Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Shall Miss This...

I went into my classroom and began the rearranging and setting up, so the reality is upon me. My summer is ending, and return to work I must. Seems every summer I get involved in new things, something different which occupies my time. Time is the essential...once school begins, time is not as genorous. So, today I make my list of things I shall miss...

1. Volunteering. This summer I had an opportunity to do some volunteer work in a pregnancy center. I enjoyed giving back something to my community, sharing hope to the hurting, and attempting to make a difference. I am hoping I can still find a way to be a part of this.

2. Writing. I have had so much more time to write. Funny thing, I think I posted somewhat more consistently during the school year. Time can be a funny thing, when we have more, we tend to put things off figuring we will have time for it later.

3. Reading. I always read more in the summer. I have read some wonderful books, but mostly I have been enjoying reading other's blogs. My heart grew bigger this summer, looking into the windows of people's lives. We all struggle, we all seem to reaching for something or someone to listen to. As I read, my prayer list grew. Not sure each of these people believe in a God, or in prayer...but I was praying for them. There is a whole lotta love needed out there, and I hope I spread a little this summer.

4. Learning. I am in a constant cycle of learning...but in the summer I have time to be exposed to different things, look for different things, and experiment with different things. I am a bit of a watcher...often, I watch to learn. So I actually learned a little about twitter. I still feel lost, but I enjoyed watching the interaction. I saw some friendships that had been built on it. I never quite figured that out, but maybe if I had more time. Through that I discovered some spiritual leaders, great writers, inspiration, and a lot of laughter.

5. Late nights. Knowing I could sleep in a little, or during my summer school teaching days catch a nap later so I continued to push the limits as a night owl. Sadly, I have a cat who had his own ideas about me sleeping late!

6. Lunch dates. Teachers usually have about a 20 minute lunch, if they are lucky. So, getting together with friends for long leisurely lunches at a place where we can enjoy the food has been wonderful. A time to catch up, relax and enjoy the company of a friend. Lives get so full and hectic, we don't get enough of this.

7. Quiet time. At the end of the school year I had really gotten into a pattern of having a daily time of prayer and bible reading. But, it was under a watched clock. I had somewhere to be, and I had a specific amount of time. My quiet time over the summer has been special. It happens several times a day. I kept my morning time in the same pattern, but no clock was watched. I found online communities to discuss scripture with and share together. I found blogs that offered some insight and things to ponder. It has been a time for spiritual growth.

8. Slowed pace. The school year can be hectic and chaotic. You feel like you are the hamster on the wheel all the time, and never at your destination. Summer brings rest. A slower pace. (At least if you are living in the empty nest like me) Rest is good. Makes it possible to get back on the wheel.

I could probably continue...but I won't. I am blessed to have this schedule and to have these summerly things. But I would never be happy in it all the time. I love teaching...and once I get back on the wheel and in my groove I will be happy to be there again. I am blessed with that as well.

So, cheers to another great summer!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lesson Learned

This post was written in response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club: Write a post that either starts or ends with the words "Lesson learned." Word limit: 400 words.

It was my first time meeting his family…and I mean all his family. We sat with his brother and girlfriend, grandmother, parents, and even two aunts. And then there was me.

I entered with some discomfort and uneasiness. The world of dating was new again. Meeting the family, sat on my mind, unfamiliar and odd. I had been invited to take part in a birthday celebration. I sat and I listened. I did my best to pay attention to stories, adventures, jokes about people I didn’t know…and I began to ease in. They kept me included and I smiled and laughed.

This family was different than others I had called my own. Professors and bankers speaking of politics, annual parties and taxes entwined with affection. Yet, they spoke with love and belonging, and my nervousness lessoned and I gently relaxed. He would look at me with his eyes of adoration and check on my level of calm. My grin encouraged him and it appeared all was on track for success, just as he planned.

So he slipped me a kiss and excused himself and off to the restroom he went.

Suddenly the stories shifted, and the attention was drawn to me. A few simple questions, and their head shakes and acknowledgement continued in the positive direction we had started.

And then, his aunt who sat beside me leaned in and asked, “Do you have children?”

“Yes, I have 4.”


And the fuse was lit. The news moved around that table, and the reaction was much the same.

4? You have 4 children?

The feeling in my stomach rose and entered my face in red. I could not believe he hadn’t told them.

As he entered back into the conversation he could tell something had rolled into the atmosphere.
As he listened to the next question fired towards me….and I told their ages of 10, 13, 14, and 17 he realized what had happened and nervously chuckled in response.

He squirmed in his seat, unsure which storm he needed to answer to first.

He thought about his preparation for this moment, and I sat and wondered about it too.

Me…I knew he should have never left me alone. And he wouldn’t through many more family visits.

Because that day, my sweet man had a
lesson learned.

Author’s Note: I did marry this man. And this is one of the favorite stories to share when we all get together now. Now…I can laugh.