Happy Birthday Dear Lucy

Miss Lucy

This week Lucy turns 3. Not a big deal to you, maybe, but a HUGE deal to this grandma. Lucy was born with some extremely serious health concerns, and these life threatening issues needed immediate attention.

I sat in the waiting room at Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls listening to my son tell me, through tears, of the complicated surgery Lucy was needing. Sadly, Sioux Falls was unable to perform it because of how delicate it was going to be. My son began the search for a skilled surgeon!

It hurts the heart to watch your adult son cry. I went out to my car and sobbed while pounding the steering wheel and screaming at God. (He’s a loving God, He can take the yelling).

Fast forward to today and Miss Lucy is a spunky, spirited little girl who will turn 3 on Thursday. She melts this grandma’s heart into a humongous puddle of mush whenever she says so sweetly, “Grandma, I love you.”  

This same week three years ago, a friend lost her husband to complications of a kidney transplant. She mourns while I celebrate. Why God, are some saved and not others? I don’t know!

A week ago, my blogging partner wrote about her 14-year old nephew who lost his life to cancer five years ago. Why God?

A few weeks ago, a young man lost his life in a boating accident. He was only 22. Why God?

The day before the boating accident another friend of mine said goodbye to her special friend who lost his battle against lung cancer. Why God?

Just this morning I received a private message from a childhood friend who laid her middle daughter to rest from a short war against cervical cancer. The daughter found out on Mother’s Day and was gone by June 28. This young woman was only 43. Why God?

When my only sibling was killed in a car accident 40 years ago, I found peace in Isaiah 57:1. Paraphrasing this verse, it says righteous people are taken home to Heaven early because they are being spared from something extremely evil. I hang on to that. It brings me some peace knowing my brother was saved from something wicked.

Why does God choose to save some and not others? I don’t know! We will never know that answer this side of Heaven. It’s certainly okay to ask, though. It’s okay to pound your fists and scream and yell at God. He is a good God and hears our cries!

The song below is called Why God? by Austin French. Give it a listen.

While pondering what to write next…I visit Facebook. Not a good choice. So.Much.Junk. People bashing others because of personal offenses or political views or __________.

Why God, can’t people take care of personal offenses or political believes privately without having to pollute Facebook? I don’t know.

Life is short! This world needs peacemakers!! So, during this week of celebration (and sorrow), I choose to be a woman of peace.

I have a happy birthday party to attend this weekend. I look forward to celebrating Lucy and my son (his birthday is July 12). Others are grieving the loss of their loved ones. I offer them hugs and prayers.

Happy birthday, dear Lucy. May you grow up to be a woman of peace, filled with love and compassion, always knowing that YOU, sweet girl, are a child of God.

Stay Calm & Celebrate Today!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

It’s Officially “Steak Sandwich without the Bun” Day

Five years ago today we said good-bye to Carter – until we meet again that is. Time stands still for no one. We have zoomed from 2015 to 2020 in a blink of an eye. Some days may seem long while the years seem short. We should learn and grow from our experiences. So what have we learned in the past five years? LOTS. Not enough.
Let’s take this year for example. The first half of 2020 has taught us many things, and we are still waiting to learn more. Here are a few relevant yet timeless considerations:

1.  Love.

2.  Laugh.  When the going gets tough, laughter is valuable medicine. 

3.  Wash your hands – a lot.  Basic hygiene and common sense go a long ways.

4.  Don’t cough on people. Watch what comes out of your mouth as it might hurt someone.

5.  Share. It turns out other people have needs too.  

6.  Respect different perspectives and recognize it takes walking a lifetime in another’s shoes to truly know their story. Until you do, listen and learn. Everyone is important.

7. Sports, music, theatre, … social outlets are important to our well-being.

8.  Sing in the sunshine and sing in the rain. Take whatever comes our way, and make the best of it. Negativity doesn’t change it; it just makes things worse.

9.  Smile while you are zooming. Just because you aren’t necessarily in the same room with others doesn’t mean that you can’t smile at them. Smiles brighten our days in so many, many ways.

10. Most importantly – take time to enjoy today together. Don’t always live in the rush of our daily world and expectations. This time in quarantine has taught us to be at home with our families, enjoy dinner together as a family, and laugh together some too, which our normal schedules do not always allow.
Thinking back…Carter enjoyed going to KB’s with the extended family, and he enjoyed this frequent routine to the local establishment. He would order his specialty – a steak sandwich and always ask them to hold the bun. You see – steak was not on the menu while the steak sandwich was. He found a way to have his steak and eat it too. 🙂 He would order a baked potato as the side – and then take it to go. He enjoyed a good steak, and he enjoyed being with his family; he knew how to enjoy life – and laugh a lot.

Okay, so this list could go on and on as we learned so many valuable lessons so far this year…I’ll stop here. Actually, I have to stop now as I need to leave this space.
I write this blog today as I sit at Carter’s Court while JR is at batting practice nearby – just days away from the actual angelversary of Carter Joseph Boerboom, which is June 30th and the day of this official post. This place, Carter’s Court, is hopefully a place where ballers of any age can take some time to enjoy the game of life. Just in this short time while I write, I have seen several groups come and go with the most noticeable resemblance… laughter. Life goes too fast so we need to just be and just breathe sometimes… and just laugh. Tonight is one of those times. After this we will head home to grill “a steak sandwich without the bun” with potatoes for dinner as a family and enjoy today together.

Stay Calm & Enjoy Today!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

If I Could Turn Back Time, I Wouldn’t Change a Thing

Today my eldest son turns 18 years old. He started out as a mighty preemie after “we” were hospitalized on bedrest for 8 weeks. We came home from the hospital the day before his birthday. That should signal to you what an interesting adventure his journey into this world was and continues to be. 

Baby JJ

Fast forward 18 years… and you arrive at today. The years have flown by filled with love, laughter, worries, tears… If you are the oldest, you know this truth… being the oldest child means that you train your parents along the way. They can read and receive all the training in the world, but there is nothing quite like experiential learning. Parents experience on-the-job-training each moment of each day. We worry as we watch our kids grow if everything will be alright. We spend our days living and planning and worrying and praying. There are times that I think I should’ve done this differently or that differently in this journey of parenthood. Then I realize that each moment along the way has been part of the equation to make him who he is today. For that, if I could turn back time, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Jackson

Happy 18th Birthday today, Jackson! We celebrate you and your journey to this point as you graduate from high school today as well! Thanks for all of the life lessons that you have taught us so far along the way. You are the best teacher! 😉

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“If life gets too hard to stand, kneel.”  
~ Gordan B. Hinckley

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave nor forsake you.”
~Deuteronomy 31:6

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
~ Jeremiah 29:11

Only Time will tell where your journey may lead you…
We continue to remember the journey, enjoy today, and look forward to where
The Road Before Us will lead.

Happy 18th Birthday to Jackson today!
Congrats on your high school graduation! 

JV
Senior pictures by Victoria Rae Dubbeldee

Stay Calm & Be on Time! 😉
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

Educators…May the Fourth Be With You!

Tonight at dinner, my almost-adult son, who is set to graduate from high school in just a few weeks, asked me, “Mom, do you know what holiday it is today?” I immediately wondered… well, I think it’s past May Day, and I don’t remember it being Cinco de Mayo yet. The days are sometimes hard to keep track of lately it seems. “Hmmm… Oh, I know… It’s Educator Appreciation Week!” My son just looked at me and smirked, “May the Fourth Be With You!”

starwars-1588647778707-1159
Master Yoda… courtesy wallup.net

Okay – so maybe great minds do think alike. The Star Wars analogy is not lost on me when I think about it being Educator Appreciation Week. Teaching and learning made the jump into the hyperspace of remote learning with almost no time to prepare. Amazing.

Stick with me as I further consider the parallels between education today and Star Wars.

Every parent everywhere… “Help me, [educators]. You’re my only hope.” ~ Princess Leia

Naysayers who thought remote learning could not be done?… “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” ~ Darth Vader

The possibility of remote learning not working… “Never tell me the odds!” ~ Han Solo

Where are we learning the rest of this week… “Chewie, we’re home.” ~ Han Solo

Getting our learning on tomorrow and the day after… “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
~ Yoda

When we move on after this unprecedented time into a new future of teaching and learning… “When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will be you. The Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned.” ~ Yoda

With the unrest in our world…”We must keep our faith in the Republic. The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.” ~ Queen Jamillia

Tomorrow when I think there is just too much to possibly accomplish… “I’m one with the Force. The Force is one with me.” ~Chirrut Imwe

When we see our friends at school again… “Oh, my dear friend. How I’ve missed you.
~ C-3PO

To all the educators and students out there… “The Force will be with you. Always.”
~ Obi-Wan Kenobi

And each day… always have “Hope.” ~ Princess Leia

Even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, you have to admit there are some positive takeaways for those of us, all of us in Education today. There continues to be a lot of wisdom and life lessons to share.

Take time to thank an educator this week. Or how about thanking more than one? It takes a village, and now that most parents have experienced a glimpse of the life of a teacher, it would make sense to thank the entire village. Thank you!

Thanks to my son’s teachers for stopping by to say hi – from a distance – and share some learning treats! The COVID-19 journal is awesome! JR enjoyed the pretzels, too!
Teachers COVID19

Although educators – teachers, support staff, and administrators may come and go – their impacts last a lifetime. Thank you, educators, for all that you do!
Oh  – and May the Fourth Be With You!

Stay Calm & May the Fourth Be With You!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

Haiku Pandemic Poetry

This is a special guest blog post by SMSU Adjunct Instructor, Ms. Deb Ahmann, who co-teaches ED 251 Child Growth and Development with Dr. Wendy. Ms. Ahmann’s teaching career has included a variety of locations (Buffalo Lake, Marshall, and Brainerd, Minnesota; Tempe and Florence, Arizona), a variety of ages (5th grade, junior high, senior high, college), a variety of adjunct positions (SMSU, SMU, and ASU), and a variety of disciplines (elementary ed, literature, language arts, AP, public speaking, education, and literacy). Oh – and don’t forget her direct impact specifically on Dr. V. as Ms. Ahmann was her Honors Research & Writing teacher in high school. 🙂

“Because I try to model a variety of class discussion techniques for the ED 251 students, we have utilized methods including small-group presentations, partnerships, debates, Q/A drawings, and poetic summaries. The haiku was used to summarize three chapters (five-syllable summary for the first chapter, seven for the next chapter, five for the final chapter). The students were then asked to write a haiku that reflected their feelings about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on education. Our ED 251 teacher candidates did a fabulous job on these Haiku Pandemic Poetry creations.” ~Ms. Deb Ahmann

 

Expect hard times to come

Be prepared to work for this

Good times are ahead

Kobe L.                                                                                

 

Distance learning now

Unsure of tomorrow’s fate

Still giving our best.

Rebecca H.

 

Distance can be bad,

Learning in new ways is fun,

Be very resilient.

Timothy R.

 

Madness all around

I don’t know how to do this

Hope it’s over soon

Danielle H.

 

The schools are empty.

Teachers nervous, kids confused

What is yet to come?

Taitum T.

 

This is a hard time

We are all learning together

We will get through this.

Morgan K.

 

Praise student effort

Encourage student learning

Show love with learning

Allison C.

 

Learning from afar

Social distancing the norm

In this together

Rachel K.

 

Students learn from home

Teachers must be flexible

We must do our part.

Mimi K.

 

Educate Online

Learning in the unknown world

You are not alone

MacKenzie D.

 

Read sad news daily

Taking long walks to kitchen

Missing family

Katie M.

 

At home and alone,

Students and teachers will work

To connect and learn.

Kendra J.

 

Difficult to learn.

Learning new things can be hard.

Use your time wisely.

Noah P.

 

Learning from afar

The future is yet unknown

We will get through this

Alyssa W.

 

Corona virus

Pandemic, please don’t panic

The end is in sight

Kayla B.

 

Sitting at home with

School work to do and nowhere

To go but at home

Erika B.

 

Essential working

Stuck at home with my kittens

Containing homework

Brianna D.

 

I really don’t like

Working from home all alone

COVID needs to go.

Allyson J. 

 

Teach yourself at home

Not sure when all this will end

We need to be strong

Carla R.

A huge appreciation shout out to our SMSU teacher candidates for sharing their hearts. Thank you! ❤ Stay healthy, everyone.

Stay Calm and Write a Poem!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.

 

Everyone Needs A “Shop”

My hubby is a skilled woodworker. He has built some gorgeous projects over the years. Ping Pong Tables, Cribs, Murphy Beds, TV Entertainment Centers. Amazing (startling impressive) stuff. Check out his chalkboard murphy bunk bed! 👇 Our grandkids LOVE it.

But…woodworking is not his profession. He actually works as a computer ‘architect’ or as we laypeople know it…a computer programmer/engineer.

Sometimes…this work fries his brain.

Think about it…we have issues with our computers and we go totally bonkers. We send in a loud, panicked SOS to our Tech department for help (thank you SMSU Tech folks for putting up with us ❤). My hubby is like the Tech department…kind of.

He writes programs using Java Language (and, no, he told me that does not mean coffee🤷‍☕). Then when there is a ‘bug’ in the program, he is called upon to figure it out and get rid of those bugs. He strains his brain. He stretches his debugging skills trying to figure out the problem until those skills almost snap.  🧨

Now and again, this debugging can take days, yes DAYS, to solve the issue. Nasty bugs!! 🕷 So…needless to say, when he comes home (well, now when he comes out of the home office since we are all working remotely 🙄) he is a tad bit stressed out. A tad bit mentally exhausted at the end of his work day.

His release??

He goes to his shop. That is where he builds things.  And that is where he ‘de-stresses.’

COVID 19 has a lot of folks stressing, including us. I’d say we are getting a little irritable around here. So how do we find balance in all this? How do we de-stress? My advice is…we all need our own “shop.” What is YOUR “shop?” What is it that you love to do? What is something that will help you let go of stress?

Some like to run, ride bike, or go for a walk (🙋 That’s me). Some may want to write a story, read a book, or listen to a podcast. Others may enjoy singing or dancing or just listening to their favorite tunes. Some might choose to draw, play games, watch a movie, or play an instrument like a guitar or piano. Maybe some want to learn a new skill like playing the ukulele. 🎻

Maybe someone needs to blow off steam by pounding the piano keys like Mr. Rogers did when he was frustrated, or maybe someone needs to go outside and whack a tennis ball against the garage door over and over (🙋 that used to be me when I was a kid).  

Minnesota was given a Stay Home Executive Order yesterday. Now more than ever…I ask you, what is YOUR “shop?” Find your “shop” and de-stress. ❤

Please share with us in the comments how you are de-stressing during this trying time.

Stay Calm and Find Your “Shop!”
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.

Virtual teaching SOS! – Part II 

Hello? Hello? Are you out there? Oh – now we can see you! Zoom. Just like that. We shared our part I of Virtual teaching SOS!  

Before going any further, take a breath and know that you can do this! Then, watch this Youtube video:  I Will Survive, Coronavirus version for teachers going online

 What to do now that you have taken a much needed deep breath? We want to share some incredible ideas with you as you charter these educational waters virtually. Tossing some lifesavers your way to help you and your learners navigate the virtual waters of learning. We asked our teacher educator colleagues from the SMSU School of Education and across campus to contribute resources to share out with you.  A quick shoutout to our talented SMSU colleagues for responding to our request: Drs. Rhonda Bonnstetter, Sarah Huseby, Kandy Noles Stevens, Frankie Albitz, Kris Cleveland, Debbie VanOverbeke … thank you for your efforts to support our teacher candidates and educators everywhere! 

Before checking out the list of resources, we want to share our support and thank all the healthcare and emergency workers on the front lines and all essential workers who cannot stay home with their families in order to care for the greater good. Thank you and our continued prayers go out for your safety!

What awesome ideas do you have to share? Please let us know! We need each other and our creative ideas now more than ever. Take care! 

Stay Calm & Teach On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.  

Art Work:

No photo description available.

free online art lessons

Literacy & Teaching English as a Second Language:


This site is great for elementary teachers and reads books in English & 43 different languages!
This site, much like Rosetta Stone, teaches students new languages – set the language to English and our English learners can continue their language learning.
Great for a variety of subjects – and for our English learners with a primary language in Spanish, Kahn Academy in Spanish!
Great for a variety of subjects!  For English learners, use the English Language Arts tab.
A site that allows you to create quizzes – both for individual practice and for a game-like atmosphere. 

Variety of Ideas and Websites:


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Online Learning At Home

Image may contain: possible text that says 'HELP HAS ARRIVED makeameme.org'

Image may contain: people sitting and text

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Films and Videos:

Virtual Field Trips: 

National Parks


Movement and Phy Ed: 

Making Videos & Web Conferencing Tools: 

No photo description available.

Emotional Learning:

PD:

Additional links to even more resources… 

Universal Design for Learning:

UDL: http://udlguidelines.cast.org/?utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=none&utm_source=cast-about-udl

UDL Strategies: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/treatments-approaches/educational-strategies/5-examples-of-universal-design-for-learning-in-the-classroom

CAST UDL Resources: 
http://www.cast.org/whats-new/learning-tools.html#.Xm6Z_ahKg2w 

STEM: 

Tom Foley, SMSU Alumnus – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UAvlVkmRvL5LllSw1XIpLRX2ubxAk2CIN1h2MWLuiik/edit#gid=623973979

Kandy Noles Stevens, ABD – Online Resources.docx

Need more? Check out this amazing list of educational resources… http://www.amazingeducationalresources.com/

Need even more resources? Additional resources are available at the bottom of the MN Learning Commons page: https://ccaps.umn.edu/minnesota-learning-commons/educator-resources as well as at Minnesota State: https://careerwise.minnstate.edu/education/onlineresources.html

Detailed Google doc, written by Jenae Cohn and Beth Seltzer:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ccsudB2vwZ_GJYoKlFzGbtnmftGcXwCIwxzf-jkkoCU/preview

Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Going-Online-in-a-Hurry-What/248207

Please do a bad job of putting your courses online: https://anygoodthing.com/2020/03/12/please-do-a-bad-job-of-putting-your-courses-online/?fbclid=IwAR1KYrnmEX2-Hk-NR9jIJH_ygG5lA_tJFgUCt0M18VJtpj_ltHEqRD_cS9E

Project-Based Learning: https://www.pblworks.org/what-is-pbl

Differentiated Instruction: https://www.slideshare.net/edutopia/teacher-tested-strategies-for-differentiated-instruction

Center on Online Learning and Students with disabilities: 
http://www.centerononlinelearning.res.ku.edu/

AMTE Webinars
https://amte.net/webinars

Virtual Teaching SOS!

Blog sos life saver

Virtual teaching SOS! What to do? Educators, are you wondering what to do in these unprecedented times? We are too so we want to share some ideas with you as you charter these educational waters virtually. Tossing some lifesavers your way to help you and your learners navigate. We asked our teacher educator colleagues to contribute some resources to share out with you. Stay tuned for these fabulous ideas that will be posted later this week! For now, here are a few ideas and our own stories of this experience to share with you.

Legos®…who doesn’t enjoy playing with Legos®? Wendy’s grandson was given these Lego® ideas from his teacher. Look at what he created. Future engineer. 👏🏼  He sent it to his teacher using SeeSaw and she commented on it. So awesome.  Alright Vierstraete boys…challenge is on. Can you create something bigger and better than what my 8-year-old grandson did??? 😃

Meanwhile on the shores of Chez Vierstraete, we are continuing to focus on social distancing and doing our part… and apparently the only and meanest parents on Earth doing this. Attempting to structure the day while we wait for virtual school to resume on March 30th. Day 1 – We are focusing on the small stuff. Be active, take care of Stella (the family St. Bernard), and read with hopes of taking a virtual field trip later today if we survive our time isolated together. We might work up to the Legos® challenge tomorrow? 😉

Blog Stella 1

In all seriousness, this is needed, and we do support and thank all the healthcare workers on the front lines and all workers who cannot stay home with their families in order to care for the greater good. Thank you and our prayers go out for you.

So…educators (which is really all of us)- what awesome ideas do you have to share? Please let us know in the comments! We need each other and our creative ideas now more than ever. Take care!

Stay Calm & Teach On! 
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.  

The Power of Feedback

Blog Feed back matters

As spring break rolls around, many of our methods teacher candidates will embark on their pre-student teaching experience – 10 days in a classroom writing lessons, teaching them, and assessing student learning, all under the lead of a classroom mentor teacher and a university supervisor. They will receive feedback on their performance in the classroom…and sometimes it can be hard to hear! Licensed teachers also have classroom observations completed by their administrators, and possibly their peers, and will receive feedback from them on ways to improve their teaching. No matter how long you’ve taught, we all have areas where we can improve! So how can we learn to take the ‘sting’ out of feedback and use it to grow as a reflective practitioner? Here are some ideas from Chapter 6 in Powerful Teaching:

Uh-oh, it’s time for ‘feedback’. Here’s how to listen to constructive criticism-and use it to your advantage.  The following ideas have been adapted from “Uh-Oh, Your Boss Has “Feedback” in Glamour magazine, March 2014, p. 240, by Anna Maltby.

Having ‘the talk’ with your mentor teacher may send shivers down your spine, but here’s a secret: Research shows that people who are open to feedback adapt faster to changing roles and have more job satisfaction. “Someone who asks what they could be doing better appears more self-assured and open”, says Sheila Horn. “They seem committed to doing good work, which is good for anyone’s reputation.”

Of course, sometimes the feedback isn’t what you want to hear. Here are tips for dealing with feedback in a positive way.

1.) Know what kind of feedback, you’re getting. There are three types:

  1. Appreciation ( I noticed what you do in the classroom and I value your work);
  2. Coaching (here’s what you could be doing better in your teaching);
  3. Evaluation (here’s where you stand).

Most day-to-day feedback falls in the coaching category, but many people interpret those comments as a bigger-picture evaluation (your mentor teacher says ‘this part of your lesson plan needs work’ and you think it means ‘I am never going to pass this lab’), leaving you with the feeling that one mistake will be a career ender. Note to self: It’s not!

2.) Press ‘pause’ on your reaction.  Negative feedback can sting, so your first instinct may be to look for ways that the feedback from your mentor teacher is wrong. Instead, take a deep breath and try to understand what your mentor is saying. One place to start – ask for clarification of generalizations. “You’re unprofessional” may be about how you are dressed or about how long you are taking for lunch. Rather than moving directly to panic-mode, get specifics.

3.) Make sure you understand the next step. To use feedback to your advantage, think to yourself, “Do I know what to do in order to follow my mentor’s advice?”  In other words, ask what you have been doing that hasn’t been working and what you should do differently in the future. Find out exactly what the mentor is looking for and if possible, whether there is an example of this that is done very well. You’ll want next steps with positive feedback as well, so if at your next review your mentor says you’ve been doing a great job, ask about additional responsibilities you could take on in the classroom that would help you grow.

4.) Don’t supersize it.  If someone says something negative about us, we take it to mean that they think everything about us is bad. The feedback you’re getting is probably about a specific action or a specific time, it doesn’t mean that your mentor thinks you’re a terrible teacher. Take a breath and listen carefully.

Maltby, A. (March 2014). Uh-oh, your boss has “feedback”. Glamour, 240.

Stay Calm and Know Feedback Matters!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.

(This is an excerpt from Dr. Rhonda Bonnstetter’s POWERFUL F Chapter in our book POWERFUL Teaching co-authored by Dr. Wendy Schoolmeester, Dr. Sonya Vierstraete, Dr. Rhonda Bonnstetter, and Dr. Mary Risacher. The book is available at Kendall-Hunt Publishing: https://he.kendallhunt.com/product/powerful-teaching).

Blog Powerful Teaching book

🚉 Railroad to Heaven 🚉

Blog Pic Railroad to Heaven

This is a true story taken from the 1894 edition of “Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer.” As you’ll see, this wonderful story seems to speak to adults as well as to children. It’s easy to see why Jesus urged the disciples to “Permit the little children to come to Me… (Luke 18:16)

The story has been altered in honor of Wendy’s cousin, Greg Sherve, Engineer for BNSF Railroad, who died unexpectedly a few days ago from a massive heart attack, massive stroke, and torn aorta at the young age of 60. 

This story will be given to Greg’s grandson, Marcus. The link to the full, unaltered story is below:

The train was going west, and it was evening. At a station, a little boy  who was young in age came aboard, carrying a little pillow under his arm. He came into the car and quickly took a seat. He then began to study each face, but all were strange to him. He appeared weary, and using his pillow, he laid down on the seat to try to get a little sleep.

Soon the conductor came along collecting tickets and fare. Observing him, the little boy asked if he could lie there. The gentle conductor replied that he could, and then kindly asked for his ticket. The little boy informed him that he didn’t have one, and the following conversation took place:

“Where are you going?” asked the conductor.

“I’m going to heaven,” the little boy answered.

“Who’s paying your fare?” the conductor questioned.

He said, “Mister, does this railroad lead to heaven, and does Jesus travel on it?”

“I don’t think so,” the conductor answered. “Why did you think that?”

“Why, sir, before my Grandpa died, he used to sing to me about a heavenly railroad, and you looked so nice and kind that I thought this was that railroad. My Grandpa used to sing about Jesus on the heavenly railroad, and that Jesus paid the fare for everybody, and that the train stopped at every station to take people on board. My Grandpa don’t sing to me anymore. Nobody sings to me now, and I thought I’d take the train and go see my Grandpa. Mister, do you sing to your little girl about the railroad that goes to heaven? You have a little girl, don’t you?”

With tears in his eyes, the conductor replied, “No, dear child, I have no little girl now. I had one once, but she died some time ago and went to heaven.”

“Did she get there on this railroad, and are you going to see her now?” the little boy inquired.

Addressing himself once more to the conductor, he asked him, “Do you love Jesus? I do, and if you love Him, He will let you ride to heaven on His railroad. I’m going there, and I wish you would go with me. I know Jesus will let me into heaven when I get there, and He will let you in too and everybody that will ride on His railroad – yes, all these people. Wouldn’t you like to see heaven, and Jesus, and your little girl?”

These words, so innocently uttered, brought a great gush of tears from all who were on that train, but most profusely from the eyes of the conductor.

The little boy now asked the conductor, “Mister, may I lie here until we get to heaven?”

“Yes, little one, yes,” he answered.

“Will you wake me up when we get there so that I can see my Grandpa, and your little girl, and Jesus?” he asked. “I so much want to see them all.”

The conductor’s answer came in broken phrases, but in words very tenderly spoken, “Yes, little angel, yes. God bless you.”

Turning his eyes once more upon the conductor, he questioned him again, “What should I tell your little girl when I see her? Should I tell her that I saw her daddy on Jesus’ railroad? Should I?”

This brought a fresh flood of tears from all present, and the conductor knelt by the little boy’s side and, embracing him, wept the reply he could not utter. At this point the brakeman called out the name of another station… (To read the ‘unaltered’ story Click here).

While so many hearts are sad because my cousin Greg is gone, I believe he was a brave engineer and took that Railroad to Heaven. Now that Greg is there…

🎶 he has met the superintendent, God the Father, God the Son. And with a hearty joyous greeting, Jesus said, weary pilgrim, welcome home. 🎶

Life is like a mountain railway with an engineer that’s brave. We must make the run successful from the cradle to the grave.

Watch for curves and hills and valleys. Never falter, never fail. Keep your hand upon the throttle and your eye upon the rail.

Stay Calm and Love Your Cousins!
Profs Dr. Wendy. & Dr. V.