Monday, January 31, 2011

Calm Before the Storm

My life is just getting back to normal. Bill was home from school for 3 days with the flu. We both had flu shots in October, but the doctor said that Bill had picked up a new strain. I have been fine and continued teaching.

Friday and Saturday were both gorgeous days. I wrote the following poem while monitoring a comprehensive exam.

Ode to Weather

It's warm today, The weather's grand,
Birds are singing, I want a tan.
Has winter gone, And spring arrived?
No, I live in Oklahoma where everyday's a surprise!

Today, we are preparing for the worst storm of the season. Up to 10 inches of ice and snow are predicted in some areas. I have been as busy as the squirrels. I bought batteries for the storm lamp and weather radio, made potatoe salad, prepared the Hickory Farms summer sausage and cheese in case the power is off for several days. I made tapioca pudding for the first time in years! Storms are like mini vacations for me because we stay home from work and play scrabble or Mexican train and read.

While Noel was in California, David took lots of pictures on his new camera. Galen downloaded them and sent them to Noel's computer. Noel had them processed at Wal-Green's in Shawnee and called me to pick them up. I bought a small album for Mom and got copies made for myself. Everyone is extremely happy!

I encouraged Bill to stay home on Sunday because the weather was cold. I was surprised to have 10 students when I arrived. However, my Saudi student came dragging in 10 minutes late and brought 5 OBU girls with him!! (17 people) They were all very pretty and contributed to the lesson. We discussed "A Life of Meditation and Prayer". My Saudi student shared how his country stops for prayer 5 times a day. Some Christians have trouble praying at mealtime.

I have been following the crisis in Egypt closely. I think all Christians who follow Bible prophesy closely are in amazement. We know the end of the story, and it is exciting to watch scriptures unfold. That's why I don't put my faith in Republicans or Democrats. I know that God is completely in charge and all history has a domino effect. I just came to realize how World War II set the stage for the birth of Israel, and the whole world has focused on that tiny nation from the time Christ was born until now. Israel will suffer, but it will never be destroyed! The world stage is also being set for the 666. The United States is losing its power, and the technology has been invented. People who cannot see this are as spiritually blind as in the days of Noah. I do not live a life of fear, but one of faith. It's exciting to know how the story ends and couldn't be happier! How about you?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thank You!

This has been a busy week, and I have not had time to thank you all for making my birthday so wonderful! Phone calls from Kirk, Keri, Kelli, David, Galen, Noel, Mom, and Sherry made me feel so loved. Since many of these calls came from states outside Oklahoma, the time differences made it inconvenient for some of you to call, yet you DID! My granddaughter, Selah, was so excited when she talked to me. She said, "Gramma, guess what? It's your birthday!" Thank you all again for the calls and cards!

When I arrived at school on Monday morning, there was a fresh baked apple pie on my desk with several cards and gifts. Our director, Sandra Bradley had baked it for me! I shared it at lunch time with my fellow teachers.

Bill has been fighting a bug all week. Last night it finally got him with a vengence. I took his Verbal Skills class before teaching my own schedule today. After school, I had to shop for my mother who is hosting a birthday party for a friend tomorrow. When delivering the food, Mom gave me a cross necklace with a purple amythyst which she thought was my birthstone. I felt so bad when she wanted me to confirm the color. I had to tell her that mine is garnett. She kept the necklace and gave me some other gifts. Oh well, love is most important.

We listened to Obama's State of the Union address. Sounds great if we have the money.......

My birthday week is almost finished. I'm so thankful to God for giving me everlasting life.

My 63rd Birthday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Birthday Weekend

I put holiday pictures on my last blog. A month has gone by and it's my 63rd birthday. I will post more pictures tomorrow. Bill is not one to plan parties, but he knows how to make my birthday special. Friday evening, Mom invited us over for pork roast. Her housekeeper comes on Friday mornings and helped her. Of course, we played Mexican Train.

Saturday, Bill took me to the OU Men's basketball game against Colorado State. It's our third year to go on my birthday. OU was the underdog, but has always won when I go! It has become tradition to go to Marie Calender's after the game for dinner. However, before going, Bill took me to Dillard's in Sooner Mall for a Lancome make-over. He went to Border's.

This morning, there was a bag decorated with butterflies sitting on the breakfast table. Inside, there was a pair of pearl earrings with 2 small diamonds. Girls, Bill is making sure that you all get nice jewelry when I die! Smile! Tonight, we are going to Red Lobster. My favorite!

Yesterday, it was very cold!! I didn't expect many at Bible Study. I was wrong. There were 14. Bill was having a sinus problem and didn't go. The lesson was "A Lifestyle of Sacrifice". It was difficult for my students to come up with a good definition. We decided that we are all basically selfish and it is a stretch for us to give up our own desires for the good of others. I know that I am working on that. It is natural to be controlling and think we always know best. Not so!!! God can teach us so much by studying the life of Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter how old we get.

Watch for more pictures.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011


It's nice to have the day off from school. Last evening, Bill and I took tacos to Mom's apartment and played Mexican Train. She won most of the games! She's still coughing but is feeling much better than last week.

Last Friday, Sherry Sparks came to our house for pizza. She brought warm baked cookies, so we forgot about calories and enjoyed life. After dinner, Sherry and I practiced a duet for Sunday. I sang alto and Bill played the piano for us. So many people thanked us after the service, and used the word "worshipped" . We had a great Bible Study again, and I was given a thank you note by a lady who is the payroll clerk for Shawnee Public Schools. It meant so much to me because I was taken by surprise. Our church is never ho-hum! Yesterday, at the close of our service, two romances were announced. Two students who attend OBU have begun to date. The girl is a beautiful white student and the boy is a large black man. Our church accepts everyone no matter what their background is or their color. The second announcement took me by surprise also. SaraRuth is in my Bible Class. Her divorce is final this week, and I know that she has been struggling financially. I was so shocked when I learned that she is engaged to Edgar who just got out of the hospital. Edgar use to sing in a band and is a recovering alcoholic. I'm praying that they are really in love, and this is not a "mutual need" society.

Kirk is back from St. Vincent. He had a great visit with the churches, and reported that the island is expanding their airport and tourism. He also said that he and Tamra are planning to go sailing with us on Roger's boat when we come in February. In his words, he is "pumped"!

Noel is at Mayo Clinic today in Phoenix, Arizona. Bill and I prayed for him and his family this morning.

Saturday, Bill and I saw, "Narnia". Christians can see the symbolism right away. It's action packed and well done. C.S. Lewis portrayed himself as Eustace in the story. He was an atheist for most of his life, and saw himself as more intelligent than people who believed in what cannot be seen. Believing in what we cannot see is profound consolation when we lose someone we love dearly. I thought of that as I watched the news in Arizona this last week. If you really love someone with all of your heart, you do not want physical death to be the end of that relationship. However, if you do not have the ability to love deeply, it won't bother you at all to lose someone and not have the hope of seeing them again. God is the author of "love". If you don't believe in Him, you cannot love except with the world's definition of lust.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekend at Last

This has been an interesting week. Oklahoma has had record low temperatures for this time of year. I stocked up on food and water when I listened to the forecast because I hate shopping in cold weather. (Yes, I'm a California wimp!) However, I had some new Christmas clothes that I enjoyed wearing for the first time. I had warned our students from the Middle East that they needed to wear something a little warmer Some did not listen to me, and wore shorts and flipflops to class when the high temperature for the day was 26 degrees. I noticed that they began to catch on, and I smiled when they wore jeans and jackets the next day.

Speaking of warm weather, I called Noel this morning to wish him Godspeed. He and Janice and Mark are flying to Phoenix today. Noel has an appointment on January 17th with doctors at the Mayo Clinic. If Noel has to live with his heart problems, we pray that a way can be found to ease the pain. I'm praying for Janice as she copes with Phoenix traffic!

We received a letter from Keri and Kevin yesterday. Keri's friends whom she had worked with in Istanbul lost their 12 year old son with cancer. While watching the funeral on the computer and listening to the message, Sofia began to cry and said she wanted to be more like Jesus. Later, Keri heard Sofia praying in her room, and again feeling contrite about being disobedient. Kevin talked to her and assured her that she didn't need to worry because God forgives His children and He will help her to do what is right if she trusts Jesus to live in her spirit and help her each day. Sofia then prayed and asked Jesus to live in her heart. I'm praying that Sofia's child-like faith will mature as she grows and she won't let the world take it away from her. She's extremely bright and I know that Satan will not leave her alone.

Kelli called before I went to work on Thursday. She was having some serious trials with her teenage children and needed prayer. We talked for awhile and I called my mother to pray with us. Friday morning, Kelli was excited. God had worked some miracles for her. Teenagers are always a challenge, but God is greater than he who is in the world!!!

My school had a birthday party for January birthdays this week. After class, I went to the ladies' room. Someone told our director that I had gone home. Bill said he protested, but they were not listening to him. I could hear the school singing, "Happy Birthday" while I was in the bathroom. At first, I was really angry, but now I think it is funny in a strange kind of way. When I came to the lounge, the Korean students sang to me, and I was given some cake. I guess I will wait until my actual birthday to hear, "Happy Birthday" in English. I will insist on it, because I heard it for so many years in Japanese. Sandra, our director, did apologize to me and we hugged. Life is too short to be mad. I guess I'm a "people person".

Isaiah Lee Sheckler at Gramma's, Dec. 2010

Marti,Selah,Sofia, December 2010

Four Generations

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday with Snow Flurries

The first snow flurries of the winter came down as Bill and I ate lunch at KFC after church today. We went there so that we could get a box to take to Mom. She has suffered from a sinus infection all week. Yesterday, I called Roger to see how restricted diabetics are in taking certain medications. Mom seems to be doing better today after giving her some of my Night Time medicine. That alcohol has a kick, and puts one to sleep!

There were 15 in my Bible Study Class. They are such a lively group and keep me laughing for an hour! Our lesson today was on acquiring humility as described by Paul in letters to the early Christians. Two of our Saudi students attended. I am so amazed that they keep coming back! In our worship service, we enjoyed 3 guitars/drum and piano arrangement of "There Shall Be Showers of Blessings". One of the guitarist is a black fellow who has been coming for several months. I'm glad to see Shawnee becoming color blind.

Speaking of color, my son Kirk is helping after a storm on the island of St. Vincent this week. When he was 3 years old, Kirk came home from pre-school crying because he wasn't black like the other children in St. Vincent. He couldn't change his skin, but Kirk can dance and sing like any Black person. There are videos to prove it. Smile!! Now, God is using Kirk in a powerful way to help his brothers in the Caribbean islands. We're praying for you, Kirk!

Yesterday, I felt like I had conquered my cold! Bill helped me take down our tree and store it for another year. Each ornament reminded me of a person or someplace we have traveled. One of the storage boxes is addressed from Mom and Dad while Dad pastored in Germany for six years. Another box is addressed to Japan for our first Christmas in Tokyo.

After taking Mom some soup and some fruit, Bill and I shopped for cell phone chargers for the car, and a snow shovel in the afternoon. Then, we headed to the Hornbeck to see "Unstoppable" with Denzel Washington for $1.50 each. Such a nice theater for the price!!!

The director of our school, Tony Terry, resigned for personal reasons. Our very good friend, Sandra Bradley, took his place. She is wonderful! Last Friday, we were all given individual written evaluations by Tony. Bill and I were surprised to see pink slips which said that we had both been given a raise in pay!! In this economy, I always thank God! And, I look forward to working with Sandra! She's a giggler!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Month

Our family continues to celebrate after the official holiday season is over. Kirk had his 36th birthday on January 4th, and my brother, David, is celebrating his 67th birthday today. My grandson, Caleb will be 15 years old on the 31rst. Mine is somewhere in between. We celebrate life and thank God for family and friends!

I'm looking forward to going out West in February to spend time with my son, Kirk, and 4 brothers, David, Galen, John and Roger.

Noel will be going to the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix on January 17th to spend a week. We have already begun praying that the doctors can do something for his electrical system if that would glorify Him.

Yesterday, I taught 2 hours of grammar from 10 to noon. My students learned irregular plurals, and count and non-count nouns. After lunch, I taught an hour of reading, and an hour of writing. The story in the text was about people who received a sample bottle of liquid detergent that had a picture of lemons on the label. Some people put it on their salad or in their tea because they had not read the label carefully. If we don't ask questions, we often hurt ourselves when jumping to conclusions. In fact, we look foolish.

After school, I drove to the mall to use my gift certificate for BonWorth. Then, I went to Wal-Mart to replace my taper candles. I got back in my car feeling satisfied that I had made some good purchases. However, after checking my mirrors and slowly backing out, I felt something and quickly hit my brakes. An 80 year old lady had decided to pull out at the exact same time. I apologized and began to assess the damage. As she ranted and raved, I couldn't find the slightest dent on either car. She insisted that the black line on the rearend of her car was caused by me. My car is not black-- and when I traced my finger across the line it came off. She kept insisting, so I asked the fellow who was waiting to park, if he would check. He couldn't find any damage either. And then, a man who had been parked while his wife was shopping got out of his van and shouted that I had tapped the side of her car, not the back end at all. I thanked God for this "angel" and assured the lady that there was no damage. (Probably because I was moving about 5 mph.) As I drove away, I kept thinking about the lady who wanted there to be a problem. While working in a nursing home years ago, I was told that people become more of what they are as they grow older. We will become more positive and sweet, or more negative and bitter. It is our choice. God help me to choose faith over fear!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Our Christmas and New Years was filled with fun and family! Kirk called from the doctor's office to tell me that I was going to be a grandmother again! He has been a wonderful step-dad to Kyle and now Tamra is going to have his child. This child is an answer to prayer!

Keri's family and Kelli arrived last Monday morning at 10 a.m. They had driven from Chicago through the night so that the kids would sleep. I guess Isaiah didn't like his car seat and fussed most of the way. We just hung out Monday and everyone napped. After a spaghetti dinner, we opened Christmas presents. The girls were crazy about the musical jewelry boxes that Bill and I gave them. There were lots of toys, Bath and Beauty Works, books, and DVDs. The girls bought me a box of tea with scripture promises on the tags. One said, "I Am a Promise". That was special because I had taught Keri and Kelli to sing, "I Am a Promise" when they were little girls, and they had sung it for a church concert to dedicate a new piano.

On Tuesday, we all went to the Children's Museum in Seminole. I was surprised at how big it is and how much fun it was for the adults as well as the kids. I'm ready to go again! That evening, we had dinner at Braum's and enjoyed shakes and ice cream.

Wednesday, Bill took Keri and Kevin to a basketball game at the OU arena in Norman. Kelli and I watched the movie, "Curious George" with Sofia (6), Selah (3) and Isaiah (7 mo.).

On Thursday, Keri's family went to OKC to see friends that Keri had worked with in Istanbul, Turkey. While they were away, Kelli went to the mall with Bill and me. It was nice to catch up on Kelli's life. Her kids, Hannah and Caleb stayed in Grand Rapids with their Dad.

Friday was New Year's Eve. Bill, Kelli and I took Sofia and Selah to the Shawnee Mall to see the movie, "Tangled". It was Selah's first movie but she did very well. I gave each of the girls a ziplock bag of popcorn. When the movie was over, we picked up Great Gramma for dinner. Keri had made scalloped potatoes with ham for our dinner. Earlier, I had baked a German chocolate cake. After dinner, we had a concert. Selah can sing as well as Sofia and they were so sweet. Bill played the trumpet, and Sofia wanted a lesson. It was fun to watch her learn to purse her lips so that she could get sound. At 9 p.m. Keri and Kevin loaded everyone in their new van and headed back to Chicago. Our house looked sooo big after they left! Bill and I sat and watched the ball drop in New York on TV. We remembered that Kelli had been there last year. What? Another year has gone by!

I talked on the phone to my brothers Roger, John, Noel, Galen and David over the holidays. It has been a difficult year in many ways, but I am so very blessed. God has taken such good care of me and I am thankful to Him. Whatever comes, I am not afraid, but live in faith for the future. (I will post pictures later this week.)