Plan B

I am by no means an expert in this thing called life. I just thought I should start with that disclaimer and get it out in the open. So take this for what you will but I think I have discovered at least one key to life. I guarantee there is probably more than one but from personal observation I have gleaned at least this one key component. Here it is: life is all about plan B.

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Broken Table and Broken Dreams

I finally conceded I needed to give the table away. It is a big (by today’s standards) kitchen table probably built in the 1940’s. All wood, it is heavy and cumbersome. Not really designed for today’s compact modern world. But for me giving it away was a difficult decision because it represented a dream unfulfilled. Although I have lived long enough to know the importance of plan B’s in my life, giving up on a long held dream is not an easy thing to do. I took comfort in the fact that the table not only represented a plan B in my life, but it must have also been similar for my grandma nearly 55 years earlier. We are connected with this broken table and broken dreams. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Table with the three leaves leaning against the wall
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Refined not defined

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by Nancy Chamberlain

I forgot how hard my kindergarten teacher was, until my mom reminded me one day. “She would yell at you everyday, give you a pokey puppy stamp while she gave everyone else a happy or well done stamp at the end of the day.”  Oh yeah. I had forgotten since she always smiled and said hi to me in the halls. I now realize she was just happy I was no longer in her class. This reminded me of my experiences with basketball. I forgot just how often I was on the bench and how I scored a point for the other team… Continue reading

The Lesson of the Poinsettia

Christmas 2018 I received a poinsettia as a gift.  It was part of my Christmas Secret Elf gift giving I was the recipient of.  You can read about that experience here.  One of the first gifts I received was a beautiful poinsettia in full bloom.  It was delivered while I was at work so my co-workers suggested I keep it there to help give our office space some beauty.  Easily persuaded I obliged.  It was fine until Friday.  I gave the plant a large dose of water to see it through the weekend and left. When I returned Monday morning it looked like someone had swapped out my beautiful, full-bloomed plant for a Charlie Brown Christmas tree variety.  It looked like a massacre had taken place with red dry leaves lying on my desk and the stems bare. Continue reading

3 Lessons Learned

This has been a busy month.  Busy being schooled that is.  Here are the 3 great life lessons I learned within the past month:

1) you’re going to ruffle some feathers so get over it
2) some of your mistakes will affect other people so forgive yourself
3) it’s not always fun to watch your team in the Super Bowl so switch the channel

Mom- I Understand Now

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By Nancy Lee

Math has never been my forte.  All through my early years of school, I would get as far as reading the problem, then my mind would just shut down.  My mom loved math and she loved to learn. There would be many late nights where she was determined to figure out how to solve a complicated problem.  The next day, she would try to show me how she came up with the answer.  I  would try to understand, but I just had the attitude math is dumb.  My pessimistic attitude, led me and my mom to frustration and lots of unpleasant disagreement.  So unpleasant that I wish I could just turn back time now that I finally understand what she was trying to show me.    After I received my Associates, I didn’t have the desire to go back to school.  My plan was to try to avoid math as best as I could for the rest of my life. Of course, this was a hard plan to follow and the Lord had other plans for me.  I was to become a teacher.  I am back in school, I have six months left, and there are several tests and math classes that are required for my major.   Last year, I had an experience that changed my negative attitude towards math.  I needed to take two major math tests.    I remember specifically, that after a long night of studying, I went and took one of the tests and failed.  After I threw my books on the ground and was feeling defeated, a thought came almost instantly to me.  Do you want to just know this just to get by with a good grade? Or do you want to learn it well enough so you can apply it in your life and help your students?  My attitude towards math has been different since then. I not only looked at the problems I had wrong I understood why they were wrong.  I went a couple of days later to take it again.  I got an A missing only one problem.   Math can still be frustrating and overwhelming at times because it is very fast pace. But I go back to the day where the thought, do you want to learn it well enough so you can apply it in your life and help your students always comes back to me.  I have no doubt that my mom is helping me through this.   It isn’t about the grade you get, it is about how hard you work and how you can learn from your mistakes.  It is about how I can help my students learn from their mistakes.  I think of what Thomas Edison said and it helps me persevere. One of his many famous quotes that I like is, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  My new goal is to become an effective teacher. I now know that I can’t become one, if I don’t experience failure and frustration myself.  I want to implement perseverance in my classroom.  I want my students to know that they haven’t failed until they stop trying.

Young Women Camp 2013

This is normally the post I use to describe my week at Young Women camp.  I describe the lessons I learned, the problems I encountered, and my goal to be a better leader.

Yes, it was a good week.  Yes, there were problems encountered but they worked out.  The problems always work themselves out.  And yes, there is always room for improvement.

We had a moose wander into camp.  Actually, he probably was hovering around our camp all week but we just saw him once.  Well, once in daylight and once at night.  They are kind of creepy when you come across them at night and all you can see is their eyes reflecting in the moonlight.

For this post,  I want to focus on one lesson I learned this past week.  It happened Wednesday during the hike.  Between my asthma and vertigo my goal was to not collapse or lose my balance and fall.  And I managed to succeed at both. Yay me!

I didn’t even fall during the off-road stretch where I really had to pay attention to each step I took.  Proud to say, I stumbled but I never went down.

We were just finishing the off-road, cross-country portion of the hike and had to descend the little hill.  Flags marked our path we needed to follow.  Since I was so slow I watched others hike down the hill following the marked path.  Two leaders stood at the bottom to help the hikers make it to the road.  But from where I stood, I thought I could see an easier route.

Despite the flags and the other hikers’ success, I decided to veer to the right.

The vigilant leaders who waited at the bottom called to me and urged me to follow the marked route.  I listened.

When I approached them they helped me down a one-foot drop to get to the road.  “Oh, geez,” I complained.  “That’s a bit of a drop.”  One just nodded her head in agreement.

I joined the other hikers and waited for everyone to catch up.  While I did so, I looked down the road.  If I had continued on my easier route on top of the hill I would have come to a five to six-foot drop to the road.  With no help to get down.

Isn’t that like life?  We have markers and flags showing us the route.  We also have others going before us leading the way.  And there are those waiting to help us through our tough times.  Yet, we may think we see an easier way – a better route.

We don’t always have the full picture from where we stand.  We don’t need to.  There are plenty of gifts to help us to succeed.  We are meant to win – not to lose.

And let me tell you, I’m very glad I listened that day.  I hope I listen just as well in life.