Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to school we go!

Here we are, gearing up for yet another school year.  Remember when we were kids and still in school ourselves and all we could think at the end of August was how fast our summer vacation had flown by?  It's no different now that we're adults!  We look back over the summer and think how very short those two and a half months were.  It seems like just yesterday we were packing up the classroom for summer break, and now this week we are putting all the charts back on the walls and making out lesson plans again.  Did I even do anything this summer?  Seriously, I think all our family did was sleep in, do cursory chores, and laze about.  Hmmmmm.........on second thought, it sounds like we did summer right!  :-D

My girls have been helping me get my classroom ready for school, which starts on Tuesday, August 27th.  I've been able to clean out a bunch of teacher junk which I tend to hoard "for a rainy day."  Well, since we live in Washington---aka RAIN FOREST---my "rainy day" stuff becomes my "every day" stuff, and what I haven't used by now I probably never will.  Hence, the need to clear it all out.  (I do this at home too, occasionally going through closets and boxes and taking loads of stuff to Goodwill.  I've often told my kids not to expect to someday find wonderful antiques in Mom's attic 'cause I will have thrown them all away long beforehand!)  Anyway, I've been fretting because I don't have any extra money to spend on special things for my classroom---which, being interpreted, means I can't just go buy anything that suits my fancy!---and decided to dig through my boxes of seasonal decorations to see if there was anything that needed to be tossed.  To my surprise and delight, I found a couple of beginning-of-the-year bulletin board themes that someone had donated last year and I had grabbed up and simply filed away for use later.  Well, NOW is later!!  I was so excited and rather ashamed of my "poor me" attitude when I found them, and Amanda, Katie, Ashley, and I spent some time sticking them to the walls and door.  I must say, they look pretty nice!  I had to stop and thank God on purpose for providing those decorations just when I needed them........and of course apologize for my bad attitude and lack of faith that He would provide what I needed when I needed it.  I know Philippians 4:19 is in the Book, but I forget to abide by it sometimes!

Bro. Minge, our principal, and I hammered out Dale's schedule yesterday.  Praise the Lord!  Dale is going to have the chance to catch up this year with his studies so that he doesn't lose any more ground academically.  He is taking 8th grade math and English, but all other classes are 9th grade level.  We hope Dale can work steadily enough at his English PACES to be able to complete the 8th grade course and continue straight into the 9th grade course.  He will also be taking Earth Science in PACES, which is a 9th grade level course and counts as a full credit toward his diploma.  We've cut out most electives, keeping Dale in 9th grade history (Pacific Northwest History/Geography) and Bible.  He will have four study hall periods each day; this should allow him ample time to get his PACE work done as well as any homework and perhaps enable him to work ahead some in his PACES, thus finishing the 8th grade English course and working on into the 9th grade course.  I've already sat down with Dale and talked with him about taking responsibility for himself and his grades, telling him that I intend to ride herd on him and make sure he's getting his work done.  I also intend to ask Katie if she will keep an eye on him during study halls they may have together, but it is ultimately up to Dale to work hard and study hard.  We can set up a good schedule and keep pushing him to stay on task, but Dale has to be the one to want to do it.

Emily is entering 2nd grade; Ashley is going into 7th grade; and Katie will be a junior this year.  This is her last big year for academics, and she has at least one hard class (geometry).  But she also gets to be my TA (teacher's assistant) for an hour after lunch, and she doesn't intend to join the volleyball team this year so she doesn't have to worry about her grades making her ineligible to play.  Next year, as a senior, her class load will be much lighter and she'll be available to TA more.  She's scared about some of her classes but looking forward to the year still.  And then there's Amanda........our soon-to-be-gone-to-college student.  She is so excited about college and scared nearly stiff at the same time.  She has almost all of the stuff she needs, just a few odds and ends left to get.  Now comes the chore of packing it all up to transport down there!  She's attending Golden State Baptist College in Santa Clara, CA.  We've known several people who attended there, including church kids and staff.  I know she'll have a good time, get a solid education, receive further instruction in how to live her life for God's purpose, and maybe meet someone special!  She's poised on the brink of the rest of her life, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for her.  She's such a wonderful, caring, sweet, beautiful person, and I'm so proud to call her my daughter.  I'm going to miss her so much I can't think about it without crying, but I wouldn't hold her back from this for anything.  She's going to be someone greatly used of God, I know.

I don't know where you are in life, whether you are young and just starting out like Mandie or a young married person with a child or two or middle-aged (like I guess I have to call myself!) or nearing the end of God's path for your life; regardless, I want to challenge you to ask God to show you His will........and then do it.  Ask God for some great thing, some impossible thing........and then believe He will bring it to pass.  Talk to Him and wait for His answer.  It will come; we just have to slow down enough to hear it.  We get so busy racing around that we can't hear that still, small voice.  I think we kind of want God to do some huge, unexplained thing to get our attention so that we have a big story to tell about how God Himself talked to us.  We want to see His hand appear and begin writing on our dining room wall exactly what He wants us to do so that we can have visible proof that He has spoken to us.  Just talk to Him, and He'll answer.  Give Him a chance to get through to you; pay attention when the Spirit touches your heart; read His Word.  You'll be amazed to realize that the God of Heaven doesn't just love the world..........He loves you.

Jeremiah 33: 3  "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."


  1. Hi Dale. I hope you had a great break from school and I am pleased to see your curriculum looking good. Try your very best and never give up. You are an inspiration to us all and I have so much respect for you. Praying for you.

  2. Another great post Kirsten, and I agree. Summer raced by here too, and this season I think that we managed to match you for rain lol. This has been the rainiest summer on the Gulf Coast that I can remember. School started here last Monday, and our regular church activities start again this week, so the summer is officially over in everything but date. It sounds like Dale has a great program set up, I'm so happy that he can make the adjustment to ninth grade. I know that God is with him every step of he way, as he is with us. Thank you for the scripture from Jeremiah, it's just what I needed today to remind myself to never forget. God is always there for us and always has the answers when I need them. Thanks again for all that you continue to give us through this blog, it's been an incredible joy. As always, the Ostranders are in my prayers, all my best to you and your family. Yours in Christ, Eric

  3. I certainly wish Dale much success and no frustration this school year. Good luck, Dale. Work hard!

  4. I used that Jeremiah verse after my miscarriage, waiting on the Lord for His answer, which was our beautiful, God fearing son who is now 11. Thank you for that verse and reminding us to ask for God's will and then wait for it. I am SO bad at waiting, especially when it is a situation that needs fixing. I will meditate on this when our "situation" rears it ugly head and I want to tell the Lord that I am tired of waiting. Thank you for your openess and vulnerablility that you continue to share on here. Even though I don't check back as often as I did right after Dale's accident, it seems every time I do, I suddenly look at things in perspective. Thank you again dear sister in Christ.

    Saralee (from Baltimore)