Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Room (an email forward that has been around, but worth a re-read)

" The Room.."

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.

As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.

A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at."

Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents Often there were many more cards than expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.

Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me.

One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards...

But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh

And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room.. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.

No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.

Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room.. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files.. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him... His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, and so alive.

The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Ramblings - 08-31-2010

The last day of August....three-fourths of 2010 is gone!  Time really flies!

We had our third benchmark testing at school today.  I read the test aloud in all four ELA classes as an accommodation for my students.  From the scores of the tests that I saw, the students mostly bombed.  I'm not sure how effective it is to lose a day of instruction every tenth day....and, like our principal has said numerous times....what did we learn from the benchmark date collected last school year??  Nothing....

Had more vb drama today.  Lawren was benched during practice.  MJ was told to run 13 laps.  Coach W. told L and MJ that she didn't need them on the team.  They were put out of the gym, and when Chuck took them back so that they could finish practice, they were rejected.  I am hoping to meet with Coach Boyd, Mr. Bowen, Coach W., and other interested parties tomorrow.  Hopefully we can work things out....I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

As a fam, we went to Pizza Hut for supper....Tuesday night buffet.  After we ate, Charles and I ran to Laurinburg to Wal-Mart.  He needed golf balls, a fan for his room, and shotgun shells.....deer season opens tomorrow!  It's a federal, legal holiday for some in the South, you know.... :)

Guess that's all for for now.  I'm really tired tonight and think I'll go ahead and turn in....good night!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Meet Me Monday

Hey y'all. I'm Jo DeWitt Davis Black. I was born in Cheraw in of November '61, to Harriet and Lawrence. I have three older brothers, one older sister, and an older step-sister.....I'm the baby of the family.

When I was  very young, Bill Buchanan took care of me. Even though she had 10 children of her own, she came to our house daily to tend to us.   I've never told her, but I appreciate all that she sacrificed to do  for me and I love her very much.

My daddy died when I was four years old. I don't remember a lot about him....I've heard a lot of stories over and over, so those serve as my memories of him.

I went through all twelve years of school in Cheraw. I know that I received a good education in the Cheraw schools. I realized at a very early age (third grade) that I wanted to be a teacher....a special education teacher.

I was very involved in activities while in high school. I was editor of the yearbook, president of the Thespians, member of the student government, and editor of the Quill (literary magazine). I had lots of friends and we all hung out together at school, ballgames, weekends, etc.

I had a pretty steady babysitting job for two beautiful children, Carl and Krista. Their parents, Jane and Al, treated me as their own. I stayed at their house as much as I stayed at my own home, and I even went on vacations with them.

I entered Winthrop College in Rock Hill in August 1980 to study to be a special education teacher. I did not do my best while I was there but never failed a class. One thing is for sure....I had the time of my life while I was there.

After finishing college in '84, I moved back to Cheraw and began teaching at Wallace Primary School. I taught in the Wallace area for 16 years. In 1989, I completed my master's degree in learning disabilities from Francis Marion College, and soon after met Chuck, who turned out to be the love of my life.

Chuck and I married at Old St. David's Episcopal Church on June 14, 1992. We lived in a small apartment in Bennettsville until we bought our home on Jefferson Street. We were blessed with a healthy son, Charles, in 1993, and about two years later, became the parents of beautiful twin daughters, Lawren and Mary Jo.

My heart was broken in March 1998. My wonderful, loving, caring mama died after a steady decline in health. I really did not know how I would go on after she passed away, but I knew that I had to carry on and be strong for myself and my children. I hope that I can be at least half the mother to my children that she was to me and my siblings.

In 2000, I transferred to McColl Middle School to continue teaching special education at the middle school level. I found it to be a refreshing change and continue to teach there. The students in McColl are both a joy and a challenge, and I can sincerely say that love my school, my co-workers, and my administrators.

Well, that's my story, short and sweet...a summarized version....just the bare, minimum facts.  If anyone has any questions, or wants to know more, send me a message and I'll do my best to fill you in on anything I may have left out.


Charles' Senior Pictures...MCHS Class of 2011

Charles had his senior pictures taken in early July and I want to share the proofs with everyone.  These are only a few of the choices and some of my favorites.

I think that the pictures capture the many facets of his personality.  As his mama, I wonder where the the time as gone. 

Charles, your daddy and I are very proud of you and want only the best for you.  Set goals for yourself and keep pushing to reach them!  Continue to be a hard-working, intelligent, loving, and caring young man, and you'll be successful and satisfied with yourself and your life.   


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010

Our day started out like most other Sundays....waking up around 9:00 a.m. and getting ready for Sunday school and church.  Chuck was not working today so he was able to teach our Sunday school class.  We had a really good discussion, but only six people in attendance.  It's really a shame that more were not there.

After church, we just picked up some lunch and ate as a family at home.  Right after we ate, Chuck and Charles went to play golf, and Lawren and MJ went over to Kasey's to hang out for a while.  I lay down for a few minutes and probably dozed off because next thing I knew, L and MJ wanted me to take them to Christ UMC for their church picnic.  Chuck and Charles came home around 5:00, and we went to pick up the girls so we could go to Fatz in Cheraw to have supper for Charles' birthday.

We're all home now....watched Big Brother and now vegging out in front of the computer....Charles is in bed, the girls are studying, bathing, and getting ready for school, and Chuck is doing paperwork at the kitchen table.  Everything is calm and peaceful, just like I like it...a rare occurrence in our home...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Retro Blogs - Failure Is Not an Option

In my first entry, I mentioned that I was new to blogging, but had attempted blogging on several other occasions.  I have record of some of my other attempts, so I think that periodically I'll insert a "retro" blog. 

Failure Is Not an Option

"How can you fail English? You can read! You can write! You can speak! A 62 in English is not acceptable! Failure is not an option!"

Chuck brought home Charles' interim report yesterday, and yes, he has a 62 in 11th grade English. I just don't understand. I understood when he was having trouble last semester in Spanish II, but English?? I don't get it!

Well, I do get it.....he's not trying. Charles doesn't care about English....most of the time he doesn't even speak English....the speaks "Southern American." He cares about firefighting, golf, hunting, eating, and agriculture classes. That's it. I was kind of like that too though....I did well in the classes that I liked (English), and didn't really care about some of the others (math, science, history). But I shouldn't compare myself to him....but anyway...

I've told Charles that he is on restriction until I get written documentation that his grade has improved....probably more punishment for me than for him, but that's the way it usually goes. Hopefully he'll bring his grade up (like he says he has already) and neither of us will have to suffer for too long. I'll email Mr. Caldwell and see what he says, and then we'll see what happens after that....

Lazy Saturday 08-28-10

Today has been a lazy, quiet Saturday thus far.  Chuck got up early to go to Jefferson to teach a class for the SCFA, and the girls and I slept late.  After getting up and becoming motivated, I cooked bacon, grits, and eggs for lunch, then worked on laundry (never-ending laundry!). 

Charles is still at Northside.  The girls and I are going to pick up Chelsey Brumbles, and then all four kids are going to the ~Mud Bog~....whatever....  I don't understand mudbogging, and may never.  They have tried to explain it to me.....I guess one day I'll just have to go and experience it....

Chuck is resting for a while, and then we are going to go to Bath and Body Works (one of my fav. stores), Wal-Mart (got to pick up a few essentials), and to eat supper (something simple).  Cannot wait for the trip to B&BW...haven't been in a long time.

Anyway, hope our lazy Saturday will remain lazy, and everyone will continue to be calm and cooperative....I'm keeping my fingers crossed....


Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Son....I love you!

A quiet Friday night at home alone....HOORAY!!!

We went to the J&K for supper and then Chuck and the girls (plus Chelsey Brumbles) went on to the Bulldog football game at Cheraw High School, and Charles and I came back to Bennettsville.  Charles is spending the night at Northside Fire Dept. because he has an "important, mandatory explorer meeting" tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. 

Speaking of Charles....it was 17 years ago today, on a Friday night, that Charles was born.  I went into Marlboro Park Hospital on Thursday, Aug. 26 so that my labor could be induced.  Since it was late in the afternoon, I spent the night and the process began early the next morning.  I got a wonderful epidural about mid-afternoon, and Charles presented himself at 4:56 p.m.  Chuck was there for the birth, then left around 5:30 to drive the team bus to Cheraw for the football game (he was a coach at the time).  Charles weighed 6 lb. 10 oz., and was about 20 in. long.  He was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen.  Of course my mama said, "Every crow thinks his is the blackest!"  I know exactly what she means, but you couldn't tell me that at the time.  Marlboro lost the game 14-7 that night....

But the Dawgs are WINNING tonight....final score MCHS 30 and Cheraw 0!

Back to Charles!  Happy birthday son!  You will never know how important you are to me.  I am very proud of you.  You are a handsome, mature, helpful, kind-hearted young man who has so much potential.  I only want the best for you in your life.  Always do your best and make good choices.  Remember that I am here for you and will always be in your corner.  I know we may not always see eye-to-eye, but remember that I have a lot more years of experience behind me, so sometimes, you just have to trust my judgement....hopefully one day you will understand what it's like to be a parent!  Again, I love you Buddy!

TGIF - 08-27-2010

TGIF!  After this week, I really mean it!!

Happy birthday to Charles.  He's 17 today....hard to believe!  I love you, Charles. 
(more reflections on Charles to come...)

Ruminating on volleyball....contemplating what should be done next...take another step, bite the bullet, build a bridge, become apathetic, or let it go?  We'll see....

Good luck to Lawren today!  Election results will be announced.  She ran for sophomore class vice-president.  I'm proud of you, baby.

Gotta go to class....

Again, TGIF!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Volleyball Scrimmage - MCHS vs. Chesterfield

I did not expect to have a negative entry on the very first day, but here goes...

Lawren could not play in the vb scrimmage against Chesterfield today because she walked into the gym (on time) with a McDonald's cup with ice in it and would not give it to the coach.  She was on the way to throw it away, and she had to sit out the WHOLE SCRIMMAGE!  Ok, she should have been punished....I agree with that, but let's "make the punishment fit the crime".  Others have had soft drinks;  others have been late;  others have missed practices;  others have been disrespectful;  others have not give 100% all of the time...Lawren and MJ included....but again, let the "punishment fit the crime".

Fast forward to the end now....the JV vb team lost all three matches against the C'field JV vb team.  The MCHS varsity vb team lost all three matches against the C'field vb team.....shamefully, seriously, pitifully!  :(  What was the outcome?  What did the coach say afterwards to her team?  Paraphrased: "This team lacks leadership."  "Y'all don't play as a team."  What MJ inferred from the coaches' speech...."Y'all suck!"

Will L and MJ be at the next scheduled practice?  Yes.  Will L and MJ quit the team like so many others have already?  No.  Will I continue to support the MCHS vb team? Yes.  Do I agree with the coaches' decision to bench L for the entire scrimmage?  No.  Do I think she has shot herself in the foot?  Yes. 

It's over for today....everyday life is not always like I think it should be....and today was not different.


New to Blogging...

Today I'll start on a new adventure....blogging...!  I've tried it several times before but always give up on it because of lack of time, lack of energy, lack of words to use.  I'm really going to strive to keep up with this attempt because I've so enjoyed following my neice's blog as she prepared for her wedding and is now living her life as newlywed ( thanks for the inspiration Kit!).  I'd also really like to create a written record for my children to look back on and reflect upon when they are older....hopefully they will be able to understand what it's like to be an adult and a parent, and see that the things that I say and do are done with the best of intentions and packed with experience and love.

So, here goes...a glimpse into our families' EVERYDAY LIFE...