Big Happenings in a Small-Town

You remember last post, I mentioned nothing exciting ever happens to me. Well today, that was a little bit of a lie (or rather a lot of a lie 🙂 ) Read on for the full story (facts will be as best as I can remember from having such an adrenaline rush, but may have some of my slightly dramatic/exaggerating flair to it….hmmmm 🙂 )

It’s not every day you get held at gun-point and patted down by the police. While leaving one of my jobs and on my way to the other, I was driving (quite rapidly, like usual, so I’m not late, leaning down and changing my socks as I drive out the long lane). I noticed a mass of police cars and thought about how I had seen one pulled over when I got there……at which time it seemed just like a routine traffic stop. But then I realized they seem to be pretty excited to see me…..several coming close to the beginning of the driveway and waving/motioning to me, while others are lining up and keep coming. They didn’t seem to stop coming and lining up! I slowed down/stop and in my adrenaline-infused body, I remembered to open my window to seem as less of a threat. Soon, I heard them shouting at me, something that I can’t understand. I remember feeling some of the warning signs that something’s about to happen to my body (the passing out, etc.) and thinking that ‘oh, shoot, here I go!’ and realizing there’s nothing I can do about it, and they’ll just have to take care of me…Needless to say, I think I calmed myself down by assuring myself I didn’t do anything wrong, and I ask them what their shouted command had been. (miraculously the symptoms kinda stopped…..Thank-you Jesus, and it just kinda re-affirms to me that the symptoms I’ve been having have to do with heart/adrenaline/blood pressure issues) They repeated to, “Put your hands in the air, get out of the car and walk slowly towards us.” By this time, I had one sock and shoe off so I quickly grabbed the shoe and put it on, and began walking, while thinking to myself, “I hope no one sees me that I know. What are all those cars lined up thinking about this Mennonite woman walking towards the police?” 🙂 (Yes, my mind wonders funny things sometimes) Sometime on my way over, my mind realized they were pointing a gun at me, but I knew if I cooperated and did just as they said, I shouldn’t have a problem. I got to the group of roughly 5-7 policemen, and one asked me to step over there, asked if I had any weapons on me…(hmmm, nope!) He put his gun away, and asked if he could pat me down. I knew I had nothing to hide, so I told him ‘sure.’ He told me to put my hands behind my back, while assuring me, I was not under arrest, and he would explain in a minute. (By this time, I almost felt like bursting into tears, and the thought had crossed my mind to ask what was going on…..my emotions were oh, so wild) So after a quick assurance to make sure I was unarmed, I was told that there is an escaped felon on the run, last seen running in the field right beside where I worked, and wondered if I had seen any suspicious activity. I was told his name, shown a picture, and asked if I had seen anyone lurking around, or anything out of the ordinary. I told them different times that “no, I was there to do work. I’m kinda secluded from everything that happens and I don’t see or hear a whole lot that goes on.” I was asked questions, and they had my full cooperation, because I had a job to get to, AND I really wanted to know all of what was going on. “Who owns the house back there?” “Can you give us a layout of the buildings, etc.?” “Is there anyone in the car with you?” (No, not that I know of) “Do you mind if we check?” (No, it would make me feel better if you did…as thoughts raced about how he could be hiding in my trunk unknown to me.) “Does the owner of the house own alot of firearms?” (ummm, I don’t really know. What do you consider alot?) “Is there anyone else in the house or on the property?” (No, not that I know of) So, I waited, they asked more questions, I waited some more, I was assured this was not meant to scare me, (I’m pretty sure my adrenaline was still high at this point), I watched as they searched my vehicle, all the while trying to be on my best behavior so they would trust me and let me leave, so I could go to work. At one point, I looked down, and then realized/remembered I have one shoe with a sock, and one shoe without a sock, that’s how crazy this morning was! One unit came with a dog, and they just kept watching the house/property. (It was kinda cool hearing something about the vehicle coming out of the driveway is clear…knowing they were talking about me 🙂 ) After giving them all the information they needed, I shook one’s hand, said ‘thank-you’ to them and after changing my shoes and socks back to the normal way they should’ve been, I left, knowing that if I’d be late to work, I’d REALLY have a valid excuse!! 🙂

After I calmed down a little more, I began thinking about how this could’ve been much worse. My emotions were high, and it wouldn’t have taken much to make me cry….yes, for no reason. I was by myself, back in a secluded area. He could’ve been watching me, with all the places to hide around there, and I would not know it. He could’ve crawled in my car, or been watching me leave. I’m thankful today, for God’s protection, and his watch and care over His children.

I also am thankful for the ones on duty today. While it terrified me at first, they were first of all concerned about doing their job. When an unidentified vehicle came out of the driveway (me), they were on it, and they were watching, ready to take action. They were professional and to the point, making me feel safe and secure, and assuring me they didn’t mean to scare me. Men in blue risk so much each day, never knowing what they’ll get into on their next shift, yet I want you to know, they passed the test with flying colors today. Our little town is not meant to have crime and runaway felons, it’s meant to be safe, and so we thank them for all their hard work today.

Policemen, EMTs, paramedics, fire-fighters, nurses, doctors…..all emergency workers….These are the un-sung heroes of our day. It’s never a place I’d want to put myself in, and yet, I’m so glad someone enjoys it and takes the challenge. Take a moment and say ‘thank-you’ the next time you see one of them. I assure you, it will NOT be rejected!

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A Bunch of Nothing

20170315_203318Have you ever heard of writer’s block? I have, and never before the last couple of days did I realize how real it can be. Imagine the blockiest block, and that’s how blocked my writing brain has felt.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve tried to get myself to write something, and I’m just stuck! (Who knows if I will actually ever get this one published?) If you could only see the number of drafts I’ve started and haven’t finished… :/

I feel like my life is literally on hold right now. It feels like I go to work, finish one job, go the next, eat, sleep, and begin a new day. I don’t feel like my life is accomplishing much and I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to say to the world, so I just shut down completely.

I could tell you all about how my Dr. recommended I wear compression socks to raise my blood pressure (I HATE socks!!) But, because I’m trying to be good, I wear them..even if it does almost drive me nuts at times!

I could tell you that yes, I still miss school, and the kiddos in it, but those of you who truly know me, know that fact already.

I could complain and whine about the fact that it’s literally been months since I did any vacation or traveling to speak of…just for fun, just for the harry of it. But really, that’s what life is, A constant battle between work and vacation, so we all face that at times.

Somedays, it feels like nothing goes right….ever!! and mornings when you step inside your shoes, only to realize, after 15 years of putting shoes on…by yourself…every single day!!…you’ve slid them on the wrong foot. (how does that even happen??)

I could tell you about the time I got many, many, many papers ready to send out to different cities for the city income taxes. What’s frustrating is when you have to write out small $1 checks to individual cities…AND the total cost to send all this paperwork almost blows your mind away.

You know, when you work with people every day, you truly begin to find your true self/character. I’m discovering more and more what an introvert I am….The way to recharge my batteries is just some alone, quiet time at home with nothing but the hum of the refrigerators and the buzz of the furnace to keep me company. Have you ever taken a personality test before?? I highly encourage it, if you’ve ever thought you’re the only one who thinks a certain way…try this right here. You’ll be amazed.

Winter finally hit us. My body is sooo not used to this cold, and I almost can’t stand it. When I get the heavy coats out, you know it’s got to be cold!! But, spring is coming, I can hold on that much longer….I hope.

Yes, life is good, it keeps going. I try to keep up, but sometimes I trip and need a little help. I realize there is more to life than the rituals people (including myself) go through, but by God’s grace I will see a little sunshine in every day.

This was my laugh for one of these past few days that sorta all run together: “I need a kleenex. My nose is coming off.” 🙂 Happy Wednesday, you all.

 

Discoveries of A *Once-Upon-A-Time* Teacher

First of all, let me begin by saying I know that the title above is longer than a title is supposed to be. I’m horrible at naming my posts, and being that this was the first thing that popped into my head, and it sounded remotely decent, you will just have to deal with the lengthy, out-of-breath type of title. (how’s that for a run-on sentence?)

It’s been well over a month now that school has been going on without me, and I’m still not exactly sure how to express how I feel about it. In the meantime though, I’ve discovered some things about myself and teaching that I thought I would try to share with you.

#1. You can take the teacher out of school, but you can’t take the school out of the teacher. This is proven simply by how my thoughts are drawn almost daily to school at least once…..or twice…..or thrice. It is proven even more, knowing that if you ask me randomly at any time of the school day, I could give you a general idea of what is happening just by glancing at the clock.

#2. It is not the same, nor will it ever be. The relationships you had with those delightful kids–yes, they will still mostly be there, but not seeing them every day, and not knowing what is going on in their life, they will at times treat you like a total stranger–Just because, “It’s different.”

#3. Stress levels go WAY down when you don’t teach school. I’ll just leave it at that 😀

#4. School CAN go on without you. As hard as it is to accept sometimes, and even harder to admit to anyone, there ARE wonderful teachers out there who can do just as good or even better than you. Just get over yourself, and accept it.

#5. I honestly don’t believe I will ever find a job or career as rewarding as teaching. (I’m open right now for options though, if you want me to give it a chance! 😉 yes, this is me, searching for a more full-time job on my blog..any takers?? 🙂 …..) As much work that goes into it, and time and energy it zaps right out of you, the rewards it gives you are way worth the effort.

#6. My writing material literally is non-existent! If you remember, back in the days of the classroom, lots of my writing was based on what happened there….Funny stories, sobering moments, great times of learning, or art projects we did together. Now, if I’d write about my life-work, it would be something like this..”sliced meat and cheese today”, “opened 5 new emails, and deleted the spam”, “customer drove me literally batty”, “created new bills, and paid the old”, “made a mistake on payroll, now I have to fix it”….See? Told you it’d be boring!

#7. No matter how “OK” you think you’ll be with giving it up, there will always be a little tug at your heart when you hear “school talk” being discussed.

#8. No matter how “OK” you are with someone taking over “your” kids, secretly, deep down inside, you will always look at them as yours. (SHHHH, don’t tell anyone!)

#9. There are things you will NOT miss. The permanent tired, exhausted feeling, the stress, the schedule, tears of a child who has just ‘had it’ with school, the dread of failure, behavior problems….

#10. You get excited when asked to substitute, even when it’s not “your” kids, or “your” class. Just the thought of being in the school atmosphere is invigorating for you, and it feels good to be back, especially when someone comments that it looks so normal to see you here! (The sudden popularity you get doesn’t hurt either 😉 )

#11. You will see teacher memes from all over the web, and you will still feel like you can identify with them, even though it’s been a really long time since you were in the classroom.

#12. You will never, ever lose the ‘teacher look/glare’. I’m a bossy one (strong leadership skills 🙂 ?) to begin with (just ask my little/younger, not-so-little brother), so perfecting the ‘teacher look’ was something I had practiced my whole life! I have it down to a ‘T’ now, so why should I lose it?!

#13. You lose your avenue of family stories. No one to tell you updates on their families. Something funny that happened at their house or something scary….On my recent substituting adventure, I was told a story of a hero boy who saved his dad from burning a house down. 😀

#14. Nobody says it as bluntly as kids! (thank goodness they kinda grow out of that!)

#15. You will have some regrets about the way you did things. Looking back, you realize maybe you focused too much on insignificant things and not enough on what is really important, all the while knowing that you did what you did and at the time it was your very best!

#16. Life moves on, and if you don’t move with it, it will trample you. Keeping busy, hearing school stories, and showing up randomly at school are all things that help you move on. The things that happen, happen for a reason, whether you understand them or not, whether you agree with what’s happening or not. Trust, faith, and strong determination help keep you together. Tears are necessary for healing, as well as many substitute days! 😉

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Did You Know?

Did you know that bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers were all invented by women? (fact found on Pinterest, which sadly was not invented by a woman 🙂 )

Did you know that the first man to cross Niagara Falls later died by slipping on an orange peel?

Did you know in Cleveland, OH, it is illegal to catch mice without a hunting license?

Did you know that summers are absolutely AMAZING?! (by the way, for future reference, “?!”, is called an interrobang.)

Did you know that you can have a super intense desire to write with absolutely NOTHING to write about? This has been my issue the past few weeks…I wanted to write, with nothing to write about. I’ve tried several times and nothing seems to work. I’ve decided that my students/teaching provided most of my inspiration for writing, and now that it’s summer, my subjects are no longer near me!

I smile when I think of the difference between my 2 different jobs. One has immense emotional and relational rewards and the other has extreme ummm….fun stuff that I like to do a lot. (that sounds like I need to go back to school for awhile, but if you stick with me, I’ll do my best to explain)

One of them is emotionally draining, but oh, so rewarding in the end when you see the things FINALLY begin to sink in (even if it’s in the last week of school)..the other is oh so rewarding when those numbers on the computer screen FINALLY begin to go to their right places, and things are FINALLY looking up!

One of them makes you extremely tired, but somehow you find energy to get up and go the next morning….the other…it’s a little scary, but you can be your own boss, set your own time schedule and show up to work kinda whenever you want. 🙂

One of them caters to your introverted side, and you can be holed up in a little hole listening to music as you type your emails, write checks, and balance the books. The other just about frazzles the last of those introverted nerves and being around people ANOTHER day, ALL day…..yeah, that’s why Saturdays are deeply treasured!

One of them stretches Both stretch you to grow…… in different ways of course. One gives you the opportunity to shape little minds and hearts, while the other just gives you plenty of opportunities to talk to people on the phone. (YUCK! That’s why texting/email was invented !)

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I saw this quote the other day and it made me thankful I’m not the only one that thinks like this! 🙂

 

But as I look at both of these and I look at my summer ahead. I want to take the challenge to rise above the “normal”. You know, just going through the daily grind…getting up, doing my job, eating, sleeping, that sort of thing. I have this extra time loose time schedule for a reason, and I have the choice to choose whether to waste it frivolously or use it wisely.

I’ll leave you with one more “Did you know” fact.. Because it’s close to bedtime…”Did you know eating cheese before going to bed can help improve sleep quality?”

*All “did you know” facts were pulled off the most reliable source out there…the Internet…. Feel free to prove or disprove them all!*