Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Here are a few fall pictures to share. We tried to make it to the pumpkin patch, like we did last year. Unfortunately, it was super cold, and my camera died after about three pictures, but I did manage to get a few decent ones.
I'm not sure what he was trying to say here, but he was checking out both the pumpkins and all the cars driving by.
This was the last picture I was able to get that day, but what a good one! It's just so classic.
Tonight we took Quinn to a few neighbors' houses for Trick-or-Treating. We also went to a Trunk-or-Treat at a church near our house. Our fire station does a lot of community service with this church, so we decided to it helped us stay out of the rain. ***(Side rained almost every Halloween of my childhood....go figure.)***
Here he is in his costume. He's a Saint Bernard, complete with a barrel for under his chin!
Not sure why he looks so serious here....and excuse the red-eyes. Couldn't make it go away.
Halloween isn't my favorite holiday, but I did have fun dressing Quinn up and visiting some of our neighbors. Tonight he had his first taste of candy....M&M's from his treat bag. He had a sugar rush you wouldn't believe. We were letting him stay up a little later to compensate for the time change. He was using the couch like a trampoline and jumping all over and giggling like crazy. Then he crashed!
We had a fun evening together as a family! Quinn walked the whole time and wouldn't let us help him with his bucket. He insisted on carrying it by himself. Mr. Independent! Last year at this time, he was just beginning to pull up on things and preferred crawling.
Trick-or-Treat, everyone!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Law of the Garbage Truck

I don't normally post two things in one day, but after receiving this email today, I couldn't help but post it here. I have been guilty of this, and maybe you have too. But after reading about the Law of the Garbage Truck, I definitely have a new look on life. Enjoy!!

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'
He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!
Have a great, garbage-free day!

Red Ribbon Week 2009

This week in our school we are celebrating Red Ribbon Week.

Red Ribbon Week is our nation's oldest and largest drug prevention program. It is generally acknowledged during the last week of October and is spent sharing ways to help our communities stay drug free. I learned a little more about this program this year, and wondered how many of you knew the history behind Red Ribbon Week.

In the mid-1980's Special Agent Kiki Camarena, of the Drug Enforcement Administration, was working undercover to expose a multi-billion dollar drug cartel coming out of Mexico. S.A. Camarena was originally from Mexico, having moved to the United States as a young boy. He wanted to make a difference and eventually worked his way through education to become a police officer, and later begin working for DEA. He was extremely close to cracking this case when he was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by the Mexican drug traffickers.

Not long after, one of his high school friends, along with a Congressman from California, began Camarena Clubs, which educated children about being drug-free. These children made pledges to stay drug-free. The pledges were given to First Lady Nancy Reagan, who then began the "Just Say No" clubs in elementary schools. The first official Red Ribbon Week was held in October of 1988. (For perspective, I was in 4th grade, and was a proud member of the Just Say No club at my school.)

My school is participating in several of the Red Ribbon activities. Tomorrow is Wear Red day, and we have a guest speaker coming to the school. One of our county sheriffs is coming to speak to the children about being drug free, general safety tips, and Halloween safety, given that this holiday is a few days away.

I hope you will help me in encouraging your family and friends to stay DRUG FREE!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Hero's Final Goodbye

About two weeks ago a city policeman in our town was shot in the line of duty. Yesterday was his funeral and it was the major news story of the day. I had no idea that I would get to witness a part of his service.

I stayed at school a little later than usual for a Friday. I always drive home the same way, and I was a little surprised to see a few police cars and a firetruck parked on the bridge that I drive on to get to the interstate. I didn't put it together until I got on the interstate, and just up ahead, I could see traffic coming from the other direction had stopped. I could see tons of blue lights. I looked back at the bridge and could see that there were several policemen and firefighters, in full dress uniform, standing on the bridge, facing in the direction of the stopped traffic. That's when I realized....this was the funeral motorcade for the fallen officer.

I immediately pulled onto the emergency lane and watched. For several minutes, I saw just a few random cars drive by. I guess these were the last cars to get out of the way so the funeral procession could begin. I had never seen one of these before, except the brief footage they would show on TV.

First came a single police car, with blue lights flashing. Then there were at least 30-40 policemen on motorcycles, riding in pairs, with blue lights flashing. Then came the funeral hearse, a white one, carrying the body of this fallen officer. Then were several family cars, also white. After that began an endless parade of police cars. I counted at least 150 before I lost count. They all had their blue lights flashing. As I watched, more and more cars pulled over, on both sides of the interstate. People who parked on the grassy median even got out of their cars, hands on their hearts. Some cars almost came to a stop in the middle of the interstate. I've never seen anything like this. It was very somber, very moving, and ingrained in my mind forever.

I am so glad that I worked later on Friday. I was able to witness a part of this final goodbye for a local hero. A man who was simply doing his job, protecting the citizens of my town. We should pray for the policemen, firefighters, emergency service workers, and military men and women who are daily putting their lives on the line for us citizens.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Child-Like Faith

In the past few weeks, I have heard about several people at my church whose children have gotten saved. One lady talked about her daughter's profession of faith on Facebook. A friend, and fellow blogger, wrote the sweetest post of how her daughter and nephew got saved in the car while driving to the beach. It's always sweet to hear of children coming to know the Lord at such an early age.

But then there's the people who question "Did they truly get saved? They are too young to understand." Even Jesus Himself said in the book of Matthew that "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 20:2-4)

All this talk about children getting saved has made me think back to my own salvation. I never had one of those "life-defining moments" like you hear some people tell of when they got saved. I have heard of people giving testimony after testimony of how they had drifted into a life of drugs, or alcohol, or abuse, or some other horrible lifestyle, and how someone brought the Gospel to them in such a way that they realized they needed Jesus in their life. And how their lives changed so dramatically afterwards.

Salvation didn't come that way to me. I was brought up in a Christian home, by parents who brought me to church every time the doors were open. I was that little girl standing up on the pew during the songs. I remember going to Sunday School and VBS and revival services. I had wonderful teachers in Sunday School and Sunday Night groups and on Wednesday night services too. It was at summer church camp where I met Jesus, on a warm summer evening after bedtime devotions with our counselor. I don't remember her name, except that everybody called her "Glo". I remember this because the "song of the week" was "Footprints of Jesus", and a line in the song says, "Foot prints of Jesus, that make the pathway glow.." I was only 9 years old.

I remember sitting on the front porch of the cabin with Glo, praying and telling Jesus that I was a sinner and that I wanted Him to be the Lord of my life. I remember going down to the front of my church the following Sunday, with another girl who also got saved at camp. I remember Pastor Thompson praying with me and all the people of the church shaking my hand. I remember a big cinder block in the bottom of the baptistry for me to stand on so I would be above the water.

I am so thankful that I was able to come to know Jesus at an early age--that I did not have to live through the things that some people had to. I am thankful for loving, Christian parents who taught me the Gospel. I am thankful for a heritage of Christian Grandparents and Great-Grandparents. I pray that Buddy and I can be the example to Quinn that he needs, and that he, too, can come to know Jesus at an early age. We've been praying with him at night since the first night he was in this world and we always pray that he will one day come to know the Lord as his personal Saviour.

All we need is the faith of a child....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The United Nations is within my reach...

Every year, I anticipate the start of a new school year. For me, the first day of school is like New Year's Day for other people. I know that anything that happened in the previous school year (difficult students, difficult parents, etc), is gone and I have a new group of children to begin working with.

Because my school is an ESL Site (English as a Second Language), we have many students in various stages of learning to speak English. Some children live in families where a different language is the predominant language of the home, and English may or may not be spoken at all. Some families use their children as their interpreters. We have such a high Hispanic population that we have a full-time bilingual secretary, hired specifically to help us communicate with our Spanish speaking parents.

I've always been lucky in the past that, if I did have ESL students, a lot of the parents could communicate with me without the help of an interpreter. This year is different. In addition to having over half of my class represented by Spanish speakers, I also have four students from countries where we have NO interpreter at all! It's been quite the challenge to learn to work with these kids, but I also feel so grateful that the Lord allowed these kids to be placed in my class! I have learned so much from them already, and we have so many months to go. I can already tell it will be hard to let them go in June.

My school represents 28 countries, and my class alone is made up of students from 9 countries. This is so fascinating to me....I could almost make my own United Nations!

I have 8 students plus myself representing the United States.

There are 7 students who are from Mexico.

There are 2 students who are from Puerto Rico.

One student's family is from Colombia, South America.

Another student's family is from Guatemala.

One student is from Vietnam.

One of my students who doesn't speak English at all is from Turkey.

Another student who doesn't speak English is from Iraq.

And finally, my last two students who do not speak English are from the Karenni state of the country of Burma.

These two students are so special to my heart. They are refugees and have come from such horrible conditions. One of these students came to my class at the very end of last school year and is staying with me again this year. This girl read a Kindergarten level book to me a few weeks ago, and boy did the tears flow! It is so amazing to watch these kids learn.

So this is what I'm dealing with this year! It's exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fire Prevention Week 2009

This is a public service announcement from your friendly, neighborhood fire-chick!

October 4 - 10, 2009 is Fire Prevention Week. I thought I would share some information about this year's theme, and also give you some handy links, as I know some of you are homeschool mamas. Others of you may simply want to share this with your families, if it is not being included in your child's school. And some of you may just want to read this because it makes good sense to be prepared.

Fire Prevention Week was established to honor and remember the "Great Chicago Fire of 1871." This is the same fire that, according to legend, started because Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern, which caught the barn on fire, which caught the city on fire. While this is not entirely true, 250 people died, and thousands were left homeless. Over 17,000 structures and over 2000 acres were burnt. The fire began in the night on October 8th, but did most of its damage on October 9th. Fire Prevention Week always falls around those two dates.

Some other interesting facts about fires...
In 2008, US Fire Departments responded to almost 400,000 home fires.

Every 81 seconds, a fire department in our country is responding to a fire.

Two-thirds of all home fires are in homes with either a malfunctioning fire alarm or none at all.

Cooking continues to be the leading cause of all home fires.

This year's theme is "Stay Smart: Don't get burned" and focuses on ways you and your family can keep from being burned in a fire.

For example, does your family have a home escape plan? Did you know you need at least two ways to get out of your house? Do your kids know how to get out of their room if they can't leave by the bedroom door?

Do you put all hot foods in the center of the table so they can't be pulled off by little hands?

Do you check the temperature of the bath or shower water?

Are lit candles out of reach of little hands?

Do you allow food cooked from the microwave time to cool before serving it?

Are all smoke alarms are tested by an adult each month...and work every time?

Is there a smoke alarm on every level of your home (and in every bedroom?)

Do your children know what the alarm sounds like, so they would recognize it in the middle of the night?

Visit the Fire Prevention Week website here. On the left side there is a link for teachers, or for kids and families. And those of you who homeschool (or teach in a regular school) will see the lessons are split by age and grade level. There are some pictures you can print off and color as well as helpful sheets for planning an escape plan.

As always, I'm not trying to scare anyone, but it's always better to be prepared! Our department, thankfully, doesn't have to go to too many house fires, but when we do, you can bet that those people weren't expecting their home to go up in flames either.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

And The Winner Is.....

I know you have probably all been anxiously waiting to see who the winner will be for my giveaway.

I went to Google and found a random number generator. Out of 7 choices, the website chose #2.

Congratulations Beth!!! Please check out Beth's blog, where you can read about miracles, her cute kids, and even learn some random Spanish words....hee hee.

Beth, be looking for an email from me soon....