Monday, November 23, 2009

Psalm 100

In thinking of the holiday season that is already upon us (where does time go??). Our pastor gave us a Thanksgiving message based on Psalm 100. While he was preaching and I was taking notes I kept thinking back to verse 5.

"The Lord is good..."

Sometimes that is all you know... That's all I know right now. The Lord is good no matter what I am going through, no matter what people say, no matter what is going on in the world. He is good whether I am happy or sad, whether is raining or the sun is shining. Whether I acknowledge Him or ignore Him; He is good. Because I have decided to not only acknowledge Him but accept Him as Savior, He is very good. This doesn't mean that my life will go smoothly. But God is still good.

Recently, life hasn't been the bed of roses that we all dream that it will be, but I am choosing to focus on the fact that God is good.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Just wanted to wish my Mom and Dad a Happy Anniversary!!!


God has blessed me with wonderful, loving and supportive parents!

I love you both!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Is it just a Hallmark holiday?

Normally I try to ignore certain “Hallmark” holidays because sometimes they are just a little painful. To singles it is hard to watch the married couples be all “gushy.” Please don’t get me wrong; I want couples to show affection… In fact couples need to show each other affection. But it can be more than just mush and gush…


These roses came from one of my students to show me how much she cared… That’s what Sweetest Day is about… Letting others know how much they mean to us.

Mom you are sweet for listening to me when I need to talk… for being an encouragement source as I am trying to lose weight…. for worrying about me.

Dad you are sweet for taking those calls when you know that I “have a question,” for being Mr. Fix-it man, for being one of the most inspirational people to me…

Luke and Joanna you are sweet for standing up for what is right. Keep encouraged God knows everything you go through and is there for you.

To my students… you are sweet to me for your attempts to be funny, your many attempts to do your best in school, and the different ways that I see you growing up….

There are so many more people that I need to remember as being “sweet” that I would run out of time and space.

To all my single friends: don’t get discouraged with the mush and the gush. Use this opportunity to witness the power that you can have in encouraging others.

To my married friends: use the opportunity to remind your spouse that they are a priority to you. In this wild and crazy world we all need to hear that someone cares and thinks that we are special…

Happy Sweetest Day!!!

PS. Thank you for the roses!! You made my day!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pass the peas, please...

Today in Chapel Mr. Goodenow reminded me of one of my favorite Bible characters, Shamah. In II Samuel 23:11-12, it describes one of David's mighty men. This man stood his ground, in the middle of a pea patch (The Bible says lentils, so that can be translated different ways). He defended his land of inheritance from the Philistines. When every one else fell away, he stood his ground. Sometimes it feels like we are the only ones that are taking the stand. And while we might be alone on a certain issues there are others in other places who have had to stand. And we can look at their example and be encouraged.

One thing that encouraged me was that God gave a mighty victory. Shamah wasn't Super Man. While he was the only human that was in the field, he was not entirely alone. God was there and "wrought a great victory." He was ordinary. We don't have to be Super Man (or Woman) to stand. We can be a simple laborer for God when he gives us the opportunity to be used for a "great" victory. How often do we grumble and complain that God has allowed trials into our lives. I am sure that Shamah was looking for the Philistines and hoping that they would show up, so he could show off his battle skills. Very likely he was a simple farmer who was harvesting his crops. The Philistines were known for waiting till the Hebrews were harvesting before showing up and stealing the food. Maybe they had done this before to Shamah, and just maybe he was fed up with what the Philistines had been dishing out. He decided that today was the day that he wouldn't take any more. I almost picture him going out to the field with his harvesting tools and a sword strapped to his side. When they (a troop of Philistines) showed up, he told them to get off his land. When they didn't he prepared himself to fight. Now the Bible doesn't say that he fought them with a sword, and if he didn't have a sword then God really was working a "great" miracle. There had originally been more people with him but they ran away in fear, but Shamah stood. He probably didn't think that he would make it out alive, but obviously that didn't scare him away from the fight. As Christians there are times that we enter a spiritual battle where it seems that the odds are stacked against us. But like Shamah we have a secret weapon.

I would have loved to be a mouse in that field to watch the work of God. I can imagine that when the dust settled Shamah wondered how it was that he was still standing. There are times that in the midst of the fight we don't think that we are making any headway, but when the dust settles and we reflect on how the Lord has helped us; we are in awe. We are still standing.

I can imagine that after that (whether he liked the taste of peas or not) Shamah was reminded of God's power and might every time he was served up a dish of peas. He did not enter that field with the intent of being a hero, but because of his willingness to stand regardless of other people's choices the Bible has a recorded of his act. Not only a record of this act, but he was one of David's mighty men who were known for many acts of valour.

Oh Christian, I want to encourage you. In a country where we are told that we know longer are the majority, remember we are called to make a stand. A stand for the Biblical principles that our country was founded on. The opposition to the cause of God and our country may seem powerful and resourceful, but we have a secret weapon who controls the world.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take unto the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Just a quick politcal thought

I don't normally make it a practice to get political on my blog. But I just couldn't resist...

"When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home." -Winston Churchill

When I saw that this was the quote of the day(Monday) for my blog I thought that it was so appropriate for the times, with Obama scheduled to speak before the UN. I don't appreciate any president that attacks the country of which he is the commander and chief . I can only hope that President Obama would take a few pointers from someone who was know to be a statesman extraordinaire and hold up our country.

Our students recently did a display on the Constitution. Our Constitution is the oldest in the world and has been copied by many countries. Our form of government has worked for over two hundred years, since when does it not work any more. We don't need socialist programs or the government running every part of our lives from the cars we drive to the types of drinks we consume. It is ridiculous to think that this is what the people really want for themselves.

Whew...... That relieved a little of what was on my mind... Now back to grading.... And I'll not bother you with any more of my political thoughts. ;-)

Summer pictures


This is the Market place.


This “Grandma” since she called me Carol. LOL it was the big joke, when I first started working there they couldn’t remember my name.

More Pictures

Melody the right hand lady on the farm

Jason the one I worked with often....

David, who likes to pester people with bugs and thrown apples...

Summer pictures

"Grandpa" showing us how to grade apples...

"Grandma" who always called me Carol... They tended to forget names.

The market place

My “What I did with my summer” essay

Sounds just like a teacher :-) This summer went by so quickly and I have to admit I really wasn’t ready to start school.  Now I really sound like one of my students. On the other hand, I had student who was telling my in July that she was ready for school to start cause she was bored. I told her she could come to work with me and that would take care of ALL of her boredom.

Most of you know that I work at the Dutch Haus. Well this spring I put in a note asking for more hours but knowing how life goes and all of the college students that would be coming back, I decided to look elsewhere.

Well after talking to my friend Tonya, I called one of the local fruit farms and Jon Huffman decided to give me a shot. I started the Friday after school was out and that was my trial work day. I worked in the grading room and had been warned about the boredom in that room. But it was different than anything that I have ever done. I have worked quite a variety of jobs and this was very different. I like the more physically labor aspect of it. I have thinned apple trees, graded apples, bagged apples and even delivered apples. I graded peaches, sold strawberries at a roadside stand, graded and sorted tomatoes and peppers and got to try a wide variety of veggies and a variety peaches and apples. The only thing I didn’t learn was how to run the fork lift. Knowing how klutzy I am I would end up tearing up something or running something over. So I skirted that little learning experience. :-)

Some friends even joined me there. Danielle, Eric, Stephanie and I got to work together some. They got to work in the outdoors while I was in the grading room. They say that you never stop learning, but I think that your learning depends on you… There are always new experiences to learn from and this summer was full of them for me.

Lydia, a dyer of purple

Rev. Grabill did a wonderful job on Saturday. I thanked him personally but also thought I would share his some of his thoughts from the funeral service for Nancy Ritchey. (Mind you I was not able to stay for the whole service due to a calling and work schedule, but what I was present for was very challenging.)

Rev. Grabill, I hope that I can do justice to your challenge to us.

Rev. Grabill compared Miss Ritchey with Lydia a convert in the New Testament. Lydia extracted dye from oyster shells which was a very taxing job, she knew what hard work meant and was accomplished. She was clothed in her product and worked to cloth others in her product. Purple dye was very expensive and reserved for royalty. And we all know that Miss Ritchey was a queen among women. However, Miss Ritchey knew how to work hard and did so with her own education and for her students as well. I can remember her telling stories of some of her college days that made us all laugh, but reminded us of how much she had to work to get where she was. She was always thought of as a tough teacher, but that sentiment was always followed with “but you always learned from her.” She was clothed in her product of God’s grace and mercy. It was told that the nurses at the care facility where she was when she passed away were saddened that they could not spend more time getting to know her, because, she was so special. She also challenged her students to “wear” her royal cloth. To not only have a head knowledge of God and who He was, but to be clothed in His Righteousness. To allow His righteousness to mold us and make us vessels that would accomplish His will, this was the aim of her life.

Her funeral was a celebration of a homegoing not a mourning of the lost. May we take the admonition of such a grand teacher that same could be said of our passing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Unspeakable Joy

As I reread my last post I truly didn't realize how little time we had with one of the greatest women on earth. I am not going to even attempt to laud her as Mark did. Check his blog for an excellent and touching commentary from a former student.

I will say this I was remembering the day that she found out that I was moving age groups in my teaching career. She remarked that she was going to have to double her time in prayer for me since I was moving from 2nd and 3rd grade to 7th and 8th. She knew more than I what I was facing. Knowing that she was praying for me helped me so much through the times that I thought I would quit. And here I am... Still teaching 7th and 8th (and clear up to 12th at times) knowing that if she hadn't been praying for me I wouldn't have made it this far. Since I am still single, several have teased me asking if I was going to be the next Miss Ritchey. I could never hope to take up that mantle. I can only hope to follow in her footsteps as she so faithfully followed in the footsteps of our Lord.

I'm sure she would be horrified to know that everybody is focusing on her. However, she deserves more than the few kind but almost lacking words that we have all used to describe her. For all of you who never had the privilege of knowing her or sitting in one of her classes, I am sorry. She was a master teacher and tough as nails. She had high expectations. She was loving, caring and even generous. (Although don't let those last three get out. LOL)

I can still remember phrases and definitely the tune to the prayer hymn she had us learn for prayer class. And I sit remember trying not to hum the tune too loudly during the final where we had to write out the poem. And her sitting in the front of the room grinning while watching us all trying not to hum.

Few people have impacted my life for God as my Grandpa Geno, Miss Ritchey and Rev. Satterfield. May we all remember the lessons that they so diligently taught us and live so close to God that this time of parting seems but a brief pause in light of the eternity that we will face worshipping our Lord together. I'm sure Miss Ritchey is experiencing more than just "a better place." I'm sure she is experiencing unspeakable joy. (And I'm sure she is enjoying that music and even joining in on the fun ;-)

Friday, September 11, 2009

An Unsung Hero

For those of you who sat under the teaching of Miss Ritchey and enjoyed her quick wit and sarcastic sense of humor, I hope this post provokes your thoughts and prayers.

She was hospitalized yesterday. And is not doing well physically. Please say a prayer for her today.

I was remembering the day that I walked into her office to demand an explanation for a C in psychology. I knew that I had gotten B level grades, and I couldn’t figure out why I had been given a C… She told me that I was and A student who gave her B work so my “participation” made it a C. After that I gave all my classes more effort.

As a teacher if I could be half the teacher that she was I would be happy. She was so wise at knowing her students and understanding what was best for them. Notice that I didn’t say what they wanted but what was best for them.

In my classroom is an old-fashioned school desk that will always hold memories for me, because it once belonged to her…


She inspires me and challenges me, and she has shown me what a deep love of God looks like. She is one of those people who have influenced me in my Christian walk. She is too modest to admit how influential she has been in so many lives. But like the Southern Gospel song “Faces” says I think that when the Lord gives her the reward she has earned there will be many faces to watch her receive her crown!

Love you Miss Ritchey!!

Happy Birthday Mom

I've always tried to remember 9/11 not because of any tragic event that changed the world as I knew it, but because it's my mom's birthday... (hopefully I'll post a picture of her after I have supper with them tonight)

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My new toy


I can’t believe it!!!! It’s finally here!!!!! (can you tell I’m excited?)

Now that I have a wireless capable laptop, I’m hoping to blog more. Lol I know promises, promises…

Sorry if I’m bragging but I can’t help it… I’m just a little excited :-)

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm back...

Wow what a summer! It went way too fast and was way too short! I did take pictures of my farm experience and plan on posting those later this week. For those who haven't heard I got a new cell phone as my old one gave up the ghost and lost all my numbers in the process! It is a very hard thing to have a new phone and no one to text... :-)

Also I'm finally getting a new laptop... My students will no longer hear my cries of dismay as my dinosaur of eight years was playing dead or erasing valuable student grades. It will also make blogging easier, cause I now have wireless! Yipee!!! Well signing off for now. School is on and lots to do today. God has blessed us with another opportunity to work for Him. May I do my best to please Him.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My students can say the funniest things...

Never fear students of mine you shall remain nameless to protect those who are very guilty.... ;-)

The other day I had informed my students that during the last period study hall(held in my homeroom) I would not be accepting questions... I had done nothing but answer questions the previous period (40 mins) and had gotten absolutely nothing done! So they would have to hold on to their questions. "If I get finished with what I need to grade, I'll answer questions." The students got busy with their work... One student anxious for help with some Bible homework, blurted out in the fairly quiet room...

"Miss LaVan, can I have dibs on you..."

Before he realized how that statement might have sounded, the whole class bust out laughing! He got teased for the rest of the day for wanting to call "dibs" on his teacher....

The very next day at the end of the day anticipating going out side (due to having all their homework done) A different student asked me,

"Miss LaVan, can we go out?"

Having been one of the ones who had laughed the hardest the day before, he had to endure being teased for asking his teacher to go out with him...

I told them that what they mean and what others hear/think that they mean are two totally different things... Oh well it made me smile and about 13 others.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My silence

Me, silent, I know it's shocking... but it does happen occasionally... This post is for those of you pestering me to post something... Now maybe you won't tease me about not posting once you see how boring I am... lol To be honest, I haven't had much to say... So much has been going on that I couldn't really talk about, or at least didn't want to talk about on a blog, lol... And really nothing funny has really happen in the last little while that isn't an inside joke that only a few would get...
So what to talk about... Hmmm... Well, I could talk about how glad I am that as of tomorrow I only have a month total of school left... I used to think that only the students were excited about that... But I'm pretty sure that teachers are just as excited if not more so... but why talk about stuff you already know... :-)
I could tell you all about my week of testing... "please make sure that the circles are filled in completely." "When you come to the bottom of page 72 you will see a stop sign. You may check your work on pages 63 through 72 but do not go on to any other pages." Lol boring...
One thing I will say is that God is so good even in the midst of confusion. Lately I have things come my way that I didn't understand and still don't. There are decisions that I will have to make that are serious decisions. Trying to keep up with everyone and my schedule makes my life interesting. But God didn't promise a life of ease, He promised us that He would be with us... And He has been so kind and gracious, and has made Himself so real.
God is good!
Tomorrow I will be turning, well never mind that... But I have been thinking a lot about how far God has brought me in the last nine years. How he has provided for me, and blessed me. Nine years ago this August I decided that I was going to serve God no matter where it took me... It's been so interesting so far, and He has been so good how can I not help but look forward to the next nine years....

A sunny graduation

(He is so going to shoot me for posting this picture... We couldn't get him to smile... Lol)

On Sunday I was privileged to go up to Walsh University to see my bother-in-law graduate from college. He graduated with his bachelor's in business.
Needless to say the day was hot... 90 degrees hot with barely a cloud in the sky... And this freckle faced red head fried... Lol... It was the first burn of the year, and my neck got the worst of it... But it was worth it to see Jer graduate...
Congratulations!!! We are all so proud of you...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More photos

This was after Stephanie had tried out the nice soft landing pad...

trying out the emergency phone device

The prep work...

One Very funny prank...

This is another practical joke story from the king of practical jokes... But this time I was in on the planning end not the receiving end.... lol

The Background:

My friend Stephanie came over to my house to use my treadmill since it was to cold outside. She was use to running outside and to my knowledge had never run on a treadmill before. I blindly assumed that she knew what she was doing... However, if you are not used to running on a treadmill, you should go a little slower than you are used to running with your own motivation... Stephanie, had my machine cranked to 8 mph when "something happened. . . . I don't know what. . . ." she fell!!! She acquired nine very colorful, very painful bruises. Now there is now way I'm going to let this ride... :-)

Soooooo when this opportunity came up a few weeks later, I could not let it pass by... Daryl Quesenberry called me up to be the inside contact. The original night of this joke was Monday night but the mission was aborted. So Tuesday night it was the official night of the joke. I was in Stephanie's room talking with her and another friend, Susie. When she received a phone call from a number that she didn't know... Mysterious.... LOL The voice on the other end of the told Stephanie to go outside the girls dorm. (hopefully I will be able to post the video of the discovery of the gift soon)
A set up picture....

Upon arriving outside she stumbled upon the gift... Laughing hysterically the whole time we discovered the Washburn MANUAL stressmill.... Which was equipped with the latest redneck safety devices: torso, knee and shin, posterior, elbow, hand, head and chin protectors. Oh there were emergency guidelines, phone number lists and a first aid kit... Did I mention the landing pad (an inflatable twin mattress) which was positioned behind the stress mill just to break a possible tumble. There was also a device that you grip with your teeth or your gums... whichever you have... and it calls 911 for you if you fall...

It was a very funny prank and no one was hurt physically or emotionally in the production of this prank... And lets just say that the half has not been told.... I will be trying to post more pictures and a clip or two of some of the funniness...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Some of the cutest kids around....

Here are a couple of pictures of two of the most adorable "rugrats" as a former prof use to call them... Daniel and I have lots of fun together... We are both ADHD, and have fun keeping each other entertained... he always has a ready smile... that is unless is mom is wiping his nose...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The best Valentine's Day present ever!!!

This is probably one of the funniest things that I have ever lived through... And every time I look at the pictures I lose it all over again...

At our school, the faculty are assigned a month to bring a snack for that months faculty meeting. I have been given February every year... yeah the single teacher gets the love month... I don't mind, and usually get teased for months about how elaborate my "meal" is... I love to cook, and since cooking for one is boring don't do it all the time... Hey it shows them how much I love them... I even use the opportunity to buy my yearly roses... I buy myself a dozen of white roses since, well, my husband won't buy me any... ok so here is the rest of the story...

I have an invisible husband... His name is Frank. Frank was charming when I met him, but we've been married now for 4 years and well let's just say it's not paradise... He won't go to church with me (which is how this story got started... I didn't have a husband to put his arm around me on Covenant Marriage Sunday, LOL) he doesn't do any chores and my house is always a disaster because of him... getting the picture... LOL He is a wonderful scapegoat from bruises to being late... He gets blamed for a lot of things... But no one has ever seen him...

A couple of my co-teachers thought it would be funny if Frank came to school... So as I finished setting up the snack, and the plates with some help from my wonderful parents... I couldn't figure out where a couple of the guy teachers were, so my principal decided to start with out them...

Well after we prayed to start the meeting... Low and behold what walked in the door...

It was Little River Singing Valentines... (Little River is a notorious group of pranksters and all around funny group...) "Frank" had supposedly hired them to sing "You Are My Sunshine" for me... He also brought me a rose and a card... And came dress like a knight... With a sign that said "Cupid keeps missing"!!!

Needless to say I was laughing my head off till they wheeled him over next to me and the "dummy" acted like he was going to give me a hug... The joke was great!!! And the card is still on my desk to remind me of when Frank came to school...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"The Day"

As "The Day" approaches, I know that I will get sick of red, hearts, roses, and couples... But for now I thought I would enjoy the moment and put up a Valentinish background... I thought about doing an all Black background, but...... I'll be good ;-)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some of the Best...

Here are a few pics of some of my favorite people in the world... My cousins, and my Great, er make that Awesome Uncles Chuck and Dick... it had been a while since I had seen them and didn't have any recent pictures... So while I had the chance I grabbed some pics...
Love you guys so much!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

S D Banks

Ok, so I finally got the snow, that I was hoping would come in time for Christmas... Friday night and all day Saturday was filled with snowy skies which led to some awesome fun with some of the kids in the neighborhood... After sledding (We had wanted to make a snowman but the snow was too dry... If that makes any sense, lol) we played volleyball, and when that got too boring we went to Dunkin' Donuts for ice cream and coffee....

So not getting to build a snowman was a huge disappointment to my friend, Stephanie, and me. So on Saturday we decided to make one after the youth group when around shoveling sidewalks for the elderly in our church. The most depressing part was that while the shoveling party was going on nature conspired against us... Again... It was ever so lightly freezing rain... GRRRRR... So when it was time to build our snowman extraordinaire, it just didn't seem possible... Then I came up with a truly brilliant plan... A snow sculpture!!!! Stephanie thought maybe a frog with a crown would be appropriate. But we started out building a snowman and build one we would...
We couldn't build one vertically, so we built one horizontally... The man was lying on his stomache and had his arms in front of him...
Stephanie did a fantastic job of chiseling his face till he actually looked like a really person instead of the sphinx that he started out looking like... lol So, when Stephanie decided to shave off some of the back of his head, Welllllll....
Let's just say that the head fell off and into his arms... He reminded me of a Calvin and Hobbes snowman... He also lost his chiseled chin when Stephanie tried givin him a candy mouth, lol... We decided to leave off the ruby red lips and let him go with the natural white... The eyes though just had to be blue... ;-)

Here we are with our finish product... Finished only because our clothes were frozen along with our hands... Our snow man does have a name.... We officially dubbed him S. D. Banks....

Friday, January 2, 2009

Some Random Thoughts for New Year 2009???

It is so hard to believe that this time has come again.... Wasn't it just last year that the year 2000 rolled around, and everyone was afraid that the world was going to stop spinning. Ok so I'm showing my age, the ancient one that I am.... lol...

Rev. John Dye gave us some excellent admonitions on how to be more Christlike in the new year. One thing that I did think about in vein of resolutions is... Only make resolutions that you have no intention of keeping... lol... I thought about resolutions that I've made in the past and I never kept them for more than the month of January......... So here is my only resolution...

1. Don't eat Chocolate.....

Nothing like making a resolution that I know I'm going to break.(like by this afternoon) Especially since I discovered that truffles are super easy to make... lol

I did decide to make some goals for each month, nothing big just some small steps toward healthier, (hopefully) skinnier me... Some things at school are slowing down just a touch, so hopefully I can get back on the schedule I started this summer. But my parents got me a down comforter for Christmas and it is so hard to not oversleep... LOL, with school starting in a few days this is not a good thing... :-)

I am hoping to blog a little more now that my life is a little more calm, only a little, Those of you know me well know that my life can only be calm for like 5 seconds at a time... My calls me the walking crisis center...

Ok so I'm going to stop rambling.... ;-)

Wishing you a blessed New Year!!!