Many years ago, when I was in 8th grade, I had been placed in a higher level math class where I was challenged with pre-algebra and because I had done well enough and showed potential for mathematics, it was recommended I continue on in my math studies. Thus, as a new student to high school in my 9th grade year I signed up for Algebra I without any qualms of finishing strong and doing well. Even then I fully expected to continue on with Geometry and Algebra II, at a minimum, while in my secondary education studies.
The first semester went satisfactorily. I enjoyed Algebra, but found it was necessary for me to complete all the practice work to grasp the formulas and problems.
But, towards the end of the semester I noticed Algebra becoming exceedingly difficult for me to grasp. I did not hesitate to ask questions in class and, at first, this wasn't a problem.
When the second semester rolled around and we returned to classes from Christmas break, having a few weeks off of school, and Algebra becoming noticeably more difficult, I didn't enter the second half with as much aplomb. Rather, I was anxious.
My teacher was an older gentleman (who was probably only in his 40's but a 9th grader always sees someone in their 40's as really old) who shall remain nameless (only because I don't remember his name), who had begun, with me alone, the most frustrating and humiliating endeaovr any teacher could ever do with his student. To this day I'm mystified as to why.
Every time I asked a question he would laugh.
Early on in the second half of the semester, he'd answer the question but it would be succeeded with a chuckle. The chuckle and laugh became the routine. I would raise my hand during class because I had a question. He would chuckle or laugh.
Then, after a couple months, when I would raise my hand he wouldn't only chuckle and laugh, he just wouldn't call on me.
So - I stopped asking questions.
My grades plummeted. I finished the semester with a D. Because I had made an A in the first semester I finished the year with a B-, but that year of Algebra finished me for math. All those years ago, there was only a two- math requirement to graduate. Rather than continue on to Geometry or Algebra II, instead, I took Business Math.
In my first year of community college I didn't even take a math class. I filled the semester with degree-related classes, instead, though not something a student could do now. Because I joined the military after my first year of college I didn't have to decide when math would be on my class schedule. But,
My mindset had already shifted.
I no longer believed I was capable of math.
Several years later, when I attended weather forecasting school, I struggled with the only math-related block of study - physics. Those old feelings of hating math, believing I was incapable of grasping the concepts rushed to the surface and, embarrassingly, I even had to re-take the four-week block. But, the second time around was different. I had figured things out. Physics wasn't impossible for me to grasp.
It just took me more time to grasp the concepts.
It was a dimly lit lightbulb. Dimly. Yet, lit.
Then, several years after that I decided I should finish my degree, changing majors from criminal justice to meteorology. While the degree required meteorology-related classes that involved math, I was only required to take two levels of math. Heading back into college I kept the semesters filled with everything but math. I even took statistical climatology before I finally had to think about a math class if I wanted to finish my bachelor's degree.
Then, finally, having enrolled at a local university to finish all the core classes I'd never completed over the past 10 years of piecemealing a degree together, in the spring semester I had to take College Algebra I. And,
I had grown up.
I was in my 40's and while high school 9th Algebra was in my mind, it was in the back of my mind. Not front and center. Over the years, successfully completing class after class, as an older-age adult, I no longer believed I couldn't make it through Algebra I. Somewhere along the way that lightbulb had brightened with each passing success.
I knew it would be difficult, but I already figured out I have to practice math if I'm going to - get it.
I finished the semester with a B.
I was down to one class to finish my bachelor's degree. Calculus I. When I said I only needed two math classes to finish my degree I didn't mention that one of them had to be Calculus.
Because I desperately wanted to finish my degree I took a Calculus class on the summer semester schedule.
An entire 4-month class, in 8-weeks.
But, here's the deal. I was older and wiser. My mindset had shifted. My focus was on point. Okay, 8 weeks was going to be a bear, crazy, unbelievably difficult, plus...It. Was. Calculus.
It was one class. My focus was calculus. I did all the practice problems. If I didn't understand something I asked the professor. She answered all my questions. I remember the first time she said, "That's a great question!" and proceeded to explain the problem further on the board, I was ecstatic! I smiled the rest of class. My professor was teaching college as her night job.
Her day job was a high school math teacher.
I also remember the first test I made a 100% on. I was the only student who made a 100% that day.
I finished my 8-week college Calculus I class with an 89.3% grade point average. I was .7% from an A.
Tybee Island, July 3, 2017 | Because I knew he would need to acclimate himself to the sounds of the sea, to the shifting sand under his feet, and to the crashing waves, so I went out with Ian to the water's edge, and stayed close. All the while I talked gently with him, making everything happy and content. Pretty soon he found his brave.
I am beginning the long list of stories I want to tell about when all four of my kids were home and all my grandchildren were together with us. So many stories to share. So many pages to create. I am planning on doing a mix, I imagine, of both 6 x 8 and 12 x 12 sized pages all of which will go in our Stories 2017 album.
School supplies. Like office supplies, I love browsing the aisles of notebooks, highlighters, paper, pens, pencils, all things that say school. I don't have kids in school anymore so school shopping in July or August just isn't a priority. But, this is my year of giving - and giving well.
When Ashley hit Walmart for school supplies for Ian and Wyatt I loaded up the cart too. Our church, this month, is collecting school supplies for local schools. It's the least I can do. And, there are so many who cannot and would have to do without.
This is the second month in a row I have gifted The Sunshine Girls ministry through our church a part of a meal that TSG, in turn shares with the strippers in the bars of our city. They've spoken love without judgement into these ladies. I'm loving giving my small part.
I think serving TSG will be a once a month gift - for now.
I want to remember my mom is the best. She is fun-loving, easy-going, and quick-witted. While we don't see each other often I can always count on one thing when she visits: I will enjoy her company. Mom visited for 10 days the beginning of July, probably the longest she's ever visited at one time. But, it was a momentous occasion as I was going to have all my kids and all my grandkids under one roof for an entire week. This meant my Mom's grandkids and great grandkids would be under one roof, too. Not her entire crew of grand's or great's but a good portion, nonetheless.
I want to remember even in her mid-70's Mom is still game for just about anything (within reason, certainly). Although we didn't schedule any sky diving or zip-lining into our week we did enjoy an early morning at the beach. I love that Mom just wants to be with us. We set up a canvas open tent, not just for mom, but everyone who wanted or needed to stay out of the sun. She plowed through the sand like a real trouper. It was enough to watch her grand's and great's playing in the ocean and chatting with whomever stayed behind.
I want to remember playing Apples to Apples with Mom, Ash, Brooklyn, and the rest of the gang and laughing until your stomach hurts at Mom (and Ashley's) quick-wit and adult silliness. It is a scream playing this game. Actually, I love playing scrabble with Mom, too, but we didn't get to do that She's a smart lady about a lot of things so it makes conversation wealthy and intelligent - amidst the laughter and fun.
I want to remember binge-watching Downton Abbey. Ashley and I love the show and so does Mom. We were kindred spirits, chatting and talking about the period, the show, the clothes, the palace - the times. When I shared a blog post (one of my favorites) about the 'boyfriends of Downton Abbey' by The Lazy Genius Collective, Mom laughed along with my reading. She 'gets' what's funny. It's her quick-wit and humor.
I want to remember how Samuel, my youngest grandson and her youngest great grandson, went to her, let her hold him without pitching a fit, before me and we joked about it. And we laughed. She devoured her great grandson. It was a sight to behold.
I want to remember the rather long day when we willingly chose to go to the Tangier Outlet mall. We browsed, we tried on clothes, we shopped, we ate at Johnny Rockets, we battled the extreme heat, we bought pralines by the pounds, and we came home exhausted with quite less money in our pockets.
I want to remember how she loves being with her grandkids and great grandkids. She doesn't get tired of them. Sure, she gets tired, but not of them. She savors every. single. minute. with them. I asked Mom what was on her bucket list next because over the last few years she's been a traveling queen. But, besides another visit to Ireland (her second visit), she said visiting her grandkids and great grandkids are at the top of her traveling plans.
reading slowed way down while family was in the house but I've picked books back up, mostly at work during free time, and I'll be adding new titles read to my goal 100 New Books in 2017.
binge-watching Madam Secretary Season 3 and Blue Bloods Season 7 as they have recently been added to Netflix. While Ash (and my mom) was here we did a bit of Downton Abbey binging, too. I read aloud a favorite post of The Lazy Genius Collective's to my mom because she has a really awesome sense of humor and we all had a good chuckle oohing over the best boyfriends of Downton Abbey. We agreed on the winner.
eating Whole 30 compliant food ONLY - since July 10th. The key is prep work and buy whole. Basically, Whole30 compliant means no sugar, I mean NO sugar. In anything. No grains, which, of course, means pasta, bread, rice, etc... No dairy. Which means no butter and no cheese. Did I mention no sugar? And, no cheese! I have been successfully, dutifully, uncomprisingly eating this way for 10 days. I wasn't supposed to but I did cheat and weighed myself after 5 days because I. Just. Had. To. Know...5 pounds lost.
needing to catch up on scrapbooking projects like Project Life, Stories 2017, 52 Gratitudes in 2017, and 52 Weeks of Giving. I'm behind. I haven't scrapbooked in weeks. I'm talking weeks, people. It's crazy and I miss it.
celebrating an early birthday for the guys (20 years old - crazy!) this coming weekend. Ash and crew will be back in town for the weekend. Some bowling, laser tag, dining out - and presents! Should be a fun time!
rejoicing in the news my job is secure for another year. I would prefer to do this for many more years but, I'm certain God's got this! One more year is a total blessing.
letting our small group know we won't be hosting for quite some time. With Jeff working out of town it is just not feasible in this season. We'll (or at least I will if Jeff isn't available) still attend small group we just won't be hosting. This is a big change for us as we have hosted a small group for SO many years. But, I think it will be a joyful rest. Without hosting maybe I'll enjoy making desserts to share again rather than feeling as it is a chore.
readying to begin and dig deep. I am going to dig in deep to the Word and begin at the beginning. In Genesis. One of the best ways I have found to dig deep is through a Precepts study. I've emailed a lady from church who intimated I could check out the DVDs that go with the actual study. The study is on it's way. I will be divin' in - to Genesis.
pre-planningour much anticipated trip to Niagara Falls - in November. Yep, pre - planning.
loving that Ash and crew will be able to 'come into town', regularly, now that they are only a couple hours away. Or, we can go there.
I'm not behind in giving. I'm only behind in creating my 4 x 6 page for my giving album, a physical record documenting my year of giving. It is for the same reason I document my gratitudes (which I am also behind in creating)...so I can look back and see what God has done.
This week was a simple response. Join Ann Voskamp in being one of one million people who honor the Bible. Coming November 2017 the Museum of the Bible will open in Washington D.C. It is not a museum for the dead but the Bible, which is alive, and its sole purpose is to get people engaged in the Word of God.
I donated and added our four names to the nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety six others who honor the Word of God.
We were discussing the impending visit of our daughter Ashley. She and her crew were coming to stay for two weeks (originally two weeks, but since has been extended to three weeks). I told him I'd decided to buy all of our food while we were here rather than split the check as we've done in the past when her crew came for extended visits. He thought that was a good idea. I said I'd let them take care of additional baby stuff/food.
He said since I was doing this year of giving that maybe I (we) could move that giving to those in our home.
A lightbulb went on.
I got flush with frustration - at myself. Why didn't I think of that myself?
He is the servant-hearted one I reminded myself and I'm still growing into one; a servant, who gives abundantly, freely, whole-heartedly, joyfully.
Then, I also remembered that we're in this together. When I am weak he is strong. While this may be kinda, sorta, my GIVE project WE. ARE. IN. THIS. TOGETHER. When I give he is also giving.
So, when Ashley and I went to Walmart to get stuff, mostly for Samuel, I held on to our little secret.
She filled her cart with a month's worth of baby food, baby clothes, wipes, formula, etc...all the while believing she was buying it.
At the checkout I told her I was buying.
Here's the thing. I love giving to others. God has shown up big time. He opens my eyes to this place of giving, or this ministry's needs, or that ministry and I've responded, I hope, faithfully.
But, I realized this: Giving closer to home is just as fulfilling. It is just as much a God-sized gift as all the other gifts I (we) have given.