Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend Events

Kirk and Kelli arrived on Wednesday evening as scheduled. Kirk's family stayed with Gramma and brought her over on Thursday morning. While the turkey was was roasting in the oven, they brought out the scrabble game. Gramma was delighted! After dinner, we all played Apples to Apples, then began a game of Mexican Dominoes. Gramma kept forgetting to inform us of some of her "made-up rules" which kept everyone laughing! After indulging in pumpkin pie, and applesauce cake with whipping cream, Kelli unwrapped her birthday gifts. We gave her a dainty cross necklace with a rose on it, and a stuffed penguin that sings, "I Wish I Could Fly" while it flaps its wings.

On Friday, Tamra had to fly back to LA because she had to work that evening as an ER nurse. Bill, Kelli and I went to the mall to check out some specials. Kirk called me and I told him to meet us at Taco Mayo for lunch with Kyle. At 3 pm, Noel's family arrived. I prepared a deli smoked ham dinner for 16 people. Jason (Galen's son) brought his family over to see his cousins, Kelli, Kirk, Steve and Mark. Steve's wife had to work so he had brought his boys, Hunter and Forest. I was so thankful that it was a gorgeous day and the kids could go to the park behind our house. In fact, it was so warm that several of the boys ate on the patio with the little ones.

On Saturday, Bill, Kelli and I drove over to Gramma's to say goodbye to Noel's family and then we headed to the movie, "The Blindside". Fantastic movie!!! From there, we took Kelli to Braum's. She was introduced to chicken strips with white gravy and their small hot fudge sundae. She loved it!

We learned this weekend that Kirk and Tamra will be heading a team from Cal Baptist to Manilla, Phillipines next spring; Jason's wife is having baby #3 in June; and that Kelli has been invited to New York City where a friend is covering the ball-dropping for Fox News. He is the national editor for that network. She will stay with Lorn Green who is the Religion Editor for Fox News and be given a press pass. The fellow who has invited her is the former Baptist Press Editor. We are so excited for her! (He also happens to be a bachelor!) I told her that next fall when we do our New England tour from New York, I want a free ticket to the Huckabee Show! She said that would be easy.

Kelli left to go back to Michigan this morning at 4:30 am. In spite of the early hours, I managed to teach the 17 people in Bible Study and sing for an hour with the choir after the worship service. We were preparing to sing at the Christmas Tree Lighting at Unity Hospital tomorrow evening. University Baptist' Handbells will also play. It rained today and the temperature dropped which makes it seem more like Christmas. We received some holiday mail which also puts me in the spirit!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

Wow! I have prepared for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a birthday this week. Kelli is arriving in about 30 minutes from Michigan. Kirk will arrive in about 2 hours. (He went to Tulsa to visit a college friend first.) I have bought, wrapped and labeled Christmas gifts for them to take back when they leave. Tomorrow is also Kelli's birthday, so I have prepared her gift as well.

Noel called to let us know that his family will arrive on Friday afternoon and stay until Saturday. His son Steve is driving his semi home tonight and will join us so that he can visit with Kelli and Kirk. They use to have fun together at Gramma's house in California while growing up.

There is a big turkey in the fridge, I made my heavenly jello salad, and I will make the pies tonight. Last night I baked cookies and fudge brownies for the school dinner today. We had food from Korea, China, America and Saudi Arabia...maybe Columbia. It was very interesting and delicious!

I taught full-time this week. It was a big jump for me to teach APL classes after working with my "preemies". It's so rewarding to have a conversation with advanced English speakers! Most of the students are traveling by plane for the holidays. Some are going to a Thunder game on Friday.

Last year, Mom and I spent Thanksgiving in Springfield and I was so sick! (Bill was in Singapore.) While there, it snowed and I nearly hit the backend of Noel's car. I prayed myself back to Tecumseh because Mom couldn't help me drive and I was still not feeling well. I'm praying that I can stay well and enjoy my family this year.

I'm also praying that all of the people I love will stay healthy and have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's Sunday Again!

The older I get, the faster time goes. Friday, I taught classes until 3 p.m. and then drove quickly to the doctor for my 3 month check-up. I had been to the lab the day before so that Dr. Smith could check my numbers. He told me that my report looked good. Then, I asked him about getting an Advance Directive which tells my family what to do about life support. I learned that the Tribe has an office for medical legal issues. I picked up my papers and was told to bring them back next week to be notarized. I will be given a card to carry at all times. Easy!

That evening, Bill and I went to Zocolo's Mexican Restaurant in Tecumseh for dinner. The Christmas lights were up and it put me in the spirit. So...on Saturday morning, we put up our Christmas tree in the family room. I love looking at the lights! Having been in Japan where Christmas is not even on the calendar due to it being a Buddhist country, I get crazy about the season!! After getting the tree up and our household chores finished, we saw the movie, "Julia/Julia. I really enjoy cooking, so I loved the movie!

As usual, we had a great Bible Study this morning! We had one new member, Jason, who is about 35 years old. We are up to 21 members in our class now. We discussed the third chapter of James. It followed what I had been thinking about lately........"Watch your mouth!" Jealousy and the attempt to control not only tears other people down, but is so unattractive. Of course, it is impossible to tame an evil tongue without the spirit of God.

I still think my church is the best on the planet! The music is outstanding. Larry Bouf sang, "Beulah Land" and had us all swaying as he sang. After a sermon on "A grateful heart" the choir practiced for an hour. Since we are using a CD accompaniment, I am singing alto. I have been talked into one of the four solos. I'm singing the second verse to "There's Joy in This Place". It's very bouncy.

On Monday, Nov. 30th, we have been asked to sing at Unity Hospital for their tree lighting ceremony. The choir was very enthusiastic about it! On December 4th, the choir is coming to our house for a potluck and a concert practice. Everyone seemed excited about that as well. There will be about 20 people coming. For the next month, I'll just clean my house every evening and make sure the fridge is stocked! Thank you Lord for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Interesting Day at School

For the past few days, I have been subbing in the afternoon for a new teacher at our English school. Her daughter is autistic, and she had to find someone to care for her. Delores was so grateful for my willingness to help her out that she gave me a signed book that she and her husband have written together. The title, "A Potawatomi Word A Day". Her husband speaks the language fluently and is a Spiritualist. He performs Indian weddings, funerals and namings. He also worked with my cousin, Dr. George Godfrey at the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas.

David, one of my Chinese students, blew me away before class started. He asked if he would stay healthy if he went to church on Sunday and prayed. I didn't expect the question, but quickly told him that it wouldn't hurt. I also told him that I don't wait until Sunday to pray. David was fascinated, and asked me when I prayed. I explained that I do a lot of my praying while I'm driving and before I get out of bed. He had seen people pray before their meals and asked if that was okay. I assured him that before or after is just fine. But, the boy wasn't satisfied! He wanted to know what to say. I gave him a brief example and encouraged him to pray for people he loves as well. There were about 7 Muslim students listening to this exchange, and one of them asked me if God talks back to me. So, I explained how I feel He does this. Later in the day, David came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders. (He's 6 ft.) He said, "Teacher, I prayed at lunchtime today, and I prayed for you, too." That melted my heart!

I know that people are praying for me because I almost became the meat in a "semi-sandwich" on the way to school. As I was driving north on Hwy 177 from Tecumseh to Shawnee, I saw a huge semi-truck barreling down on me from a side entrance. I checked my mirror and hoped to move into the left lane. However, there were two more semi-trucks. One of the drivers saw what was happening and I could hear him putting on his brakes to slow down quickly. I was able to squeeze into the left lane just as the truck to my right came onto the highway!!! I have no doubt that angels were watching over all of us!
The Five Love Languages

I read "The Five Love Languages" again after many years. It is fascinating to know that we show love to others according to our own needs. Many times we "blow it" because we think we are pleasing others - only to find out that we are pleasing ourselves and not the ones we care about. I was also reminded that some people are great at putting on a "show" of love for selfish agendas. After reading this book, my kids went through each member of the family and labeled them. Although we are all a mixture, some people can be labeled more obviously. After understanding the list of 5 love languages, it is important to be aware of others needs and try to meet them.

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

This is the time of year that I think about the people I love most. Miles separate many of us, but I wish I could communicate my love using all of the 5 love languages!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Is Love?

This morning we received a message from Galen that his best friend, Jim Murcray died at age 59 after 26 days in ICU. Galen and Sondra spent a part of everyday in ICU with his family and was at his side when he took his last breath. I had followed Josh Murcray's emails and had begun to pray that God would take Jim home if he would no longer have quality of life. I knew that many of us were praying in concert. We all had complete confidence that God loved Jim and would do the very thing that would be best for him. Galen will officiate the memorial service at his church on Saturday. Knowing Galen, it will be a bitter/sweet time of celebration.

Last Sunday, Pastor Larry spoke on the subject of love. We were reminded that when you really love someone - you feel their pain. Love causes you to want to "fix" things for others. There are times that we just can't do anything it seems. It's those times when we cry out to God. He will have to do what we are not capable of doing. Just knowing that others care (even though they can't help me) is a comfort. In another blog I will write about the book, The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. It is so appropriate for this time of year! God, thank you for people who love me!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Made It Through the Weekend!

When we finished choir practice today, it was raining quite hard. We drove to Van's Barbeque Restaurant and enjoyed the warm atmosphere. I felt like it was the first time in several days that I was relaxed. I taught 17 members in Bible Study Class this morning and then played a violin duet with Pete during the worship service. Sue had to leave early today, and asked me to play for the invitation hymn. Two white-haired ladies were baptized, and Lin (our Chinese student) decided to become a Christian. I had been praying for her because I could visibly see the spiritual battle that she was fighting during the services. When I mentioned it to her this morning, she smiled and said it had been a huge battle due to her pride.

Yesterday, Bill and I drove to St. Gregory's at 6:30 a.m. to meet other teachers who were going to the ESL conference on the Okla. Central Univ. campus in Edmond. I hated getting up so early, but the sunrise was spectacular! It seemed that the entire eastern sky was flaming red!! We went to seminars the entire day except for a catered dinner at noon. It was good for me to be there because I had been asked me to be a presenter, and I refused because I thought you had to be great. After listening to one of the fellows, I leaned over to Tony, our director, and told him I thought I could be a speaker next year. He smiled, and nodded vigorously.

Friday, I taught six classes with only a break for lunch. I normally would not have agreed to do that, but Sandra had asked me to help her out. Her grandfather has bone cancer and she needed to take him to get a scheduled MRI. I know that when I need help, Sandra will be there for me. Besides, the classes were interesting. A Columbian boy wrote an essay about his mother. She works in his father's glass factory, and she designs stained glass for churches and private homes. He said that her favorites are of birds.

Thursday evening, we went to Pete and Lorna's to eat dinner and practice our violin duet. Lorna baked chicken breasts in cream sauce, yellow squash casserole, and made cashew salad. Pete baked a cherry pie with lattice topping. We felt honored that they wanted to cook dinner for us because Lorna is at the top of the list for a kidney transplant. She never complains or talks about it. The doctor told Pete that Lorna's kidneys would fail in 2006. It's almost 2010 and God has sustained her. She hasn't needed dialysis yet either, but she knows it's possible. Lorna trusts God in all matters and it keeps her SO sweet! She's a wonderful role model for me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Berlin Wall Destruction

It has been 20 years since the destruction of the Berlin Wall. I mentioned in an earlier blog that Bill and I visited East Berlin with my parents one year before the wall came down. Our mission was to see the birthplace of Bach in the town of Eisenach, and the castle where Martin Luther threw his inkwell at the Devil. The guards nearly tore my Dad's car apart before we were allowed to enter East Germany. It was a tense experience. We were stopped every few miles to show that we had appropriate papers. I will never forget how depressing the country was. Every car looked alike, there was little meat, no fruit, and smiles were a rare sight. The leadership of East Germany was sincerely trying to spread the wealth, and meet the needs of all of their citizens. However, the ideal didn't quite work out the way they had imagined it would. Something was wrong!

For the past year, America has experienced a steep economic downturn due to corporate greed and displays of self-centeredness. This has caused me to think about the nature of man. It seems to me that both Communism and Democracy can go miserably wrong because people are people! One can find leaders in China and North Korea who are NOT watching out for "the common man" just as you can in America. So, before we try to change the entire constitution of the U.S. and "throw the baby out with the bathwater", maybe the hearts of men need to be changed. Loving our neighbors as ourselves might be a better solution. Of course, that is very difficult if one does not believe in "the help of God."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Next Few Days

The next few days will be a blur I'm sure. For the next two days, I will teach my own classes in the mornings, then sub in the afternoons for 2 teachers. On Saturday, we all have to go to an all day conference in Edmond at OCU. Lorna has invited us to dinner on Thursday evening, so that will give me a break.

Bill just called and is going to meet me at the fitness center to swim. Last time I was there, I saw a Mustang in the parking lot. It had a 1966 plate attached to the front. That was a very good year!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday's Events

I started my new session today. I am teaching, "Cinderella Man" to 8 students from China Japan and Saudi Arabia. I also teach a young man in a private session who just came to us last session. He has a degree in computers from his country and wants to get a masters in an American university.

After class, I ate lunch with the teachers, and then drove to my mother's apartment. She had asked me to do some banking for her. When I arrived, Mom and her friend, Shirley were playing Mexican Train dominoes. They roped me into playing a few games. I actually won a round! From there I went to the post office. I noticed that the day had become cloudy and cool. However, there were purple streaks that made the sky beautiful! In spite of the turn in the weather, God gives me something to smile about!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Correction on Schedule

I just got a phone call saying that my teaching schedule for next session has been re-arranged! The school needs me to teach in the mornings (which gives me more hours). Then, I will take over the other teacher's afternoon classes when she goes on vacation.
Day Off/New Session Tomorrow/Galen's Friend

Today, SEI tested new students for ability level. I have the day off, so I have just enjoyed checking things off that have been on my list. I finished a 100 crossword puzzle book, finished polishing my wood furniture, and finished some banking business. I now have a Blue Cross/Blue Shield savings account. I had to find a person who understood what I was talking about. After some time, a woman appeared who knew I wasn't crazy, and had the account opened in a flash!

For the next two weeks, I will only teach in the afternoon. Then, the following 2 weeks I will teach classes in the morning as well for a teacher going to Canada on vacation. I didn't have to, but I thought the extra Christmas money would be fun to have.

Galen, emailed that his longtime friend, Jim, nearly died last Saturday night. The doctor had given him a 5 % chance of making it through the night, so Galen and Sondra stayed with the family. However, Jim is hanging on, and the doctors are watching him carefully. I know how painful this is, and I'm praying for God to comfort hearts during this time. I thought my heart would break when I lost my father and then my brother two years later. God didn't let me down. He helped me to smile again, and remember that we will be together again. I can't imagine not having that hope!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weekend Activities

Saturday was gorgeous! I wore my summer clothes and sandals. I had been waiting for such a day so that we could barbeque the T-bone steaks that I had bought on sale. I picked up Mom, took her on a few errands and then brought her back to our house. She loved it! I also gave her the Gaither music that she had asked me to order for her. When lunch was finished, Mom listened to me practice my violin. She gets tired quickly, so Bill and I took her home and then went to Wal-Mart to do a little Christmas shopping.

During dinner, Kelli called. She has put her 2,500 sq. ft. home up for sale, and is moving into a 3 bedroom condo at the end of the month. Yeah!! She was also excited to tell us about her new position at Cornerstone University. She has been named the new Media Director (radio and television). She will continue writing for public relations, so this will stretch her talents.

I talked to Noel on Saturday. He had gone back to his office on Friday. I couldn't believe it! He said he would have a heart attack for sure if he didn't get some of the work done. (Noel analyzes the legality of accident claims and lawsuits.)

We had 15 in Bible Study class today. The lesson came from the Book of James. The question for the day was, "Does your faith grow when you are faced with the trials of life?" Most people admitted that trials do mature us. During the morning service, we honored 25 veterans. Pastor Larry preached a sobering sermon about the state of the church in America. He pointed to other nations to show how dependence on God diminishes when people put their faith in their goverment. After church, the choir (16 people) practiced for an hour for Christmas. Then, Pete and I practiced with Bill for our special next Sunday. We are both a little nervous because it will be our first time to play our violins at New Beginnings Church. I think people will be shocked because Pete is a quiet 63 year old fellow, but very talented! He was just baptized a few years ago, and is enjoying the Christian life.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sofia's Birthday/Events

Today is Sofia's 5th birthday! Sofia is very confident for her age, and a petite "singing doll". She started piano lessons this year. We love the videos of her singing in church and look forward to the pictures on the family's blog of her birthday.

As I write this, men are working on our house. They backed a big trailer into our drive that houses weatherization materials. At the moment, they are re-calking all of the windows on the outside. (I had never looked at them!) Next, they will replace old weather-stripping on the doors. Last, there is a huge machine with a long hose that comes through the house and goes into the attic. It blows extra insulation. With the promise of higher energy bills this winter, I am so grateful for this work being done! I'm also looking forward to not having to dust and vacuum so often!

Yesterday, I had planned to go swimming but had my plans changed. After classes, everyone met in the lounge to say good-bye to Frank, our student from Columbia. I was drafted to cut and serve lemon cake. I'll miss Frank. He was my private student for one hour each day. I'm sure he'll come back to the USA with his wife. He is a surgical equipment engineer and has requested Johnson and Johnson to transfer him to the States. Frank asked me for an English Bible because as a Catholic he had never had one. I was remembering that when our cruiseship made a stop in Columbia, our tour guide told us that many Columbians were converting because the Catholic Church was allowing the people to read the Bible for the first time.

Yesterday was the last day of class for Session #11. After giving back essays, Aziz asked me to explain Thanksgiving. I drew silly pictures on the whiteboard and gave a simple history of the holiday. The Saudi students were fascinated by the reason that many of the people left Holland and England. My explanation took about 10 minutes. Then, I was asked, "What's Christmas, teacher?" I wasn't prepared for the reaction when I finished. Those students have the softest hearts, and are spiritually awake! Everyone had moist eyes! One young man,who is married and has a baby, asked if his family could go to my church at Christmas. Muslims still get their heads cut off if they convert, so I let him know that they are welcome, but I'm very careful not to vocalize my beliefs without being first asked.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Report on Noel/YouTube

After teaching, swimming, and making chili for dinner, I called Janice to see how Noel was doing. I was shocked to find out that he had been given an angiogram and was sent to the operating room to have a stint put in. She told me to call again in an hour because it had been 8 hours, and the nurses were getting him out of bed for the first time. As I was watching Larry King interview Mariah Carey, the phone rang. It was Noel! He still had the effects of pain medication, but he sounded great! The bad news is that the stint will not solve the pounding of his heart. He has to go back to Mayo Clinic in the future for that. That remains a mystery.

Back to Mariah Carey ----I use to play her CDs for my high school classes in Japan. I especially love her Christmas CD. The girls would try to imitate Mariah and it was a hoot because they were quite good at it!! I would die laughing!

Yesterday, I was watching YouTube in our school's computer lab. Several students gathered around me and were fascinated. They had never heard a piano duet! The Arabic students show me videos of the "Bad Boys" in Saudi Arabia racing their BMWs in the center of town. My son, Kirk, loves filming. He made a video of Keri's life for her birthday. He loves his sisters!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This and That

Every week seems busy in different ways. The pool heater was fixed, so Bill and I went back to the fitness center this week. It felt good! While eating a ham sandwich at Subway, Bill read the calorie count on the napkin and became a believer.

Words are so important! A lady at church told me I was beautiful. I got my haircut yesterday so that she wouldn't change her mind! When people say nice things, it makes my whole week! I'm going to try to remember to compliment others more often and be sincere.

Two weeks ago, we hired a company to clean the central ducts in our home. In the process, the technician noted that we have an opening between the foundation and the intake area where dust can come in. I went to the Tribal office to see if I could hire someone to take care of the problem. Bob Carlisle recognized me and asked me to come into his office. He told me that the Tribe has money to winterize member's homes. At that point, he introduced me to the young men who are doing the work and asked if I would be interested. They are coming after school today to look at windows and doors. They will come back on Friday to blow additional insulation into the attic. I have always thought our home was well insulated, but if this will help, I'm for it! I couldn't believe that God had given us such a blessing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What I Think

I was reflecting again! As a student at San Francisco State University, I got to know several "far-left" professors. After class, they would invite me to have coffee. (I don't like coffee, so I would have a soft drink.) I would listen to them and realized that they had good hearts. However, I had seen enough of the world by that time to know that good intentions and reality don't always mix well. And.......I found these teachers to have the most depressing lives! I had just returned to California after having been through counseling in Atlanta for 3 months and was in the process of divorce. These people were in worse condition than I was because I had hope and was excited about my future. One of my teachers was living with a boyfriend who committed suicide, and Dr. Feinstein (Lit. Professor) kept asking me to come over and make breakfast for him because he had almost burned down his kitchen! I declined. He had no spiritual beliefs, and preached socialism at every turn. He was an expert on Mark Twain and wore a gold medal to classes. He also wore a suit and tennis shoes without socks. Weird guy!

I think that our country is going to continue to become more and more socialist. I believe this because it has been predicted in the Bible. If the Bible is true, then the New World Order must continue to be shaped. Christians might be able to stave off the inevitable for awhile, but globalization has already been set in motion by Republicans and Democrats alike. God's plan will not be thwarted! Just as it was predicted that Jesus would be born and redeem man, it has been predicted that Jesus will come back again to redeem man from this earth. If you read the Bible and watch the news, the plan is unfolding year by year. The odds are in the Bible's favor at the moment. I would never bet on my eternity.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekend Events

Galen reported that David has a parole hearing at 8:30 this morning. We have already prayed that the right decision will be made regarding his release. He has been very patient.

Noel had another heart episode this week. He is being monitored by St. John's Hospital and has an appointment for Tuesday morning. The chief cardiologist will be running some new tests on him. With the strength of God, Noel has been able to continue his legal job with American Insurance and lead a normal life.

Sunday was fantastic! There were 19 of our Bible Class members present. We studied James and how to control our anger. The last two Sundays have been about the evil tongue. The question was posed as to how hearing the Word of God has changed us as people. Two people said that they have learned that they can decide whether to have joy, or let other people destroy them. The morning worship was unusual. It began with the baptism. Lately, is has been adults! Then, we had popcorn testimonies. About 15 people spoke. I just sat and listened. The service ended with Communion. Sherry sang, "Paid In Full" while the elements were being passed. About 150 people stayed for the Harvest potluck. I've never seen so much food!! The choir ate first so that we could begin practice at 12:45 p.m. We practiced for an hour. We are using the accompaniment tape for the concert, but I am the practice pianist. Speaking of music, the singing in our church service is the best ever! We sang, "There Is A Fountain" and "Only Trust Him" with piano, drums, and guitars. Actually, we sing for about 10 minutes. When I stop singing and just listen, the harmony and strength of the voices gives me goose bumps! I've visited DEAD churches, and I know the difference!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More Pictures

As seen below, the seasons are changing! We have happy memories of Keri, Kevin, Sofia and Selah at the Michigan cottage this past summer. The delightful characters in costume are some of our SEI students enjoying their very first Halloween in America. The colorful trees are gracing the park behind our house. I stood on our patio and took the picture.