I never thought my vehicle would break down on the road just past Shreveport on I 49 but it did. One minute you are cruising down the road looking forward to spending a few days on a beautiful Florida beach. The next, you’re calling for roadside assistance.
It was past 1:00 am and the roadside assistance representative said a tow truck diver should make it shortly after 3:00 am to tow my little home one wheels off the side of the highway. I decided I might as well nap while waiting.
I woke up around 6:00 am wondering what happened to my tow truck. After a few calls, I was set up again for a tow. Apparently, the first company contacted didn’t think their tow truck was large enough for my little rv. Another two hours were spent on the side of the road before the two truck pulled up. The driver said he was a mechanic previously. He took a look under the hood. Faulty spark plug? He tried to replace a spark plug but the area was stripped. Time to tow my vehicle in for a repair.
Less than two hours later, my RV was in the shop and the tow truck driver was dropping me off to get a rental car. I had plenty of time to run a few errands, enjoyed a nice meal, an checked into a local hotel. I thought it best to keep out of the casinos. I went to bed a little disappointed my trip was disrupted but hopeful to be back on the road soon the next day.
Sometimes a little setback turns out to be a good thing. Sometimes it’s all in how you look at things. The problem with the RV’s engine couldn’t be controlled nor anticipated. Once I paid for the repair and picked up my RV, it was time to evaluate the situation. I lost two days and had 3 unexpected expenses, repair, auto rental, and hotel. Part of my funds were spent so it looked like I needed to skip the trip to Florida. The new destination was New Orleans. Let the journey continue.
I am a strong woman. I am a flexible person. I am able to look for the positive in any situation. I am blessed.
I love my Dad. As the oldest of the three girls in the family, I always received a lot of attention and praise from my Dad growing up. As an adult, my relationship with my Dad developed into a genuinely good friendship. For the past few years, I called my Dad every morning on my way to work. Dad answered the phone with one of his common greetings.
“Pool hall, ” he would say and then laugh. Our conversation was usually light and often we simply talked about our plans for the day. Sometimes Dad would pass the phone to Mom but it was Dad that I really wanted to speak with as our little talks set the tone for experiencing a good day at work. Our little talks made me happy! I walked into work feeling happy and usually stayed happy all day!
Now we were facing the possibility that Dad had stomach or gastric cancer. The results came in two days after the colonoscopy. It was a bit of a roller coaster ride for many days. The oncologist confirmed our greatest fear, Dad had cancer. I look back and don’t really recall the sequence of events. He had some other tests to verify the extent of the cancer. Initially, we were told Dad was at stage 1 but consquent tests proved the oncologist was incorrect.
So much happened so quickly. More doctors, more tests, differing ideas about what we should do and what doctors and modern medicine could do. We reached out to our extended family for prayers for healing. Dad’s health was declining rapidly and with very little appetite he continued to lose weight. More symptoms, more discomfort and pain.
Stage 4. Stage 4! FOUR? My Dad was already in Stage 4.
How could this be? He was just diagnosed. Dad went to see various specialists on a regular basis. How was this disease allowed to progress without detection?
I am a strong woman. I am a woman of faith. I love my Dad and miss him so very much.
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And the tears formed in my eyes as I prayed, “Our Father who art in heaven,” as I was thinking about my father, my Dad.
Just a year ago, I spoke with my Dad about the negative environment at work. He encouraged me to go to work every day and do my best. His take was the problem was with my supervisor. As long as I enjoyed teaching, I should continue working. But there was more to it and I knew it was best to resign and move on in my life. I didn’t want a negative evaluation on my record nor did I want my reputation tarnished.
I went out-of-town after Christmas but I never made it to the coast. I had just recovered from the flu and was looking forward to spending my mornings walking along the coast. My stop in San Antonio was extended as it was raining at the coast. While there, my allergy symptoms flared up. It was time to head back home to recover. The irritating pollen was not common in my area so I knew the best thing I could do was to simply get away from the source of my discomfort, the pollen.
A few days after arriving home, my younger sister called. She was very concerned about our father. I drove over to his house later that day and I was alarmed to see Dad had lost a significant amount of weight in the short period of time from Christmas to mid January. Dad wasn’t feeling well and explained he was having digestive issues.
Our father who art in heaven, I prayed. And worried. And had faith. But still, I worried.
I am a strong woman. I am a woman of faith. I love my heavenly Father. I love my Dad and wondered, worried, and prayed.
I looked forward to continuing my part-time teaching assignment for the Fall semester 2012. This semester was completely different from the Spring 2012 semester. The factor that made the greatest difference in my two experiences was the “principal” and the style of leadership and management. The 2011-2012 school year was a success. I loved my students and I loved going to work. Teaching gifted ed again was such a blessing.
The 2012-2013 school year did not turn out as I anticipated. The school was assigned a different principal and she told me in September she didn’t want me to return after the December break. I didn’t quit when she first broke the news. My first instinct was to never return and quit immediately. Why should I stay where I was not wanted? The money was nice, I will admit. But I really enjoyed my students and teaching in a community where I worked previously 10 years prior.
I continued to teach with joy. A few changes, more tension, and I finally decided in mid-December it was time for me to leave. Sometimes, you have to walk away from a situation. I was a retired educator working part-time. I taught with JOY in my heart. I told my students I would not be returning, worked my last day doing paperwork, and ended my teaching career again. I sadly left the building on my last day but I was able to walk out with my head held high. I am a teacher and I taught my students well. I said a few good-byes to my colleagues and asked them to keep in touch.
I briefly mourned the loss of that position but I couldn’t help but wonder how my journey would continue. Teaching again was one of life’s “ups” and leaving something that fulfilled my purpose was one of the downs. I knew there was more to come. God had His plan for me. I took time hanging out at the Texas coast after Christmas listening and reflecting. I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I needed to love myself too!
I am a strong woman. I am a woman of integrity. I am very blessed.