Another School Year Approaches

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What happened to summer? How can it be time for another school year? Even though summer vacation has passed so quickly, it is indeed time for the 2017-2018 school year to begin. Teachers are preparing their classrooms, parents are buying school clothes, shoes, and supplies, and bus drivers are familiarizing themselves with new routes. It is a time of new beginnings.

As teachers, Deidre and I were drawn to the plaque pictured above. In Ch. I of our book, Deidre decribed me as a “teacher-teacher,” a nickname coined by a former student who saw me as someone who lived, breathed, and totally enjoyed teaching. He was right as I truly embraced the job and my “kids” – all 120+ of them every year. Some were  challenging in a positive way – pushing me to find more and better ways to present an ever-changing curriculum. Others challenged me in a negative way with behavioral and learning difficulties that caused me to need an Excedrin occasionally!

Teaching, regardless of the nature of the challenges, is a unique career in which you have the ability to change a person’s life, enhance their abilities, and perhaps their view of themselves. A little positive reinforcement and consistent expectations can do wonders for that student who has heard criticism most their life and never had anyone hold them accountable. Our Chapter II – “Why Teach?” – talks about all of these topics and more, bringing back many memories.

Nevertheless, Deidre and I wish your children a wonderful, fun-filled school year; one in which they learn a lot and are blessed with the kind of teacher described above. May God keep them safe, and may they be a true example of a student who befriends and encourages others.

The Voices also want to remind teachers to stay encouraged throughout this school year. Although, you may love to teach, there will be those times when you will have to encourage yourself just like David did ( I Samuel 30:6) as you hit those extremely difficult situations or when no one else recognizes the many sacrifices of extra time, money, and other resources you naturally want to give in order to make your daily “sphere of influence” (your classroom) the best it can possibly be for your students in a new demanding school year.

Ephesians 4:11-13, states how, “He (GOD) gave some to be apostles; and some prophets; and some pastors; and teachers…” The word some denotes that only a portion of us were graced with the gift of teaching. As Christian teachers, you have been placed in either a public, a private, or a Christian school to be both SALT & LIGHT (Matthew 5:13-16). We must not forget that God specifically chose only “some” of  us to prepare and preserve our future legacy. Those precious human commodities have also been called and chosen, and they must also be taught that they all have a God-given purpose. As students begin to grasp this concept, they will begin to enjoy and want to learn.  They must be inspired to understand how they will be the ones who will assume various leadership and/or other roles that will impact all other future generations. Remind your students how school is a huge part of their preparation in order to discover their purpose.

So, when the going gets tough, stand right where you are, and “man your ground” to the best of your abilities. God is always watching, and He is definitely with you because those of us who teach, really do touch the future. We can also share in the blessing of feeling proud as well as we state, ” We are:  the few, the proud, the chosen and most importantly, we are, the “Some.”

Sue and Deidre

 

 

 

This entry was posted on August 16, 2017. 1 Comment

Hatred Is Not A Christian Virtue

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Prior to posting another blog this Wednesday, Deidre and I wanted to respond to the horrific weekend happenings in Charlottesville, VA. We always encourage others to “let their light shine” in sharing God’s love to others. How different when that light comes from tiki torches to reflect hate instead. This Facebook poem by Terri Caldwell perfectly reflects our prayer for our country:

Brothers and sisters here we stand, united together hand in hand.

Let’s build our nation, not tear it apart; let love guide us from the heart.

Father, forgive us for the brokenness in our land.

Show us how to heal and lend a helping hand.

Give us eyes of mercy, eyes full of grace, to make this nation a better place.

May Your compassion fill our souls, because only God can make us whole.

We surrender our pain, our sadness and fear . . . God please be very near!

Comfort the broken-hearted and all who mourn, this world is divided and very torn.

Put us back together as only You can. Make us One Nation Under God,

As united we stand!

Amen.

Sue and Deidre

 

 

It’s Not Always Easy To Shine

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Voice II (Sue): One of the premises of our book is to encourage others to understand how important their influence can be; that everyone can make a difference in their little corner of the world. I have never been one to shy away from speaking out for “right” or against “wrong.” I base my opinions on what God says in His word, and feel it’s my place to witness for Him when I can.

Over the last few years I have gotten the distinct impression that those who differ with me are not happy that I take those opportunities to speak or write. Facebook is usually the forum for today’s communication. You probably know where I’m going with this . . . if someone disagrees with something you’ve posted or a comment you’ve made, you will most likely hear from them, and it’s not always a pleasant experience! However, I’m having a hard time understanding or reconciling other Christians coming against my words, sometimes in personal attack form. I should realize that Jesus warned us that the “world” would come against us – look what it did to Him! But other Christians? This is hurtful and disturbing. How can they go against God’s teachings in the Bible and accuse me of “judging” when I am simply doing what I previously mentioned: standing for “right?” I do my best to love the sinner while recognizing the sin. However, many . . . even in the church, caution me not to judge. My concern is that one day God will do exactly that – JUDGE. I don’t want to have those I love, knew, or had contact with to look at me, thinking “why didn’t you tell me?”

Here’s a few examples of what I’m talking about: Christians, why do I hear OMG coming out of your mouth frequently? We are told in Deuteronomy to honor our Heavenly Father and not take His name in vain. It’s a commandment not a suggestion. How does that make you any different from the world?                                                                                    Christians, why would you even consider voting for candidates who support abortion – the modern-day equivalent of child sacrifice? Shouldn’t we stand for the unborn rather than for “choice?”                                                                            And finally, Christians, why do you encourage and support rainbow issues – homosexuality, gay marriage, and the ever-expanding consonant rights including transgender confusion at elementary age levels? Doesn’t God tell us to love others without accepting, encouraging, or condoning what He calls sin? All of these issues are difficult, especially if you have family members involved, but none of them are hard to fathom. God says they are wrong! He loves us and wants the best for us. Why would his teachings be wrong? The father of lies, the devil, is working overtime today to “deceive even the elect (Christians)” – those who should know better.

I know I have crossed a lot of lines in this post, but I’m asking you to consider what I’ve said. God’s word is truth; why aren’t we following it?

In one of the chapters of our book, Ch. XI, entitled “Shame on You,” we use scripture to back up what we wrote about then and what I’m saying now about the times in which we are living:  “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage . . . For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desire, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Tim. 4:24

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”  Proverbs 21:2

We also provide the lyrics to a Winans’ song, “Bring Back the Days of Yay and Nay.” If you want an eye-opening experience, google that song on YouTube and listen to wisdom.

Voice I (Deidre): To everything Sue has written, I say a hearty “Amen!” Once again the time has come for us to take a stand, and we choose to stand on God’s word, trusting Him, and do our best not to compromise with the ways of the world. We choose to love as God is love. However, God’s love cannot be separated from who He is. While compromise wants us as Believers to settle for differences that outright teach or try to influence us to go against God’s word, we – the Voices – choose to stand as Salt and Light. What will you do?

 

“A Hiccup In The Road”

VOICE I (Deidre): Right now, I am going through some struggles in my personal life with my health, and the healing process is extremely difficult. Although I consider myself a woman of great faith, there are times when I still feel discouraged. My faith in God is HUGE because I have both witnessed and experienced God during miraculous things in our present day time just like he did during biblical days. Therefore, the faith within myself says, “I am already healed,” but my human mind continues to think and ask, “Why me, God, and when will you do it?”

The answer came from an unlikely source when my cousins from Virginia stopped by for a visit. They  prayed with me before they left, and I felt such a sense of relief. I remembered how my Cousin Brian prayed, “God this is just a hiccup in the road for her, but she shall overcome it all in victory because of who YOU are.

After they left, my mind began to wrap around that one phrase, “a hiccup in the road.” I meditated on it and related it to being like a detour in the road. When we hiccup, our respiratory muscles stop momentarily. Likewise, a detour in the road is a roundabout, temporary route that takes you a different way or maybe even a longer way to get to your set destination.

I realized that God sent an encouraging word to me through that prayer in order for me to stay strong and remember that  this is just a temporary situation and only like a “hiccup” in my life. I strongly believe that by placing my faith in God, I will definitely be healed and whole again.

With that said, the Two Voices want to encourage you. No matter how difficult your test may be right now, it will pass. The woman with the issue of blood waited 12 years for her healing (Luke 8:43). The Bible said that no physician could heal her, BUT GOD…

Likewise, Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery by his own brothers and also thrown in a prison for a crime he did not commit, BUT GOD…

After his trials, he went to pharaoh’s palace, BECAUSE OF GOD..

The voices want you to know that we both have experienced many painful physical, emotional, and mental trials, but God had delivered us out of everyone of them. Because God brought us through and out of each trial, we are able to continue to serve others and minister through our messages from the book that He enabled us to write. We truly believe that He will do the same thing for you. He will bring you through pain and hardships and use you to bless others through your testimony and good deeds.  So, no matter what difficult experience or trial you are in right now or may have to face in the future – stay encouraged! Just like a hiccup, this too will pass. More importantly, God’s word declares, “With man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Before posting this latest blog, I (Sue – Voice II) would like to echo Deidre’s words, and ask those of you who believe in the power of prayer, to pray for her healing. She has many hats, ministers to so many people, and is ready to get back to her normal life. We appreciate your prayers.

God bless you,

The Voices

 

The Power of One

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Have you ever stopped to think about how important one person can be? In the political realm, Chapter I of our book (p.2/Voice I) relates how some famous individuals like John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. made positive contributions that impacted change within our society and the world at large for the better. On the other hand, infamous dictators like Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein brought about tragic results for many while they ruled. History further records JFK as winning the Presidency by just one vote in some U.S. precincts during the 1960 election. Other documents state that in 1923, one vote made Adolf Hitler leader of the Nazi Party. That one vote was only the beginning of somber and catastrophic events, but it put him in power.

That same chapter moves into the stories of our lives and how we first met.  Voice I (Deidre) reflects on one specific person, Sue (Voice II), who God used to enter and change her life profoundly. In that same chapter, Sue also shares how Deidre significantly changed her life for the better as well. One person can truly make a difference!

The voices would like to ask you, “Do you remember that one person who made a difference or changed the direction or course you were going?”  Maya Angelou calls those individuals  “Lifelines” in her book, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Some people have few lifelines, while others may have several. Still, they are put into our lives to help us, and show us new ways of looking at the same things differently. That really is the Power of One!

Many times, as the “Two Voices,” we meet and talk to people while promoting our book. As we share our major platforms, we also try to encourage them to realize how every person is here for a reason and that each one of us can make a difference in the lives of others. We want you to consider that as well because God desires that you use your gifts and talents to be a sphere of influence right where you are. You could be an agent of change for the better, especially for children or those who cannot use their own voices. When you know you have a voice that others will hear, you are that one person who must decide whether or not to use it in a negative or positive way.

Lifelines! We all have at least one, but there is ONE who is more than enough for any situation, problem or circumstance we may be facing right now, or in our future.  That One has a name, and we call Him, JESUS!  He is the best example of the Power of One. He is Jesus Christ, and will be Lord and Savior to anyone who will call on Him and ask for His forgiveness. His ONE life was given for all today, tomorrow, and forever. All you have to do is accept Him as your personal Savior and receive the precious gift of eternal life. How awesome is that? He was the only ONE who could die, and He did die once for us ALL. Amen.

Final Thought: None of us are God, but all of us can be used by Him to make a difference . . . one life at a time.

Sue and Deidre

 

 

THE ULTIMATE FATHER

 

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June is considered by many one of the most popular months of the year. It is the month summer officially begins as well as the month of marriage for a multiple of beautiful blushing brides, bushels of babies being born, and one of our favorite holidays – Father’s Day. This year, it takes place on the 18th of this month, and the 2 Voices want to share with you why we highly regard this holiday that honors Fathers:

Fathers provide the seed for life, and God chose them to love, protect, and provide for their families in a special way. Fathers are to be the head of the family, while Mothers are the heart. Too often the roles and reputation of fathers have gotten overshadowed by many dads being MIA or filing for bankruptcy when it’s their responsibility to pay child support. A lot of dads are dead or living in prisons as well. Our list of dismal dads can seem non-stop.

Sue and Deidre both believe that they  had great fathers who loved, provided, and cared for their well-being. However, Deidre missed out growing up with her Dad when she lost hers at the tender age of 9, and Sue lost her father shortly after beginning her teaching career.

So, whether you had a great, or good, or a “good for nothing” father, we want to remind you about the ULTIMATE FATHER. He is the one who cares for you, and the one who loves you more than anyone else ever could (John 3:16). His dearest name is “Abba,” which means “Papa God.” He knew you before you were born and has the best plan for your life. He loved you so much that He sacrificed His Son to provide you with eternal life – the greatest gift ever given! So as you celebrate the men in your life who are Fathers, or just like a father to you, remember to thank the One who made their lives and yours possible.

Isaiah 64:8 – But now, O LORD, thou [art] our Father; we [are] the clay, and thou our potter; and we ALL  [are] the work of thy hand. (KJV)

Deidre and Sue

 

 

Why We Remember . . .

 

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How important is it for our young people to know why we celebrate Memorial Day? As a Social Studies teacher, I (Sue) felt it was extremely important, so I planned and produced a Memorial Day program for years that involved students, teachers, many meaningful slides, patriotic music, and a salute to the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. My principal and I felt it was important for these 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to know about our country’s history, and the sacrifice many in our military paid throughout the years. Sometimes the adults in the audience learned something too, and that was a good thing.

Military service runs strong in our families. Sue’s Dad and Father-in-law served in the Air Force and Navy, respectively, during WWII. Her husband was a Communication Engineer in the USAF, retiring after 20 years, and Deidre’s husband is a 27-yr. US Navy veteran, retiring as a SCMSgt. She has other family members who are actively serving in the military or retired. The “Voices” know the cost of military service!

We all should remember this service and sacrifice because so many lost their lives to protect our way of life. They selflessly thought of our country and its citizens instead of themselves. The Bible says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). This is exactly what our fallen military did; except they laid down their lives for many people they didn’t even know.

This Memorial Day is more than family gatherings, picnics, swimming pool openings, or the beginning of summer. It is a remembrance of those who served our country and lost their lives doing so. We salute and remember you.