listening to other people. If you rely on your pastor, SS teacher, or Christians in general you will be very disappointed. No one but Jesus is perfect. That's the whole point! We all sin and need to be forgiven. The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. Knowing how rotten we are helps us to be humble and not judge others. Continue to love your friends who have not experienced God.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Beautiful Weekend

It is Indian summer, and the weather couldn't be nicer! I have to admit that my weekend started off a bit nuts, but it kept getting better! Saturday morning, I took my mother to FireLake Grocery to cash in on a Dollar Sale. I needed to get ice cream for the students coming over in the afternoon. I wasn't prepared for the crowd! I haven't seen traffic like that since I was Christmas shopping in California. Again, I wasn't prepared for the VERY long lines! I thought that perhaps I had made a mistake in going, but everyone was so polite and everything moved quickly. After going through the express lane, I was met by Mom who told me that she was $7 short. I paid her bill and then loaded the groceries. Upon arrival at her apartment, Mom insisted that I use her walker to load the Dr. Pepper case. While pushing the walker, I hit a crack in the sidewalk which sent the cans rolling in all directions! I kept my cool, reloaded the DPs and carried them into her house. I practically ran to my car so that I could get my own ice cream home before it melted. Bill was on his way to pick up the college kids, but helped me bring in the "stuff" before leaving. It was one of those moments when I wanted to serve others, and it seemed that everything was backfiring on me.

We took the kids to Gliori's Restaurant and the whole world seemed to brighten. Ian and Phyllis are the type of people who make everyone around them feel special. We pigged out on the hot breadsticks brushed with galic butter. I tried Ian's fresh Italian creamy dressing on my salad. Yes, I have to watch my diet this week! After lunch, Bill took the students to the tennis courts behind our house and they all played. David wasn't feeling well, so I sat with him on our patio. His father has several oil companies in and around Beijing. We talked about the Chinese government, about his parents paying a $7,000 fine so that they could keep his little sister, and why they have sent him to America to study. When the others finished playing, I served banana splits and a variety of drinks around the patio table. We sat and talked until it was time to take them back.

The Bible Study group on Sunday continues to grow. I really think it is because the lessons challenge us and we spend so much time laughing. I changed the Supper Six groups for October. One group had stayed out on Saturday night until 11 p.m. grilling hamburgers and hotdogs on a farm. Sounded fun! Our lesson this week focused on the fact that to follow Christ means: 1. Self-denial 2. Serving others 3. Prepare for suffering At the end of the discussion, we all had to answer the question, "Is it worth it to follow Christ?" Faces lit up all around the room! Without exception, people said that they had gained far more than they had given up. Life on earth is very short, and we know that as Christians, we are assured of a big party in heaven. Everyone is invited. But, yes, it does require faith in Jesus Christ! I wish that I could ticket those I love into the party, but I can't.

Happy 40th Birthday, Keri! You are still so beautiful! I have heard many people say that when you walk into a room, the whole place lights up! I'm so blessed to have children of faith. You have allowed God to make your life different from the rest of the world, and wow! do you ever shine!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Crazy Week

It is Friday! Yeah! I just finished my full-time teaching! I put the mid-session grades on and left notes for Lucille. It has been a crazy week because we had a "end of Ramadan" party on Monday with lamb and rice etc. Then, on Tuesday we had a birthday party after school for one of the boys who turned 21. Watch out, Oklahoma!

Sofia called to tell me that she is taking piano lessons. She is so excited and started singing the notes to me that she has learned. In addition to practicing on the piano, she has a software program that teaches her the notes. I didn't know that king George and queen Ann live inside the black castle on the keyboard. I should have used that system when I was teaching piano!!

After school today, Bill and I went to a Barbeque for dinner, and then to Wal-Mart. We shopped for a basketball and tennis balls. The students are going to Gliori's Restaurant tomorrow for lunch, and then to our house for games in the park. I'm planning banana splits after the games.

Mom wanted me to come over tonight and get some of her tomatoes. I didn't make it. Oh well, I'm taking her grocery shopping in the morning before the kids come over. I couldn't believe my own tomatoe plants. They didn't decide to grow anything until September! Everyday, I have picked at least 12 tomatoes. I have learned a lesson in patience. I was ready to rip them out of the ground, and am so glad I waited a little longer. I guess God feels that way about us sometimes, but just waits a little longer to see if we are going to respond. Thank you, God for your mercy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Events

It has been a beautiful day! We had 16 in Bible Study this morning. The lesson centered on how to face rejection by unbelievers, fear of the unknown, and getting past traditionalism. Jesus was a role model on each of these points in the Book of Mark. I am always amazed by the transparency of the people in my class! They will talk about their weaknesses and ask for prayer. They really want to improve as Christians. A lady who just lost her father, also lost her beloved dog this past week. She has no children so it was a major loss. One of her clients felt her loss and gave her a $300 puppy on Friday! As a class, we felt her pain and her joy!

Bill and Jessica did an outstanding job on their trumpet/trombone duet during the worship service. Jessica is 12 years old. Our message was a report on our church's mission to Malawi, Africa. We saw pictures of the new Hope House which feeds 180 orphans. We had sent money to buy jackets and shoes for each child as well. We watched a video of the children singing "Thanks!" while sporting their new acquisitions. Two of the boys received wheelchairs and are now able to transport themselves without scooting on the ground. I had many flashbacks to the 3 years that we spent in Nairobi, Kenya.

I'm going to see my Mom this afternoon. Nothing special. Just sit and talk.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Frontier Days

Tecumseh celebrates Frontier Days at this time every year. Last night, we hosted our Bible Study Supper Six. I put country barbeque ribs in the crockpot while I was at school. The night before I made a pineapple upside down cake. I hadn't done that for many moons and had a hard time finding the cherries in the grocery store. (I don't like those cherries, but they look pretty.) After dinner, we drove over to City Hall where the countrywestern dance was taking place in the street. There was a live band on a flatbed and many people had turned out to enjoy the balmy evening. Some of the dancers were really good! It made me want to take some lessons! Gliori's Restaurant closed early, so the six of us visited with Ian while listening to the music. It was nice to get to know David and Suzanne Brown much better. They are a younger couple in our class. David installs and repairs Restaurant equipment for Hobart.

This morning we are planning to go to the Frontier Days Parade and listen to the HS band. Having taught band for 20 years, Bill gets a charge out of just listening. This afternoon, we plan to see a movie at the Hornbeck. I think Sandra Bullock has a movie out. She's cute! Later, I have to type two more vocabulary tests for my classes. Those students are a hoot! Yesterday, they discussed the pros and cons of arranged marriage. It turns out that my East Indian girl is in an arranged marriage. She's happy for the moment, but says that she can divorce in the future if her husband finds someone he really loves. The boys in the class were trying to figure out why someone would marry if they weren't in love. I sat and listened to their great discussion!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sad News/Good News/Fascinating Students

We just got an email from our former principal in Tokyo, Japan that his wife, Cheryl, has a cancerous tumor growing in the space where they removed her kidney. Cheryl is 55 years old. I had just written in my blog about playing the chapel organ at that school, so I was shocked!

On a happier note, Marlene (our neighbor in Manistee) called and said they are coming to Oklahoma to see their grandson who is attending OSU in Stillwater. Great!! Also, Kirk and Tamra are planning to come to Tecumseh for Thanksgiving while Kelli and her kids are here. Kelli was born on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26th. Her birthday is on Thanksgiving Day this year as well. I didn't think I could take care of two little girls in pink who were 14 months apart. But God definitely planned her, and she has been nothing but joy!!

I am presently teaching full-time while Lucille is away. Frank is a new student from Columbia. He works for Johnson & Johnson as a surgical equipment engineer. He has taught doctors at Mayo Clinic. When introducing himself, he said that he is very religious. I was amazed when he voluntarily said that without God, his life would only consist of material things. The other new student is Amitha. She was a college math teacher in India. Her husband is working at St. Gregory's as a computer technician. Today, she plans to show us the many decorations that they wear on their foreheads and what the meanings are.

I worried over my students who went on their roadtrip to Houston last weekend. I didn't realize that they planned to stop in Six Flags. While in Dallas, it flooded and the amusement park closed at 3 p.m. The kids told me that they traveled on to Houston and "prayed to God for sun". Did they get sun!!! Those poor kids all have sunburns! Oh well! It gave them something to write about in class, and I thanked God they were all back safely.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tecumseh Weekend

The rain has set in for over 24 hours and the weather feels like Fall. It reminds me of California in the winter --no thunder, lightening, and is cool.

In spite of the rain, Bill and I took off for the county fair on Saturday evening. We watched the Irish Dancers. They were first class and kept me spellbound! Between the dancing and the team roping, we went to Wendy's and ordered chili. It just seemed right on a cool rainy night. While wandering through the fairgrounds, we encountered several people from our church who showed us their blue ribbons. I still feel like an outsider looking in at the culture of Oklahoma!

There were 15 in our Bible Study on Sunday morning. Four of our students went to Houston this weekend. They were planning to see the ocean. I wonder if they made it??? After church, Bill and Jessica practiced a trumpet/trombone duet for next Sunday. I accompanied on the piano. It's "I've Got Peace Like a River" and "Amen". The melodies intertwine very nicely.

Galen and Sondra came over on Sunday evening before driving back to California this morning. I made a pot of potatoe soup and baked a pan of brownies. We relived our trip to Texas and discussed our world situation. I got my hair cut this weekend, and I'm on my way to the nail salon. I'm trying to be ready for full-time teaching while one of my fellow teachers is on vacation in Israel. She and her husband are Jewish and lived in a Kibbutz for several years. Maybe I will go in the future to visit.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Spirit of God is Peace

We have all witnessed our elected representatives in both parties act in disrespect this past year. It is no wonder that our children resort to name calling and disrespect their parents. As I recall, I even heard a policeman called "stupid" on television. Maturity and wisdom comes from God. Without Him, none of us have the discipline to bring about peace within our own world --not Christians, nor a pastor. I know that there are many times that I would love to call someone a nasty name, or wish that I could rid them from my life. But then, the spirit of God tells me that I am wrong, and that I must change my thoughts and hold my tongue. I, myself, have to continue to work on having the Spirit of God in my life. I'm not perfect!
Congrats Party/Dentist

The SEI faculty was sent a memo of congratulations from the head office this week. Twice a year, the students evaluate the school, faculty and administration. In spite of adjusting to the challenges of a changing student population, we received high scores in every area. Thus, we were given a catered lunch from the Chicago Deli. I could get use to that!

Anne returned from her vacation in San Diego and I was a bit apprehensive because I had made a few changes to the phonetics program. She was not offended and admitted that she didn't have the linguistics training for the international program. I thanked God for answering my prayer!

After my last class, I calculated final grades for the session, and then headed to Dr. Sims office. At my last check-up, he had decided that he wanted to fill a growing gap between an upper molar and my gum before it becomes a problem. It took about an hour, and of course I had a fat mouth! I drove myself home and sank into the couch with the footrest up. Bill noted my exhaustion and went out to get fish sandwiches and shakes. Try eating and drinking through a straw when you have no feeling on one side of your mouth. Oh well!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Check out Keri's Blog/Good News for David

If you haven't done so, check out Keri's blog. You will see the sweetest pictures, and Sofia has composed a song that is truly unique for a 4 year old! Scroll down until you read it. Try Shecklers.blogspot.com

David's hearing for release is set for October 5th. Thank you, God!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Crazy Adventure in Big Spring, Texas

Mom, Galen, Sondra and I arrived back in Tecumseh at 11:15 p.m. last night. They all said that they would pray for me today. Their prayers were answered! I was able to teach all 5 classes and enjoy them. I took my car, and Galen and I took turns driving to Abilene on Sunday after we had both taught Bible Study classes. I was excited because Lori and Chuck Edwards joined my class for the first time. (Chuck's father was a surgeon in Columbia for 30 years as a missioanry.) There were 14 in my class in spite of the holiday weekend!

We arrived in Abilene about 7 p.m. and checked in at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel. Nice! We ate at Lytle's Steakhouse about 10 minutes away. The next morning we left Abilene at 5:30 a.m. and drove to Big Spring. That was the beginning of the craziest hour! At the time, we felt frustrated, but laughed and laughed about our adventure on our way back to Oklahoma! While standing in line and waiting for the prison visitors doors to open, I began talking to an attractive Hispanic lady. She told me that Sondra and I couldn't wear open toe shoes, and Galen couldn't wear his shorts. I had read all of the website instructions and was shocked! We left Mom to go on through security, while the three of us took off for Wal-Mart. Sondra and I found some cheap white slip-on canvas shoes, but Galen had trouble finding pants to fit. At last, he found some farmer Joe bib overalls. I just rolled with laughter and said that David would find it hilarious!! When we tried to go through security again, I was told that the buttons on my blouse, and the underwires in my bra were setting off the buzzers. Galen was told that the buttons on the bib overalls were setting off buzzers!!! Sondra went with me into the lady's room to change blouses and cut the wires out of our bras with a staple remover that we were given. Huh?? Galen took off in the car to find another store. I gave up on the stapel remover and just wrapped my bra in the blouse I had just changed. Sondra and I finally walked through security. I hadn't seen David for a year and a half. His face lit up and I got the biggest hug and kiss! While visiting, I began to worry about Galen and Sondra and I began to pray for him. About 15 minutes later, Galen walked through the door in the nicest shirt and pants! He told us about driving through town and spotting a Salvation Army store. He found the pants immediately and paid $5 for them!

David looked great! He is 6' 1"" tall and weighs 210 lbs. He talked about his job as a cook before being assigned to education. He is now teaching GED classes. He told us about the 3 hour riot in his dorm. David is fluent in Spanish, so he knew it was coming. He didn't want any part of it since he is up for parole. He related how God intervened at a time when he thought he was going to be drug into the gang war. Actually, he is left alone because he is respected for his crime. Strange! We always have such a good time with David, that we hated to leave. His faith is strong and he has not lost a bit of his sense of humor.

We left Big Springs and drove back through Ft. Worth. We stopped to gas up and found an IHOP Restaurant. While there, Sondra and I both ordered senior meals. We didn't realize it until we got our bills that we would get 1 free meal for each of the seniors.

The trip was great! We had very little traffic and wore ourselves out with conversation and laughter. We realized that a free spirit is more important than any circumstance or situation. We were inspired by David's faith and confidence. Now that his release has become a matter of congressional inquery, maybe he will be home soon. Noel has asked me to help him drive to see David at the end of the month. I'm looking forward to another adventure!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Weekend events

I will be going to Texas with Galen, Sondra and Mom tomorrow after church. We will spend the night in Abilene and see David on Monday. David is teaching GED classes while he is waiting for his parole hearing in Ft. Worth. Bill feels that he should stay home due to having 23 students in his on-line History and Analysis of Music class. His students have their first papers due this weekend.

We are planning a T-bone steak barbeque with Mom today so that Bill will feel like he has had a bit of a holiday. I just finished making toss salad, and stuffed eggs. Baked potatoes, green beans, and watermelon will top it off.

Galen just called. They are coming in this afternoon with Crystal and Shawn who are headed to Tulsa for a wedding. We will meet them all at Jason and Shelly's house for a few hours this evening.

I typed two tests for Tuesday. I think I'm almost ready to go! God is good!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Has Come

I have been teaching full-time since Wednesday, and Bill has begun teaching on-line for Grand Canyon University. I will blog some more this weekend. Galen is due to arrive tomorrow, and I may be going with some of the family to see David in Texas for Labor Day. I've got to go to class now. More later!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Yesterday, I baked a chocolate cake and took it to the church on my way to school. Lori Edwards is a member of our choir, and lost her father on Saturday. I was impressed to see that at least 15 women were already there arranging the most beautiful dinner.

Tecumseh's first MacDonalds is scheduled to open today. Last year, the city repaved streets, put in gaslights and landscaped Broadway. It's becoming quite the community.

Speaking of food, I was given a bag of fresh okra. I took the time to cut and fry it for dinner last night. There's nothing more Okie than okra and garden tomatoes. Californians don't know anything about such indulgences.

I'm going to the dentist after school this afternoon for my 6 month cleaning and check-up. It's not my favorite activity.

A friend mentioned going to Springfield, Illinois. I have been to Lincoln's tomb several times. Many of my friends and I agreed that while there, we could feel the spirit of God surround his tomb. No American president had more faith and had to rely on God as much as he did. You can almost feel the brush of angel's wings!