Half a Century? Woohoo!


My alarm was set for 4:50 am. Why since I’m on summer break? I’m glad you asked. About 10 minutes ago, I finished my 50th year of living, and I didn’t want to be asleep during this momentous occasion. Plus, both of my parents were awake at this time 50 years ago, so it only seems fair that I experience a shortened night’s sleep to celebrate.

So, I figure I’d start my 51st year of life looking back at the first half of my century.

What have I accomplished?

All my teeth came in way back when, and now a handful of them are royalty….they wear nice expensive crowns.

I finished my first 14 years of education in Madison, IN, then decided to do four more in Jefferson County, TN. Later, I took a few courses at IUS and put it with 18 months of an Indiana Wesleyan University to finish my official coursework.

After four years of substitute teaching, I finally had a school choose me to join their staff. I gladly rebelled from my Madison connection to become a part of the Southwestern staff. My red & white upbringing added a patriotic blue to the mix. [Psst, if you mix the three colors together, you find a lovely shade of purple.]

I finished my 24th year teaching 3rd graders assisting their education from home. I’ve taught at least 500 students. When people ask if I have kids (because people are nosy that way), I can answer, “Yep, around 500 or so.” Because let’s face it, once you’ve been in my class you will forever be introduced to those I’m with as “one of my kids”.

After wanting Mom & Dad to have a 4th kid as a child, I finally became a “Big Sister”. First to Courtney and now to Lacie.

Oh, I also self-published 8 children’s books. There are four chapter books in a series called “Jasper’s Journey” and four picture books in the voice of Jasper.

Okay, it’s early….that’s enough looking back. What about the next decade or half-century?

What goals do I have?

I hope to keep the rest of my teeth from becoming snooty royalty by brushing, flossing, rinsing, and getting my 6-month checkups. I learned the value of the last three of those four things the hard way. Through expensive bills and uncomfortable sessions in the dentist’s chair! [Now, I’m finally to the quick and (almost) painless visits. I even wrote a parody after my first quick cleaning with my first “A” report.]

I refuse to be a teacher who just keeps going like the Energizer bunny without trying to improve or grow. However, I now choose not to spend hundreds of dollar on classes, I opt for online webinars that are free or offered through my SimpleK12 subscription. Yet, I also will attend teaching conferences if they’r offered on a topic I feel is worthwhile.

After 24 years in 3rd grade, I asked to be promoted to 4th. This was a transition that countless classes had requested, but this year I decided….why not. I’m thankful for administration who allowed me to make the move, and I look forward to the new challenge. Granted, I hadn’t planned on starting something new in the midst of wearing a mask, being armed with disinfectant, and being a Queen of Hand-washing, but I’ll roll with it.

I’m thinking I have another 10-15 years left in my career, God willing, so I’ll add another 250 kids to my teacher tree. Granted, I’m certain my memory will fail me at times when I hear, “Hey Miss P, remember me?”, but I will strive to improve my recall.

My second little sister will age out next February or when she achieves her GED. Not sure I’ll start on a 3rd, but you just never know what God has in store.

Currently, I’m not working on a picture book, but I have a folder filled with ideas. I’ve started my next chapter books series entitled “Tales from Two Kitties”. I’m attempting to type up poetry that I wrote in high school and college with a few I’ve written in the last couple of decades. I’ve just finished the first draft of “Lessons Learned Behind the Teacher’s Desk”, and I hope to get it revised and edited over the course of this school year. My goal is to put it into print at the end of my 25th school year. Plus, there are other goals for somewhere down the road in the arena of writing. I would love to give Christian fiction a try….where crime isn’t the focus and romance isn’t the central line. I’m thinking “Single Purpose” would be the series title….and the main character? She’ll be a Christian single who survives the journey by leaning on her faith not relying on a romantic relationship to give her purpose. Who knows…I may even giving writing a devotional book a whirl somewhere down the journey. I mean…I’m a teacher who likes to write not an author who teaches. There’s a difference. It seems authors focus on “one area”, but….I just want to write….so I will.

I left a few things off both lists…so to wrap up….

Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Child, Cat Mom

I have been a good daughter for most of those 50 years. Not all of them. I don’t think I gave my best when I was a baby because I was a …baby. Plus, Mom told me once that my 8th grade year was the year they just had to “endure” me. I tell this to many of my friends when their daughters enter into the challenging teen years. I assure them I turned out okay, so to have faith. I will strive to continue doing so by sharing Saturday breakfast, walking their dog, and doing or being what I need to do to support and love my parents.

I have been a good sister. I mean, I played Barbies with my oldest sister, Dianna, when growing up and would attempt to shoot baskets or play ball with Sherry. Dianna doesn’t live in town, but I’ll try to do better at responding to text messages promptly. Sherry still lives in Jefferson County, so I see her more often. I’ll plan on continuing to do so as this next decade begins. Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep meeting at Planet Fitness to attempt to exercise after Connor abandons us for his senior year.

I am a great aunt. It’s like I was born to be one! Ask Connor; he’ll testify. I plan to still send cards and gift cards to him as he finishes his college education. Likewise, puns and cat pics will continue to brighten his inbox. I mean, it’s our thing.

Plus I’m a child of God. I’m thankful for parents who raised me in church, a dad who shared the plan of salvation with me, a church & youth pastors that discipled me as a teenager, and a church family who encourages me in my walk and appreciates my service to our church ministry. I’ll continue to sing, teach, and greet, but I’ll also strive to dive deeper into His Word in order to be a truer reflection of His love and truth to those I do life with.

Finally, I’m a superb Cat Mom. I’d tell you to ask them, but….they’re napping…on me….while I write. Now, I’m thinking….I’ve accomplished my first hour as a 50-year-old, so I might be due for a nap. I guess this Cat Mom should join her felines for a morning snooze! Thanks for reading my ponderings…

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