I knew it was coming sometime this year, but still when I received the call, it caused a lot of feelings of nostalgia for me. Wednesday evening the Director for ESL, English Second Language, called me to let me know she is retiring as of October 10th. She is the one who interviewed me and hired me.
We have been through many changes together in the department. We worked on curriculum changes, starting the Family Literacy Program and more. She once referred to me as her most flexible teacher because she could call me with short notice to sub a class.
Her anticipated retirement marks a bit of a milestone for me. Over the past twenty-two years, God has opened many doors for me to share Jesus with the nations living in my city. Twenty-two years ago, I still had a landline with an answering machine. Times have changed, but Jesus never changes and he continues to give me opportunities to share his love with the nations living in my city.
Now I am the last remaining original person involved with the Family Literacy program and the longest serving person in the ESL Department. That is a scenario that perhaps no one would have seen coming thirty years ago when I was going through my first bout with autoimmune issues.
While it is nice to reminisce about what God has done over the past twenty-two years, it is the new things he has me doing that excite me. As Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
God can do new things even in what looks like a wasteland in our lives. He did it twenty-two years ago for me and continues to do so today.
Time to spill a secret that has been kept in the vault until now. It will come as quite the shock to you after many amusing posts about my cooking misadventures. Thursday evening I cooked. No it was not in the microwave using the popcorn setting even though that is the preferred method of your friendly disadvantaged cook. 🙂
It is still true that kitchen is a realm of existence that is a strange mysterious place for me. It is quite possible that angels gasp when I enter a kitchen. But once upon a time in a a galaxy far far away, your fellow blogger cooked steaks and burgers in a restaurant when he was a teen. So while it is true that kitchen is beyond my comprehension, the grill is a comfort zone for me.
I can tell when burgers or steaks are rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, or well done. Give me a grill and any meat and your worrisome cook is transformed into a Da Vinci of cooking.
So when we had our Family Literacy Picnic Thursday evening, I manned the grill cooking up about 100 burgers. To the surprise and wonderment of those who know me in the program, the burgers turned out to be good. It was almost legendary.
We all have different abilities and gifts. But how we serve is what matters. 1st Corinthians 13 says:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
What matters is that we serve out of love for God and others. I love the families in Family Literacy, so I was glad to be at the grill spending most of my time grilling during the picnic.
It is also out of love that I do not attempt to cook for them in the kitchen for potlucks and instead buy something like sodas.
I just came home from an endoscope. I did not need to activate my escape plan I had in place in case they wanted to keep me in the hospital. I am now drinking my first cup of coffee since Tuesday, Going a day without coffee should be against the Geneva Convention I think.
The nurses were so nice. I love nurses. Maybe I should marry a nurse, 🙂 lol
I think it would be fun to be an anesthesiologist. I heard they have a lot of fun and their job is a real gas. haha. She said I am starting your medicine now and the next thing I knew I was back in the room.
This evening we will have a picnic for the Family Literacy Program for all 12 Title 1 Schools the program is in. I am thankful my church donated the burgers etc. I have permission from the doctor to go ahead and eat cheeseburgers this evening.
Five of the students from my morning class have birthdays within 5 weeks of each other, so we decided to have a picnic before one of them leaves for a visit with family in Mexico. We chose yesterday and had planned on the picnic to start 11am. but rain came through from 10am to 11:30 am, so we changed the time to 12:30.
Because of the rain, the people who reserved the best shelter in the park did not show up. That meant we could use it for our picnic. The rain was perfectly timed. We enjoyed the best spot in the park because of the rain. The rain left in time for us to have a picnic and a nice sunny afternoon.
We had A LOT of food, fortunately none cooked by me, a lot of good conversation, and the children played in the playground. It was a perfect early June Saturday afternoon.
Funny thing was that I prayed it would not rain, so it would not interfere with the picnic. But God already had it planned out. By having the rain come and leave at the times it did, it allowed for us to have a wonderful time.
Oh and by the way, I was sent home with leftovers. 🙂
This morning I will say goodbye to the school I have been at for the past eight years. I will continue with Family Literacy at a different school next school year. I actually said goodbye to people already but will be in the building for a meeting this morning. I have been at the new school already having taught in that program too, so that is not the hello I am referring to.
My summer break begins tomorrow and beyond that I will have a bit more time freed up for whatever God has planned for me. The summer will be spent writing books and also reaching out to refugees and immigrants in my city.
It seems that God is calling me to new adventures. I have a few preliminary ideas and if they start to shape up, I will share more on them. The hello part of this post is saying hello to new opportunities that God will show me.
It reminds me of what Good said to Abraham when he first spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12:1
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
God basically told Abraham get going and I will show where to go as you go. No itinerary, no map, no just get going and trust God.
So for me it is a day of Goodbye and then Hello to whatever it is that God has planned for me that he has not given me the details of yet.
On the last Friday I will need an alarm clock until August, an epic failure occurred. I woke up an hour before my alarm clock went off. I know it is like a horror story. However, I survived the ordeal, so no need to worry.
Today is celebration day for both of my classes. Today is also methotrexate day meaning by the time my afternoon class finishes, I will be ready for a power nap. That will be followed by binge watching some shows while laying in bed.
My friend from Venezuela, who I usually meet with on Saturday mornings, has been sick, so we won’t meet tomorrow. I sense a full day at the coffee shop coming. Hopefully they will give me a good coffee mug to use. The last two times they gave me one with flowers on it and one with little birds and hearts on it. Such mugs should be reserved for repurposed sodas like lattes and are not fitting for a coffee purist. A super hero mug is fitting for a coffee purist. 🙂
Anyway back to it being Friday. I counted and I have 14 Fridays coming with nothing to do. That puts a whole new meaning to it being FriYeah. My summer break is almost upon me. If you hear a thud, it will be the sound of sudden relaxation hitting me. 🙂
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.
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.
Next Monday I have a meeting for my annual appraisal for my role of teaching the moms in my morning class. But I had two last week that were a blessing. They came from the 2nd grade daughter of one of my students. She is biased of course and sees things though the lens of loving her mom. She gave me notes two different days.
The first one said.
The second one said.
Her logic is that because I help her mom, I am a good teacher.
It makes me think about the faith of a child. in Luke 18:
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
The message of the gospel is simple. Jesus died for our sins, so we can be forgiven and we receive that forgiveness by trusting/believing in Jesus. The message requires us to receive Jesus in faith, faith like a child. That is why 1 Corinthians 1:18 says:
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Whatever the official appraisal says, I already have the one that counts to me, the one from the heart of a little girl who loves her mom.
It is my privilege to teach a group of moms English in the mornings and another group in the afternoons. The moms come to class to learn English and so much more. They come to make a difference in the lives of their children by learning English and also gain an understanding of the education of their children.
We have fun in class. They like to joke with me about going shopping. I talk about eating cheeseburgers and fries, so I can get that look from them. When I offer to cook for them, they smile and say no thank you.
Teaching these moms from different cultures/languages has shown me how motherhood and all that goes with it is a cultural universal. When I ask who is worried about their children, they all raise their hand. When I ask who wants their children to have en education, they all raise their hand. They all worry when their children are sick. They all try to make sure their children are eating healthy.
Their dedication is inspiring. Think about it. They all come from warmer climates and yet they are willing to brave the winter time to come to school.
My post today is one I have written, so I can share it on my Facebook for them to read.
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.
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.
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.