Sunday, November 24, 2013

Farewell Thank You

The time has come.

The season has ended.

This will be my final blog entry.

God has let me know it's time.

In doing so I want to also acknowledge this holiday season of Thanksgiving.

I want to pay a tribute of thanksgiving to my parents.  I am now 59 years old and my life has had a lot, really a lot of "seasons" --- all of which they have stood behind me, walked in front of me and held my hand as they journeyed beside me.

From childhood --- dinner around our kitchen table there on the farm --- we could sit there for a couple of hours.  Eating wasn't the most important thing -- it was the laughing and talking and sharing and just being family!  Those dinners molded and changed my life.

From discipline --- I know I wasn't the easiest child to rear.  Being the oldest of 4 kids and the only girl -- no matter what I always knew I had parents who loved me and a home to come home to.  Those constants were God's special blessings to me.

From love --- raising 4 kids on  a farmer's income had to be rough --- but I never knew when those rough times were.  Christmas always had us opening piles of presents from under the tree and the wrapping paper strewn from one end of the 40 foot long family room to the other was just part of the fun.  My parents always loved one another, no matter how tough it must have been at times.  I remember seeing them embrace and kiss one another in front of the kitchen sink one night and it is a scene that has stayed with me and sustained me through the years!

From faith --- we weren't given the "choice" of attending church on Sunday mornings!  And for that I am thankful.  We were all given a Christian education through the 8th grade and that education molded me in ways I don't even know or realize now.  What I do know is that insisting we have that foundation to build our lives upon was -- and is -- priceless and life long!

From fun --- vacations to the Smoky Mountains for years on end --- the vacation to Florida that carries stories that will last longer than our lifetime -- always together as a family -- always fun and always filled with love.

From the really tough times; nearly losing my youngest daughter at birth, divorce after nearly 22 years of marriage, moving all over the place, remarriage and continued problems and stumbling blocks and twists and turns of life ---- my parents have always been there for me and with me.

For Monty -- for accepting him (broken parts and all) and giving him the family he always dreamed of -- he calls my mom "mom" and does it with such love!

Even when Monty and I said we were quitting our jobs and leaving our home and going south to help people rebuild their lives and homes following hurricane Katrina --- feeling in their hearts that we wouldn't be able to survive -- but never once putting those thoughts into words --- even when we stayed in the south for 3 years and then headed to the deeper south state of Texas for another 2 years --- they supported us.  They even came and visited us a couple of times --- and even though they left in wonder and amazement and not really understanding --- they still supported us.

So as we approach this Thanksgiving season and I look forward to spending that special day with my parents, all 3 of my brothers, 2 of my children, my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews --- our family all together around that kitchen table --- the laughter will be deafening at times, the food will be enough to feed 5 more families, the house filled with so much love it will be leaking out any crack or crevice in that house that was built in 1868 --- I know I am the most blessed woman in this world!

And all because of my parents, the examples they have set for all of us, for their friends, for their church family, for the homeless that my mom fed for over 20 years and for those whose lives have been touched by them -- that we aren't even aware of! 

The saying goes that a strand of 2 can be broken pretty easily but a strand of 3 -- with God as the center -- is impossible to break.  God has been the center of my parents lives which in turn has been the center of my life --- and for that --- there are NO words to express my thanks!

They may be 80 and 82 years "young" but I look forward to the upcoming years as I know God has amazing plans for both of them --- which means amazing plans for me and my brothers!

WOW!   It's going to be a great Thanksgiving!

And WOW --- God is so good!

Thank you Mom and Daddy! 

Yes, this is my final blog.  This season is over and I look forward to the next!
May God bless all of you and my you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

For the last time . . .                                             Susan and Monty

Friday, November 15, 2013

49 Years Later = REST!!!!!

When I finally made the appointment for him and found out the results I think I was the only one that was not surprised.  But this morning did surprise me!

Monty hasn't had one night of real restful sleep in . . . probably since he was born!

And last night . . . night one!!!!!

He finally got the machine!!  He stopped by the shop after work and after a 90 minute lesson in how to use it and getting it all set up he was home.

And sadly, he now has a really nasty cold and when he came in the door after 6.30pm he was more than dragging.  His voice was raspy and he was exhausted from just trying to work through the cold both outside and inside of him.

All he could manage to do was get the machine out of the bag and turn over the information booklet to me.  I admit I didn't feel up to reading all of it either so we just went with the professionals set up and left all the rest of the info on the table.

Usually Monty stays up longer than me.  We've found that if I get to sleep first atleast I stand a chance of getting a bit of sleep before he comes in and starts snoring, flipping and flopping and breathing and not breathing . . .

Last night we both went to bed at the same time.  He hooked up the headgear and I really should have taken a picture for you to see.  If we both hadn't felt so bad it would've been funny.

I admit I figured he would get uncomfortable in it and toss it aside during the night.  I did hear him up a couple of times and when I looked, he had it all back on as it should be.  (The long tube isn't quite long enough to reach to the bathroom)    :)

This morning, when the alarm went off --- he was talking to me BEFORE he got out of bed!  Now understand that he sets an alarm for 2 hours before he needs to be at work.  He takes the first hour and just sits in a daze, coffee in hand, watching TV and waiting to get awake.  So this morning -- to be talking to me --- while still in bed with the head gear on ------ I wasn't even ready to talk!!!!  And you that know me know that doesn't happen  (but I am still quite a bit under the weather)    :)

He said he was awake and ready to go.  He was up, made his own coffee, gathered all the trash from the house (and didn't forget to take it out) and was ready to go within the first hour!!!!

I've always said I believe in miracles and this morning I was blessed to witness another one!

Monty's life is about to change in ways he has no idea!  He's not had real rest in forever.  And now?  I am anxious to see the changes!  He was this ready to go this morning when I figured he wouldn't even go to work because of feeling so bad!

God is so good!  This has been another "journey" in watching God's hands and God's timing and being so thankful for both!

He already says he'll use this machine all the time ---- even when he naps!  I think he won't need the 4 and 5 hour "naps" on the weekends anymore!!!!!!!!

Until next time . . . maybe I will also get some real sleep!                     Susan

Monday, November 11, 2013

1 . . 2 . . 3 . . = 4

This week has gotten off to a rather rough start.

I knew yesterday I didn't feel well and thought it was just a cold.

This morning I knew something was way off, very wrong.

I did go in and drive my morning bus route but shouldn't have.  Each hour had me feeling worse.

Immediately after my route I headed to the local walk in clinic and yep -- doc's words were, "you're a very sick lady!"  Surprise!

A sinus infection has combined with bronchitis and pneumonia!

So it's off work for the next couple of days and 4 different medications to juggle!

Scripture says I'm already healed so let's get it going!

Until next time . . . I will miss my bus kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                          Susan

Saturday, November 09, 2013

It's not by accident . . .

This week has had a couple of Mondays in it.

School was in session on Monday, closed Tuesday (national election day - with or without elections) and then back to school Wednesday.  It felt like starting the week twice.

But . . . it did allow me time to go to Bible study on Tuesday.  My schedule has just been so tight lately and I have really missed attending weekly.  This time my dear, sweet friend Bev picked me up and it was another amazing morning.  The young son of our assistant pastors had a Word for us, individually.

As he called up each person, one by one, I didn't think he would call me up.  He doesn't know me all that well and I just hadn't even thought about it.  I guess I didn't realize that God does know me!

As he called my name I wondered what I would be hearing.  After all, this kid is a kid!  But again, I forgot that the voice might be from a kid -- but the Words behind it would be God's!  It's tough when our human side is so human!

He told me "it's not by accident that you are driving a school bus!"  He told me how I was planting seeds into each of these children and even though I felt they couldn't understand me because I don't speak their foreign language - God was the one doing the interpreting and they totally understand me!

He then talked about how the seeds I am planting in them are going all over the world.  Some of my bus kids have already left and returned to their home countries, China, Turkey and Korea.  And another is just awaiting final travel plans before returning to Taiwan.  I hadn't thought about that and it shed some new light on things for me.

I admit that many times I have wondered why I am driving a school bus!  Let's face it, it's not been one of the things on my "bucket list" and really not something I ever even thought about!  And I have indeed felt like "why am I here doing this?"

But after Tuesday morning -- I now feel differently and thank God for using this young man to speak His Words to me!

I knew I had really missed going to Bible study.  I had missed seeing my friends.  But what I found is that I had missed hearing from God a lot more!!!!!

Keep your listening ears open because God has a way of using those whom we least expect to speak His Word to us!

Until next time . . . thank you Samuel for being obedient and not only hearing from God but obeying!  You changed my thought process for sure!                                              Susan

Thursday, October 31, 2013

She's Just That Special

I don't even remember when I first met her.  I had heard about her over the years, Monty's mother spoke very highly of her and considered her a dear and trusted friend.

I do know that when we came back from Texas she was going to have hip replacement surgery.  I decided to go and see her in the hospital and while I was there I prayed for her.  We talked and talked as if we'd known one another for years.

While I was visiting her one day the nurse came in the door with all sorts of protective clothing and such and "announced" that she had caught this bacteria "thing" and that anyone coming to visit must cover themselves with all this gown, mask and gloves "attire".  There I sat (not covered) and when I told the nurse I didn't need any of that (I knew God was protecting me as He's the one that sent me there in the first place) the nurse just smiled and then proceeded to answer the many questions I had. 

The very first thing my friend asked me was "does this mean you won't pray for me now?"  Not only did I assure her that I would -- I did -- and kissed her forehead before I left!

I also remember going to visit with her while she was in rehabilitation therapy and how we would laugh as we visited!  Her spirit of wanting to be completely healed was contagious!  Her laughter even more!  She had the nurses and other patients laughing and we all know that THAT is the best kind of medicine!

After she was released from all her therapy and such she decided she was going to "visit" our church.  She was a life long member of another church but due to some circumstances !!  she wanted to try someplace new. 

She's been at our church ever since!!!!

Her past church did get a new minister a couple of years ago and she thought she'd to back.  She went a couple of Sundays and returned to worship with us and has stayed.

She and Pastor Dave have developed such a wonderful relationship and the love they have for each other is also contagious. 

She now attends a small group Bible study and one of her sons comes along with her.  She jokes that sometimes she doesn't hear everything due to her hearing aids --- but she doesn't miss a class!

This past Sunday she was baptized!!  Yes, she had been sprinkled when she was an infant and in her "speech" before being baptized she said that being sprinkled was for her parents.  Being immersed was now for her!  She thanked her family and friends for being there.  Her other son was not going to attend but in the end said he would do it for her because she had done so much for him!  He wasn't sorry he came!!!!

I've seen a lot of baptisms but this one . . . I saw God there!   As Monty and one of her sons helped her up the steps and into the baptism tank and Pastor Dave helped lift her leg --- Monty stepped up and assisted Pastor Dave in baptizing her.  As she went under you could already hear the praises going up!  The congregation also loves this friend of mine and seeing her do this, hearing why -- it was priceless!  As she came up, hair slicked back, a smile on her face that was bigger than I've ever seen another human have --- the angels were singing and God was smiling!  The cheers of excitement and joy rang out through the whole church and I wondered if she was just going to sit in there for awhile!  Monty had told her ahead of time that we would need to call the EPA to remove the water since it would be filled with so much sin! 

It was a glorious morning, a morning where --- as I watched Monty help in her baptism --- I saw healing take place that I cannot find the words for!  God was right there, fulfilling His plan in His perfect timing and I am so grateful and thankful and overjoyed! 

She may have gotten baptized but my prayers were also answered in a big way.  God showed me how much He is the author of my life and that He is always right next to me!

She's a wonderful and trusted and beloved friend of mine!  A gift from God to me!  A gift I didn't even know I needed!

Ms Judy Mc ---- thank you for being you!  Thank you for being my friend!  Thank you for being baptized and most of all --- thank you for listening to God and obeying Him!

I look forward to what He has in store for all of us!

Yep folks --- she's just that special!           

Until next time . . .                                                                                  Susan

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Friend is a word we all use -- a lot.

But I've been thinking about the span of friends I personally have and have had over the years.  There are more than I can even number.  Each one has blessed my life in specific ways and I have grown because of them.  There are those who have come and gone -- for many different reasons.

And then there are those who are the "constant" ones, there over the years, through thick and thin.  There aren't very many of these.

New friends are fun.  Getting to know each other, working past the newness and getting into the reality of who you are.  I have a few of these and treasure the adventures.

As the years continue moving forward I anxiously anticipate the friends that I haven't even met yet and the situations that will bring us together.  God directs each one with a purpose, a lesson to be learned.

BFF = best friends forever!  There is one special person who is my best friend, the one who is there for me when I'm a bit less than perky, the one who encourages me, the one who believes in me way more than I believe in myself, the one that I treasure more than words can say ---- my husband, Monty!

Throughout our 15 years we've been through more than most couples go through in 50 years.  But the key?  We've gotten through it!  "We" have been a cord of 3;  Monty, myself and God.  Without God we never would have met.  Without Him we never would have married.  Without Him we never would have made it through the tough times, the nearly impossible times.  Without Him . . .

I never want to live my life without Him -- or Monty!

Friends!  Best friends!  God's special gifts we tend to take for granted!  Today I just wanted to take a few minutes and hopefully jog your memories and feelings and hopefully help you realize the friends in your lives!   Let them know how special they are -- and thank God for each of them!

Until next time . . . Blessings,   Susan

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Over 31 times in 1 hour

I've known it for all of the over 15 years we've been married.  Now I am feeling guilty for not making the appointment sooner.  But help IS on the way -- and it will help both of us!

Monty had a sleep study done this past week.  I have known he stops breathing in his sleep, amid the snoring that I hope the neighbors don't hear and that sometimes drives me into the spare bedroom in the middle of the night.  But I had no idea!

After only 2 hours into the study the nurses came in and said he HAD to use the machine.  He had stopped breathing over 31 times in both the first and second hours!!!!!  They were shocked and got him set up quickly. 

After sleeping with the machine for about 5 hours he woke up on his own and said he thought he had just taken a "nap" and yet wondered why he was able to be awake enough to answer questions and even complete paperwork!  He had never felt that rested and was really surprised when he realized just how long he had actually slept!

We now await the doctors review of the complete test.  That could take a couple of weeks as the had so many wires and machines hooked up at the same time; checking heart and brain and who knows what else.  But there is NO question --- he WILL be getting a machine and this morning he told me he doesn't remember anticipating anything with this much excitement!

I think he will be a new man - literally!  And he may find he doesn't need some of the medications he takes!

So . . . we wait  . . . in anticipation of a real nights sleep . . . for both of us!

Until next time . . . God is SO good!  And He doesn't need to sleep!                      Susan

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Heart Wrenching

Let me begin by saying that if you are easily offended --- you may not want to read this!

If any of you remember last year -- the bus route I had was the one nobody wanted!  Literally!  I found out that it hadn't had a steady driver for years!   The reason?  The behavior of the kids.  If you don't remember any of this you can go back in the blog archives and read starting January of this year.

This school year, when it was time to select our routes and I knew I couldn't get my one from last year due to all the changed made in the transportation office, I was shocked when I got such a good route and was the second to last to select.  (seniority)

Yesterday someone (2 other drivers actually) told me why my route was still available.  The kids!  And not for behavior reasons.  "They smell" was the comment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was shocked and sickened at the thought!  Another driver commented "I hate those foreign kids!"

Like I said, if this makes you burn with anger --- well --- it did the same with me!

Here we are in what's referred to as the melting pot of America -- due to the diversity of the university -- which does its best to recruit the "foreign" students!

And these are bus drivers --- been driving for quite some time!!!!

The one finally asked me outright, "they smell, don't they?"   YES!!!!  They smell good!  What do you expect?

We like to think and profess that we are open minded, we aren't prejudice, we welcome everyone, we are Americans, blah, blah, blah ---- hooey!!!!! 

And once again God has shown me He was the One who gave me this route, these kids, their parents and even the local police department!  He selected it just for me and He doesn't make mistakes or errors or judgments!

And aren't we ALL glad He doesn't!

So, just like last year --- I will drive this route with Jesus right beside me, behind me and all around me!  He is the author of my life and I am very glad He is!!!

Just sayin' . . .

Until next time . . . are you truly "open minded"???                                         Susan 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Driving and driving and driving and . . .

 Can't believe the time that's passed since I last wrote!

This past week has been beyond crazy!  Since I wasn't driving a school bus last year this time I had no idea of all the field trips that are going on!  What a way to pick up some extra hours and have fun in the mean time!

Monday was a trip to take 3 classes of 5th graders to one of their camps about 45 minutes from here.  Then we had our weekly drawing for upcoming trips for the rest of the week.

Tuesday we awoke to some of the thickest fog I think I've ever seen.  I was ready to go out the door when my phone rang but no one was on the other end.  When I arrived at the bus parking lot I was told school was on a 2 hour delay!  I was already there so I stayed until time to go.  The big debate for the morning was whether all the field trips to one of the local farms would be cancelled or just delayed.  They were not cancelled and so everything (and I mean everything) was pretty much thrown into a tizzy! 

I got the kids to the farm but getting out was another story.  One of our largest busses (just like mine) had tried to make a left turn that no bus, no matter what size, should have tried to make.  The driver ended up getting sideways on the road with not a single tire on the ground!  Needless to say it closed the road and took a very large wrecker to get it out.  The bus has frame damage and a real mess!

So by the time I navigated through all that mess (by being turned around in another location) I only had 30 minutes to inhale some food and return to pick up the kids.  Thankfully I knew the area well since I used to live there so I knew some back roads and that helped enormously.  But by the time the day was done I had been driving for nearly 11 hours!

Wednesday was another field trip to the same location.  This one was immediately after my morning route and was taking my granddaughter's kindergarten class to the farm.  It was so much fun seeing the look on her face and getting a big hug when she got on the bus.  I had told her mom who told her teacher that I was one of the busses driving so the teacher made sure her class was on my bus!  One of the little boys was celebrating turning 6 years old that day so when we returned to school we all took time to sing happy birthday to him! 

Thursday brought another planned field trip to take one special needs little girl and her teacher to the camp.  I also had to take the children studying music to 3 different schools immediately following dropping off my elementary kids.  I do this every Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Before I could even get going I was asked if I could sub for a noon shuttle (transporting special needs kids to and from kindergarten and preschools).  I had just enough time when I returned from the camp field trip to jump on the noon shuttle and run it for the 2 hours it took.  When I returned I had 20 minutes to grab a bite to eat and then return for my usual afternoon route.  The day involved 5 routes and another 11 hours of driving.

Friday I had NO field trips, NO noon shuttles and was glad!  We did do our emergency evacuation drill at the elementary school very successfully.  We tried our best to get the non English speaking students to understand what was going on and they did evacuate but I don't know how much they really understood!    :)   I did have to pick up our truck from the shop and then take and pick up Ms Gladys dog, Benji from the groomer.  I had a whole 2 hours at home!!!!  By last night I was one tired puppy and I don't think I remember going to bed!?

It's been a hectic week but a fun one.  Getting to take the kids different places, getting to meet new parents and teachers and camp counselors, driving to places I have and have not been . . . it all adds up to a lot of fun for me.  I am not "trapped" in some office and get to be out and enjoying life! 

I also now have one dedicated policeman who parks at one of my most troublesome stops where people continually run through my stop arms of the bus.  Funny how they don't run them while the policeman is there!  Which means they really DO see them!

But . . . there are the other stops where they continue to fly through!  This week I had the girl in the bright orange Jeep who called me the "B" word as she flew through.  Then there was the man in the brand new Mercedes sports car who was equally as rude!  And let's not forget the bicyclists who believe they are exempt from any road rules!

All in all ---- I love this job!  Every day is a new and different day.  The kindergarten kids love being able to load the bus  minutes before the rest of the elementary ones in the afternoon and are thrilled to see whose library book I will be reading to them while we wait.

I have more new students than I can keep track of --- but I do know is that none of them speak English!  So far I know I have students from Africa, Egypt, Germany, Portugal, China, Korea, Pakistan . . . and those are just the ones I know for sure!  Every day they get on the bus in smiles and get off the bus with bigger smiles as they see their parents waiting for them with huge smiles!  It warms my heart to see all that love packed in to one small bus stop! 

Jesus really does love the little children -- no matter where they are from or what language they speak!  The language of love is a universal language for sure!!!!!!!!

Until next time . . . next week has even more field trips so if I'm not on here very much you'll know why!  I'm out having fun with the kids!  And at age 59 it's extra special to have fun with the kids!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

One small door = large problems

It's been a busy few days!  But then, what else is new in my little world!?    :)

I've been trying to get as many school field trips as possible since so many of them are during the school days. 
In our district, all the 5th grade students from every elementary school take a trip to one of the local camps, about 40 minutes away.  They go for 3 days and so far I've been able to take and pick up most of them.  This means I have trips on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.  It's a fun trip and the kids are always so excited to go AND to come back home!

Along with those field trips I now have 2 extra hours each week transporting elementary students from one school to 3 different ones for their music lessons.  Another fun trip and every extra hour is valuable.

Yesterday was just one of those days . . . the kind you know are around the corner . . . making you not want to round the corner!

Each semester we must do a "practice" evacuation drill on the bus.  Since my scheduling is so tight on time the only day I could get it done was a Wednesday (elementary starts an hour later that day so extra time between routes).  Yesterday we did our drill with the junior and senior high students.  It went off without a hitch and no one was late for class.  They were helpful and took things seriously.  Not the norm for that age of kids!

I then rushed home to inhale a sandwich before going back to take the kids to camp.  We had 2 busses of kids and 1 bus just for their luggage.  The trip itself was pretty routine until the way back.

As I was turning into the high school (just enough time to get there from the field trip) I noticed the back engine door of my bus flapping in the breeze -- not a good sight.  I had to continue to the school, which was about 2 miles away.  When I got there another driver and I got it closed and thought that was the end of that.

That's what we get for thinking!  Just as I had my senior high kids loaded and was leaving to go to the middle school I noticed the door swaying open again. 

Our rules are that if students are on board the bus we drivers are not allowed to step off the bus.  So this meant I had to go on to the middle school.  I radioed our main office and one of the assistant principals said he would meet my bus and help close the door.  Sounds easy . . .

But as he worked and worked we realized the latch was totally broken.  Transportation then had to send another bus for me to continue my route.  This meant off loading the senior high students to wait with the middle schoolers while they brought another bus.  This whole procedure took about 40 minutes.  Needless to say these kids were going to be late getting home.

And . . . since I go directly from dropping of the last high school student to picking up the elementary students it required transportation to send a substitute driver (and bus) to run that elementary route.

I knew my little kids would be confused and some would most likely be upset with the unannounced change.  I was right!

With so many really little ones and ones that don't speak English --- confusion abounded!

But I was able to radio the sub and let him know which student would be able to help him and so the driver was able to get through the route a bit easier.

And then came this morning --- over 60 little ones --- and their parents --- all waiting to see who and what bus were coming!  All with numerous questions! 

I had to smile as I reassured them that it was unavoidable and sometimes these things happen. And even though they weren't aware of the details -- the school was! 

I think they understood and those that didn't were being translated to as I drove away.

By this afternoon the latch should be replaced (I used a sub bus this morning = confusion) and we should be able to settle back into routine!

They may be small in size and not able to understand most of what I say -- but they know me and   they trust me and depend on me.  Kind of made me think about my relationship with God.  Many times I don't understand Him but I trust Him and depend on Him --- and know He'll never send me a substitute!    :)

One small little door ---- one so very important door!  Scripture tells us the doorway to heaven is narrow --- SUPER important!  

Who would have ever thought there were comparisons between driving a school bus and heaven?

If we look -- we'll see God everywhere!!!!

Until next time . . . where do you see Him?  Or are you even looking?                          Susan

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thou Shalt Not . . .


A couple of years ago I helped our church secretary and her family move.

One of the things they were going to get rid of was a big hippo --- yes, I said hippo.  This thing was about 2 feet high and nearly 3 feet long.  It had been sitting in front of their fireplace.

As soon as I saw it -- it was love at first sight!   :)

Since they didn't want it anymore it "jumped" into my truck and found a home with us.  I decided to put him outside, just underneath our bedroom window, in the landscaping.  When Monty saw it knowing all the brightly colored things I had painted and put in our landscaping, he thought the hippo should be painted purple.

Sure thing -- bright purple he became.  Everyone who walked by noticed him and said just looking at him made them smile.

This past weekend I was painting one of our plastic lawn chairs purple and thought I would give hippo a fresh coat of a bit brighter purple.  As I turned the corner to pick him up --- he wasn't there!?  At first I checked my own self wondering what I had done with him.  Then it dawned on me --- someone stole him!!!!!

I was a combination of heart broken and mad -- more mad!  Didn't someone realize he didn't belong to them?  Didn't they think that he might have some sentimental value to me?

The answer to both questions is NO!  Not only didn't they realize --- they just plain didn't care!

I am still angry and now the neighbors tell me how much they miss seeing him as they walk by!

Stealing has always been something that Monty just cannot deal with.  It's one of those "pet peeve" things for him.  He says he grew up with it and just cannot tolerate it.

I did not grow up with it and still don't like it!

So my hippo is gone and no one will convince me he's found a better home!  And maybe he was just plastic and painted purple --- but he meant much more to me!

God knew what He was doing when He wrote the 10 commandments and put in the one stating "Thou Shalt Not Steal".  I only wish people would take Him seriously!

Until next time . . . Lord, please forgive the person with the sticky fingers and convict them enough that they just might return hippo to his real home!                                            Susan

Monday, September 16, 2013

He's still not 50

I don't know if you remember last year this time.  Monty's birthday!

Last year he came to me and finally "admitted" that he was having a lot of difficulty dealing with the fact that he was turning 50.

When I told him he would only be 48 a smile broke across his face and he laughed at how much better he felt.

So today -- he's still not 50!!!!!  And he's still happy about it! 

We've got a whole year to "deal" with 50.       :)

Gotta love the man!  I know I sure do!

Happy Birthday Monty!                                                                           Susan

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Nations . . . on a school bus

All week I have been working with 2 little kindergarteners on their English.  Each day they get on the bus ahead of the rest of the elementary classes and they are all excited to open their school folders and show me their coloring pages, stickers for being good and everything else they did in school.

English is a minority language on my bus.  Omar and Gustavo have really been working hard.  Omar on his colors and Gustavo on his numbers.  Gustavo can now say his bus number and count to 11.  Omar knows the stop light colors and loves telling me when I can go and when I can stop.  He's still a bit confused about what yellow actually means as he doesn't understand "slow down".

The little Chinese kids and their laughter and high pitched voiced speaking their native language never cease to amaze me.  Sun in the only one who can translate the rules of the bus -- and repeat them as often as needed.

This week I also have 4 new students, none of who speak English.

As I was rolling down the road back to the bus lot this afternoon, looking back to all my empty seats as they were all home safe and sound -- I thought about the nation being on my bus.

I've got kids from Africa, China, Korea, Turkey, Egypt, Germany, Portugal --- and those are the ones I know of.  I have no doubt more are there but I just haven't gotten to know them yet.  I still don't know where Ebba is from?  And Isa doesn't know where he's from either!

I am growing more and more attached to them each day.  Their innocent smiles, their laughter that will make the worst feelings disappear, their love for their parents and the parents love for them.  As they take that last step off the bus steps and run into the arms of their parents it shows me the love of God for us!  He's always there waiting for us -- with His arms open to catch us, to hold us, to love us.

The kids on my bus this year couldn't have more opposite backgrounds as mine from last year.  But what they do have in common is the love of Jesus and His arms ready to hold each of them.  Makes me wonder what they will all be when they grow up.

Santiago brought me a cupcake this morning!  The smile on his face as he handed me that little brown bag was priceless!  When I thanked him and told him I didn't think I would share it with my husband he just cackled.  Those priceless, life changing moments --- for me!

Thank you Lord for allowing me to see You through these children!  Bless them Jesus!  Bless us all.

Until next time . . . God really IS love!                                               Susan

Sunday, September 08, 2013

What's it going to take?

Friday afternoon's bus trip returning the kids from school to home was one of the toughest I've had to date.

I wonder what it's going to take to get people to wake up, hang up, stop texting and take notice of the 8 large red flashing lights and 2 stop arms staring them in the face to realize that they all mean STOP!!!

Let's recap Friday afternoon.

The high school route was fairly event free.  Just the usual traffic through the IU campus that leaves my head spinning from looking right, left, front and back and then all around trying to ensure my kids are safe as they get off the bus.

Then came the elementary route.  The kids were wound up and we had another quick discussion about the importance of them staying seated.  They always listen and always mean to follow the rules and this day -- they were doing great.

My first 3 stops are group stops where over 20 kids get on and off daily.  The very first stop had me blowing my horn to get the attention of the on coming vehicle who had no intention of stopping.

Let me interject here --- in case you've never really paid attention to a school bus ---- quite a bit before I am going to make a stop I turn on 4 very large amber colored flashing lights --- warning everyone around (front and back) that I am going to be coming to a stop.    I then watch and try as best as I can to get traffic through and past me as to not throw up the stop arms right in the middle of traffic.

As I am coming to a stop -- about 20 feet before time to open the door -- I turn on the 8 flashing red lights and the 2 large stop arms with even more red flashing lights.  This does not open the door -- just yet.  As I am coming to a stop I am watching the traffic and making certain everyone has come to a complete stop before I do open the door.

When I feel it's safe (and the kids have been trained on this procedure) I open the door and the kids get off the bus -- many running into the welcoming arms of their parents.

On my 2nd stop I am at a T intersection preparing to turn right after the kids are off the bus and across the street.  I had been stopped for over 15 seconds when -- from my right side and having to make a left turn in front of the bus!!!!! --- a truck runs right through my lights and stop arms!!!!  He nearly wipes out a group of parents and kids crossing the street!  My side window is open (it's over 90 degrees) and I immediately start screaming at him!  Yes, I was screaming at him!  "What in the world are you doing?"  was only the beginning!  His response?  "Hey lady, I looked both ways!"

That comment sent me the rest of the way over the edge and I let him have it even louder!  I told him to "just sit there while I get your license plate number so I can report you!"  I got the number while he once again told me he had looked both ways and after making sure that the kids and parents had seen what happened and knew THIS is why we are oh so careful at bus stops --- I radioed in his plate number with what had just happened. 

By that time my hands were literally shaking as I couldn't stop thinking about "what if?"

The very next stop --- again I am stopped and I see the oncoming car with no intention of stopping!  I again start blowing my horn while waving my left arm out the window -- trying to get the driver's attention.  He also stopped about half way through my stop arms and this time I yelled (yes, yelled) at  him to "back it up buddy!" as the kids and parents couldn't even cross the street to home!  He gave me quite the deadly look and I could not have cared less!

And if that wasn't enough --- my next stop is for one little boy --- right on the IU campus again -- and I am again watching the beat up red car coming down the street --- with the driver texting!!!!! --- and ready to speed right through my stop arms.

So . . . the horn blows and my arm waves and half way through he stops!  He has no room to back up as traffic has stopped behind him so he just has to sit there --- and continued to text!!!!!

All of these drivers got their plate numbers radioed into our administration department, complete with vehicle and driver descriptions.  Which makes me have to do one more thing in watching out for the safety of these precious little ones!  I have kept pen and paper right next to me -- for good reason -- and the kids in the bus are also good at turning and trying to get the license numbers!

Each of these "opportunities" for educating the kids (and parents waiting on the curbs) are indeed used to educate.  We have "the talk" inside the bus and I try to also talk with the parents.  All of which takes more and more time and the kids get home much later than the time they are scheduled for --- but --- the are getting home ALIVE!!!! 

I wonder what it's going to take!  Which child is going to have to give their life?  And which bus driver will be crucified for the incident?  And which parent is going to have to watch the whole scenario -- unable to do anything?

We ALL know that red lights mean STOP!!!!!  No matter what city, state or country we are from, no matter what language we speak -- or don't speak! 

STOP means STOP!

I would beg of you to please share this message with literally everyone you know!  Some child's life depends on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until next time . . . if YOU stop --- those behind you will also stop!  Thank you!    
And Lord --- thank You for protecting my precious little cargo!                                     Susan

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Power Washing . . .

This morning I got the power washer and power washed that black, hairy spider into oblivion --- I think!

Tomorrow morning I'll see if he's really dead --- or if he gives it another try!

If you have no idea what this post is about ---- read yesterday's!     :)

Until next time . . . atleast I got rid of some frustration in power washing him!                    Susan

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Oh What A Tangled Web . . .

As I pulled back into our driveway from this mornings bus route I noticed one of the biggest and hairiest spiders ever webbing itself from my lilac bush to the neighboring flower.  It made me shudder!  I'm not a big fan of spiders and have noticed more these past days than I think ever before.  They are everywhere -- all over my flowers and shrubs!

The big black spider this morning made me think of something.  The phrase "oh, what a tangled web we weave . . ." came to mind.

God is not the author of confusion!  This is scriptural.  But my, oh my, can life get confusing.  Like some of the spider webs I've seen -- going this way and that with no real pattern or reasoning.

Life can get that way so easily! 

We are currently in one of those "webs" and I don't like it.  I feel like the little bug that just happened to be going by and got one little toe caught in the web and before I even realized it --- my whole self got sucked in!

But somewhere in that "web" is truth!  It has to be there!  But how does one find it?  How does one know it even if it is found? 

Another old saying of "there's always two side to a story and somewhere between them is the truth" is also appropriate right now. 

It comes back to that word --- TRUTH!

Do we even recognize truth anymore?  Seems our society has made it more and more difficult to see or feel. 

All I can do while in this web is pray that God will continue reigning on His throne and working His almighty and perfect plan to His goal.  I know THAT is truth --- scripture says so and that is what I will continue to stand on!  Looking to His Word I will atleast read truth and get the pure definition!

For those of you thoroughly confused about this blog?  That's a good thing!  It means you aren't in the spider web so keep doing what you're doing and be happy!

Life is a continual learning process --- a process of constant change --- and none of us are very excited about change --- because in order to get to the other side (the better side) we must go through the web!!!!!

I'm working my way through!  How about you?

Until next time . . . little spider --- stop spinning so fast!!!!                                     Susan

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Special Place in Hell

Yesterday we were all put on alert -- there were 2 vans at one of the local elementary schools with men inside trying to seduce the children into their vehicles by offering them candy!  All bus drivers going to that school were asked to watch more carefully and make certain the children were safe as they were dropped off at home.

Seems these vans had been roaming through the governmental housing areas, drug dealers from up north.  The police were aware of them and watching -- more police than I've seen in a really long time!

All of the children knew not to get into the vans but I couldn't help thinking the "what if". 

I did use the opportunity to do some educating of my own kids, high school, middle school and elementary.

The high schoolers were very upset, which opened the door to talk about evil and how it DOES exist in this world and in our town and in our schools right here.  I told them I thought there was an especially hot place in hell for men such as these!

When I asked the elementary ones, "if someone you did not know came to your school and asked you to get into their vehicle by giving you candy, how many of you would get in?"  Not a single one raised their hands (I asked for a show of hands).  When I asked for a show of hands as to how many would NOT get into the vehicle -- they all raised their hands!

It made me stop and think even more -- I have so many small children who do not speak English!  Just yesterday I had 2 new students, one who just arrived from China and the other one from Africa!  They are learning English as their second language but . . .
It makes for difficult communication on the bus, let alone them being approached by a stranger!

So . . . let's all cover ALL children everywhere with prayers!  We used to only hear of things like this happening in very large cities.  It's here -- in our hometowns -- in our streets and trying to make it's way into our schools!!!!!!

In the Name of Jesus ---- satan ---- you are forbidden from harming our little ones and you are to go back to hell where you belong!

Until next time . . . we have a 4 day weekend coming up . . . blessings to all.                      Susan

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 30

On July 20 I made the commitment to pray over Monty for the next 30 days.  This plan came from the book "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Ormartian.

This book is one of the most powerful and thought provoking books I've ever read!  I wish I would have found it years ago - but that wasn't God's timing.

Each day, for the past 30 days, I have read the chapter and prayed the prayer over Monty.  Most times it was way early in the morning as I was ready to leave for my bus route (before 6am).  I would read the chapter and then actually stand in our bedroom doorway, raise my hand and pray aloud over him as he was still sleeping.  (my dogs finally got used to it!)

I admit that in the beginning I didn't see or feel much change.  Life was still it's more than usual bumpy ride.  But I have also learned to trust that God is working, even when I don't feel like it.  My emotions aren't my guide.

Last week I began to not only see and hear changes, but I felt them.  To my knowledge Monty has never even picked up the book to see what chapter I'm on.  And even when God prompted me to type and print each prayer - he never took a look at the prayer for that day.

But God . . . I love how He works His masterful plan -- without us!

Life is better.  Life is improving.  Life has taken some turns that I wasn't sure would ever happen.  Life is in the hands of God and He is a much better driver than me!

Monty quit smoking many years ago.  He went through the local classes using the patches and gum and was successful.  Although he never went back to smoking cigarettes, he did take up the snuff packets and has been battling with them for years.

Last week he made the decision (completely unknown to me) to stop.  He (on his own) went shopping and purchased the patches and has been following the program as it's supposed to be followed ---- and today is day 6 --- and we are both still alive, and speaking and actually had a great weekend!!!!!  Even he expressed his surprise as to how well he felt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I thought I would close with the last day's prayer ---- for his future!

"Lord, I pray that You would give (fill in your own name here) a vision for his future.  Help him to understand that Your plans for him are for good and not evil - to give him a future and a hope.
Fill him with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that he may have a walk worthy of You, fully pleasing You, being fruitful in ever good work and increasing in the knowledge of You.
May he live with leading from the Holy Spirit and not walk in doubt and fear of what may happen.
Help him to mature and grow in You daily, submitting to You all his dreams and desires, knowing that "the things which are impossible with men are possible with God."
Give him God-ordained goals and show him how to conduct himself in a way that always invests in his future.
I pray that he will be active in service for You all the days of his life.
Keep him from losing his sense of purpose and fill him with hope for his future as an "anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast."
Give him "his heart's desire" and "the heritage of those who fear Your name."
Plant him firmly in Your house and keep him fresh and flourishing and bearing fruit in to old age.
And when it comes time for him to leave this earth and go to be with You, may he have such a strong vision for his eternal future that is makes his transition smooth, painless and accompanied by peace and joy.  Until that day, I pray he will find the vision for his future in You.  Amen"

Come to think of it --- wouldn't ALL of us like for SOMEONE to pray that prayer over us????

Until next time . . . God is oh so good!  Take time to see His goodness today!                      Susan

Friday, August 23, 2013

15 Years?

Hooray ---- I have my computer back and all repaired.  Still trying to find some programs but it's virus free now and will hopefully stay that way.  I don't want to go through that again!

It's been a busy week.  Bus driving is going well - but - over 45,000 Indiana University students have returned to campus this week and my entire route winds all through campus so this week has been more than challenging and no such thing as being on time!  The kids on the bus have been great and understanding and just can't figure out why everyone they see is carrying furniture!  We have managed to change the route a bit to accommodate some shortcuts, which have been helpful.

My bus kids are great!  I'll take the street traffic any day over the not so well behaved kids of last year!  I still hear "thank you" and "have a nice day" and "good morning" on a daily basis!  Even though it still sounds like a foreign language to me - I don't ever want to take it for granted!

The heat has been a bit difficult on the bus.  Let's just say it looks like I have wet my pants when I stand up - and trust me - I haven't!  Just requires a 2 shower day!

I have some extra fantastic news!!!  I am going to be a Grandma again!  My son and his wife are expecting next spring!!!!!!  They have been together for nearly 15 years and honestly - we had all just given up on them.  And come to find out - they had given up also!  But God always has the best plan and perfect timing and so this new little baby is due to arrive the first of April.  We are so thrilled and excited and anxious to be grandparents once again!

The number 15 is also significant -- as Monty and I celebrated our 15th anniversary yesterday!  Yes, we made it 15 years!  There have been times . . . as I imagine all of you have experienced . . . but God is our 3rd string in our braid and with Him at the center --- we can make it through anything!  (and have!)     :)     In some ways it seems like we've been together for a life time -- and that's a good thing!  We are each other's best friends and that can make all the difference at times!  We look forward to the next 15 plus!

I am still caring for Ms Gladys, my elderly, blind, widow neighbor.  She's had her ups and downs and has had me a bit worried but seems to be doing better this week.  I didn't make it over there this afternoon as I was able to pick up another bus route over the noon hour but will see here tomorrow.  She is such a joy and I love spending time with her.  I continue to pray for God to do a miracle and restore her sight!!!!!

So, with my computer back, knowing my school bus route by heart now and life rolling right along (in a good way) I look forward to each day and thank God for each special blessing He has in store for me!!!!!

Until next time . . . Love you Monty!  Happy Anniversary!                   Susan
(His character drawing done at our local fair = hysterical! )

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Down with a virus

No, not me --- my computer!!!

It went to the shop yesterday and has a whopper!  I don't understand any of it but it won't be back till the end of the week so I won't be blogging till then. 

Thankful for the borrowed one here but . . .

Anyway, till next time and we're all better!                         Susan

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"What's the Bible?"

I thought we finally got there --- but not!

Yesterday we had no "mistake" bus riders!  Everyone knew where they were getting on and off and the route was super smooth.

I have this one little boy, first or second grade, not sure -- who is like a shrinky dink full grown man!  He wears a plaid button down, long sleeve shirt with khaki pants and belt every day.  He thinks and speaks out his deep thoughts that make even me ponder where in the world his mind is.  I get a kick out of listening to him - he always wants to sit in the front seat so I always hear his conversations.

Yesterday, just as he was getting off at his stop after school -- he asked me, "what's your favorite book?"  I told him I had to think a second and then told him, "the Bible."  He looked at me funny and said, "what's the Bible?"  And he was serious!  I knew what I was going to say but he had to get off at his stop so that will remain for another day.  It did shock me as I don't think I've ever heard that line before!

I think God just opened a huge door for me.  Makes no difference that I'm not "allowed" to tell the kids about God or Jesus or anything else that has to do with God.  But . . . I am only answering the question of a little boy so . . .

And then came today.  The morning route super smooth and quiet.  The afternoon brought us yet another lost rider!  He was in first grade and realized about half way through the route that he was on the wrong bus!  A few radio conversations back and forth and he was "discovered" once again.  After I took home all the kids actually on my route, I backtracked and took him home -- very late but home. 

Hopefully the school will get these things ironed out over the next couple of days!  In the meantime I just take home whoever seems to hop on the bus -- and get to know more inside streets here than I ever dreamed of!  I may have lived here nearly 30 years but never go into subdivisions unless I know someone there or live there.  This has, and is, quite an education and a lot of fun too.

So . . . what if a little kid asked you "what's the Bible?" and you couldn't talk about God?

Sure thought provoking isn't it!  And this child lives right here in our United States of America!! 

And Monty and I still aren't thought of as "real" missionaries because we aren't overseas somewhere!!!!!!!!!

Until next time . . . What IS the Bible?????                                                Susan

Friday, August 09, 2013

89 is BACK . . .

Have 3 days really passed?  Or has it been 3 weeks?  Hard to tell on this Friday night!

Wednesday afternoon's route home got me back to the house way after 6pm -- and there were still drivers out when I came back!  Getting kids on the bus for the first time after school proved to be equally difficult whether they are senior high or elementary!

I had quite the crew of elementary on the way home and making sure they knew where they were to get off -- where 'home' was for them --- when I didn't even know myself because there's no way I know their names --- proved very !!!! time consuming --- but we made it and that was the goal.  Time was not in the plan for the day.

Yesterday morning went very smoothly and I got everyone to school exactly on time.

The afternoon route?  Another story.  High school was good because I could ask them if they lived in this area or that and if not -- I could actually re-route my route and made up some time.

The elementary -- another story!

With them I had to make every single stop and wait for them to see if that was where they live.  And then making sure they have their backpack and that their parent is there waiting for them.  T-I-M-E!
The parents have been amazing and all smiles and some are even taking pictures!

About half way through the route I had 3 little girls near the back of the bus in tears.  Seems they were on the wrong bus!  They were supposed to be on bus 85 --- I was still in 54 instead of 89 --- and it all created complete confusion for them.  I radioed in and they contacted the parent of each one and after running my complete route I took them back to school where I talked with each parent.  All was well but the littlest one was quite scared.  But she felt better when I told her that the best way to remember your bus number is to get on the wrong one!

This morning was again like clockwork. 

The afternoon ----was great because my bus 89 was repaired, in it's parking place and ready to roll and end all this number confusion.  The high school was home in record time and we were on coarse for the elementary.  At the 2nd to last stop I asked if the 3 remaining kids (that I could see) were all from the last stop area. 

It was then that Adrian informed me that there was a little boy asleep in one of the seats.  I couldn't even see him!  We pulled over and it took a couple of minutes for Adrian to wake up the little guy.  Adrian is probably a 4th grader and such a great little guy.  He was so gentle in waking him up that it really touched my heart.  The minute the boy woke up he realized he was not at home!  We tried and tried and tried to get his name and all we could get that his name was Muhammad.  I got my roster list of kids names and I have 3 others with that name.  I asked him what grade he was in (hoping to narrow down the list) and all he could say was, "I used to be 5 and now I'm 6."  I then asked him if he was in kindergarten and he said yes.

About this time the call came out across the radio that a kindergartner from his school with his name was missing --- and I quickly told them he was found!  He was assigned to a completely different bus and somehow the school had put the number 89 on his backpack!!??

I took him back to school after my last stop and talked with Mom for a few minutes (her English isn't the best) and all was well.

As I thought about these past 3 days while driving home a couple of things occurred to me.  God had "thrown me a bone" that I hadn't realized till late today.  Yesterday afternoon one of my high school girls from my route last year (one of the well behaved ones) came running up to me after school, gave me a huge hug and showed me that she had gotten a pair of tennis shoes like mine!  (gray shoes with hot pink laces).  As we both laughed and kicked our pink laced feet in the air -- life went on and it wasn't until this evening God showed me something -- something that touched my heart!

Last year was rough --- beyond imagination and beyond words.  But God . . . I knew He called me to that route and I knew He had a plan.  We never know how we touch people's lives.  Sometimes we think they didn't even notice anything and other times we think they didn't even like us, let alone listen or learn.

When this girl came up to me God showed me that -- with Him working through me -- this girl's life WAS touched, she DID care and she knew I cared -- which in turn makes me know that God touched her life and heart!  To have a high school girl come up to me -- someone old enough to easily be her grandmother -- and be thrilled to have shoes like mine?????   It's a true God- thing!

It made my heart smile.

And the other 3 buses that now carry my kids from last year?  Each new driver has come to me and said thank you --- that the kids DID learn to behave on the bus!  I was only the vessel that God worked through and yet those thank you words made my heart smile again!

What does God have in store for this school year?  I have no idea.  But I do know He has a plan and my prayer is to be obedient to follow His plan and be open enough for Him to work through me to accomplish His goal. 

It is a VERY different route --- the kids are thanking me every day for driving them --- and most told me to have a great weekend --- nearly a foreign language for me --- and yet God has me on this bus, driving each of them --- for a reason.

I am excited to what His plan unfold.  (And yet -- my heart misses my kids from last year!)  They changed my life forever!

Until next time . . . "have a good weekend" sounds like a good idea to me!                      Susan

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Day 1/2 = fantastic

Yesterday afternoon's "dry run" went well.  The "pickles" I had to work my way out of in the morning were much better in the afternoon.

It was a mentally exhausting day for me and since my sleep wasn't all that restful, come evening I was pretty much hitting the "well-done" spot.

Dinner and a bit of down time and an earlier bedtime did help.  Now if satan will just let go of that nerve that runs from my brain to my intestinal tract I'll be in great shape!    :)

This morning it was "all systems GO" for everyone!  It was great to go back and see all the drivers excited about their new routes and new kids.  Made me realize God called each of them and that every kid in our county is blessed to have the driver they have!

We had some dense fog to deal with early this morning but even though the skies look like they could pour rain any second, the fog lifted quickly and we were off and running.

My high school kids were next to angels.  I was greeted with many "good mornings" -- something I'm sure not used to!!!!!   They rode quietly and got a kick out of me trying to explain that what should be bus 89 is now bus 54 --- until 89 is fixed!

We were actually right on time at our drop at high school and only 4 minutes late at middle school.  Amazing for the first day!

The elementary were so cute.  I didn't even have 1/3rd of them as parents love to take their kids to school on the first day.  But the ones I had were adorable.  Each stop had atleast one parent (another thing I'm not used to) at the bus stop and after introducing myself and explaining why we aren't in the right bus number we were all on the same page.

As I ran my route through the married student housing for Indiana University it became apparent that finding a parent that spoke English so I could go through my "talk" wouldn't be the easiest task of the day.  But I did get one at each stop and they understood -- I think!

At one stop a very tiny little boy was more than hesitant about coming up the steps on the bus.  His mother told me it was his first day of kindergarten.  Both parents were there with the camera and taking pictures of every single move he made.  The dad even took one last one of me before I closed the door!  The little boy made it on with no tears falling but it was close! 

All the kids were happy when I told them we were going to start the year without assigned seats but it was up to them and their behavior as to whether we would stay that way or not.

Even after all the introductions and explanations we were within 5 minutes of our appointed arrival time at school.

I had to laugh outloud on the way back to the bus lot as I listened to the radio.  With drivers calling in constantly the poor folks back in the offices couldn't breathe between calls.  One driver called in to say he was 20 minutes late on his route --- to which the office responded, "as long as you have kids on the bus and are headed to school consider it a good day!"

So, this afternoon we will try and reverse our routes and get them all home safe and sound!  Pray for all of us.

Until next time . . .  only 179 days of school left!!!       :)                             Susan

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

"Dry Run" day

Tomorrow it's official -- the first day of school --- in early August??????

Anyway -- my summer is now over and time to get back to work.

Today is "dry run" day where we get in our buses and run our routes but don't pick up kids.  It's to get us a bit familiar with where we are supposed to be going.  Sound like a great idea, doesn't it.  Well . . .
Since going back to work requires going back to early bedtime for me -- I figured that would be difficult last night and I figured right.

I was awake more than not and finally gave up at 4:15am and just got up.  My alarm will always be set for 5:00am but oh well . . .

I did get to the bus office early and after saying hello to those we haven't seen all summer it was off to the lot to check out my bus.  I have been thrilled all summer knowing I would have my same bus as last year.  Totally different route but same bus.

NOT . . . it wasn't in it's "spot" and after no responses from the office as to where it was I trekked up to the garage and sure enough -- it's been shipped to the fix-it shop ---- where it seems they stay for weeks upon weeks!

So . . . I was late before even getting out of the gate!  Good thing we weren't picking up kids today!

So I will be in a substitute bus "until further notice" which should make things even more confusing for the parents and kids tomorrow morning!

And while on my route, which was "modified" yesterday -- I realized there are 3 addresses listed as stops that must be "mystery" stops as I cannot find the addresses!

I even came home to look them up on Google Earth and even though it did locate them -- they aren't on my route??  Go figure!?   So that will add to tomorrow's mysteries.  Guess I'll just look for kids to be standing out by the road and pick them up!

We used to tell all of our volunteer teams that "flexibility" was the key --- this is one of the many times where I will be eating my own words!  (anyone got any chocolate to cover them with??)

You just have to laugh --- hanging on to the joy --- by a thread!     :)

Until next time . . .  sure glad to know God has the ultimate plan!  May I have a hard copy please!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Back from the dead????

Friday afternoon I was sitting on my couch, had 5 different Bible translations spread out by me and was deep into scripture.  I had been there for a couple of hours and was completely oblivious to anything going on around me.  The TV had Christian music going and I was "lost".

A white truck pulled up in front of the house and stopped.  Immediately the dogs started barking (we never need a doorbell) and when a man actually got out of the truck and headed up the walk the barking went full blown.

I watched as a rather good looking, dark haired man came up on the porch.  He sort of looked lost so I figured he was looking for a particular house number as people do get turned around here in our subdivision.

He had a puzzled look on his face when he asked me if there happened to be a "Monty, Monty Scales" here? 

I don't readily give out information but before I could even answer he said he used to work with him years ago and had lost touch with him. 

He no more than got those words out of his mouth when (it had to be God) the lightbulb went off in my head and I asked if he was Tom?  He also looked puzzled and answered yes!

This was THE Tom -- the one we have searched for via the internet for over 10 years!  The one Monty worked with at Hardees back in the late 80's --- the one that Monty has talked about ever since I've known him -- the man who had such a profound effect on his life -- the man who was like a brother -- the man he missed more than words could say --- the man we decided had to have died years ago or Monty or even Monty's mother would have heard from!!!

Here he was --- standing on our front porch --- alive and well.

Monty wasn't home from work yet and I asked him to please come inside and we could talk.  We talked for over an hour before I finally sent Monty a text asking him to hurry home -- no problem but I just needed him at home.

He answered back and was doing a couple of errands and then would be home.  Tom was a nervous wreck as they hadn't seen one another in over 20 years!  Would Monty recognize him?  Would he recognize Monty?  I showed him a recent photo.  He recognized him in an instant.

As Monty came around the corner Tom's nerves were just about to get the best of him.  He tried to explain to me just how emotional this was for him.  What a deep friendship the two of them had and how anxious he was to see him again!

Monty noticed his truck but since he's an inspector Monty just thought there was something going on with our house.  Even when he came in the door and looked at Tom square in the face -- he had absolutely no idea who he was!  (And this is the man who recognizes people he went to first grade with and hasn't seen since then!!!!)

As Tom stood up and they looked at one another I finally started asking Monty a couple of questions that might jar his memory.  It took more than a couple of them and finally Monty asked him if he was Tom? 

They hugged for what seemed to be forever --- and then stepped back and looked at one another again --- and hugged again!

Needless to say the next  hours were spent trying to catch up, trying to fill in some of the missing pieces of their lives, realizing they have been living nearly parallel lives --- and had no idea!

They each came from a really rough and tough background -- both in more than their share of troubles -- both now married, Tom has grade school children --- both have given their lives to Christ --- and both so very glad God brought them back into each others lives!

As Tom prepared to leave, they both continued to hug each other and promise that all of us would get together soon.  Tom's wife was his girlfriend back then and they have been married for over 25 years!  His children are only 12 and 10 years old so he started late.

We are so thrilled and so amazed at the hand of God in this whole thing!  God is a God of relationships and bringing them back into each others lives now --- at a time when I can see just how much they need each other --- priceless and a blessing beyond words!

It's going to be awesome to meet his wife and children.  It's going to be more awesome to see what God has in store for all of us!

Monty is still in shock.  He was convinced Tom was dead.  And now all he can keep repeating to me is, "he's alive!"

Lord, --- thank You so much for Your love, your blessings and for bringing these two men (little boys at heart) back into each others lives!  You are the Best!

Until next time . . .  the word for the day = restoration!!!!!                             Susan

Friday, August 02, 2013

Up and Down = Hilarious!

Last night was another of those nights that Monty and I will remember forever!

Going to the fair with our daughter, son in law and 2 grandchildren!

Luke is 8 and Liv is 5.

They were quite content walking through the exhibition buildings since Monty grabbed a bag and quickly taught them about getting all the freebies and goodies and putting them in the bag for "later."

Finally arriving at the rides was where they really wanted to be. 

After purchasing a big batch of tickets we were off.  The kiddie rides were first and after the very first one Liv announced "I'm just so happy!" 

A couple more kiddie rides and it was time for their dad to join them on a not-so-kiddie ride.  It's a lot like the old Tilt A Whirl in that your seat spins -- a lot!

We were all a bit apprehensive as to how Liv would like it but she was set on going so . . .

The 3 of them loaded in, Dad in the middle.

As that ride took off I know I've not seen a seat spin as fast or as long as theirs did!  Liv looked frightened at first but then did fine.  Luke . . . not so fine!  He started in screaming (not crying loud - true screaming at the top of his lungs with tears flowing so fast even the spinning wouldn't make them go away)!!!  He continued screaming while Dad tried his best to calm him.

There was no calming!  Luke then resorted to screaming at the ride operator, "get me off this thing, now!"  The ride operator was either deaf or didn't understand English as he was not phased.

This screaming continued as the ride finally stopped, as they got off the ride, as they came through the exit door and throughout the walk to the next ride.  He was showing signs of being ready to vomit and no amount of talking from Mom worked!

We finally convinced him to drink a Sprite to calm his stomach.  He did agree and after a no so short time it did work!

Even though he had announced that he was DONE riding --- he started feeling better and did ride more.  Liv was not in the least upset and was ready to keep going.

When we finally finished with all the ride tickets it was time to eat dessert.  Liv decided on ice cream (no surprise to any of us) and Luke wanted an elephant ear.  He and his dad took off for that as the rest of us got a picnic table.  Shortly they returned -- they were out of elephant ears!!!  How in the world does a fair booth run out of elephant ears!!!!!????  But . . . there was another booth --- down the way --- so off they went again!  This time they were successful.

After the elephant ear Luke wanted a corn dog.  He'd never had one but he wanted one so . .  . a corn dog he got and loved it!

All the while we were eating Monty had disappeared (which isn't unusual for him). When we finished eating he returned smiling from ear to ear.  He had been at another booth -- where they draw a characterization of you!  When he pulled that picture out of the bag I thought we would all bust a gut laughing!  And thanks to blogger for not allowing me to download any pics!!!!????

Anyway, from the food we headed back to the cattle barn.  We had seen some baby calves when we went through the first time.  This time I just headed on in next to them on the straw and the kids soon followed when they realized the calves were super friendly and loved being loved on.  When the one licked Liv she said the tongue felt like a sand paper tongue!  Exactly right.  I could've spent the rest of the night there as it reminded me of being a little girl on the farm.  More and more kids (and their parents) decided it was fun to come on up next to the calves and before you know it we had quite the crowd!

Finally it was time to go.  Until we walked by the booth with the super sized cinnamon rolls!!!  We all stopped and gawked and drooled.  I decided to go ahead and get a couple of them and with all of us once again camped out at a picnic table it was sticky icing and cinnamon and sugar for all.  There wasn't a single crumb left!

Now !! It was time to go to the truck and head home.  It was going on 11pm. 

As we were all walking (we were parked really close to each other)  I over heard Luke say ,"  I feel so alive right now!"  We all lost it in laughter and I told my daughter to just "wait an hour" and it would be over!

It was a wonderful evening and one I thank God for!  His blessings are priceless and this was quite the blessing!!!

Until next time . . . feeling alive is a great feeling!                               Susan

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Not Thinking . . .

As I was doing some preparation for next weeks start of school I made the decision to assign seats for my elementary students.

In all our training and education they always advise assigned seating for the little ones.  If you leave seat choice up to them it may take a long time before I can pull away from their stop and move to the next one.  They will always migrate to the back of the bus and when they see it's already filled or they don't want to sit with whoever is back there, the moving and decision making process begins.

Decision making in small ones can be lengthy.  Lots of time to sit at the bus stop is something I do not have.  We are literally on a minute to minute time schedule so . . .

When we get our route descriptions we also get the names of each student that "should" get on at that appointed stop.  Now . . . do I study that and make sure they are where they need to be?  No.  Parents should be responsible and I just don't have the time -- unless I have problems with the middle schoolers and/or high schoolers --- like last year!  Then --- you bet I'll check names with my list!

So off I went to the dollar store to find some fun things to make name tags out of.  I found pink butterflies and blue worms -- thinking that would be great for girls and boys.

Then when I got home and started to write the names on the tags I realized that I cannot!

Nearly all my students are of some Asian descent and I have no idea if they are boys or girls!

So . . . today it's back to the dollar store for a more "generic" name tag idea!

The pink and blue will hopefully be used much later in the school year!

Another note to self ---- this IS a different year on the bus!

Until next time . . . blessings and peace!                                                       Susan

Saturday, July 27, 2013

An Example (to calm your fears)

First of all -- many thanks to those of you who have expressed concern that there might be something wrong with Monty!

Even though he is still battling outbreaks of hives (for no apparent reason) he is fine.

Him having a problem of some kind is not why I bought the book "The Power of a Praying Wife".

The further I get into it makes me wish I had gotten into it 15 years ago when we got married!  There are so many things and areas that never occurred to me (since I'm not a man) and each day I am enlightened in a new way.

So . . . thought I would give you an example.

As I said, I made the commitment to pray for 30 days, 1 day for each chapter.

Today was entitled "His Mind" and the following is the prayer of the day. You can substitute your own husband's name in where possible.

"Lord, I pray for protection on my husband's mind.  Shield him from the lies of the enemy.  Help him to clearly discern between Your voice and any other, and show him how to take every thought captive as You have instructed us to do.
May he thirst for Your Word and hunger for Your truth so that he can recognize wrong thinking.  Give him strength to resist lying thoughts.  Remind him that he has the mind of Christ.
Where the enemy's lies have already invaded his thoughts -- I push them back by inviting the power of the Holy Spirit to cleanse his mind.  Lord, you have given me authority "over all the power of the enemy."  By that authority given to me in Jesus Christ, I command all lying spirits away from his mind.  I proclaim that God has given him a sound mind.  He will not entertain confusion, but live in clarity.  He will not be tormented with impure, evil, negative or sinful thoughts, but be transformed by the renewing of his mind, that he may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Enable him to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."  Help him to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let his requests be made known to You; and may Your peace, which surpasses all understanding, guard his heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
And finally, whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, having virtue, or anything praiseworthy, let him think on these things.   Amen"

Within the chapter these sentences jumped out at me.

"All men have an enemy who wants to undermine what God desires to do in their lives.  Women have the same enemy but men seem to be more vulnerable to his attacks in certain areas."
"Men don't always see the traps of an enemy who wants him to believe that what he faces is insurmountable."
"By speaking God's Word, you (I) can reveal wrong thinking and it will lose its power.  If your husband won't do it for himself, you can speak the Word of God over him, either in his presence or alone in prayer and see positive results."
"Ephesians 6:11 = stand against the wiles of the devil on his behalf."
"I'm (yep - me) not going to stand by and watch deadly games being played with his mind and our lives."

So . . . I will continue in my commitment of praying over him for the full 30 days and then I plan to start all over again!

And - like I said - if you've read the book --- read it again.
If you haven't read it - try it ---- you have absolutely NOTHING to lose!
Until next time . . . Lord, thank you for Monty!                                       Susan

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Praying Power

Today is the day of my commitment.

This past weekend we made a trip to the "way discounted" bookstore and I picked up the book, "The Power of a Praying Wife".  A whopping 50 cent purchase that is quickly becoming priceless.

I made the commitment to pray one prayer a day for 30 days over Monty.

The book covers everything!  I have already learned so much and have gone so far as to type out and print each prayer each day.  Don't know exactly what I'm going to do with them but God prompted me to print them so . . .

If you've read it --- read it again and make the same commitment.

If you haven't read it --- find it and read it!!!  It's awesome and amazing and I know how good God is at answering prayers so I am standing in faith and expecting great things!!!!

The author is Stormie Omartian.

Until next time . . . Lord, I thank you for placing this book in my path and am anxious to see Your power at work!                                                                    Susan

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shift Gears

It's time for me to shift gears!

Two weeks from today is the first day of school!  And just as I thought, I find myself sitting back and wondering where the time off went?!

Since school starts so early it actually does take August off the calendar as "summer" in a way.

But never the less -- tomorrow makes it official since I have to attend a mandatory meeting regarding this upcoming year. 

My route is different but I get to keep my same bus so . . .

Here we go!

Until next time . . . blessings to all.                                                Susan

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Don's Thank You = Priceless!

I feel I need to give you Don's perspective of this past week, how his life changed and how showing the love of Jesus CAN make more of an impact than telling!

This is - word for word - what Don sent me this morning!  It captures it ALL.

"I hope I expressed my sincere appreciation to all in a manner which was clear and easily understood.  All of the kids worked hard under some sever heat with little complaining and a lot of acceptance that no one is under control of the weather.
Perhaps what struck me most was their willingness to listen and then execute instructions which is indicative of their parental influences.  So . . . kudos to the parents for being good parents and setting fine examples which did not go unnoticed by myself, nor will their examples to the kids as they mature and look back on the younger years of their lives and the examples witnessed.
There was a lot more completed than I anticipated and not only on the back rooms.  It would have been joyous to just sit with the kids and their parents for a time and have a chat but that wasn't allowed given the time frames involved.
As time passes I believe the kids will look back and smile, knowing they did a good thing for a stranger, which in my opinion is a great indicator for where their hearts will guide them in the future.  (Matt. 6:21)  This man, less of a stranger than when we began, will have many memories to recall causing smiles, as well.
A mere "thank you" always seems to feel insufficient to me being on the receiving end of goodness given by others to me, yet many times during my life it is all that was needed when I help others.  I hope each of them comes to understand that good deeds are best kept within and used to guide not only their lives but shared with others in "generic manner" when opportunity presents.  (Matt 5:14-16)
Teaching, or mentoring as the Pastor and I discussed, is the last great gift one can leave behind after a lifetime of experience comes to its eventual end.  Therein resides the greatest of memories and the final smile when one steps into the next realm of our soul's path.
When "Grandpa" and Carl left there were strong handshakes (male communication) between us.  Respect was shared and appreciation understood which went unspoken but still the knowledge existed.  Their efforts will never be forgotten.  Such is the case for ALL who have helped me over the last couple of years.
Each of us is endowed with gifts by our creator.  Discovering those gifts and using them for good throughout our lives is a duty which few seek . . . but to those who do, an inner satisfaction and peace in knowing (and secret -  Matt. 6:18) is a reward without measure.
Recent years have brought forth some dark times in my life but I have always known one needs only to open their eyes and others in greater need will be see close at hand - as is my way, I continue to help others as best as I am able.

So the next time you wonder if reaching out and helping someone really means anything ??? 

Think again -- and DO IT!!!   You WILL change a life --- and your own at the same time!

Until next time . . . Wisconsin ---- YOU ROCK!!!!!!!                            Susan