Only Since July Fifth

The title of this writing is how long it has been since I posted anything here.  School has gotten back in session in every location that I am aware of and is certainly true for Cassville School District for which I drive a bus.

Here we are just six days away from Thanksgiving Day and only 38 days until Christmas.  Wow!  How time flies by.

Back in October around the 23rd of the month our daughter, and oldest child had a stroke, and was hospitalized for about 5 days plus.  She is home doing well, and is recovering.  Please pray for Charity and continued recovery.  She is gradually recovering strength, still needs the prayers of the warriors of Christ to intercede for her.

My oh my how the world needs to know the God of the Bible, the Father of Jesus Christ; He who sent His only Son to die in our place, to redeem us unto Himself.

It has certainly been a beautiful Fall season.  Temperatures have been a little colder than normal, but hey, I live in Missouri.  You never know what the weather will be like.  There is a saying that has been said around our parts, “If you don’t like the weather; stick around for a bit, it’ll change.”

If I do not get back to this site to leave a message of Thanksgiving blessing or Merry Christmas; let me give it to you now.  HAVE BLESSED THANKSGIVING DAY,   a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.  I will always keep Christ in the season.  He is the reason for the season.

From the banks of Flat Creek,

~tim

Let Me Tell You About My Mornings

My mornings are not important to anyone else.  I realize that; but to let you know what I do as a pastor, and a School Bus driver of the mornings – Here goes…

My alarm goes off around 3:15 a.m.  I get up do the necessary things before dressing, then proceed to make some coffee.  I get my computer turned on.  Then I take my Bible, my journal and set down at the kitchen/dining table; and I read a portion of Scripture (usually 2 – 5 chapters) to hear what God has to say to me today.  I spend a few minutes speaking to Him as well.

By the time I am through with my Bible reading the coffee is ready and I pour me a cup, mixed with a packet of Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensations hot chocolate mix.  Yum.  Then I begin writing in my journal.  You can read some of what I wrote in today’s writing at this link

After I have written in my paper notebook, journal; I come and do some post for our Church blog, and my Bible Study blog called BROKEN PIECES.  By the time I am finished with that it is about time for me to leave for the bus garage.  I do watch a bit of Fox and Friends before leaving, and clean up my coffee pot.

I leave the house around 5:15 a.m. arrive at the bus garage around 5:45, pre-trip my bus, and leave on my route around 6:05 a.m.  It is an amazing drive.  I get to drive approximately 25 minutes before I pick up my first stop.  From then on into school there is much talk, screaming sometimes, laughter, playing [not supposed to]; no more quiet time.

I arrive at he High School drop off about 7:45 a.m. then the Elementary about 7:50 a.m.  Then, that part of my morning is over.  Following the route this morning I went with some of the other drivers to the Primary Cafeteria for biscuits and gravy for breakfast; instead of coming home.

When I get home I check emails, facebook, my blogs for comments and such; but most of all I try and spend the time preparing sermons for Sunday mornings and evenings.

Today I am scheduled for an activity trip taking the soccer team to Springfield, MO.  I am blessed to be doing a work which I thoroughly enjoy; being a pastor, and a school bus driver too.

A Blessed and sunny day along the banks of Flat Creek.

~tim

Driving a School Bus

Where I live the new School year for ages K – 12 began on August 13; so we have been in school now for two weeks.

I have been driving for the Cassville R-IV School District in the southwest part of the State of Missouri now for the last 9 years, and started my tenth year.  I have a total of 16 years driving with the Cassville School District.  With the first stint being from 1984 – 1990.

I quit driving a bus for 12 years, even gave up my CDL for a regular license for a while until I decided I needed to go back to driving a bus.  That was in 2003, and I have been driving a bus ever since then.

Actually I am driving for Cassville for my third time.  When I came back in ’03 I came in as a sub driver, then was given a route in the beginning of 2004 (January).  I left at the end of that school year, moved to Farmington, Missouri, and drove a School bus for the Farmington District for two years, then moved back to Cassville.

Driving a School bus is a challenging job; yet it is rewarding.  The reward is watching those kids grow up.  I took the route I have now in March of 2007.  I now have one student who is the only original student who was riding when I started it.  She is a Senior this year.  She was a third grader when I started.

It is a difficult job while you are driving, watching the road, tending misbehaving children, and watching for other drivers who are not watching what they are doing.

I guess I am writing this because I know many School Districts are in need of good bus drivers; people who love and care for kids.  If you are one of those go to your local School District and talk to them about driving a bus.

If you do it for the money you will not make it.  If you do it because of the kids, and you enjoy it.  You will do great.

I am writing this from the banks of Flat Creek.

-tim

Predictions

I am not a fan of prognostications; especially early ones.  A farmer cannot make a decision to not plow the ground because it looks like it might rain; or even if the weather people have predicted that it is going to rain.  The field would never get plowed.

What set this off I guess is because our School for which I drive a School bus, cancelled school today with only rain falling; upon the prediction of ice and snow on the way.

I know it is a safety issue.  We do  not want to get caught on the road with hundreds of children on the school bus, with a possibility of sliding into the ditch or another vehicle.

I will applaud their decision when the ice and snow, or snow and ice come.  I just do not like making decisions like this based on the predictions of faulty people, and their man made equipment.

It was probably a good decision, but that is yet to be seen.  From the banks of Flat Creek.

-tim

Snow and Cold

It warmed to 52 degrees yesterday morning, then the temp started going down, down, down.

Last night when I went to bed it had gone all the way down to the low twenties.  This morning when I got up it was 18 degrees, and just a moment ago it was 15 degrees.

We also received a bit of snow.  At the moment there has been no cancellation of our school.  So I will be leaving to drive a bus in a while.

Everyone be safe out there this morning.  Have a great day.

From the banks of Flat Creek.

~tim

Early Autumn Days

We are now three days into Autumn of the year.  It is wonderful having cooler temps; even though I am a Summer type guy.  Summer heat starts getting to me nowadays.  These 40 – 50 degree mornings are wonderful; though I do need to wear a light jacket.

It is a wonderful thing getting up in plenty of time each morning to read the Bible, spend time with God in prayer and hearing Him too through  His Word.  Then going out on the School Bus and watching the sun rise in the Eastern sky as I head east down highway 76.

At this time I do not see it rising as I am heading down 76, but later as I am picking up some of the passengers.

It is a glorious thing to watch the sun rise and know the One who gives it to us.

Have a wonderful, marvelous Fall day.

Having one on the banks of Flat Creek.

~tim

School Has Started Again

Cassville R-IV Schools began on August 18, 2011.  And man, did my route change.  It is a little longer.
I now go down to the place by the Lake I did when I first took the route four years ago.  Down there I pick up two little girls who are a couple of sweet little girls, but need to learn how to stay in their seats, and be quiet; especially one of them; the youngest.

I do not think people realize how much of a distraction moving around and a loud voice can be to a bus driver.  It really is though.  One sudden move can call the driver’s attention to the mirror and away from the road.  Sure we have training, and experience, yet, even the best and most professional driver can mess up, by a child’s scream and such as that.

If you are a parent; please teach your small children to be seated; and a non-distraction.  It will go a long way in a peaceful ride on the School Bus and a long life for your child and the others on the bus.
I do not want to see any of them hurt, nor do I enjoy the idea of taking them to see their Principal.  If I must though, I must and will do so.
I will be taking care of; and most drivers I know will be taking good care of your children on the way to school.  There is no other way.
Tim A. Blankenship

Second Week

I have began my second week of no driving the school bus.  Have I missed it?  Not yet.  I have been busy.  I spent the very first week working at Youth Camp at Baptist Hill near Mt. Vernon, MO serving as a camp cook.
I really don’t think that camp cook is a proper title for me.  I have put food in the convection oven, prepared chicken for the oven, bacon for the oven,  eggs for the scrambling – 47 and one half dozen as a matter of fact – that is Jerry W. and myself cracked that many eggs.  We also added lemon juice to keep them from turning green, milk to make them fluffier, and also salt and pepper to season them.  The eggs were for breakfast Wednesday morning.
We were feeding about 175 youth and workers.  There were 9 youth who called on the name of the Lord for salvation; 11 other decisions and one who decided they needed to follow the Lord in Baptism.
My schedule while I was at camp went a little like this.  I was up at 3 a.m., at the cafeteria by 4 a.m. making coffee for the workers coming soon; and when the head cook [Jerry] arrived we visited a while, drank coffee, then started prepping breakfast.  One morning following breakfast I did go to my room and took a nap.  It was quite restful; and one afternoon I went and rested for a while.  Each night I was in bed by 9 p.m.  Tired, tired, tired; ready for bed and sleep.
The second week; it is hot,  hot, hot.  I prefer hot to cold though.  This morning I went out and hoed around our potatoes.  Even at 7 a.m. it was still pretty warm out.  I have more taters to work.
I am thankful for the strength which my Lord and God Jesus Christ has given me.  Thank YOU Lord.
Tim A. Blankenship

Just Thinking 01/31/10

We are in the midst of the Winter months, and we are reaping the cold and snow of “Global warming”, and I laugh. It seems that most of the US of A is under a blanket of white fluffy snow, and temps are in the teens and below at night.

The cold of Winter is still expected in the Winter, and the heat of Summer is expected in the Summer. I believe that is how God has ordained things, at least, since the fall of man in the garden of Eden; and maybe since the flood of Noah and the ark; which God used to deliver the human race from total destruction.

Summer and Winter; and Springtime and Harvest (Autumn, Fall) will continue as long as the sun and the moon endure. Let’s trust these matters to our Lord, Creator, Redeemer, Savior, and Almighty God in His Son Jesus Christ.

We received a little more ice and snow on Friday morning which suspended School activities of Cassville, MO, and a few others. Some waited longer and canceled. I was glad to be out Friday.

The reason I was glad is my son and his wife Sarah L. had a new baby girl – Lydia Rae. She was scheduled for Friday January 29, by caesarean section. She weighed 8 pounds and 9 ounces at birth and was 21.5 inches long. She was a Blankenship baby. I mean by that that most of us are born fairly good sized.

As long as sinful man continues there will be heat and cold, drought and snow; and yes even life and death. One day there will be an end of sin, and sinful men; and all will be made new. That comes when Christ comes to rule and reign on earth, and puts sin forever away.

The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Summer’s Ending

Summer vacation for some Schools began in late may, late Spring, and now Summer vacation has come to an end. Some Schools have already began. The School which I drive the School bus for begins today [August 19, 2009].

It seems to me that Summers are really too short. Maybe its due to global warming :>), and I do say that with a smile. It is actually due to kids going back to school, the teachers being there to teach them, drivers being their to get the kids where they are supposed to learn. Enough frivolity.

I am thankful to be driving a bus for a school like Cassville Schools. We have a staff that works together to make the best possible environment for kids, teachers, bus drivers, administration, and the maintenance people. At the bus garage it is almost like we are family.

That kind of environment makes it where you enjoy going to work everyday. It doesn’t seem like work. It is a joy to see the kids you haven’t seen all Summer long. If they come back that is. I say that because we did hear of one who will not be returning due to drowning just this past week. My heart goes out to the family. That will be so tough, and my prayers are with them in this difficult heart breaking time.

If you have a clean record, love kids, and need to make a few extra dollars; and you can fit it into your daily schedule; you might want to think of driving one of those big yellow monsters. Go to your nearest school and I know they can tell you how to go about it. You might only get started as a sub driver, but that is how I started. Try it out. You might enjoy it. And in most cases you do get all Summer vacation off.

-Tim A. Blankenship

What’s Happening???

Here we are in the final week of January 2009, and we are being hit by a Winter storm. Ice is falling from the sky, and making the roads and streets slickery (that is a word coined by my grandson, Josiah), and unfit for traveling, so schools all over Southwest MO. has been cancelled today.
I was scheduled for a medical procedure today at 9:00 a.m., but that was postponed yesterday when the hospital called basically asking if I would do that – they left it up to me – saying that I might not be able to arrive there due to weather and some of the hospital staff may not be able to arrive either, and my prep for the precedure would need to be repeated when it is rescheduled. So, I told them to postpone it. I had requested a couple days off from driving the School bus due to this.
When it was known that the event was called off for today, I called my Supervisor and told him I could drive now. He went ahead and let me off for the evening run, because he already had a sub driver, and told me I could go ahead and plan on driving today, but today “NO School”. That is a good thing considering the road conditions. I am already longing for Spring. I always look forward to Spring.
I am learning more everyday that our God is good. He is full of grace and mercy. What’s Happening??? God is working and moving in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.
HAVE A GREAT WINTER!!
-Tim A. Blankenship

Going Again

It is going again. It seems, that without fail it never quits, though it would not be good for it to quit, because whether we like it or not; as children or as adults; we must have it. This is probably not a mystery to those of you who may read this; meaning, you probably know what I am writing about.
I won’t mention the name of what I speak, but only give some clues, which will probably be quite obvious.
All Summer long these people aree busy preparing for the next year, and the people they help are on break. There are also some of the employees who are on break, because of a big yellow thing they steer down the roads to bring in the people who ride it. The distance the steerers take varys from only a few miles, and a few minutes to 150 to 175 miles per day.
The year round employees keep the grounds clean, the buildings in good repair and working well; and there aree those who make the plans, and take care of the day to day business during their months of quietness.
As I have been out steering one of these big yellow things down the roads I travel, the sun comes over the Eastern horizon, and is so beautiful, as it glows through the clouds, and morning fog. The deer, the coons, the squirells, rabbits, birds; such as the cardinal (red birds), blue bird, sparrow, crow; are all busy collecting their morning meals. The deer crossing the roads, and making many a steer man or woman be cautious as we approach them on the roads.
I didn’t steer the big yellow thing on the first day. I was away for my son’s surgery. He had heart surgery at age 28, and seems to be doing well, after a night of not doing too well.
It is good to be back. I pray that I will be strong in discipline of the people who ride, yet merciful when there is time for it, and that God will give me strength, and patient with them. I realize that I just asked God to help me be “patient”, and that it’s dangerous, because “Tribulation worketh patience” (Romans 5:3). I don’t like tribulation, but I can appreciate it, when I grow nearer to the Lord because of it.
Monday morning will begin the first full week back on the big yellow thing. So Lord, give me your strength, and your patience.
-Tim A. Blankenship

Summer Break, YEAH!!!

For some you don’t know what it might mean by the term “Summer Break”, however, everyone who has about anything to do with School, and its yearly sessions knows, at least those who are working from around the end of August to the end of May. There are workers of public schools, such as the maintenance people who work all year round, and they only get a week or so vacation each year. Thank you maintenance people and all year round workers at the public Schools, yes, even the Administrators.
Summer break is great for those who face the students each year, teaching them Reading, Riting and Rithmetic; you know the “3 R’s”. I am afraid, however, that it has now gone beyond the three R’s to covering a lot of things that really should be left to parents, and churches. Then there are the Bus Drivers who always have their troubles behind them. Until you have driven a School Bus you have no idea how stressful the job is. The driver must always try and maintain a safe driving speed, keeping eyes on the road, watching the mirrors, and from time to time watching the kids. A sudden movement from one child can distract the driver, and if not careful can lead to a very serious accident, with a few children being seriously injured and, God forbid, maybe even killed.
I have sometimes wondered how I could handle it if I made such a grave mistake as to do something that would injure or kill a child while driving a Bus. I have determined that if I ever do, the School will not have to fire me; I would quit, and never drive a bus again. I pray that never happens.
Yeah! School bus driver’s need the Summer Break, as do the teachers, and all who work with students while school is in session. Summer is not officially here, but it is here.
My wife and I just returned on Friday May 30 from spending a few days at our Baptist Associations Youth Camp at a place called Baptist Hill Assembly near Mount Vernon, Missouri. We fed about 196 youth, camp staff and CGL’s for near to four days. We will return, the Lord willing, in July for Children’s camp. We are working with a good group of of people, about nine total, as cooks. It is such a joy to see their faces light up as you feed them something they really enjoy eating.
May all have a great, safe, and God blessed Summer.
-Tim A. Blankenship

Winter’s Cold Ice – Again

It has happened once again. The State of Missouri has been hit with an ice storm again. I think this makes the third one in the past 13 months. In January of 2007 several thousand homes were without power, and for quite some time people were hurting without heat, and the comfort of their homes.

I don’t know of any in my area who have lost power. I must give our Electric Cooperative applause for their maintenance of our electric lines. The Barry Electric Cooperative is very good at keeping the wires cleared of timber and brush. Even that though, sometimes is not enough. This ice can grow quite heavy as it builds up on the lines. These men are ever vigilant to keep the power on and for that I am grateful to them, as should be all their customers. Let me make one thing clear before I continue with this post; I am not an employee of the cooperative, but only a customer, and I guess since it is a Rural Cooperative I am a member as well, who is very proud of these men and women who keep it going.

This is being written on the second day of school cancellation at the Cassville School District. My usual departing time for the morning – to go and drive the school bus – is about 5:15 a.m., and it takes me approximately 30 minutes to get to the bus garage. When I left yesterday morning it was about that same time. There was ice on the car, which I had to break loose from the door, then started the car, took the ice scraper to the windows, then departed. I had gotten nearly half way to Cassville when my wife called my cell phone and told me that my Supervisor had called with his automated call, and informed all drivers there was no school.

I found a place to turn around, and I came back home. The roads were getting “slickery”. That word “slickery” is a word I learned from my four year old grandson. I liked it so I use it here. They were icing, slushy, and driving carefully is required in such conditions. When I found a good place to turn around I came home. Then, it continued to pile up some more.

The temps are not bitterly cold, but it is still Winter, and I am still waiting for Spring to arrive. I have never made it any secret that Spring and Summer are my two favorite seasons of the year. I am, however, very grateful to our God and Creator, for everyday of life and living. It all comes from Him.