Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Happenings

It was so nice to only teach in the morning. The weatherman is predicting a major ice/snow storm, so there were many errands that I needed to run. I've kept plenty of groceries in the kitchen this winter, but I needed to order Bill's birthday cake in case we still have the party. I'm to call and cancel if the roads are too icy. Yesterday, when I returned home from school in the afternoon, there were three birthday bags inside the screendoor. Ian and Phyllis had left me a CD by Susan Boyle (American Idol winner), and the "Up" DVD for Bill. Pete and Lorna gave me a beautiful candle. We might need it this week! The mailbox was nice to me this morning. Kirk sent a gift card for my favorite restaurant, Red Lobster. Thanks, Kirk and Tamra!

Regarding Haiti, I learned that Kirk has been friends with a pastor in Port au Prince for a long time, and has been requested to come and help. Kirk will take Tamra who is an RN and do what they can. Also, Kevin will be leaving on February 13th and work with a team from Atlanta. A fellow from Kevin and Keri's church grew up in Haiti as a missionary kid. He is a traffic controller for Chicago O'Hare, and has volunteered to go and work in the Haitian airport without pay for a time. It just reopened for public flights. I do believe that Haiti will rise from its ashes! Keri was reminding me of the work she did after the earthquake in Istanbul, Turkey.

The pictures in the previous blog are of my birthday, and the world map of our travels that Keri and Kevin gave us for Christmas. We've put 35 pins on to date. I'll try to list the countries that we've visited alphabetically in a future blog.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Birthday Weekend

I was born 62 years ago on January 24th in a church parsonage during a snowstorm while my father was a student at Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. I was the third of seven children and born on my parent's 7th wedding anniversary. I have celebrated all weekend and it continued today! Bill took me to the famous Cattleman's Steakhouse in OKC on Saturday. Earlier in the day, I received 3 roses - one for each of my children. Sunday evening, we took taco salads and ice cream to share with Mom. After eating, we played Mexican Train. I recieved calls and messages all day from my kids, grandkids and my brothers (Noel, Galen and David). I also got a card from Chinami. (She was the girl I coached to become a winner in Japan's English Speech contest.) Today, I was presented with a beautiful fudge chocolate cake that some of my students had bought for me. I am so blessed to be another year older!!!

Our Bible Study class was a bit disrupted. Pete called Saturday evening to say that Lorna was at Integris Hospital to get a new kidney. However, Sunday morning he called us again to say that it wasn't a good enough match. We were all disappointed, but glad that Lorna is in good enough health to wait for a better one. She called me today to wish me a belated happy birthday. That is just like her! She continues to have faith and never complains!

Pastor Larry's message was on the Prodigal Son. He had tears as he spoke about his daughter who has turned her back on God. He asked if we have loved ones who have also wandered far away from God. As the music played, you could hear people sobbing all over the church. The Spirit of God had fallen over that congregation! At the close of the service, we did what we always do - we held hands in a chain and prayed.

The Bible Study Class is coming to our home this Friday evening to celebrate Bill's 60th birthday. Everyone is bringing Subway sandwiches to share, and I will provide drinks, chips and dessert. Some of the Asian kids told me today that they want to bring Chinese dumplings and fried rice. That's great!

I was suppose to go back to my light teaching schedule today. Lucille called last night sick, and asked if I could take her classes for another day. It was all good!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Yeah! It's Friday! I taught full-time this week while Lucille is in Chicago. Although I love the classes, it's a lot of work at times. One of our new students asked me an interesting question. He said, "Teacher, who is most important in your family?" Later, he rephrased his question, and asked me who the government thinks is the most important. I told him that we are equally important, and must be respected as such. It took this student awhile to grasp what I was saying. Finally, he told me that it isn't that way in his country. He told me about the wives who are killed every year without anything being done about it. He also told me about the 5 year old next door who was beaten to death by his father. For that, the father received 5 years in prison. With tears in his eyes, he said, "Teacher, I love America! Why is it different from other countries?" I told him that many Americans are Christian and look to Jesus for their example. Jesus taught people to respect women and children. The laws of our nation are built on Christian principles.

It seems that I overworked my guardian angel this week. While driving to school, the car in front of me nearly hit the concrete center divider while talking on the cell phone. I slowed down and moved to the right lane. Later in the week, I went to the supermarket. I noticed a parking space at the end, but wondered if the truck in front of me would get it. When he turned to the right, I decided to go for it. I was shocked when the truck began to BACK into the same space without looking. I braked, leaned on my horn and just waited for him to hit me. He came within a half inch of my car. I couldn't believe I hadn't been crunched. I sat there for a minute and then noticed another space directly across, so I drove in. I looked over to see who had the gall to back into a space without looking into his rearview mirror. It was a white haired man who most likely can't see or hear. I forgave him and did my shopping.

At lunch, I was having a theological discussion with my director, Tony. He often tells me that God is not fair. Tony says, "If God was fair, I would go to hell!" I agreed with him. Smile! We also talked about what is "good". We couldn't imagine letting our students all decide for themselves what is "good". There would be no standard, and absolute chaos. (Many of my students try to negotiate with me as it is. Many times I show mercy and give second chances. And.....sometimes their chances run out. I think God must be the same.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nice Weekend

Saturday morning, I worked around the house until 11:00 a.m., then Bill and I drove in the rain to Norman for our annual basketball game. OU was playing Missouri. The first half was slow and OU was always trying to catch up. The second half got more exciting. Neither team is championship material at the moment, but OU finally won 65-61. The best part of the game was half-time when the Special Olympic gymnastic girls performed for us. They were wonderful!
After the game, we tried Marie Callender's again. I had a really bad experience there last year, but they sent me a discount card which couldn't be ignored. I had a half rack of ribs that were great! We also received two free pieces of pie. I told the manager that they had changed my mind about the restaurant.

Saturday evening, a group of teens came to our house as part of a birthday party scavenger hunt. That brought back so many memories of church youth parties! I gave them a piece of gum, a Q-tip and a dryer sheet.

Last night, the phone rang. It was Sofia's tiny voice. She said, "Hi, Gramma. I'm going to have a new baby brother!" She was so excited! Of course, I also talked to Selah.

This morning, we had 16 in Bible Study class. The lesson dealt with what the proper response should be for Christians when confronted with injustice in our world. King Solomon had a lot to say on that subject. We were reminded to let God revenge (not our job), and to defend the oppressed.

I accompanied Bill (trumpet) and Ted (trombone) on the piano during worship service. Pastor Larry made a statement this morning that was profound to me. He said, "Pray that the Holy Spirit speaks to the hearts of those we love. If someone becomes a believer because we talked them into it, that means that someone can talk them out of it. When a person experiences God for themselves, no one can change their minds. The unsettling fact is that some people don't want to experience God, because He would require a major change in their lives."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Picture Catch-up

These pictures were taken at the Radisson Hotel in Branson after Christmas. It was during the big snow storm and I was so cold! The picture in the middle was taken on our anniversary at Red Lobster. It looks like we had one plate, but no, we had two.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Activities and Thoughts about Events

It's a cloudy day with a bit of drizzle. I taught 3 classes this morning. I think that as a teacher I'm beginning to remember the present perfect and present perfect progressive tenses. Smile! I graded presentations during the 9:00 class and learned a lot from my students. I have known since high school that my blood type is B positive. Today, I learned that my blood cells have diamond shapes attached, and that only 8 % of the world's population has my blood type. Interesting!

Yesterday, the students went to the Natural History Museum in OKC while the faculty had a computer workshop. We were trained to use a new English software program that will track the levels of the students. It's not designed to replace the teacher, but could be very effective as a supplement.

We have all been watching what is happening in Haiti. As usual, so many good things are coming out of this disaster. People are being brought together, and I know that the country is going to be better off in the near future. I also noticed that, as usual, it was the Christians who were first on the scene, while others sat back and blamed God. I was reminded of the many stories I heard from older Japanese people who could remember the bombing of Hiroshima. Yes, it was a terrible disaster, but Japan is a modern productive nation today because of its history. I taught at two Japanese girls' schools that were established after the war. Before then, there was no education for girls. Yes, war and earthquakes are bad, but God has a way of making lemonade out of lemons! God allows "bad" things to happen to accomplish His purposes. We have to let Him be God, and then we don't have to be frustrated when we don't know everything.

I have been thinking about personal accountability this week. Granted, I was out of the United States for 20 years, but I have never seen and heard so much name calling and pointing fingers. I feel like I'm in the middle of a huge Blame Game. No one seems to know how to build bridges and move on. Blame is not the answer. It is much better to look at the problem, strive to fix it and recognize that it took many years and many people from both sides of the fence to create the problems that exist today. It seems that when one starts to feel insecure or guilty, the first emotion is to blame someone else. It's okay to make a mistake! It's okay to say, "I'm sorry!" It's okay to forgive! It's okay to love your enemy! As my Dad once said to me, " If they won't be your friend, love them from a distance."

I made some cinnamon rolls that are rising in the kitchen, so I had better check them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Middle of the Week

Yesterday, I was observed by our director while I taught Grammar. We discussed using the present tense or the progressive when one is talking about a specific schedule of events. For example, "The plane leaves tomorrow." "The plane is leaving tomorrow." I use to worry over these evaluations, but now, I'm secure and just have fun.

In the afternoon, I did some business on the computer, and then met Bill at the clinic to have our Directive Wills notorized. This afternoon, I have a dental check-up at 1:30 p.m. Mom has an appointment to have a tooth extracted at 2:00 p.m., so I will wait for her and see what her needs are. She didn't want a root canal. I told her that I had two, and it was fine. She seemed surprsied.

While at the clinic, the notory asked me what my maiden name was. She said her half sister had been married to a Greenwalt from Illinois. Like Dad, he had been orphaned during a flu epidemic and moved to Oklahoma. He would be near Dad's age if he were living now. Interesting! It seems that we all want to know about our past, and where we are going.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Activities

Saturday, my neighbor lady came over to bring my Mary Kay order. I couldn't even remember what it was! I tried my new eye liner and loved it! The tip is like a tiny pen. I don't want to look made up with what I call, "racoon eyes." I also bought some lipstick that I think would look great on Keri because we both look good in pink. It's called Pink Melon.

While Bill worked on his new media class, I drove to Mom's and took her some chicken vegetable noodle soup that I made. She was working on her Bible Study lesson. so we sat and talked about life. She told me how God had changed her in the past few years. She used to be more critical and legalistic in her theology. I shared with her how blessed I feel to have grown up in California - away from the Southern dogma. Dad's churches were filled with people who had found forgiveness rather than judgement. I'm still in shock at the attitude of many "Christians" in Oklahoma, and feel frustrated because of the people they have driven away.

Saturday afternoon, Bill and I had a late lunch at Chili's. We ordered a combo for two which included pulled pork sandwiches, cheese fries and a brownie sundae. Calories - Yes! It was so good! My saving grace was ordering water with lemon. After lunch, we headed for the mall. BonWorth is having a 50% sale. It's my favorite store, so I bought two new matching outfits for school. Saturday evening, we watched, "Avatar" at the Jones Theater. It will get lots of awards for special effects, and James Horner did a great job on the music. I found the story line to be predictable and James Cameron, the writer, either showed how confused he is in his theology or was just having fun making up stuff for Hollywood. At least Cameron feels that every created being has a spiritual dimension, and that there is a divine being.

Sunday, there were 18 members present for Bible Study class. Lori and Chuck Edwards were moving Lori's beauty salon to a newer location and couldn't be there. There is no recession in our church. Josie Cravens told me that she had shown houses everyday during the cold snap and had sold several. Our lesson was on "God's Time". We discussed how difficult it is to be patient and do things on God's terms. Often our lack of faith stops God from working. As a class, we determined to pray for faith, wisdom and patience. Why some people don't want these things is beyond my understanding. Last week, I got an email from a friend who thanked me for "standing in the gap" when they felt weak. We all have to do that for each other. When I "fly" in the power of God, it is the most awesome experience!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Surprises

So much for my afternoons! Ann is sick and called me last night to cover her classes today. I taught advanced reading and writing which really was very interesting. The students read a piece on superstitions around the world and discussed the vocabulary. The second hour, they wrote an essay about superstitions in their own countries. I taught a new girl today from Ecuador. She's very bright! Our school is like a family, so two of our grads came back to visit today. It's easy to get attached to these kids.

We were all very sad to learn that our lead teacher is moving to Chicago in another month. Her husband is an oil engineer and has been offered a job in the research lab there. Lucille is a wonderful Jewish lady who was raised in South Africa. We have become very good friends and all of us are going to miss who gift for organization. We have promised to get in touch when I go to Chicago in May for Keri's new baby.

It was a very good day in spite of the bitter cold. I found nice mail in my box even though the envelopes have turned from bright colors to white now. I was reminded that my birthday is coming soon. In the middle of the pile was a notice from the Social Security Admin. office. Yeah! Another good thing that happened today was a notice on my desk that I had gotten a raise in pay. With our energy bills this month, that will come in handy. I noticed gas prices are going sky high again. It's amazing how God takes care of His kids!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, David!/New Computer

This is my first time to blog on my new computer. We bought it several months ago, but Bill didn't want to have it installed until he finished his last on-line class. I am home in the afternoons now, so it was the first chance to have it installed. It's a flatscreen desk model. The print is big which is wonderful for senior citizens.

Today is my brother David's birthday. We are all praying that he will have the gift of physical freedom soon.

This is the first January that I have taught. In the past, our student enrollment was so low at this time that I was furloughed. Actually, I was in Chicago last January! I'm teaching two hours of grammar in the morning, eat lunch with the other teachers and then go home. I am getting sooo much done in the afternoon. Yesterday, I filed all of the mail from the past week that needed to be kept. Today, I went through our magazine basket and threw away the old copies that have been read. I even stopped for awhile and finished a crossword puzzle. Perhaps I can get the clutter out of this house before I get called back.

A few years ago, one of my students gave me an inspirational calendar with only numbers. I have used it over and over. Today, I read: "Sainthood springs out of suffering. It takes eleven tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. God will tune you to harmonize with heaven's keynote if you can stand the strain."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kirk/Trip to Texas

Kirk is 35 years old today! That makes me older, too! Everytime I think about my emergency C-section, and the years we went through with his drug addiction, I know that Kirk is a miracle child! A tremendous spiritual battle was fought, but God is always stronger than Satan! Because of that personal battle, Kirk has helped hundreds of addicts and prostitutes find meaning in their lives through Jesus Christ.

New Year's Eve was different than past years. I had a cold and didn't want the usual big party. Noel brought Mom over for a chili dinner, and then Galen and Sondra arrived around 6 p.m. with Jason, Shelly and kids. Jason dove into my lemon pie, and Kylee asked if she could have more chocolate chip cookies. She is 7 years old now, and so pretty! Just as everyone was leaving, Ian and Phllis came and stayed until 10:30 p.m. They had worked at the restaurant until 8 p.m. and seemed happy to just relax and do nothing.

New Years Day, Noel and Mom picked Bill and me up at 10 AM to travel to Texas. Bill and I took turns driving. Noel's van has captains chairs that all recline, so it was extremely comfortable and the weather was perfect. We stopped at Denny's for lunch. A lady came around with black eyed peas for "good luck". (We Californians still don't understand that tradition.) We arrived in Big Springs by 6 pm and enjoyed a country buffet next to the La Quinta Hotel. Galen and Sondra decided to join us and got a room at the same hotel since they were on their way back to California.

On January 2nd, we all had breakfast together in the hotel. Then, it was off to the prison! We had learned our lesson on how to dress and there was no problem in that regard. However, Bill's paperwork had been lost. We sat and waited for about 5 minutes, then a supervisor apologized and said that Bill could go through to the visiting room. It didn't take long for David to appear. He looked so happy to see us!! Galen had told David on the phone that he wouldn't be coming, so he was really surprised to see him! As we sat and ate junk food from the vending machines, David related how much he needs our prayers because it is so difficult to stay out of trouble in that environment. He told how inmates had gotten into a fight and had fallen on his bunk. They left his sheets and pillow blood soaked. He said his first reaction was to add to their blood, but quickly decided against it in order to keep his record clean. David asked them kindly to clean up their mess, and they did!! In spite of his 66 years, David is 6 ft. 1 in. and carries himself like the military police that he was. (Yes, I'm the runt of the family.) He teaches GED courses at the prison, and keeps himself in shape in his off hours. We left the prison at 1 pm and traveled home. Before leaving Texas, we had to stop at a Dairy Queen.

In spite of returning home late on Saturday evening, we managed to go to church on Sunday. My class had 14 people present. The lesson theme was, "The Meaning of Life". Without knowing why you were created, life can be repetitive and often boring. After the worship service, Bill was asked to lead the congregation in singing only hymns on the 3rd Sundays. We sing a lot of new choruses, and many of the older people want to hear the "old hymns" again. The church is also thinking of raising money for handbells. They know that Bill taught handbells at schools in Africa and Japan. He warned them that they are looking at several thousands of dollars. Who knows what this new year will bring? When we have faith, God can do anything if it pleases Him! I will be keeping a log of my prayers, knowing that my time is not always God's time.