A Friend’s Aspiration

An old friend several states away, a school teacher with a full classroom, posts on FB:

Some day I would like to teach just a few people many and beautiful things that would help them when they one day teach a few people.

In an age where everyone aspires to build a huge following, I find it refreshing.



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When the Timing Seems All Wrong

I’m tempted to take John Blase to task for suggesting he’s lost his timing so late in his career, but he’s such a gentle soul. You should be following him, friends. Either his blog or on FB. In fact, if you’re maxed out on the number of people you follow, drop me and follow him. You won’t regret it. (links at bottom of post)

Anyway, here I am, midweek, no ESL class today, finally able to begin processing last weekend, a weekend beyond my imagination when I imagined all was lost, a weekend about which my husband said,

When I get to heaven, I’d like to see the video of all this, just to see all the pieces at once,”

and John’s words have gotten me off course.

Before daybreak, I retrieved from my bag the hastily made list I compiled Sunday morning while waiting for my plane home. Sitting at the gate, memories of the weekend came flooding in. They came rushing at me. No time to process. Only time to jot a list of keywords: Hug, “providential,” Lebanon bologna, the 3 Qs, feet firmly planted….

These words mean nothing to you, I know, but my hope was that when I finally had time to sit and think, these would serve as memory triggers. It’s taken me 72 hours to come back to it, to try to capture some of it for some purpose I don’t yet understand. There’s a story in all of this somewhere and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’ve begun sending bits at a time to my oldest and dearest friend, the one who has followed my life thus far. And I hers.

I wrote from 5 to 7 AM, then again from 7:30 to 9 AM. I stopped to take the dog for a stroll and make a cup of coffee. Right then and there, as coffee brewed, I read John Blase’s words and the line, “It’s a strange feeling losing a bit of your timing this late in your career.” (Hat tip to Stephen Sondheim).

The line screamed for my attention. Doesn’t it know my attention is all spoken for today? I tried to turn away, to return to the task at hand. I’d been making such progress. But you know how these things go.

I just want to tell John I understand. But also, when it comes right down to it, that we are all pretty clueless about our timing, whether it’s right, wrong or upside-down. Very poor judges of it. Sorry, John. A person can be so on the right track he can’t see the rails under him. And then, holy smokes, there we are, at our destination. At exactly the right place. At exactly the right time. For exactly the people we were destined all along to meet. And for purposes we were also destined to meet. I can’t explain how it happens, but it does, no matter how many times I’ve given up on it.

Sometimes, the hardest part of walking by faith is letting go of timing.

Okay, phew! Let’s all return to our regularly scheduled programming. Where was I? Oh yes, looking for what I had to say, before John came along and got me off my track….or helped me find it. Time will tell.

John’s post that prompted all this.
John’s blog.
John on FB.

Posted in faith, good blogs, letting go, timing | 2 Comments

The Word “Purple” is a Problem


THE WORD ‘purple’ turns out to be a problem. For two years, I’ve watched as students from just about every language group struggle to pronounce it.

I have the same problem with the name of the actor Daniel Oyelowo.*

We have a male student now. I work in a class for students who require child care. We use the facilities of a local Baptist Church. They’ve made several rooms available to us – 3 child care rooms and 2 classrooms. But because we are specifically set up for parents needing child care, our class tends to be full of mothers. Now, however, we have a dad. His wife used to be in the class, but she was successful in finding work and since he now needs child care to come to English class, he’s joined us. Before this, he was in a class a block away where there are no child care facilities. You probably didn’t need to know all that. I mention it to say that we don’t often have a man in the class as a student. We do have a male tutor 2 days a week, which is especially helpful for students who are not accustomed to speaking with men outside their families or may not have been encouraged by men to learn. This is all beside the point.

It was our new male student who stumbled over the word ‘purple’ several times yesterday, then declared:

“Oh! This word ‘purple’ is like the word…….”. He couldn’t say the word he was thinking of, so he wrote it out, a mix of caps and lower case: J-e-w-e-L-r-y!

The word ‘purple’ is like ‘jewelry’? Nobody had ever suggested this before. I thought about it all the way home. Is it that it doesn’t sound the way it’s spelled or that there are too many consonants for the tongue to trip over? I don’t know. I’ve been saying the word since before I knew how to spell it, so it comes naturally to me.

But this morning I saw a clip with Daniel Oyelowo and it started to make sense to me. Maybe ‘Oyelowo’ is like the word ‘jewelry.’ I struggle to get all the vowels and consonants and syllables to fall into place when I try to say it.

There’s seemingly no end to the number of things I don’t know about English. I’m learning daily.

*(pronounced – “oh-yellow-oh”)

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