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Purpose in Life

 Purpose Gives Life Meaning

Abandoned Fawn Finds a New Friend Photo
An abandoned fawn finds a much-needed friend.

 

 

Life is short.

Not that anyone notices.

However, a quick trip through any graveyard will reveal the various ages when people die.

Young or old, death is no respecter of persons.

My family realized this when my five-year-old daughter’s best friend died in a freak accident.

Yes, even five-year-olds die.

I realized it as a young person when several friends of mine died needlessly.

I also realized it as an adult when my father died in his fifties. Since then I have realized it when my grandmothers and grandfather died. (My other grandfather died before I was born.)

Since life is so short, of what should it consist?

What makes life truly worth living?

And if life has any value, what value should we give it?

Purpose gives meaning to life.

It is our purpose on this earth that gives us value.  A man or woman without purpose has little life for which to live.

What is it that gives us the desire to live?

Waterwheels remain to remind us of days gone by when their purpose was to turn gears for machinery.
Waterwheels remain to remind us of days gone by when their purpose was to turn gears for machinery.

I remember my father’s words.

My father had said that he would never have heart surgery again. This was before all the modern advances that reduced the surgical procedure’s invasiveness.

However, the time came when he spoke of heart surgery again. I told him I thought he would never have surgery again.

He replied, “When it comes to dying, a man will do anything to live.”

Those words stuck in my mind.

People tell me they wouldn’t want to be in such and such a condition and would want to die instead.

It is then that I remember the words of my father and realize that people do not know what they will desire until they face death themselves. It is then that life takes on added meaning.

Once upon a time this building owner's purpose was to entertain people. The building itself now needs a renewed purpose.
Once upon a time this building owner’s purpose was to entertain people. The building itself now needs a renewed purpose.

The desire to live gives purpose to life.

It is the desire to live that gives new purpose to life even though the focus changes when we must face death ourselves.

Then the time has come to heal old wounds, make the apologies we should have made long ago, tell our loved ones how much we love them, and reach out to others with the compassion we never had before.

Yes, life has value down to the end of our last breath.

Every word has purpose.

Even our last words have purpose. They set a pattern for the future of our families.

Our last words can leave our loved ones with a blessing or a curse.

Jacob blessed his children before he climbed back into bed and gave up the ghost (Genesis 49).

David blessed Solomon and gave him wise counsel that directed the future of the kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 2).

Jesus blessed the disciple John and gave him the responsibility of caring for Jesus’ earthly mother (John 19:26-27).

Our lives affect the future.

Our lives affect the future of others.

Soldiers are willing to die on the battlefield because they want their families to have a future.

The men at the Alamo gave their lives so Texas would one day be free from Mexican rule.

Shammah stood in the middle of a bean patch and fought against the enemy so his people would have food (2 Samuel 23:11-12).

Jesus gave His life on a cross so that all people could have a future and a hope. His last words as recorded in Luke 24:46-49 gave his disciples understanding and future direction for their lives.

Markers are placed to remember a grave even though the name of the remains may have been long forgotten.
Markers are placed to remember a grave even though the name of the remains may have been long forgotten.

Our life’s purpose gives meaning to life.

Whether we understand our value or not, others need us to fulfill our purpose.

Fulfilling our purpose will give meaning to our lives.

An orphaned opossum is cared for by a concerned caregiver.
An orphaned opossum is cared for by a concerned caregiver.

Copyright 2017 by authorpeggyclark.com


 

 

 

Mother Seeking Proverbs 31 Woman

The Proverbs 31 Woman

A Mother’s Lesson Plan

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

King Lemuel’s mother gave her son valuable lessons concerning the pitfalls into which any son can fall prey.  She was highly concerned that he be guided properly, so she bore this role personally.

A virtuous woman is a source of strength for her husband.
A virtuous woman is a source of strength for her husband.

 Two important areas she discussed in her lesson plans were women and strong drink.

This mother knew that if her son did not conduct himself properly in these two areas, his authority over his kingdom would be damaged and his judgment thwarted.

To protect his future kingship, she wisely advised him:

“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink.” Proverbs 31:3-4

Her plans included two important words.

The list of attributes describing the virtuous woman that this mother desired for her son may seem challenging to today’s woman but are basically contained in two words which this mother used to teach an important lesson to her son.

The first is ‘ruby’ and the second is ‘heart’.

Lemuel’s mother wanted to instill in Lemuel the value of a good woman. To do this, she placed the image of a ruby in his mind.

As a man in training for kingship, young Lemuel would be taught the value of gems and their use in commerce.

Precious stones were given by visiting royalty as presents unto kings. Lemuel had to be able to distinguish quality between the various stones presented.

Why did this mother choose the ruby to educate her son in these matters?
What qualities does a ruby possess that would describe a virtuous woman?

Large transparent rubies are rarer than diamonds. Thus, the value of a natural, transparent ruby is more than that of a diamond.

Obviously, this mother realized that a virtuous woman would be someone for whom Lemuel would have to diligently seek. A virtuous woman was not a common commodity.

The more transparent a ruby is the greater the value. Although all rubies have some flaws, the less imperfections a ruby has, the more it is desired.

When a woman is transparent, she has nothing to hide. She allows her husband to see her as she is. She does not try to put a veil over his eyes as to her character.

A ruby can be heat treated to remove some internal flaws.

Trials and afflictions are the fires that God uses to purify man. A virtuous woman can endure those trials and afflictions and remain true.

It takes an expert to distinguish between a natural and a man-made ruby.

God is the expert that can discern a woman’s heart and her motives. A wise man will seek God’s will when contemplating courtship. His eyes cannot see into a woman’s heart, but God’s eyes can.

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12

The second word that King Lemuel’s mother focused upon was heart.

Men consider trust a major factor in describing a healthy marriage.

If a man feels he cannot confide in his wife, if he feels she has betrayed his confidences, he will stop entrusting her with his words. This may lead him to seek spoil or an unscriptural relationship with another.

Many marriages end because another woman chose to listen to a married man’s words and keep them in confidence, thus drawing the man away from his wife.

The advice that King Lemuel’s mother gave was directed in such a way that King Lemuel would be able to understand the consequences of unwise choices.  She turned his focus upon his own heart and how it would be affected by those choices.

The choice that he would make as to a wife would do him good or do him evil all the days of his life.

He could choose that which was more valuable than rubies in which he could safely invest his heart and profit, or he could choose that which was of less value and loose his investment and suffer loss.

"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband." Proverbs 12:4
“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband.” Proverbs 12:4

“Who can find a virtuous woman?”

She is described as transparent and trustworthy.

She reflects what is inside of her, the character of Christ. She is a haven for her husband and keeps his words close to herself.

Her motives are pure, showing her intent to protect her husband’s heart.  Therefore, she is given the liberty to accomplish all that the Proverbs 31 woman had liberty to accomplish.

The virtuous Proverbs 31 woman could involve herself in such activities as described in Proverbs 31:13-24 because she could be trusted to do those things without bringing shame to her husband or her household.

The Proverbs 31 woman was portrayed, not by her performance, but by the transparency of her true nature.

King Lemuel was taught to ask himself two important questions as he sought for a wife.

Does this woman’s transparency or lack thereof reveal Christlike character or a flawed character?
Does this woman’s transparency or lack thereof reveal a trustworthy heart or a questionable one?

King Lemuel’s adopted course of action hopefully brought him a Proverbs 31 woman that he safely trusted in all his days.

©2016 authorpeggyclark.com


Join in the conversation. Leave your comment below.
  • The Proverbs 31 woman is usually described by what she does.
  • Do you define the Proverbs 31 woman by her performance?
  • If measuring performance, how do you measure up?
  • According to Proverbs 31:30, what woman is to be praised?
  • Did the Proverbs 31 woman’s performance define her relationship with God or did her relationship with God define her performance?
  • How does your above answer correspond with Ephesians 2:8-10?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Potter’s ‘Brand’

Every Potter’s Work Is Unique

I met a new potter this weekend while taking pictures at an event I attended. Since I love pottery, we struck up a conversation and “friended” each other. Her work was beautiful, especially the various mugs and trays that she had on display.

Although there are several potters who work in my area, each potter’s work is unique.

Potters brand their pieces with special markings.
Potters brand their pieces with special markings.

Every Potter Eventually Establishes a ‘Brand’

Not only are their individual items uniquely made, but the colors used and patterns applied are unique to each potter.

You might say they each have their ‘brand’.  That brand is established by their unique styles.

That style is brought out by hands that carefully mold and form from the potter’s viewpoint and vision.

Sometimes the clay wishes to cooperate with the potter. Sometimes it does not. The potter patiently places the clay back on the wheel until finally the clay submits to the potter’s wishes.

Potters use a variety of colors and markings.
Potters use a variety of colors and markings.

The Potter Knows the Potential of the Clay

It’s not that the potter doesn’t consider the clay’s texture or color or strength. The potter knows those things. But the potter also knows what the clay can become when it yields itself to his or her touch.

The potter has the end piece in view.

He or she sees it in all its beautiful form as finished and sitting on a customer’s table. He or she knows its usefulness and the blessing it will be as it pours out its contents to those who sit at the table.

Different sizes of pitchers for a variety of uses.
Potters make pitchers in a variety of sizes for different uses.

Our Master in Heaven Is

the Great Potter

It’s the same way with our Master in Heaven. He is the Great Potter who forms us and molds us to be the vessels that will bless those for whom we are poured out in service for Him.

Our Great Potter knows our frame, but He sees what we can be. He sees us as what we will be in His kingdom.

He is the author and finisher of our faith. One day our faith will end in sight.

One day soon we will see our Great Potter face to face. May He say of us in that day, “Well done!”

Copyright©2017 by Peggy Clark

Photos © by Peggy Clark

Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome, available from WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. Check out her blog at https://sowhatsthelatestnews.info.

 

Create a Magazine – Make It a Family Affair

Enrich your homeschool by creating a magazine that reflects your family’s interests.

Learn about writing, editing, and publishing.

Children have different talents and gifts. Why not utilize those talents and gifts by making a family magazine?
This may seem like an overwhelming task, but it needn’t be. Just follow a few basic steps and your magazine will become a pleasurable accomplishment.

Discuss the different parts of a magazine.

Take some time letting your children leaf through various magazines taking notice of what they find interesting. (If you do not have access to interesting magazines through family and friends, then plan a trip to your local library. A large selection is available for viewing and for checkout. It would be advantageous to have your first lessons completed there.)

Then continue by pointing out pages with specific purposes. Included in these should be the copyright page, contents pages, editorial pages, features pages, product pages, etc. Any discussion should also include the type of and purpose for advertising articles and advertising posts.

Children will probably notice that some magazines appeal to a wide variety of readers (mass magazines) and some appeal only to a select few (class magazines).

Discuss the job descriptions of those who are responsible for each step in the process of development.

From editors, illustrators, reporters, printers, to photographers, the list of people who do the work of producing a magazine is varied.

Responsibilities involve layout, design, news departments, sports departments, editorials, photos, images, production, marketing, etc. It truly takes a team to produce a successful magazine.

Discuss the idea of producing a family magazine.

Discuss the idea of producing your own magazine. This could be a family magazine or group magazine. Get the children excited about producing their own work.

If you feel your family is too small to do this, engage the assistance of other homeschooling families or your local homeschool support group.

Let Your Magazine Reflect Your Family's Interests
Let Your Magazine Reflect Your Family’s Interests

Enjoy the process.

Don’t let the process bog down your family. If you decide to just do a few pages within a single week or if you make it a year long process by collecting material accomplished during the year, the important thing is to give children the knowledge of and opportunity in developing their individual gifts and talents. Make it an adventure they will remember as they continue their educational goals.

Set guidelines and give job descriptions.

Some children love to write stories, but others love to tell them. Some like to draw or doodle while others have fun painting or crafting.

Some like to tell riddles and read comic strips, while others would rather grab the camera and catch family members in fun.

Some children like the outdoors (so what critters are in the area?) and others like hanging out with Mom in the kitchen (so what’s their favorite recipe?).

Some like to play sports (so how do you play that game?) while others seem to know all the sports statistics (batting averages, anyone?).

Some are great at playing musical instruments, but others like to listen to the radio, know all the top hits, and can tell you where their favorite artists will be next week.

Utilize those individual characteristics to make a magazine that will reflect the children’s talents, interests, and gifts and not just your own.

Yes, specific guidelines and deadlines should be set, but let the children do the work as much as possible.

Make the Publishing Process a Learning Experience
Items to Consider in Publishing Your Family Magazine

Let each child do what they find interesting.

Some will enjoy writing about their topics of interests. Some will hate writing altogether, but may love doing the illustrations or creating graphs for a sibling’s articles.

As much as possible, let each child do what they find interesting. This may take some insight on your part.

And when it comes to publishing the material, everyone will probably want to know how to use the copy machine. Even if you must do this at a local printer, ask the manager if your children can watch the process.

Enjoy creating your magazine and just think about all the areas of publishing to which your family has been exposed.

And if you decide to let the children ‘sell’ the magazine to family and friends, you may discover that you have a successful entrepreneur under your wings.

 

Devotional: Empty Vessels Have Potential

The Potential of an Empty Vessel

An Empty Vessel Can Collect Dust

What is the potential in having a lot of empty vessels?

A case of canning jars sitting on the back porch collecting dust may not seem to be of much value to a passerby.

Dusty canning jars waiting to be used.
Dusty jars waiting to be used.

An Empty Vessel Has Potential

However, a person with knowledge and insight can see past the emptiness of the jars to the potential they hold.

Yes, those empty jars may have little value. But once they are filled with green beans or tomatoes or pickles, suddenly they have great value.

An Empty Vessel Can Be Filled

Those once empty jars now have the potential to feed starving souls.  They have the potential to sustain and maintain others’ needs. They can also be reused again and again.

Empty jars waiting to be filled.
Empty vessels waiting to be filled.

An Empty Vessel Can Be Limited

Are we like those empty vessels sitting on the porch collecting dust?

Have we limited our potential by remaining empty?

An Empty Vessel Can Be Used to Bless Others

“[B]ut be filled with the Spirit.”  Ephesians 5:18

As we allow ourselves to be filled with the Spirit of Christ, we overflow into the lives of others.

Our fullness sustains others with our encouraging thoughts, words, and prayers. Our fullness flows into the lives of others as we share our blessings. Those blessings meet others’ needs as well as our own.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35

Empty vessels need to be filled.
Empty vessels need to be filled.

As the contents of a jar is replaced with another substance (invisible air is replaced with visible blessing), so our ‘self’ is replaced by the fullness of Christ.

“that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

Filled Vessels Can Serve Christ to Others

As Christ lives in the vessels He fills, Christ is served to others.

Others enjoy our fullness in Christ and receive added blessing.  Their vessels receive hope and are filled with potential. Their souls can then receive the valuableness of having Christ, the only One who can truly give sustenance and meaning to life.

The jar is valued by its contents. Garden vegetables are saved for a wintry day.
The jar is valued by its contents. Garden vegetables are saved for a wintry day.

He came to give us life and that “more abundantly.”  John 10:10

May Your Empty Vessels Be Filled to Their Full Potential

You may wish to pull out those empty jars and fill them with blessings that can be shared with others. Whether it be vegetables, plants, flower arrangements, or spare change, empty vessels were created to be used. They provide a means of storing our precious items for a later time.

And May You Be Filled with the Potential Christ Desires for You

You were created with potential. Christ’s desire is for you to be filled with Him.  His grace and mercy is offered to you.  May you be all that Christ has created you to be.

Join in the conversation:

 

Use Active Voice to Improve Your Manuscript

Improve Your Manuscript by Using Active Voice

You can often improve your writing by using active voice instead of passive voice.

Not only is active voice more direct and vivid but also active voice reduces wordiness.

Get others to review your writing.
Active voice reduces wordiness.

Notice the construction of the following sentences. Those that use active voice use less wording. Furthermore, the reader quickly sees the action of the sentence.

  1. The slingshot was made by John’s grandfather using a forked branch and a piece of leather. (passive)
  2. John’s grandfather made a slingshot with a forked branch and a piece of leather. (active)
  1. A shadow was cast over the water by an enormous oak tree. (passive)
  2. An enormous oak tree cast its shadow over the water. (active)
  1. The family was served by the new waitress. (passive)
  2. The new waitress served the family. (active)
  1. The minutes of the last meeting were discussed by the board members. (passive)
  2. The board members discussed the minutes of the last meeting. (active)

Find sentences using passive voice and edit them.

How can I quickly find sentences using passive voice and edit them if necessary?

Check details carefully.
Check for use of passive voice and edit if needed.

Use Navigation Tools

One way to quickly search for passive voice is to use the Navigation Tool or Find Tool in your word processing program.

Look in sentences containing certain words.

Search your manuscript for helping or “be” verbs (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been) and the verbs shall, will, have, has, and had.  However, if these verbs are being used as linking verbs, the sentence will not be in passive voice.

Notice the construction of the following sentences:

  1. The rose is a thorny shrub. (The verb is not passive because the “be” verb is linking.)
  2. The rose cast its petals on the table. (active)
  3. The petals were cast to the table by the rose. (passive)
  1. The sea was inky dark and frightening. (The verb is not passive because the “be” verb is linking.)
  2. The sea tossed its dark waters into the ship. (active)
  3. The ship was being tossed by the turbulent sea. (passive)

Is the subject doing the action?

Another way to check for active or passive voice is to find out if the subject is doing the action or receiving the action of the verb.

Notice the construction of the following sentences:

  1. A guard is protecting the bank teller. (The verb is active because the subject is doing the protecting.)
  2. The bank teller is being protected by the guard. (The verb is passive because the subject of the sentence is not doing but receiving the action. The bank teller is not doing the protecting.)
  1. The hummingbird was pursuing the insect. (The verb is active because the subject is doing the action.)
  2. The insect was being pursued by the hummingbird. (The verb is passive because the subject of the sentence is receiving the action. The insect is not doing the pursuing.)

Search in sentences with prepositional phrases beginning with “by”.

An additional search should be made for sentences with prepositional phrases beginning with the preposition “by.”

Notice that the above sentences which use passive voice have a prepositional phrase beginning with the preposition “by” that reveals the doer of the action.

  1. The bank teller is being protected by the guard. (passive)

The one who is doing the protecting is the object of the preposition “by.”

The bank teller (subject) is being protected (verb) by the guard (prepositional phrase).

  1. The insect was being pursued by the hummingbird. (passive)

The one who is doing the pursuing is the object of the preposition “by.”

The insect (subject) was being pursued (verb) by the hummingbird (prepositional phrase).

 

When is the passive voice acceptable?

Sometimes using the passive voice is appropriate.

Emphasis

The passive voice is used when the receiver of the action is being emphasized.

  1. A Look at Life from a Deer Stand was written by Steve Chapman and published by Harvest House Publishers. (The title of the book is being emphasized.)
  2. The burglar was arrested by an off-duty officer. (The burglar is being emphasized.)

Variety

The passive voice is sometimes used to create a change in sentence beginnings. This is especially helpful in avoiding repetition of the same wording as the subject of sentences.

Scientific Writings

The passive voice is also appropriate in scientific writings.

  1. First, the surface was cleaned with bleach.
  2. Second, the petri dishes were prepared.
Proofreading steps include edit, rewrite, and present.
Proofread your sentences carefully.

Make your manuscript more interesting to the reader by using active voice.

Reduce the wordiness.

Help readers see the action and improve their reading experience.

Copyright ©2017 by Peggy Clark

Join in the conversation.
Have you found yourself using passive voice when you should be using active voice?
What problems are you experiencing when writing your rough drafts?

 

 

 

When Duty Becomes Love

I wonder what happened to Martha’s ministry after she saw Lazarus raised from the dead.

How did her ministry change as she walked away from that tomb of death with her brother?

Martha’s Ministry After Lazarus’ Death

John 11 – 12

I wonder what happened to Martha’s ministry after she saw Lazarus raised from the dead. 

How did her ministry change as she walked away from that tomb of death with her brother?


Martha was known for her hospitality. Her home was an anchor for Jesus and His disciples.

Jesus frequently stayed at her house as He traveled in and out of nearby Jerusalem.

Her home was a haven from the weariness of the dusty roads that threaded the countryside.

How many times did Jesus wash His feet there? How many times did a warm meal fill His empty stomach? How many times did He lay His head down to rest there?

I wonder what the pillows would say if they could talk. I wonder what the dogs under the table would repeat if only we could understand their barkings.

Martha’s gift

Martha had a gift. She loved to cook and to serve. She opened her home not only to Jesus but to His followers also.

I wonder if she looked forward in anticipation of Jesus’s next return from His wanderings about Galilee. Did she realize how important her ministry was to Him during His 3 ½ years of evangelization?

So, what happened that dreadful day that her brother died? Did she lose all hope and sink in despair? Did her faith in Christ falter?

Her thoughts must have troubled her. Where was He? Where was the Christ that she so loved? Where was the Christ that so loved her brother?

Lazarus was dead. That was a fact. She had to face it. Jesus did not come.

But Christ knew. The messengers told Him Lazarus was sick, but they had returned without Him.

Her heart sank as she looked desperately down the long road that she had seen Jesus travel so many times before, but He was not there.

Today she and Mary would prepare Lazarus for the grave. His body would be thoroughly cleaned. Spices would be placed upon his body to temporarily preserve and prevent the soon-coming stench of death.  His body would be wound tightly in linens. Then would begin the procession to the burial site where his body would be placed among the skeletal remains of other loved ones gone on before.


Today was now yesterday. Lazarus was buried. What was in Martha’s thoughts as she looked down the road and saw no Jesus? Oh, how her heart must have yearned to talk to Him. If only He would have come, her brother had not died.


But he did die. Three days have passed. Now it is the fourth day. There is no hope.

The mourners are beginning to leave.

Family members are packing their bags in hopes of returning to their homes safely. There is nothing left for them to do but finish the day with Martha and start their trip early in the morning.

It’s been four days. Even the superstitious believe that Lazarus’s spirit has left his body to never return.

Martha’s lack of understanding

Four days of preparing meals and preparing beds and serving drinks. Martha’s body must have cried out for relief. Yet she’s sitting with her guests when a messenger arrives.

Jesus has returned! Yes, He’s on His way!

But as Martha looked out the window she did not see Jesus. He was not there; but, she would go to Him. Yes, she would go to where He was.

“Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”

Martha regretted that Jesus had not been there. Maybe she thought that she should have sent for Him sooner. Maybe she thought that she and Lazarus were not as important as some others in His life. The ‘maybe’s’ occupied her thought life. The ‘maybe’s’ clouded her ability to hear Jesus’s words as He spoke to her:

“Thy brother shall rise again.”

Martha acknowledged that she knew that Lazarus would rise again at the last day. But her ‘maybe’s’ kept her from hearing the most precious words she could hear on that fateful day:

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

If only she could have placed Lazarus’s name in that verse at that tearful moment. Jesus was telling her that He is the resurrection, that He is the life. He (Lazarus) that believes in me (Jesus), though Lazarus is dead, yet shall Lazarus live!

Though Martha acknowledged that Jesus is the Christ, she did not understand His resurrection power. Without fully understanding Jesus’ words to her, she left to find her sister Mary and tell her of His return.

The conversation that passed between Martha and Mary, as Martha led Mary to where Jesus was waiting, must have been filled with a mixture of emotions. Painful because Lazarus is dead, yet joyful because Jesus is near. A chorus of loud wailing followed them as they made their way to where Jesus was waiting.

Jesus’ painful request

Upon seeing Jesus His request to them was the simple response, “Where have ye laid him?”

As Martha and Mary led Jesus to the tomb, they felt Jesus’ pain over the death of Lazarus. As they heard Jesus weeping, it must have comforted them.

Yes, He did love Lazarus. Maybe His tears helped to heal their hurting hearts. Even those that followed behind acknowledged how Jesus must have loved Lazarus.

Then came the shocking words:

“Jesus said, Take ye away the stone.”

Take away the stone? How could Jesus want to see Lazarus’ body now?

“Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.”

How could Martha see Lazarus again in his present state? She could not fathom how she would feel seeing him after being dead four days. She did not wish to see his swollen body, nor smell the stench nor see the maggots at work consuming his flesh.

Lord, he stinketh. He’s been dead four days. You don’t want to see him now. Why did you not come sooner? You could have seen him then. Not now, Lord.

“Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”

Oh, if only she had heard and understood His precious words.

Suddenly, a booming voice was heard.

“Lazarus, come forth.”

Could it be? Could Jesus really raise Lazarus back from the dead? Is He truly the resurrection and the life?

Martha’s mind must have been racing. If I will “believe”; yes, Lord, I will believe.

“And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin.  Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”

A change of ministry

Martha walked home with her brother that day. Later, (John 12:2) we find Martha serving Jesus at her table.

Her table was where she ministered to Jesus. He and His disciples were always welcome at her table.

Martha was a servant. Her gift of hospitality became a gift of love.

No longer did she serve out of duty. Her life was changed when she realized Who it was that she was serving.

No matter who was in her home, she was now serving the Resurrection and the Life.  She was serving Jesus. She was not just serving in love but she was serving love.

Copyright ©2017 by Peggy Clark

Above Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version.

Peggy Clark is also the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. This title is available from Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paragraphs: Helping Students Overcome Difficulties

Overcoming Difficulties Students Have with Writing Paragraphs

Follow these steps to write a good paragraph.
Paragraph writing does not have to be difficult.

During my teaching years in the classroom, I found that many students had difficulties with writing assignments.

It wasn’t that they didn’t have anything to say. That was obvious during morning break and lunch.

However, if asked to write a paragraph or an essay, students fiddled with their pencils and drew a blank.

That is normal, by the way, for the elementary age. If yours does the same thing, think nothing of it. Just go to work and help them with their topics.

Brainstorm.

Brainstorm with the students. What topics pose interest to them?

What are their hobbies? Their favorite sports? Their favorite pastime? Their favorite restaurants? Be sure to have a list of ideas on hand.

For boys, topics of interest may include cars, hunting, sports, or four-wheeling. For girls, topics may include fashion, hair styles, sports, or shopping.

Expect interests to vary by age and gender.

Narrow down the topic.

The problem is that many teachers stop at that juncture, still leaving students bewildered. The above topics are much too broad.

Your job as a teacher is to help the students narrow down their topics to a specific point. Then follow through by asking some basic questions.

For example, if a student wishes to write about cars, what specifically will they write about?

What is it about cars that interests them as a topic? Is it the make, the model, the style? Or is it the mechanics or the motor or the wheels?

Continue asking questions until students narrow down their topics to a specific point that can be stated in a single sentence.

Cars are fun. (Too broad.)

What is it about cars that makes them fun?

I like to ride in them? (Still too broad.)

Why do you like to ride in them?

I like riding in them because I like to go fast.

What makes cars go fast?

I like a fast motor.

What kind of motor do you think is the best motor for the car you want to drive?

Or

What kind of motor do you think would be the fastest for the car you want to drive?

Now the topic is narrowed down to a specific point that the students can research if necessary. This specific point is called the main idea of the paragraph.

Write the main idea.

Have the students write their specific point or main idea in a single sentence.

A 454 cubic inch V-8 motor is the best motor (or whatever motor they feel is the best or the fastest).

Write supporting sentences.

Students should write at least three supporting sentences.

Help students with this by asking several questions to get them thinking about what they will write. Give specific instructions to help them with this part of their assignment.

Why is it the best motor? I want you to give me three reasons. Write each reason in a single sentence. (Students will have three sentences for this part.)

Do research.

Let the students research for the three reasons if necessary.

Look over their three sentences concerning reasons. If they have attempted to start their sentences with the word “because”, have them restate those sentences.

(This may be a good time for a class in sentence structure. Do not miss the opportunity to teach restating of sentences if needed.)

Now the students should have a topic sentence and three sentences supporting the topic sentence.

Write a final or concluding statement.

The final sentence should be a restatement of the topic sentence. For some paragraphs, the last sentence may be a concluding sentence.

The finished product of their writing will be a minimum five-sentence paragraph.

Older students can then embellish their paragraphs with additional information if desired. They will need to be instructed that any additional information must support the topic sentence.

Edit paragraphs.

Have students correct spelling and punctuation errors.

Rewrite paragraphs.

Proofreading steps include edit, rewrite, and present.
Teach students how to proofread paragraphs.

Finally, students should rewrite their paragraphs in their best handwriting.

Many students hate writing class because they are required to turn in an error-free paper.

Having students use erasable black pens gives students experience in writing in ink. The use of erasable pens also reduces the frustration that everyone experiences when they make mistakes.

Remember that the focus of this assignment is paragraph writing not penmanship, although penmanship is important. That is why using an erasable pen at this point is invaluable.

Present and/or display paragraphs.

As a classroom teacher, I mounted students’ writing assignments on construction paper and displayed their finished products on the classroom or hallway walls.

Students were always excited to see their work on display. They also enjoyed reading other students’ accomplishments. Having their work displayed also encouraged them to strive harder on their future writing assignments.

As time allowed, I also asked the students to present their work orally. This was to increase their oral presentation skills.

The supper table is an excellent place to have students do oral presentations. Parents and siblings alike can enjoy the newly acquired writing skills of their loved ones.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark


Join in the conversation:
What frustrations have you experienced in teaching your students/children to write?
What ideas can you suggest to get students writing?

 

 

 

“You Are Not Alone”

Words That Attract Attention

You are not alone.

It has been said that those four words attract the most attention from email subscribers.

You are not alone…

What is it about those words that gets people’s attention?  that compels people to open their email and read the enclosed words?

In the busyness of this modern world, you would think that it would be impossible to be lonely. Yet, many people are.

Fences protect animals from harm.
 Environmental factors can make us feel alone.

Reasons People Are Lonely

Some are lonely because they have lost their spouse. Some are lonely because they have never married. Some are lonely because they have never found a friend whom they consider trustworthy.

Whatever the reason, people can feel lonely even in the midst of a roomful of people. It isn’t the presence of human bodies that keeps one from feeling lonely. It is the lack of connection.

Lack of Connection

People just aren’t connected as they once were.

In the past, women connected by joining in quilting groups or by get-togethers to cook for mourning or suffering community members.

It wasn’t the quilting or the cooking that connected them. Although that was what brought them together. It was the communication between attendees that joined their hearts together. Women looked forward to such times with great eagerness.

quilted jacket
Quilting bees bring people together.

Words of Comfort

You are not alone…

Those words bring comfort to anyone who senses separation.

But how does one keep from feeling alone even if no person is present?

In Christ, we are never alone. He has said in His word that He will never leave us or forsake us. It is our relationship with Christ that keeps us from being alone at any given time.

Having a personal relationship with Christ means that we can communicate with Him at any given moment. We can allow Him to speak to us through His Word (Scripture).

We can trust that He is present in our circumstances whether we feel His presence or not.

How to Never Be Alone

Being “in Christ” will keep us from being alone because “In Christ” you truly are not alone.

“[F]or he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest…for I will not leave thee.”  Genesis 28:15

“[A]nd, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20

You can be physically alone, and yet, not be lonely.


Join in the conversation:

Have you ever felt ‘alone’ even though you were in a room full of people?

What suggestions do you have to help someone who feels lonely?

What do you do when you feel lonely?

 

It’s a Psalm 31 Day, A Prayer of Encouragement

May your heart be blessed by God's Word.
May your heart be blessed by God’s Word.

It’s a Psalm 31 Day.

That’s what I felt spoken to my mind today as I started to pray.

So, I opened my Bible to view the day through Scripture. I read the words over and over.

Yes, the Scripture spoke to my heart because a friend of mine is going through a difficult time.

I read the words over and over.

Then I turned the words into a prayer. Maybe some of those words will speak to your heart. Yes, it is a Psalm 31 Day!

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed:  deliver me in thy righteousness.

Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me.

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

Pull me out of the net that [those who wish to do me harm] have laid privily for me:  for thou art my strength.

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

I have hated [the lying vanities that people speak]: but I trust in [You] Lord.

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou has considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.

Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.

For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.

I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind:  I am like a broken vessel.

For I have heard the slander of many:  fear was on every side:  while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.

But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.

My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

Make thy face to shine upon [me]: save me for thy mercies’ sake.

Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.

Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man:  thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Blessed be the LORD:  for he hath shewed me his marvelous kindness in a strong city.

For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes:  nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.

O love the LORD, all ye his saints:  for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Psalm 31:1-24 (Insertions mine)

Scripture taken from Psalm 31, King James Bible

Join the conversation:

Have you been through a difficult time? What verses of Scripture have encouraged you the most?

What encouraging reading material would you suggest to a person who is going through a difficult time?

Are you involved in a helps ministry?

The Creators’ Fence Gives Protection

The Safety within the Fence

I love to see horses galloping across the pasture, manes tossing in the breeze.

It gives me a sense of freedom, a feeling inside that makes me feel as if I am running with them.

The power that horses display as they race each other, back and forth, can be somewhat intimidating. The scene makes me appreciate the stature of such amazing creatures of God.

Horses show their curiosity.
Horses show their curiosity.

Although we have thoughts of freedom when we see horses displaying their playful antics, it is the fence surrounding the pasture that keeps them within the realm of safety.

The fence is as much a force to safely protect the horses inside its structure as it is a force meant to keep dangerous intruders without. It isn’t as if the horses aren’t able to jump the fence. They have the power to do so. But, they know and respect their boundaries.

The ranch owner inspects the fences he has installed on a regular basis. Any breakdown in the stockade must be repaired immediately.

A breach in the enclosure may cause an unsuspecting animal to run loose into the pathway of an oncoming vehicle or into a field with depressions that may cause a broken ankle or leg.

The rancher also inspects the pasture regularly to make sure that there is nothing to harm his animals. He looks for dangerous weeds and shrubs and destroys them in the proper manner.  Animal holes or dens are closed and the inhabitants removed to other locations. The growth and abundance of grass is checked and areas closed off if necessary. His tasks are never-ending.

Fences protect animals from harm.
Fences protect animals from harm.

Just as a rancher strives to protect his beautiful horses, God wishes to protect His most precious creation, mankind.

God has given the Ten Commandments or Decalogue as a fence of protection.  Its instructions are given to protect mankind from the heartaches and pains that are found outside His fence.

Some who do not understand the purpose of the rancher’s fence may see it as a restriction. In other words, they may see it as a detriment to the exercise of freedom. However, the horses are free to roam anywhere within the confines of the fence. Due to those confines, the horses experience security, freedom from fear, and freedom from painful experiences.

The world outside the fence is not constructed to protect the best interests of the horses.  The roadside does not extend mercy to the horse, nor does the landscape provide a way of safety.

Wild animals may see the horse as an appetizing meal. Fresh water is not readily supplied, and a healthy meal is not always granted. Thorns and thistles, as well as, stones and pebbles abound. These can do great harm to the horses’ feet.

In the same way, those who do not understand the purpose of God’s laws may see them as restrictive or as a detriment to the exercise of freedom. However, God has given mankind the choice of remaining within His fence or roaming outside its protective borders.

The world outside God’s fence does not operate in the best interests of mankind. The snares of Satan lie in wait to entrap unsuspecting visitors. His deathtraps shed no mercy on those who stumble upon them.

Because the refreshing water of God’s Word is neglected, thorns and thistles grow around one’s heart leaving guilt and painful scars. The bondage of sin grows deeper and its vines entwine the mind and heart of those who enter its pathway.

In contrast, God’s fence brings freedom from guilt, insecurity, and bondage. It gives liberty to live happily and joyfully within its confines. Its inhabitants enjoy the blessings of God and receive His promises of fruitfulness. His laws also give value and meaning to life.

Ten Commandments from the Holy Bible
Ten Commandments from the Holy Bible

When the horse stays within the confines of the fence, he is protected by his master. But when he leaves the confines of the fence, he is open to the forces of destruction.

When we live within the confines of God’s fence, we are protected by our Heavenly Master. But when we leave the confines of His fence, we open ourselves to the forces of destruction.

God has given us His laws “for our good” that we may lead peaceable and happy lives. It is always in our best interests to live inside God’s protective fence.

And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. Deuteronomy 6:24


Share in the conversation:
What feeling do you experience when you see horses galloping across a field?
How do fences protect the horse?
How is God’s Word like a fence of protection for you?

 

Copyright©2017 by Peggy Clark

Speaking in Love, 1 Cor. 1

Speaking in Love

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbol.” 1 Cor. 13:1

In A Chance to Die, author Elisabeth Elliot speaks of an incident where the missionary Amy Carmichael had taken several of her orphanage children and co-workers through a certain village.

After Ms. Carmichael had spoken to some men who were gathered in front of a temple, one of the children requested permission to speak. She proclaimed boldly to the men “pelting them with facts as to their folly in worshipping somebody who did not love them and had not made them.” (Elliot 1987)

Such boldness from a little child could come only because of her own personal relationship with the Creator God who had shown His love to her.

Love compels us to speak in truth.

Love for these men’s souls compelled Ms. Carmichael and the orphan girl to speak of the one true God who was able to save them.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind.” (1Cor. 13:4)

Love controls our responses.

Love continues to respond in love despite the circumstances. Love seeks truth and shares that truth with others.

Love does not compromise.

Love is compassionate, but it is not compromising when it comes to the truths of God’s Word. For it is the truth of God’s Word that sets men free from the bondage of sin.

Love is kind.

Love is also kind. It always speaks truthfully in a manner and tone that is friendly and amicable.

Excerpt from Poem by Amy Carmichael
Excerpt from Poem by Amy Carmichael

Words given kindly are more apt to be received than those that are perceived to be harshly given.


How do our words fall on the ears of those in our audience?
Are we speaking out of love for what is best for those listening?
How can we keep from sounding like brass instruments or cymbals which do not give a proper tone?

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark

 

Wisdom: Insight from Job

Wisdom: Something We All Desire

Wisdom—It’s something we desire to have. Yet many times we find ourselves sorely lacking in this area.

Have you found yourself asking God for direction, for guidance, for the answer to some problem you are facing?

Yes, we all find ourselves lacking at times. We all seem to find the wisdom we need at the moment elusive, just out of reach, beyond our grasp.

Yet, God tells us in His Word that wisdom is given by Him to a person that is good in His sight.

For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight, wisdom and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.  Eccl. 2:26

So, what is it about wisdom that we need to understand?

A man called Job gives us some insight about true wisdom.

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28

Having a proper respect for God and His purposes will bestow upon us valuable wisdom.

It is always wise to depart from evil. In other words, always do what is right.

In any situation we are faced with, we should always ask ourselves, “What is the right thing to do?” Then do that right thing.

A wise man will always strive to do what is right.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark

Looking for a Bible study that is applicable to today's Christian. Check out So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome by Peggy Clark. Published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan, this study includes workbook with space for response.

Division: Laying the Groundwork, Part 3

Manipulatives make learning fun.
Manipulatives make learning fun.

 Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division, Part3

In Part 1 and Part 2 of Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division, I discussed ways parents can begin laying the groundwork for the future teaching of division to their children.

Teaching division may seem like a complicated task but using manipulatives makes the skill easy to teach and to acquire.

For our purposes in this post, we will use recycled ice cream sticks. Family members could assist in recycling so that you have a useful amount.

Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.
Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.

(Another alternative would be to use tongue depressors. Just ask your doctor for a handful next time you have an appointment. If you tell him or her the purpose for your request, you may find yourself with a generous handful free of charge.)

Let’s Review Place Value First

Before we continue let’s take a moment to discuss the place value of numbers. This is just for the parents’ information.

The number 2 is a one-digit number which is made up of 2 one’s.

The number 23 is a two-digit number which is made up of 2 tens and 3 ones.

The number 234 is a three-digit number which is made up of 2 hundreds, 3 tens, and 4 ones.

In the number 2, the digit 2 is in the one’s place.

In the number 23, the digit 2 is in the ten’s place.

In the number 234, the digit 2 is in the hundred’s place.

In other words, a 3-digit number has 3 digits, one which represents the hundred’s place, one which represents the ten’s place, and one which represents the one’s place.

In the number 2, there is only one digit. This tells us we have 2 ones.

In the number 23, there are two digits. This tells us we have 2 tens and three ones.

In the number 234, there are three digits. This tells us we have 2 hundreds, 3 tens, and 4 ones.

Prepare Your Manipulatives
Choose your colors.

Back to our ice cream sticks. Choose a color you wish to use to represent the hundred’s place. For our demonstration we will use purple.

Choose another color to represent the ten’s place. For our demonstration we will use red.

Now choose another color to represent the one’s place. For our demonstration we will use yellow.

Use markers, paints, crayons, etc., per your color choices

Use markers, paints, or crayons according to your color choice to dye your assortment of ice cream sticks.  If your budget allows, colored ice cream sticks may be purchased inexpensively at various craft stores.

Teaching the Skill of Division Using Your Manipulatives

Now that you have your own manipulatives, let’s see how we can use them to continue laying the groundwork for teaching the concepts of division. You will find it much easier than you thought.

Ice cream sticks may be used to represent numbers.
Ice cream sticks may be used to represent numbers.
To represent the number 234, we will use 2 purple sticks, 3 red sticks, and 4 yellow sticks (per our color choices).

(To make this task even easier, you may decide to only use even numbers for all digits, especially if your child/student is very young.)

234/2 = ____
The example problem we will be solving is 234 divided by 2.
  • Lay the sticks out in proper order to represent the number 234.
Place value represented by manipulatives
Representing place value
Explain to your child what the colors represent.
  • Explain to your child what the colors represent. Always use the same colors to represent the same place value.
  • Tell your child to “pretend” he or she has two friends. The number 234 can represent marbles, cookies, building blocks, or whatever your child likes to play with.
  • Tell your child to divide the 234 between his or her two pretend friends equally.
Direct them through the process.

Draw attention to the 2 “hundred’s” sticks (purple). Share these two sticks equally.  They will place one stick in each pretend friend’s pile.

The “hundreds” divided.

Then direct them to divide the three “ten’s” sticks (red). They will place one stick in each pretend friend’s pile. But what will they do with the third stick? No, they cannot break it.

Problem represented thus far

Show them that they can solve this by trading the “ten” stick for ten “ones” sticks.

Now show them to place the ten “ones” sticks with the 4 “ones” sticks. How many “one” sticks (yellow) do they have now?

Ask them to divide these 14 “ones” sticks between the two “pretend” friends. 7 “ones” sticks should be placed in each pretend friend’s pile.

7 yellow sticks go to each friend
Explain the answer to the problem.

234 has now been divided into two equal but separate groups. The answer to the problem is the amount in one of the groups.

  • So, if we share 234 building blocks equally between two friends, each friend will have 117 blocks.

Therefore, 234 divided by 2 is 117.

234 divided equally between 2 friends.
234 divided equally between two friends.

This is an example of the division of a three-digit number by a one-digit number.

Where to start
  • Begin with the division of a one-digit number by a one-digit number, continue with the division of two-digit numbers by a one-digit number, and then the division of three-digit numbers by a one-digit number.
  • Go at your child’s pace.

Remember this is to be a time of enjoyment. Don’t get stressed if your child struggles at first. Eager learners will pick up on what you are requesting as you continue along.

I do hope these posts have been helpful. Parents can do a tremendous job of helping their children enjoy learning these somewhat difficult tasks.

Just take a few minutes each day to lay the groundwork for division and your child will find this task conquerable.

You may leave any questions in the comment box below.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark

 

 

Description: A Study of Words and Phrases

Description: An Author’s Quest for Words

The study of description is an ongoing and intensive study of individual words and phrases.

The one who wishes to master description is on the pursuit for the right word.

His or her mission is to find the exact word or phrase. Not just any word or phrase will do. It must be the exact word that completely and satisfactorily fits.

His quest will take him on a journey into the vast treasury of vocabulary, usage, and cultural expressions.

He must make himself acquainted with words, introduce himself to those who use words, and associate himself with the tools that open up the world of words.

His acquisition of tools will include general and specialized dictionaries, thesauruses, and word lists.

Great literary works of the present and past will capture his attention as he seeks to increase his vocabulary through this most useful pastime.

He will pore over his tools until he subdues the language and extracts just the right wording to accurately convey.

Then – Eureka!  The right word or phrase has been discovered!

The reader of his words can “see.” His description is complete. He has mastered the description.

Now he begins his quest for the next “right” word.  It must be exact! It must accurately describe.

Good authors must study description.

The following will aid you in your study of description.
  1. Increase your vocabulary through reading quality literature.
  2. Utilize dictionaries and thesauruses. Collect an assortment of specialized dictionaries.
  3. Create and collect word lists.
  4. Observe people, places, and actions.
  5. Study analogy.
  6. Memorize passages such as text from the King James Bible.
  7. Create separate concrete noun and verb lists.
  8. Notice how authors use imagery in their writings.
  9. Don’t give up the pursuit!

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark


What descriptive words have you discovered lately?

Have you begun your own word lists?

What have you found to be your best tool to utilize when writing?

Laying the Groundwork for Division, Part 2

Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division, Part 2

The process of division may seem intimidating to students and parents. However, it is not as complicated as many think.

Parents can make the passage to proficiency of this skill easier by laying the groundwork early in their child’s life.

In Part 1 of this post, two ways were discussed that parents may employ.

In this post we will discover another easy and inexpensive way to further aid in helping children develop the skills necessary to achieve mastery.

That way is through a simple technique that employs the use of manipulatives.

Manipulatives make learning fun.
Manipulatives make learning fun.

Yes, manipulatives may be costly to purchase but they can be readily made by recycling items already found in most households. One only need the imagination to come up with a variety of useful tools made from simple everyday objects that are usually thrown in the garbage.

For our purposes in this post, we will use recycled ice cream sticks.

Enlist the aid of extended family members in recycling so that you have a useful amount.

Make this a fun game. Your child will be learning concepts of division without realizing it.

Do this discovery activity.

Pile a number of ice cream sticks on the middle of a table or other flat surface. Ask a variety of questions that will engage thinking skills.

Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.
Ask extended family members to save items that can be used as manipulatives to teach mathematical skills.

Change the amount of sticks. Then continue asking questions for that amount.

Adjust questions according to your child’s skill level.

Let your child discover the answers.

Whether your little one can count past ten or not is not important. Mathematical concepts such as one-to-one correspondence is being developed.

If your child is older, he or she should be able to give you a numerical answer through this discovery activity.

Some sample activities when working with one child:

Divide the pile of sticks so that you and I have the same number of sticks. How many sticks do you have?  How many sticks do I have?

Put all the sticks back in the middle of the table.

Now pretend that there are 3 people here. Divide the sticks into three equal piles. (Give the child time to complete the activity.) How many would each of us have?

Put 10 of the sticks in the middle of the table.

Divide the sticks into two equal piles.

Put 8 sticks in the middle of the table.

Divide the sticks into four equal piles or groups.  How many sticks are in each pile or group?

Use mathematical terms as you see your child progressing.

As your child progresses in understanding, begin to add in mathematical terms.

In the last question above, the word groups was added to the instruction. This is a simple but nonthreatening way for your child to begin understanding mathematical terms. Do this in a gentle way. When the child has grasped the understanding of the new term, use that term instead.

For instance, when you perceive that your child has grasped the understanding of what you are requesting when you use the word group, drop the word pile. “How many sticks are in each group?”

Don’t rush.  Just add in a new term as you see your child progressing.

Another example from above is the use of the term equal. The term equal should eventually replace the words same number.

Do a few minutes of discovery activities each day.

Adding just a few minutes of this activity to your child’s playtime each day will go far in laying the groundwork for what will not be daunting, but will actually become a welcome task of teaching the process of division.

More to come in Part 3.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark.

Division: A Daunting Task

Laying the Groundwork for Teaching Division

Manipulatives Make Learning Fun Photo
Manipulatives Make Division Easy and Fun
Division is that part of math class that seems daunting to teachers and students alike.

I remember watching my older brother do long division. His homework pages had problems that seemed so long they looked as if they covered half of his paper. I assumed those problems must have been very important.  Doing that type of math looked so grown-up. It was a process that I wanted to be able to conquer. I couldn’t wait to get to that level of math.

Division is not so complicated as many think. It just needs to be taught correctly. Part of that comes with laying the proper groundwork.

Long before division class comes around, children should already be engaging in the concepts of dividing.

Those “official” concepts begin with kindergarten and continue level by level. But division has already been introduced to the child even before that “first” day of formal schooling begins.

For example, children see division at work around the supper table as they share the meal. A family of four shares four pieces of chicken equally. The pumpkin pie is divided into six or eight pieces.  A gallon of milk is poured into glasses. Rolls are shared round the table.  The last one may be divided in two parts to share between eager siblings.

So how can parents begin that formal groundwork for division?

Parents can add to what the child is observing day by day by simply adopting the usage of mathematical terms.

“Please share with your brother,” may be changed to “Please divide the roll between the two of you.”

Look for opportunities to use mathematical terms when appropriate.

Divide these sandwiches so we have two (or four) pieces each.

There’s only four cookies left. Share them equally with your sister.

Divide the candy bar equally between yourself and your brother.

Divide the last of the milk between yourself and Dad.

Divide the potato tots so that each of you get the same amount.”

Children will be alert to the methods their siblings are using because they want to be sure they are getting their “fair share.” This unknowingly draws their attention to the division process.

Another way parents can lay the groundwork is to allow their children to measure.

Mother can let the children measure the ingredients for her favorite recipes. Dad can let the children measure items for his next building or repair project.

We tend to think of measuring as adding to something that we are making; however, we also measure because we are about to subtract from something. We are taking a cup of milk from the gallon.  We are sawing a foot of lumber from six foot of lumber.

Measuring is an indirect way of preparing the child for future concepts concerning division.

This may seem odd, but division is really just a fast way to subtract the same number over and over.

A third way parents can lay the groundwork for division is to actually divide groups of items – not on paper, but with manipulatives.

I’ll discuss an easy and inexpensive way for parents to do this in my next blog post.

Copyright 2017 by Peggy Clark

 

 

 

 

Pearls: Don’t Cast Them Away

Pearls are an essential beauty accessory.

Pearls endure as an essential beauty accessory because they integrate well with any fashion or style preference.

From runway models adorned with draped ropes to royalty bedecked with single and multiple strands to fashion gurus flaunting their latest designs, even fashion magazine authors and Hollywood movie stars alike realize that pearls make an impression.

“Pearls are always appropriate,” so said former first lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Known for the three-strand pearl necklace she so often wore, Mrs. Jackie Onassis’s jewelry wardrobe consisted of a variety of pearl beauties. Her lovely pearl-drop earrings would catch anyone’s attention. She wore single and double-strand pearl necklaces and bracelets as well.

Being the classy lady that she was, her wearing of pearls certainly made an impression. Mrs. Onassis didn’t flaunt her pearls though. Instead, she wore them to enhance herself.

Instead of detracting from her beauty, pearls actually complimented her in a striking way. Just do an online search of her photos and you will see for yourself.

Pearls are simply beautiful.
Pearls are simply beautiful.

Queen Elizabeth of England frequently wears pearls. They reflect her desire to be modest yet fashionable. They are so important to her that she chose to wear a special two-strand necklace on her wedding day in 1947.

A pearl may also be found in now-deceased Princess Diana’s tiara which has since been presented to Kate Middleton.

Pearls are desired by the lowly, the modest, the well-to-do, and certainly the well-dressed.

It is not surprising that they be found on the latest wish list.

Pearls can be incorporated with other stones or accessories.
Pearls can be incorporated with other stones or accessories.

What is it that makes pearls so desirable? Is it their beauty, their costliness, their ability to impress or to enhance?

Pearls can be found naturally or can be cultured, farmed, or synthetic.

Looking through the glass cases at your favorite jewelry store, you may find it hard to discern real pearls from those that are cultured, farmed, or synthetic.

Real or natural pearls are formed by oysters or sea mussels (bi-valves) that are irritated by a foreign object that lodges inside their shells. The bi-valves then secretes a liquid that covers the foreign object in order to reduce the irritation. This process is continued causing a pearl to be formed in each.

For centuries, divers have risked their own lives diving for oysters with hopes of finding a rare pearl.

Pearls can be man-made instead of formed naturally.

Pearl farms have been created to culture pearls. Foreign substances are forcibly introduced into bi-valves. The bi-valves are fed and nurtured in order to harvest the pearls that are formed. The production of pearls in this manner has affected the market price of pearls.

Then there are the synthetic ones made of plastic, glass, or waxed glass. These can be distinguished from real pearls by how they feel when rubbed or bit with the teeth.

Pearls can be strung in a variety of ways.
Pearls can be strung together in a strand or on a chain.
Natural pearls remain the most desired.

Natural pearls remain the most desired albeit costly. But due to pearl farming, anyone at any economic level can afford to purchase a set of pearls for their very own. Their value, however, is determined by their size and shape, as well as, several other factors. The price of cultured pearls can range in the hundreds, but natural pearls can range in the tens of thousands.

Pearls are mentioned in the Bible.

Pearls are also mentioned in the Bible. Their value is highlighted in the following verse:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.  Matthew 13:45-46

Another Scriptural reference is in Matthew 7:6:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Why would anyone want to cast a precious string of pearls into the hog pen?

Why would anyone want to take what man had risked his life to find just to throw it to swine?

Pearls evolve from a painful insertion of a foreign object. For a bi-valve, this may be a grain of sand or grit that somehow finds its way inside the bi-valve’s shell.

Small bits of matter can create great pain.

We realize that small matters can sometimes create the most pain. That pain causes oysters to create pearls.

It is these painful moments in our own lives that also somehow become pearls. Man-made hurts inflicted upon us cause suffering that we find hard to endure. Self-inflicted wounds are the hardest to bear.

However, when we take those pains to our Lord and Saviour, He covers them with His balm of Gilead. As our Great Physician, he has a way of turning our sorrows into pearls.

This doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that takes time. God’s grace continues to cover us as we go through the healing process.

In fact, it is actually the struggles of life that form Christ in us.

Pearls are our memorial stones.

As Joshua took up 12 stones out of the midst of Jordan for a memorial, so our pearls are a memorial unto us. They remind us of the victories that came as we allowed Christ to help us face each obstacle, fight each battle, and choose to love in spite of any circumstance.

Then why would anyone take the pearls that have been formed through such pain and cast them before those that do not understand their value?

Why take our pains and sufferings and present them to those who would only turn and use them against us?

Christ’s instructed His hearers not to cast their pearls before swine.

Swine were considered unclean. God’s chosen people were not to partake of these animals. However, Jesus is not talking about animals but uses these words as descriptive of those who ridicule the Word and ridicule those who follow the Word.

The unclean are those who do not understand or appreciate the value of our pearls.

It is those who do not care to learn the lessons we have been taught and who will not grasp the hope that we have found.

We have to be careful with whom we share our “pearls.” There are those who we can enlighten with our pearl formations, but there are those who will only use those formations to turn and destroy us.

Our pearls are precious. They are our gifts of victory from our Saviour.

True pearls glow from within. The more they are worn, the more they glow.

Our pearls glow from within with the glory of God.

They are a reflection of His faithfulness to us.

Cling to your pearls. As Jackie Kennedy Onassis said, “Pearls are always appropriate.”

Wear them proudly, but humbly. May others with impressed with Christ in us. May they be drawn to His beauty.

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark

Enjoy your pearls.
Enjoy your pearls.

Do you have a favorite strand of pearls or a favorite set of pearl earrings?
Have you ever thought of your troubles and trials as a process to making pearls?
What “pearls” or victories through Christ do you have as a memorial?
May your pearls be used to bring glory to Christ. Remember the pain that the oyster endured to bring forth a pearl. Remember,also, the pain that Christ endured so that we could be victorious over our troubles and trials.

Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. Published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.

What is Christmas?

Christmas

Christmas Decor
Christmas Decor

The Christmas season is upon us.

It has taken its toll upon those who only see Christmas as an opportunity for person gain. Greedy for profits some merchants entice with promising advertisements that bring little to no satisfaction. The misled find themselves with lots of purchased merchandise but little joy.

How do shoppers find themselves depressed when they have striven so hard to please?

Was not that the doll that Susie wanted so desperately?

Didn’t Jack say he wanted that new red bicycle more than anything in the world?

Was Billy not pleased with the new shoes?

And why did Tammy just throw her game pieces across the room?

What happened to Christmas?

Did it come to steal and to take away?

Is it an imposter wrapped up in fancy wrapping and frivolous bows?

Why bother to celebrate it anyway?

What is Christmas?

Yes, people may argue about its meaning. Yes, people may refuse to celebrate it. Yes, people may use it for personal gain.

But, what is Christmas?

Christmas is not about getting what we want for Christmas.

It’s not about trying to please everyone with our fancy gifts.

It’s not about decorations, trimmings, light displays, or glitter.

It’s not even about the Christmas play.

Christmas is a memorial.

It is a day we set aside to remember the selfless action bestowed toward mankind by the Creator of the universe.

It is a remembrance of the day that the Almighty Creator God stepped out of Heaven and came to dwell with mankind. Placing Himself in the womb of a virgin woman, He became flesh and dwelt among us.

Christmas is a celebration of the very moment that God manifested Himself in the flesh.

Jesus came as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Mary cradled Him. Joseph loved and cared for Him.

The shepherds told everyone about Him. Simeon lifted Him up and prophesied concerning Him.

The angels glorified Him. Anna thanked Him. The wise men provided for Him.

But Herod tried to kill Him.

Emanuel, God with us. That is what Christmas is all about. It is God with us.

Christmas is a remembrance of the day He came, wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger.

His presence in the flesh lasted such a short time, only 33 ½ years. But God was with us.

He chose to come.

He chose to come even though He knew the cross would be his pathway back to Heaven.

He chose to give Himself.

And that is Christmas.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark

Luke 2: The angel appears to Mary with a special message.
Luke 2: The angel appears to Mary with a special message.

Christmas: Make Your Festivities Praise-Worthy

Christmas, Sights and Sounds We Remember

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning finds children delighted with treasures found under the Christmas tree.  Wrappings, bubble wrap, and ribbons sail through the air as package upon package gives way to the attack of fingers tearing at the carefully and thoughtfully placed endowments from family and friends.

Giggles and glees atone for parents’ hard and sometimes frustrating endeavors at making Christmas a time of excitement and adventure.

Christmas Decor
Christmas Decor
Christmas Decor

Spruce, fir, and cedar cuttings arrayed in reds, golds, silvers, and blues drape doorways and mantles. Manger scenes, postcard displays, and Advent calendars compete with snowmen, angels, and poinsettias nestled in every nook, corner, and shelf.

Mantle Aglow
Mantle Aglow
Christmas Smells

Smells permeate the air alerting all under their spell of the festivities just ahead.

Apples and cinnamon, oranges and tangerines, candy sticks and chocolate drops make one dizzy with desire.

Turkey and dressing, hams and sauces waft their tantalizing bouquets.  Aromas of cookies oozing, pies bubbling, and puddings steaming send one rushing through the heavier affairs.  Onward to the myriad of cakes decorated with flair.

Christmas Decor
Christmas Decor
Christmas Memories Made

With candle lights glowing and fireplaces flickering, filled tummies settle down for a well-deserved and long-awaited nap. Sweet dreams await those reminiscing of Christmases past.

Another Christmas has come and will soon depart. Memories made now become a part of one’s past that will never be forgotten.

May your festivities be celebrations that remain as praise-worthy memorials for you and your loved ones.

Crocheted Christmas Angel
Crocheted Christmas Angel
From the Clark house to yours,
Have a very Merry Christ-filled Christmas.

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark


What are some special memories you have of Christmases past?
Are you trying to incorporate those into your Christmas festivities this year?
What traditions are you trying to keep on a yearly basis?
Do you have a new idea that you are implementing this year?

Please share in the comment box below.

 

 

 

Four Tips to a Great Book

Craft a great story.

Publish your accomplishment.

Keep me coming back for more.

Who doesn’t love lounging under warm covers with a good book in hand?

Which of you haven’t staved off sleep to finish a page-turner?

What keeps your book in my hands when others are screaming for my attention?

These four tips will drown those other voices and get me to your final page.

  1. Get my attention!

  • Use the active voice.

Even if you begin your story with the setting (where, when) that so many of us were taught in class, use active voice instead of passive voice.

Consider the following:

The sun was setting behind the hills that were around the little town of NoWhere. John and Jill were living in a house at the end of Sober Street. There was a garden beside the house. They also had a small flock of chickens.

So nowhere…and boring…and sober….and are you asleep yet?

Or would this be your preference:

The sun peered above the hills and threw its rays into the town of NoWhere reaching through the half-closed curtains at the end of Sober Street. Inside, John and Jill absorbed the potential consequences of their pillaged garden.

  • Activate your story with action.

A dramatic scene is better than an uneventful one; such as, an evening ride that happens to end in a crash. Startle me with the crash and then give me the details.

Consider the following:

John and Jill decided to go for a ride. They were riding down the highway in their red convertible when they happened upon a white truck.

Or would this be your preference:

Brakes screamed as white meshed with red, each vying to occupy the same spot of pavement.

Television dramas reveal the crime first and then continue through a series of events that lead to the capture of the accused. The action creates the desire to know what happened and why.

NCIS is the number one television drama because of the usage of this method. Its viewers keep coming back for more.

  • Use questions to get attention.

Another method is to use questions to gain attention.

Jesus used this method when relaying His Parable of the Lost Sheep:

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” Luke 15:4

If nothing else, make me step into the story long enough to answer the question.

  1. Don’t make me hunt for the topic.

When presented with questions from John the Baptist, Jesus’ response was direct: Go and tell. Notice His response in the following verse:

“Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” Luke 7:22

John’s disciples were to report to John what they themselves had seen and heard. That is telling the story. Teachers call it “Sticking to the Topic.”

Jesus also used strong nouns and active verbs.

Notice the simple but succinct wording that lets us visualize the action:

The blind see. The lame walk. The lepers are cleansed. The deaf hear. The dead are raised. The gospel is preached.

Tell me your story with strong nouns and verbs that let me use my imagination to see the action. Don’t drag me down with a series of unnecessary and lengthy descriptives that send me to a screeching halt and a closed book.

  1. Keep me interested.

  • Give me a scenario that gets my attention and keeps me reading.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he told a parable that caught their attention.

“There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of my adversary.” Luke 18:2-3

  • Use the element of surprise to your advantage.

This parable pitted a ruthless judge against a widow who had no man to intercede for her. Her boldness in coming before the judge intrigued the disciples.

How would this judge respond? Obviously, not as the disciples imagined. The element of surprise caught the disciples off-guard causing them to think carefully about what they had just heard. Please surprise me!

  • Get my attention and keep me hunting for the next clue.

Unravel the threads of the story ever so slowly but at just the right speed to keep me traveling to the next page.

Don’t lose me in wasted words and unnecessary actions that add no value to the story.

  1. Make me satisfied with the ending (but you can make me beg for more!)

Cinderella and the Prince lived happily ever after. (But, what change came over the kingdom?)

The woodsman killed the wolf. (But, did Goldilocks overcome the trauma of her grandmother’s death?)

“And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” Luke 22:38

It is enough. Say what you need to say, no more, no less. (But, why two swords? One cut off a soldier’s ear; what did the other do?)

I expect Good to win over Evil. I expect Evil to be reprimanded. I expect Good to be rewarded regardless of the troubles that Good encounters.

Shakespeare’s classics stood the test of time because of these expectations woven throughout his stories.

Use these four tips to make yours a classic, and let me enjoy it for years to come.

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark


Do you have a story waiting to be shared?

Have you used strong nouns and active verbs?

Have you replaced unnecessary and lengthy wording with specific and descriptive wording?

Then now is the time to let someone else preview your writing. Use their analysis to improve your story.

Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.

Sacrifices to Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Sacrifices Not to be Forgotten

November will soon be gone, and December will be upon us before we know it. This month, as we set aside time to give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us, may we not be quick to forget those sacrifices that many have made on our behalf.

Although November 11 is set aside each year to remember our military veterans, it seems these brave men and women who have given their lives are too swiftly forgotten in the bustle of activities that soon follow.

The brave heroes of the past include such great military men as General Douglas MacArthur, General George Patton, and General Dwight Eisenhower. These men led forces against the evil of Hitler, Mussolini, and General Tito’s aggressive and cruel regimes.

Others have also fought for the freedoms of peoples.

General George Washington led a small group of untrained and ill-equipped volunteers against the overwhelming forces of Britain’s highly trained military and their hired elite forces secured from Germany. His bravery and the men and women who fought with him led to the establishment of the United States of America.

Lieutenant Colonel William Travis led a small group of 182 men and women from Texas against the mighty forces of the Mexican General Santa Anna. Although they failed to win this battle, their sacrifices stirred the hearts of the Texan people to prevail in freeing Texas from the Mexican government.  Afterward Texas was granted the privilege of becoming part of the United States.

So many unknown who gave so much.
Cross Grave Marker of Unknown

As We Set Our Tables This Year

As we set our tables this year and share our blessings with those we love and care for, may we also be reminded that the ability to share those blessings without fear of bondage and confinement, was paid for with the blood of courageous men and women whose sacrifices we must never forget.


Do you have a member of the military sitting at your table this Thanksgiving?
Do you have a family story to tell of sacrifices made on behalf of your country? community? family?
What plans have you made to give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon you and your family?

Visual Charts in the Classroom: Two Important Reasons

Visual Charts Help with Presentation of New Material

 Story webs and other types of charts make difficult tasks easier for students.

Story webs and other graphic charts make difficult tasks easier.

Two Important Reasons

Use of visual charts will greatly assist you as you present new material or review concepts already presented to children in your classroom.

Using a visual chart such as the one pictured above can help children in two very important ways.

First, visual charts break major tasks into manageable parts.

Children can become overwhelmed when given new and unfamiliar assignments, especially if they are writing assignments:

  • Paragraphs
  • Essays
  • Book reports
  • Research papers
  • Stories

These and other tasks can be simplified by utilizing charts, spider webs, timelines, Venn diagrams, and other visuals.

The chart shown above is an example of a story web. The chart could be used to teach in other subject areas. However, for our purposes we will use the information on the story web to see how a difficult writing assignment can become quite simple when the task is broken into manageable parts.

Notice that the chart displays the topic as the main part or central focus point of the visual. The topic is what the paragraph, report, or story is about.

TIP:   The graphic could be utilized to focus only on the subject matter, i.e. trees, until the subject matter is sufficiently narrowed down into a suitable topic that is manageable for the child, i.e. oak trees.

The smaller circles on the above chart show the parts that would be used to relate a story.

A simplified way for young children to write a story is to focus on the separate parts individually. Also, when writing a research report, it is beneficial for older students to focus on individual parts also.

The topic has been broken into five parts. As a teacher you may reduce these parts to four, leaving out the ‘why’. You may also wish to insert more parts. Adjust the chart according to the material and children’s ability.

Children should use one sheet of paper or notecard for each part. If you are teaching very young children, focus on teaching one part per day.

Ask questions that will help children ‘brainstorm’ about their character or event. The following are just a few sample questions. Adjust the questions according to the topic.

  • Who is this character, a person, an animal, an object, an event? What are they like? Describe them for me.
  • Where does this person live? Where did this event or series of events take place?
  • What is the character doing? What happened that is making the character happy or sad? What event or action is taking place?
  • When did this happen? How old are the people involved? Did this happen in the past? Is it happening right now? What major world or local events are happening around the main character or other characters in the story that may be influencing them?
  • Why did the characters act the way they did? Why did the car crash? Why did the building fall down? Why was the main character sad or happy or puzzled? Why did they have to go to town, to war, to the West?

TIP:   After these parts have been completed, have the children cut and paste the parts together onto a fresh sheet of paper.

The parts may have to be adjusted as the children put their individual parts together into story form. That will come as they learn to edit their new achievement.

Expect this part of the process to yield a very rough draft. However, it will help the children begin to write their stories on fresh paper using the information they have accumulated greatly reducing their frustration.

Second, visual charts help children stay focused on the task at hand.  

The graphic nature of charts draws children’s attention to the most important aspects of the writing process. It also allows children to know what parts of the process have been accomplished and what has not.

Whether using a spider web to show relationships or timelines to show a sequence of events, visuals are great assistants when it comes to presenting new material.

Copyright 2016 by Peggy Clark

What types of visuals do you use in your classroom?
How have these visuals helped you with your presentations?
Can you relate a teaching experience using visuals that may help others in their teaching endeavors? If so, please share in the comment box at bottom of page.
Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. More of her writing can be found at https://sowhatsthelatestnews.info.