Happy Valentine's Day!

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

I have one of the greatest jobs ever! Where else can you work and receive so much unconditional love and entertainment all in one day? I honestly should write a book containing all of the humorous and endearing comments that are shared with me on a daily basis. If I would ever take time to collect these precious statements, the following conversation, which occurred approximately seven years ago, would definitely be included in my collection of favorites:
Young Male Kindergarten Student: "I like your sweater vest, Mrs. Palka.
Mrs. Palka: "Oh, thank you!"
Young Male Kindergarten Student: "You're welcome. My grandpa has one just like it!"
I absolutely treasure how young children can be so uninhibited and freely express their hearts and their thoughts. A few days later, that same child told me, "Mrs. Palka... if you were a big Oreo cookie, I would just gobble you up!"

Pray and Trust!

Eighth Grade Advanced Literature Class Becomes Published Authors!

A few weeks ago, the Superintendent of MI Lutheran Schools, Mr. Travis Grulke, invited middle school students throughout the state of Michigan to write a devotional thought for the MI District Blog. He also announced that those who were selected would be published during Lutheran Schools Week.

Our 8th grade Advanced Literature class accepted the challenge and wrote a beautiful reflection entitled, "Pray and Trust". Their devotional thought was selected and published last Friday. It is such a powerful testament of their faith that we want to share it with all of our school families as well:

"God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1)

All throughout history, people have used this verse to remember that God is their strength, and they can take refuge in Him. If you trust in God, there is always a way to face and overcome an issue. Whether the issue is something small, such as losing a homework assignment or a major disease, God will help you through.

Many Blessed by Lunch Bags of Love!

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

* 20 lbs. of turkey
* 10 lbs. of ham
* 10 lbs. of salami
* 360 pieces of cheese
* 35 loaves of bread
* 300 Rice Crispy treats
* 8 cases of juice boxes
* 6 boxes of chips
* 4 cases of applesauce
* 300 lunch bags
* 120 missional Christ followers assembling lunch bags
* 4 volunteers who braved the snowy roads on Monday
* 300 guests at the Noah Project Homeless Shelter receiving a lunch bag of love... priceless!
Last Sunday, 120 students, family members, and staff members gathered in the St. Matthew gym to assemble 300 lunches for the NOAH Project, which is a Warming Center for homeless people located in Detroit's Central Methodist Church. Throughout the entire evening, it was so much fun watching the Holy Spirit shine through families as they worked together to decorate bags, assemble sandwiches, and pack ten lunch bags.  Afterwards, families gathered together to eat pizza and enjoy fellowship.

Lunch Bags of Love! Sign Up for Family Mission Project Ends This Friday!

"Dream Small and help us work in BIG waysto help the homeless people in Detroit!"

Early in my ministry, I was standing in the hallway greeting students good morning when I received a response that shook me to my core... "Mrs. Palka, I'm not supposed to tell you, but we had to sleep in our car last night, and I was so scared."
An immediate investigation revealed the embarrassment of an eviction due to a series of unfortunate financial circumstances. Instantly, I watched the body of Christ work together to help this family get back into a suitable living environment and ensure that basic needs were met.  Scripture states in Matthew 25:40, "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do onto Me", and it was so exciting watching congregational members be the hands and feet of Jesus in action during this situation.  Sometimes, God uses us to help those in other states or countries, and sometimes, He presents us with opportunities to help people in our very own community.

Lunch Bags of Love!

"Dream Small and help us work in BIG ways to help the homeless people in Detroit!"

This Christmas, my daughter-in-law and I both received "Instant Pots" as a gift. Since then, we are both enjoying sharing with each other how fast we can make a meal. "I just made pulled pork in 30 minutes!" "I made chicken noodle soup in just 7 minutes!" "I made orange chicken with only 5 ingredients and cooked the chicken in 4 minutes! If only I could figure out how to make this thing do the laundry as efficiently, I would be all set!"

Let God Hold Your Hand!

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, Do not be terrified. For the Lord, your God, will be with you wherever you go. He will never leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

As soon as I answered the phone last Wednesday night, I could tell by my husband's voice that something was wrong. "Hey, I have some bad news... the nursing home just called, and they are sending your mom by ambulance to the hospital. I'll meet you at home, and we can drive together to Ann Arbor."

Special Guest Day!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:9

Are you a party planner or a party participant? As for me, I delight in planning parties! I find it extremely enjoyable inviting an assortment of friends and relatives together to celebrate a joyous occasion. However, throughout my years of experience, I have also learned that certain aspects of various parties do not always turn out as expected!

Don't Miss It!

"For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

It was a college student's worst nightmare! For weeks, one of my son's friends had been preparing for her final exam in chemistry. As a potential pharmacy student, she knew that it was critical for chemistry grade to be as strong as possible. Midway through the semester, she began attending other professors' lectures, in hopes they would provide additional clarity that would enhance her comprehension. She signed up and participated in numerous study group sessions and even held a few of her own with various classmates. She located previous course lecture packets that the college had posted online and diligently reviewed them every night.

Don't Stress... Just Let Jesus Handle The Mess!

"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

"We're going to be coming to Detroit next week... is it ok if we stay with you?"

I honestly love receiving these types of messages from family and friends, especially around the holidays, but I have to admit that things usually get pretty tense the night before our guests are scheduled to arrive. Cobwebs and dust that usually go unnoticed suddenly seem to appear in every direction now that we are striving to become a five star "bed and breakfast". Floors that we thought were clean now seem to appear to be dirty and need of scrubbing. And what originally seemed to be a well-stocked refrigerator now seems to be filled with numerous mysteries requiring us to play the game... "Can you identify this leftover?"

It's Time To Dream Small And Run With Compassion!

St. Matthew Lutheran School 8th Annual Turkey Trot Is Tomorrow!

"Whatever you do for the least of these, you've done unto me." Matthew 25:40

Collins is a little boy living in Northern Kenya. His mother died during childbirth, leaving his elderly grandmother as his only surviving relative and available caretaker. Many nights, Collins' grandmother would go to bed hungry because she would give what little food she had to Collins. Often, she would pray and ask God to help her and provide a way for her to raise her grandson.
One day, she learned about Compassion International and the sponsorships that they provided to children living in poverty. After meeting with the designated staff, Collins was accepted into the program and provided with a sponsor. As a result, Collins now receives adequate food and clothing as well as access to an education, all which have dramatically improved the quality of Collin's life. In addition, his sponsor family frequently sends letters of encouragement to Collins, reassuring him how much God loves him and his grandmother.


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