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Closure

We never know where life will take us.  At 16, my first job was at Arthur Treacher’s restaurant, wiping tables and filling ketchup bottles!  I’ve had many jobs since then … and through the blessing of friends, I always mananged to land a good job and be successful. 

Charleston was a different experience.  At 49, my first time living away from home and working as a teacher.  In two years, I learned so much … about public education, about different cultures, about special education, about technology … about myself and my devotion to teaching and the importance of family.  With it all, good and bad, I have no regrets.  I am wiser. I am stronger.

Thank you for reading this blog, for your encouragement and support.  I hope you will follow me on the next journey.

Peace and Blessings

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Yes, Spring time has arrived in South Carolina.  Trees are in bloom, the grass is greener … and there’s lots of rain!  Time to be fashionable with rain boots, a coordinating umbrella and a pocket full of Claritin.  Spring used to be one of my favorite seasons!  I loved watching tulips peer up from the ground, not to mention the anticipation of a trip to Holland for the tulip festival.  That’s all changed now. 

With no appearance of winter or even cold weather, Spring literally “flies” in with the arrival of BUGS!!   “Low Country” they call it … because the Charleston area is mostly near or below sea level. With it comes the beauty of natural landscapes and marshes,  beautiful flowers, morning bird calls and beach-friendly temperatures.  Beware though … those rainy days raise the water levels, create swampish smells and give birth to blood-hungry mosquitoes and palmetto bugs (I call cockroaches on steroids).  Vacation is over. I’m watching every corner.  I enter a room like Rambo armed with RAID … I’m ready. 

I’ve seen the first lizard of the season … I’ve received my first mosquito bite … I’ve screamed, sprayed and saturated my first palmetto bug.  (Disposing of it still gives me the creeps!)  That which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger, right?  

Hey, where’s that fly swatter?

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Reduced Speed Ahead

I’ve been having a case of writers block.  I’ve also been having a case of being what an aunt of mine called being “discombobulated”.

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round and everything around me is a blur.  Sometimes I’m just “running around like a chicken with my head cut-off”, as my mom would say.  Although I’ve never actually seen that, I always knew that it meant that chicken had no direction.

It was on the way driving home that the sign “Reduced Speed Ahead” caught my attention in a different way.  It was more than just “Yield”, and not specific to my driving,  but more of a personal warning that I needed to slow down.

It started earlier that morning when I did a double take at the alarm clock.  You know that feeling … you look once, say the time to yourself (6:30) … look again … still trying to process it, including what day it is … and you look again … and it hits you .. “6:30!!!!!” and you realize you’re officially running late.

The proactive side of me always leaves early, so there’s a built in cushion for delayed drive time.  So I was really “late” for waking up at my regular time allowing me to not to hurry and enjoy my daily pieces of toast and green tea.  However, this morning, there was no time for that.  I quickly jumped into my clothes, stepped into my shoes, grabbed my school bag and ran out of the door.

I actually arrived to school 10 minutes early (Isn’t it funny how that happens?)  The morning went like clockwork with the daily math and reading lessons … and I excused myself around 10:00 to grab my morning cup of coffee and trip to the bathroom.  It was at that moment that the evidence unseen of my morning rush appeared.  Looking down at my feet, I saw that I had stepped into … two DIFFERENT shoes.  (Similar only in that they are clogs to step into … but they were different styles and colors!!)

I casually walked back into my classroom, (as not to draw attention to myself … I mean, my shoes). I quietly asked my assistant to look down at my feet. We then shared a heartfelt tearful laugh for more than 5 minutes.  Luckily, I was able to slip into a pair of gym shoes before any of my students could notice!  Phew!!

So … all that said, pay attention to the bright yellow sign that says “slow” … and “click it or ticket.”

 

 

 

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Eat Pray Love

Some time ago, I saw the movie “Eat Pray Love”.  It starred Julia Roberts as a woman  soul-searching while traveling through Italy, Indonesia and India.  As I began the New Year, the title seemed appropriate for me.  Although I desire to travel abroad some day, this search won’t take me much further than my own front door.  It’s the steps that count.

EAT

Living in South Carolina makes it hard to resist Seafood.  I love seafood but somehow I’ve lost touch with eating it any other way than deep-fried.  Let’s not even talk about my love for “hush puppies” or just plain french fries.  Now that the holidays are over, and the baking of all my favorite desserts is done, it’s time for a new plan.  Time to get back to eating healthier, exercising and letting my relationship with fat-laden foods go.

PRAY

As I get older, I find my walk with God more and more important.  Starting my day with prayer, saying a prayer throughout the day has become just as important as saying a prayer before I go to sleep.  When I was younger, I thought life became easier as you got older.  I’ve learned getting older brings on its’ own set of problems.   What I’m now striving for everyday is to accept and trust God’s will.

LOVE

Loving yourself includes working on forgiving yourself for making mistakes.  We are often are own worst critics.  We can be harder on ourselves than anyone else can be.  Hmmm, I’m only human right?  I try my best but sometimes even the best seems not enough. It is through those times of frustration and disappointment within myself that I have to remember all that is good, learn the lesson and go forward. This also means remembering that going “forward” means not looking back.

 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao-tzu

 

 

 

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The Spirit of Giving

Yesterday was the last day of school for Christmas vacation.

No matter what, Christmas is a special time and I’ve learned that true “gifts” aren’t always purchased.

With limited funds, my Christmas gift to my class was putting up my old artificial Christmas tree in the classroom and having a pancake breakfast.  They were so excited watching me cook and waiting as the smell of pancakes filled the room!  I emptied an entire box of pancake mix with each boy having second servings of three large pancakes each!

At the end of the day, the Christmas tree was donated to a family with two small girls at the school (who lost their mom a few months ago) so Santa would have a place to leave their gifts.

My gift … several heartfelt hugs and one handmade Christmas Card from construction paper with three hearts that read (as written) …

The best Teacher

Ms. Houseworth

Thank you for be the best teacher in this earth.

You is the best teacher.

From Eddie Your best student in the classroom.

THAT … as they say is PRICELESS.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

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Small steps, big gains

This past week was a turning point for my class.  We attended a field trip at the South Carolina Aquarium!

Normally students who display behavior problems and have referrals for such behavior are not allowed to attend a field trip.  It got me to thinking … if that were truly the case, my boys would never have such an opportunity.  While I agree that displaying appropriate behavior is necessary when in public, I also believe that all students deserve at least one chance to prove they can handle themselves.  My students have been working very hard to “behave” themselves and I’m happy to say I’ve earned their trust.  This was my chance to “give back”.   So I asked to join another class that was going to the Aquarium. 

I armed them with the typical speech … “Remember, you are representing your school and your family” and off we went!  We had an absolute blast!!   I was amazed!  I don’t think any of them had ever gone to the aquarium (maybe not even a field trip).  Their eyes were as big as saucers taking everything in.  They were so excited!  They literally had my hands and arms pulling me from case to case, reading and looking and asking questions about what they saw.  We laughed and we learned … together.

At the end of day, they each came to me and said they had “fun” and thanked me for the trip!  It was a day I know we won’t forget. In an effort to support recycling efforts in the school, our next field trip is to a local recyling center.  I’m looking forward to our class learning more about going “Green”.   Small steps … BIG gains.

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Do it anyway!

Sometimes when you feel at your lowest, something will happen to keep you looking up!  Approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, I must admit, my focus in “giving thanks” was more in anticipation of a few days off to rest and regroup.  Days continue to be stressful and I’ve grown physically and mentally tired from long days, late evenings and full weekends of nothing but school-related activities.

Yet this week, in the midst of a typical chaotic classroom day, I was taken by surprise with the announcement that I had been nominated for “Teacher of the Year” within my school!  The boys yelled and clapped!  It was indeed an exciting moment!  Although I dd not win (turns out you have to have been teaching over 2 years), I am still honored for the nomination, especially for the boys that I work with everyday.  Be careful of what you do … someone is always watching! 

In the spirit of “Thanksgiving” for the opportunity to make a difference …  another favorite quote from Mother Teresa.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

 

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