Lunch Bags of Love For The Homeless!

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"Whatever you do for the least of these, you have done unto Me."  Matthew 25:40

Supervising the lunchroom for many years, I have learned a lot!  I have been extremely impressed with how willing children are to eat the healthy foods packed in their lunches.  I have learned about family favorite meals, such as "pizza casserole", "taco pie", and "slimy chicken".  I have watched our current third graders demonstrate their promising culinary skills by making daily food "creations", such as pickles and cheese on top of applesauce or potato salad smeared on pizza.  However, there is nothing more exciting than a loving note found inside a lunchbox.  Often, I am greeted by an excited child waving a piece of paper and proclaiming, "Look what I got!"...

Welcome Back Braedon!

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever!"  Psalm 136:1

After being gone for the past sixteen weeks due to a liver transplant, January 14th was such an awesome day as God allowed for Braedon Breeding to return to school!
To help express our joy for this day...

Dancing Into a New Year!

"But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added onto you as well."   Luke 18:30

As a mom of three children, I have received a great number of treasured gifts that my children have made and given to me over the years. I still have a 22 year-old ceramic tile jewelry box made by my son in first grade that sits on my dresser and continues to lose a few pieces of tile each year. I have an angel ornament on our tree that was made many years ago in Preschool by my daughter that still has a ton of glitter on its halo.  I have a glazed piece of pottery on my night stand that has "I love you" carved in the bottom, and I also have a hand-drawn and framed picture that my daughter painted of the two of us where we both have our arms and legs coming out of our heads!
As my children grew older, the gifts became a little more unique...

How Firm is Your Foundation?

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." Matthew 7:24

Last week, I was greeted by a dear friend who started the conversation with the opening, "So when something happens, I always try to figure out what God is trying to teach me, and here's what happened to me this past weekend." She then pulled up a photo on her phone that portrayed her painful experience. The photo revealed her Christmas tree laying horizontally on the floor with hundreds of shattered pieces of beautiful glass scattered around the fallen tree.
The pain from this experience was still so raw that tears immediately returned as she started to explain what had happened:...

Jesus is the "Key" to Everything!

For the past twenty-three years, my children have provided me with a wealth of writing material for my weekly devotionals.  However, now that they are older, it is even more enjoyable when they even realize that their own antics or bizarre experiences would make a great correlation to a Biblical truth!  Last week, I knew it was going to be an entertaining story when my daughter's text message started out with the words, "Have I got a great newsletter story for you!" Thus...enjoy and see if you can relate...

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Give thanks in all circumstances." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

There is nothing more delectable than the smell of the house when Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared. At times, it is as if you can close your eyes and envision the delicious delicacies that are roasting in the oven. However, I do recall one particular Thanksgiving at my mother's house when this was not the case. As we walked through the door, we were greeted by a very peculiar aroma. I traced its apparent path of origin; it seemed to be emerging from my mother's oven.
Wondering if she was attempting a new recipe, and not wanting to offend the host who was willing to cook for everyone, I opted not to question her culinary skills.
However, there is nothing like the transparency of an articulate four year-old to identify the elephant in the room and so eloquently inquire loud enough for everyone to hear, "What stinks so bad?"...

Praise God for Plan B!

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40

Many years ago, a student of dear friends of mine decided to use his guinea pig as the focal point of his 8th Grade Science Fair project. Starting in September, he wrote his hypothesis revolving around the research that he planned to perform, and throughout the remaining months, the guinea pig was the focus of all of his data. Weeks before the final January submission date, he woke up and discovered that the Lord had taken his beloved guinea pig to Heaven while he slept. His scream caused both parents to rush into his bedroom, where everyone was frozen with shock at what they saw. Finally, the young man broke the silence by saying, "Well this is very unfortunate timing!"...

The Blessings of Parent/Teacher Conferences!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

One of the most fascinating aspects regarding working with children is watching God grow and cultivate their individual gifts, talents, and personality traits throughout their lives.  Often, teachers will notice certain qualities and wonder how God is going to develop and use that characteristic in the future.  For example, we've watched students fascinated with science and space grow up, attend MIT, and work for NASA.  We've watched children who were fabulous at fixing broken items around the school grow up and become engineers or accomplished mechanics.  We've had students, who were wonderful tutors, attend the Concordia colleges and now are high school math teachers.  We've had kids that were fascinated with dissection become surgeons; while one student who was famous for doodling is now employed as an animator for Sony and Play Station...

The Power Of Persuasive Writing!

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

Each fall, I can always tell when the second graders are concluding their "Persuasive Writing Unit", as different letters for various appeals start to appear on my desk. In the past, arguments have been made for a swimming pool, football team, later start time for the school day, etc. However, this year, a young author really showed a bright future in a Marketing/Sales Career! Listed below is the letter that I found waiting for me last week:
Dear Mrs. Palka,...


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