"Pythonboy" is Daniel Pruitt. We had an hour long conversation today as the GOB met on the phone across the country. The Group Of Brothers disbanded after Hector Cruz got married back in the days of GMTC. Chad Kitchens, Daniel, and I were still holding strong, but then I got married, too. Chad got married this last year, and that still leaves Daniel unpaired. And he's secure with where the Lord has him. So, we're trying to bring in a new era of the GOB, where marriage does not matter. Dan is in the Chaplain platoon at basic training in South Carolina (where I was born, by the way). I didn't know this, but Chaplains are actually considered officers. Daniel has a Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) from the seminary that he attended the last couple of years - I only have my bachelors (I've been married 4 years, though!). The Lord has decisively taken us different routes in life, but He uses different parts of the Body to do different tasks and to reach different people. I'd never be able to reach those soldiers in Iraq, and Dan wouldn't be able to reach the high school students I teach at DVHS in Glendale, AZ. The phone conversation was a great time to reacquaint ourselves with the other brother. I've missed Dan, but it is good to know that the Lord is working strongly in his life and is/will be using him to further the Kingdom and to glorify His name alone. "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name!"
Tonight was another poker night with me and the boyz. Yeah, yeah, I'm white...get over it. We played a few games of Texas Hold 'Em (Matthew du Mée won the first, Jon Dixon won the second), and then we shifted over to Mario Strikers for the Game Cube. Matthew and Jon were on a team, and they kept winning, and winning, and winning. They were on a five or six game winning streak until Jeremy Quadé and I beat them 2 - 1. We then lost the next game. What fun just hanging out with the guys and messin' around. We are all brothers, too, so that made the fun just that much more enjoyable and deeper. Here's the list of those who attended: Chris Blackford, Jon Dixon, Matthew du Mée, Jeremy Quadé, and of course Michael Withem (it was at his apartment) and me. We had a blast. I heard that Jon was a little wary about coming, since he didn't know everyone very well, but he was telling Jenn (his wife) that she shouldn't come and get him because he was enjoying it at the end. That was great to hear. It was good to have everyone together. We get together again tomorrow night at the Blackfords' house for our Saturday night group. Thank You, Lord.
Okay. So I probably didn't take my principal's talk as seriously as I should have. I was pulled in for another meeting, this time with my Dept Chair, to talk about the same thing. I guess some anonymous parent(s) called and said that I was being sarcastic toward their student(s). They wouldn't even leave their name. Facing my accuser is a right, isn't it? Should admin just take the word of any anonymous person who calls and claims that a teacher is not doing what they want them to? Should not it be a requirement that parents contact the teacher that there might be an issue with? I'd love to be able to hear the complain, treat it seriously, apologize for specifics, and then work to make it right. I don't bear any grudge here, but I would like the chance to better myself, though I don't think I can totally change my personality and how I joke around with students. I would say that 95%, if not more, of my students are playing right back, and yet still learning what they need. I was informed that 95% in my class was not good enough: I need to create a safe environment for every single student...and I agree. I will see how this next week goes, as I try to monitor what I say, how I say it, and keep the environment the way I believe the Lord would want it: open and vulnerable to each other, as well as free from hurtful comments, even if they're not meant that way. We'll see what the Lord does in and through me in the coming days, months, and years in teaching. He's got something great for my life...and I'm looking forward to being able to show off His character as He works in me. To God be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
Doesn't feel like I've had to write about a loss lately...and I haven't. The Suns (31 - 8) are now on a 12 game winning streak, but the Mavericks (33 - 8) keep winning, too, so we're still a game behind them for the best record in the NBA. The Suns took on the Portland Trailblazers tonight in Phoenix, and the Blazers had a fourth quarter push to come back to within five at the end, but the Suns led the whole game, except for the first quarter. The final was 106 - 101, Suns. The Suns now move on to play the Timberwolves at home, as well. The Timerwolves (20 - 18), tonight, almost beat the Detroit Pistons (22 - 16, NBA Champs a few years running a couple years ago) in double overtime, but they couldn't pull it off. We'll see what they have for us on Sunday at 6pm. GO SUNS!
I had a/some student(s) last week go to the assistant principal and complain that I was sarcastic. Me? Never. I can't believe ANYONE might think that about lil' ol' me. Heh heh. Anyway, the principal calls me in and tells me to "stop being sarcastic." I was thinking, but it's part of my personality, and I'm just playing around, but I understand her point of creating a safe environment, though she didn't put that last part in so many words...okay, any words at all. I told her that I'd watch myself, and I have watched myself...be just as sarcastic as before. I did talk to each of my classes, telling them that I would like them to come to me so I can make things right, instead of them having to go to the principal about it. No one came to me about it, but I hope they know they can. So I keep having sarcastic fun with my classes, and most of my students seem to at least tolerate my sense of humor, if not actually play right along with me. We still get through the material, and I'm still a very demanding teacher who desires excellence, but we can still have a good time while together.
Daniel Pruitt, of Virginia, was one of the GOB (Group of Brothers) that served in El Paso with GMTC (Gospel Ministries to Children). He is actually the nephew of the director of GMTC El Paso, Ben Dowdy. I have a great love for that family, and Dan just adds to it. He called me and left a message on Tuesday while I was at school teaching. He was informing me that he had a new cell phone and that he was at training for becoming a Chaplain in the Army! He's had at least some sort of draw toward that for years. He mentioned it to me numerous times when we were partners in El Paso. He is a great guy and he loves the Lord. Hopefully I can keep in a closer contact with him.
I went to say goodbye tonight. Goodbye to my Great Grandma Mildred Van Liew. She's pretty much on her deathbed at this point. She coughed a few times, and each time my heart sank. She kept saying, "Sorry," in a very muffled, hard-to-understand voice which was barely audible. She was apologizing that she couldn't express herself to me. I said, "Oh, don't apologize, you beautiful lady. I love you." I had talked with my dad earlier, and I was debating whether or not to go. What made up my mind was that my dad asked me to communicate to her that they were praying for her and loved her. I did communicate that to her, and she replied, if through hardship, "With all my heart, I love [them]." I sang to her tonight. I did three or four hymns that I found in a hymnal there at Paul and Naomi Van Liew's house. How Great Thou Art, My Jesus I Love Thee, and Great is Thy Faithfulness. Each one, if you look at the words in each stanza, references death and seeing the Lord. It was quite fitting. She would close her eyes more when I sang. I pray she enjoyed it and it brought her joy. I brought Amy and Aidan with me. Aidan brought a smile to grandma Van's face with his laughing and funny noises. It was great to see her face brighten with a smile and even her laughter. Her motor skills were so gone that when she grabbed on to Aidan's hand, she couldn't let go. I had to remove her fingers to get Aidan free. That also tore at my heart. I told her how much I appreciated her service to the Lord and that I loved her. I was there for about an hour before I left. I said goodbye.
The Suns have now won 11 straight as they beat the Rockets by 9, 100 - 91. The Suns lost the first quarter, but won the rest. They were down at the half, and the Suns hadn't been shooting like the top ranked jump shot percentage record holding team. The Suns picked it up more, especially in the fourth, got up by as much as 11, and then we won. The bench did not come out to play. The 7 man rotation still worked for the Suns tonight, but Kurt Thomas was still missed as Dikembe Mutombo was pretty impressive tonight. The Suns had three players over 20 points: Stat, Nash, and Barbosa. Marion had 14 points and 14 rebounds. The team together had 24 assists and 7 blocks. The next game is Friday night at home against Portland (16 - 24). GO SUNS!
My great grandma Mildred Van Liew is an incredible woman. She has served the Lord for many decades. She's given time, money, resources, and then more time, money, and resources. Such an incredible woman of God. What a heritage we have to live up to! She is currently 99 years old, turning 100 next month, February 27th. She was born back in 1907. She's seen a lot of change over those years - automobiles, phone, electricity, refrigeration, radio, TV, air conditioning, computers, the internet, cell phones...and the list goes on. With all of her stalwartness we've seen from her throughout many years, her body has now become feeble. She just had another stroke 4 days ago. Her son, my great uncle, David, came down from Seattle to be with her, and he thinks she had another stroke the next day, also. Grandma is having a harder time speaking. She might be leaving us soon. Praise the Lord for His grace and mercy, allowing us to learn from her for so long. Praise the Lord for His grace and mercy, knowing that He will bring Grandma Van to be with Him when she graduates from this fleshly existence. Graduation is what her son, my grandfather, George referred to death as for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Moving on to bigger and much better things. It might not be too much longer until my Grandma Van graduates, and this we will celebrate, but we will also miss her with a deep longing to be with her again when the Lord returns or we graduate ourselves. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (james 4.6), and Mildred Van Liew is a humble lady who depends upon the Lord. Like I said, what a legacy, what a heritage to live up to! Grandma, I've got so far to go. May I follow after you the way you follow after Christ so I might be like Him as you are. You are a blessing to your family. You are a blessing to the Body of Christ.
The Suns (29 - 8) are on a ten game winning streak, having now defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 137 - 122. The Grizzlies (9 - 30) actually were right in the game until the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies even won the first quarter, 35 - 32. It looked like the Grizzlies were going to make it a close game the whole way, but the Suns started pulling away and got up by 20 late in the game. D'Antoni kept the starters in to keep the lead up against this competitive team, and it payed off. One note that needs to be stated is that Kurt Thomas injured his left elbow early in the game and had to leave. He was scheduled for an MRI today, so hopefully they'll know when he'll be back, especially since he's been key in our 8 person lineup. Also, and I just thought I had to throw this in, I recorded the TNT showing of the game, even though it was on local TV with the normal announcers that I like to listen to. I thought, "Hey, it's national TV...it's gotta be good." I've never thought a Suns game to be boring until I watched it with the announcers through TNT, even though Stat did pump in 42 points. I will never again record the TNT version when there might be a local showing of the same game. The Suns take on the Houston Rockets (25 - 13) on Wednesday in Houston. The Rockets have to take on the Mavericks (31 - 8) tonight first, though. Should be a good challenge for Houston: the two top teams in the NBA back to back. At least they're home when they face the Suns. GO SUNS!