Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Encouraged to continue . . .

Thanks to my dear friend Cheryl and her uplifting and supportive and positive comments I have rethought this whole thing about taking a break.

In my mind and with the title of this blog (for over 7 years now) I felt that since we aren't currently "actively" involved with any type of natural disaster and have made the decision to stay home and teach others instead of going ourselves, that I should just stop writing.

Cheryl, and others, have made me rethink the "disaster" meaning and to continue writing about my kids on my school bus.  Even I have said it here, this is a different kind of disaster and since God Himself told me to take this route . . .

So this morning I would like to focus on a couple of positive things that have happened on my bus.

Yesterday morning and afternoon were pretty "event" free.  I did have a few high schoolers who hopped my bus (they aren't on my route but wanted to go where I stop) and when I used my speaker to tell them to sit down and they replied that they "don't ride this bus" I actually heard some of my own kids telling them they had to sit down or "she will stop and we'll never get there."   It made me smile and the kids did sit down!  Peer pressure can be used in a positive way!     :)

On my elementary route my little one who grabbed the steering wheel during Friday's incident -- to my surprise -- got on the bus yesterday.  I thought the school principal was going to kick him off for 5 days --- and when I got to school the principal was so apologetic and told me she forgot to tell his dad.

As I quickly thought about the whole situation I told her to forget about kicking him off.  He had gotten on the bus Friday afternoon and apologized all over the place telling me he just needed his medication that morning and since he had taken it he was "all better now."  He begged me to not kick him off and so I told the principal to leave it alone and let's see what happens.  Yesterday he was good and also this morning.  Miracles happen all the time and sometimes we (I) fail to recognize them when they seem so small and yet are huge milestones!

So I think I will continue to journal about my kids.  And yes, they are "my" kids -- they are in my heart and I know God is doing a work in each of them and I don't want YOU to miss out on what He is doing!

So the word disaster will take on a new meaning for awhile and let's all join in prayers, BIG prayers, for my kids!

Remember the song ---
"Jesus loves the little children,
all the children of the world,
red, yellow, black and white,
all are precious in His sight,
Jesus love the little children of the world."

Even mine!

Blessings and thanks to all of you.                                                      Susan

Monday, February 25, 2013

"What if . . ."

Yes, I know I said I was taking a break but God has had something so heavy on my heart that unless I share it --

Yesterday at church our youth pastor had the message.  It was fantastic but one line he said is ringing in my head louder than any drum could possibly sound.

"What if the only words we heard were ones that beat us down?"

It made me think of every child on my bus route.

Friday morning was unbelievably horrid!  We had a 2 hour delay because of the ice so my kids who don't receive their medication until they get to school are already 2 more hours behind the 8 ball.

One boy -- 3rd grader -- was completely out of control.  He was calling other kids names that I refuse to put into print, let alone repeat.  As if that's not bad enough, he screams the names.

I brought him to the front seat - which required stopping the bus as he refused to move.

His anger raged out of control  - along with his voice.  He continued to scream "let me off this bus" until no one could hear themselves scream!

This brought out the worst in the boy next to him who also needed his meds.  They are now both screaming the same thing as we pull up to the front of the school.

I have already radioed for the school principal to meet me at the bus.

As we pulled to a stop boy 1 gets up and says he's getting off the bus.  This can't happen even on a normal day as we always must wait for a monitor to come to the bus door to escort the children inside the school. 

As he bolted for the door I had no choice but to physically restrain him by holding him from the back and putting my arms underneath his arms and locking mine in front of his chest.  He is not a small kid and this took all I had.  He fought furiously and as I was holding him and waiting for the principal boy 2 decided to squeeze past us and try and move the steering wheel of the bus!

I have no way to reach my radio to call for help and can only wait for the principal.  This "holding" goes on for atleast a couple of minutes before the principal does arrive.

But . . . she hasn't received the message that I need assistance because the bus driver parked in front of me has gone into a full blown asthma attack and the ambulance is pulling up behind me!  The principal is running to my bus so I can radio our transportation department and let them know what is going on!

All this time I am still restraining (or trying to) boy 1.

The principal now sees what is going on in my bus and as I continue to restrain him we off load the rest of the students.  Seriously --- I don't have any idea what they were doing all this time!!!!

Both the principal and I do our best to calm this boy but with no success.  Finally he calms enough to be released into school so I can deal with the emergency in front of me.  He does get into school and the principal makes the phone call to his parent.  (the number is programed into her phone!)

Boy 1 has now been expelled for I don't know how long and have no idea when he will return to my bus -- but he will return!

The asthmatic bus driver was treated by the emergency personel and took the rest of the day off.  I got her bus shut off and transportation sent someone to get her bus and return it to the bus lot. 

As I pulled away heading to pick up my final student  I will admit to you that I needed to pull to the side of the road to get my shaking under control.  I have dealt with alot on this bus route but this was a first!

And then those words from David continue ringing in my head.

Every single child on my bus has been beat down, feels unloved, feels worthless, feels less than the rest of the world, knows trouble by it's first name and can spell it backwards, doesn't get enough food or sleep or proper clothing to wear and thinks there isn't one single person in this big world that cares about them!

So how do we change that?  How do I make a difference in their lives?  How do I make a crack or dent or even a hint of change in the 20 minutes I have with them twice daily!

I don't!!!!!!    God does!!!!!

All I can do is give each one of them to Him.  He loves them more than any of us can imagine and He accepts them and He forgives them and He guides them and He has a perfect plan for their lives!

I just pray for the strength it takes to allow Him to use me and work through me.

Yes, I've been slapped, kicked, bitten, cursed at, and probably will again.  But one thing I know for sure is that Jesus CAN relate to each of these ---- remember Good Friday!!!!!

So . . . with His strength, His power, His armor, His love and Him inside of me I WILL do the best I can to make a difference with these children!

Please pray for these little ones!  All they know is being beaten down --- pray that they will be lifted up by their Heavenly Father!!

Now . . . time for my break!           Love to all.                               Susan and Monty

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Taking a Break

I will be taking a break from writing this blog -- for -- I don't really know how long.

For those of you who have been faithful followers -- I thank you and will be back -- I just need a break.

God's blessings and love to all of you.
Susan and Monty

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2 forward and 3 back

There are those days.

One of my elementary boys gets on the bus, hugs my neck and tells me he loves me (he's always talking about suicide so this is really big)!

My high schoolers go out of control and I need to call in the principal and will have who knows how many kicked off the bus!

2 steps forward and 3 backward.

But . . . it's all worth it.

God has made a "crack" of love in that little boys' life!  Just maybe the light he catches a glimpse of at the end of his "tunnel" is not an oncoming train!

Keep praying for my bus kids!

Until next time . . . Jesus loves the little children.  May I have the heart of Jesus!     Susan and Monty

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy 15th Valentine's Day

I can barely keep track of the days and weeks and months but one thing I do know --- this is our 15th Valentine's Day together and I am blessed!

Life has sure taken us up and down some winding roads.  Some filled with struggles, some with pain and tears, others with joy beyond explanation and all of them filled with love for each other.

I think that's what's supposed to happen when God is the third party in a marriage!

Of all 15 Valentine's Days there is one that I will always remember --- with a smile all across my face!

Our first year in Mississippi --- we had only been there a few weeks.  We were living in my brother's camper (144 square feet of marital bliss -- Monty's quote) and we had no money.  Our every minute of every day was focused on helping those who had lost everything in hurricane Katrina.  Volunteers were pouring in and the only way we knew it was Sunday is that was the day we went to church in the morning!  We lived in the church parking lot so we couldn't forget.  Eating and sleeping were only done by routine since so many needed help and so many were coming to help.  We were creating "forms" to work with by the day and did well to just keep our heads above water.

That evening after we had eaten dinner Monty asked to stop at the local grocery.  When we went in he guided me to the greeting card section.  He pulled a Valentine's Day card out and said, "if we had money and if we had a place to display cards this is the one I would buy for you.  And this one and this one and this one."  I read each one with a combination of tears and smiles and then put each one back in the rack.

To this day I still think that was the best Valentine's Day ever --- and we didn't spend a dime but "recycled" like no one else!

So . . . Valentine's Day is about love . . . but it's only one day of the year!  It takes the other 364 days combined with this one to really describe and live with love -- real love -- the kind that is committed to make it through those winding roads knowing the best is yet to come and it IS worth the pain and the tears and the smiles and the joy!

Monty -- you are the love of my life and always will be . . . so . . .  Happy 15th Valentine's Day!
(this was taken in 2009 but says it all)

Friday, February 08, 2013

Rebuilding Walls ---- Literally

Great News!!!!!

After 21 months we are finally going to get Billy's retaining walls rebuilt!

Yep -- the tornado that went through our hometown back on May 25, 2011 not only damaged Billy's house inside and out, it torn down one retaining wall and damaged the other -- retaining walls that are outside and lead to his garage/basement area.

It's taken a really long time but finally ---- God spoke to me the other day and told me to ask the gentleman who owns the subdivision we live in.  He and his family have been in the block laying business since the beginning of time! 

Roger and I went to Billy's the other day, took measurements, had alot of discussion because the damage is endangering the very foundation of his home, and put together a plan.  Roger got the estimate to me yesterday and today I got the approval to get the job done!

Billy has had the patience of Job during this whole thing and was so excited that this is finally going to get done!  He had never given up on me and for that I am grateful.

I love it when God speaks and gives direction!  He's always right and right on time.  For us it seems like forever but it's His perfect timing!

And . . . I have been contacted by 2 different volunteer groups who are looking for work over spring break.  I was able to get them both connected.  The skilled group will be going to Holton to make a huge impact as I know their capabilities and their quality of work!  What a blessing!

The younger, less skilled ones will be working and training with Jane in Henryville!

Both connected and both ready to be a blessing and in return be blessed themselves!

Isn't God amazing!!!!!!

Until next time . . . "let's get 'er done!"        :)                                 Susan and Monty

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

"In Him . . ."

I'm trying!

It's hard!

At Bible study this morning Pastor Martie said if we look through a persons faults we will see their hurts.  We're not to focus on the faults -- just love them as God does.

I'm trying!

I've been able to work in some of the toughest situations ever in disaster relief.  And for years on end.

Bus driving this route is different.  It's harder.

As I try to lean on God's direction and wisdom and love I find my own "flesh" getting in the way. 


Today is Tuesday.  The first route of the morning had one of my 4th grade girls hitting one of the boys in the face.  Non provoked, she just punched him.  When he cried, she laughed.  I didn't see it happen (for once I think I had my eyes on the road and not the rear view mirror) but I did hear the other kids telling me what happened.  I immediately pulled the bus to the side of the road, turned on the flashers and went to that seat to investigate.  She wasn't at all phased by his crying.  She said he "got in her face" and she didn't like that!  This little boy is one of my VERY well behaved kids and I knew this was an out and out lie.  When I questioned her even further she continued to laugh.  And as I turned to go back to driving and radioed for the principal of the school to meet me she just continued laughing.  The school suspended her from the bus for tomorrow.

This afternoon I have high school kids who don't seem to think it's necessary to sit down -- no matter what I say.  Stopping the bus is the only way to get their attention and so far that seems to be working.

I know these elementary kids are hurting.  All they know is being in trouble.  That's comfortable to them. 

What they don't know is love and acceptance.  But how do I get that through to them?  I know their faults are based from their needs -- to be loved and accepted.  No one cares about them.  They are "throw away" kids and they know it.  Most all of them only eat 2 meals each day -- both provided by the school.  Every morning they get on the bus tired (no bedtimes exist), hungry and angry.  What a combination!

Scripture tells me that "in Him" I can do anything.  I believe it and I believe Him!

But this is still hard . . .

Until next time. . . disaster with another meaning is still a disaster!                  Susan and Monty