Winter Surprises

23 01 2016

Sharing the beauty of winter:

Enjoy a shovel-free view of winter from pictures I took and assembled in the “Winter Surprises” video I created:

https://youtu.be/bownpnIV7hE

On a serious note:

Winter Storm Jonas is affecting millions of people. The impact of the storm has taken some by surprise. It’s worse than predicted in certain areas. Please pray for people living near the New Jersey shore. Flooding already seems to be worse than Hurricane Sandy.

When such disasters strike, some wonder Where’s God? I don’t presume to have all the answers, but I would like to share something with you. Today a devotional I wrote was posted on Rest Ministries. Below is an excerpt of that message titled, “Discovering Winter Surprises Despite the Cold.”



I gotta admit; I dread winter. Cleaning snow off our cars exhausts me. One winter, the snowstorms were relentless. I barely had time to recover before another storm hit.

 One storm dumped a foot of snow. It took longer to remove.  I stopped to catch my breath and spotted a scene that took my breath away. The sun glistened off mounds of snow. Mounds that appeared to be topped with whipped cream by God’s own hand.

 That winter surprise propelled me to finish quickly. I jumped in my cleared-off car and set out to do a photo shoot. Some scenes grabbed my attention. Others were discovered by seeking them out. God’s beauty was found when I looked up, focused closer, and studied shadows.   

 We can face the winter seasons in life that way. Isaiah tells us to, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

 Seek God: look up, focus closer, study shadows. He is near.

 





Major Education Law Passed, With Barely a Whisper of Recognition

13 12 2015

whisperbest

Last Thursday, December 10th, a bi-partisan agreement was reached. That alone should have gotten every media’s attention. I almost missed the brief announcement on one news channel. Congress acted to make major improvements to the former education law. Where was the hoopla?

Because I’m sure you want to know…

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was signed into law on January 8, 2002, has been replaced. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed just last Thursday. It replaces NCLB. Both laws grew out of the premise that all students should have equal access to education and needed supports, regardless of race, income, zip code, disability, home language, or background.

The goals of the new bill echo those of NCLB. The intention of ESSA is also to ensure success for every student. To that end, the new bill also focuses on measures to improve poor-performing schools. Students will still take the federally required statewide reading and math exams.

Many of the changes sound exciting. Like more control being given back to state and local governments, limits put on the amount of time students spend on testing, and a required minimum of 30 days for public review of a State’s plan (which would include academic standards).

Clear and Concise Summary:

USA Today’s  article,  “The Every Student Succeeds Act vs. No Child Left Behind: What’s changed?” clearly breaks down the changes. It compares both laws with regard to the following categories:

  • The Problem
  • Testing
  • Common Core
  • Accountability
  • Remedies
  • Spending
  • Bipartisanship

Read for Yourself:

Find all the details of ESSA (Law: S.1177 – Student Success Act) posted on Congress.gov’s website:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1177/text

 





Boston Marathon

16 04 2013

marathon runner
“I can’t sleep.”
What’s the solution? It depends on who’s got the problem.

Adults battle sleepless nights. Young parents literally can’t get any sleep.

Hospital noises may prevent a patient from sleep. Snoring may be the culprit in a marriage.

But, if your child said it the night of the bombing in Boston, you know exactly what that meant. Your child was really saying, “I’m scared. I’m worried it could happen here.”

Parents once again are struggling with what to say to their young children. How can we calm their fears when our own sense of security has been rocked?

Worry consumes our thoughts.
Why did this happen? HOW could it happen? Can we prevent it from happening again?

Experts are saying there’s really no way they could ever guarantee complete safety for an event such as the Boston Marathon. There’s a limit to what can be done.

Likewise, there’s a limit to what we can do to ease the fears of a child. We can assure them adults are working to keep them safe. But, we can’t give them what they desperately need: complete peace.

When our son, Chris, was in elementary school, I felt similar helplessness. I couldn’t guarantee his safety when he went off to school. He often got bullied (as many children with ADHD did). I reassured him that adults were there to help. And I prayed with him.

In high school, Chris suffered a break from reality. He received help from a psychiatrist and entered a psychiatric unit. After his release from the hospital, he received homebound instruction.

When he returned to school, I worried he might be too mentally and emotionally fragile.
What if he becomes fearful or gets distressed? What will he do? Where will he go? Who will help him there?

I gave him a Pass It On® Message Card to keep in his pocket. He could pull it out anytime he needed reassurance from his heavenly Father. The card reminded him God was with him. Each message would restore perfect peace.

Chris learned that the Bible truly is the best weapon for worry. God’s sword can battle fears. There is power in the Word.
passitoncard
The bombing in Boston may have ripped through your child’s peaceful thoughts. In addition to what you’re doing and saying, pass along a scripture message. Your child can cling to God’s strong hand whenever or wherever you’re not there. By reading the powerful message of hope you lovingly tuck inside the pocket of his pants.
Godshandholdingchildshand'





How do we explain it to children?

15 12 2012

worried eyes

The recent events that transpired in Newtown, Connecticut have captivated our attention. Among the many questions flooding our mind is, “What do we say to our children?”

Experts are offering wonderful advice. What to say. How many details to give.

One recommended saying, “You don’t need to worry. If anything like that happens in your school, the teachers and principal would surround you. Police officers would come to rescue you. Your father, and I would rush to get you.”

Few are emphasizing the importance of how to speak to children. If a parent speaks those reassuring words with an anxious tone, the child will mirror the adult’s stress.

Kids take their cue from parents. Throughout my 34+ yrs. as an educator, I’ve seen evidence of that fact. Kids can tell if a parent is worried. They can sense concern. It’s hard for them to believe things will be okay when the adult seems fearful.

When I told my second graders I had multiple sclerosis (MS), they read my expression. Studied my face. It was critical for me to convey the seriousness of my illness along with reassurances. My tone of voice, words, and facial expressions all had to match.

God had given me a peace about my illness. So I calmly conveyed the news. Here’s part of what I said:

“It’s not contagious. I have good doctors and I’m taking good medicine. There’s no cure. It’s no fun having MS. But, I have a choice. I can focus on the lousy parts of MS or I can think about the Truth. The Bible tells me God loves me and will help me. When I feel really sick, I get a love attack…God sends lots of people to help me. I’m thankful for my family and friends who do my chores at home when I can’t. You can help me by praying that I won’t have to absent. It makes me sad when I can’t be with you. I miss you. Sad things happen to everyone during their lives. When sad things happen, it helps to remember the promises in the Bible. Let’s all sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ very slowly so we can think about the words in the song.”

Afterwards, I had the students write about MS. It was important to know what they understood and how they felt about my illness. I asked them to finish three sentences:

MS is…

I think God allowed Mrs. Chandler to get MS because…

I learned that when things are very sad or are very hard…

Their responses revealed they understood the illness. More importantly, they reacted very calmly to the news. Just like my demeanor.

Follow the advice of experts. Remember you’re the expert about your child. So, also follow your intuition.

First, prepare yourself. You may be in desperate need to feel God’s supernatural peace which passes understanding. With His calming assurance, you can approach your child. Ready to inform and remove fears.





Why?

21 07 2012

We watch the bloody bodies coming out of the Aurora theater and ask why. Why did this happen? Why did one man commit such evil against innocent people? Teens, parents, children simply watching a movie.

Rational minds can’t make sense of such an irrational act. Yet we struggle to comprehend it.

Our hearts ache for those who have lost loved ones. For those whose lives will be forever changed. How can this be prevented from ever happening again?

The Colorado massacre brings everything into perspective for those of us who live with physical pain. Our pain can’t come close to the loss of a loved one. There is pain and then there is pain. When no amount of tears seem to comfort. When time doesn’t seem to heal the hurt.

Finally, we ask the question that offers hope. Who can help?

When things seem horribly out of control, there is One who is in control. Our heavenly Father knows what it’s like for a Son to die. He gave His only Son for us. So that we could one day live with Him in heaven. A place without such carnage as we see on the news. A place where God will wipe away every tear. A place where there will be no more pain.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).

I’m comforted by that hope. That eases my pain and gives me peace.

You might say, “That’s easy for you to say. You don’t know what it’s like to face an insane man threatening your life.”

My answer: Actually, I do know what it’s like…years ago my son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. For two months during a psychotic episode, he threatened my life. Out of touch with reality, with an empty darkness in his eyes. During those days, God provided peace. Peace that can’t be comprehended. How could I have such peace in the face of death? Because of Him.

Dear heavenly Father, You are able to comfort those who are in pain. Please bring comfort and peace to those who face physical or emotional pain. To those who struggle with fear and uncertainty. We pray for protection for the police officers who walk into danger on our behalf. In Jesus’ name, Amen

How are you praying for the people in Aurora, Colorado?