Moms Making A Difference Award

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who follow and read my blog. I hope this day is a day of blessing for you. Today I want to do something a little different and shine the spotlight on some blogging moms I think other moms would like to check out and perhaps follow. They offer different perspectives as moms at different stages of life.

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So I created the Moms Making A Difference Award for blogging moms. The seven I have chosen are ones I follow and admire. I do not want to make up a lot of rules just a few.

1- Please share a post about being a mom.

2- Please pass it on to another mom or other moms.

Let celebrate moms today and please check out the blogs I have listed if you do not already follow them.

Brenda is a mom whose children are in college. Her posts are fun to read and also uplifting for faith. Her blog is becominghistapestry.com.

Dawn is a mother of whose daughter is an adult. She shares her faith in her blog which I appreciate. Her blog is drawingclosertochrist.com.

Jess is a mom with young children. I enjoy her humorous stories about her kids and what they do. I also appreciate how she shares her faith. Her blog is jesskidding17.wordpress.com.

Christian Mommas is a blog of a community of Christian moms who share posts. I am most familiar with Temi’s posts and appreciate how she shares her faith and about life as a mom. The blog is christianmommas.com.

Denise is a mom in Jamaica who has written books for children about the environment. She also share poems she write in her blog and shares her faith. Her blog is denise421win.wordpress.com.

A mom in the Philippines shares her experience as a single mom of a son with autism. She shares her faith as she shares her experience. Her blog is timecrawlerblog.wordpress.com.

Kavitha is a mom in South Africa. Her daughter recently graduated. I enjoy her post of the beauty in South Africa and her life there. Her blog is sunshinysasite.wordpress.com.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms. Thank you for reading, God Bless.

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A Day in My Life- Living with Chronic Illness

Yesterday morning I woke up with more pain than usual. I attribute it to the weather. It was a damp cloudy cool morning and stayed that way all day. Waking up tired and with pain is a normal part of life for me, so I don’t want to let it slow me down.

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I don’t want to let such mornings prevent me from going out to do what I am called to do which is to show the love of Jesus to people from other cultures, so I started my day by praying while listening to worship music.

I prayed for my morning class and the needs of my students. I asked Jesus to help me show his love at the school, to my afternoon student, and to my evening class.

In the morning I often interact with the ELL, English Language Learners, kids in the classroom next to mine. Yesterday morning I saw a group of Hispanic girls outside their classroom, so I greeted them in Spanish like I always do. One of the girls was wearing a T-Shirt with a message on the front:

Strong Girls

Strong World

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I told her I loved the message and looked at the girls and said in Spanish:

“Este es verdad que ninas fuertes/el mundo fuerte.”- It is true strong girls/strong world.

They smiled. Then I pointed to my head and heart and said strength starts here with God. We high-fived each other.

That set the tone for my day.

One thing I have learned from living with pain every day is that I can choose to rise above it and reach out to show the love of Jesus or I can let the pain cause me to withdraw. I cannot choose which days I have pain. I can choose my attitude about it.

I would much rather be a blessing to others and not let the pain hold me back

Would I prefer to be pain free every day? YES. But that is not reality for me. I have lived with pain every day for over 25 years and yet Jesus has blessed me to be able to go on 11 ministry trips in other countries and have a ministry here in my home city.

It all starts with prayer each day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless..

Do We Take All of the Times God Says Yes for Granted?

I read a couple of blog posts this week that I enjoyed about answers to prayer, one about an answer of no and one about an answer of wait. For me an answer of no is a temporary disappointment that I get over to move on. Wait is an answer more difficult to deal with because then I wonder when.

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The post about no was by jesskidding of jesskidding17.wordpress.com titled The Season of ‘No’. In the post she discusses how she has to say no to her two year old. It is a humorous intro to God saying no.

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The post about wait was by Becoming His Tapestry at becominghistapestry.com titled Say Something….AnythingPlease. She discusses not giving up on God. It is an excellent post to read.

I enjoyed reading both of the posts. They caused me to think about my responses to God’s answers of no and wait. Then I thought about something else. There are hundreds perhaps thousands of yes answers that I take for granted. I would like to encourage us to think about the every day yeses that we can too easily take for granted.

What got me to thinking about the every day yeses we take for granted was actually jesskidding’s post. When I read it, I thought about all of the yeses she gives her child every day as do all moms such as yes you can have a hug, yes I will tuck you in, yes we can read a book etc. Moms say yes so many times to their children, but kids can tend to focus on being told no.

Then I thought about all of the yeses God says to us at times without us even asking. Yes, I am always with you. Yes, you can be with me forever in heaven because of Jesus. Yes, you can have friends at church. Yes, you can have air to breathe. The yeses are endless when it comes to God, but we focus on the nos and the waits. I think we tend to take all of the wonderful yeses for granted.

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Have you ever wondered how God feels about us taking him for granted? One time Jesus healed 10 people who has leprosy but only one returned after showing himself to the priest for confirmation to thank Jesus. The man was a Samaritan who Jews considered foreigners. Jesus’s response was in Luke 17:

“Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

A good way to not take the yeses for granted is to take time to thank God and appreciate him. In the morning, I like to start my day listening to worship music and praying. One thing I try to do is thank God for the classes I teach, the opportunities he gives me etc. I think taking time to do so in the mornings has helped me with the depression that accompanies the chronic illnesses I live with.

But there are way too many other things I forget or neglect to thank him for. This blog post of mine is an expression of me feeling convicted that I need to thank God for more of the wonderful ways he cares for me.

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I don’t want to take the every day yeses for granted. God says yes to us every day in numerous ways.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Sunday Fun- Pho with Friends :)

What to do after a week of battling with an autoimmune flare and being on meds? Simple- Have Pho with friends. 🙂

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Soup on a winter afternoon warms me up. Pho is one of my favorite soups. It is Vietnamese rice noodle soup that can be eaten with various meats. I always get it with beef.  It so hit the spot for me on my first day of no Predisone. 🙂

But the best part was who I was eating Pho with. Pho is always better with good friends accompanying me.

 

Saturday morning at church a friend of mine shared with me about the woman from Vietnam who does her nails. The young woman, Dung,  told her about her teacher and my friend Julie realized she was talking about me. I was Dung’s first teacher when she came to America. I also taught her husband. After my conversation with my friend Julie, our mutual friend was on my mind.

After I came home Saturday, I sent Dung a message saying I miss her and her husband and asked when we could meet. She had Sunday off, so we met at a Vietnamese restaurant to eat Pho. It was great to catch up on life with them and hear about my friend’s recent trip to visit family in Vietnam.

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Her baby was shy with me most of the lunch, but at the end she started playing peek a boo with her adorable baby girl and her baby started looking at me smiling.

Something I learned a long time ago is that when it seems I am getting down, one of the best things is to get out of myself and spend time with my friends from other countries. I love hearing about their lives, seeing how far they have come, and celebrating life with them. I especially enjoy sharing the love of Jesus with them.

Saturday ended a miserable week. Sunday started a new week in the best way, Pho with special friends. 🙂 Thanks to my friends Dung, Tu and little Catie.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

 

 

 

 

Blessing Children

In the mornings at the elementary school where I teach, I have brief interactions with some of the children in ELL-English Language Learners.  Before classes start I tell them to have a good day in school, joke with them about wanting more homework, and remind them to pay attention to their teachers.

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I think it is important to bless children as they start their day especially the children I interact with from other countries. Apparently, Jesus thought it was important too. The disciples tried to prevent the children from coming to Jesus and Jesus put a stop to it by saying:

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”

Jesus placed his hands on them to bless them, pray for them, and perhaps for some to heal them. Jesus’s instructions to the disciples were to not hinder children from coming to him because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Jesus is the embodiment of the kingdom of heaven. The children belong to him. They are his creation and he loves them.

In the mornings, there are two sisters. I interact with They have counseling sessions at the school because of having been abused. They are from Mexico, so I speak Spanish with them, encourage them to be proud they can speak Spanish, tell them to have a good day in school and to listen to their teachers. In Spanish.

Then we high five.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

 

Foggy Morning, Blizzard is Coming, Still a Good Day

I woke up to a foggy morning today and we are expecting a blizzard today. The weather forecast for later today is bad enough that our city libraries are closed today. I long for a nice warm sunny day.

It might be foggy outside, but thankfully I am not in a fog. It was one year ago that I started writing in my blog again after many years of sporadic posting due to foggy brain because of Celiacs Disease. A year ago I wrote the post Back to Writing/The Fog is Lifted.

Today will be a good day. It will start with having coffee with some friends from Vietnam to help them with conversational English this morning.

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After coffee I have an important mission to complete. I need to go buy two coloring books and some coloring pencils because this evening I will visit a family from Iraq to celebrate the birthdays of two daughters. This is a family that has been through a lot of adversity in life, so I am determined to go celebrate no matter what the weather is. It will help that my friends Ty and Kelly will give me a ride 🙂

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So bring on the fog and blizzard. Yes I am so tired of winter and long for a warm sunny day, but there is meaningful ministry ahead of me today and friends to bless. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Connecting by Speaking to the Heart

 “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela

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My fellow blogger, Kavita, shared this quote by Nelson Mandela with me in response to my post about Blessing Children. Kavita lives in South Africa and I enjoy her posts about life in South Africa, family, and issues such as people with special needs. Her blog is sunshinysasite.wordpress.com

She shared this quote with me yesterday and I saw it after I came home from teaching my morning class. One of those little moments in life happened for me yesterday at school. One that really touched me.

I went to school wearing a sling because I injured my shoulder Wednesday. There were many questions from my students and fellow teachers. The children I wrote about in Blessing Children also wanted to know what happened. One of them, the smallest of the group, looked at me when I walked into her classroom which is next to mine. I went in to talk with her teacher about something and she looked at me and pointed to my arm in a sling. I pointed to my shoulder and mouthed ouch. I thought that was the end of it.

Later in the hallway this little girl, who isn’t even 4 feet tall yet, came up to me. She looked up in my eyes and gave me a hug. She was trying to make me feel better and let me know she cares. I thanked her in Spanish and wished her a good day and weekend.

That gentle little hug from that precious little girl stayed in my spirit all day. When I came home and read Nelson Mandela’s quote about by speaking to someone in their language it goes to the heart really resonated with me.

The reason I try to at least learn greetings in the different languages of my students is to show them I respect them and care about them. Wonderful friendships have formed because of my willingness to try to speak to them in their language.

Many of my fellow bloggers do not have experience with other cultures like I do, but there are ways to speak the ‘language’ of the people we come in contact with who speak the same spoken/written language that we do.

What I am talking about is showing interest in people. The apostle Paul was the most effective of the apostles in starting the church. He started churches all over the Mediterranean world. He wrote about reaching people in 1 Corinthians 9:

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

Part of getting to know someone is to learn their language of life. What interests them? What do they value? What are their life experiences? If we can  manage to not be self absorbed and focus on the other person, good things can happen.

In other words, learn the language of the person’s heart. It doesn’t mean we have to do the same things, but showing interest and asking about things that matter to them builds connection.

Thank you Kavita for sharing the Nelson Mandela quote with me. I learned something new 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

 

 

 

 

 

Blessing Children

In the mornings at the school where I teach moms, I am often mindful of the well known passage about Jesus blessing the children in Matthew 19:

 “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”

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The school I teach in has the highest number of ELL, English Language Learners, of any elementary school in my city. My classroom is between two of the ELL classrooms. Many of the children have moms who are in my class, so as they walk by they try to peek in to see mom, Sometimes I let them come in to say hi to mom and get a hug from mom.

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Children are aware of more than we realize and sadly that also means they are aware of the public rhetoric about refugees and immigrants.

The children who come with their parents as refugees experienced the same dangers as their parents and many of them lost loved ones in their home countries.

I will never forget when a new Yazidi student started my class in December 2017. She had been in the country for two weeks. Her first day of class I took her to her son’s classroom for PACT Time- Parent and Child Together which is an hour the parents sit in their child’s classroom to observe. Her little 1st grade son saw mom and smiled. When I see him I greet him in his language and we high five.

There are many Hispanic children in the ELL classrooms. We briefly interact in the hallway each morning. I greet them in Spanish- “Cómo estás?” how are you. I ask them if they are ready for a good day in school- ¿Estás listo para un buen día en la escuela? and wish them a good day in school- Que tengas un buen dia en la escuela.

I want them to feel good about who they are so I often tell them I think it is great they can speak Spanish because it is a beautiful language- Pienso que es maravilloso que puedas hablar español porque es un idioma hermosa.

Two of the ELL teachers speak Spanish, so sometimes I joke about homework telling the teacher the children said they want a lot of homework- Me dijeron que quieren mucha tarea. They plead to their teacher “no no” as their teacher and I smile. The children know I am joking. 🙂

I know how to greet people in 30 languages. I feel it is important to show respect to my refugee and immigrant friends and part of that for me is greeting them in their language. That includes the children at the school. I want them to know I respect them and their culture. Just because they are little does not mean we shouldn’t protect their dignity. Quite the opposite!! Because they are little and vulnerable, we should protect their dignity as people.

If Jesus felt it was important to bless children, then we who profess to follow him should also bless them.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

 

 

 

 

My Mornings with 20 Moms- Babies Being Born and Amusing Interactions

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Each month the moms in my class make a new calendar wall like the one in the picture. They are creative and enjoy making the room theirs. They also take the lead on special activities such as baby showers. Whenever one of the moms is about 7 or 8 months pregnant, it is baby shower time.

2 of the moms in my class had babies recently. One of them just had her baby Tuesday of this week, One of the translators for our Thursday session also had a baby. My class is populating the Kindergarten class of 2024 🙂

One of the mothers thought she was going to have a boy, so at the baby shower the other moms gave her boy items. She had a surprise when her baby was born. It’s a girl. 🙂 She is happy to have her healthy baby girl.

The mom who just had her baby Tuesday sent me pictures to show the class. I forgot the ask the baby’s name, so when the moms asked the name, I just said she didn’t tell me. Truth- I forgot to ask. 🙂

I told the moms I didn’t ask about the size of the baby because all newborn babies are small. They smiled and rolled their eyes.

Our wonderful volunteer Kathleen was with us again yesterday for Kathleen Day in class. She plays Mahjong with friends on Wednesdays after she volunteers. I joke with her about it being a high stakes gambling ring. Today I asked if it is at the Casino. The moms laugh because they know I am joking. In actuality it is a group of grandmothers meeting at a coffee shop.

Each day I write conversation questions on the board and then ask and answer them with my assistant and on Wednesdays with Kathleen too to model them for the students. The students seem to enjoy my answers such as:

Who do you like to visit? Me- I like to visit my friends at dinner time.

Where do you like to go shopping? Me- I don’t like shopping anywhere.

Who is your favorite cook? Me- anyone who cooks for me.

The moms come from Burma, Guatemala, Iraq, Mexico, and Syria. They have been through some harsh realities in life and studying a second language, or third or fourth for some, is stressful, so I use humor. My thinking is if they laugh a little, it can reduce their stress level in class.

They come because they share something in common. They want to learn English and understand school here, so they can help their children. The all want their children to have bright futures.

They are the reason getting up is worthwhile in the mornings to pray for them. They have needs and issues and I know someone who can help them. Jesus has all power, so I pray.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

 

 

 

 

My Mornings with 20 Moms :)

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I shared this photo on my Facebook and Instagram yesterday and got a lot of likes etc. I had a spontaneous idea yesterday morning to have someone take a picture of me holding up the cartoon book in Spanish and wrote about how I did some serious reading.

For me it represents what my morning class is about. I go to an Elementary School in the mornings to teach a group of 20 moms English at the same school their children got to. They have had lifelong obstacles to learning they had no control over before beginning my class. I know they have stress trying to learn English to help their children, so I use humor to help them feel more relaxed.

Laughter often fills the room as I tell them the same jokes about how I am only 20 years old, my birth date is June 8 1998, or that shopping is scary. They always enjoy when I talk about cooking in the microwave.

One mom who was extremely shy when she started my class has really excelled. I ask her each morning at the beginning of class if she ate a cookie because she loves cookies. She smiles and tells me yes or no.

Two moms are having babies this month. One of them is my friend on Facebook, She always jokes with me in class. I love it when the moms joke with me. She is on maternity leave from class until March.

One mom is so cute. She is shorter than some of the 5th graders in school. She has perhaps the lowest level of English. The other day she got lost in the school as she returned from PACT time- Parent and Child Together, which is when they visit their child’s classroom. All of the students love having her in class.

Yesterday was Parenting Class morning. We have speakers come in and talk with them. During the 2nd hour, the School Psychologist came and did a sewing project with them. I let them know, jokingly, if they need help to let me know. They laughed. At the end I told them I was proud of them that they could sew without my help. They smiled and laughed.

Each Wednesday morning we call Kathleen Day in class because a woman who is a grandmother has volunteered for us on Wednesday mornings for many years. The students love Kathleen Day in class. Kathleen share pictures with them, stories about her family and grandchildren with them, and hugs them.

Each morning I spend some time with Jesus and pray the same thing. I ask him to help me show his love to my students. I also pray for them and their life circumstances. I firmly believe that spending time in prayer each morning sets the tone for the morning with my students.

My students come from Burma, Guatemala, Iraq, Mexico, and Syria. They are all moms who want the same thing, a future for their children. Life is hard for them. They all all low income at best. They do the best they can to make a new life here in America. None of them would harm a fly so to speak. I would challenge anyone who buys into the rhetoric about refugees and immigrants to come spend a few weeks with me and these wonderful women. It would be eye opening. They are a wonderful group of moms.

I just wanted to share about my mornings with the moms because it is a huge part of my life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.