Look at God!

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(Krish – Pinterest)

Have you ever wondered if God really cares about the details of your life and what is important to you? I had an experience that illustrates the answer to that question last year that I wanted to share by posting it here, but life got in the way. However, the truth of the awesomeness of what happened with Deidre and me still demonstrates this title, so here it is – finally. I hope it blesses you.

“God is good – all the time!”  I’ve heard this quote and the one in the title above numerous times, but really experienced it in a situation that happened last fall. I would like to share this story with you from my point of view.

2018 was a difficult year for my co-author and dear friend, Deidre. She had on-going medical problems for months that interfered with her work and personal life. Many days she was confined in her bed, unable to do much from day to day. I was concerned and prayed for her healing, but since we were hours apart, I didn’t see or experience her condition. 
Usually blessed with good health, I caught a flu-bug last November and was sick for four to five days. On Sunday I was in bed, scrolling through Facebook because going to church was out of the question. Up pops a feed: “The Potters House, Jacksonville . . . live.” That’s Deidre’s and Larry’s church, so I thought, “I can worship right here by watching, and maybe Larry is singing today.” He was part of the praise group, and after the opening songs Deidre’s Bishop, Vaughn McLaughlin, began to tell the congregation about one of their elderly member’s illness and wanted a time of prayer for her and any others who had recently received discouraging news from their doctor. He asked them to make their way forward so they could receive prayer. Unbeknownst to me, Deidre had received such news that week, and was on her way to the front, using a cane for support. As those in the front began to pray, I glimpsed her raising her hands in supplication and others laying their hands on her in prayer. I couldn’t believe I was witnessing this scene! After several minutes, the prayer time concluded and Deidre returned to her seat. With tears streaming down my face, I prayed for her right there in my bed, and thanked God for allowing me to be a part of this special time in my friend’s life. Deidre walked away without her cane and into her healing. How good of Him to let me be a part of it so many miles away. Only a God who cared about both of us would have orchestrated something so special. He is indeed good!

Sue – Voice II

The Reality of Life in the Classroom

This week in my classroom…
by Carly Jo Calace

– I sent a child to the nurse in the morning. She had a 102 fever and threw up. No one could reach her parents the entire day. They never came to get her after school. The nurse walked her home and the parents didn’t even come to the door to find out why.
– A previous student from last year visited me during lunch. She told me all about how her cousin was murdered last night. Everyone is crying and sad. They’re going to see the body today. She spent her entire recess and my whole lunch break with me just chatting.
– One of my students and his mother were kicked out his aunt’s trailer home and had to move into a shelter. Luckily we can provide special busing so he can still come to our school.
– Another student showed up in the same white shirt 3 days in a row, which by yesterday, had turned gray with with grime. Thank goodness our school has extra clothes to give him and a shower if it comes to that.
– A different student’s father didn’t show up to chaperone for our field trip like he said he would. The child was sick with worry because his dad left angry the night before and never came home. He’s still not home. A trip to the counselor helped him out a lot.
– On the bus ride to said field trip, another student told me all about his secret money hiding space under his trailer home. He further explained that he has to hide his money because his grandpa steals it to buy cigarettes. He now hides his money in my desk drawer because grandpa found his new hiding place (it’s only $5).
– A little girl asked to grab 2 pears instead of one because she worried her mom was too tired to the grocery store again. I gave her a bag of extra food and snacks that the school keeps around. Good thing we give all of our students free breakfast and lunch.
– A little boy showed up with a shaved head. He was so embarrassed that he refused to take his hood off his head. Eventually he told me his mom shaved his head because his aunt has lice so badly that you can see the bugs jumping around. He was terrified of the lice crawling into his ears and getting into his brain. A little research together during recess put his fears to bed.
– Another student shared that, when her dad gets out of jail, he’s bringing her to Dave N’ Busters. We started her a countdown on our class calendar.
– Her story prompted another boy to share that his dad is going to get his ankle monitor off soon so they can go for a bike ride this summer. Of my 28 students, I know of 5 who have a parent that has recently been or still is incarcerated.

Keep in mind that these are just the events of ONE week in ONE classroom. Are we actually surprised that so many of these kids can’t read or add? Is it really public schools that are failing kids? Maybe schools have to be more than a place to learn for some kids. Support public schools – they’re doing more for kids than you can even begin to understand.

The following is not part of my original post. Rather, it is a comment I wrote that has since been lost in the shuffle of other comments.

“First, I want to say that I am overwhelmed by the amount of support shown to teachers and school staff in the comments of this post. I was shocked when this post was shared over a hundred times. Now it’s reached thousands. That speaks volumes about the number of people that appreciate the hard work done in our schools! I am grateful for your support. Sometimes a small “thank you” is all a teacher needs to get though a tough day.

Second, I am disheartened by the negativity shown towards parents in some of the comments. I thought about keeping quiet, but decided to chime in. By no means do I think what is happening to the students in my classroom, and in classrooms across the nation, is acceptable. And, as adults, parents do need to take responsibility for the care of their own children. That being said, the students in my classroom today – the sweet, broken children that you want to hug and love so much – will, statistically speaking, likely grow-up to become adults just like their parents. The cycle will continue and one day their children will be my students, repeating their parents’ same sad story. Rather than focus on the faults of the parents, I think we need to shift our focus to ending the cycle. Research supports the huge difference one consistent, caring adult can have in the life of a child. Find a child in need – be that adult. Stop the cycle.

I hope this comment doesn’t spark controversy, but rather encourages us to seek out possible answers to the horrific problems our children are facing daily. Children are suffering and so is our society. They might not be our children or our responsibility to clothe, feed and raise, but don’t we all have a responsibility to leave this place better than we found it?”

Also, for those who were concerned, I’d like to reassure you that I am very aware of my position as a mandatory reporter and take that role seriously, as do all the teachers and staff members I work with.

Thank you again. Theses days I rarely see posts on Facebook where the response is almost 100% positive and supportive. I’m glad we are able to unite behind such an important issue, the well-being and happiness of our kids.

Kindest regards,

Carly (and Sue)

Are You Tired?

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Do you ever get tired? Not physically tired, but just worn out listening to news, observing bad drivers, seeing yet another advertisement for a TV show you would never watch (wondering how in the world anyone thought it was even appropriate), hearing about a new law being considered by legislators who should know better, observing one phone video after another on social media that demonstrates unacceptable behavior – just tired!
I’m about to that point, but I’ve decided to try and “keep on keeping on” until the Lord takes me home. I’m praying more too because there seems to be a lot of situations that can only be handled in that way.
God told us in His word that these days would come – a falling away from His ways, natural disasters, people calling wrong things “right” and right things “wrong.” He told us; so I pray . . . but I’m tired.
Then I remind myself that it’s ok to be tired because He will sustain me and never leave me.
Are you tired too? Remind yourself of what I just said, and remember that God is in control – even when it doesn’t look like it.

Sue – Voice II

Home

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It’s 2019 – that in itself seems unbelievable!
My 2018 was very busy with church activities, some book shows, but mostly with preparations to move to Virginia and sell our home in the “woods.” With God’s help we did it, and are still settling in and digging out of boxes.

I don’t know what this year holds for me, but I do know that my Heavenly Father is in control of it, and that is so comforting. I may have a new home, but my ultimate residence is with Him where He is “preparing a place for me” because of the saving grace provided by my Savior. I will be home there for eternity.
Can you say the same – do you know Jesus?

Sue

It’s the Week To Be Thankful

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Although we are told by scripture to remain in an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude for our blessings, this upcoming week is traditionally the time when we try to remember to “count our blessings.” Family, friends, health, and God’s provision readily come to mind. We only have to look at those in North Carolina, Florida, and California to realize how truly blessed we are to not be affected by storms or fire. My prayers go out to those who have lost everything as they grapple with the ongoing challenges this year has brought them. I also pray for those agencies and volunteers who are taking time out of their schedules to travel to affected areas and help. They are truly doing the Lord’s work.
This week I will thank God for all the blessings in my life. I hope you join me.

Sue – Voice II

God Knows

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What a troubling time it’s been lately as our U.S. Congress has been about their Constitutional duties of confirming a new Supreme Court judge. So many accusations and so much anger on display. How do I as a Christian handle two differing sides of a controversial issue? Should I even listen to the disturbing hearings, complete with multiple protest disruptions? Do I listen to the daily accounts on television or read the newspaper, knowing I will only be upset again? How do I know which side to believe?
My only consolation has been to pray and realize that God (not the Supreme Court’s Contemplation of Justice pictured above) is still on the Throne and He alone knows the truth. Since God knows and is in control, I can move on in confidence, trusting even in troubling times. Can you?
Sue – Voice II

Why Teach?

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This is part of the title to CH. II of our book, and as this school year begins, I want to share a memory with you.
Years ago I was a middle school secretary while studying for my BA degree in Education when something happened that really impressed on me the importance of being an encouraging, caring teacher. I answered one of the three phones in the school office and heard a young voice on the other end: “I want to report myself tardy,” he said. “Ok – who is this? What’s going on,” I replied. “I missed the bus,” was the answer.
I had trouble hearing the boy because of the noisy background. A female adult was screaming and cursing at him as he was trying to give me the message and get out of the house. I told him to come to the office when he made it to school by walking, and I would sign him in. But as I hung up the phone, I hurt for him. This was the environment he was leaving and would return to in the afternoon. No seeming support, and a truly bad atmosphere. When he arrived at school, would he be encouraged or disappointed again by the response of the adults in his life?
Teachers could add their students’ horror stories to this one because every year they encounter situations that are not good for children. They have the opportunity to counter the negative responses with positive ones and encourage their students instead of screaming at them. Self-esteem can be lifted instead of deadened, and smiles do a world of good to a hurting heart. I encourage you in the classroom to be the teacher that makes a difference, especially for those students who need it so desperately. You will never know how much it can change their lives. Teach curriculum, but show you care. It will make a big difference in how they view themselves.
I ran across this example several weeks ago and put it on my FB page. I thought I would share it again now because it illustrates what I’ve been trying to say. You will never know what some of your students face every.single.day.
God bless you as you make a difference.
Sue – Voice II

I Ain’t Got a Pencil,” by Joshua T. Dickerson

I woke myself up
Because we ain’t got an alarm clock
Dug in the dirty clothes basket,
Cause ain’t nobody washed my uniform
Brushed my hair and teeth in the dark,
Cause the lights ain’t on
Even got my baby sister ready,
Cause my mama wasn’t home.
Got us both to school on time,
To eat us a good breakfast.
Then when I got to class the teacher fussed
Cause I ain’t got no pencil!