Teachers In The Coffee Shop in August

The coffee shop in the first weeks of August is a time and place of educators enjoying the last days before another busy school year.

As I was sitting in the coffee shop yesterday, aka my office, a young woman came in and sat at the table next to me. I asked her if she is a student. She told me she is a professor in Biochemistry. She has been one for a few years. She looked younger.

As I sat at my table, I noticed the woman who teaches French at the university. It is now seven summers in a row that we enjoy saying hi to each other chatting all while knowing as soon as the school year starts, we probably won’t see each other again until next summer. 🙂

At another table sat a man who is a professor in Sports Media for the university. He just returned from a trip to Spain with students for a summer study abroad.

With all three the common thing was saying if we don’t see each other in the next few weeks, see you next summer. 🙂

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Back to the young professor I mentioned. We commiserated about summer coming to an end. Summertime is coming to an end, the time for educators to refresh, relax, and sleep a bit more. 🙂

That first 6:30 am alarm clock going off is in my not too distant future. She used the word disturbing to describe the experience. I used the word rude. Both are applicable.

That has been a normal conversation for many years for me with fellow educators this time of year. Our other issue we commiserated over is anything but normal. We wondered together what COVID would mean this school year. The past three school years have been disrupted by COVID. It has wrecked havoc on education as a whole. There is that kind of quiet dread wondering what will happen with it this school year.

For me it is more of an annoyance to look past because I do not want to let anything deter me from what teaching is really all about for me. Engaging with students, helping them to learn, connecting with them, is what I love. It has been through teaching ESL, English Second Language, that I have been able to connect with people from all over the world living in my city and to travel to other countries. Best of all, some of those connections have led to opportunities to share Jesus with them.

So while my summer is winding down, I look forward to new adventures in learning, renewing connections with returning students, and meeting new students.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The End of Another COVID School Year

My morning and afternoon classes are winding down this week. Tomorrow will be our last class for the school year. Both programs experienced transitions and it was on me to guide them through the transitions in personnel. This has also been the third school year affected by COVID.

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Tomorrow both classes will have an end of year celebration. For my morning class, we will have a potluck with the moms bringing food. I have been assigned to bring juice. The moms don’t trust me to cook and they are wise regarding that. For my afternoon class, we will go to a nearby park and have some treats.

As for me, I am so ready for summer break. It has been a challenging school year. I am looking forward to a summer of spending time at the coffee shop blogging and writing. It is also quite possible I will spend time with Ukrainian refugees new to my city.

This morning I will break the news to my morning class that there is a possibility I will be at a different school next year. There is a possibility that I will be needed at a different school that is experiencing transition.

I am so thankful that Jesus has been with me during this school year. My morning prayer times have been so vital.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Friday Finally-Teacher Appreciate Week

Coming to the end of a crazy busy week, Friday is a most welcome day. I took on a Monday/Wednesday evening class because the instructor could not finish the quarter. Telling myself the class is in Zoom, so no driving, made it seem easier.

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But as a Spoonie, person living with chronic illnesses, somehow I forgot to factor in fatigue. But the good news is no evening class today, so as soon as I arrive home it will be nap time. 🙂

It is teacher appreciation week this week in the USA. Today we will have ice cream sundaes at the school where I teach in the mornings. Mentally that makes it easier to get up and get going. Ice cream is an essential food group for me. In fact when I meet a nurse or nursing student, I ask them to remember me, so if I am ever their patient to bring me ice cream.

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Speaking of Teacher Appreciation Week, it is not too late to show a little appreciation. A simple card, a thank you, a little candy or whatever to let your child’s teacher know they are appreciated can mean a lot. We are coming to the end of the third year of teaching that was affected by COVID.

If you are a fellow educator, as one myself, I wish to say I understand how it has been this year and the previous two. So thank you for what you do.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Finally!!! After 26 Months- A Teacher Potluck

Today at school we did something we have not done since the shutdown. We finally had a potluck lunch for the teachers/staff at the school where I teach in the mornings. We have not had one since February 2020. It may sound like a simple thing to you, but it was like breathing fresh air again. The picture below is not of the actual potluck today. 🙂

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We had lunch with no plastic dividers, each person brought something to share for a taco bar, and sat down at tables together. We used to have them once a month.

Everyone was so relaxed, smiling, laughing, and just having a good time over lunch. It is one of those simple things in life that I have missed so much since COVID came. It was also a wonderful way to end a short school week, We have a teacher planning day tomorrow and Friday off.

Hoping more little blessings are to come.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Looking Forward to Summer Break

As much as I love teaching, I must admit I am looking forward to summer break. This has been the third school year that COVID has had an effect on school. It has also been a transition year for both sites I teach at transitioning to a new person as part of the team with me. This morning I counted the teaching days left and I have 28 after today.

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There is another reason I am looking forward to summer break. The USA will receive 100,000 refugees from Ukraine and I am certain my city will receive many. During summer break, I will have a lot of free time to help them. I have already talked with one of the pastors at a Ukrainian church in my city about ideas for helping refugees.

I also have writing projects to work on. That means many days in the coffee shop with my laptop and coffee. 🙂

I realize spring just started but that also means about nine weeks of tree pollen my worst allergy. Another reason to look forward to summer break because by then tree pollen is finished.

But it is helping Ukrainian refugees that I look forward to the most. God has led me to a place in life that summers mean more free time. Jesus has led me in life to the point that I have a lot of experience with the practical things for helping refugees.

I wish we could fast forward to summer 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

I Love Nurses

Yesterday I went for a follow up for my CT Scan last week. I have a condition know as white coat syndrome which basically means doctors stress me out. But nurses do not stress me out and yesterday was a great example.

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The nurse who talked with me to go over meds I take, how my symptoms were etc, is from the Philippines. As we talked, I felt more relaxed than I have for a long time at a doctor’s office. We talked about how long she has lived here, her missing good seafood, and how she feels about winter. The last thing she did was check my blood pressure and it was the best numbers I have had in a long time at a doctor’s office.

Another good example is from when I had a minor surgery in 2017. I was in the recovery area and had to stay there longer because my room wasn’t ready. The recovery nurse wheeled my bed to an area she could wrap a curtain around. Then she asked me what I wanted for lunch, One of the things I asked for was ice cream. When my lunch came, she gave me two ice creams.

After that whenever I see Nursing Students or Nurses in the coffee shop, I joke with them that if I am ever their patient to remember to bring me ice cream. 🙂

Nurses have been on the front lines of this pandemic. Can you imagine where we would be without nurses?

Let’s be kind to nurses.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Another Gift from Chronic Illness-Losing Hair

Got my haircut yesterday. One reason was I really needed one after waiting for COVID to decrease. The other reason is due to hair coming out. It is from the medication not age. I take after my maternal grandmother. He had a full head of hair all his life.

But I would much rather be able to stand for more than a few minutes and lose some hair than have a full head of hair and the effects of chronic illness.

Fortunately when Jesus resurrects us, such things won’t be an issue. 😊

The way things are in this world it would not surprise me if his return is sooner than we think.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Hello Friday

It is Friday or as I like to say-Fri Yeah. But it isn’t a normal Friday. Today is teacher planning day, so no teaching just meetings. I realize meetings are important, but I would rather be in my classroom with my students.

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Friday means the weekend is almost here. It means tomorrow I have the opportunity to see my friend from Venezuela. It means I can see my friends at church on Sunday.

Normally it would mean the morning of my injection for autoimmune therapy, but because of a COVID booster Wednesday I get a week off from my injections. So after the meetings, I will drive by my favorite coffee shop to see if they are letting people in to sit down now that we have gone from red on the COVID risk dial back down to orange.

As your coffee purist, I feel the need for a hangout at the coffee shop. It has been quite a while since my last coffee shop hangout. It is not about just any coffee shop. It is about the place where I know the people working there, the other regulars, and the vibe kind of like the old song for the TV show Cheers- a place where everyone knows your name.

Hope your Friday is blessed.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Sense of Connection

I have been thinking about connection lately. I am not talking about being connected to wifi although that is important to my work. What I am talking about is personal connection, in person connection.

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The COVID shutdowns and protocols have in varying degrees, depending one where on lives, robbed us of personal connection with others. Virtual meetings are okay, but they cannot fully replace that sense of connection one gets from in person interaction.

The main reason my favorite coffee shop closing to in person seating during this recent surge bothered me is that sense of loss of connection with those who I interact with there. There are other coffee shops in my city that are open, but I miss the people who work at my favorite coffee shop and the regular customers I interacted with. Fortunately, that is a temporary situation.

Online church services are nice, but are are not the same as being there in person. Being there in person means being able to talk with people face to face, worship together in the same place, and be connected.

When I think about being connected with others, I also think about how far God went to personally connect with us. In Philippians 2 we read of Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Jesus left behind his glory in heaven to become a human baby to grow to become our Savior. Think about the sacrifice of leaving heaven to become one of us, so he could connect with us.

God wants us to know him not just know about him. He wants relationship with us. In John 1 we read:

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and  is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Jesus came to make God known to us in a personal way not just a head knowledge way.

God wants to connect with us. He invites us to come him. He wants us to pray so we can connect with him.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Oops I Forgot My Lunch

Yesterday morning I had my lunch ready to go. It was some tuna fish and an avocado. Sounds healthy right? Yes, your coffee purist is trying to eat healthy at least sometimes. One problem. I tend to forget things as I dash out the door to leave for school to teach.

Yesterday morning was just such an occasion. I had the can of tuna and the avocado in a bag. I even placed said bag in my home office right next to things I need every day like my iPad. I put what I needed in my laptop bad and left. I felt impressed with myself that I had my healthy lunch until, oh oh, I got to the school and looked around in my car only to realize I had left my lunch at home.

To the rescue was a delivery of a burger and fries from a burger place I love. I always get the Hammer of Thor which has chipotle cream cheese and grilled brussels sprouts. They even have a gluten free bun. It is my go to comfort food lunch.

Now I know you may be thinking that subconsciously I wanted to leave my healthy lunch behind because I wanted my comfort food during this crazy time of teaching during COVID. Perhaps but there is no way to know. I only know my stomach was quite content. 🙂

Fortunately for us Jesus never leaves anyone behind like I left my lunch behind. He promised to return for us, so we can be where he is. John 14 we read

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 

This morning I will bring the lunch with me that I left behind. But I must admit the burger and fries really hit the spot. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.