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Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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

Praise God for Plan B!

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

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

The Blessings of Parent/Teacher Conferences!

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

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

The Power Of Persuasive Writing!

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

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

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."   John 15:12

It was approximately sixteen years ago when my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Although he has been very blessed with a slow progression form of MS, the doctor gave two immediate pieces of advice at his initial diagnosis. The first suggestion was to take up swimming, as swimming utilizes the most muscles during one workout. In addition, due to his unpredictable instability, the second piece of advice the doctor shared was "stay off tall ladders". Two jobs that Ken quickly became ineligible to accomplish were painting the outside of our house and hanging Christmas lights.
 
Having two brothers that are professional painters helped to resolve the first problem...

God is So Good! Update on Braedon Breeding's Liver Transplant

Last week, after all of the news and prayers regarding Braedon had begun, our school received a very sweet compliment from a mom who is new to St. Matthew this year. She said to me, "What a special community this is, Mrs. Palka!"

And indeed, her perception is correct! When Jesus is in the center of relationships... powerful things happen! During this past week, it's like we have been watching a modern day version of the Book of Acts unfold, as a community of believers gathered together to love, support, and earnestly pray for Braedon.
 
I can't even begin to tell you how endearing it is being frequently asked by students and parents, "How is Braedon doing?"
 
Listed below is the Facebook update that Braedon's mom posted and has given me permission to share:...

Walk 3.7 Miles in their Shoes!

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

Funniest comment from last week in the lunchroom... "Mrs. Palka, Guess what? I'm coming to the "Aggressive Dinner!"
 
The good news is that the only aggressiveness that will be present during this Friday night's Progressive Dinner is our passion to help children in need of clean water!
 
Listed below are a few details that will assist with the enjoyment of the evening:...

Yes, Jesus Loves Us!

"For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

After the cliffhanger of last week's newsletter  "Waiting For Baby"... it is now time for "the rest of the story!" I am thrilled to announce the arrival of Maxwell Joshua Palka, born on 9-19-19!
 
However, a few complications during his delivery caused his entrance into the world to be a little traumatic, and, as a result, he spent his first three days in the Neonatal ICU unit at Mott Children's Hospital.
 
During the thirty years that I have been a parent, I've noticed that my mother's heart breaks every time my children go through difficulties...

Waiting Patiently!

"But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:25

Have you ever had to patiently wait for something? Perhaps it's a child getting ready for school in the morning, or a furniture delivery that was scheduled between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Sometimes, it may be waiting to hear about a job, or trying to call your Internet provider and being placed on hold. For many of us living in the Walled Lake area, it could be waiting for construction to end and the intersection of Novi Road and Twelve Mile finally opening!
 
For the past nine months, the Palka's have been patiently waiting for the arrival of our new grandson, otherwise known as "Baby Brother" by his two-year-old big sister.
 
This time, my role has changed from the anxious cheerleader in the hospital waiting room to now taking care of Emilia while mommy and daddy go to the hospital to get this baby brother everyone keeps talking about...

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