Wednesday’s Wisdom: Take My Hand!

When you hold my hand, life is easier!

As I was waiting to get out of my car to Volunteer last week I saw a father and daughter pull up to school. They were definitely running a little late. However, I was reminded of something as I watched them.

The dad walked around the car and held the door for his daughter. She hopped out and walked up the sidewalk beside him. As she reached the steps into the building she grabbed for his hand.

Have you reached a place in your life that is a little hard to climb? Are you running late to get your life in order? Have you looked at the mounting steps before you and needed a little encouragement and or assistance? Do you have an insurmountable staircase to climb? Just like this little girl, we have a heavenly Father that is willing to take our hand so that we don’t have to climb alone. (Notice I didn’t say we didn’t have to climb…another day’s post). He will help us to climb to the top, if we will just reach for His hand.

Reach for the hand of Jesus all the time; especially, during the hard times. He will be right there beside you.

Psalms 55:22 NIV Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Soap Box – Caution: The Education Pendulum

The Pendulum Swings

Every few years in Education, as in many fields, the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other regarding teaching reading. As a retired educator/administrator, I grow weary watching our culture experiment on children with this fad and that fad instead of using tried and true methods to teach children how to read (and more so on how to behave).

When I was enrolled in college many years ago Whole Language was “the thing” and it was sweeping the nation. The premise being children will read when they are ready and to foster a love of reading books. Help all children read by guiding them to the books of their choice. Kids like pictures. Well, I’m here to tell you I’d like to be a model and walk down a runway making thousands of dollars, but just because its what I would like, it doesn’t mean I can or will do it without hard work and lots of practice.

Reading is HARD work. You can’t learn to read by looking at the pictures ONLY! You have to learn the sounds, the words, the sentence structure, long before you can even attempt learning the meaning (which is the purpose) of reading. Just because we want to, doesn’t mean we don’t have to work and practice at it.

Well just this morning my three year old grandson picked up a huge volume of Marvel Superheros. He enjoyed the pictures and could tell me about them, but it wasn’t what he needed to use to learn to read. This is my point…why do we go off the deep end in education when a “new” theory sweeps in? Why don’t we help children learn to read in ways that we know are sound? Why are we so easily moved by what is happening next door, across the city at a different school, or what the government deems important?

#1) We need parents that require children to do what is necessary at school to be successful or have consequences at home. Parents are the FIRST teachers. If reading isn’t important at home, it won’t be a priority at school.

#2) Then, we need to hire EXCELLENT teachers (reading) for our youngest students. Teachers that will help them practice reading out loud, learn and apply phonics, do the word work necessary to understand our language, and practice writing stories, so they can gain comprehension of the text. If we will do these things then we will have readers.

I’m completely tired of wasting time (perhaps because I’m older, or perhaps because it doesn’t work well) with the ever changing “new best thing” when it comes to teaching reading. There is NOTHING more important in the classroom than the teacher. It is the MOST important aspect for success at all grade levels. We need excellent teachers so that we can provide our students every opportunity for success. Hire excellent teachers in primary school … the very best reading teachers you can find…then you won’t worry about achievement scores in upper grades. If they aren’t excellent, move them out!

Keep your big business and elements of change processes…just give me an EXCELLENT teacher, some kids that have parental support, and some materials to work with. Then, we’ll have success! Off the Soap Box…for now!

Spring!

Are you tired of winter? Missouri weather, as always has been unpredictable at best! We’ve had thunder in February (will that result in frost in May as the old timers would say?), then the snow, the ice, the bone chilling cold, the wind … my oh my… this wind, and then throw in a couple of 60 degree days in the midst! Mercy!

Well don’t lose heart. Today I saw this reminder of Spring and my heart was glad!

Sweet little crocus!

Wednesday’s Wisdom: Fill My Cup, Lord!

You know there are times as a Christian when you feel like your cup is not only empty, but turned over and rolled off the table so that His goodness can’t fill it up! Why is that? What happened to make you turn your cup over so that you couldn’t be filled to overflowing?

Sometimes life is tough. You lose someone close to you, the job you wanted didn’t come through, or you’ve been wanting a mate forever and he/she hasn’t appeared…you get mad and turn that cup over. God wants us to hold up our cup to Him in expectation, and let Him fill it with goodness until it overflows. WE must hold the cup and believe in Him and His goodness.

There’s been times in my life when my cup was completely lost. I had to search for it. When I searched, I always found it where I HAD left it. God doesn’t leave us to deal with life on our own, and He doesn’t promise it will always be easy. He wants us to call on Him and His willingness to fill, refill, and continually keep full to overflowing no matter what we are going through.

Romans 15:13 New International Version (NIV)

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


That Old Tree…

There’s an old tree in a park near us that has sheltered people of our community for years and years. My children loved to hide inside when they were young and the photo below is two of my Grands standing near that old tree. People have been married under the branches, they’ve played there, they’ve wept there, and that old tree proudly obliged. Sadly, today when we visited the park we found the tree had fallen and was being prepared for firewood.

Grands near the old tree!

This old tree was huge! As you can see Papa stretched across it and he is 6’2″. I was a little sad to see this fallen beauty because it is filled with memories of days gone by for our family. But, like everything…there’s a time for living and a time for dying.

This was a huge tree!
What a hollowed out old beauty!
Fallen Beauty!

Sunday Funday

PapaSteve and I love appetizers! I bet you do, too! So, since I love to cook all types of food, I’ve designated Sunday Suppers to the appetizer category. It’s fun and something different.

This Sunday was jalapeño poppers, sausage balls, veggies (can you say green peppers) and dip, roll ups, guacamole with Tostitos (any other kind?😋) chips! Usually we don’t have so much variety, but this week I found lots of great recipes!

Have some fun in the kitchen and whip up an appetizer or six! If you’d like to know where I found the recipes, comment below!

My Spring Table

Spring! Doesn’t that word sound lovely? After the winter that won’t stop, I’m so excited for Spring and change. I’ve made a few changes already in my home to reflect the new season. The first is my dining room:

My Mother’s Dishes!

My mother’s dishes are a treasure for me. I thought they would be beautiful for a Spring table. The pitcher full of flowers she gave me as a birthday gift years ago. I keep adding more flowers and love the “unruly” look of this Spring arrangement.

Are you ready for Spring?

Wednesday’s Wisdom: A Gift

Do you love giving or receiving gifts? I love giving. But, many times I receive gifts from others and I’m so appreciative. But there’s one gift I love, in particular. It’s a soup mug!

This soup mug was from my SIL Deb while she was in college. It was filled with candy. She graduated in 1996. Every time I use this simple, green mug I’m reminded that the best gifts come from the heart.

The reason I love this mug has nothing to do with its material value. But, she bought this mug for me with the little money she had while attending college. It is precious because she gave me the VERY best she could give.

You know when we serve Christ it doesn’t mean we have to give more than we can afford. We don’t have to have fancy clothing to wear to church, nor lots of money to donate, or be the perfect person. But, what we do have to do is bring him our best gift…our heart of repentance and acceptance of His love and sacrifice.

John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Junkin’ Day!

Pardon my car seat pic…and my many magazines! A girl has to have reading material!

By now you all know that I love junkin’ and I’m determined to go at least once per month. Well I’m happy to report this month I’ve gone two or three times. Yippee!

Although my children are concerned that I’m going to collect so much “junk” that they will have to haul it away when I “take my leave” I still love to go and find treasures! It brings me so much joy to find what I love. This happened Saturday!

My Grandmother gave me a silhouette of a teacher and a student near a globe. I’ve loved on it for years. These silhouettes are so beautiful. I went back on Sunday and bought another at half-price!

Perfect Children…

This is written for all parents and all grandparents of imPERFECT children. Some people, rightly so, believe their children to be perfect. You know that I love children. I think my own children, my Grands, and every student I’ve ever served or tutored are perfect.

However, when things aren’t “perfect” for a child, that is when true love and REAL parenting/teaching occurs. It is so hard to accept imperfection in ourselves, but nearly impossible to see or admit imperfection in those we love the most. But, in teaching these imPERFECT children we MUST recognize the struggle and teach them to become productive with the abilities they have in place. We SHOULDN’T make excuses or want others to REDUCE expectation for these children. It is difficult to maintain expectations and hold all CHILDREN accountable, but it is imperative to their success that we do. I stand in ADMIRATION of those parents and teachers that are given the greatest challenges with their children (students), but still remain positive and push their children to achieve at that high standard.

On the contrary, I’ve witnessed children lose ability and become LESS than they could be, because their parent(s) and/or teacher(s) thought they COULDN’T perform at level. Often you’ll find, that children who struggle, create new and more creative ways to accomplish goals than those that do not have challenges. But first, we have to BELIEVE that they can and have FAITH in those that try to help them SUCCEED.

When you fail to hold them accountable you send them a message, and one to the world, that says “THEY CAN’T…I’VE GIVEN UP ON THEM.” That “THEY CAN’T” becomes an excuse and an excuse that results in their own self-belief being shattered and an “I CAN’T” attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, which can lead to a less than productive and happy life. I’ve seen this many times from a teacher or administrator position and it is so very sad for the child.

Parents keep pushing ALL children to be their very best no matter the challenge they deal with every day. Teachers keep teaching them MORE and expecting MORE of every child not just the brightest and most able. We are wonderfully and fearfully made and although we approach each task differently than the person next to us, the outcome will be the same if we set our expectations high.

There are NO perfect children, only perfect love for them!