Tag Archives: learning

The kindness of a stranger

It was later in the evening when my husband looked at me and said,

“Let’s go buy the babies a kiddy pool.”

The day had been warm and their little faces had been rosey when he arrived home from work.

He wasn’t wanting them to have another warm afternoon without the opportunity to cool off.

I agreed and we drove to where we thought we might find a kiddy pool.

It was after 7pm so some stores were already closed.

Home Depot was open and although they didn’t have kiddy pools there were some other items we needed.

I’ve been planning to paint furniture and needed paint.

As the paint was finished, my husband was concerned if I’d like the color and showed it to me.

I signed that I had a good feeling about it, I liked it. (My voice had disappeared during our walk around the store.)

He placed it in the cart and began to move toward the check out.

I had noticed another employee looking in my direction previously and had nodded a “hello”.

As I looked up from the cart she was looking at me again.

So, I didn’t look away, nor walk on.

She carefully signed to me a nice greeting and wished me a good day.

I smiled behind my mask and signed back: “Thank you, same to you”.

As I walked after my husband I thought about how this lady’s kindness blessed my heart.

She didn’t have to sign to me, but she did.

She was reaching out to speak to me and it blessed my heart.

I’m not deaf, but when I can’t speak ASL is the easiest way for me to communicate.

When others see this, it’s understandable they assume I’m deaf.

I’ve been truly blessed at different times when people who saw my signing responded with an effort to communicate.

Sometimes it’s by a simple “thank you” in ASL.

Sometimes it’s looking me in the eye or trying to point to things to help me understand.

I praise God for these moments of kindness in others.

I’m so thankful for their efforts.

I often pray for them afterwards.

Because it’s difficult to deal with someone who doesn’t communicate the way you do.

Unfortunately, some people become so uncomfortable, they react in ways which make it more difficult to communicate.

There’s been a few moments in stores when we left feeling very stressed.

But these are rare and God has taught us something each time.

It was a stressful moment several months ago when shopping with my husband that he said, “I have to get better at ASL” and he has been practicing ever since.

Another time Jase and I were shopping together and several unfortunate circumstances caused us a great deal of stress.

Days later we talked about it and both of us were able to see things we should do differently in the future.

Something a young man said to me recently has been the point of truth in this part of our journey.

“Everyone learns at their own speed.”

He was referring to learning ASL, but of course the truth is far more applicable.

For me, I’m not just learning ASL, I’m learning a new way of thinking, along with a new way of communicating.

I’m learning to keep my eyes upon the face of the person I’m dealing with.

Because people often think I’m deaf if I look away they think I no longer care or that I’m not paying them attention.

To look away means “not listening”.

I’m learning to plan ahead.

I’ve been stranded on my own with no one to speak for me and no one who reads ASL, so I carry paper and pencil now.

I’m learning that many people want to communicate and try hard to do so.’m learning to read sign better, which wasn’t something I’d worked on as I was the one signing, my family just speaks back to me.

I’m learning to read sign better, which wasn’t something I’d worked on as I was the one signing, my family just speaks back to me.

A couple of times I couldn’t always understand someone who stopped speaking and only signed.

I’m learning to be patient.

My voice disappearing is a response my body is having to triggers, often fragrance or chemicals in the air.

Sometimes my chest begins to hurt and I find it difficult to think clearly as my body is struggling.

To combat this I have to focus on breathing calmly, walking at a normal pace, and thinking about opening my airways.

Trying to communicate while all this is going on can make me want to rush, to just “be done” and not even try, but that never works and it’s not what Jesus would want me to do.

And if I were to simply “give up” I would miss all these moments of blessing.

For God has something good in all these things and I don’t want to miss a single one.

James 4:6 NKJV — But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your faithfulness! Lord, thank You for Your help, love, and lessons. You have taught me so much and Your blessings have been incredible. Lord Jesus, thank You for walking with me through this. Thank You for walking with our family through this. Thank You for all the people who have tried so hard to reach out to me. Thank You for the kindness of strangers. Lord, please continue to teach me how to live daily unto You. Thank You for all Your wonderous works. I love You. Amen.

P.S. We went to another store and bought the kids a pool. I had to laugh when I woke up to it raining!

Bubba and Faye

Being a Grammy has been more fun than I could ever have imagined.

My husband can tell you I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.

As a teen I used to say, “I can’t wait to be that sweet grey-haired old lady who gives out cookies to kids.”

I’ve learned a great deal since my teen years about being an adult and dealing with children.

Parenthood taught me a lot and I’m still learning daily.

Now as a Grammy I’m learning more.

Proper boundaries are super important.

My husband and I value our daughter and son-in-law too much to purposely ignore their “do”s and”don’t”s.

We have enjoyed getting to watch them teach Faye things.

I’ve also enjoyed sharing moments with her as a Grammy.

Something we’ve done, since the weather has allowed, is go outside and pet the plants.

It might sound strange, but I wanted her to be safe.

Before she was old enough to understand this lesson, she got a handful of my potted indoor plant and jerked out a large section.

I didn’t mind the damage to the plant, but it brought to my attention the need for her to learn what is okay and not.

Since both her parents had taught her the word gentle and it’s meaning, I thought she’d be able to put it into practice in the garden.

After all, little people often put what is in their hands in their mouths and many plants are not for eating.

So, she went on many garden walks with me and knows how to handle the plants.

She gently touches them, sometimes over and over with her little fingers very carefully.

She has pulled a few blooms off now and again, but each time is another opportunity to instill in her how to touch without harm.

So, I was extra blessed when we got to see her with Bubba.

Her little hand reached out to explore this new sibling and her momma cautioned, “Gentle.”

Softly, like on a rose petal her hand touched her brother.

Then she let go.

All of us made all kinds of happy noise as her little pink lips placed a gentle kiss on him.

It was adorable!

I’m already praying for their relationship as brother and sister.

I pray they will love and support each other.

That they will look out for the other’s best interest.

That they will grow to be great friends.

Most importantly, that they will know Jesus and put their trust in Him.

That they will encourage one another in righteousness.

What a wonderful gift God gives when He blesses a family with a child!

Truly they are precious in the eyes of the Lord.

Psalm 127:3 KJV — Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Matthew 18:10 KJV — Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for children. What an incredible blessing it is to be with them. Lord, often it can be difficult to know what to teach and what to let go of. Sometimes our own desires get in the way of hearing from You as to what is best. Please help our children be wonderful godly parents. Please help us to be parents of integrity, truth, and love. Lord, help us know how to support our children as they support the little ones. Please help us to not grow weary in doing good as we have fewer children at home. Please help us to finish well. Thank You so much for these blessings. May we honor You in all we do. Amen.

Holding on to faith

Since it was their anniversary, they asked us to babysit while they went on a date.

Of course, we love to babysit!

In one short year, our granddaughter has taught me so much.

Like, reliving life, from her perspective.

Holding her on my arm, while we stroll through the backyard, has been an opportunity to learn.

The two of us go around and pet all the plants.

We’ve done this since the veggie garden was put in.

She likes to feel the different textures and as long as I hold her, she feels safe exploring.

Which brings me such joy.

It encourages me spiritually, as well.

When her little arm is clinging to mine and her little face is smiling so contentedly, I think of God.

She feels safe and therefore is willing to reach out.

I want to hold on to Jesus like that.

To be so secure in His embrace that I’m willing to reach out when He leads me to.

These words of Jesus speak so clearly:

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3‭-‬4 NKJV

If I hold tightly to my faith in the Lord Jesus, there is no room for fear.

It is only when I let go of the truths of scripture, the faithfulness of the Lord in my life, and the security of His salvation that I’m in danger.

When our granddaughter becomes frightened, her first reaction is to hold up her hands, her little eyes expressing her emotion and the security she’s seeking.

I want to be like that.

With each day, each moment, each phase of life.

Lifting my life before God Almighty, surrendering myself before His Sovereignty, and clinging to Him in faith.

Because I have seen the peace upon our granddaughter’s face when she secure in her Daddy’s arms.

And I know I can find the same in mine.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:15 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for making a way for all to be children of God. How great is Your love towards us that You would make us sons and daughters! Lord, please continue to hone my heart into Your way, teach me by Your truths. Make me a reflection of You. Thank You so much for loving me as Your child. Thank You for teaching me to hold on to faith. I love You, Jesus. Thank You. Amen.

The joy of growth

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the weather difference here.

Of course, it could just be an unusual year.

I have no history of the climate.

Yet, my joy in watching things bud and grow has been extensive.

Much earlier in the calendar year than expected.

But so welcome.

Growing things bring me joy.

The plants and trees outside the window are not the only growing joyful things around me.

I’ve been watching our children grow and learn a good deal of late.

Anne has stretched out in her painting.

Sis had encouraged her to try abstract and I thought the results were lovely.

When I think about the joy, of watching my children grow, I can only imagine the joy our lives bring the Lord.

As a child of God I’m never to stop growing and learning.

My whole life is a path, leading me closer to Him.

It’s not a smooth flat highway, it is a mountain trail, full of difficulties and opportunities.

With each step upon that trail, I am growing in Christ Jesus.

What a privilege! What joy!

And I’m not alone upon the path.

There are those farther ahead, whose lives bring teaching and wisdom.

There are those behind, people I’m privileged to share my lessons and experiences with.

There are those beside me, who are encouraging and supportive.

Yes, I’m truly blessed by growing things, especially the people growing in the Lord.

As I step out, into the path today, I’m so very thankful for the joy of growth.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your patience with me and my personal growth in You. Walking in Your path is a privilege although stretching isn’t always comfortable. Thank You for those ahead of me on the path. Their lives inspire me. Thank You for the ones beside me, such blessings and support! Thank You for those behind me. Please help my life to be an encouragement to them. Let them see Your faithfulness in my life and give them security in Your faithfulness to them. Lord Jesus, You made the Way to the Father and everlasting life. Thank You! What an incredible gift! May my life be an opportunity for You to reach others and encourage them to stretch, grow, and walk daily with You. I praise Your Holy name, Jesus!

Watercolor

I didn’t expect it.

It wasn’t really any plan of mine.

But one of the things which has changed with our move has been my way of homeschooling.

In prayer, I was asking the Lord how to bring in more enjoyable lessons so we would have a variety.

That’s when the Lord talked to me about Art and Science day.

We try to do it once a month.

We began with watercolor because it’s what I had on hand.

I wasn’t expecting it to be such a hit.

But I’m so glad it is.

Our Anne has been painting in her free time.

It has been such a joy to watch!

Saturday, I was able to purchase her some better brushes and watercolor paper.

Yesterday, we both enjoyed watching a video watercolor lesson and creating our own pictures.

It’s been a two fold blessing.

First and foremost, I’m thrilled to watch our daughter learn and enjoy something new, something creative, something she enjoys.

But I’ve also been surprised by God’s love and His understanding.

As a child all I wanted to do was art in school.

I loved it.

I would sign up for Art class any chance I got.

But adulthood pushed that joy of creating into other forms.

Holding a baby in one arm makes painting very difficult.

So, I’ve scrap booked, I’ve made my own cards, I’ve sewed, and sometimes I have drawn.

My best creative outlet has been crocheting.

Rarely, even when teaching my kids or a class have I painted.

But it’s been good.

These have been wonderful years and I wouldn’t exchange any of the things the Lord has brought into my life.

Yet, He has never forgotten my love of creating in this way, even though I had.

It’s just another beautiful example of how good, how loving God truly is.

Praise the Lord!

Something new

In the days of waiting,

God can do something new.

While waiting for God to direct our family this summer,

I began to seek the Lord for the time I was in.

Helping around the house and with the baby were wonderful, but sometimes I just needed to sit.

Of course I did a lot of crochet work.

Yet, it felt as if I were missing something.

During my prayer time, one day a distant memory sprang up.

“Your grandmother always said you had such long thin fingers that you should play the piano.”

My mother had told me this many times throughout my childhood.

I’ve always felt a sense of regret at not learning to play.

While pondering these things the Lord spoke.

You live with a music teacher.

Laughter nearly escaped my lips.

It was much too early in the morning to wake the family by laughing aloud, but my heart rejoiced.

My daughter could definitely teach me to play piano.

And so it began.

When we had a few free moments she would give me a lesson and I would practice as much as I was able.

Upon moving, my heart leapt at the idea of learning the piano well enough to play music with our family.

I’m not a fast learner.

Sometimes I forget to practice for days on end.

Yet, I’m blessed as God has been giving me something new.

I look forward to the day when I can play alongside my husband’s guitar or my daughter’s voice.

That’s probably a long time from now, but I’m simply enjoying the opportunity to stretch, to learn, to see what God has in this.

Age, illness, nor infirmity can hinder God.

He’s able to continue to teach, train, and exhort no matter the circumstances.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for teaching me something new. Thank You for using the times when all I can see is the waiting. Lord, thank You for Your patience and love. Please continue to guide and grow me. I want to be ever Your pupil, eager and willing and engaged in Your lessons of life.

Learning

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“So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.” Exodus 15:22

How often throughout Scripture is this same scenario, God does an amazing work, the person or people rejoice, only to find themselves in a trial.

David was anointed king, has an amazing defeat of the giant, is a prominent captain who does great things, then spends years running for his life in the wilderness.

In my own life I’ve seen the same pattern. God does a great work, I’m on board, willing to do anything,  then a trial comes and doubt or fear or both suddenly are my companions.

Why is it so difficult to hold fast to what we know is truth?

Why am I so quick to doubt when things seem to be turning backwards?

Has not God proven He uses all things for His purposes?

Is He not the same God I was praising and thanking when things were going well?

Of course He is!

So the problem is with me.

When self-pity or doubt or fear begin to follow my steps I need to send them packing.

When things are not going as I expect, I need to seek God more.

Why waste time, emotions, or energy on self-pity, doubt, or fear?

Of course there is a reason I’m having to even write this.

It’s because I’ve been afraid lately.

Afraid of the “what if…”

And in His gracious love God took me to this chapter of Exodus this morning.

Because no matter how well I know what to do it doesn’t mean it comes easy.

But the chapter has a really wonderful end:

“Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.” Exodus 15:27

I love that.

God provided exactly what they needed and He shall do the same for me.

Every trial is a gift to seek Him and an opportunity to see how He will work through it.

It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but I know from experience when I’m able to look up past the things which desire to discourage me, I see a lesson and I’m
learning.

Dear Reader,

I hope you are encouraged to trust God and seek Him for whatever is trying to discourage you. If you are in a time of peace and joy, praise Him! But also make note of it so when the trial comes you can look back and remember what God has done.

May God bless you!

1st Day

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It takes days of preparation.

Hours of meetings.

And then you line up.

Your desk is full of freshly sharpened pencils.

Your children don their newest clothes.

The “shot” is fired.

And another school year begins.

It’s never exactly what you think and rarely does all the planning fit all the problems but it is worthwhile.

For education isn’t simply for the students,

Nor just another chance at a wage,

Nor is it simply a babysitter.

Education is a gift to those who are eager and to them who have already attained it to give back by sharing with others.

It is a gift for the parents, to help them give their children something far more valuable than a chance at a good job.

It is the joy of learning and continuing to grow past the alphabet and square-root.

It is the wonder of a world so complex that the universe is still being explored.

It is the thrill of learning stars can be plotted by applying mathematics.

It is the understanding of other cultures and countries by reading their history.

It is the grateful heart that sees, hears, learns, and then realizes that all of this is a gift from God.

Not everyone is going to enjoy the same things.

Not everyone will hear the same songs or dance to the same beat.

But each of us has a blessing and a responsibility when it comes to education.

Whether we are the students, the teachers,  the staff or the parents we must strive to be thankful for the gift of learning while looking for ways to in still it in others.

For the Bible tells us that to be a learner is a blessing.

Proverbs 1:5
“A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will obtain counsel. ”

And knowledge is truly a gift from God.