Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Divinely Connected

You might wonder how in the world disaster relief and school bus driving could possibly be connected?

God has His ways!

We had quite the stormy night here.  The tornado sirens were blaring around 1:30am and even though I told Monty I didn't want to be awakened if they went off (4:30 am just comes tooooo early) he must have thought I really needed to know anyway!!!!!

Winds blew and rains crashed and God protected us!

But then comes this morning!  Want to know what, if any, damage there might be out there?  Just become a school bus driver.  We are all over the county and if there is a tree down, power lines down, fences down with horses out, buildings damaged --- one of us will know about it!

The radios were more than busy with the reports of trees, power lines and fences but nothing about any homes being damaged.  Sure quicker and much more accurate reporting than anything on the TV or internet!!!!

One bus did need some rescuing as she was in the power line mess but all turned out fine.

My route saw quite a bit of tree debris but that's it.

When Jane from Catholic Charities of Southern Indiana called me for a report of our county I could confidently tell her that as of an hour ago no reports of damaged homes had come in.  That doesn't mean that some might have sustained some minor damage and need some repairs --- but nothing significant and we thank God for His protection --- once again.

So being in disaster relief and being a school bus driver ARE divinely connected --- leave it to God to put those two together!!!!    I love how He works!

Until next time . . . God is good ---- all the time!                                    Susan and Monty

Saturday, January 26, 2013

It should be so simple . . .

Little Bitty does it so well!!!!!

It seems so simple --- SIT  !!!!!

And yet they don't!

It's been quite a week in school bus driving! 

I have cursed satan daily and in the name of Jesus commanded that he let go of these little children and let them see that there is another way!  Evidently I need to do that more than daily!

Monday we were off for Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Tuesday we were delayed 2 hours due to extreme cold.  Most were glad to get back to school as it seems to be the only routine thing in their lives.  We may not like to admit it but we do like routine.

Wednesday school begins an hour later anyway.  The high school kids were a bit difficult in the afternoon but I did feel as though they are getting the point.  It's very basic --- if I see anyone not sitting --- I just stop the bus ---- and we don't move until they sit.  No words!  They don't seem to work anyway.  So far this seems to be working.  So much so that when we actually stop to let kids off they look around to see if someone is not sitting!    :)

Thursday wasn't really too bad.  The usual but okay.

Friday morning --- all hell broke loose!  Yes, it's a bad word but it's appropriate!  The high school were fine but the elementary?  I can't begin to describe everything!  I ended up kicking 5 of them off for Monday.  One is kicked off for 3 days --- and he is 7 years old! 

My ah-ha moment?  Finding out that nearly 95% of these little ones aren't given breakfast at home!  They get on the bus hungry.  This one little one needs medication each morning -- which must be taken with food --- so he hasn't had food or meds when he gets on the bus!  He got up from his seat, crossed the line on the floor and got directly in my face telling me he was going to punch me and there was nothing I could do about it!   It was beyond belief!

3 more were "tussling" at the bus stop (a brother with twin sisters) and that tussle carried into the bus.  The sad thing?  There were 2 "adults" at the bus stop watching!!!!!  These are 4th and 5th graders so they are all off for Monday!

By Friday afternoon I had put up new name tags above the seats.  All the elementary have assigned seats and before then they were just names on white pieces of paper.  I found a pad of paper that is the shape of a dog -- a big red dog.  So each one now has a big red dog with their name on it. 

A dog?  you are thinking.  

What's one of the first things you teach a dog to do?   SIT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I told them that we now have 84 big red dogs around the top of the bus and that should remind them to SIT down!  Only time will tell.

I brought suckers for the high school and thanked them for learning to sit!  They smiled and some had an expression of amazement that I even thought to bring them anything!

So . . . I will continue to try and reach them all.  I pray for the eyes, heart and mind of Jesus each day.  I know He has a special place in His heart for each one and I pray He will use me to just make a "crack" so His love can start seeping through!

It's not easy!  It's sometimes not so fun!  But He called me to do this -- to drive this bus --- with these kids --- and all I can do is what He tells me.  I know He has the ultimate plan.  That in itself is what I will continue to stand on!  I've done it before and seen the miracles so I won't stop now!

These kids are our upcoming generation and each one is worth it!

Until next time . . . Lord give me the strength!                              Susan and Monty

Monday, January 21, 2013

Getting ready to go again

School was closed today in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. 

I needed the extra day!    :)

After my last blog entry things did take another turn --- a big one!

On Wednesday afternoon one of the smaller elementary students, who needs to be strapped into one of the special seats, decided he wasn't going to move his backpack to enable buckling him in.  Before I even knew it he had slapped me across the face, sending my glasses flying 3 seats back.  How in the world they didn't get stepped on was the work of an angel for sure!

Needless to say he is suspended from riding the bus!  For how long?  I will know more tomorrow. 

Thursday wasn't quite as eventful and I still continued having different monitors morning and afternoons.

Friday morning I had a male monitor who pretty much had things under control, or as much as they can be under control on my bus!

Friday afternoon we were short drivers and monitors so for the first time I was flying solo.  I will admit that my nerves were just about to get the better of me until I was walking out to my bus and prayed (outloud), "Lord, it's just you and me and there better be alot more of you than me because me is just about depleted!"

As always, He heard my prayer and although I can't use the word "good" -- they were better. 

I told the high school that the only way they would get home was to sit down.  Each time I looked up in the mirror and saw someone not sitting, I stopped the bus and waited.  Didn't take long before a voice from the back said, "I just want to go home."  My reply?  "Then just sit down!" 

Same for the elementary and it only took stopping 4 times on each route before they got the idea and knew if they ever wanted to reach home they must sit down.

I know it seems like the simplest request -- but that's just the way it is on my bus.  These kids have no structure, no guidelines, no rules, no respect and no family life at home!  The basics are where we are starting, "sit."

Tomorrow is a new day, a new week and hopefully a new realization with the kids.  Or atleast I can pray that it is.

Please join me in that prayer!!!!!

I know God has called me to this bus --- to these kids --- and that He will give me everything I need to reach them --- I know that!  And I must continue to repeat it to myself!    :)

Until next time . . .  Jesus continues to love the little children!              Susan and Monty

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Jesus loves the little children . . ." Even these!

I can't believe it's only Wednesday!

By the end of Monday I felt like it was Friday!

By the end of yesterday I thought a year had passed!  I almost wished it had!

The past 2 days of driving my own school bus route have been . . . well, I don't think there are proper words --- although I've heard more improper words over the past 3 days than I even knew existed!

I am amazed at how most of my children on the bus don't even have the basic life skills.  Respect must be a foreign language.  Love is lost somewhere.  Compassion doesn't exist.  Patience hasn't even been heard of.  Peace . . . not in their worlds!

On my elementary route my bus is at its capacity of 84 kids with over half of them 2nd grade and younger.  They use language that would make a sailor blush.  They are exhausted when they get on the bus and not thrilled to be getting off after school.

The middle school and high school . . . I keep telling myself they are not a lost cause.  There is still hope, there is still time . . . to show them there is another way in life, a better way, a loving way.

I have been called every name in the book -- and some that aren't even in the book -- I've been "confronted" by a student and against all the suggestions -- I did not kick her off the bus.  I believe all these children know is being in trouble.  It's the only thing that is familiar in their worlds.

When this particular student got on the bus this morning, her head was down and her mouth stayed shut.  As I said good morning she continued looking down. 

When she got off the bus this evening she said goodbye as I thanked her for having a better day.  She looked at me like I had spoken a foreign language to her.  Maybe I had?

On the afternoon route home with the elementary I had to stop the bus 4 times -- just to get most of them in their seats.  They don't know the basics of just sitting down. 

Now I understand kids will be kids and none of them sit well --- but these don't sit at all -- even when they are told.  We have assigned seats and that does help in some form.

So - - - we will be working on skill #1 --- "sit".  When we master that skill there will be many more following -- more than enough to get us to the end of the school year.  We may not get past "sit" but I will continue to hold fast to the promise God has given all of us in that He will provide us everything we need to do what He has called us to do.  In that promise I don't need to know how to reach these kids.  I do need to know how to love -- no matter what -- just as He did and just as He does with each one of us.

Jesus DOES love the little children - all the children in the world,
Red, yellow, black and white
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus DOES love the little children of the world -- even these!

So . . . I will do my best to do the same and hope, with ever fiber of my being, that they will just catch a glimpse of Him and feel a single drop of His love!

Please pray for these children -- they need it more than you (or I) can imagine!  Thank you.

Until next time . . . another definition of the word "disaster" has emerged!
Susan and Monty

Sunday, January 13, 2013

". . . what we hope for will actually happen . . ."

It's been an interesting week -- to put it mildly.  Thus the reason I haven't written in a few days.

As you know, I am now a school bus driver.  I thought getting through the testing process was the biggest hurdle but God has put another "jump" right in front of me.

The usual routine for a new driver is to be a sub until a route comes available and you are selected to take the route.  You wait each morning and each afternoon to see what route you are given for that time.  Study quick and off you go.  Last week I drove a couple of regular routes and a couple "special needs" routes.  All came with lessons learned.  Some lessons bigger than others but all important.

At the beginning of the week there were quite a few open routes posted on the board at the transportation office.  Each is just given a number and that is also the number of the bus driving the route.  I sort of laughed as I put my name on each one - knowing I am low man on the totem pole as the newest driver.  All the routes had numerous names already signed up -- but one.  As I wrote my name down on that one I had another driver approach me and let me know that I did NOT want that route.  It's labeled as the worst route -- the one nobody wants -- the famous route!  As I finished writing my name down I said a very short prayer, "God, if you want me to have this route You will provide all I need to accomplish it."  Done and done.

Everyone was happy to tell me just why that was "the" route.  Doesn't have much to do with the actual driving -- it's the kids.  Not the junior and senior high -- the elementary!  Behavior problems, language problems --- you name it and it's been labeled.  I still held on to my little prayer.  After all -- I've survived living and working out of the 9th and lower 9th wards of New Orleans!    :)

To my utter shock and surprise, I received a call on Friday afternoon telling me I was awarded the route!  I was thrilled.  I wasn't too thrilled about never knowing what route I would be taking in being a sub.  New bus, new route and new kids each time.  I am one who likes to know ahead of time so I can plan --yes --- organized to a fault for sure!

Anyway -- the stories about that route kept coming and I don't know if everyone was happy I got the route or just happy they didn't!?

I had a meeting with 3 of the transportation supervisors and we have a good plan for tomorrow - the first day I will have the route.  I think it's a good plan and maybe we can keep it in place for more than one day.

As I thought about what had just happened --- being "speed" trained in order to pass my testing before the holidays and now getting a route when I am so very new --- I knew God had a plan.

I've seen His plans before and although I am always a bit confused in the beginning I know all He wants and needs is my "yes" and that I don't need to know the "how."  That in itself is calming.

So -- He has already given me some affirmations that He has it under control and that He is giving me an opportunity here to do something for Him.  I have also learned to watch for those things as signs I am on His track.

This morning's church service I was given quite a few more of those affirmations.

Just a few lines from some of the songs we sang;
"slow to anger, rich in love"
"mountains bow down"
"be my light, be my path, be my guide"


And then Pastor Dave's message was on FAITH!   The subject was Noah and his faith of building the ark when he'd never even seen rain before -- not to mention it took him 120 years to build the thing!

Noah's small steps of faith led to a huge thing!  A huge life-saving and life-giving thing!

Psalm 119:105 says, "Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."   Each morning when I go out to start my bus it's pitch dark.  Even when I finish the first half of my route it's still dark.  I need to know where the controls are on the bus, I need to be able to see the kids in the dark and I need to see where I am driving in the dark.  I am standing on that scripture!!

Another scripture rang home;  the Message translation of part of Hebrews 11:7 --- "He was warned about something he couldn't see and acted on what he was told."  Reminded me of all the warnings I got about even signing up for this route and yet having a peace inside knowing it was a God-thing.

In Genesis 6:22 "Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him . . ."  and things turned out pretty well for Noah when he did!  Again -- standing on that scripture!

And part of Matthew 6: 25-33 says "your heavenly Father already knows ALL your needs."  So if He already knows then I am going to do my very best to remember that, to not stress too much and to do the best I can to show these children who are hurting, who are confused, who have tough home lives, who are lost in so many ways --- the love Jesus had for the little children!

I ask you to join me in that prayer!  I know the children and myself can use all the prayers we can get!  And I thank you ahead of time for them!

I may not be able to use the words "God" or "Jesus" or anything else that can be constrewed "religious" but I can also get His love across without words!  Pray for me, please!  And pray for them!

"Lord, help me do what's right, give me Your eyes, Your heart and Your love --- along with an ark full of patience!!!!!"

Until next time . . . is God pulling you out of your comfort zone?  If so--- jump in --- the water's fine!
Susan and Monty

Oh yea --- can someone help me help Webster's Dictionary redefine "disaster"?????  I think I'm about to step into yet another one!    :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Driving . . . Day 1

You'd be amazed at how many people just don't "see" the big yellow bus!!    :)

I drove Ms Joyce's route and bus both this morning and this afternoon.  No big episodes, just streets a bit narrower than normal with the snow piled up along the sides.  Great kids and a route all in town. 

But my nerves were on edge all day.  I didn't realize just how much till the end of the day!  Made me smile.

I did apply for a bus route today instead of remaining a sub.  They posted 4 and I applied for each one.  There was one that no one else had applied for  --- and after talking with the superintendent I found out why.  Seems the roads aren't the "problem" --- it's the kids.  The route picks up all the kids in government housing and no one has been able to continue the route.  Sounds like there are troubles and more troubles and even after hearing all the horror stories I still would like to take this route. 

After years in disaster relief Monty and I have had numerous conversations about how the children are the ones who get lost in the shuffle of things.  This situation is about the same.  Generations repeating themselves just because it's all they know.  Kids crave attention and if they aren't able to get it in positive ways -- we all know the end of that sentence!  Maybe I am being naive or blind or whatever --- but I think if kids are shown love and respect, over time, they will learn to show it right back.  Kids become what we expect them to become.  I have no idea if I will get this route, I am leaving it up to God as I know He has a plan - the best plan.

Either way, these kids and their entire families need our prayers!

The highlight of my day?  I was finally able to return to Bible Study!!!!!!  And my, oh, my didn't I need that!  It was good to see all my friends again and I felt alot better after being energized once again by Pastor Martie's message. 

Her big news?  The Ecuadorian pastors and wives are returning in a couple of weeks!  And they are going to host a revival which should be beyond amazing!!! If you're in the area you should make it a point to come --- it will be life changing -- guaranteed!

It was both a Monday and a Tuesday combined.  Somewhat confusing but wonderful all the same!

Until next time . . . Jesus loves the little children.                                  Susan and Monty

Monday, January 07, 2013

He's pooped!

First of all --- to address Charlotte's question --- I have no idea why the "amp" is listed as it is -- must be a Google thing?  It's always been that way and although I've tried to change it -- it goes right back!

Today was Monty's first day back to work.  It's only been 2 weeks since his foot surgery and even though the doctor suggested he take another week off -- he insisted on returning to work today.  He worked hard yesterday to get his work boot on and did well.

By 4:00 pm he came walking in the door --- with a bit more of a limp than he left with this morning!  Said he did fine but was "just done."  It took all of 10 minutes before he was snoring in his chair!  I know it wasn't the most comfortable thing to do but being off for 2 weeks hurts the wallet a bit and I love him for going back (well, I love him for alot more than that but . . . )

And tomorrow is the first day of school here and my official start as a school bus driver.  I am excited and hope to be able to get my own route soon.  So many of the kids seem like the bus driver is the first smiling face they've seen that morning.  Makes me wonder if it's also the last one they see of the day? 

I am anxious to have the opportunity to show each child the love Jesus has for them -- words not necessary.  Over the years of disaster relief and interviews by radio and television -- some welcoming the Word of God and others making sure His Words were cut from the tape -- we have learned to show the love of God without using any words!  To be able to show this to children is such a blessing and something I am looking forward to.

Now --- being at the transportation department at 5:45AM each morning ----- not looking forward to that quite so much.  Will be adjusting my own bedtime a bit!   :)

It's a new year with new opportunities awaiting.  God's got another amazing plan and all He asks is for us to say "yes."  I've already said yes so I wait expectantly to what He has up His almighty sleeve.

Until next time . . . blessings to all.                                     Susan and Monty

Friday, January 04, 2013

Happy New Year

Here we are -- a brand new year.  Time to move forward in anticipation of what God has in store for us!  Exciting!

Our new year has had us covered in snow and me shoveling way more than I want to!  Took me another 90 minutes yesterday morning to uncover Monty's truck! 

I do love being out in the snow in the early mornings.  It acts like insulation and makes life so quiet and still.  All I can hear is the singing of the birds on my feeders -- sounds like they are thanking me for feeding them.

Yesterday Monty got the 16 staples removed from his foot surgery and although the doc talks about how good it looks -- it took Monty awhile to get the color back in his face after the process!  Tonight he was able to take his first shower in 2 weeks and once again -- he turned a bit more than pale by the time he was done!

I have been especially busy with Ms Gladys the past few days.  She also needs shoveled out so she can get her back door open and let her little Benji out to do his business.  She called early this week and was in a tizzy -- she had opened the bag of frozen chicken breasts instead of the ones already cooked and wondered why she couldn't break up the meat! 

She also called me asking for a 1/2 cup measuring cup so she could do her laundry.  Somehow she lost the other one.  She needed me to set the washer temperature controls and I am still amazed at how she manages as she does!  She has been having terrible muscular pains in her back and side.  Years ago she broke her shoulder and arm and her little back has a curve in it and those muscles have just been giving her fits.  I've been rubbing muscle cream on nearly every day but don't know how much relief she is really getting.  Let's all send some prayers up for her as she needs some relief!

Heard today that my granddaughter has strep throat.  She is 4 years old and this didn't present anything like strep throat so good thing they went to the doctor.  With her meds she should feel much better tomorrow -- and hopefully well enough to come and spend the evening with us as Mom and Dad have plans.  More prayers please.

As I look toward this new year and wonder what all God has in store I also remember how He's always had the perfect plan and pray that I will have wisdom to be obedient to follow His plan, no matter what!  He promises to go above and beyond anything I could even imagine and I've seen Him do this in my past and pray He continues to do so --- and I know He will.

Our prayer is that you are also looking forward to this new year with expectant joy!

God is good --- all the time.

Until next time . . . and his angels are always working overtime!                      Susan and Monty