Wednesday, February 28, 2024

This and That

 There hasn't been too much going on around here lately.

We went to the movies again last week and saw the next three episodes of Season Four of The Chosen. You cry, you laugh, and it touches your heart in a way that most movies don't. Don't get me wrong, there are SO many movies out there that are inspiring, and heart wrenching, and can leave you so happy.

But these reach right to the heart, right where we all live day by day. Places of loneliness and fear, doubt, regret... And it addresses those issues and shows that there is One who is a best friend, the One who can heal, and protect. And it shows family, and friendships, and how we're all learning every day to be better people, to treat each other with kindness and patience and love. It's truly amazing and I highly recommend The Chosen series. 

This part was so good! You'll have to see it to find out why 'Jesus' is wearing a roman soldier's helmet. I don't want to spoil it for anyone if you're planning to see it so if you want to know, just ask. 

We got to video chat with Diana and Adelaide! They were getting ready to go out and Adelaide was eating a cracker. We miss them so much!

  That's about all the news from around here. I hope you all are doing well. God bless - 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

A Lost Tooth, Snuck a Peek at Work, You Know It's Time to go Home When...

I'm writing this at 2:00 on Friday, February 16. I only have a few minutes but wanted to get on here and at least START a post! We bought a new computer and now every time I try to log on, it makes me sign in with 'two-factor authentication' and sends the approval link to Chuck's phone! So if he's at work I don't know if he's on a break or if he's actually driving (a city bus) so I often just close out and try again when he's home. This time when I tried - completely forgetting about this new system - he was able to approve it right away. Woohoo! 
Before I get started I want to thank you for your comments on my last post. I'm humbled by your perspective of this ministry. Sometimes when you're in the middle of things it's hard to see it any other way than the one view you have.
Well, it's time to go pick Ally up from school. After I take her home, I'm going to Target. By myself. I just might come home with more than the one item I'm going there to get. 😄
Saturday, February 17
I went to Target for some undies and came home with that and a small side table, and a plant, and a laundry hamper... it was fun! I originally bought Beth a big clear bin to carry her laundry up and down the stairs but she needs two hands to carry it. So she usually brings up her overstuffed hamper one stair at a time, then puts her clean laundry into MY clear bin and leaves it there for a few days. So yesterday I found this basket that she can carry with one hand and limits the amount of clothes she can bring upstairs. I told her the basket will hold one load and she's to bring up just one load at a time. She tends to overfill the washing machine so I'm hoping this solves both those issues.

I've also been looking for a small table to go next to a chair I have in a corner of the office area. I liked this one the moment I saw it. Now I don't have to put my tea next to the old camera on the bookcase. So yeah, Target was fun!

Beth came up a couple weeks ago with something in her hand. She said she was eating a bagel and her tooth fell out. She had a root canal in 2021 and it just popped out, rod and all! She'd already had a dentist appointment scheduled for last week so they were able to look at it. The dentist was hoping he could just pop it back in but no, we had to make a new appointment. So she's walking around with a missing tooth, right in the front. Doesn't seem to bother her though.

I was walking through the church last week, passed some windows that overlook our main entrance when I saw Beth disinfecting the push bars on the front doors. She loves to disinfect and always does a really good job. 

 I needed some time outside recently so I headed down to my usual place at the waterfront. It was a gorgeous day and I was looking forward to just walking and taking some pictures.

After I got there I decided I wanted to head over to the other side of the ferry dock. I've been trying to seek the Lord more about His will for my life, what I do, where I go, etc. so I asked Him if I should walk or drive there. (Notice I didn't ask Him
IF I should go. I'm still learning.) I felt like He said to drive 'and if there's no parking spot, you know you should go home.' There's very little parking on that side and of course there were no empty spots so I...  waited. After 3-4 minutes a spot opened up. But it was on the opposite side of the road with the cars facing the other direction and I would have to back in... so I backed in. I put on my hat and scarf and got out of the car. It really was a beautiful day!

 I took one picture before heading over to the jetty and when I did my camera flashed 'low battery!' There was very little power left and honestly that never happens during the day! I charge it every night, I'm rarely on it during the day so for it to be almost out of power by 2:30 in the afternoon?! 

'Okay Lord, I get it. Sorry. I'm going home now.'

I don't know why He didn't want me there that day at that time but I know He had my best interest in mind. His plans for me are good, and I trust His timing. I'm grateful that He's so patient with me! 

Friday, February 9, 2024

A Difficult Decision

Fourteen years ago I felt the Lord tell me to start a Sunday school class for kids with special needs. I've been leading this class almost every single Sunday since then.

We began with one student and grew from there. Chuck, Diana and Beth all helped for the first few years and as other teachers joined, they were able to step back. We've been in three different classrooms, each new one having more amenities than the last. Each new room was a better fit for the students we had at that time.

Most students were younger grade school age and over time would grow mentally and emotionally where they could attend the typical classrooms.

The years before covid we had 5-6 leaders and up to 10 students at a time. Most of the students had mild autism and participated in the Bible study and crafts, snack, etc.

(This was taken in 2018. The classroom looks so different now.)

Post covid - everything changed. Only one teacher came back after covid, and the students mental and emotional state is different. The students have behaviors that are very complex. They come into the room, pick up the first thing they can get their hands on and throw it across the room, shattering it against the wall.  Or they give an ear-piercing scream and wipe everything off the table because another student took something they had planned to use. Or they crawl under the large round table, lay on their back and using their feet begin pushing on the table causing everything on it to slide to the other side, triggering the other students to scream or yell... 

This ministry is for the parents as well, allowing them to bring their kids to a safe, quiet space so they can spend a couple of hours in the main service worshiping and being filled with the word of God. We try hard not to contact them during service but lately we're doing it more often than we'd like. Last Sunday we put up with a lot of poor behavior from one student but when they tried to bite the other teacher, that's when I called the parents.

I find myself just standing in front of the door all morning (many are runners) and I just observe the students and try to stop behaviors before they happen. How do I 'teach' in that environment? The kids will throw tantrums, and kick and sometimes you're in the way and get kicked. I'm not even sure I understand the behavior, where it stems from, what triggers it, let alone how to deal with it. I've heard that students all over the U.S. (and maybe around the world) are struggling with the aftermath of covid and I get it. I just don't know how to address it.

I'll be honest, I've been trying to lead this class under my own power for many years. I haven't prayed like I should: for the other leaders, the students, their families. I haven't been regularly seeking the Lord for guidance... and I'm weary. I'm burned out and exhausted. I find myself dreading Sunday mornings. Not surprising.

So I've made the decision to close the class for a time of restructuring. I've got to spend some time in fasting and prayer, seeking the Lord for HIS vision for this ministry. He's already shown me three areas to focus on: recruit volunteers, provide training, and change the room a little to accommodate the students we have now. I've added things over the years but I still have a lot of things for four- to nine-year-olds. Now the average age is nine - fifteen. 

Please pray with me that I follow the Lord's leading this time; that people who have a heart for kids with special needs will volunteer; for me to find specialists to come in and train us to lead post-covid students; and for the next fourteen-plus years to be even better than the first!

Me, Beth and Kathy - she was the first non-family member to join me in this ministry.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Mother-Daughter Day

Friday started with me going to the walk-in clinic. Even though I'm feeling pretty good I've had this sore throat off and on for a couple weeks and wanted to figure out what was causing it. Tested negative for strep, and the doctor thinks it's just post nasal drip. So now I'm on nose spray, and drinking warm tea with honey. I pray this is the end of all this.
Our first stop was Michaels. I needed some paper for my greeting cards and she needed... can you guess? 😊 See them? They're already in the cart. She was looking at a Valentine's coloring book, but decided not to get it.

 Our next stop was Target but I didn't get any pictures. We bought some valentines things for my Sunday school class and a few other things that I don't quite remember.
Then we headed to Hobby Lobby. Oh we love that store! We bought some new decorations for Easter, one was the three crosses with white cloth draped over it, it's stunning. Beth spotted it and pointed it out to me. When I took it off the shelf and showed it to her she said her eyes were wet. "I get emotional when I see that." Her love for the Lord is so strong and genuine.

 I asked her where she wanted to have dinner and listed a few different places. She chose Chick-fil-a. We got the chicken nuggets with fries, I got sweet tea and she chose root beer. On the way out to the car we talked about how much fun we'd had that day!