Sunday, March 31, 2013

He is Risen!

For the first time in my life I missed Easter services this morning!

Monty and I both have the flu ---- and so it's more than a bit rough around here.

Would appreciate prayers of healing!

Blessings,              Susan and Monty

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My "little" brother??

Sorry for not writing for a few days but this cold thing I've been battling with for weeks now just took quite the nasty turn --- into a sinus infection that now requires strong antibiotics which I am still waiting to feel results from!

Tomorrow my "little" brother -- actually my youngest brother -- turns 50 years old!  That just doesn't seem possible!  Where in the world have all the years gone?

Anyway, happy birthday Johnny -- make it a good one!

Bus update:

Telling stories on our last leg each afternoon is proving to be quite peaceful.  And believe me -- that's not a word anyone thought they could use in regard to my bus!  They love the stories and all make sure they up front and keeping each other quiet so they can hear!

They have now completed 16 1/2 days of no discipline slips! 

I am not saying they haven't pushed the boundaries but they know I mean business and no one wants to be responsible for spoiling it for everyone else!  In this case, peer pressure is working to my advantage!    :)

I continue to have drivers run right through my red lights flashing stop arms when I stop to let kids off the bus!  Never ceases to amaze me that they will just go right through -- with my horn blaring and my arm flailing out the side window!  Guess when the police stop them they can explain their actions to them!!!!!

So . . . for now we continue counting the days, knowing how important each one is and thanking God for His blessing over each and every child.

Until next time . . . praying for healing!                                 Susan and Monty

Saturday, March 23, 2013

100 years

Today my grandmother would have been 100 years old!

She passed away in 2009 but she has never passed from my heart.   I learned so many things from her and just think about what an awesome birthday she must be having in heaven --- all her family around her along with all the angels in heaven!  I think I'm jealous!

Either way --- Happy Birthday Grandma!

Here on earth -- my bus kids made it through yesterday so we now total 15 days with no discipline slips!  Remember that 5 days was record breaking so this is . . . without words!

As for the stories --- each afternoon --- the very second we drop off at the second to last stop --- the remaining kids (about 15) move to the front of the bus and start asking (quite loudly) for stories!

Yesterday I tried something new.  Jesus used parables (stories) to teach while He was here on earth.  And even though I have to be very careful with "religion" on the bus --- I told the story of Joseph and what his brothers did and how sometimes we might want to do something bad to someone who has done something bad to us but . . .

To my surprise, most of the kids recognized the story and knew it.  But one little boy was mesmerized and listened to every word.  We had alot of fun with it and so I imagine the story telling will continue -- with a bit of "religion" brought in here and there -- so satan --- better just get off my bus because I've got news for you --- WE WIN THE BATTLE!!!!!

Until next time . . . we're taking our grandchildren to the circus this evening and I plan on having the time of my life as I've never been to a circus so . . . fun --- here we come!!!!  
Susan and Monty

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Story Time

The past couple of days with my bus kids has been eye opening -- in a couple of ways, new ways.

Yesterday my little guy who has been diagnosed bipolar and is only 7 (and has given me more than my share of problems) wasn't on the bus in the morning.  I even told the other kids that get on at his stop that we would wait a minute to make sure he didn't come running around the corner.  We waited but he never came.  It did have me a bit concerned but on we went.

When I went to pick them up from school for the trip home, there he was.  When I met him at the door asking where he was in the morning he told me he did miss the bus because his dad didn't wake him up in time.

At that, I told him I was so glad to see him and missed him in the morning.  He looked more than shocked and asked me "why?"

I answered by telling him I cared about him and when he wasn't on the bus I had difficulty driving.

He looked at me with an even more puzzled look.

I answered again that all my "bus kids" are special to me and I am concerned when one of them isn't on the bus.

His response?  "You're not my mom and I'm not your kid!"

My answer, "No, I'm not your mom but you ARE my bus kid, just like the rest of the kids on the bus."

He smiled and had a look on his face and a quietness in his spirit that held the entire way to school.

It was then that it REALLY dawned on me that he really does NOT know what it's like to have someone care about him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

My own spirit was quiet.

On the afternoon ride home things can bet quite noisy.  After my second to last drop at a local trailer park I allow all the remaining kids to move up front, 2 per seat.  These kids are being dropped at the local battered women's shelter -- not because they live there (they used to) -- they are going to the after school care! 

Just after they moved up front one of them asked me to retell the story of the alligator under the little boy's bed after hurricane Katrina.  (this little boy and his family were displaced due to their house flooding in the storm.  He wanted something from his bedroom so the family made the trip back to their house.  Dad went inside to get what the little boy wanted.  He came out without it.  The little boy threw a fit and it was then that dad had to tell him that during the storm and when the alligator farm miles away from them flooded - the gators were also displaced and this one just happened to wash up inside this house.  As the furniture floated in the water - so did the gator.  As the water went down the gator just happened to be under the bed as it sat back down on the floor.  Thus said gator is now trapped under the bed --- quite alive and not so well.  After dad explains this the little boy makes the comment that he really did have a monster under his bed and I figure he will still be looking under his bed before going to bed when he's 90 years old!)

The kids loved this story and so I told it again.  When I finished they asked for "another story."  Good ness knows I have thousands and shared a couple from my own childhood and being the only girl with 3 brothers!  They were quiet as church mice and loved each story!  Before we knew it they were home and it was such a peaceful ride.

So today . . . the minute the trailer park kids were off the bus and the rest moved forward -- they asked for more stories.  I told childhood stories till we reached their door and when one of the kids started to say something  -- the others all turned around and shushed him telling him he was rude talk in story time!

So . . . I must start making a list of story titles so I have enough to tell on a daily basis.

It made me think about how Jesus taught people by using parables --- stories!   He just never ceases to amaze me!

And who knows --- I just might be able to tell a "Jesus" story without using the word!

Until next time . . . caring and expressing it really can change lives so show it and say it and change someones life!                                                                    Susan and Monty

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mom's birthday -- she is 80 years young! 

Really --- I mean it when I say young!  She looks 20 years younger than she is and has nearly as much energy. 

Her heart of service and compassion for others is unmatched.

Her love of family is the very fiber of her being.

And I am blessed to be her daughter!  God really IS good!

And . . . today was the 12th day of no discipline slips on my school bus, high school and elementary!  I think even they are surprised.  Their goal is 60 days --- that's how many days of school are left!

I believe they can and will do it!

This morning we (the elementary ones) pretended we were going to Disney World instead of school and we all had a blast!  They learned how fun it can be to imagine and although they were disappointed when we pulled up to school they all left with a smile on their face and fun thoughts running through their minds.

Wonder where we'll go tomorrow?

So . . . it's been a good couple of days to start the week after spring break!

Of course --- God already knew it would be --- He had it all set up and all we had to do was follow!

Until next time . . . when is the last time you let your imagination go?                   Susan and Monty

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My "to do" didn't

At the beginning of this week off of bus driving I had quite the list of things I wanted to accomplish.  And to be honest, I figured I would get to mark each one off as I am usually pretty good at getting done what I want to get done.  And with the entire week off, not getting up at 4:30am each day and not needing to be in bed by 9:00pm sure left me alot more hours to get them done.

Well, I know there's scriptures all over the Bible that tells us about "God's timing" and not ours.

This was one of those weeks.

By Tuesday evening the kind of sore throat thing that had been trying to rear it's ugly head and I thought I had whipped --- reared up with a bit more vigor and by Wednesday morning it was a full blown cold, body ache thing.

So . . . my "to do" list is still on the desk area in the kitchen.  I did get to mark off one thing.  The rest will still be there as reminders. 

Reminders that sometimes God just wants us to take the break He gives us and really !!!! rest.  And if we won't do it on our own --- He can (and will) step in and make sure it happens.

I DID get rest this week --- and I guess God knew that was way more important than getting through my list.

Today we celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday!  Doesn't seem possible as she looks 20 years younger and although no matter how old we are - our Moms are always "old" -- the example in life that my mother has set is priceless.  Her servant heart, her love of people and always wanting to help -- and being there to actually help is what I strive to do.  Even now -- she still volunteers nearly every morning of the week to help others!

So Mom --- HAPPY BIRTHDAY --- and don't be upset because you're 80 --- be thrilled!  It's a day to celebrate!

Note to self; "to do" lists will always be there and rest IS a good thing!

Until next time it's back to my bus kids in the morning and I will be posting "10 days of behaving our way to success".                                                                Susan and Monty

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Break Thoughts

Yes, this week is our spring break and I am trying very hard to get caught up on some things and yet not overbook myself with too many "things."  So far, so good.

Yesterday I ran a couple of errands, looked in on my little blind neighbor lady and cooked dinner for us here at home (a rare thing these days)!

Today I was able to go to Bible Study and not have to hurry to get back in time for the bus.  My dear friend, Bev, picked me up and I realized just how much I missed our conversations while on the road!  We even went to lunch afterwards and I so appreciate her kindness and friendship!  It's something I have missed more than I realized since driving the bus.

During Bible study God brought quite a few things to light for me.

The main theme was realizing just how much God loves us!  We read about it and we talk about it but do we fully understand it in the deepest places of our heart?

I thought of my bus kids.  Most of them have no concept of the meaning of the word love.  They live with one parent - or maybe a grandparent - or maybe neither.  They aren't walked to the bus by an adult, someone who cares about their safety, and they aren't met at the bus in the afternoon to make sure they get home safe.  They aren't fed breakfast before leaving for school and most don't know what evening dinner time is.  They don't have a bedtime and are exhausted when they start their day.  Some have more responsibilities than adults.

So how to I get them to understand the concept that God loves them?  Especially since I am not allowed to use the words God or Jesus or Holy Spirit?

The book of the Bible named James tells us that words without deeds isn't really faith. 

My bus is where God's love must be shown and not told or explained.  They are kids.  They react to what they see long before what they hear. 

I expressed some of these thoughts at Bible study and at the end of the morning, Samuel -- who is only 12 years old -- came up to me with a word from God through him.  He said that all I need to do is "spark one of the kids and they will spark the rest."

The honesty of children --- speaking out to other children!  Priceless!

Samuel has had troubles with being bullied at school -- and he isn't bitter or angry or revengful -- he is responding with love --- that love of God that can be so hard to comprehend, so hard to imagine that it's for us!

No wonder Jesus told us that we are to have the faith of a child!

Samuel -- I am going to take your advice, yours and God's, and I thank you for being such an amazing young man of God!

Let's all follow Samuel's words and "spark" someone in our lives!  And watch where that spark leads!

Until next time . . . God really is LOVE!                                 Susan and Monty

Friday, March 08, 2013

Day 10 = PJ Day

Today is a day my elementary kids have been looking forward to all week.

It's Pajama Day!

And thanks to Monty loaning me his SpongeBob Square Pants jama pants the kids got a real kick out of my outfit this morning!

Today is also day 10 with no discipline slips written.  I will admit that one boy was on the border this morning but was able to get himself under control -- and all the while the entire bus was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop!  I think they were all holding their breath and hoping he would calm down very quickly!

Yesterday their elementary school acknowledged them over the loud speaker at school and when they got on the bus yesterday at the end of the day it was all they could talk about!  They were so happy!

This morning we talked about how much more fun it is to make good choices instead of bad ones.  It also brought up the discussion (again) about how no one is "bad" -- we all make both good and bad choices but we are all made good!

Each day I have posted on the ceiling of the bus the number of days of good behavior.  They were thrilled to see the number 9 this morning. 

As we were talking about the number one little one in the middle of the bus shouted, "can we go for 100 days?"   And the entire bus had a resounding response of "yea, let's go for 100!"

Now there aren't 100 days left in the school year but you can know that I NEVER mentioned that!

We all agreed to keep posting the new number each day and see just how far they can go!

You might be wondering when all this conversation is going on?  When we arrive at the school each morning we have about 5 minutes before one of the school aides comes to the bus to escort the children into the school --- so . . . what better use of those 5 minutes!  It keeps them in their seats and gets them focused on something positive as they head into school for their breakfast and the rest of the day!

And even though the high school kids don't show their excitement -- I see them checking out the new posted number every day!

They have managed to not only take their seats and stay in them -- they are correcting each other when the "f" bomb flies out of someones mouth and 2 days ago one of my girls apologized to me for calling someone the "a" word (and that word is in the Bible!)  I thanked her (after getting over being so shocked)!

All kids want and need structure --- they just don't realize it!  These kids are beginning to actually have a bit of fun with it!

At the end of today our spring break starts -- not really all that exciting with my kids.  No one is going anywhere special, their families don't have the money to do that.  They haven't even mentioned it much.

So would you please join me in praying for my kids -- praising God for their good behavior and asking for His protection and blessing over them while they are out of school for the next week!

I have special gift bags for each of them as they get off the bus this afternoon -- everyone deserves some praise and thanks and love -- and I do give God the praise, the thanks and the love for once again using me and allowing me to see His hands at work!

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

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The 7th Day

When God created the earth the Bible tells us He rested on the 7th day.

Today marks the 7th day on my bus with no discipline slips handed out -- on the high school and elementary routes.

Today we have NO SCHOOL due to the winter storm that blasted through last night and still isn't done!

On our 7th day we are given rest! 

I don't know about the kids but it's one I am looking forward to!

And they will be so very excited when they get back on the bus in the morning and see the number 8 posted!

I told you "Jesus loves the little children!"

Blessings to all.                                                  Susan

Saturday, March 02, 2013

A Record Breaker!

Even the supervisors were astonished!

My bus broke an all time record this week!

Not one discipline slip written and no one kicked off!!!!

No one can remember that EVER happening!

I love watching how God works!

My high schoolers are correcting each other when it comes to foul language -- and when one of those doing the correcting "slips" they are actually apologizing to me -- by yelling from the back, of course!

I had some middle school kids hitching a ride to one of my stops (they aren't supposed to even be allowed to ride unless they are listed on my roster but with this bus certain rules don't apply) and when they refused to be seated I heard one of the regulars tell them to "sit down or she just stops and won't drive!"  Priceless!

I have learned that sometimes words don't work and when someone is standing --- I just stop!  Makes no difference where we are on the route -- I stop until they are seated!  It's one of those God things that He spoke to me about and I'm still amazed at how right He always is!     :)

One thing that has been helping with the elementary is rearranging their assigned seating on the way home from school. 

Without assigned seats it would be worse than mayhem but they still argue about where they are and who they are seated with.

So after they are all loaded on the bus for home and really are seated where their name tags are -- I take a walk to the back of the bus and start moving upon request.  Where we have 3 crammed in a seat -- we make 2.  Some are allowed to sit with friends, others are allowed to sit in a seat by themselves --- all depending on space available.  Those in trouble are not allowed to relocate and if you move without permission -- you are moved to the front of the bus!   So far it's working and making them happy.

Life has it's share of twists and turns, ups and downs, highs and lows ---- and for this weekend --- this bus driver is pretty happy to see the hand of God in action!!!!!

The weight on my shoulders is a bit lighter and I am truly happy for my kids!  They are proving they CAN be good and I think that is even surprising them!

Jesus loves THESE little (and bigger) children!   And so do I.

Until next time . . .  thank you Jesus!                                           Susan