Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Book 1, Chapter 29 Closes


Some people are big party people and would celebrate a retirement with a huge blow-out in a fancy restaurant or bar.  I'm not a big party person.  Two of the young teachers at my school decided to throw me a small retirement party after school yesterday, and that suited me just fine.  I have been in the same school for 13 years.  Last week, one lady called me a "staple."  I think that will live with me as long as I have my good mind.  A staple is something you always keep in your kitchen, like flour or sugar.  I am/was the longest consecutive teaching staff member in that school, so I suppose I am/was a staple.  Here are some pictures of my party.  I don't scrapbook, so my memories' footprints will be here and in my Facebook album.  

Someone (LeAnna) stalked my Facebook to get the above collage of pictures, but then she went to the trouble of printing them like real pictures.  How does one even do that?  I have no clue.
This card below is from the Morgan family.  I had the pleasure of teaching 6 of their 8 children.  This family is the DREAM family any teacher DREAMS of.  Honestly, I can not say enough about how they have reared their children.  While no child is perfect, they come darn close....and they are smart to boot!

This is a bouquet they gave me.  Just gorgeous
Two of my colleagues who retired in the last 5 or so years brought me these mums.  I was so happy to see Sherri and Deb again!


These are two gift cards they gave me.  I think this was when I cried.  I really didn't expect more than 4 or 5 people to show up, but there were over 30.  The room was packed; all the desks were taken, the chairs, and a few were standing.



One sweet colleague and her son gave me this Starbucks card.
My BFF came and gave me a Walmart card and said I could go any day, any time of day I want.  No more answering to a clock!

This cute sign was part of the decorations.  It's framed so I can keep it as a memento from the party.


Finally, some videos of the party.
The first is what I saw when I came in.


video
The food video


video

More video of the people who came

video


One of my students from 4 years ago came back.  Her mom is the School Resource Officer at my school.  Maggie was in my GT 6th grade ELA class at the end of the day that year.  She is not only beautiful, but smart as a whip, as the saying goes.

video

If you made it this far through my retirement party memories, I thank you.  Yesterday was the last day I have with students, and it ended with a bang.  I brought them all candy bar brownies and had a raffle for items from my classroom and home; stuffed animals and sketch books were the big attractions.  Everything I allotted for the raffle was given out, and the recipients were happy, so mission accomplished!

Next Wednesday, May 31, chapter 29 closes on Book 1 of My Life.   Book 2 awaits.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In the Rearview Mirror

Four weeks from today I will turn in my keys for the last time and my badge.  I am 100% certain this is the right thing for me and my parents, but I am sure I will be emotional as I relinquish all I have known for 29 years.  I know there is a time and season for everything, and I know mine is about up.

Right after I signed my first contract, I traded my perfectly fine 1980 Clemson orange Mustang for a 1988 Nissan Sentra.  And.....I signed a lease on a cute craftsman style house across from Walterboro High's football stadium.  All this before I ever got my first paycheck.  When I did get it, my heart dropped; my take home was $464.  One check didn't cover my car payment and rent.  Since Mother didn't want me moving home, she gave me $150 a month to be able to stay on my own. 

As I was going through things, I found some relics.  Teachers are notorious pack rats.  This book of essay topics has travelled with me for 29 years.  There are thousands of topics covering close to 100 subjects, but I think it is time to let it go.

It traveled with me to 5 schools and 17 classrooms:

    Ruffin High:  8 years and 2 rooms
    Colleton Middle:  4 years and 1 room
    Colleton Prep:  1 year and 1 room
    Whale Branch Middle:  3 years and 3 rooms
    Robert Smalls:  13 years and 7 rooms (more on THAT in another post)

As I was going through things,I came across these notes from 10 years ago.  I remember because I had these students in 2006-2007 right before I knew I had cancer.  I remember each of these student's faces.

I am sure as I move forward, more memories will bubble to the surface, but these students were some of the best I have had.  We had single gender classes that year with one girls' class, one boys' class, one coed regular, and one GT coed.  That was the time I realized I much preferred teaching boys.  Girls are too drama-filled.  And, the GT class was da bomb.  I remember writing them a letter where I highlighted each one of them and what I would remember them for.  At least one is already married. What I love about Facebook is being able to keep up with them.  

Twenty-nine years was just a minute ago.

Friday, April 28, 2017

God's Timing

Once again, God's timing is impeccable, and this is one of those times I am totally floored that he cares that much about me to speak to me through my guardian angel.  (My guardian angel shall remain nameless, but I'll give one  hint:    He is a student from my first year teaching in 1988.)

The devil has been messing with my mind today.  He tends to do that when I am on the verge of victory in some area.  I decided this afternoon to message said G.A. and ask him and his wife to pray for me.  His response blew me away:  He said, "wow.  5 minutes ago I got a 'you need to call Ms. Williams' as clearly as if you were sitting here next to me....I think we need to talk."

So, talk we did!  I told him what was going on, and he told me just what I needed to hear.  AND.it.came.from.God.through.his.mouth.to.my.ear.  There is NO other explanation of why I would message him right after he had that "feeling/message."  Anyway, the bottom line of the message was for me not to worry, so I won't!.

God's timing is impeccable, but we have to be willing to listen for his voice.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

God *is* in the details

Some people would say that what I'm about to write about is nothing more than "luck."  I don't subscribe to that; I give credit where credit is due:  GOD.

HERE      I wrote about the saga of the $1788 job to repair a coil on my AC unit.  Now, for the update:

I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, as a friend recommended.  It took a week because the owner was out of the country, but I did hear from him.  He sent a second repairman, one of his best, for a second opinion.  Low and behold---The first guy was WRONG, so he had them order the wrong part!  For the five year-old unit, the compressor had blown for the second time.  This time they theorize it was due to my fins being bent after my brother pressure washed my house two years ago.  (Lesson learned:  Do it MYSELF, and I shall!).  So, because I've been so "patient," the owner is knocking the normal $1400 one man job to $900.  Whether $1400 is actually what it normally costs, I don't know and don't care.  The bottom line is I am getting it for half the original quote, AND I don't have to dip into savings to do it!  

While I was on the phone, the owner asked me if I would notify the BBB that the situation was resolved.  Not so fast...I was nice, but I told him I would not until the issue is truly resolved.  I will, however, let them know that pending the completion of the job, I am satisfied it is progressing in that direction.  

So, thank you Beverly, for suggesting I contact the BBB.   As I did so, I knew God would take care of things, and He did!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Overwhelmed

I was/am a single parent.  I left my ex in December of 1998 after fleeing the house to a neighbor's and calling the police.  I didn't realize he had left red marks on my neck until the cops came that night.  They carted him off to jail, and I mobilized, calling my dad, who in turn called my brother and nephew and his wife.  We packed the house until 2am if I recall.  The next morning I appeared at the jail to see if they could keep him away from the house since he was getting out on a PR bond.  They gave us until noon; we pulled out the last load a few minutes before that, and my son and I moved in with my parents and rented a storage unit for virtually everything else.  The judge had said, "Don't take anything that belongs to him."  So, it was.  I did leave him some dishes and the living room furniture.  Oh, and when he got to the house, he called me and asked, "Where's my f---ing money?  You took my f--ing money!)  (He did side jobs he never told me about to fuel his beer and tobacoo.)  Yes, my niece-in-law found $200  as we were packing.

We lived with my parents for nearly 3 years.  During that time, I took on my first part-time job as a Partylite candle consultant, going into homes for home parties.  When I worked it, I did very well, but my introversion held me back.  Over the years, I began teaching after school, co-ordinating after school with my BFF, teaching summer school, and teaching extended learning when we were a year-round school system.  If it meant extra money, I did it.  See, my ex never paid child support save one six month period about 6 or 7 years ago when his wages were garnished.  I found out years ago that since I was not on welfare, the state would not go after him.  (Thanks, cheap Governor Mark Sanford, for not adding SC to the National Child Support Network.)

I was and am not afraid of work, though I prefer using my mind to do it.  Over the years my parents helped us some, but primarily it was left to me.  Many times I felt overwhelmed, drowning even.  There were many times when I used the credit cards to pay bills and repair bills.   Through it all, I had one whom I could always count on to pull me through:  God.  He always provided our needs.  

Today I felt overwhelmed with a repair bill whereby I know the company has inflated its labor charges to cover the part on my AC unit being under warranty.  $1788 for 4 hours of labor?  Really?  When I told the repairman that, all he could do was flash a sly smile and shrug; he doesn't make the charges.

So, I will get through this just as I have every other challenge that comes with being a single parent of a household.  I look at our two lives--mine and my ex's.  I survived cancer even after the tumor perforated the colon.  I am looking at retirement in 51 days, and I have 3 part-time jobs to supplement that (online mentoring, tutoring--which are separate jobs--and petsitting for one couple)   He, on the other hand, has prostate cancer, was homeless nearly two years ago (and who knows how many other times?), is on disability due to his back, and is an alcoholic.  He has been in pain since before I knew him (his back).  What do I have that he doesn't?  Jesus.  Jesus has been with me every step of the way.  Because of that, I may be downtrodden, but I am not defeated.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pseudo Christianity Will Lead to "I Never Knew You"

Matthew 7:21-23English Standard Version (ESV)

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
As Jesus says here, there are many who *think* they are going to heaven---they may go to church or think of themselves as *godly* people; they may bow their heads and say their daily prayer---but truly, their actions and speech, particularly their speech, contradict their assertions.  They are nasty people who have nothing even remotely resembling Jesus in them.   This is only a few verses of what the Bible says about the tongue:

Matthew 12:36-37 - But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.   (Read More...)

James 1:26 - If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion [is] vain.

James 3:6 - And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Finally, "out of the mouth, the heart speaks."  Yes, what is in our hearts is what comes forth from our mouths.  When virtually everything that springs forth is degrading others, how can there be any Christ in the person? Ecclesiastes 10:13 tells us that "Pride is the beginning of sin..."  Pride is a hideous sin for it will separate the person from God forever.  Picture someone who is unable to admit any wrongdoing or apologize because of his/her pride.  That is a miserable person (at the core) who aims to make everyone else miserable as well.  What is that person's fate?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Some are given a pass

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-- 2A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. (Ecclesiastes)


When given a cancer diagnosis, why are some people spared and others die? For that matter, any sickness.Here  http://onedayatatime-ginger.blogspot.com/2008/07/handling-what-we-are-given.html I wrote about getting my cancer diagnosis and the morning of the surgery *knowing* I would be fine.  My dad is in the middle of immunotherapy for cancer in a lymph node.  We are optimistic, but of course, we won't know the outcome until after his treatments and he has another pet scan.  

A childhood friend I'm friends with on FB reported a few months ago that her father-in-love has cancer.  I have been praying for him.  Sadly, yesterday she reported there is nothing more that can be done, and hospice has been called in.  

Two years ago my mother was sent home under hospice to die from congestive heart failure.  To shorten the story, by December of 2015 she had decided to get up from that hospital bed, and with the help of two physical therapists, she is now walking with a walker and getting her hair done each Friday.  My parents go where they want around town, as long as someone drives them.

Two weeks ago a friend was hospitalized with pneumonia and pleurisy.  He nearly died, but God spared him, and he is now home with a long road of recovery. 

Why?  Why did I and my mother get a pass, and seemingly my father and my friend, but my other friend's father-in-law didn't?  We have lived  in a fallen world since the event in the garden.  Yes, God is the great healer and could heal anyone at any time, but His ways are not our ways.  There are some things we will never understand on this earth.  Could it be as simple as "It's not our time"?  Yes, it could.  The moral is take every day as though it were your last and appreciate it for what it is.  None of us know how much time we have; Dad is 89, mother is 84, I was 44 when diagnosed, my friend is 59, and my friend's father-in-law is around 70.  Some of us get a pass, but others don't.  

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

You think no one is watching

At the beginning of last school year, I positioned myself near the Lower Academy car rider entrance to shepherd the students to the cafeteria in the morning so their teachers could get ready to receive them.  I did the same this year.  For the last two weeks or so,  I have taken an interest in a kindergartner who is a "challenge."  Let's leave it at that.  I had noticed him running, yes, running, down the hall.  I would stop him and make him start over a ways back so he could practice walking correctly.  When I saw him walk down normally by himself, I took him to his classroom and bragged on him to his teachers.  Well, that's no big deal, right?

Wrong!  At least to him.  He came in Monday morning, stopped, opened his book bag and said, "I have something for you."



Wow!  Talk about being blown away!  I asked him if he had this at home or if someone gave it to him.  He replied that he had it at home.  I imagine him looking around his room or house for something he thought would be appropriate.  Kinda reminded me of the widow's mite in the Bible.

It's hard....really hard some days....teaching in a public school...it really doesn't matter which one; they ALL have their various challenges.  Heck, private school is no picnic either (I will blog about that helacious year another time.)

Anyway, I try to think "What would Jesus Do?" in most circumstances.  I fail miserably most days, but I guess I got it right with this little fella.  For those who have asked, no, I don't teach him.  He's just a random child in the hall---random to me, but not to Jesus.  Jesus knows him well, and I suppose I filled some void in this child's life.

"Jesus--the Rogue"---Someone asked me today what "rogue" means.  I know that word well; it is someone who goes against the establishment or the established order (my definition).  Of course, Jesus *was* a rogue because he upset the order of the pharisees.  I see myself as a rogue, too.  Not at work, though; I'm too *silver* for that. (http://onedayatatime-ginger.blogspot.com/2016/08/im-silver.html But outside work.

Yes, I am wearing it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

"The World is Too Much With Us"

"The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not--Great God!  I'd rather be
A pagan sucked in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn."
               William Wordsworth

The English Romantic poet William Wordsworth wrote this in 1802, yet it is so apropos in our consumer-fueled society.  "Getting and spending"?  Really?  In 1802???  This sounds like our world, one in which people are hurried, harried, and spending beyond their means.  Too many "must" have the current "toy" (boat, jet ski, smart tv, etc...), and they are working themselves into a frenzy to keep up with their neighbors, materially speaking.   

"Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away"

Everywhere I look in my town, there is construction.  Woods are being decimated, habitats destroyed----all in the name of "progress."   Oh, how I hate it!  We don't need another Waffle House or car wash on my little island; yet, fight "progress" we can not.

One day, I hope to leave all of this.  I long for the simple life---a piece of land and a small cabin.  I won't require much for just me and my cats.  I also want chickens and a garden.  I have been ridding my life of "stuff" for the last year, and that is first on my priority list when I retire this summer.  Simplification will be my word.

I suppose it is true that things you learn as a child sleep in the deep recesses of your mind, waiting for something to awaken the memory and cause it to bubble to the surface.  I was working on a project inspired by my Grandmother Pearl, and this poem's title kept resonating through my mind.  I am sure I read it either in Betty Linder's senior English class, or it was in a British Lit. class in college.  As I thought of Grandmother, worked on my project, and heard the annoying "boomdaboomdaboomboomboom" assaulting my ears, I longed for the simpler time Wordsworth was searching for in 1802.  May it come to pass for me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What is the value of a life?

If you are not an animal lover, you may want to skip this post.


This is Miles James.  I adopted him from a former church family almost 15 years ago, right after I moved here.  They had a baby boy they named Miles, and they were worried how this Miles would react to the baby.  Such silliness, but I am so glad I took him "sight unseen."  He is an ordinary looking cat:  white, gray, and some black.  He was always aloof until he became the only cat I had left back in February of 2009.  Right after I had to have my then-20 year-old cat Baby put down, I adopted two new girls together.  Then, Miles decided he wanted to be a sweetheart.

Well, this sweetheart is now 20 and nearing the end of his time, though no one knows how long he has left.  I took him in to the vet last week because I noticed he was drinking a lot of water.  Blood work indicated kidney failure.  Many people would have had him put down.  Why would I do that when his life still has value?  Next to the two youngest cats, he is the MOST active.  He will bully any of the others out of their food, he still climbs, and he loves me.  He is not in any pain.  Why would I put him down now??  I have always known with the others when it was their time.  I have the money to put him on a special renal wet food and to give him fluids every day.  I want to enjoy him for as long as I can.  All my cats become my little furry four-legged children----and every one of them has value to me.  They enrich my life more than I could ever explain.  Few will understand, and that's ok by me.