Sunday, May 20, 2012

Teachers and lessons

I am blessed to have in my life many AMAZING people!  They have taught me so much simply by being themselves.  It always looked so easy as I watched them being themselves but I have come to appreciate the challenges they have each experienced.  I am thankful for the lessons they have taught me and continue to teach me.

My dad was my first teacher. He taught me about love, patience, trust, faith, and God's never ending grace.  He lived his life with great joy, often beginning his day by proclaiming, "This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it!"  He continued to teach even as he died reminding me that at the end of even the very worst day there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.

Aunt Jean was another teacher.  She made the best homemade noodles, always allowing me to watch and help as she repeated endlessly each step.  She gave the best hugs; pulling me close and tight, wrapping her arms so securely around me you could feel her heart beating.  Unconditional love was her gift.

Another Jean was there during my very difficult teenage years.  She would listen, simply listen as I poured out my hurts.  She would nod and listen never interrupting or trying to correct me but rather let me pour it out until I had said it all.  Jean taught me how to listen and she showed me how to be a mother.

Sarah, (not her name), is a child at my school.  Her body has been contorted by scoliosis.  Her heart and lungs compromised as a result.  Asthma attacks require a portable oxygen tank.  Surgery to correct the scoliosis has nearly cost her her life and yet she smiles and laughs at the silliest things but has full knowledge of the battle she has had to fight too many times for someone so small and her age.  Sarah has taught me all about fierce determination.

Dannie is a former coworker.  He is one of the unfortunate ones with Diabetes.  While we worked together he battled to save a toe which would not heal due to his Diabetes.  When the surgeons removed his toe we thought he would be fine but diabetes frequently has other ideas and they had to amputate his leg.  Diabetes took his leg but did not touch the essence of who he is, what he can teach.    In February he posted this on Facebook:   

Today I came home with my prosthesis, and so I celebrate with a new icon, with apologies to Leo D. It will be tough and awkward going at first, but I'm a tough (and awkward) guy. Soon I'll be slow dancing with The Mrs.  

Dannie did dance with his wife and shared that in a post as well.  I rejoicedOn Friday Dannie posted another one of his amazing photographs on Flickr.  The photo was of his temporary prosthesis and while the photograph was outstanding I had to smile at his comment:

"This has been my temporary prosthesis since Feb. 21. I've completed out-patient PT, I have been driving, shopping, have been to a Pow-wow, have cooked and baked, and walked for exercise. Friday, I was fitted for my 'permanent' prosthesis, which will be carbon-fiber, titanium, stainless steel and will be very fierce!"

Danny has taught me that even in the midst of terrible personal challenges persistence, perseverance, humor and grace can prevail.

My newest teacher is Faye who is too young to be battling throat cancer and yet she is.  She was warned the surgery necessary to remove the cancer could cause her voice to change and yet in the depths of her battle she found her voice. She smiles when I know her throat must feel like it is on fire.  She steadfastly refuses to take any more pain medication and she keeps on putting one foot in front of the other.  Friday night she participated in The Relay for Life Walk.  Faye and her team walked all night raising money for other cancer victims.  She posted her pictures on Facebook; she is smiling, no grinning and she is joyful!
Faye has taught me all about joy.

I keep hearing my Dad whispering quietly: "At the end of even the very worst day there is always something to be grateful for."  I am grateful for the lessons and the friendships.

To each of you, and the countless others I have not mentioned may I leave you with this from a sermon by  Steven Furtick:

"May you walk in constant courage so that when you face an unchangeable situation in your life, you will have an unwavering faith in an unchangeable God!"

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Most Memorable Day!

Last Saturday, May 5th, 2012, began as most of my Saturday's do lately; the ungodly shrill of my alarm clock woke me up at 5:45 AM! I made my way towards the shower so I could get ready for my two Weight Watcher's meetings.  The first group I lead begins at 7:30 AM but I like to get there early so I get going.  I stop at McDonald's on my way and get a large coffee and a yogurt parfait.  I arrive at the center a bit earlier than I am required to which gives me time to get my meeting set up the way I want it, scan inventory to see how supplies are and check out any new products that have come in since Tuesday when I was last there.  I gulp down the yogurt, have a team meeting and unlock the door on time.  I am in my groove and I am happy.  The first meeting goes well and I move on to the second which goes equally as well.  It feels as if time flies.  I am finished.  Normally I would pack my stuff up and head home stopping by the consignment shop to see if I can snag any bargains but today I am in a hurry.  I am heading to Greenville for my Weight Watcher territory's Celebration event.

My husband drives me to Greenville and we discuss plans for the rest of the day.  I arrive on time, find the other Rock Hill staff members and we find a seat at a table and prepare for a nice chat and lunch.  Lunch was wonderful!  We had a beautiful grilled chicken breast salad complete with candied pecans and strawberries.  The salad dressing was a garlic yogurt dill and it was very good.  Chocolate mousse in a parfait glass was dessert.  I tasted the mousse but left it alone but did eat every bite of the dark chocolate garnish it was topped with.  After lunch the awards and celebrations began.  We had fun celebrating the total weight loss of the staff sitting at each of the tables.  My table came in second with over 600 pounds lost!  We added up years of service for each table and I was so surprised with the large numbers and we said a fond goodbye to our current territory manager, Diane, and a warm hello to her replacement, out new territory manager, Tisha.  I was sad to see Diane move on since she was the one who was willing to fight to get me hired.  She had faith in me.  She saw the flame and enthusiasm I wanted to desperately to share.  She understood!  I don't know Tisha and she doesn't know me but Diane was moving on to new challenges and a larger territory so I was happy for her.  I will get to know Tisha.  It will be fine especially knowing Diane hired Tisha!

Awards were next and I listened and watched as all of the awards were given.  It was a great event!  Everyone was having a good time.  My attention was peaked after Diane presented the outstanding Rookie Receptionist of the Year award.  I sat and listened as she began describing the qualities of the leader who would receive the next award, The Rookie Leader of the Year.  I remember thinking Wow as she described this leader and then the most unbelievable thing happened;  She said "This year's Rookie Leader of the Year is Lynn Thompson!" Did she just say my name?  I walked to the front of the room fighting tears, so honored, so humbled, so proud!  I remember saying something.  I know I said thank you. I am so grateful!  I am Lynn Thompson and I am the Rookie Leader of the Year for Territory 7115!