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What a Memorable Year

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly Lights."  James 1:17

Talk about a memorable school year! In my thirty-four years of working in education, I think this year will go down in the record books for many reasons!

We began this school year with the motto "Let The Whole World See The Greatness Of Our God", and as I reflect upon this school year, I can see so many opportunities that God gave us to show His love to others...

These Superheroes Wear Masks Instead of Capes!

"Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure."  Psalm 147:5

When my boys were little, our toy room was filled with numerous Batman and Superman capes. As soon as the capes were Velcroed to their pajamas or tied around their necks, they would transform into a brave Superhero and immediately stick out their chest to assume their heroic Superhero pose. Thinking they were invincible, they would run around the house, jump off the ottoman, and add an occasional karate kick, while vowing to save the world!

Over the past two months, I have experienced the privilege of helping my daughter deliver meals to some of our modern day "Superheroes" working at various local hospitals. Although their bravery is unquestionable, I have found these masked and gowned champions to be humble, loving servants who are so appreciative for everyone's support and encouragement.

Happy Mother's Day!

The other day, a friend sent me a collection of lessons that moms have learned from their children during quarantine:

"If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a superman cape."

"You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using the ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way. The glass in windows (even double pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan."

"Play-dough and microwaves should never be used in the same sentence."...

Looking at Things in Different Ways!

"With God, all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

Everyone deserves ice cream after getting a shot at the doctor's office!

In this world, there are those who love dogs... and there are those who do not!

If you are not sure which camp you fall into, you will know that you're a dog lover when:

  1. You turn the television on when you leave the house so that your dog won't be lonely and can watch Animal Planet
  2. Your dog is the star of the show in all of your family photos, your camera roll, and/or screen saver
  3. You find nothing wrong sharing a majority of your bed with your dog
  4. You dress up your dog in various costumes and holiday attire
  5. You don't flinch when your dog gives you a big wet kiss on the face
  6. Your dog has his own Christmas stocking with his/her name embroidered on it

In our house, we can check every box on this brief quiz!  Rocky has been the pampered pooch in our house for almost fifteen years and is often referred to by my children as "mom's favorite child". So the other night, when he jumped off the couch and immediately could not walk, my heart sank...

Finding the Blessings!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights."  James 1:17

So what has been your largest adjustment living in isolation? Perhaps it's the inability to hang out with friends? Maybe it's the restrictions of leaving your home? Possibly you are feeling like you have cooked dinner 395 times since March 13th?

After living in New York for the past six years, our 24-year old daughter is currently home to escape living in her apartment, which is located the epicenter of this pandemic. As a result, she is now facing MANY adjustments. As much as I would like to think that I'm a barrel of laughs to be with 24/7, her rather busy and hectic life has come to a screeching halt now that she is unemployed and temporarily residing in Walled Lake. So she started thinking and praying for how God could use her during this season of her life, and something really fun has evolved. One of her numerous jobs is that she is a certified yoga instructor, so she started teaching classes online and designating all donations to purchase meals for exhausted medical staffs at various Detroit hospitals...

A Fiery Tale of God's Protection!

"He who watches over you will not slumber nor sleep!" Psalm 121:4

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much devastation as well as isolation, but in the midst of the tragedy, it has been heartwarming to see how creative people have become to let others know how much they care. Recently, I saw a news clip reporting on a fire department that volunteered to use their equipment to raise an elderly man up to his wife's hospital window so he could wish her "Happy Anniversary". I've seen families decorating and writing endearing messages on the windows of grandparents' homes. And, of course there are the heart warming "parades" of honking cars that have been known to bring huge smiles and tears of appreciation by the blessed recipients.

Last Friday, one of those endearing parades was organized for seventh grader, Tyler, who was celebrating his 13th birthday. As his classmates, neighbors, and friends gathered outside of his subdivision, it was so much fun seeing familiar faces of our precious students through car windows!  One dear school family that participated also lives in Tyler's neighborhood. They were returning to their home just as I was exiting the parade, so God gave me a sweet moment to pull up to their house and safely have a conversation during which they shared such an amazing story of God's protection!...

The Ultimate Stain Remover!

"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

When our children were younger and all living at home, we used to love to escape during the cold month of December and spend Christmas vacation in the heat of southern Florida.

One Christmas many years ago, one of Ken's clients blessed our family by giving us a week vacation at her brand new condo in Naples, Florida. She wanted us to be the very first guests to use her new vacation home, and we were extremely grateful for her generosity.

My excitement quickly turned into anxiety as we opened the door leading into the brand new condominium and found all white carpeting, all new furniture, glass tables, numerous crystal centerpieces, etc. I immediately shut the door and prohibited my then 12, 9, and 6 year-old from entering the house until we had a mandatory family meeting, which was promptly held in the garage. I intensely stressed the fine art of treating things with proper respect and ultimate care, especially since this was not our home...

Jesus is Always With Us!

"And surely I am with you always until the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20b

Many years ago, our Preschoolers were learning the very important lesson that Jesus is always with us. As a reminder, the teacher gave each of the students a picture of Jesus so that they could place it somewhere special to help them remember that no matter where they are Jesus would also be with them. In this case, a picture is worth a million words as little Caroline demonstrated where she decided to place her picture before she went to sleep that night.
 
During these challenging times, may you feel His peace and His presence as you reflect on the promises of Scripture that He is always with you!
 
In His Love,
Mrs. Palka

Fix Your Eyes Upon Jesus!

"And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20

Many years ago, we were blessed with an amazing opportunity to celebrate our anniversary with dear friends in Hawaii. In attempts to be wise with the limited amount of time that we had on Maui, we attended the complimentary breakfast, which was hosted by the travel company.  During their presentation, they highlighted the "Bike Down Maui" tour, which allowed you to ride a mountain bike down an inactive volcano.  Hearing about this adventure from other brave relatives and friends, I thought this would be a wonderful experience for my husband, who at that time was an avid cyclist. To this day, I can't figure out exactly how I was talked into this, but the next thing I knew, the tour guide was handing us FOUR non-refundable tickets for this adventure. As the guide was congratulating us for our bravery, I was thinking that never before had someone so blatantly misread me!...

COVID-19 Update

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1-2

We live in a sin-broken world where occasionally, serious issues such as Coronavirus occur.

While we pray and trust God to take care of us, we also need to use our God-given wisdom to plan and prepare for severe situations.
 
At St. Matthew, we are remaining diligent as we emphasize the strategies shared by the Center for Disease Control, as well as The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and The Oakland County Health Department:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Do not share drinks or eating utensils
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and keyboards
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • Children who are sick need to stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours and/or symptoms resolve

In addition, all other St. Matthew ministries are following the exact same protocol. Our janitorial staff remains diligent in their disinfecting and cleaning procedures, as well as increasing their sanitizing efforts in high traffic areas of our building.
 
In the event that circumstances would warrant, the staff of St. Matthew is prepared to proceed with online academic learning. Instruction will occur at every grade level, utilizing age-appropriate forms of technology so that your child's education will have the least amount of disruption as possible. If online learning would need to be implemented, parents would receive directions and procedures from the school office and teachers, so that they are comfortable with this new learning format

Our Athletic Directors are currently in discussions with our athletic league regarding after school sports and tournament participation. Decisions about these activities will be shared as soon as possible.

Since the Spring Musical is not performing until May, and rehearsals do not constitute a large gathering, musical practices and preparations will continue as scheduled.

God's Word is filled with abundant promises that remind us that He is always with us and He is in control.

I pray you feel His peace during this unique season.
 
In Jesus' Love,
Mrs. Palka

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