Tag Archives: transportation

“The Worst Field Trip Guide”

Since our spring break in Chattanooga is just about over, I thought I’d share a chapter (Stop #15) from my little book, Life Lessons from the School Bus.

One day I transported 80 kindergartners on a field trip to a mountain forest. Do you have any idea how loud 80 excited 5 year-olds can get when confined in a 40ft.-long steel box on wheels?

Teacher Talk

I couldn’t help overhear the advice school teachers were giving to the little crumb crunchers on the bus, then later after they unloaded. One warned, “Don’t pick anything up from the ground; you won’t be able to keep it, anyway.” Another said, “Don’t bounce on the swinging bridge; just look over the side.” Seriously? How can you tell a 5 year-old not to jump on a swinging bridge and then expect him not to jump on the swinging bridge?

SIDE NOTE: I remember when our oldest daughter, Alicia, who was around 12 or 13 at the time, went with me to visit the old capital building in Frankfort, Kentucky. In that old landmark is a genuine floating staircase on which Alicia decided to jump up and down. I asked, “What are you doing?” She calmly replied, “Trying to see if it will fall.” I said, “Two things…First, it’s been here since 1827 and hasn’t fallen, yet you think your scrawny self is going to break it? Second, why would you want to be on it if you could make it fall?”

Anyway… the best piece of advice from the teachers was clear enough: “Do NOT get off the trail!” But again, honestly, how many kids actually listen to instructions that make sense? I mean, you take a child that’s never been out of the suburbs to a forest with plants taller than their apartment buildings and you expect them not to run amuck? Therefore, I decided to speak up and add some clarification to the teachers’ warning. I said, “Because if you get off the trail, we might have to send the DOGS after you.”

Who knew one little girl was afraid of dogs? I didn’t! …Cry baby.

Bad Advice

So, that got me to thinking: what would be the worst advice to give 80 children before a trip into the woods?

  • photo 3 (4)Don’t worry about your lunch box; the forest is full of pretty berries.
  • As long as the animal is smaller than you, go ahead and pet it. It won’t mind.
  • Hey, bounce on the swinging bridge! It’s just like a trampoline.
  • Of course! Rules are meant to be broken.
  • Bears? What bears? This is Tennessee, kid. We don’t have bears. You’re thinking of Chicago.
  • I don’t care what your mom said, poison oak is a hoax. Don’t your parents have oak furniture? Does it make you itch? See, she lied.
  • Who can get closest to the edge? Let’s find out.
  • Whatever you do, don’t stay on the trail. Trails are for babies.
  • Snakes are overrated, misunderstood jump ropes. They want you to play with them.

 

Life Lesson

Thankfully, when it comes to the wilderness of life, there is One who always gives good advice.

In his famous Psalm 23, David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” God urges us to stay on the path that He has already walked, which is why Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me.”

He knows the difference between good fruit and the forbidden kind.

Route Suggestions

  • Don’t give vague instructions to children; they need specifics.
  • Go check out the old capital building in Frankfort, Kentucky – but don’t jump on the staircase.
  • Never get to the point where you are too proud to listen to instructions or advice. For example, you may have been down this road before, but your tour guide has been down it more recently. There may have been some changes of which you are unaware, like a washed out bridge or recently released bears. Oh my!
  • Read Psalm 23. Was David walking alone? How could this Psalm relate to your life?

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Filed under Humor, Life Lessons

Reflections In the Dark

Driving

It may come as somewhat of a surprise, but I do enjoy driving a school bus in the rain. As a matter of fact, I enjoy driving it in the rain AND in the dark, at least on occasion.

For example, there is something sort of comforting in being able to sit there in the dry and looking out at bad weather. There’s a kind of coziness to it.

You know how relaxing it is to listen to the rain on a tin roof? Well, a bus can be that way, too. And when it’s dark, cold, and rainy outside in the mornings, the kids are usually quiet, also. The drone of the engine, the wipers swishing, and the hiss-like roar of water on the road – when you’re comfortable and dry – makes one appreciate caffeine.

Dangers

But even though I may like some aspects of driving in the early morning, there are certainly dangers of which to be aware. Besides the other drivers and the slick roads, there are a lot of false signals – reflections – that can be very distracting.

img_3105Take a look at the picture I took while sitting in a parking lot between morning routes (this is where I stop to get a cup of coffee with 2 other drivers). Notice that I am looking to my left at a mirror, but what you see in the mirror is the building to my right, which is being reflected onto the glass in front of the mirror.

Imagine what it is like when you are coming to an intersection and there are multiple lanes of automobiles, traffic lights, wet roads, etc.!

The Lesson

The reason I wanted to share this with you is because there is a lesson to be learned – and it’s not one included in my book 😉

Sometimes, when times are dark, when there are rainy days, distractions can cause us to be overwhelmed and lose our focus. Sometimes dark reflections of the past can cause us to see things that aren’t really there; we even get startled by oncoming illusions.

Focus on what is true and pray for discernment. There’s work to be done, no matter the weather.

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Filed under Christian Living, wisdom

A Two-Coffee Day

Brewed from the freshest Arabica beans, one black over ice, the other with cream. 

Both are cold, FYI…and both are mine to drink as I drive. 

A total of twenty-four ounces of java, and all it cost was a few cents and two dolla. 

A little while ago I was feeling a bit tired, but it won’t be long until I’m wired. 

I love my truck stop iced dual portion of caffeinated smiles to drink while in motion! 

It’s just that kind of day. 

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Filed under Food, Uncategorized

Morning Advice for an Arrogant Student

Today I asked a high schooler if she had ever been homeless or had to beg on the street. With a cool tone she responded, “Uh, no.” I then said, “Then you’re missing out on some really good resume enhancers.”

For example, here are a few skills learned on the street, yet rarely appreciated:

1. Creative self-marketing.

2. Product placement.

3. Location research and acquisition.

4. Creative use of recyclables in advertising.

5. Ability to adapt to ever-changing socio-economic, legal, and geo-thermal climates.

See, just doing my job to help out kids on the bus, especially those with little or no vision.

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Filed under Humor, Life Lessons, Uncategorized

“The Worst Field Trip Guide”

Since it’s the last full week of school (only 2 days next week), I thought I’d share a chapter (Stop #15) from my little book, “Life Lessons from the School Bus.”

One day I transported 80 kindergarteners on a field trip to a mountain forest. Do you have any idea how loud 80 excited 5 year-olds can get when confined in a 40ft.-long steel box on wheels?

Teacher Talk

I couldn’t help overhear the advice school teachers were giving to the little crumb crunchers on the bus, then later after they unloaded. One warned, “Don’t pick anything up from the ground; you won’t be able to keep it, anyway.” Another said, “Don’t bounce on the swinging bridge; just look over the side.” Seriously? How can you tell a 5 year-old not to jump on a swinging bridge and then expect him not to jump on the swinging bridge?

SIDE NOTE: I remember when our oldest daughter, Alicia, who was around 12 or 13 at the time, went with me to visit the old capital building in Frankfort, Kentucky. In that old landmark is a genuine floating staircase on which Alicia decided to jump up and down. I asked, “What are you doing?” She calmly replied, “Trying to see if it will fall.” I said, “Two things…First, it’s been here since 1827 and hasn’t fallen, yet you think your scrawny self is going to break it? Second, why would you want to be on it if you could make it fall?”

Anyway… the best piece of advice from the teachers was clear enough: “Do NOT get off the trail!” But again, honestly, how many kids actually listen to instructions that make sense? I mean, you take a child that’s never been out of the suburbs to a forest with plants taller than their apartment buildings and you expect them not to run amuck? Therefore, I decided to speak up and add some clarification to the teachers’ warning. I said, “Because if you get off the trail, we might have to send the DOGS after you.”

Who knew one little girl was afraid of dogs? I didn’t! …Cry baby.

Bad Advice

So, that got me to thinking: what would be the worst advice to give 80 children before a trip into the woods?

  • photo 3 (4)Don’t worry about your lunch box; the forest is full of pretty berries.
  • As long as the animal is smaller than you, go ahead and pet it. It won’t mind.
  • Hey, bounce on the swinging bridge! It’s just like a trampoline.
  • Of course! Rules are meant to be broken.
  • Bears? What bears? This is Tennessee, kid. We don’t have bears. You’re thinking of Chicago.
  • I don’t care what your mom said, poison oak is a hoax. Don’t your parents have oak furniture? Does it make you itch? See, she lied.
  • Who can get closest to the edge? Let’s find out.
  • Whatever you do, don’t stay on the trail. Trails are for babies.
  • Snakes are overrated, misunderstood jump ropes. They want you to play with them.

 

Life Lesson

Thankfully, when it comes to the wilderness of life, there is One who always gives good advice.

In his famous Psalm 23, David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” God urges us to stay on the path that He has already walked, which is why Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me.”

He knows the difference between good fruit and the forbidden kind.

Route Suggestions

  • Don’t give vague instructions to children; they need specifics.
  • Go check out the old capital building in Frankfort, Kentucky – but don’t jump on the staircase.
  • Never get to the point where you are too proud to listen to instructions or advice. For example, you may have been down this road before, but your tour guide has been down it more recently. There may have been some changes of which you are unaware, like a washed out bridge or recently released bears. Oh my!
  • Read Psalm 23. Was David walking alone? How could this Psalm relate to your life?

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Filed under Humor, Life Lessons

Messin’ Wid Widdle Minds

Would-be Grandpa

I’m not a grandfather, but I act like one. You know, the kind of old guy that says what he want to say when he wants to say it, then blames others for not understanding his wisdom? That’s me. I’m an up-and-coming codger.

DSC_1390Grandfathers are also notorious/famous for telling tall tales, embellishing the facts, and leaving grandkids confused about actual historical events. Of course, the point of those stories is to keep a kid’s attention for more than 30 seconds; the straight truth can be boring at times.

So, even though I’m not literally a grandpa, I play one on the school bus. It keeps me entertained.

The Conversation

Many times on Facebook I share short little conversations I’ve had with children on the bus (they say the darndest things, you know). However, today I’m skipping Facebook and going straight to the blog.

I’m sure all of you are gonna hate me after you read this.

Me: Good morning.

5th Grade Boy: Good morning.

Me: How are you feeling today? You holding up?

Boy: What? Yeah, I’m ok. Why?

Me: I mean, it must be pretty hard; I heard the bad news.

Boy: What bad news?

Me: About your goldfish dying.

Boy: What? I don’t have a fish. At least not anymore. I haven’t had a fish in a long time.

Me: So it died.

Boy: I don’t know. I guess.

Me: Well I’m proud of you for taking it so well.

Boy: Uh, ok.

Me: And I heard about your cat, too. That was horrible.

Boy: Huh? What about my cat? Nothing happened to the cat.

Me: Well, I heard it died in a horrible freak lawnmower accident. I know that must be hard on you.

Boy: What? My cat didn’t die in a lawnmower accident! He just ran away.

Me: Ok. If that’s what they tell you. You believe that.

         (temporary silence)

Boy: Guess what!? (says the boy to another kid in a seat beside him) I had a cat die in a freak lawnmower accident! Cool, huh??

I pity my grandchildren, don’t you?

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Bi-Vocational and Proud

photo (25)

When did I become so AWESOME?

When I became a Bi-Vocational pastor.

 

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Filed under ministry, Preaching

A Given Example

“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done unto you.” – John 13:15

Every Christian has a particular place of influence. God has chosen to place me within a 33,000 lb. rolling metal box full of children. Sometimes I have wondered “why?” The answer is pretty simple: “For I have given you [as] an example…

In the above verse it was Jesus who was telling his disciples that He was showing them how to act, how to serve. Jesus had just washed their feet in an act of true humility and grace. What was His point? If the King of Glory can be a servant, so can we.

But not only has Jesus set an example for us to follow, He has given each of us the responsibility to be an example. He wants us to do as He has done unto us.

The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, told Timothy, “be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Why is it so important to be an example? Because others are always watching.

As a Christian bus driver, I am always being watched. I am being watched by not only students, but also parents, teachers, and co-workers. Because I am being watched, it is important that I mirror the humble example set by Jesus. As a matter of fact, my example in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity, and humility is the only way to witness when I can’t speak openly of my faith.

One thing that may be hard to understand, but should be encouraging, is that no matter where the Christian goes, so also goes the Holy Spirit. It is our very presence that can make a difference in the lives of others when we do the humble, mundane activities of life in a Christ-like way. The lost can “see” Jesus in us. I pray these kids see Jesus in me, even if I’m not allowed to speak of Him.

Each new year I look at all the empty seats and wonder, “Who will sit here?” Every seat represents a soul. Every seat represents an eternal future known only to God. And here, alone in the bus, I ask God to make me an example…one that somehow makes a positive impact on someone now, and for eternity.

Be an example where YOU are.

 

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Filed under Christian Living, the future, Witnessing

Those Were the Days

It was 1989, I believe.

It was back in the day when I worked in nuclear field services with Combustion Engineering, and then later with ABB.

It was back in the day when I flew to different nuclear plants to work for weeks at a time, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It was a day when I could go up to any cockpit of any jet and ask to take a picture…and never get any grief.

It was a day when one pilot said, “Here, son, why don’t you just sit in my seat and put on my hat and let me take your picture.”

The engines were still spooling and my hand was on the throttles!

It was a day long before 9/11.

Man, those were the days!

I miss them.

CCI11262012_00000

Were those glasses huge, or was my head smaller?

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Filed under America, Uncategorized

Putting On the Brakes

Pictures In the Dark

I am not supposed to be using a cell phone on a school bus. However, what you see in the picture below is the result of using my cell phone…on the school bus. But note, the brakes were on.

Yes, I used my old iPhone 4S to capture (there’s no click) an image of the instrument panel on my bus. Actually, I took a picture of only one part of my instrument panel: the part that showed my “service brake” was engaged.

As I was waiting for my bus to warm up, I sat there looking at the gauges, making sure everything was in working order. That’s when something crossed my mind that had never occurred to me before – the brake is actually performing a “service.”

IMG_4002

The “Service” Brake

There is no “P” for “Park” anywhere on a school bus. In order to put a bus in “park” one need only engage the service brake (by pulling out a knob) and put the transmission in neutral. When the air brake is “set,” the bus isn’t going anywhere…it’s parked.  The air in the system actually keeps the brakes disengaged; releasing air pressure causes the brakes to set.

Now, again, what got me to thinking is the word “service.” Sure, there’s a technical meaning to the word, but what I pondered was the service part of “service,” like “how can I be of service to you, Madam?” How could bringing something to a compete halt count as a “service?”

Well, sometimes putting the brakes on something can help people more than they realize.

For Their Own Good

There are multiple stories in the Bible where people were stopped in their tracks or kept from doing something. Here are just a few.

  • In Numbers 22 we read of God stopping Balaam, a prophet, with a talking donkey! The Lord had placed an angel in Balaam’s path, preventing him from cursing the children of Israel, but he didn’t see it, and it almost got him killed. God opened the mouth of the little donkey and let it ask, “Why are you beating me?”
  • In 1st Samuel there’s the story of a woman named Abigail. Abigail had a husband who got drunk and picked a bad time to offend King David. When David and his men were on their way to wreck havoc on the man and his village, Abigail ran out to stop David with a little kindness and a little food. “Thank God for your good sense!” said David.  “Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands.” – 1 Samuel 25:33 NLT
  • It was the Holy Spirit Himself who put the brakes on the Apostle Paul’s dream to go to Asia Minor (Acts 16), sending him instead to Macedonia (Europe). One could say this was not only for Paul’s good, but for the good of the world.

How many times have you found yourself traveling down the road toward your dreams when all of a sudden the tires screeched as the brakes locked up solid? How did you react? Were you thankful? Angry? What if God was just trying to keep you from unseen harm? What if God was just wanting to redirect you toward greater things?

The next time God engages the brakes, keep in mind there may be a “service” He’s trying to perform for your good!

 

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Filed under Christian Living, Faith, God, Life Lessons, wisdom