Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Has Arrived!

The Red Bud trees and the Pear trees are all in bloom. The warm air and the colorful landscape make me smile! I continue to be amazed by the orderliness of God's universe. Today, when I turned the car onto our street, I saw people in shorts and could hear the buzz of a lawnmower. I love it! Kevin, my son-in-law, said that people in California don't appreciate spring like people in other states. (He is from Michigan.) Kevin, you are sooooo right!

Monday, Bill asked me to take a drive to Stillwater, which is about 45 minutes away. We had never eaten at Eskimo Joe's, the famous hangout for OSU students. They also ship clothing around the world. The drive was beautiful - very pastoral and serene, but I was really disappointed by the food! The hamburger was overcooked and dry. I think the cooks were college kids, and the place is really a watering hole.

Tuesday, I taught in the morning, then went grocery shopping. We are having guests for Easter dinner, so I bought a smoked spiral ham and the trimmings. After putting it all away, I met Bill at the pool for an hour of exercise. One of our friends joined us. She is a member of Immanuel Baptist Church and was telling us that on Easter her church is combining their 3 services at Raley Chapel on the OBU campus. The service is from 10 to 11 AM so that people can go home early and enjoy their families. I think that is a wonderful idea! OBU is also hosting an egg hunt for the children ----1,600 eggs will be hidden.

I just finished putting a chicken dinner in the crockpot. Now, I have to put some clothes in the dryer and sweep the patio. Working part-time is great! I've thought about it a lot, and I know I'm not ready to completely retire yet. I'm in good health, and enjoy my students. They keep me young and give me purpose. I tell Bill that I never want him to completely retire. He would drive me nuts! Ha-Ha! We both like our space and can be very independent at times. I think a balance is good.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Morning

Today is testing day for new students, so I don't have to go to school. I do know that I will be teaching 3 classes in the morning this next session. My first class is Verbal Skills, and the next two hours will be Grammar.

We had a light rain most of Saturday. I spent the morning buying Easter cards and making vegetable soup. At noon, Bill and I stopped at Taco Mayo and took lunch to Mom. She had Braum's sugar-free ice cream and fresh strawberries to go with it. Then, we played Mexican Dominoes for 3 hours. I actually won 3 of the rounds. Yeah! Just as we were finishing our game, Susan (my cousin from OKC) came. She had dropped her son off in Shawnee to play in a baseball tournament. We talked to her for about 15 minutes before leaving. She was excited to tell us that her sister, Sharon, is going to have her first grandchild!

Sunday was great! I had 17 in my Bible Study Class. The lesson focused on The Lord's Supper and its symbolism. I realized that it is really difficult for some Christians to wrap their minds around the idea that "attitude" is far more important than "legalism" as it relates to worship. It's okay to use coffee and donuts if that's what is available! The purpose and intent of worship is more important than the method. When we believe that, we don't have time to judge others.

Our morning worship service is never ritualistic and always changing. We listened to a report about the Christian Motorcycle Association. They donated 6,000 motorcycles last year to missionaries around the world. They go to rallies and serve coffee and ice tea. We have several couples in our church who came to know Jesus Christ in a personal way through this association. During the service, Bill played, "The Longer I Serve Him" on his trumpet, and Vicki sang, "He Is Here". The invitation was given before we observed The Lord's Supper. It was another worship service that gave me goose bumps and everyone could feel the Holy Spirit. After, we had a full Easter choir rehearsal. We will present the musical next Sunday morning.

Bill and I saw, "Sherlock Holmes" this weekend. It was humorous but too violent for me. I think it is a "guy" movie. However,, there were some lines in the movie that really made me think deeply. I have reached a deeper understanding that we are all ruled by our faith and our fears. One of the characters in the movie plays a "666" type. He points out that he can rule those who fear him. His goal is to cause chaos and thus incite fear in the nation. People who fear are easier to control. The hostage creates a bond with his captor so to speak. If the people are weak and cannot be independent, the government can control them. I have seen parents control their children by causing them to be dependent. I have seen spouses control each other through threats. I have seen people fear being poor to the point of obsession. What we fear really does control us. There is a difference between fear and a healthy respect. Knowing the difference is vital. This deep introspective thinking has made me examine what I fear and why. I would rather be free, independent and serve God and others as a response to love. Understanding who God is takes away my fear. A loving trust is all that is needed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bahama Pictures and More

Below, I have posted a few pics of our trip. After a night in "hell" and much praying, I woke up to a fabulous sunrise! I grabbed the camera, opened the glass door and shot the picture. I knew that it was a promise from God for better things to come.

Last week, Bill and Keri suffered from colds. Bill felt so miserable that he asked me to pray for him (as did Keri). I told him that my prayers wouldn't help if he didn't have faith as well. He pondered that, and then agreed. The next day he was fine! Keri is doing better also. I was reminded that I should pray specifically for people to WANT faith. If a person doesn't want faith, they will never see the spiritual dimension of this world and not experience the rewards of that faith.

Yesterday, I went back to Dr. Kastle's at the Shawnee Mall to pick out my glasses. ( I didn't have time after my exam.) The good news was that my eyes have not changed. I can still see everything at a distance almost perfectly, but reading is a problem. I'm changing glasses in order to get transitions. They will darken in the sunlight.

I visited Melissa, my nutritionist, this week. She was very pleased because I had lost 2 pounds in spite of going on vacation. I was sad to hear that she will be getting married and moving to Tulsa. A few weeks ago, a group of government officials visited our Indian Health Clinic. Melissa told me that Obama plans to design his health plan around our IHC. We both started laughing. In spite of our clinic being the newest and state of the art, there are not enough doctors. The waiting period is unreal! That is why I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield hospitalization!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back on Line

Today, I taught my morning classes and then drove to the optometrist. I rushed home after my eye exam to be there when our on-line service man said he would arrive. Well, he had already come and gone. Apparently, he found a severed line outside and had fixed it. Finally!!

Last Friday, Noel and family arrived early in the afternoon. Bill caught my cold, and was not able to accompany me to the party at the Catfish Round-Up, which is 7 miles north of Seminole. I joined the family there at 4:30 p.m. to celebrate Uncle Johnie's 91 rst birthday. (Uncle Johnie looked great!!! ) Gary and Joanna, also joined us from Norman. Our family loves that particular restaurant because they begin the meal with hot apple fritters.

Noel's family had planned to stay until Sunday afternoon, but when it began to rain onSaturday morning, they left for Springfield to avoid the blizzard that was right behind it. They were not successful! They encountered the worst weather in Tulsa. When I called them, they had already seen 7 cars off the road and had watched 3 accidents happen. We were all praying for them! I was so relieved when Noel called and said they had made it home safely.

By Sunday morning, the snow had begun to melt in Shawnee, so we ventured to church. I had 9 students in Bible Study Class. The lesson encouraged us not to demand our "rights" when it may possibly harm another person. As usual, there was lively discussion and several said it was a great class. We weren't sure if we would have enough people to have Easter choir practice, but there were 11 who came, so we practiced. Mom had ice on her sidewalks, and her church canceled.

Monday, I checked on Mom after school, and took her some pie that I had made for Noel's family. I also took her some mango and pina colada tea that we had bought in the Bahamas. She was doing fine.

This is the last week of Session #3 at school, and I am soooo glad! I have been covering for another teacher which has made me full-time for the past 2 weeks. I'm looking forward to being part-time again. The students continue to be wonderful!

We are watching the battle over ObamaCare. It will be very interesting to see what exactly is in that bill. No one really seems to know. And, I frankly do not understand how our government plans to pay for it. I have heard so many different explanations that I'm very confused and will just wait to see how things unfold. I refuse to get upset over it. God is still in control of my life!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday, March 17th

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I learned that St. Pat supposedly ran all of the poisonous snakes out of Ireland. St. Greg's University has an Irish background, so I have been listening to the chimes play Irish music since the beginning of March. It's really very pretty!

Last Friday, I noticed that I was coming down with a slight cold on the plane. I taught my Bible class on Sunday and then came home and went to bed. I am feeling much better today. Sandra, our Dean of Admissions, told Bill to cook for me last night. (You've got to be kidding!) He did take me out for Chinese after I taught a full day of classes, and again I went to bed early. Today, 3 people told me that I looked pretty. That will make anyone feel better!

Today, one of my Chinese students told the class that he can tell the mood of a chef by the food he/she cooks. He had a difficult time explaining that, and I told him to be prepared on Monday to tell me about that subject in English. Later in the day, my Saudi student who has only been in the States for two weeks, showed me on the white board that he now understands the difference between, "Where is he?" and "What is he doing?" It was slow going, but he got it!!! I love teaching!

School is closed now until Monday. Noel called. His family (and Bailey, Janice's father) are coming to visit. We are planning a birthday party for my Uncle Johnny who will be 90 years old. He lives by himself and raises Tennesee Walkers about 10 miles from here. He will tell you very quickly how God has blessed him.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vacation in Hell or Heaven?

Bill and I returned from our trip to Nassau, Bahamas last night. We both had mixed emotions about our week long vacation. Upon our arrival at the Breezes Resort, we were greeted and escorted to our room on the 4th floor which looked down on the two pools and jacuzzi. A band was playing and students from every college on the Eastern seaboard were drinking cocktails and shouting to one another. Realizing that we were hungry, we went to the buffet dinner and left our luggage unopened. Exhausted from having traveled all day, we went to bed early. We soon realized that students don't sleep at night! Kids were shouting, getting sick, phoning their friends and slamming doors. I began praying, and the next morning I talked to the front desk in my kindest voice. A couple in their late thirties was checking out and overheard my conversation. They had a room on the 8th floor overlooking the ocean which had been very quiet. By the end of the morning we had been upgraded! Thank you, God!

The beach had beautiful white sand that looked like sugar. While sitting in my lounge chair, I realized that there were two things I had forgotten get a boob job, and pack my g-string bikini. Oh well! My favorite memories of this formerly British island are riding in a horse and buggy on a tour of the city, going to the botanical gardens and watching the flamingo show, touring the Atlantis Hotel and Casino, enjoying the Pirate adventure, walking the beach, and eating all my meals at the beautiful garden buffet. We really enjoyed the fresh fruit, vegetables and variety of fish. They had my favorites - red snapper and tilapia. They also served angel food cake with warm lemon sauce.

I will post some pictures in the near future.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tying Up Loose Ends

I decided long ago that going on vacation takes a lot of work! Yesterday, I finished a week of notes for my substitute teacher. I cleaned my house, and have called all of the people on my list. AIH Security has been turned on. Today, I will teach my classes, go to the hair salon, and then attend the school banquet for homestay parents. Tomorrow, I'll do last minute shopping, and then pick up lunch for Mom. Bill and I plan to play Mexican Train with her for a few hours. Our plane leaves on Sunday morning and will take us to Atlanta. It looks like the weather will improve by the time we arrive in the Bahamas. Today is gorgeous in Tecumseh!

One thing I must do before I leave is to say Happy Birthday to Galen, Danny and Anne. March 7th is Galen's special day. He will be 60 years old. I hate to say it because that makes me older too! I will say a special prayer for each of you.

A friend asked his blog readers to send a list of their favorite books. I have listed a few of mine. The spellings may not all be correct because I'm doing this off the top of my head.

A Voice In The Wind by Francine Rivers
Agatha Christi mysteries
This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
Christy by Catherine Marshall
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Yesterday, I asked my grammar class the same question that I do every morning. I asked, "How was your evening?" As usual, the students were eager to tell me. One of the students told about his nightmare, and another told us about some relationship problems. After hearing these stories, I told them about Rick Warren's recent interview. Knowing that his wife has cancer, he said that he no longer thought of his life with mountains and valleys. Rather, his feet are on a railroad track. One rail is his problems, and the other rail are his blessings. He is choosing to be concerned about his problems, but FOCUS on the blessings of life. That keeps him balanced. The students were fascinated! I realized how a college teacher can influence a student for life!!! Many adults are molded by their college teachers, and it is so important to give that age group the right perspective.

I will blog again a week from Sunday.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday's Promise of Spring

It was light before 7 AM this morning, and I could see fat red robins gathering their breakfast on the lawn. Could it be that spring is around the corner. I'm getting excited about leaving for the Bahamas this weekend. Delta Airlines will think that I have come out of my coma. I didn't go with Bill to Brazil, so they haven't seen me for a year. That's very unusual for me!

I really thought that I could be semi-retired this session. However, we just got a large group of new students this session, and our new teachers don't feel ready to teach some of the levels. I teach upper level grammar in the morning, and a "preemie" student in the afternoon. I go from teaching "static verbs" to "I am from.....". It's a major swing, but a variety. Students in my classes are from China, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast and Ecuador. One of my students is majoring in Financial Psychology after he polishes his English. I find that interesting.

I saw a sign this week on a church that said, "Religious people run around and talk a lot, but do nothing." When will people ever understand that the important thing is NOT "what you do" but "who you are"! Recently, a friend wrote that the Bible has a problem with Christian art and icons. Within the context of the admonition, God was angry with His children because they were worshipping the golden calf and other idols. It's okay to admire art of any kind if it points to the living God, and does not take His place. Non-Catholics have long admired the cathedrals. They have simply chosen to put their money on hurting people. People are the real "church".

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Morning

It's another cold day. We are suppose to have a rain/snow mix later this afternoon. It's testing Monday for new students, so I am enjoying getting my chores done at a relaxing pace. Bill finished our taxes and I mailed the forms.

Sunday, I taught the Bible study lesson, "Are You Losing Your Mind?" It was about the spiritual warfare that we fight everyday against Satan. If we aren't careful, Satan will take over our mind and thoughts. After worship and choir practice, Choi went to lunch with us at Delta Cafe. I knew that she would like the grilled shrimp and rice. Choi is a cute little ICU nurse from South Korea. This week we have 3 more Korean students coming to our school. I don't think it will be difficult for Choi to get the boys to come to church next week. Smile!

Bill gave me money for my birthday in January to get a new swimsuit for the Bahamas. I had saved it for this week. On Saturday, I began looking and almost had a heart attack when I saw the prices at Dillards. $126 !!! I began praying! At Sears, the prices were $79, but the merchandise was ugly. I prayed again. The next stop was JCPenney. There, I found the perfect multi-blue suit for $49. Don't tell me God doesn't listen to my prayers.