Monday, July 19, 2010

"Heat Advisory" Notwithstanding

In the midst of a heat wave, my son and grandson are biking the Katy Trail. They set out this morning and plan to bike around 150 miles in three days. They have been "training" for the trip, biking lots of miles a lot of days. Well, they're big strong "boys," and they will be fine, but Mom/Mamo has to not think about things like heat exhaustion, lightning and thunderstorms, sunburns, and dehydration. I said I was not going to think about those things. So, I'll just dwell on what wonderful guys they are, and how thankful I am that they are who they are. I'll also think about how glad I am that they can do this together. Russell delivered them to their "put in" location and then took this pic on Mark's phone just as they were embarking on the journey.

UPDATE: Reporting in Monday afternoon, they had biked about 40 miles and were "feeling good."

UPDATE #2: Tuesday morning, after waiting out a torrential rainstorm, they are off again. They have many miles to go today! (Gotta love those iPhone pics!)

Update #3: Today (Tuesday) was grueling--50 miles on the bikes, with a strenuous hike thrown in along the trail. Mark reports that it was pretty tough, and Conner stayed right with him. Yes, I am a proud Mamo.

 Update #4: Wednesday morning: The guys reported a wonderful and relaxing overnight stay at Grams', with an "amazing" supper, good rest, and great breakfast ("She's an inspiration," Mark says of Grams). Off again this morning, amid threatening weather, they sent this pic of a huge rock along the Katy Trail. Today they will ride many more miles, to their take-out place.

Final Report, late afternoon: Got a text from Kristy that she picked up the guys at their take-out; they are fine but tired.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting Into THE WORD

Yesterday morning, while on a "forced break" (an oxymoron, as was pointed out by my bright daughter-in-law) with my husband, I ventured out in the heat to a picnic table on our campsite. Sassi and I were looking forward to having our Quiet Time in the fresh air. It was a little too warm for her to lie on my lap, her favorite position, so I put her little bed up on the picnic table (now my study area). I thought about what a cute picture that would make, so I pulled the iPhone out of my study bag and snapped the photo below. She ventured closer and closer until finally she was right on top of my Bible (generally speaking, she is interested in anything that I am interested in). I took another photo (above) and emailed it to some family. Then, I thought about what a great illustration that photo would make for the topic, "Yes, it's a good place to be, IN THE WORD."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My First-born Grandchild-God's Special Creation

This little 4-year old girl (pictured here with her brother Conner) is turning 17 today! What a special product of God’s creation she is! Tory has always been so beautiful, inside and out. She is bright, cheerful, lively, sweet, loving, sensitive and caring; she has a heart that desires to serve God.

My verse for Tory today is the same as the one I chose for her for 2010:

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 
– Jer 29:11 (NIV)

Afternoon addition--Adding to today's post, here is the beautiful birthday girl. Her brother's verbal "happy birthday" to her was so true...he said, "You are beautiful on the inside AND on the outside."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Looking Back—a Difference Made?

I suppose it is human nature. I would like to believe that I have made a difference. Of course, I do believe I can make a difference in the lives of my children and grandchildren, and I do believe that is part of “my calling.” I’m happy to have that responsibility, and I am deeply rewarded when I see that God has in fact allowed me to make a difference there. My children and grandchildren are wonderful about expressing their feelings for me, and that is just about the best blessing a mother or grandmother could have!

But, today, I’m thinking about the idea of “making a difference” in the circle outside my own family. For the years I spent as a teacher in public school classrooms, was that time well-spent? Did I actually make a difference? Realistically it’s not so much that I need to feel I made a difference in the WORLD... But in someone’s life?

When you’re a teacher, you have lots of moments of knowing, at the time, that what you are doing is valuable, that you are making an investment in the life of a child. Children are wonderful about letting you know that they think you are special. But, after the passing of time, I sometimes wonder if I made any lasting difference. Then occasionally, rarely actually, a reminder comes my way that tells me, “It was worth it.”

I spent twelve years of my teaching career with gifted children (K-8), in a small school in a small town. Those were special times for me, and I often remarked that I couldn’t believe they actually paid me to do that job. (I didn’t say it too loudly, because my husband was the superintendent). I had the same students year after year, as they progressed through elementary school. I loved my “kids.” I don’t even remember the “curriculum” that I made up for us to cover in my class. I’m not even sure I had a “curriculum.” My primary goal for my students was that they learn how to think for themselves (creatively and critically) and that they realize that they could do basically anything in life, if they would always do their best. It was so fun to see their little minds working away!

Recently one of them came to mind, and as I wondered what “became” of him, I employed the amazing tool that is the internet. I located some information about him and contacted his alma mater. They in turn let him know how to get in touch with me. I wasn’t even sure the “student” would remember me—my strongest memories of him are from his second-grade year, and that was around 1981. I did not expect to hear from him, but I was thrilled to learn from the internet search that he had become an engineer (that was my prediction, when he was a second-grader—seriously).

Today I received a special blessing. In my inbox was a note from him. He told me all about his education, his career choice, and what he is doing now. I was amazed to read about that little boy, all grown up and successful. Then, I read, “I wanted to say just how nice it is to hear from you, and I want you to know that the moments in your classroom still seem like yesterday to me and were highly formative in the direction my life has taken. Do you remember the program I wrote in BASIC on the Atari that played Jolly old St Nick? The pride you showed in me, drawing the principals attention to it... moments like that really pushed me to want to try to be better than average and that spirit has stuck with me for life.”

Tears streaming, I thought about this topic: looking back--a difference made? It seems so, and I am once again thankful that God called me to be a teacher and placed me in a position to influence children through the years.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

America's "Lost" Virtue

Many of my close friends and family have often discussed the trend in our country, away from accountability. Actually, it's more than a "trend." It's a free-fall. That's the truth. But, I heard it put a little differently yesterday, and since it's kind of "stuck" in my mind, I'll write about it.

Listening to ESPN Radio as I drove into the city yesterday, I heard one of the commentators talk about our country's lost virtue--DISCIPLINE. Out loud, I said, "Amen." This guy admits he is not a moralist, and he certainly does not claim to be a Christ-follower, in fact quite the opposite. And yet, he sees it. He explained that he has lived his life according to a principle, and so far, though he has made many mistakes, he has never gotten himself into real trouble. That principle, he says, is this: "DON'T GO WHERE YOU SHOULDN'T GO; DON'T DO WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T DO." He proceeded to expound on the recent arrest of an individual who is in a position of administrative leadership in a major college.

The ESPN Radio show host gives excellent advice for living. He gave that advice without quoting Scripture, but of course the Bible IS the original source for that concept. The host also made another point, that also has its basis in Scripture: your sins will find you out, and you will reap what you sow. (Make no mistake, he did not use those words; but he did make that point.)

Let's be about the business of helping our children and grandchildren recognize and understand the value of self-discipline. And, if you need a fresh one-liner to throw in there occasionally, this one works: "DON'T GO WHERE YOU SHOULDN'T GO; DON'T DO WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T DO."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"It is for freedom He has set us free!"

Every year at this time I like to just think about the awesome blessing it is for me to have been born in America. Our country was founded on the principles of freedom, and many people, including my husband, have fought to keep our country safe and free. Lots of thoughts are in my heart tonight, and I may "opine" about all that in much greater detail at a later time, but for now, I just want to share that we enjoyed attending the Cardinals game last night, with their special emphasis on supporting our armed services. Folks were encouraged to bring posters and banners, so I threw together a couple of posters just before we left. Part of the pre-game festivities included parachutists landing in the stadium!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Makes me tired just thinkin' about it!

My beautiful Tory has been training for Cross Country Track this summer. This morning she ran FIVE miles without stopping. Her dad told me he is so proud of her! So am I!! Wow! Bless her heart--she doesn't even like to run, but she sees it as good self-discipline. She's so special!