Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Friday!

I love Friday because we can teach in our jeans! I just finished reading blogs. Be sure to look at Keri's blog if you want to see the most beautiful garden. Galen, congratulations! Your boss knows leadership when he sees it! However, the most important thing is that you are changing lives. Last Sunday, one of the ladies in our church stood up and talked about her experience as a new Christian. We all laughed when she said, "Jesus told me to hang on to him tightly, because He was going to take me for a ride. What an exciting ride it has been!" Danny, I hope that your MRI is fine. Steve, I know that you had trouble with your computer for awhile. What is your blog address now? Noel didn't think it had changed, but it bounced back on me.

This week we learned that our friend, Dr. Mike Taylor, has prostate cancer. Mike is my age, and that always makes me realize how unpredictable life can be. Mike teaches an adult class in the church auditorium, plays the electric guitar, and sings in our choir. Mike knows God very well and has complete peace.

Tonight, we are going to the OBU Jazz Concert at the old Ritz Theater. Mom doesn't want to go because "they might have drums". Smile!

I had better get to school now. My students are so funny! Yesterday, a fellow in his twenties was introducing me to another student. He said, "Marti Teacher is not VERY good teacher. She is one thousand good teacher!" Those are the things that keep me teaching! I pray everyday as I drive to class that God will cover my classes. I have a power in me that no one can see.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday, April 28th

I can't believe that it is almost May. Please don't send any snail mail for the next month because I plan to be in Chicago sometime soon. Save my Mother's Day cards.

Monday evening, Ian and Phyllis came over for dinner with her mother. They had just returned from Dallas. Bill grilled pork chops on the patio, but we ate inside because it was a bit windy. Gliori's Restaurant is doing well! Ian greets every customer at their table and gets to know them. In the course of our conversation, Ian said, "I put up with driver road rage by remembering that they are spiritually dead. Then, I can understand their inconsiderate behavior. Ian is right! It's very hard to get mad at dead people.

Laura Bush has just written a book. The New York Times wrote a review on-line. Laura writes about the "hell" she went through since killing a classmate in a car accident. She describes how she turned from God because she didn't want him to die. Then, she writes about her way back to God.

We have begun a new session at school. I have been given 4 classes, and teach from 10 to 3. I protested, but was told that I was really needed to teach some new students fresh off of the boat. (Having taught first grade, my boss thinks I can do anything.) I was also told that they have 2 subs lined up to take my place when Keri has her baby. O------kay! Yesterday, I taught my new students "Hokey Pokey" and they laughed and laughed. They really love the music.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fantastic Sunday!

Today was the 10th anniversary of New Beginnings Church. At least 300 people celebrated together. There was no Bible Study Class. Everyone met in the auditorium for a service with 3 phases - Past, Present and Future. Mom and Shirley walked in for the 3rd phase. I had told them that our 9 piece orchestra was going to play the offertory. The most touching part of the service for me was listening to individual testimonies. Most of the people who attend our church have been Christians for only a few years. Every week we baptize adults! One man said that he had lived for the devil for 57 years before giving his life to Christ. I was surprised because he is radiant Christian! I bet his family and friends are glad they never gave up on him. After the service, we had the biggest spread of food I've seen! Without exaggeration, I think there were at least 30 different desserts. Half of my chocolate cake was left, so we ladies started sharing with each other. Now my cake plate is filled with peach cobbler, lemon pie, and banana cake.

Saturday morning was beautiful. We had a gentle rain through the night, so I decided to do some gardening. I drove to the Tecumseh nursery to get a new rose bush. They wanted $35, so I drove away. I decided to go to Ace's, but changed my mind when I saw that the McLoud Volunteer Fire Department had set up a fund raising nursery on Harrison. I got the prettiest red rose bush for $23. I plan to go back on Monday if they are still there.

Bill felt restless, and wanted to drive to Asher on Saturday afternoon. He had been reading the book, "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham. The story takes place in Oklahoma, and tells about the Asher High School Baseball teamwho won 45 State Championships. When we drove by, the students were still out playing baseball! While in Asher, we also ate at Odell's Farm Restaurant. They are known for their ribs and chicken.

Bill has started teaching another class on-line for Grand Canyon University. It is The Christian World View. So far, he's enjoying reading the textbook and is learning a lot. He thinks it may be a required class. I have come to realize that people can't know God until they want to know Him. God is not pushy. The Bible says that God will not always strive with man. He will stand at the door and knock for a very long time -----and then He will walk away if that door is not answered. I really believe that a person who is a true child of God cannot walk in the ways of the world forever. He or she will feel God tugging at their heart and will come back to him.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Storm Coming/Judas Question

Blue skies have turned to grey this afternoon. We are expecting severe weather tonight and tomorrow. Rain, hail and tornados have been pounding Texas. So, if I don't blog for awhile, it may be due to loss of power. I hope not!

I have been reading and thinking about the question that has been asked concerning Judas' death. One account in the Bible says that he hanged himself. Another says that his body was thrown in a field and it exploded. As a teacher, I have always encouraged my students to think in a variety of ways. (To be free thinkers and to not get boxed in by words.) Not being a theologian, or a student of Hebrew, I thought of at least one possibility. Judas could have hung himself, and then someone threw his body onto the field. Or, his body could have become to heavy for the hanging device and it dropped. I could imagine that happening in that time and place. However, the most important part of the story is that Judas was sorry for betraying Jesus.

Today, my teacher friend, Dolores, came in and was excited to tell me some good news. She had been looking for a psychologist to test her Autistic daughter within the month in order to attend the new workcenter for mentally challenged people. Our prayer was answered! Dolores cocked her head and said, "I often try to do things by myself, and get it done. But---it goes so much smoother when we pray!" I couldn't have said it better myself!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Exciting News!!!

In my last blog, I wrote about coaching a winning student in the Japan National Speech Contest. Chinami Sakarai just wrote an e-mail that she has been accepted into the Tokyo Medical University to become a doctor. That university is a sister school to Harvard Medical School in Boston. She has a 3 month scholarship to Harvard and wants to brush up her English at our school in Shawnee this summer! Wow!
Tuesday--Family Matters and Events

I began writing this blog yesterday. However, my neighbor, Tiffany, came to sell me more Mary Kay products. As I had written earlier, I began wearing a touch of bronze eye liner just a few months ago. One day, I didn't wear it and several students told me I looked tired! I guess I should continue the liner.

Last Sunday was very good! There were 16 in Bible Study, including the two OBU students from Peru. The lesson concerned being aware of our motivation for whatever we do. Are we selfish and want to please ourselves, or are we trying to please other people, or --does God have a place in our goals???

After the worship service, we had orchestra practice for next Sunday. It is our church's 10th anniversary. I'm starting to feel confident on my violin again, and am starting to enjoy playing. Our next piece is, "I Need Thee Every Hour".

Sunday evening, the phone rang. It was David. All of us are excited because he has a paper in hand that says he will be released on Saturday, June 5th. Noel and I plan to drive to Big Spring on the 4th. At this point, we are not sure if we will bring him to Shawnee to meet Galen and Roger. Or, if they will meet us in Big Spring for the drive to California. Mom is beside herself with excitement!

I looked at Keri's blog to see the pictures of her baby shower. Very nice! I can't wait to hold my grandson in those cute clothes.

Kirk will be taking several churches in Southern California to Haiti in May. They plan to re-build the orphanage and take flats of food and clothing. He is also meeting with the Cal Baptist students who will be going with him and Tamra to the Philippines in June.

Kelli will be covering the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Florida in June. She has done this for several years now. Her job is to write by-lines for the photographers. That means she has to attend the sessions and know who people are and what they said! Our church is non-denominational, so Kelli keeps us in the "loop".

Our school had a faculty meeting during lunch today. Our director asked me to explain my student grading sheet for speeches and presentations. God always prepares us for what He wants us to do. I had a flashback to participating in a speech contest in my senior year of high school. When I won, I had no idea that I would be coaching national speech contestants in Japan. And, now, I'm teaching a Verbal Skills class in Shawnee. I love it!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday, Back in Tecumseh

We have had April showers for the past two days. The lawn loves it, and will need to be mowed as soon as the sun comes out again. Bill and I are glad to be home after following a hectic schedule at the TLC Teacher's Conference in OKC. There were 50 of us who were invited to join this event. We were overwhelmed by our VIP treatment! The Colcord Hotel is a part of the Coury Collection of Hotels that are over 100 years old, and has been restored to the tune of $6 million dollars. It is across the street from Ford Center where the Thunders were playing while we were there. We saw several of the players and their coaches in the elevator. We wondered how they sleep?? We learned that their beds are extra long!! Our own room was huge!!! We had a sofa, side chair, coffee tables, and orchids. Everything was high tech, including buttons for maid service.

The first night of the conference, we were all taken in vans to the Red Pin Bowling Alley in Bricktown. Everyone could bowl and enjoy the buffet which had been set up for our group. We ate the entire time we were there, paid for by TLC. Every morning, we went to the Baguette French Restaurant for a buffet breakfast. The second night, we were taken to Zio's on the canal for a feast. After appetizers, salads and bread sticks, I had lasagna. Everyone was laughing because my portion was so gigantic! Sorry to say, I left at least half. There were 3 desserts, so I just tasted some of each. On Friday, we had a formal lunch at the hotel with Tilapia and warm cookies from the oven. Oh yes, we sat through many presentations. The best was not about English. A lady was brought in from Dallas to teach us about dealing with difficult students. The one thing I learned was to not interrupt someone who is throwing a tantrum. (That's my first reaction.) Let difficult people have their say and run out of steam before you even try to deal with them. Three percent of the world's people are truly difficult and are proud of being so. I think I may have met them.

I met some of the most interesting people at the conference, and many were my age! One lady was raised in Paris. Her husband teaches architectual art at OCU. They lived in Rome for awhile while he was earning his doctorate. I also met a man who teaches in Edmond who is originally from Morocco. He is really bi-cultural and was able to help me understand many of my Saudi students. I'm hoping he will come to our Shawnee branch for a day, and do a seminar. I have learned soooo much about the Sunnis and the Shiites. It was great to be with other teachers who share many of the same cultural challenges in the classroom.

This afternoon, Bill dropped me off at Shelly's baby shower for awhile, and then we went to see, "The Last Song". If you like piano music, stained glass and love, you will enjoy this movie. Take tissue! The novel was a number one best seller. I know why!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On the Road Again!

Bill and I will be leaving tomorrow to attend a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) Conference in Oklahoma City. We will be staying at the Colcord Hotel. I looked it up on-line and was glad to note that it's 4 Star, next to BrickTown. We will return with our faculty on Friday evening after dinner. If needed, I will have my cell phone with me, and will check it often. Our school has changed its name to The Language Company - Shawnee. There are nine schools affiliated with that company in several states, including Orlando, Florida and Boston, Mass. Those schools will be joining us for this event.

Yesterday, Noel called me as he was driving home from his fitness work-out. He had a very bad heart spell last week but is feeling better now. Noel has always been good at fixing stuff and working with his hands. He gives me advice on how to grow my tomatoes, and I listen! I'm hoping that Bill and I can visit him soon and go to Silver Dollar City. I about froze my bottom off last time we went in December!!!

After I talked to Noel, the phone rang again. It was Galen! He had hosted Dr. Ellis, the president of California Baptist University last week. Dr. Ellis had been to Yokohama, Japan and had visited our church, Yokohama International Baptist. It's a small world! Galen and Sondra will be in Oklahoma in June to hold Jason and Shelly's new baby.

God is so good! Last week, I noticed that there was no light on our central air system thermostat. There was no power at all! DanRan came out to check it. Vibration of a side panal had hit a button that shut down the system. Pushing a re-set button turned the entire system back on! I didn't want the service call to be wasted, so I had the AC checked and now it's ready for summer. I was one happy camper!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday, April 11th

Friday, I rushed home from school to prepare for company. The violin trio had planned to practice at our house for Sunday's performance. What I didn't realize was that the spouses and a granddaughter planned to come and listen. I got calls that they were bringing food and were making a party of it. Great!! I made fresh strawberry pie and bought tacos at Taco Mayo for 8 people. It was actually lots of fun! Chuck Edwards told us about his Cloud 9 Tours chasing storms. He will be hosting a group of 50 from Australia next month. Chuck is the man who grew up in Columbia where his father was a surgeon, and he isn't afraid of anything. Pete is 63 years old and has just gone back to work full-time at Tinker as a jet machanic. He said he got bored and found out that he wasn't ready for retirement.

Saturday morning, I planted tomatoes and a few more flowers. I moved my shephard's crook to a sunnier spot this spring and dumped on more Miracle Grow soil. After cleaning up my mess, I asked God to bless my efforts. I'm still learning how to be a "farm girl". Saturday afternoon, Bill and I took a drive to Seminole. It's a two-lane country road and the Red Bud trees are just beautiful this year! Once in Seminole, we ate at the Western Sizzlin. They had raspberry cobbler in the buffet which I couldn't resist. I kept seeing my doctor's face, and made an effort not to eat more than I should. After lunch, we went to Wal-Mart. I found a musical toy to take to Shelly Greenwalt's baby shower next Saturday. Yep! Galen is going to be grandpa again!

This morning, I had 16 in Bible Study class. The lesson was about not feeling qualified to serve in the church, or to influence others. None of us are qualified! It is only through Christ and having His spirit that we can do anything well. I shared with the class that Pete, Chuck and I felt "scared to death" to play our violins in church. Only by the grace of God, and His power did we dare try. God did surround us with his angels this morning, and we played the best that we ever had!!! Bill had arranged a medley of "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "Morning Has Broken". Sue Kannady accompanied us on the piano. Dania, our friend from Peru surprised us in church this morning with her new husband. She brought her parents and two sisters who have just enrolled at OBU. After church, we went to Delta Cafe and met 9 other people from church. They have the best grilled shrimp there. I'm so glad the weather has turned warmer so that we can nap on the patio.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bible Scholar Question

In answer to my friend's question concerning a difference between I Kings 4:26 and II Chronicles 9:25, the numbers of stalls and horses is exactly the same in my New International Version (the one I use). I doubled checked after I found them to be the same. Both accounts refer to 4,000 stalls of chariot horses and 12,000 horses. It wouldn't have bothered me a bit if the numbers had been slightly different. Who knows exactly how many horses were in each stall? There could have been some newborns with their mothers. Yesterday, a student asked me how long I have been teaching. I told him "100 years". He knew by my answer that I have been teaching for a very long time. When we start picking people's words apart, we miss the spirit of the communication. I often tell new believers who have never read the Bible in its entirety to be careful not to take verses out of context. You have to read the whole story to understand the message.

Some readers have trouble reconciling the Old Testament with the New Testament. During the Easter season, I taught a lesson on The Lord's Supper. Jesus made a point of telling his disciples that God was making a NEW covenant with those who believed. The people of the earth just didn't understand God's plan. They didn't "get it". So, God tried to help by coming to earth in the form of a human. The New plan meant that we don't have to slaughter animals and tell our sins to a priest any longer. Jesus was the sacrifice. Now, we can go directly to the King. We were even given a new rule which pre-empted The Ten Commandments. "Love your neighbor as yourself " and "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday, April 8

I just got home from the optometrist. I passed a field vision test. The doctor had seen something at my yearly check-up that looked like the beginning of glaucoma. It's genetic, but no one in my family has had it that I know of. It was a 15 minute test for each eye, and it was difficult for me to concentrate for that long.

Speaking of concentrating, my students have to change activities often. This morning I tried something new. I had taught my verbal skills class to sing a song using present past tense. They did it so well that I had them to sing it as a round. It was beautiful!

We have another new student from China who is 20 years old. I took him on a tour of St. Gregory's campus this morning. He obediently took his notebook and pencil and wrote down all of the new vocabulary he was given. I learned that the Cyber Cafe is using a student/faculty ID card that is loaded with $50. That's convenient!

Keri called. She has a healthy son who will probably be born earlier than expected. Sofia and Selah were both nearly a month early. I have my airline ticket and am ready to have it changed. Kevin got a phone call from his brother last week that was very exciting! His brother, Paul, said that "he was tired of running from God." Keri and Kevin drove to Michigan from Chicago to talk with him about his decision. Paul had lost his job as an electrician. After Paul made his decision to turn back to God, he got a phone call from his company saying they needed him back! God never forces Himself on anyone who doesn't want His help. However, He is always standing close by and ready to help if we cry out to Him.

Mom asked me to come over and get some tomato plants yesterday. I have already planted some red geraniums and some zenias in my patio barrels. I was afraid that we would have frost last night, and I asked God to spare my pretty flowers. He DID! Keri asked me to post my pictures, so I will really try to do that soon. I took some pics of the Red Bud trees. A big Thank You to those of you who sent Easter greetings last week! Love you, too!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Wonderful Easter!

Easter Sunday was picture perfect! It was warm and sunny with a high of 80 degrees. David and Suzanne Brown taught my Bible Study class while the choir warmed up for the worship service. Our sanctuary holds 300, and it was nearly full. Mom said that she and Shirley had a hard time finding a parking place. That was a great problem! I played the piano for the congregational singing and the offertory. Bill directed the choir musical with an orchestral CD, which enabled me to sing alto. The church bought a new sound system last year which is fantastic. We have monitors that help us listen to ourselves. After the service, a man introduced himself to Bill and said that he has two recording studios in Ada. He was very touched by the confidence and spirit of our choir, and wants us to record. He also has another group that he wants Bill to conduct. Later, we were told that the man use to be a famous DJ in Shawnee. We have never heard of him, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds.

Mom, Shirley, Choi and Alex joined us for a smoked ham dinner at our house after church. I had made potatoe salad, a vegetable platter and pies on Saturday. (Bill mowed the lawns and washed down the patio furniture.) I just warmed up the corn and baked beans while the rolls were browning when I got home. It was so beautiful that we ate on the screened patio. Alex surprised us with a big Easter cake, and Choi played the piano for us. After dinner, I gave the students boiled eggs and they dyed and decorated them. They had so much fun! I took pictures which I'll post. Easter is a day to celebrate and rejoice! We did just that!

Easter morning, I heard a story about C.S. Lewis which touched me. He was an atheist for many years. After his wife, Joy, died of cancer, Lewis almost lost his faith. He shared that he had been so caught up in trying to tell God what to do, that he nearly missed seeing what God WAS doing. Sometimes our expectations don't match what God has planned for me. In reality, God loves me much more than I love myself. When I humble myself and realize that I don't know everything, I put myself in a position to receive God's blessings that are unimaginable. Sometimes I wonder how many good things I miss because I don't have faith to receive them?????

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's a Good Friday

This is truly a good Friday! This morning, we had a refreshing thunderstorm. It had passed over Shawnee by noon and the sun came out. My students were wonderful as usual, and my verbal skills class gave interesting presentations. Among other topics, I learned about table tennis training in China, and how to make Sheeq (an Arabic chicken dish).

Dolores (a non-believer) came to teach at our school just a few months ago. She has an autistic daughter who is very challenging and was thrown out of her daycare on Wednesday. Seeing the tears in her eyes, I told Dolores that she could count on me to pray for her situation. Yesterday, she came to my desk, held both of my hands and said, "Thank you!" She explained to me that her family was able to find a training center in Shawnee for her daughter. It's new, and they didn't know about it.

God is answering soooo many prayers! Kelli called yesterday afternoon. She said that she is feeling so much stronger emotionally, and she is enjoying her new promotion at Cornerstone University. She is selling the "mansion", and will be moving into a 3 bedroom condo. I am so proud of her independence.

Yesterday, Dr. Smith took a small mole off of my shoulder. He had to do a great job because 2 girls from OBU's School of Nursing were there to observe. I know the head of the department, so we chatted the whole time.

One of my students asked me what I thought about the year 2012. I laughed and told him that my world would end today if I was in a fatal car accident. I also told him that we should all be ready to die at any moment. That is what Easter is all about! I don't have to worry about my sins or my punishment. Jesus took care of all of that! That could be why Christians are (or should be) the happiest people on the face of the earth! Are you having fun yet? I am!