Thursday, August 04, 2016

Shoes

I've had a post rolling around in my head, and wonder how it will come out into words. Let's just see...

A few years ago I was in Physical Therapy for the first time since I was a kid. In the midst of it, I developed a bunion on a foot, which led to a need for special shoes. I do not regret the P.T., as I now have better balance than before I entered it. The only downfall has been that the new shoes I have been buying cost quite a bit of money. Don't get me wrong, I have the money (not rich, but make decent money) to buy them, but it has been a bummer when I've needed new shoes because it kept me from buying other things like BOOKS. *giggle*

In the midst of the shoe shopping online for the cheapest shoe, I came across a company that had other, similar shoes that cost less. I've tried this several times before, and it hasn't worked out. However, I started getting catalogs in the mail, and I found a shoe I wanted to try.

I ordered a pair, and guess what?

THEY ARE THE MOST COMFORTABLE SHOES I'VE EVER HAD!

I'm not joking or over-exaggerating.

I wore them all day yesterday, and wound up ordering another pair last night since school starts soon and I will need new shoes.

Words cannot express what a relief this has been for me.

Seriously.

All day today I've been so thankful that He made a way for me to find these shoes.

I know, I know, some women spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on shoes. They even ENJOY spending their hard-earned money on shoes. That's awesome. We all have our favorite little things.

For me, it's been books.

NOT shoes.

However, I can buy 3 pairs of the new shoes for the price of one pair of the other shoes.

Now, you may be sitting there going, "So what?"

For this gal, shoes haven't always been a joyous thing. Not horrid, but not joyous either.

When you live life with a limp (literal, not figurative) shoes are pretty important. *grin*

I don't mind the limp.

Or the money.

The reason I'm posting this (and it's more for me than you, as always) is because something as simple as shoes has made me really happy. Not only do they fit, but they are comfortable and give me more support than the other shoes that I was paying big bucks for. *grin*

I know people who have 30 or 50 or more pairs of shoes.

However, I'm not a girly girl, in case you haven't noticed. *grin*

So, I now have new shoes, glasses, and will do clothes shopping this weekend online.

School is about here, and I'm about to tell you a secret....

I'm EXCITED for school to start.

Don't tell the kids. *grin*

New shoes...yes, it is that easy to make me happy.

*grin*
life.
is.
good.





Saturday, July 30, 2016

Bridge Builders, Camp Barnabas, 2016, It's Fine, We're Fine, So Fine

I just returned from another amazing week at Camp, and want to write all I can before I forget. Unfortunately, growing older means forgetting things a little more often. *giggle* This week was full of a range of emotions. I don't think I can convey the feeling of being there, as it's something you need to experience. However, I blog more for me than for you (as I've said before).

Camp weeks are amazing because it's time away from the real world. I love to call it the Barna-Bubble. I will share the moments that meant the world to me, and if you asked someone else in the cabin it could be completely different. That's cool. I can only write through my eyes, as I experienced it.

It doesn't matter how many times I've been there (and at this point I've lost count), every week is different. Different cabins, campers, staffers, and experiences. I no longer go into it with expectations other than it will be led by God, and He will guide us through each situation. He hasn't let me down in all the weeks I've spent there. Not even once. Every situation may fall differently than I think it should, I always see why later in the week. ALWAYS. *grin* I love that.

So, here goes. I have no idea what this is going to look like, I just want to write. *giggle*

Saturday it was HOT. Arrival meant I sweat more in that 90 minutes (stations training) than I think I have all Summer. My thought was, "Well, I'll lose weight this week." I did too, as I lost two pounds this week. I think walking everywhere AND having limited eating times helped. The walk to the cabins Saturday felt like a lot, but by the end of the week I wasn't panting at all. *giggle* Camp is good for me to build up my legs that had been on the couch most of the Summer. *giggle*

Camper Card time is when the Missionaries choose their camper for the week. I am always a little late because of adult intro meeting, but it is a favorite part for me. I get to meet the young ladies I'll serve beside for the week AND I get to see what campers I will work with too. It was at this time, I saw that I would have Becca and Alyssa again. I was PUMPED to see that! I didn't recognize any of the other campers, but I started praying immediately about Becca and Alyssa. They aren't mean, they just require extra support, so prayer is good. *giggle*

I spoke at IP after camper cards, which was a first for me. I have prayed for YEARS for this, and it was mentioned Term 1 to me from one of the key leaders in the ministry. I prayed over it, and through various messages with the wife of the leader, I knew I'd be speaking that night. The bonus to speaking at IP during Volunteer Arrival night, is that it's dark. They could kinda see me with the light, but, I could only see about the first two rows. I will be honest, I loved it. I haven't listened to it, (I recorded it) but, God used it in so many cool ways.

The coolest part was that a lot of the young ladies wanted to talk to me about becoming a Special Educator. I had prayed that God would use it, and He clearly did. I also had several compliments, but the other bonus was that only once was I accused of being a camper this time. I did a head tilt when a barnstormer said, "you can't be back here" in regard to the kitchen, and at the time I thought he was absent when I spoke. Later, I found out it was hard to hear me in the back so I gave the kid a pass. *giggle* Actually, I did my usual, "it's okay, I have special permission, I have a special diet." He was good with that. Yea!

Training was good. Training is sometimes long, but I will say that Barnabas staff does a good job of trying to make it fun even through serious training topics. It was also helpful that this time I slept under the dining hall, so I was blessed immensely. *grin* I'll spare you the various challenges for us in other parts of camp. *giggle*

Camper arrival was a blast, as I got to see ALL the campers arrive and of course Ronni came! I'll admit, I invited myself to ride through camp with them. Words cannot describe how good it was to see the entire family! I also didn't realize how much I missed Ronni until that moment. Life is AWESOME with her in it. *grin*

After Ronni got out, I did too. I headed to my cabin and one of my former missionaries was walking with her camper who was hitting her. She looked at me and asked for help. So, I helped get her to her cabin. When we got there, the young camper hit me in the back. My thought was, "Term 7".

Term 7 will always have a special place in my heart. Totally.

As the week went on, I realized how much of Term 7 feels like family to me. The same volunteers return year after year, which is amazing when you think about the population of campers who come. Some (NOT ALL) of them hit, kick, and pinch hard. The teens learn how to love when the campers may not be easy to love. That is precious to me. *grin*

In our cabin, we had so much happen that made the week special.

We had each missionary perfectly placed with the right camper. Week after week I have observed that. It always works out, and I love that.

I also love how God takes 12-14 people who don't even know each other, and within a week can't imagine how they didn't know each other beforehand. That's so precious to me.

We had five campers that became precious friends. For lack of better words, they are higher functioning, and it led to some precious friendships. I love that, as that's part of what camp is about. They did archery, rifles, fishing, and canoes, among other activities. How cool is that? They had a blast. I didn't go to any of those activities because I was helping with the other campers, but, I was so glad those five could go experience those activities.

Alyssa was a camper I've had before and words cannot explain how we connected years ago because she is non-verbal. Alyssa is a camper with Angelman's Syndrome. The cool thing is that we've continued our connection and we cuddled tons this week. Touch is clearly her love language, so she would often sit with me, then get up and go do things with her missionary. Next thing I would know, she'd be back to cuddle again. She will always have a special place in my heart. Truly. *grin*

Becca was another one I've had before, and I truly love her. She isn't a lovable, touchy kind of gal. Actually, space is best for her. I took two squirt bottles with me, in case I had her again. I would have given them to whoever had her as that saved us last year, so it was cool I had her again. *giggle* I will openly admit, it took a lot of work to support her sufficiently, but I am so very glad I got to see her growth in the past year. She can do more by herself than she could last year. She's smart, but she is probably misunderstood a lot. She has autism and can be violent, but she wasn't with me. (She was with others though) The coolest part was that no one ever gave up. We just loved her the best we knew how in each situation. The last night of camp, Cross Carry was too much for her so I stayed with her and the staffer in the cabin. Becca did well, and I was proud of her. There were some hard moments, but there were some other moments that I won't forget. Like, she loved to spray us with the bottle. She also loved music, and I gave up my phone and bluetooth speaker to help her throughout the week. It was a stretch at times not to have my phone, but it was even more of a blessing to know that a camper was being helped with something I had. The teens gave theirs up, so being off the grid was good for me. Yeah, I checked and posted here and there, but it was good not to be latched to my phone. I hope to take that knowledge and apply it to the real world. The bubble wasn't as hard as it would be here. But then again, I don't think it should be. *giggle*

I also won't forget Becca's language: Eatey, drinky, foodie, cabinee, beddee, and she would occasionally use the F word. It's one of a kind, but gosh I love her more than I ever thought I could. Her missionary was upset from time to time, and I would hold her and pray with her. I tell ya, I love those teens just as much as those campers. Seriously.

That leaves Leah. Leah also has Angelman's, and is also non-verbal. She required extra help too, and her missionary was amazing. I also prayed with her in the beginning of the week while she cried at first. She did great though, and I was so proud of her and the floater who helped quite a bit with her. *grin*

Leah pulled hair a lot, but it was a game for her most of the time. I had a little red and blue ball with me, and tried to make a game out of it so that she wouldn't pull hair. It worked for the most part. She didn't pull mine as much, but then again I wasn't with her as much as Alyssa. I also have short hair, so it wasn't as fun for her. *giggle*

The missionaries and staffers blew me away this week. There's typically one that leaves me going, "help her more than the others", but I didn't feel that at all. When someone would say, "I need a third" (because we can't be alone with a camper EVER) many of the girls would step up and volunteer. We were all tired, but we all gave it our best every step of the way. It was amazing to see this cabin come together for the girls. It was priceless.

Becca loved the song "Call Me Maybe." If I never hear that song again, that will be fine for me. However, it was worth it to see Becca happy.

"That's my shirt" became a favorite saying throughout the cabin with Caroline, and it always made me smile.

I'm exhausted now, but loved camp. Every moment of it.

I may type more later.

Term 7 is done.

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME.




Thursday, July 21, 2016

Matt Wood-A Celebration of Life

This afternoon I went to a Celebration of Life Service.

For those of you close to me, this isn't anyone in my family. There are family members with the last name "Wood" that I'm related to, but this isn't that family. This is a family that I know from here in Lee's Summit.

The man, Matt Wood, was a parent of five beautiful kids, and has an incredibly strong wife in the Lord. I'll be honest, I'm not close to this family, but I care for the family as if I were related to them.

You are probably wondering why...

It's because Matt had a 3.5 year battle with Cancer.

I hate Cancer. Period.

I don't hate one human on this planet, but I do hate Cancer.

I spent a lot of time in prayer for Matt and his family, and he wound up in Heaven this past Sunday morning. On one hand, my heart breaks for his family. On the other hand, he's out of pain, agitation, and stress. I prayed for him to get relief and full recovery this side of Heaven, but, He had other ideas.

The service today was really good. There was a lot of singing, which blessed me because I love music. It's not about me, but I just thought I'd throw that in there. *grin*

One of my favorite parts of services like the one I was at today is getting to know the person we are celebrating better. I will be upfront and say I didn't know Matt well. With that being said, I loved the slideshow they shared, as well as the stories told.

A lot of good has come out of this whole experience, which is a blessing. The pastor shared several, but I want to share a few. The first is that I've gotten to see, via Social Media, how caring people can be. In a Summer full of so much junk, it's so cool to see SO MANY caring people. I watched people encourage Kacy, the Mother of this family, in so many different ways. I noticed that she's had a lot of good friends and family around her this Summer, which made my heart happy. She's far from alone in this new chapter of their lives. God set that up. It also made me smile more than once as I prayed throughout this season for them.

After the service today, the line to hug the family was LONG. I wasn't surprised. Thankfully, Lee's Summit is full of amazing people, and they were loved very well.

The moment that will forever live in my heart is when I walked up to one of the kids in the family. Some of the kids have gone through the school I teach at, so I walked up to the one that I've talked to the most. He had tears in his eyes, and I wasn't sure what to say. So, I said, "I know I don't know you real well, and you don't need to hug me if you want, if you want to shake my hand, it's okay." I was about to say something else, and he immediately hugged me. I held on as long as he wanted me to hang on. I just silently prayed. I could have prayed out loud, but I felt a hug was the best encouragement in that moment. I'll forever remember that, truly. I wish it had been under other circumstances, but death is one of the experiences we have this side of Heaven.

I'm not going to stop praying for the Wood family. Their new normal will be challenging, but with Him in their lives, as well as their amazing family and friends, they will be fine.

Matt was an amazing father, and I know that his family will live out life this side of Heaven in a way that will make him proud.

I'm blessed to get to be beside them (with one child still at my school) as they walk out this season. I pray I can continue to encourage them in the days to come.

*grin*
Life.
Is.
Good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What I'm Thinking....Transparency Here....

I've got a gazillion thoughts running around in my head. Sometimes I start to blog and then I hit save and close out. This may be one of those posts. The past two weeks have been, well, historical in our lives. I've been deep in thought and have thought about writing a lot. Then I decide to simply read a book.

As I've shared before, I love to read and enter my little bubble away from the world.

However, I think it's healthy to write. So here goes...

I've been an observer of a lot of things the past two weeks.

I watch.

I think a lot, and my mind actually runs ALL THE TIME.

I have wondered how much of our society knows how to deal with negative emotions the right way. I think about my Grandparents a lot. I don't talk much about them, but I think about them a lot. I don't see that generation taking out their emotions the way we're seeing in our society today. I could be way off, and that's fine, I'm just wondering...

My Grandparents were old souls, and that's part of what I loved about them. They were deep thinkers, and when I was in college I was blessed to get to sit down with them and talk with them about their lives. Yes, it was for college reports, but gosh I look back now and am so thankful for those talks. Truly.

I can remember a conversation with my Grandpa where I was expressing a desire for something that was a WANT, not a NEED, and he made a statement like, "You can live without it."

Yep.

So true.

The older I've gotten, the more I've been deep in thought. I think that goes with age. Or at least that's what I tell myself. *grin*

I've seen so much in our world in the past two weeks that breaks my heart. So many lives ended.

Have people lost the value of life?

We get one life this side of Heaven, and people are shooting each other like it's a video game where you can re-start when you die.

That saddens me.

I consider myself a fairly intelligent gal (and humble, can't forget that!) and I realize guns aren't the problem.

We have a person/emotion/value of life, problem.

I recently watched a family slowly watch a family member die from Cancer. It was a slow, painful thing to watch, and if it was up to that Cancer patient, he would have been cured and would still be here for his family. God had other ideas.

Meanwhile, almost everyday we are now hearing of mass shootings. People who kill other people and then (most often) die in the shootout.

You don't have to tell me their logic. I get it.

Just because a person CAN do something doesn't mean they should!

I watched a video of one of the people responsible for taking lives who said that the only successful thing is to take out lives, that protesting doesn't work.

What???

That makes no sense to me.

But, the thing is, I think in all of the minds of the shooters, it all makes perfect sense.

I saw an interview on TV last Spring from a parent who was INCREDIBLY scared that her child would be one to cause a mass shooting. (It was on TV, in a town far away from here) When she asked her child why he focused on mass shootings, his response was, "...I want people to feel the pain I feel..."

Hmmmmm. Somewhere in that person's mind, it makes rational sense.

At the same time, the people he wanted to harm didn't even know him, or his pain. The logic doesn't work for me.

Now, let me put your mind at ease, that parent has the child in 24/7 care. She knew she needed help, and I applaud her for that. She has probably saved a lot of lives. I pray more parents who see red flags will do the same thing.

At the same time, I sit here and value each day like Gold. I think age does that, it makes you appreciate life because you see others (whether I know them or not) that are not given the opportunity to grow old. Therefore, each day I open my eyes, I think God for another day. However, I realize I may not end my day here on Earth. My cousin's passing last year taught me that. He woke up one morning, but didn't return home from work due to a car accident. That has changed me.

I've also pondered the killers, and CANNOT IMAGINE being responsible for taking someone else's life. That goes against everything within me. However, those people do it and make it seem easy. I don't ever want to have that mindset. That's beyond sad.

So, this past Sunday, my church had a panel. I loved that, because I think society needs to change, and it all begins with conversations. I've been deep in thought about that panel, that was made up of a range of ethnicities. I've also thought about what my pastor shared.

He stated that we all have a different narrative that we bring to the (proverbial) table. That wasn't new to me. I have thought that for years. However, he took it a step further and shared that due to our narratives, we see life differently. That is SO VERY true.

Each person on the panel got to share a small portion of their narrative, and there were two lines that have had me deep in thought this week...

One was something like, When something happens we immediately jump to color of skin, when we should really jump to love.
I LOVED THAT! It won't surprise you that our congregation applauded after that comment. The guy who shared that is so right!

We have seen glimpses of that too. In Dallas after those officers were shot, the communities came together to support the police departments. I LOVED THAT. I could name other instances, but I want to move on to my other point.

The speaker explained the Black Lives Matter Movement (B.L.M.) in a way that made me understand it a little more, and brought home the idea that we REALLY NEED TO TALK TO EACH OTHER. The media has been so divisive, when we need to simply turn off our electronics and talk. Anyway, here's how he explained it...

He said it's like on your street you have ten homes, and one is on fire, so the fire truck goes there to help for that time. It isn't that the other 9 aren't important, it's just that that one needs support right now. That's what the beginning of the BLM movement was about. The individuals with black skin felt they need extra support right now. And, I get that.

Due to the VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE of cops that have made alleged, questionable decisions, people with black skin are scared. My heart leaps for them because I don't know what that's like, and they didn't chose their skin color.

I do have a theory though, I think God gives us each what He knows we can handle. Sometimes we need His help, but we're given the body that He has for us. Yes, that's my theory, and you're welcome to disagree with it. However, I do believe that each person is given the tools to navigate life this side of Heaven.

As someone said Sunday, that free will thing is what changes things.

At the same time, Free Will is what has the power to make us great people. Hang with me here, this post gets more positive...

I'm not perfect, and have made mistakes. I've just never been hurt to the point I thought killing a person is the answer. That's my narrative.

I wish our Mental Health system was stronger, but it is what it is.

In the meantime, I will pray. Fervently.

I have friends of all ethnicities.

I have friends that are police officers.

I also know that violence doesn't solve anything.

Ever.

However, I have seen prayer work.

Over and over again I have prayed into things and changes have occurred. Now, I'm not saying I'm some super prayer person, I'm simply stating that I've seen God move at that sound of my voice.

I don't feel that I'm in a hopeless world.

I feel that He made us for a time such as this. I may not like what I'm seeing, but I will help be part of the solution.

I'll start by praying.

Life is good, even though it seems hard right now.

I'll also head to bed with my book in hand, because I also think it's healthy to escape reality for a while with a good book. *giggle*





Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Happiest Place on Earth Needs a Little Help....PLEASE READ!

Thanks for taking a moment to read what I have to share with you tonight, (or today, depending upon when you read this post) as it's something I haven't stopped thinking about since I left Camp Barnabas during Term 1 this year. *grin* I was just waiting for the "go ahead" from leadership on Camp Barnabas Staff before I did this. Recently, I had a message that gave me the okay for this post. *grin* I love my camp family and always want to make sure any communication is okay with them. *grin*

When I was out at camp, the "toys" at the pool didn't work.

Perhaps you're thinking, "How do toys not work?" Please let me explain...

We have four toys that run on water pumps. There are two water falls that the campers can control with a wheel they turn, there's a rope they can pull and make their missionaries stand under a spout to soak them, and my personal favorites are the buckets that the campers can tip to make people get soaked. The pool is my favorite part of camp because the missionaries let the campers get them soaked, when they might not (although some are cool enough, they just might) have the courage to do so in the real world. At camp, it's all about the campers. I love that! These young people come to a place where a disability isn't a hinderance. *grin*

During Term 1 I sat on the edge of the pool and looked A LOT at the toys that are there but not working. I asked the Lord, "Um, how much would it take to fix it?" I never got an answer, but I always prayed when I was at the pool. Those toys are a highlight for those campers. Totally.

So, on the last full day of Term 1, I talked with one of the main leaders about it, to see what I could do to help.

He explained to me that the toys run on four pumps, and the parts are ready to be shipped. He just needs the funding to have the parts installed for the toys to work.

The kicker?

Each pump is $1500.00.

Yep, $1500.00 times four pumps equals $6,000.00.

On one hand, I was like, "Wow, okay." On the other hand, I was thinking, that's nothing for You, God.

Now, I realize that there are so many other people in need, and this has been quite a summer of heartbreak all over in our Nation.

At the same time, perhaps you have a few dollars you can give. *grin*

I asked about a gofundme page, and they actually asked me to promote the campbarnabas.org webpage and have people click on the "donate" tab. It is a tax deductible donation, and within the page you can designate "Pool Pump Repair" or something similar.

IF IT'S NOT SPECIFIED WELL, IT MAY NOT BE SPENT ON THE POOL.

Don't get me wrong, it will be well-spent even if you forget, it's just that there are other needs out at camp that it might go into instead if we don't specify it. *grin*

So, if you can give $1, $5, or even something else, that'd be cool.

Tomorrow I plan to put some items up for sale and will put that money to be donated to the pool toys. I realize they just started Term 5, so Camp is halfway over, but half the Summer will be better than none for the campers to use the pool toys.

So, please consider giving.

If you feel led, go to campbarnabas.org, click on "donate" and fill in your information. Yes, it's that easy. Please make sure you specify Pool Pump Repair. *grin*

Thanks for reading.

I'm sure you've heard me say it before, but, Camp Barnabas really is the happiest place on Earth I've ever been to. Let's help make Camp even better for the campers this Summer by donating to the pool pump cost!

*grin*

Thanks for reading!

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME!

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Snapchat...PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME THE POINT OF IT....

So, I've had this post rolling around in my head, and waited to post it until now. I haven't come to any answers, but thought perhaps my readers could help me understand it. OR, you can realize what I have come to...I don't see the point of one of the most popular Social Media apps, SNAPCHAT.

This past school year, I talked to people who LOVE Snapchat. I was told that Facebook is for old people, and that Snapchat and Instagram are the "in" things. Truthfully, it's probably moved on to Vine and something else I don't even know about right now. I'm fine with that. *grin*

I remember being a teen and thinking, I'll never be out of touch. I'll always know what's cool.

Guess what?

I'm older now, and have to be taught what is cool.

I'm fine with that.

I'm honestly glad that I grew up BEFORE Social Media. I'm also glad I grew up BEFORE cell phones.

Yes, I just wrote those two sentences.

I actually learned how to talk to people and have conversations.

I also had friendships that I still maintain today, with the help of Social Media. *giggle*

Yes, I'm glad we have it now, as it has been an amazing communication tool for me with friends that live elsewhere. I have seen kids that my friends have had, pets, and my friend's parents even stay in touch with me through Facebook. I also keep in touch with camp friends through various Social Media apps.

I consider myself blessed to be alive during this time in history.

See, I do see the advantages of Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter. I get it.

The app I don't get is SNAPCHAT.

First of all, why do I need another app to basically text with people? I can do that through all the other avenues of Social Media.

Secondly, why should I have to add all my friends again, when all the people I care about are already on my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter?

So, I decided to do my own experiment. I decided to spend a week just seeing what people posted on Snapchat.

Just like my other apps, people who have the right hearts post appropriate things. Those that struggle with making choices, still struggle with what they post on Snapchat. I wasn't surprised by this, as the same is true on all the other apps.

So, I learned how to navigate the app fairly quickly and without the help of teens. *giggle* I see why teens like it, as parents must physically use their devices (phone, computer, etc) to see what they do, and even if they do it's gone in a short amount of time. I see the teens appeal.

My even bigger concern (because let's be honest, we can control friendships and who we allow on our accounts) was the Stories page where you can swipe to the left and DISCOVER. So, I wanted to see what these teens can discover. I mean, it's geared toward teens, right?

OMGosh. I was saddened.

Yes, I live in a bubble.

I just didn't realize how much of a bubble I choose to live in.

So, one of the stories was "How to give a better *****". The only thing was, they didn't ***** the word. It was there. I clicked on it. Yep, pointers on how to do some things that teens can learn when it's appropriate, not via an app!

What in the world?

Is this where our teens are now? Living in a world where, "Well, it's here with a click on a button."

My heart sank.

My prayer life shifted.

I'm now praying for our youth in a new way.

I realize that not all teens will look there. I also realize that not all teens follow the crowd.

However, what if they're bored? Or have a weak moment?

Wow.

Just wow.

So, that leads me back to one thing, WHAT'S THE POINT?

Mark what's his name (just didn't wanna misspell his name) made a gazillion dollars off FB. I realize there are TONS of Social Media apps still to come. (Kinda wish I could think of one & get rich)

So, I'm going to pray for our society, specifically our teens.

Perhaps Snapchat will fade away.

I know, that's not likely, but if I'm praying for it, it could happen. *grin*

If you're a parent of a teen, I encourage you to have a dialogue with your teen. Encourage that teen, just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should. *grin*

Please tell me if I'm missing something, as I know I could be missing something. Seriously, I don't think I know everything. *grin*

In the meantime, I'm going to read my book on my Kindle.

I like my bubble.


*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Precious Stones Lessons

I absolutely love how God can use anyone to teach anyone lessons. Yes, take a moment to re-read that. *giggle* If a person is open to it, God can use a person or situation to teach what He has for that person. I love how He does that, because he doesn't waste time. Ever. *grin*

This past Sunday I served in Precious Stones, which is my church's ministry for people with Special Needs. I taught in the young child's class, and God totally stretched me. At the same time, I loved every moment. That sounds weird, doesn't it? I was stretched and loved it. Well, it's true, I wound up with more kids than I've ever had before and some new dynamics that He guided me through. Ultimately, I want to do all I can to teach the kids about Jesus and all that He has for their lives. Truly. *grin*

I am not sure how to describe it, but I adore each of those kids. I think that's the closest I can get to telling you what's in my heart for those precious little people. On my Sundays that I teach, I wake up excited to see who He sends my way. I am not kidding either, as this is what He made me to do. I truly believe that. *grin*

Even though I was stretched due to the number of kids, I was blessed by each one. *grin*

The unique part of the ministry is that they're all so different that it's challenging trying to do one lesson for all of them at the tables at one time. So, I went to each of them and did it individually while my helpers played with them. It worked fairly well. There were some that didn't receive the lesson in the traditional way, but I know they heard it. That blessed me, because I know that we're not all made to sit at a table to learn in Sunday School.

Yes, I just said that.

I absolutely love how Sunday School is different from elementary school because we are not working on IEP goals. So, if a student in Sunday School doesn't come to the table, I don't push. He or she can listen from where they are at. It works for us. *grin* God can plant seeds on their level even while they play.

Each kid enjoys coming, and I enjoy having them. I have one student that can be character-building at times, but can also be a jewel at other times. Just like out at camp, I cling to the good so that in the rough moments I know that he isn't always that way.

So, on Sunday that boy had moments of being disrespectful to the other adults in the room. I do not allow that in my world, no matter where I'm teaching, so I stopped and went over to speak with him. I ALWAYS treat the student with respect while trying to get the student to understand what is expected of them. While it always took time, I figured out that eye contact and repeated phrases is what it takes to get him to calm down and apologize. I realize his apology is simply to get to go play, but he's learning that it's not okay in my world to be disrespectful to others. I'm figuring each of these new kids (to me, as I just joined the church in November) out, step by step. *grin*

So, when his parents came to pick him up, I shared that he had some moments but I saw the genuinely good heart in him. There were tears on the part of his parent. Not boo hoo cry, but tears in her eyes. We both shared that he does have behavioral challenges, but she appreciated that I saw the good in him.

Isn't that what we all desire?

To be seen as a person, not as the person with such and such challenge? Or, the emotional person? Or the gal who does such and such? Or the guy that does such and such? Everyone has something.

This is something I feel strongly about.

We all have something.

I have a limp. It's part of me, but NOT all of me.

That kid has behavioral challenges, but there's so much more to him!

Sometimes I want to scream at people when they see the limp and say, IT'S PART OF ME, BUT NOT ALL OF ME!

Obviously, I don't, I just smile.

I'm sure that young kid runs into challenges because of his behaviors with adults and peers who get frustrated with him. I get it. It's completely understandable.

At the same time, I'm so very thankful that God has given ALL OF US ministries like Precious Stones and Camp Barnabas so that everyone has a place to belong.

Now that I think about it, that's why my students want to come to my classroom. I make them feel a part of an environment where they fit in. I make sure each of them feel like they matter to me. God gives me the skills to do that, I don't have the ability to do that in myself. I truly believe that's why I have the limp. I can relate, on some level, with each of them. I love that! Even through the challenges, I LOVE THAT! *grin*

I have thought A LOT about that young boy in Precious Stones. Everyone in the ministry knows him, but it's amazing how the adults don't view him as bad, they see him as a child of God.

How cool is that? *grin*

Every Sunday, He shows me something new in the midst of the ministry. I can't wait to see what He shows me next.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME.