Monday, January 30, 2012

From Generation to Generation

--
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
C. S. Lewis ~


I am the daughter of two teachers. Daddy taught Physical Education and coached football and basketball for forty years, and taught young athletes about faith through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Momma taught several grades from preschool through middle school, not to mention countless hours of women's Bible studies. Between the two of them and their teaching careers that spread across two countries, their impact and influence on young lives will only be measurable in heaven. They both teach like most people breathe. It's part of who they are. Even now, though both have retired from the teaching jobs they loved, whether it's with their most fortunate children and grandchildren or people in the community in various venues, they continue to teach and encourage and inspire.

I grew up in a home that valued education . . . a home that saw ordinary moments as opportunities to be curious and learn, to notice God everywhere and see His hand at work . . . a home that believed in becoming all you can be to bring glory and joy to your Heavenly Father.

I bought in . . .

. . . with my whole heart.

Right out of high school, I knew what I wanted to become. I should have done it. But somehow, I allowed one well-intentioned, but discouraging comment along the way to make me question that dream, and I let it go. I am sad to say it was without a fight. There is more to the story of what happened to sideline my college career, but that isn't what I am focused on today. Today is about what is ahead, not what is behind. Today is about the dream that I let go of, but wouldn't let go of me, the one I've been hinting at in recent posts (this one and this one). 

This Tuesday, January 31, 2012, I will once again be a college student, but for the first time in pursuit of my BA in English, with the ultimate goal of becoming the high school English teacher I always wanted to be.

I. can. not. wait!

I don't have time to wait! I'm 30 years late to the party and time is SO of the essence!

Ah, time. Yes, the clock is ticking, but as you will see, it is a very special clock!

I have another teacher in my ancestry. May I introduce you to my great grandmother?


Here she is with her class at Perry Normal College (she is seated in front, second from the right).
At the time these pictures were taken, she was Miss Blanche Lisle, 18 years old, having just graduated from her teacher training at Perry Normal College in Perry, Iowa. It was 1907, and like Anne Shirley of Green Gables fame, my grandma taught in a one-room schoolhouse through cold Iowa winters with all grades under her tutelage.

Now that you've met her, may I draw your attention to the watch she wore on a pin in both pictures? If I have the story correct, the watch was a graduation gift to her from her parents, and she prized it forever afterward.


I inherited that watch from my grandmother, Blanche's daughter, Laurene (Daddy's mother). She wore it as a pendant on a chain, which is how I wear it now.


Although I have been looking at this watch since I was a child, feeling the warm heft of it in my hands as I played with it while sitting on my grandma's lap, it was only recently that I noticed . . . really noticed . . . what is engraved on the back of the watch. Do you see?


It's a schoolhouse! A tiny, perfect schoolhouse that looks like it could have doubled as a church because some of those one room schoolhouses actually did double as church buildings. I can feel the warmth and extraordinary heft of that symbolism and the richness of its meaning on my heart at this moment where I stand ready to begin. Would it seem cliché if I said I felt a little like the bird taking flight as I spread my wings on the way to my dream?


I hold the watch to my ear to hear it sing it's tick-tock song--I wish you could hear it too. It still keeps perfect time, and I love the way it feels to wind it, gently, feeling each click of the stem as it sets the gears in motion. I have always loved this watch and the women who have worn it, but it has taken on a whole new significance as I follow Momma and Daddy, and my Great Grandma in footsteps that I am deeply honored to follow. Thank you for setting the bar so high--I pray I can reflect your example to the students I hope to have someday.

So . . . no, I don't have any more time to wait, and yes, the clock is ticking, but what a truly special clock it is!


"His mercy extends to those who fear him,
 from generation to generation."



Have you ever been afraid it was too late to set a new goal or to dream a new (or old) dream?
Have you ever done it anyway? Tell me your stories!!

Many thanks to my cousin Lee and my Uncle Lowell for their help in getting Grandma's story details and for sending me the extraordinary pictures of Grandma!
________________________________

Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"
Counting my next 1000 Gifts, joining Ann in The Joy Dare--like a scavenger hunt for graces, gifts and glory!! Wanna come along?  I dare ya!!

JANUARY’S JOY DARE: 
#1064-1084
22. one grace wrinkled --sun-dried tomatoes
       one grace smoothed--clothes I iron for my family
       one grace unfolded--the magical tale told by Athol Dickson in The Opposite of Art
23. 3 gifts found in Christ
       grace that is "greater than all our sin"
       "peace that passes understanding"
       truth--perfect and absolute
24. 3 things blue
       Hero Husband in navy blue with a lavender tie--beautiful (him, I mean!)
       the palest of Robin's egg blue behind wisps of peach in a dawn-breaking sky
       blue jeans, how we all live so much of life in our blue jeans
25. one grace borrowed --a great line from Justin McRoberts, "Every great work takes the shape of the cross."
       one grace found--calm after an upset (camera tumbled to the pavement, heart stopped til it checked out okay)
       one grace inherited--my love of words
26. a gift before nine am--a long put-off beginning of a hanging-over-my-head-too-long project
       a gift before noon--one drawer organized and big progress made on said project
       a gift after dark--the crispy crunch of tilapia coated in corn meal
27. 3 gifts that might never have been
       this house that is our home-Jehovah Jireh
       this family, the four of us, if I had never come to California
       my computer and camera that make it possible for dreams to come true--gifts from God and Hero Husband
28. 3 graces found in your friends
       laughter
       great memories
       a heart warmed by love that stands the test of time


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