Thursday, August 29, 2013

My TESL Son (Teaching English as a Second Language)

My son has been on the other side of the world for ten days now.

It took me about a week to get my emotions settled down.  Silly, he says; he's on an adventure and why would his mother be upset?  True.  He's not tied to my apron strings any more, nor would I want him to be.  However, that doesn't change a mother's heart toward her son.

I kept seeing the mental picture of him as about a ten-month-old baby, awakening me about 6:00 on a Sunday morning (make that every Sunday morning) wanting a bottle.  I'd settle into the rocker; he'd slurp most of it down, then lie there looking up at me with a big grin, as if to say "Didn't you WANT to get up this early on Sunday and be with me?"  And at first I'd be frustrated, then would realize that it really was a great blessing to be able to get up with him.

And now he's on the other side of the world.

I have many "upward thoughts" for him, in many areas.

I am also very grateful for what is available for communication.  So far we've been able to have a phone call, a Skype, and also a web-based text program for both texting and delayed voice messages.  Imagine people just ten or twenty years ago, much less a hundred, having those opportunities for communication.  It makes it so much easier.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday's Fave Five - 8/23/13

1. My son made it safely to a closed country for a stint of teaching English.  He left earlier this week, and it has been an emotional time for his mother.  However, he made it, and I've seen a picture of him with other members of his group, having cake and coffee in the apartment belonging to one of them, at the end of the first day.  That pic made me feel better.

2. Nice large going-away party for him after church last Sunday night here at the house, and a nice family dinner on Monday night at Tucker's Restaurant.  (Thank you to my folks for that one.)  I did not tell my husband how many ended up being invited to the going-away party until it was underway - sometimes it's better just to let things happen.  :-)  And it just kept growing.

3. Got daughter moved into her house - she is loving it.  She started her senior year in college this week.  The end is in sight!

4. My sister started a new job this week and is enjoying it - she is happy to be employed again after a six-month hiatus.

5. Psalm 139.  And I have a nice, quiet weekend to rest up.

Link to Friday's Fave Five

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need"

Andrew sang at church Sunday night before leaving Tuesday morning.  The woman who processed this (I make no admissions) accidentally cut off the first few seconds.  She apologizes.

In China

This morning at 9:00 I got a single-line text:  We have arrived.  And that's the last I've heard from my son who is now in. . .China.  And he will be, for the next two years of teaching English.

This is a huge adjustment for a woman whose son has known many times in the past just how to encourage his mother's heart.

We hold our children loosely, not expecting them to stay by us all their years; however, this is quite a stretching of the cords.

I await hearing more about how the adjustment is going, and in the meantime am sending "thoughts" to the One who has sent him there.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hummels and Every Tradition

Here is a link to Every Tradition, my dear friends' lovely blog, with a guest post on Friend Friday about my Hummel collection (written before the acquisition from earlier this month).

Progression of Separation

  • For the first few weeks he was with me 24/7.
  • His dad kept him so I could get out for a few hours.
  • He stayed at the nursery where I worked.
  • He stayed with our neighbors.
  • He had his first babysitter.
  • He went to preschool and Sunday school.
  • He visited a little friend for a few hours.
  • He went home with his grandparents for several days when his sister was born.
  • He went to kindergarten and rode a school van on a field trip.
  • He went to first grade.
  • He spent the night with a buddy from school.
  • He visited his grandparents for several days in another state.
  • He went to junior camp for five nights - we drove him there.
  • He went to another camp, several times, riding on a church bus.
  • He joined a sports team and went on away games.
  • He joined Boy Scouts and went on camping trips and to Boy Scout camp.
  • He got his driver's permit.
  • He got a part-time job.
  • He got his driver's license.
  • He drove himself to work and back.
  • He drove himself to school and back.
  • He drove himself to school and back, and we let his sister ride with him.
  • He traveled to tournaments with his basketball and soccer teams.
  • He took the car on special dates.
  • He went out with his buddies on weekend nights.
  • He graduated from high school and was out most of the night with his classmates.
  • He left for college and lived in a dorm.
  • He traveled on a drama team for a semester.
  • He graduated college and got an apartment in another city.
  • He joined several singing groups and traveled all over the country.
  • And next week he leaves to teach English in China.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Apple Pretzel

My administrator's wife made these for us for inservice.  I think they are really nice.  A lot of work, but really nice!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday's Fave Five, 8/9/13

Link to Friday's Fave Five

1. School started back on Tuesday, and we had training for a new computer gradebook/communication system.  It appears to be great.  It can be accessed directly from the internet, has apps for iPad and iPhone, has built-in email platforms to communicate with parents, and all in all looks to be a great improvement over what we've used the past few years.

2. On my last day of summer vacation, I accomplished this:
Six boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  I'll just put them in the closet until closer to the time.  Two ladies I know are attempting to get 500 boxes filled this year.  It's almost an impossible goal, but it's a fantastic goal, and this will put them six boxes closer.  I really admire their dedication to this, and their faith that it is going to happen.

3. Mike and ML had a good trip to her house for the school year, moving the first load.  We're thankful for knowing the landlords, and they know us.  So much better than just finding something on Craigslist.

4. I was able to get 18 good Sterling Point books (the old Landmark series) for the Christian school that Dad started so many years ago.  He offered to pay if I'd get them sent.  He did and I did!

5. My sister, after six months of unemployment, got a job this week!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Families of the World

Two secular books by a secular author are two of the best missionary books I've ever read.

In a thrift store earlier this summer, I saw Families of the World - Family Life at the Close of the 20th Century, The Americas & the Caribbean by Helene Tremblay.  It looked interesting so I bought it.  Once started reading it, I could hardly put it down.  It was so good that I found the next book online, which covered East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific.  According to the introductions, this was supposed to be a series, with Europe coming next.  However, these are the only two I can find anywhere, so assume that the author never wrote any more.

Tremblay visited families in essentially every country in the areas covered in each book, staying at least one night in each home.  85% of the places she visited were places of abject poverty and little to inspire the people who lived there.  She devoted about four pages to each home, telling the story of each family and including a couple of pictures as well.  Another page was then devoted to the statistics of that particular country.

Most of these people have no hope, either for jobs and success in this life, or for life after death.

You won't find these books in many bookstores; you'll either find them at random, or on a source like Amazon, eBay, or  They were both well worth my time, and they will not be going back to the thrift store, but will stay on my shelf.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday's Fave Five 8/3/13

Link to Friday's Fave Five blog.

1. Someone, who would not want to be named publicly, gave me money to spend for a Cricut for our school.  My colleague and friend Gina knows much more about Cricuts, so she did the ordering.  She told me this morning that it has arrived - we will take it to school next week and set it up!  Very thankful for that generous gift - the teachers will make good use of it.

2. Andrew and I had a nice trip to purchase the Hummel set I bought this week.  

3. ML is going to help me with fixing up my classroom.  Huge help to me, and she might get a little cash out of the deal.

4. Had a good meeting with the teachers from another school to get ideas earlier this week.  We are rivals - BIG rivals - with them, so we were glad to have had a good meeting with them.  Our students may consider it to be fraternizing with the enemy. . .

5. My sister-in-law got married last Saturday night and we had a nice time seeing family members we don't see very often.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Unfolding Destinies

Earlier this summer I read Unfolding Destinies by Olive Fleming Liefeld, who was the widow of Pete Fleming, one of the lesser-known of the five missionaries killed in Ecuador in 1956, of whom Jim Elliot was the most famous.  I enjoyed it for three reasons.

First of all, she gave good detail about their lives and that time period; also about the process that the men went through deciding to go to Ecuador in the first place, and then to attempt to meet the Aucas.

Secondly, I was surprised by the realism of the book.  So many things about these missionaries have been written over the years that they are larger than life figures.  But nobody is above dealing with a sinful nature, issues of pride, hurting other people at times.  This book was written realistically and was thus refreshing to read.

And finally, the foreward of the book explored some of the aftermath of the grief process that these families were left to deal with after the death of the five missionaries.  It is worthy of contemplating today, about any tragedy.  Olive's second husband wrote this, starting on p. 11:

“During the course of our life together Olive and I have often struggled with the question of why it happened that five young men—strong, and gifted, each needed in another part of the missionary endeavor, each married, each (except Pete) a father—were allowed to die.  Olive clung to the belief that God had prepared her for it, but had He prepared the events themselves?  Was it all evil and the work of demons or the Devil?  Was it an unfortunate tragedy?  Did God do it deliberately?

“Many have attempted to justify what happened by the results.  Do the scores or hundreds of people who were inspired to consider becoming missionaries justify it?  Do the hundreds of Aucas who became Christians explain its purpose?  Does the abandonment of mutual killing among the Aucas (except for a remote group still in darkness) warrant the loss?  How about the fact that all of the killers became believers and that three of them are now pastors and evangelists?  Does any of this say to us, ‘THIS is why it happened’?  If so, then the next question is: Was the infinitely wise and powerful God unable to find a way other than to sacrifice the lives of such men as these, and five of them at that?  All such talk about this subject is, of course, hindsight.

“Bring in the theologians and the philosophers.  Let them sit with grieving widows and philosophize about whether God causes, contributes, allows, redirects, or whatever.  Is God’s will cold or loving?  Is His will impersonal fate or personal care?  Hidden or understandable?  To be feared or embraced?

“Grief-stricken people are often ‘comforted’ with a Bible verse popularly known by its reference, Romans 8:28: ‘We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.’  I put comforted in quotes because the verse is sometimes quoted mechanically or insensitively, and sometimes as a substitute for personal deeds of comfort.  Some think a grieving person only needs to apprehend a theological truth.  The message some think that the verse conveys is that we should welcome evil or that evil always comes from God and is intended to accomplish some hidden purpose.

“The verse, of course, does not say that.  Nor does it say, on the contrary, that all things are good.  It does not say that everything is directly caused by God.  The Bible, in fact, calls death an ‘enemy’ (I Corinthians 15:26) and says that Christ died to destroy the Devil, ‘who has the power of death’ (Hebrews 2:14).  What Romans 8:28 does communicate is the truth that God can take all things – even bad ones – and bring good from them for those who love Him.  It teaches that God acts purposefully in calling us to faith in Him.  It reflects a loving God.”