Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring/Medallions/and More

The week had been warm and lovely, however our weekend turned cold and damp. Such is spring in Oklahoma. In fact, I noted that it may get down to freezing at night before March is finished. Therefore, I decided to wait another week before buying my garden supplies and plants. I was really excited to see that my roses lived through the winter and have sprouted some green leaves. Yeah! Also, Bill mowed the lawn for the first time last week. It looks really nice! Saturday, Bill and I went shopping. Many years ago, I bought him a sterling silver chain with a medallion which he lost in one of our moves. This week he told me how much he has mourned the loss of that chain. So, we went to the LivingWord Bookstore and looked for a new one. We found a new chain with a medallion that is beautiful! It is a gold cross with a small sword attached to the middle of the cross. Since Bill collects swords from other countries, it attracted him immediately. He said he wanted to wear it everyday on the inside of his shirt to remind him of his committment to God and me. I was touched! I had 14 again in my Bible Study Class. Isaiah, my student from Brazil was bursting with good news. He has found a sponser so that he can stay in the States. He and his American wife were given a new washer and dryer, and a new kingsize bed. They are so grateful to their new church friends. The lesson was about keeping our faith during difficult times. I related the message that we heard while attending Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield. I had heard from many people that Christians have contentment and peace. I knew that wasn't always true. In fact, we have restless hearts and know that there is something missing. It made perfect sense to me when I realized that what is missing is heaven itself! We will have tears and pain as long as we are on this earth. We don't want to wait, but we must wait for heaven. "They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings of the eagle." My brother, David, sent us an email with the picture of his new book cover. It is very classy! The title is, "The Chipotle Ritual". It is just now being printed. He said he would send us a pre-copy to read. I can't wait!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Branson, Missouri

Fun in Branson/Week's Events

A week has passed since we went to Branson. Before visiting Noel and Janice in Springfield, Bill and I spent time in Branson. We stayed at the Center Point Hotel which was very nice! It has an indoor pool and jacuzzi and a complimentary breakfast with waffles. We arrived last Thursday afternoon in time to take a nap before our show. The show began at 4:45 p.m. with old Roy Rogers and Lone Ranger movies. We ate free popcorn as we watched and learned how the Lone Ranger became "The Lone Ranger". As the dinner theater filled, we got aquainted with a couple sitting next to us from Nebraska. She was a teacher, and he was a corn and bean farmer. Soon, we were served a half grilled chicken, baked beans, applesauce, cottage potatoes and cornbread muffins. We drank ice tea, coffee and cream soda, and ended on a double chocolate brownie. The show was first class (if you like country and Irish music). The fiddler was featured in a movie nominated for 4 academy awards this year (Winter's Bone). One of the guitarists played with the Baldknobbers for 21 years. The show was very funny as well as having great music. The next day we toured the Wyndom Resort and ate at one of my favorite restaurants -- Bob Evans. We don't have one in the Shawnee area. It was just nice to be away from the hustle and bustle for awhile. I will post some pictures taken in our hotel room with a swan that was created from folded towels.

This week has been extremely busy because we were wrapping up another session at school. My students gave me a miserable time at the beginning. But by the last day, they were all saying how much they liked me and would miss me when they went home. I wished I had a tape recorder!! My new beginning student took my breath away. He is the first student from the Middle East to tell me that his family is not Muslim. They are Christians! He wanted to prove that his father was Muslim by saying that he drinks beer. Smile! I started singing "Amazing Grace" to get his reaction. He stopped me and said, "Arabic!" I let him finish and then he showed me with his hands that his mother and father cry when they sing that song because they have to be secretive. I can't imagine not having freedom to worship as I please.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Home Again from Springfield

Bill, Mom and I returned home Sunday evening. We taught classes on Monday morning, so it has been a busy time. We checked the mail, bought groceries, refilled the car with gas and other mundane activities.

We hated to leave Noel because he was not doing well. He had his worst spell on Saturday evening. He said his heart was pounding so hard that he wanted to ask Janice to call 911, but the pain was so bad he couldn't speak. He could only pray. Sunday morning he was much better but still weak. Mom and Janice stayed home with him while Bill and I took Mark to church. We attended Ridgecrest Baptist Church on Republic Avenue. It has 4,000 members. The 41 voice choir is going on a mission trip to Greece. The pastor spoke about death. The one thing that I will remember from his sermon is that this life presents many trials and challenges. Christians must wait for the promises of heaven. We are restless, unfulfilled, and always looking for complete peace. No person or event can fill that need. Only heaven can give us that complete peace, and we have to wait for it. We hate to hear that we have to wait for anything. We live in a society that says we should have everything we want now. We are spoiled brats, and have forgotten that patience is a virtue that yields sweet fruit.

I will write more later. I must teach my classes this moring. This has been a difficult session, but God is giving me the power and strength to endure these students without losing my temper (too much). Smile!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Break from School

Yeah! Spring Break is finally here. Bill and I are going to spend some time in Branson before going to Noel's. We will get Mom and bring her home. I talked to Mom last evening. She told me this story. Janice's brother, Dwayne, bought two luxery homes in Nixa. (Bill and I toured one of them. It had a movie theater, gym and beauty salon.) Dwayne had a real estate agent rent out one of the homes while he is on business overseas. It seems that the new renter was busted in a drug sting this week. The real estate agent feels terrible! The whole thing was on the local news.

I had my own "hell" this past week. Two of my students told the director that I was a bad grammar teacher and they wanted to change classes. I have never had a complaint in all my years of teaching, so I was floored! The director spent time in my class to establish that I know my material and am a good instructor. I learned from another teacher that the students involved had spoken to her and they wanted to change classes because there were cute girls in the other class. Isn't that typical! I had been praying and thanked God when it was finally sorted out.

I read several articles about the nuclear power plants in Japan. The explosions concern me. I'll be anxious to see how our government reacts to this news. We can't drill, we can't have power plants, we can't have clean coal, and wind machines can't provide enough energy quickly. What is the answer? I'm glad I don't put my faith in the Dems or the Rep.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More on Japan/Family/Choir

We have continued to receive news from Japan. My friend and fellow teacher, Jo, wrote that the Ferris High School graduation has been postponed due to the earthquake. Some of the students were not able to go home after school last Friday and had to stay overnight at the school. I flashed back to the drills we had when I was teaching English there. The teachers had to put on helmets and take our classes to the playing field. We were all given a group who lived near us and were told that we would be responsible for them. We were told that public transportation may be shut down and we would have to walk the distance (up and down steep mountainous roads). That's exactly what happened, and I continue to pray for my students. Also, our apartment was on the top of a hill overlooking the sea and Mt. Fuji. It was a million dollar view, but extremely dangerous in an earthquake. I'm happy to be living in Oklahoma in spite of the tornadoes.

Some of you received emails from Galen showing his latest battle wound. Yes, he's always doing something to get our attention. I think he's going to have a beautiful scar on his face. David called last Saturday. We were sorry to hear that Esther died on February 23rd. We are praying for his daughter, Lisa, who is taking Esther's death very hard.

Easter choir practice continued last Sunday after worship. The Easter choir is never as large as Christmas, but there are 14 members. Since we had a charity dinner for Harmony who has cancer, the choir ate first. The music contains a lot of old Easter hymns and the people are really enjoying the rehearsals. Church music soothes the soul and encourages.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan/Family/Church Events

Having spent 6 years in Tokyo and 4 years in Yokohama teaching English, Bill and I have been greatly impacted by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Our friends were not as affected as the people in Sendai (to the north). We were taken by surprise when we saw the news because we had just received emails from a couple saying they were coming to Oklahoma to visit us in June. Also, a teacher at my former school had just written about the graduations which are planned throughout Japan in March. The new school year begins in April when the cherry blossoms grace the country. As devastated as Japan is at the moment, the Christians have not lost their faith in God. God's children know that death is not the worst thing that can happen, and as long as we are on this earth He has a purpose for us. The hope that lives within us is very powerful! As our pastor preached this morning....we choose whether to build "stepping stones" to God, or to build "stumbling blocks".

Saturday, Janice drove Noel and Mark to Shawnee. They brought Mom to our house for dinner in the evening. The day was so beautiful that we chose to eat outside on the screened patio. After dinner, Jason and Shelly brought their 3 beautiful children over to visit with us. Macyn is 8 months old now and snuggled under my chin. Jace and Kylee are so well behaved and both made straight 'A's in school. I asked Jace if it was those Greenwalt genes. He smiled and simply said, "Yes!"

Keri called. She had a great time in California! She said it was 80 degrees and hard to go back to Chicago weather. She loved speaking at Cal Baptist University and spending time with family. Isaiah traveled well to California, and Sofia and Selah were fine with Daddy while she was gone

This morning I sang, "In His Time" . Bill played a trumpet descant while I accompanied myself on the piano. People loved it because they know the song so well. After the service, we had a chili, salad and dessert dinner to raise money for Harmony's family. Harmony is the 6 years old granddaughter of our pastor. She has a cancerous tumor behind her lungs and it is inoperable at this time. Harmony's mother has had to quit her job to be with her daughter. I was so happy to see a container being filled with $20 bills. Our Bible Study class lessons have been about keeping our faith while navigating the maze of life. There were 14 this morning, and two people told me that they are planning to join our class. We laugh a lot and often break into song. Today, we started singing, "This World Is Not My Home". It was fun!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday! And other Events

Yesterday, March 7 was my brother, Galen's birthday. I was two years old when he was born in Petersburg, Illinois. We are the only children of seven who were not born in a hospital. Both of us were born in church parsonages due to blizzard conditions. It's unbelievable that Galen and I are both in our sixties! When I think of Galen, I think of taking piano lessons together at Thearles Music Company in San Diego. I think of singing a duet at the Elks Club and holding back our laughter. Ithink of introducing him to my babysitter, Sondra, who is now his wife. I think of crazy stuff ---like going to get Crispy Cream Donuts in Ontario at 5:30 a.m. I also remember when he and Sondra flew down to the Cayman Islands to attend my graduation from ICCI and I got my teaching credential from the State of Massachusettes. Galen is a brother who has always been there for me, and I thank him for that! Happy Birthday, little brother! You are a man of God!

My oldest daughter, Keri, is in Riverside, California this week. California Baptist University invited her to be their guest speaker for Missions Week. Keri directed the International Special Projects teams for several years before moving to Chicago with her husband, Kevin. She is also participating in several training sessions while there. She said she was going to her Uncle Galen's birthday party at Olivia's on Monday night. Fun!

Last Saturday, Bill and I used his gift certificates to see the movie, "Adjustment Bureau" starring Matt Damon. The plot was very thought provoking. The writer toyed with the idea of "free will" versus "predestination". The acting is not great, but it is full of action, romance and spiritual contemplation. The movie definitely leans to the left, but prompts lots of conversation.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Week

I'm amazed at how busy my weeks continue to be! Nothing boring about my life! Every month I have new students and that keeps me on my toes. This session I'm teaching 106 grammar and have another student who is fresh off the plane. So, I go from teaching the 12 verb tenses in the morning to drawing stick pictures on the whiteboard in the afternoon. That's a challenge, but so rewarding to see the improvement in each student! Recently, I had a chat with one of my Saudi students about Libya. Very interesting!

I went to my routine doctor's appointment last Thursday. I feel grateful and humbled that my health is extremely good for now. Bill and I started back to the fitness center. The water was refreshing and it felt good to be swimming again. Our trainer, Lance, is still at Seminole State studying to be a nurse. He had been to New Zealand, so we enjoyed talking about places we both had seen there and in Australia, as well. The recent earthquake is a tragedy!

I'm not very optimistic about the American economy. We have a generation that does not respect authority and has been given whatever makes them happy. I recently heard a fellow in his twenties say that all workers should have the right to come and go to a job as they please, and tell the boss how the work is going to be done! Actually, I have heard 3 year olds telling their parents how life is going to be, and getting away with it. No wonder America has chaos! I was reminded that democracy cannot work without responsibility, rules and mutual respect.