kids say the cutest things

Where do you live?” I asked a four-year-old child.

She looked at me quite seriously and answered, “Earth.”

Okay. So where is your house?”


I gave up, but speaking of earth another pre-schooler knows it has gravity.

He said, “My house has a LOT of gravity. When I walk around in my socks I keep slipping and falling down.”

Later I was talking with older children in Sunday School about their grade, one boy confidently announced, “I’m in first grade, and I know everything.”

We still taught him the day’s lesson, just as my daughter Sharon keeps explaining facts to her fifth grader Elijah.

Last week, Eli opened a yogurt with a topping compartment for breakfast.

After a bit he said, “This honey is so slow. It’s taking forever to pour!”

Yep, slowness is one of honey’s characteristics,” Sharon said.

“I guess that’s why you call me ‘Honey’,” Eli answered.

So true,” she wrote on Facebook page.

The day I ate breakfast with Eli’s baby sister Katie, she finished eating her nectarine, pinched off a piece, smiled and held it up to my mouth. I accepted it. She clapped and said, “Yahh!” and proceeded to feed me more pieces, each time applauding when I ate. When I had enough, she wiped my face and her hands with a napkin.

She is a very helpful child, as is Daisy who helped her dad Jacob relocate some gravel from the driveway to the swing set.

Eventually Jacob, looking around for more clean rocks, said, “We are running out of nice rocks.”

Daisy said, “Yeah, I’m just finding all the mean ones.”

Differentiating mean or naughty activities begins early. Tiffany, the mother of a one-year-old wrote, “I just had an E.T. Moment with Tait. I was loading the dishwasher and trying to keep him out. I pointed my finger, shook it at him, said, ‘No,’ held it there and looked at him sternly. He looked at me for two seconds, then raised his pointer finger to mine until they touched tip to tip.” Her laughter ruined her newly achieved, maternal stern face.

In September my 4 year-old grandson Henry had the happy face. After watching his older siblings go to school every day, he finally began pre-school. He returned from his first day and repeatedly told his mother, “Thank you, Mom for my school. Thank you, Mom, for my school.”

He told me he likes the toys at his school.

Besides toys, he also learns new concepts as do my nephew’s children who recently moved to England. They now call cookies, ‘biscuits.’ It sounds sugar free but Momma Tara knows the truth.

The day her youngest bit his much older sister, Tara declared, “Benji, you’re not going to have sugar for two days because you bit Mary.”

But can I have some of these biscuits?” he asked.

Those have sugar in them.”

Can I have some biscuits with no sugar?” he wheedled.

We don’t have any of those.”

Benji took out a biscuit package and asked, “Can I have one of these?”

These have sugar in them.”

Benji inspected the cookies (biscuits), “I don’t see any.”

His mother shook her head, “You may have a crumpet.”

He had to ask, “With jam?”

No! No jam.” she said.

With peanut butter?” he raised his eyebrows.

Weeelllll…” she wavered.

Sensing an opening, Benji pushed his agenda, “Peanut butter has protein in it!”

And that’s where we will leave them – with the little kid really knowing everything important about peanut butter.

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Determination to get out of poverty

The teenage girl left school fighting tears; her thoughts filled with her classmates mocking actions on this her first day of high school. All day, she had only wanted to hide as she walked between classes in the new school. It began when she had asked a student, “where do the freshmen go?” and received the taunting answer, “same place as the fresh women.”

Her quaint clothes looked funny in this educational environment, and she knew it. In her first class, a student slipped over to the chalk board, made a couple strokes and changed Elnora’s last name from Comstock to Cornstalk.

The day ended in total shock when she learned she needed money she did not have to pay for books for tuition. She had so wanted to go to school. She walked the three miles home sobbing with the agony, humiliation and realization that she did not have the money to attend.

And thus the 100 year old fiction and best seller “A Girl of the Limberlost” opens its Cinderella story of the underdog who finishes high school at the top of her class. That same theme, the quest to escape poverty of pocketbook and mind is portrayed in the new movie “The Glass Castle” in which four teenagers determine they will go to school in spite of their nomadic parents’ physical neglect and disregard for education. The movie is based on a 1990 biography by Jeanette Wells.

In both situations, the children hide money from their parents. Elnora knows her mother will use it to pay the taxes. Jeanette knows her father will use it for alcohol.

An advertisement for specimens of moths and butterflies sends Elnora into the wilderness of Indiana’s Limberlost to capture specimens to sell to a naturalist. It is there, in the Limberlost, that she meets her Prince Charming.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The prohibitive distance and cost of attending high school in 1908 became the prohibitive distance and cost of attending college today. With no school buses anywhere, Elnora walks three miles every day. Jeanette and her siblings save up to move to the city to further their education.

Rising above their parents’ expectations and rules, Elnora and Jeanette each find a niche. Elnora uses her knowledge of nature to pay for her education and also becomes a talented violinist. Jeanette joins the only free organization: the school newspaper which leads to a job at the local newspaper.

Elnora reflects the idealism of the time. When she searches for moths with summer visitor Philip, her mother tags along as a chaperone. Because Philip is already engaged to someone else, Elnora refuses any physical contact, declines to correspond with him when he leaves and remains unapproachable until his fiancee, in yet another fit of self-centeredness, rejects him again. Only then can Philip court Elnora.

Chaperones have disappeared by the time ‘The Glass Castle’ becomes a movie. As an adult, Jeanette and her fiancee already have an established home together long before their wedding vows. The lover knows the detrimental effect of Jeanette’s mother and wants nothing to do with her dumpster-diving parents. She ultimately leaves him to make peace with her parents’ life choices.

Elnora summarizes their mutual pain when she confronts her mother, “you knew I needed it and you let me go … without?” That disappointing realization releases each to quit expecting something different and to finds ways to provide for themselves. Both books highlight the importance of education and fierce determination to move oneself out of pitiful poverty and neglect to a successful, independent life.

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Walking to the corner store

I tiptoed down the hall and peeked in the bedroom where the grandchildren slept. Eli, 10, already awake, sat on his bed. “Hey, Eli do you want to walk down to the corner store and buy something with your sisters? I’ll give you money.”

“Could I go with my dad when he goes for his run?”

“No, just you, Caroline and Daisy. Let’s ask your dad.”

Such an idea in this era of helicopter parents and people call the Department of Human Services when a child plays in the park across the street from his home. Send children walking out of sight to the store? Shocking!

Yet, I did just that at their age and younger. If my mom needed something in the kitchen, she sent one of the big kids (5 or 6 years old) to walk down the gravel road to the grocery store with its screen door and front porch. We couldn’t even see our house after we walked around the bend in the road to the village.

These kids could not do that. Their nearest store sits on the other side of busy highways.

I found Eli’s dad Jacob sitting on the couch putting on his shoes for his morning run. “I was thinking about giving each of the kids a dollar or two and letting them walk to the store.” I said.

“What time does the store open?” he asked.

“At 8. By the time they get ready and walk there, it will be open,”

Daisy. 6, came in rubbing her eyes. “Hey, Daisy, do you want to walk to the store?”

“Where’s the store?” she asked, ever the practical child.

“You walk down this street until there is street to the left. Then go down that street to the store.” I repeated those instructions several times as Caroline,8, Daisy and Eli tried to comprehend going to the store in an unfamiliar, quiet, neighborhood with no adult to lead the way.

As their mother Sharon fixed the girls’ hair she reminded them, “Stay in the safety zone (the left side), don’t fight and stay with each other.”

“Here’s some money,” I gave each a couple dollars. “Remember you have to pay taxes, so you can’t buy anything that costs more than $1.80.”

“Here, I will give them the money for taxes” their grandpa said handing out quarters.

Within minutes one lost her money, had a frantic moment and found it again. “Now tuck your money deep into your pockets and don’t pull it out until you need to use it,” I advised before they left.

At the house we enjoyed the quiet, made a breakfast and wondered how they were doing. Jacob returned from his run and had to drive to the store to check on them after Sharon wondered, “what if someone thinks these three are ferrell, neglected children?”

Jacob returned and reassured her, “They were fine. Caroline bought a Slurpee.” Very soon, the conquering trio returned carrying snacks.

“Look what I bought, Mom,” Elijah pulled out gum and chips. “We went to store and the gas station three times,” he later reported.

On their own the children entered both places three times, walked the aisles, studied their options and crossed the street again to compare prices and snacks. No adults would ever have allowed them to do that. They had their own shopping adventure and returned safely.

I washed the empty Slurpee cup. I wrote Labor Day 2017 on it to remind them of their first trip to the store with $2.25 to spend and no adults to tell them how to spend it.

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court changes a life

It takes a slap upside the head for some folks to change. For Shawn Kidwell, it took a bullet. By the time the bullet missed entering his skull, Kidwell had already been arrested at 22, had a DWI charge and crushed his leg in a motorcycle wreck. After 30 surgeries, with an increasing resistance to anesthesia he agreed to amputation and a prosthetic. Perpetual pain led him to dependency on pain killers.

Having to be shocked back to life did not catch his attention. Nor did the complete paralysis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. For Shawn Kidwell, the slap upside the head came with his arrest for the violence that preceded the bullet.

He says he deserved it. At the time he was out of control with rage and holding his (now former) wife’s neck in a death grip and unable to hear others screaming, “Stop!”

Kidwell’s path to that day began when he chose pot, pills, alcohol, dropping out of school and going to work. By his third decade he had a good job and described his life as, “I had it all, the car, the boat, the house, the wife and family.”

Then he had the motorcycle wreck and all that pain.

“Pain killers cause you to be somebody you are not,” he said. Unable to work, in constant pain and depressed, Kidwell constantly reached for alcohol and prescription narcotics.

“I let substance abuse and anger take control. It took me almost to the point of death several times,” he said.

Even his arrest, he said “did not sink in until days later when I was locked up. I realized I had lost everything. I made up my mind, I would never go back.” He faced his legal options and applied for Drug Court which involves a lot of work, meetings and a mandatory completion of school.

Drug Court required classes in parenting, anger management and ACTS where he dealt with his substance abuse. He finally earned his GED and also studied over120 hours to earn WAGE certificates.

“They try to put you on the right path for everything with self improvement of every kind: Emotional, financial, work habits, even the way you dress. They try to re-program you out of that addict mentality. I wasn’t aware of how many people are out there to help strangers.”

Kidwell says God intervened in his life and gave it a purpose through the accountability mandated by the Drug Court Staff. He even, eventually, took their advice and began exercising 30 minutes a day. “It really does help ease the pain and depression,” he said.

Until he pays all fines, Kidwell continues to be supervised by the Drug Court. “If I could work all day, I would have it paid off,” he said. His bad ankle can not tolerate standing on concrete more than four hours. So Kidwell continues to address his issues, reports to his supervising officer and “works on reprogramming his brain.”

“The main thing is to reprogram your brain. Drugs, alcohol and using have been your coping mechanism for 20 years,” he said.

Being arrested forced Kidwell to realize, “I could either get busy living or busy dying. When I was incarcerated. I made up mind, things would be different.” He knows that if he fails at Drug Court, his only option is prison.

While he works to pay his fines, Kidwell is looking at college and a business degree in internet marketing. His disability counselor helps him find and apply for tuition grants.

Having finally felt the slap, Kidwell plans to follow a different path for his next 38 years.

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Eclipse day 2017

Above the petty squabbling and nitpicking of our daily lives, the moon glows and the sun shines every day on every person. On Eclipse Day the two celestial bodies canceled out the light and the pettiness for a few moments as folks shared the experience across the nation.

Shortly after lunch, the time arrived to use the cardboard bound eclipse glasses that had been sitting on the counter for two weeks. Two pairs slid over the eyes as the retiree visiting the young woman took their first peek of the eclipse.

“It has begun! It looks like a cookie with a bite taken out of it,” The young woman exclaimed and added, “I want to take a pair over to Susannah.” She went next door and knocked.

“Do you want to see the eclipse? I have an extra pair.”

“I do.” Susannah stepped out. She later said, “I would have gone to see the totality of the eclipse but my family didn’t want to travel.”

“We have a pinhole and paper to look at it, too.” the good neighbor said, holding the pricked page above the flat sheet. A small circle with a cookie bite of shadow appeared on the bottom sheet – just like the sun seen through the darkened glasses.

Susannah’s husband came to the front yard. “Do you want to look?” He placed the glasses over his eyes and stared with satisfaction.

“Keep the glasses; I have an extra pair.”

A big pick-up truck pulled into the driveway across the street. As the young retirees slid out, the good neighbor called, “Have you seen the eclipse? I have some glasses you can use.”

They looked at each other and wandered to the center of the asphalt street. The wife took a perfunctory look and studied the pin hole effect. The husband looked and looked until someone said, “You need to be careful to not stare at it too long.”

He gave the glasses back to his wife, went into the house and returned with his camera. He aligned the lens and snapped a shot of the eclipse. Everyone studied his shot: a bright glare, a crescent to the side and a pink glow.

“Could I borrow these glasses for a few minutes to take to my mother so she can see the eclipse?” he asked.

“Oh, you can keep them. I have a pair,” the young woman said. He quickly strode over to his truck and drove off with the glasses.

Everyone took another look at the half completed eclipse a couple more times. Pictures taken using cell phones did not capture the intensity of the event. Down the street another retired couple walked to the front of their house.

Seeing them, the good neighbor called, “Hey! Have you seen the eclipse?”

They hadn’t.

“Here use my glasses and look,” she held out the cardboard strip.

The wife looked and asked questions about the eclipse. Her husband stared at the sun through the glasses. “Now that is something.” He took the glasses down, and picked them up to look again, “That is something.”

Too far south for totality, still the shadows deepened, became elliptical and colors intensified.

Susannah raised her glasses again, “I am not going in until it reaches its peak. And that won’t happen for another four minutes,” she said looking at her watch.

The sun slowly regained control of the daytime sky, The eclipse party drifted back into their separate homes. For a shared moment, a celestial display showed us something greater than our petty little issues.

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I only cried 12 times

My daughter loaned us her four children for a couple days. The invasion of the one to 10 year-old children included favorite blankets, pillows, clothes, electronic tablets and energy. Katie toddled around, checking out the house until she discovered the Pac-N-Play prepared for her. Her face lit up “I wan go night-nigh,” she lifted her arms to me. I hoisted her into the cage of fuzzy, warm blankets She laid down, patted the blanket, stood up, walked around patting the sides and laid down again before deciding she wanted a lift out.
Her big sisters and brother hauled suitcases to the spare bedroom. The room disappeared into a nest of suitcases and bedding. I closed my eyes, closed the door and went to fix supper. They weren’t staying long enough to quit being company.
Big brother Eli, came out sniffing and weeping quietly, “I miss my mom.”
“You can call her a bit later. For now help set the table,” I said.
Middle sister, Daisy, 5, came out, looked at him and said scornfully, “I’m not crying.”
“I know,” he sniffed and took silverware to the table.
At supper, Katie stood on her chair, inspected the food and declined most of it. I tried applesauce. She liked applesauce, until I slid a pea into it. She spat it out. I offered her applesauce and bit of carrot. She spat it out. The rest of the meal, she vehemently refused even plain applesauce. I backed off, she was not staying long enough to quit being company.
Caroline, 8, helped make cookies. Katie loves cookies.
At bedtime, Caroline pulled out the sound maker. I read a book to Katie, turned on the sound of the ocean and turned off the room light. Katie sank into her blankets.
From past experience, I knew to leave the sound maker on. I turned it off one time and her eyes popped open. She stood up, crying sleepily. I turned it on and she collapsed into sleep. In the car at nap time, I made the whooshing sound; her eyes closed and her head drooped with sleep.
If only Eli worked that way. He wanted his mom. In the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. His second day, I hoped to keep him too busy to think about missing his mom. I sent him outside to hand up items to his grandfather who was siding our house.
Eli still cried, “I want my mom.”
We gave him the phone. They talked at length. She assured him he would be okay.
And he was, as long as I answered his question, “When are we going home?”
The night before he left, I said, “Before we leave, ya’ll need to pack up your clothes and clean up the house so nothing is left.”
With Eli’s prompting, pushing, prodding and help, the toys returned to the toy cupboard and the suitcases filled with dirty and clean clothes. I have never seen kids clean and pack so quickly. They even swept the floor.
Eli awoke at 6 a.m. “Let your sisters sleep,” I whispered.
He played quietly, but he was ready to go.
“We can’t go until the others are awake and the suitcases are in the car,” I reminded him.
The suitcases flew into the car.
As he waited for Katie to rise and shine, Eli put away anything else I saw out of place. He also figured out and announced, “I only cried 12 times.”
His six-year old sister, Daisy, scoffed, “I didn’t cry at all.” He ignored her; he was going home to his mom.
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Lego my puzzle

I keep a bushel of Lego blocks for my grandchildren and husband who likes Legos almost as much as he likes puzzles.

Before we met my son’s family in Branson, I packed up half the Legos along with kits to make wooden butterfly houses and a 1,500 piece puzzle with clear blue sky that covered about a fifth of the picture. I purchased the puzzle as a “thinking of you” gift for my son when I saw his name on its half a dozen billboards advertising “Nathan’s Hot Dogs.”

We had the kids for a couple day. The minute they walked in, I pulled out the wooden kits. “Does anyone want to build a butterfly house?”

Sophie, 9, chose a hammer and whacked the nails into place. Sam, 7, pounded and pounded until he declared, “I don’t want to do it anymore.” Henry, 4, grabbed the hammer, “I wanna do it. I wanna do it.” He finished Sam’s house. Sam did another house later.

The kids swam, played with Legos and read books. The Nathan puzzle dominated the dining room table and the adults’ free time. Ironic since I never considered we might try to assemble the thing. Once we started, we could not stop. We focused on the easy center pieces with the Nathan billboards. We assembled the shops and the strip of street at the bottom. We each tried the top third with its blue sky before admitting “I don’t want to do it anymore.”

I assumed my husband would finish it.

The kids created with Legos. Sophie used the pink, purple and light green pieces to design an elaborate house floor plan, including furniture and accessories. Sam and Henry shared and fought over the Lego cars, the Lego blocks, the floor space for playing with the Legos and finally settled on just seeing which could annoy the other the most

“Mom, he’s copying me,” Sam whined. Henry immediately grinned and said, “Mom, he’s copying me.” Joy looked up from the puzzle long enough to separate the two before returning to the puzzle. That sky defied my husband’s usual persistence and puzzle logic. “Not all the straight edged pieces go on the edge. That is just not right,” he protested.

I left the puzzle table and pulled out the paints. “Henry, do you want to paint your butterfly house?” Henry pawed through the craft box, chose a paint, smeared it on and then liberally shook a bottle of glitter over the wet paint.

Sam copied Henry and doused his house with glitter. Henry never complained about being copied. They left behind a pond of paint with a massive beach of glitter. As I swept up the glitter, my bare feet found the tiniest, nearly invisible Lego pieces making me do the Lego Dance. If we had not needed the flat space for meals, I would have left the mess for the kids. However, we could not all squeeze around the edge of the Nathan puzzle.

Failing to fit together pieces for the blue sky, Hubby, for the first time in his life, said, “I would not be upset if someone put it away.”

“Just leave it,” Nathan said. We did and between meals and swimming, hubby found all the edge pieces and started to fill in the sky. Then we had to leave. He slid slabs of puzzle into the box, added packing to hold every piece in place and taped it shut. Someday, when we try again, we will have only to complete the puzzle’s daunting blue sky which probably makes up half of that puzzle.

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The Shadow lurks

It was the worst way to spend an hour past bedtime: chasing a pet mouse that escaped two months ago. Or so says my daughter, Sharon, who spent an hour chasing said white mouse with her husband, Jacob, and four children.

It began after the nightly teeth brushing. Caroline, 8, screamed, “I saw Shadow!”

“You saw who? What?” Sharon asked, alarmed by the scream’s tone and volume.

“I saw Shadow.” Caroline pointed to toddler Katie’s room and began telling everyone else what to do while doing nothing herself.

“Get a bucket or something,” Sharon told her.

Caroline ran to find a bucket. Eli, 10, came to check out the action.

Jacob and Sharon began picking up toys and clothes and pulling furniture away from the wall. Stuff stacked on the furniture fell behind it. As the family picked up toys, the kids were dumping out baskets holding toys and books. Daisy, 6, moved toys and held a flashlight.

Caroline kept screaming, “It’s over here! It’s over here.” The mouse ran across the room seeking sanctuary.

Katie, 1, stood in the middle of the floor surrounded with toys and books saying, “A mouse! A mouse!”

The parents rattled furniture to scare the mouse out of hiding and tripped over kids. Caroline ran to get the mouse cage. They shut the door to contain the mouse. Jacob knelt on the floor ready to catch the mouse which was moving toward him. At that very moment Caroline opened the door and knocked her dad over. The mouse escaped Katie’s room and dashed into Eli’s room. The whole family screamed. This time at Caroline for making Jacob fumble the mouse like a blooper version of football.

Six people followed one mouse into the Lego strewn room. Everyone shoved blankets under the door and into any crevasse. Eli scrambled out of the way of the mouse and climbed to the top of his bunk. That night the family learned Eli’s room cleaning secrets: Shove everything behind or under furniture or into the closet. Eli’s room had to be really cleaned to find the mouse. Beneath all the toys, trash, shoes and clothes they found mouse droppings. The mouse had been living in Eli’s room. Newly aware of his roommate of two months, Eli announced from his top bunk, “I am not touching that mouse. It will bite me, and it has rabies, then I will get rabies.”

Shadow crept out, looked around and scampered toward the bags of trash, running between Katie’s legs. Caroline, who once proudly carried the mouse, refused to try to catch it with her bare hands, scared of the mouse’s speed. Her bucket missed the mouse. It ran under the book shelf and hid in the mouse-sized space beneath the bottom shelf.

Sharon shook the bookshelf to startle the mouse into leaving its hiding place. Jacob grabbed a toy light saber and bent down sweeping the saber beneath the bookshelf until the mouse ran out.

Everybody yelled, “There it is!”

Nobody caught it. Shadow ran across the floor between feet and disappeared into the mess. No one saw where it went. Eli stayed on the top bunk and randomly moving the flashlight beam around the room. No one saw Shadow again that night. The mouse had found sanctuary.

One exhausted mother concluded, “We can’t find him, and you need to go to bed.”

Jacob yawned and said, “That mouse better hope I never find it. It won’t be a happy ending.” Meanwhile, Caroline hopes to find her sweet, domestic mouse sometime soon … even if it is bedtime.

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Prayer matters in a big way

Why would anyone choose to spend three hours a day in praise and prayers in a nation that arrests outspoken Christians? An unnamed El Dorado graduate did just that. He quit his engineering job a year after receiving his degree and signed up with the International House of Prayer (IHOP) where praise and prayers continue 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. At IHOP he learned to pray for hours at a time and how to present the message of Christ’s life and death to folks in the mid-East.

“It gets boring sometimes,” he admits. Still he continues simply because he knows that persistence in prayers makes a difference.

His proof? Until the 1970s the Muslim faith dominated the area where this EHS grad now lives. Christian churches could only meet inside designated church compounds. Pastors who preached elsewhere risked arrest and jail time.

Then, in the 1990s, a world wide movement called the 10-40 Window began. It focused prayer on the people groups between the 10thand 40th latitudes north of the equator where two-thirds of the world’s population live. The majority of them live in poverty with a low quality of life and no Christian resources or education. Christians around the world prayed specifically for this region which includes many Islamic nations.

A couple years ago, the former engineer moved to a region where the discovery of oil in the latter part of the 20th century brought massive waves of workers in from other nations to build a modern country. The influx of laborers now vastly outnumber the local population and its rules.

“Today there are churches meeting in all the hotel conference rooms and schools every Friday morning – that’s when they meet. And the government turns a blind eye to the meetings. More are getting saved than in all of human history. This is an answer to prayer,” he said.

Which is ‘why’ a large part of his ministry involves 20 hours a week of prayer. Those hours of prayer under girded the year-long organization of the largest Christian gathering ever in the area. This spring 12,000 people came to a Hillsong concert. At the end of the concert, 400 individuals accepted Christ’s payment for their sins.

“There is prayer happening all across the city. Prayer begets more prayers. Prayer is multiplying until God has to do something. The root of all the fruit is prayer,” he said. He has seen visitors to the daily prayer and praise services escalate from five a month to 150 a month. He credits it all to the persistent prayer of believers.

Because of the prayers, he reports that a man who once taught the Koran had a dream in which he saw Jesus. He became a Christian and joined the believers in worship and Bible study. Eventually he declared, “I feel God is telling me to go to Iran and share the Gospel. Please, be my prayer cover as I go.”

In text messages, the new believer reported that his wife became a believer after God used him to heal her mother. He has seen 37 new believers.“God is helping me get souls. I am not afraid,” he texted.

Another man grew up not trusting Christians. Then he saw the activities of terrorists, researched the life of Mohammad and became agnostic. Through an Internet connection, he began reading the book of John, became a Christian and now preaches the gospel to other Muslims.

“God is moving because of our prayers.” the prayer warrior concluded. He urged others to join him in persistent prayers to make a difference.


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The Principal’s weirdest day

New construction and bad decisions brought an early end to the shop and special ed teachers’ school year. With a week to go, both already knew their contracts would not be renewed according to their now retired principal.

“The shop teacher had a good first year. The students liked him. They related well, but the second year, he got into drugs, and his personal life began effecting him in the classroom,” the principal said.

On the fateful day, jack hammers pounded above the wood shop near the ceiling hole construction workers had made. The loud, annoying sound interrupted class. School administrators had frequently reminded the subcontractors to wait until a class finished. When they forgot again, “All the teacher had to do was say, “you can’t do this right now. It is too much noise,” the principal observed.

The frustrated shop teacher grabbed a 1” x1” x14 feet long piece of wood and thrust it into the hole, hitting the guy with the jack hammer. That action mandated a mandatory expulsion. The principal contacted the district and got permission to send him home for the last week.

“I went to tell him. He said, ‘I won’t leave without my boat. I made that boat’” indicating a partly finished boat.

“The boat had about $800 to $900 worth of materials and supplies in the boat. We were not going to give him the boat made with his students using supplies bought by the school district. He would not leave without it. We had to get the police to come and get him to leave.”

Looking back, The Principal mused, “We should have let him have the boat. The next shop teacher didn’t want to finish it, and it just took up space for years.”

That same day, the special ed teacher took her students outside to freshly poured cement and told them to take off their socks and shoes and walk through the cement.

“The students were smart enough to refuse. But she took off her socks and shoes and walked through the cement.” he recalled the last of her many erratic behaviors that year.

“We got her paperwork ready to send her home for the rest of the year.”

“I said, ‘Sign this, and then we are sending you home.’”

“I won’t sign it,” she announced.

“You need to give me your keys,” the principal stated

“I’m not doing it.”

“We can do this the hard way or the easy way. I don’t need our signature. It’s for your protection. You do get your pay for the rest of the year.”

She said she had carpooled to school and didn’t have a car. Then, she asked to borrow the carpool driver’s keys in order to get something from his car.

He loaned her the keys. She drove away. Said she was not returning and refused to talk on the cell phone with The Principal or his assistant. She did talk with a security guard who said, “What you are doing is theft. Bring it back, we will get you a ride home.”

“No, you come pick up the car. I won’t tell you where it is. When you get to the first exit, call, and I will tell you where to go.”

The guard drove to the exit. She told him the next place. He drove there. She said the car and keys would be at a convenience store. That was the end of it.”

“I worked in administration 21 years and the two weirdest things happened the same day,” the principal said, shaking his head at the memory.

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