I am so glad yesterday was church day! King David said it best in one of the psalms when he wrote, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord!" After all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's good for us as God's people to deliberately set aside time each week as "just worship God" time. I know me---I need that specific time and place when I have to push away all other duties and worries and concentrate solely on my Heavenly Father, or else it wouldn't happen. I'd get so caught up in daily stresses and assignments and deadlines that I'd totally forget about talking to God........and I mean more than just at mealtimes. I'd probably go weeks without pausing to actually worship the Creator of the universe---and the Creator of me. I'm so thankful to belong to a church that holds services three times a week but whose doors are always open. We joke about changing our home address to the church's because we are always there! But what a wonderful, blessed way to live, wrapped up in the house of God and the people of God and the being of God.
How time flies nowadays! Remember when we were young and the summers seemed to last forever? Remember when Christmas seemed years away? Here we are, just a few days away from November already, and it seems like the year just started a month ago! I feel kind of like the person who went to bed so late each night he began meeting himself getting up in the morning........if the years speed up any more, I'll start meeting myself halfway through!
We had quite a busy week last week. Wednesday was the final day of the first quarter, so we teachers were busy giving tests and averaging grades. There was no school Thursday so as to give teachers some training time plus grade-input time. The kids welcomed this day to sleep in some, except for Dale and Amanda. Dale had a dentist appointment for 9:00 a.m., and I had to be at school by 10:00 a.m.; so I asked Mandie to stay with Dale at the dentist's office in my stead. I planned to go back and pick them up whenever he was through, thinking this would be about an hour to an hour and a half later. Forty minutes later, Amanda called me to say all was done! I had not even gotten to school yet---I had stopped in K-Mart for a few quick things and was in the checkout line when I got the phone call. I wound up missing the first half hour of our training meeting, running Dale home again. Amanda stayed with me at school to help get stuff done. She gets to be my Teacher's Assistant this year, which usually means she's my "gopher." It is, indeed, a blessing to be able to say, "Here---I need ten copies" and then continue on with teaching. Plus, the students love her and enjoy having her in our class. Where else would I get to spend half the day with my now eighteen year old daughter? :-)
On Friday, our whole school went to the Pumpkin Patch! The younger classes have always planned a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch, but about five years ago our principal suggested we all go and have some fun. So, each year we take one day and load everyone on buses and head for a local farm that sets up a Pumpkin Patch fun area. This year we went to Maris Farms; they have a corn maze (in which I get lost each year), a hayride that takes us down past the corn and around a huge field where they grow the pumpkins, a small area where each child gets to choose a small to medium size pumpkin, some really cool play equipment (which was shut down due to inclement weather), a barn with a petting zoo, a goat enclosure where you can feed the goats (if they're not hiding inside from the pounding rain), and a corn room where the dairy farm down the road stores 12 tons of dry corn kernels---this is the cows' winter feed, but Maris Farms keeps it standing about one foot deep in a big room where the kids take off their coats and shoes and dive in! The corn room is a favorite with everyone, including the high schoolers, and nearly everyone comes home with dried corn kernels hiding in various pockets and pant cuffs.
This year, it absolutely poured! We had just arrived when it began to sprinkle. Our class went to the hayride first; by the time we got off, the sprinkle had changed to a steady but light rain. When we finished the (short version) corn maze, the rain was coming down more heavily. We walked up the hill to the play equipment and let the kids slide down the giant tubes a few times before gathering them together to head for the big covered enclosure where the picnic tables were located. By then, the rain was so heavy and cold that the kids were glad to get out of it for a while! We ate our lunch with the promise that the students could go to the corn room right afterwards (just around the corner). It took every ounce of honesty I had to leave the relative safety of the enclosure and head for the corn room. There, at least, we had a roof over us again, but the weather was turning colder and all I wanted was to go home! Which, of course, was not up to me as we had ridden a school bus there and had to wait until everyone was ready to leave before we could go. As it was, everyone was just as wet and cold and ready to leave; just as we were leaving the corn room, our driver called out to let us know we were loading the bus. The ride home seemed a lot shorter than the ride there, maybe because we were headed home. We got back to school with two hours left before the final bell would ring; this simply gave everyone a chance to play and have fun time. I had promised our class some hot chocolate when we got back, so we enjoyed that. One of the other teachers gave us a couple bags of microwave popcorn, so that was an added treat. We had some fun activities like Hidden Pictures and such to do as well; we had already glued together a craft before we left so it could dry while we were gone. All in all, it was a good day!
Dale got to come with me at the Pumpkin Patch. He didn't get to go last year; he was still pretty unsteady at that point, and we had therapy that day, so we opted not to go. This year was challenging still for him. The ground was already muddy, and the rainfall made concentrating on walking near impossible. Dale's legs were like jello, giving way at the slightest provocation! I am so thankful for one of my student's mothers, Mrs. Rzyhichenko, who came along as a chaperone. With me on one side of Dale and her on the other, we managed to keep Dale upright all the way around the Pumpkin Patch. He got to go on the hayride and walk through the small field, picking his own pumpkin, but the corn maze was out of the question. We were slipping and sliding badly enough; there is no way Dale could have managed it. He did okay getting up the hill from the pumpkin field, although he was very glad to be able to sit down at the top. We walked around the farm area to the enclosure to eat lunch, and then Dale stayed there while I took the students to the corn room. I'm sure Dale would have had fun in the corn room, but I'm not sure he could have gotten in and out of the boxed-in area! When they called to us to get ready to go, Dale was happy to slip and slide his way to the bus to go back to school. He got some hot chocolate along with my class and spent the last of the school day walking around my classroom, drawing on the board, and playing games with my students. He was sooooo tired by the end of the day that I'm surprised he didn't fall asleep on the way home, like Emily. She fell asleep in the car on the way home from school and didn't wake up until nearly 9:00 p.m.!
As you can tell, life is full and happy here in the Ostrander world. Our God has blessed us far beyond what we could ever have imagined, and we thank Him every day for that. What a wonderful Saviour we serve!
I Thessalonians 5:18 "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."