Tag Archives: teachers


“Jesus wept.”~Jn 10:35

It is the shortest verse in the Bible and yet…it catches my breath every time I read it.

God wept.

I’ve been thinking of the story of Lazarus all week. It seems Our Father does this to me often. He plops breadcrumbs down in front of my feet – like I’m supposed to know what to do with them.

Eat them? Follow them?

Obviously, I don’t handle His hints very well. Sometimes, I crush them – mostly by accident…..I think – with the heel of my boots. Sometimes, I stoop down to study them where they are lying, wondering if I really want to deal with the mess of breadcrumbs in my pocket – you know – they crumble, right? Sometimes, I pick them up – popping them in my mouth – – duh, I’m hungry and the five second rule works for me. And sometimes – I pick them up and turn them carefully in my hands and wonder why they sparkle in the sun? Then I wonder just what in the world am I supposed to do with a sparkly breadcrumb?

It has been one of those weeks. The breadcrumbs have been plentiful – way more than I can handle – and I’ve been befuddled on what to do with all of them. My path littered with crumbs I’ve inadvertently crushed. My belly full of broken challa that feeds my soul. My pockets, a crumbly mess of wisdom that I wish I understood just a little more. My hands full of somewhat intact crumbs that sparkle and then I look up. The darkness thins, and He shows me why they sparkle. They are covered with tears.

As I’ve been reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg which led me at some point to the story of Lazarus. As if to drive the point home, I stumbled over to a podcast by a Messianic Rabbi on John Chapter 11. Till finally last night, there was a transforming catalyst of the breadcrumbs and that sent me to the back door slider in our home. A sunset. A ray of light reflecting off my tears. He always prepares me, I just am not so smart at realizing it until I look closely at those breadcrumbs that I hold tenderly in my hand.

Rabbi Yeshua was close to His followers and even closer to His disciples. He was their teacher for as long as He was given. His Father gave him a list, and He gathered them by calling their name or telling a story or by just a look over a crowd. He broke bread with them. He taught them with love. He patiently explained this new knowledge in different ways, over and over and over. He struggled when they struggled with their faith. He wept when they wept for great was His compassion – – – great was His love.

In our society, students don’t stay as long with their teachers as they did in Jesus’ time. However, like the rabbis of old, teachers today still share tiny bits of their lives, knowledge – and hopefully – wisdom with those given to their charge by the Father through a list typed out by the school secretary in some office. Before they know it though, the students are walking out the door and onto their own paths; their teachers sniffle a little as they wave good-bye.

As teachers, we don’t talk about it much. We act like it is just a job. Actually, I don’t think we understand the process as much as we think we do. We just know – that somehow – we grew attached. We gathered them at the beginning of the year. We broke bread with them. We laughed with them. Struggled with them in their struggles. We sweated in the heat of the summer that didn’t know when to quit. We froze in the depth of winters when old boilers couldn’t keep up with the below-freezing cold. We wept when the ugliness of life jumped out of the bushes and unto the path that we are walking together.


Vehicle crashes.

Storms that break tree limbs.


A national tragedy – a local tragedy – a familial tragedy.

The connection between teachers and students has been there since the beginning of time and will continue in the everlasting gospel (Rev 14:6). It has been modeled for us throughout the entire WORD. When Our Father gathered His people to Him. When He sat on Mount Sinai with Moses and the Elders to break bread (Ex 24:9-10). When He carved His law upon the tablets and told Moses what to write in the Torah (Ex 19-24). He struggles with His people when they struggle. He weeps with holy tears as His people weep (Jer 14:7).

Teachers – Students – breadcrumbs that sparkle with tears in every season of life. God is good and greatly to be praised. Amen and amen.


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img716I am now the proud owner of a snowman spoon holder, several pictures, a pink, batman-beaded bracelet that says “Thanks for being my superhero”, and several things that seemed edible – but who really knows. It is teacher appreciation week, even in the after-school programs.

teachers day 2016“By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”~Matt 7:16


It’s strange – but I don’t think there was such a thing as teacher appreciation day, 1st gradeor week, or even teacher of the year..although, back in my school days, I didn’t really pay much attention to teacher things, so I could be wrong. But, because of how we were raised, if we had extra apples or oranges, one found its way to a big person’s desk. If we passed pretty flowers on a tree or in a garden, they might have ended up on another teacher’s desk. A simple card made out of colored construction paper and crayon or a letter written in pencil and splashed in tears. A Valentine candy heart was enough to bring a smile to both our faces.

Nice thing about small town was that our teachers were generally involved in more than just our school lives. They read us stories in the morning – usually Bible stories – prayed with us – led us in the pledge, became our Sunday school teachers, our church choir directors, our boy/girl scout leaders, our coaches, our advisors, our safety patrol leaders, honor society leaders, our – extended family.

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.”~Ecc 7:8RF McMullen staff 62 63

One of my “extended family” danced into heaven this past year to join her husband who had also been a part of my extended family since he was in the church choir and a drummer for every minstrel I can remember. I didn’t have her as a “school” teacher, but she still touched my life with hers. Over the years, we would re-connect, visit in the grocery aisle or at the annual street fair and exchange Christmas cards. Still my teacher – still inspiring – still sharing her light with her student.

“Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.”~Ep 5:9

As I look at the pictures of these special people from my own student days, I see the fruits of the spirit. Love wasn’t a noun – it was a verb. I know we say that teachers don’t get paid much, but back in the day – they made even less and did much more. (I know because my beginning salary was $7,600 in C-bus public schools, and my mom thought that was a fortune) As hard as I worked, I know I never did as much as they did, but I tried to give my students as much as they gave me.

I am thankful that G-d put each and every one of these teachers on my life path. In their own way, they helped shape the person I have become. It is the little things – more than the paycheck – more than the things that can be bought. It is the fruits of the spirit offered. It is the fruits of the spirit accepted and passed on to the next generation.

“But the fruits of The Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, sweetness, goodness, faith,”~Gal 5:22img717


sept 11Today I pulled out a 14 year old shirt. An old shirt with stains around the collar from the iron in our water at the Perrysville house. A shirt made with tears and love. A shirt crafted by a talented co-worker in the late night hours after the lights in the school had gone dark. Dark.
“In all their distress He too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.”
img322I pulled out a shirt today to remember when our world turned incredibly darker. Where we were is etched in our mind. The ordinary activities tied tightly to the immoral act unfolding on our TV screens. The school, which is normally full of various voices, jovial jokesters, and trivial trips here and there, was abnormally quiet as I worked through the doors. TV’s rarely used were strongly speaking, conveying pictures of the unbelievable darkness.
I had already cried and prayed on the way into my school. I was only img323working part time, so the first plane hitting a tower was fresh in my mind. I remember being in the kitchen, stopping what I was doing and walking into the family room to see the unbelievable. The second plane played out over my car radio. God shook my land and I prayed for wisdom. Like most teachers across the nation, all lesson plans became inconsequential. Almost 15 years prior to 2001, my 6th grade class and I watched Challenger blow up on live TV. Lesson plans on grammar and reading can wait when the land is shaken and its people humbled.
“In His love and mercy He redeemed them;”
By the time, I arrived, the school was silent. The principal’s office was img324fielding parental calls, but gave the okay to turn on the TV. I went to my room and began taking notes on the giant post-its that hung on the wall. The kids filed in silently,pulled out their own notes, and we began to talk and write softly. We established time-lines as best we could. We watched in horror and sorrow. Some wept. Some stoically held the hands of those closest to them. Then we began to write. Some wrote poetry. Some newstories. Some drew pictures. Some wrote editorials. We had a newspaper to produce.
With the help of the school counselor, we added (what are now) iconic colored pictures of that day. It was the only time our small student img325newspaper ever used color. This issue was too important to charge money for it. The students chose to give it away (we usually charged a quarter), but we took donations to send to NYC. The editors walked through the seats, laying a precious newspaper on every seat so that parents coule read what their children had observed and thought about the tragedy. A usually boistrous gym was silent as the students and parents silently filtered in that old gym. The choir teacher led the choir in songs of sadness and patriotic songs that we all sang. For a short time, the flags flew high. The people mourned. The land humbled itself and prayed. And for that brief moment, we were truly – “one country under God – indivisible…”
“He lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.” — Isaiah 63:9
Today, I pulled out a 14 year old shirt and prayed for our country.1392058_656269047740859_1552776889_n


img956It seems impossible to believe that one of my daughters is a teacher and now has a full schedule of classes of teenage faces looking to her for guidance.  Guidance in education.  Guidance in their peer groups.  Guidance in life.  She is a “teacher-woman”.  She has also become her worst fear – she has become her mother.

As I look at some of the pictures of her that hang on our livingroom wall, my mind img042drifts back. It seems like last week that her little face was looking back at me from our kitchen island where she learned to read.  Or an older version of that same face gazing at me from a desk in the middle of a junior high row, surrounded by her own set of peers. img041How is it even possible that she has become a leader in her own right? She is my baby girl.  My Littlest.  And yet – there she is.  A newer version of that same face – sadly for me – several states away.  She is totally out of the nest and seeking wisdom as her own version of a “teacher-woman”.

I am humbled.

Impossible things happen every day. It’s life. We “see” it happening,1978 but somehow – the miracle of the “happening” doesn’t register until the sun comes up some years later. The moon cast its pale light so many times that we lost track. The seasons rolled around and “suddenly” we open our eyes one morning and realize that time has escaped our notice, and we are left wondering just how that happened. Wasn’t I just teaching at OSU’s Campbell Hall nursery school?

This morning, I went down to the local gym, and stretched my knees. Watched the river flow for a few minutes and heard the birds chatter back and forth. Fussed in the garden and got buzzed by a couple of hummingbirds bickering over the feeder. Browsed through the paper and broke my night’s fast. Turned on the computer and read a few statuses and articles. Read two chapters of an old paperbook friend and thought about the start of school for me on Thursday. Then the impossible struck again – how can it be, that after 64 years, I still “see” the world through the school calendar lens?


The impossible becomes possible. God reaches out. “Teacher-people” appear. we hear His whisper and not His roar. (1 Kg 19:12b)

Just like all the nations around the world that are hurting right now, history teaches us that Israel had her shares of trouble.  Once upon a particular time, they had a king named Ahab.  He was not a righteous king who worshipped God in his heart.  He was not content to just ignore God by not traveling and worshiping in Jerusalem.  He decided to push the envelop. He married Jezebel and began to worship another God entirely.

That old adage comes to mind, “As the leader goes – so goes the country.”

So God did what He does best. He reached out and sent a “teacher-man”. Just one man in the line of many that God sent to His people. His name was Elijah. Elijah was a “teacher-man”. He did a little more than teach, but teach he did.  A “teacher-man” that saw no limits on what God could do.  A “teacher-man” that had faith that the “impossible” was “possible” with God in his life. Course Elijah wasn’t perfect, he did get a little scared of Jezebel for a while. Eventually though, he managed to turn on his spiritual ears, amped up his faith and got busy doing God’s work.

We don’t know how Elijah became a “teacher-man”. We don’t know what qualified him to hold that position – but there he was.  Was he a scholar?  A rabbi?Whatever he was, he was the right man — for the right job — at just the right time — a “right”eous man. That is the way God works. Creating the possible through the impossible. As the “teacher-man”, he asked a simple question, “How long will you waver between two opinions?” ( 1 Kg 18:21).

Sound familiar?

“There is no servant who can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will honor the one and he will neglect the other…” Lk 16:13

The school calendar on this earthly plane has started. Parents are buying supplies. Kids are getting excited about who will be in their class. “Teacher-people” are planning. But if we open our eyes, we may see that school has started for all of us – for all of God’s children – for the whole world. God is doing what he does best. He is loving His children. “Teacher-people” are speaking to those who have ears to listen. They are speaking to the “impossibles” in our lives. They are speaking to those situations where we are torn between our “masters” – between our “choices” – between the just and the un-just. Individually. Physically. Nationally. Spiritually. Worldly.

As a “teacher-woman” , I guess I am stuck seeing the world through a school calendar lens. Praying and having faith that my spiritual eyes are open.  Praying and having faith that my spiritual ears are listening. Praying and having faith that “impossible” is  “possible” to those who believe in God.


Rabbi Yeshua.

“Teacher-people” that still teach us to pray and have faith.

“…for the power of the prayer which a righteous person prays is great.” James 5:16bme 1978

Attitude of Gratitude #26

rainbowAttitude of Gratitude #26: Teachers Treasures. When I was in Jr Hi I had a history teacher that was a story teller of history. Movies and TV were in their infancy and certainly, not in the schools. But…if we were lucky, teachers treasures were there. Most teachers were okay. I doodled a lot, played the ‘I Wonder…’ game in my head (which was basically a daydream), wrote notes to my friends, and waited for the bell to ring. (BTW – my grades were not horrible, but they weren’t great) However, – there was that one teacher – every now and then – that one teacher who made their subject come alive in my head and my grades actually became exemplary (YEA- me). In other words – a teacher treasure.

Anyway, this teacher of history was actually an American history teacher. I fell in love with our country that year. Especially the stories of early America. Because of him, I began to read biographies, diaries, articles, historical fiction…Now, I have access to multiple sources on line and continue to read. I especially love the sites that cite their sources…it gives me a little faith that maybe they are reporting the truth.

Teachers can be found in any occupation and the good ones are a treasure worth more than gold. The past couple of years, I’ve been blessed with encountering a few teacher treasures when I really needed them. Tonight as I watch a Hallmark movie that is more spiritual than most, I am smiling, because even made-for-TV-movies can be a teacher – if your eyes are open. Teachers can be treasures, and I am thanful that God has put some really special ones in my path.

“When I left Springfield [Illinois, to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.” – Abraham Lincoln


(romadowney image)

Commandment Series: Prohibition of Theft.

ten-commandments-400.hebrew abbrevIt has been a challenging week.  Things have not gone at all the way I expected or wanted.  However, deep inside of me, I know that God knows that is how I learn best.  So…as much as I hate assessments…I keep trying to look for the wisdom in all that is going on around me and remember that Jehovah-Rapha stands beside me just as Jehovah-Nissi is ready to help fight my battles.

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely than others.” Jm 3:1

Today, I was ready to ignore writing again.  When I am wrestling with a “God Assessment”, I tend to do more reflection than teaching.  Teaching means being sure of  my subject matter and relying on my faith to guide my words and concepts.  Reading, devotions, playing with the dogs, seem to give me a better perspective as I work through whatever the current faith-walk plagues my life at the moment.  It’s strange – music has always been a big part of my faith life, yet now, when I am troubled, I don’t go into the music room. Instead, I turn to the WORD and reading things from other sages – especially those of Jewish tradition.  It was during this time that I found a small little piece of information buried in a rabbi’s writing.


This is the Jewish letter Tov.  Its initial letter Tet also represents the letter nine as it is the ninth letter of the Jewish alphabet. Tet also represents the word “good”; as in “… God saw that it was good. Gen 1:12b   Amazingly it is also the only letter of the Hebrew alphabet that was left out of the first time Moshe brought the tablets down off the mountain. (Ex 20) Yet – in the second set of laws that Moshe brought off the mountain, it was included. (Deut 5:15 in the word “outstretched”  NeTuYah) Hmmmmm….

Jewish tradition holds that it is because anything “Good” lasts forever. Our omniscient Jehovah-Tsid-Kenu foresaw these events in our linear life line.  Had He included Tov in the first tablets, they could not have been destroyed.  Only Our Father God knows why things had to play out the way they did.  What important God Assessments did these scarred and damaged people have to “grow” through to achieve the unity of being His united and chosen people?  Maybe it was just that – they would no longer see themselves as a people enslaved to other societies – other gods – other lands.  That they would see themselves as His people – united by His love, His grace, and His law.

“You shall not steal.” Ex 20:15

On the physical level it is a very straight forward law, and it makes sense to most of us.  After all, who wants to go through getting arrested, going to court, being convicted?  When Moshe presents it a second time in Deut 5, it is still a very straight forward law.  Again, why would we do anything but that?  But what if – what if there was more to it?  Don’t steal away.  Don’t steal a glance.  Don’t steal someone’s heart. Don’t steal the spotlight.  Don’t steal anything…….period.  The 10 Commandments are still relevant.  They still make us think.  They are still a strong guideline for our lives as we journey this faith-walk.  Our Father knew that as He carved them.  They were meant to last until Christ returns and is able to establish “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”   Kinda important, don’t ya think?  That being said…should I stop singing this hymn??????  Somehow – I think not.  ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


Grandma Mac

“My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.” Prov 3:1-2

Long ago, children were raised by a village.  Family was all around.  Teachers could be found on every little street, church and school.  Good teachers hold a special place in our memories.  Sometimes those memories swirl around in our head and emerge to remind us of some knowledge that we gained because of that one person.  One of my favorite Grandma Macteachers was Grandma Mac.  There are so many memories of this lady.  Mother 0f 8 and an additional still-born set of twins.  Strong matriarch after her husband died.  Loving Grandma.  There was nothing better than stopping to see her when I was out riding my bike or walking home from school. Her kitchen was full of aromas that never came out of our kitchen at home.  (Mom may have been her daughter, but she never could manage to cook like her mama.)   Homemade noodles, cookie jars full of un-burned sweetness (mom always “overcooked” cookies), chocolate-meringue-topped pies, sauerkraut setting on the back porch with the wine bottles brewing..and on and on and on.

“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.”  Prov 17:6

In those days, we could ride our bikes all around our small town…day into night…at least…until the car horn beeped three times or the fireflies lit our way home.  Parents never worried about what we were doing; they knew that neighbors were always keeping their eyes open for mischief, and I could get spanked from them Grandma Mac retirementas well as mom or dad. Inevitably, there were the stops at Grandma’s house – especially after she got home from working at the Flxi (Flxible Bus Company). If she was not home yet, I would wander around her kitchen garden, sit on the porch and read my favorite book of the day, or explore the old barn behind her house.  To my way of thinking, the 50’s were the perfect time to grow up. Church on Sunday, family gatherings, bike rides, minstrel shows, a library full of books, and endless list of happy times, but at the top of that list was always Grandma Mac.

grandma's panYesterday, my daughter picked strawberries and shared some with us, so today I made shortcake. Grandma taught me her recipe as I stood on a chair by her side….flour, buttermilk, baking powder, butter, sugar and a touch of vanilla.  Sometimes she even patted it with powdered sugar as she put it in the baking dish…golden brown heaven covered with strawberries, homemade ice cream and real whipped creme.  Some of her grandma toolskitchen pictures and  tools remain in my own kitchen, and it makes me smile as I think about her hands holding the same ones that I hold.  Double boiler pan slightly colored on one side from our house fire several years ago, an porcelain funnel, a potato masher.  Simple things but so precious.

Memories bring us close to those who have traveled through this world before us.  They were our first teachers –  our touchstones.  Stones that are handled throughout many generations.  Stones that have been carved by the sharp knives of  knowledge, wisdom, and love.  Stones that are left behind for us to hold and treasure.  Now I have my own Grands, and already, they stand on chairs by my side.  We haven’t made any of  Great-Grandma Mac’s recipes…YET.  But summer looms ahead. and I think there will be a day – or hundreds of days – when we will chose one of her touchstones, carving a little more love into it, and passing on the skills that she passed to me.  And believe it or not, I believe the Grands will be teaching me much more than I am teaching them.

“At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way.”  Luke 10:21me grandma 1954