* Losing my mojo?

Warning: This post contains explicitly dismal thoughts.

Last November, I mentioned that I had applied to renew my National Board Certification. To qualify, I needed a current teaching license, so I kept hounding the licencing board for my renewal status (for which I had submitted my course credits in June). When I finally saw that my license was active, I paid my big bucks and started the NB process. I completed a teaching video in December and by March, had a nearly complete set of entries. Then the coronavirus hit. The deadline for completion was moved to June. Whee!

I don’t know why I rechecked on my licensure, but I’m glad and sad that I did. The licensing board showed my teaching certification as expired! WHAAT?!? I considered how I could appeal this process. All my communication with the board had been through a ‘Contact Us’ format. I had no records of any of my questions, nor any record of my license being active. There were no ‘live people’ available. Ever. I wasn’t going to lie to get my National Boards. I didn’t have money to hire an attorney, on the slim chance that might make a difference.

In the midst of these dismal thoughts, I was forced to consider that I hadn’t talked to either my dearest teaching widower or God about renewing my National Boards. I was renewing them because:

  • I could not imagine myself without that validation of my skills?
  • My self-worth was bound up in my career?
  • I had worked hard to get those renewal credits?

Whatever my rationale, I have sort of accepted this situation. I still wish I could have renewed my NBs, which perhaps means I have more come-to-Jesus times ahead.

Good news, though. None of the effort in licensure and NB renewal was in vain. All of it improved my skills and made me perfectly suited for my current work. And had God not prompted me to get NB certification 20 years ago, and blessed the entire process, I would never have National Board Certification in the first place.

To answer the question: No, I am not losing my mojo. My pride is skinned, which is a good thing. My love of all-things-teaching is intact.

I love this photo of my DTW with all his mojo!

* TToT for a million dollars

It’s been eons since I last posted; I hope all of you are well and making it through these tough times! My next-to-oldest great-nephew keeps asking me what I would do for a million bucks. I do remember those days when it seemed like the most spectacular thing ever to get $1,000,000. Or to get ‘all the money in the world.’ Now I know what true riches are, so I will share my Ten Things of Thankful (TToT) blogging challenge with you out of a truly grateful heart.

#1 I am thankful for my dearest teaching widower (DTW). He continues his treatment for cancer and is such a warrior. I thought this nightmarish ‘cure’ might cause him to stumble, to become impatient, to change who he is. But he is still the loving-est DTW in the world. That counts for about 5 TToTs. Or about $1,000,000.

#2 I am thankful for our dearest son and his most precious wife. Matthew has endured much with a 5-year-long health struggle, going from triathlete to incapacitated to nearly incapacitated. And he has started a blog (please check it out!)! While his chronology of the illness is heart wrenching, it’s also filled with faith that comes from trusting in the Lord through desperate times. I’d say this special couple are worth at least $1,000,000.

#3, #4, #5 Special families and kids, Cadbury chocolate, and vegan chocolate cakes still rank high on my list! Although I haven’t hiked outside since summer weather took root, I’ve savored the photos I took. Cee‘s awesome photographic influence is easily worth a cool mil. (Be sure to check out her blog, too!). I’ve never met a plant I didn’t want to photograph!

#6 Of course, the kiddos keep us on our toes and give God plenty of issues in my heart to work on, with impatience being at the top of my list. But who wouldn’t enjoy being asked if I would wear a KKK robe for a million dollars? That question is followed by shrieks of glee: I should want to be in the Kool Kids Klub. Yikes. Glad we are quarantined or they’d be stoned!

#7 Tea is right up there with chocolate. Tetley’s is my fave. The caffeine kinda makes up for my lack of sleep. Sorta. Perhaps. Not so much.

#8 Now that I have cracked through the Blogging Barrier Reef, I am excited to catch up on others’ blogs! Yay! (I really don’t like that spelling but my use of yea always gets misread as yeah, so meh….)

#9 I love to watch the birds who visit our feeders and bath. A robin just finished a thorough soaking and sat fluffed up on the edge, drying off. So sweet. OK, not so fascinating to everyone. The hawks? They love it. Totally grateful. Yum yum.

#10 Last but not least are you, my dearest readers, who continue to follow this blog. I’m grateful!

* Weekend coffee share for tea drinkers

Hola! Hello! I have not felt like blogging much lately, as you may have noticed. Sometimes I feel so excited about blogging and at other times, I shrug it off like a wet coat. I’m in a tea-drinking-chocolate-eating mode right now, so I’m joining the weekend coffee share hosted by Eclectic Alli. She’s in the field of library science, which looked to be a dinosaur at one point. But it’s reemerging through technology and that kind of degree can now open more than library doors.

The point of this blog is to share what’s been going on in my life, so here’s a glance.

I was looking worse than this in many ways, but fortunately, hair salons opened Friday at 5! I was first in line.

The honeysuckle and privet hedges around here have been blossoming, their fragrances assuring me I don’t have the virus. Sadly, spring has started drowning in early summer heat and humidity. Speaking of drowning, I’d love to go swimming instead of walking, even with a hole in my head ear, but who knows when indoor pools will reopen? I do know that my knees can’t take much more walking.

On the topic of “can’t take much more,” how will students and families and school districts solve the conundrum of back-to-school in the fall? From an equity standpoint, we already poorly navigate educational waters with students of color and families in poverty. How much more have we curtailed their prospects now that learning is remote? What good is a Chromebook if there is no connectivity? That begs the question of how well students work in small quarters with larger families whose parents are unemployed or working long hours out of the home.

In my neighborhood, we had teddy bears in windows so that kids on walks with their parents could wave. Just saying.

My dearest teaching widower has a week of radiation under his belt. He’s still as sweet as ever. My great nephew is continuously looking for ways to help around the house. They watch tear-jerker movies together and I join them to watch action flicks. They drink coffee and I drink Tetley’s English blend. We all eat chocolate.

Thanks for joining me!

* Weekend Chocolate Share

I’m joining Eclectic Alli’s Weekend Coffee Share, despite the cup of tea in my hand and bits of Cadbury milk chocolate on my shirt. SHH! It’s been a week of increased prayer, chocolate, and bible reading.

My dearest teaching widower has recovered quickly from surgery and starts radiation treatment soon. He’s such a sweetheart! [I just remembered that our anniversary is next month! Wow! I will get an extra point for that. We hardly ever celebrate it, but whoever remembers it first gets a point. I’m racking it up this year.]

Speaking of sweet men, our 18-year-old great nephew (GN) has now been living with us for a month. What a challenge for him! He’s already learned that folks in their seventies are hard of hearing and addicted to chocolate. GN’s partial to sour gummy worms but I do share my chocolate stash. I think that’s true love.

I’m so happy! Having GN here has reminded me of the peace in our lives, the joy of sharing movies, and the immense privilege of being saved. Thank you, Jesus!

What about you?

* Recovery

My dearest teaching widower (DTW) has come out of surgery and is in recovery. This is just the start of our new adventure with cancer. We have many dear ones praying for us!!

This hospital is SO empty! They have us in the ICU area which makes me especially glad we’re not in NYC. The closest tv is all about the virus and I’m sitting with a bunch of other masked women waiting for their DTW’s. Women are hardy stock, right?

I’m grateful that I’ve been asked many times how we’re doing. In fact, that was the first thing I asked my DTW after the diagnosis. He said, “It is what it is. God has always been faithful to us and always will be.”

Our Father never changes. He’s been with us in all our adventures. He hears every cry, sees every tear, and holds us close at every moment. This is no different.

* COVID-19 faith (#4)

I’m SO grateful that Jesus picked me up as I crashed on the dead end road of my life in 1988. I was shattered and not looking for him, that’s for sure. In fact, I mocked people who loved him. As we face the unknowns of the coronavirus and economy, I am grateful that God hunted me down, hounded me.

My DTW has developed a serious health issue and will need surgery in a couple of weeks, and we are still trusting God and his faithfulness to us. We know we’re not here permanently and we eagerly await seeing Jesus face-to-face. Sometimes I ask him to beam me up, but I know I cannot lengthen or shorten my life. Every day has been written by him.

So what are we doing? Praying and trusting God. Plus, my dearest teaching widower and I have been binge-watching Containment, a 2016 series we’d never heard of. The show is about a deadly engineered virus; we’re only halfway through so I can’t spoil anything. It only has one season, so we might be in the minority of folks watching. They use the expression, “social distance,” which I thought was unique to 2020. Not many people in 2016 knew so much about the structure of coronaviruses, what PPE stands for, and what N95 has to do with masks. Oh yeah, I never knew that toilet paper would be such a commodity.

Stay safe!

* I’m HOW old???

When I was four years old, I thought 14 was so OLD! I adored a neighboring teen who was kind enough to teach me how to wash dishes. That might not seem very special, and I prefer the dishwasher today, but she was patient and sweet to me, something I didn’t experience at home.

I always loved my ‘old’ teachers. One day, I was talking about how old my third grade teacher looked. I remarked that her skin was so browned and lined because of all the kids who had been talking to her; I assumed their ‘hot air’ burned her face. (My face burned when my mother repeated that anecdote to her!)

As I approached my 30th birthday, I struggled through each day. Seriously depressed, I had this belief that I would die at 30. I certainly tried to make that a reality. But my dearest teaching widower was patient, loving, and praying for me, and at 38, I met Jesus and was set free from depression. My life was forever changed, as was my view of aging.

A couple of years ago, my extremely talented sister and brother-in-law surprised me with a birthday cake. And there I was, a youngster on top of it, with real icing on my face!

Today I am 70 years old! I still think I’m relatively young, perhaps just past middle age?

* The Sunshine State (4)

After such a terrific time with relatives in Florida, it was hard to leave. I walked the Orlando airport to get my fitbit steps, exposing myself to folks hacking and sneezing into their hands. Yikes, folks. Use your arm!

I did see a coterie of stunning women, all in a line, heading for service as flight attendants. If my dearest teaching widower had not been working on his paper, seated in a galaxy far away, he’d have told me to put my phone down. But I couldn’t resist.

On the flight home, a passenger next to us coughed into the air unceasingly. Our front yard was filled with dozens of flags and spray paint, like someone planned to excavate every buried pipe and cable. Our house ‘smart thermostats’ had reverted to 49 degrees, which was a real shock to our systems (and I got very grumpy). I caught a nasty bug and was bedridden. When I graduated to the couch, I tripped over my computer cord and fell really hard, smashing a dish and landing on two body parts that had already survived surgery: my knee and shoulder.

BUT, the trip was fabulous and we can’t wait to return!

* The Sunshine State (3)

My dearest teaching widower (DTW) and I were really spoiled on our Florida trip. Our Sunshine relatives made this such a memorable time.

The Sun Rail was a delight! A three-story light rail with great views and touristy places to visit. It’s too bad that our local (North Carolina) light rail plan was such a dud. The GoTriangle organization spent $190 million and still needed $237 million plus a change of heart from Duke University/Carolina Railroad. The project was abandoned last May. Ah, well.

It only cost $3 for us to ride. I refuse to say whether my DTW and I paid the senior fares.

* The Sunshine State (1)

My dearest teaching widower (DTW) and I just took a trip to Florida, where the sun is brighter and the traffic lights self-propagate. Of course, I ignored the laughter and took photos. Everything in Florida is worth photographing.

We visited relatives whom we have designated as our ‘go-to’ family during the zombie apocalypse. We would be safe here, unless I accidentally shot my DTW. I did accidentally shoot the chain holding the target in place. Quite a fancy bit of accuracy!

Did you know there are alligators about 50 feet away from me? Hiding and biding their time…. And no, I am not a boy! It’s just the angle.

.