Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pond Ripples & New Friends

Talk about an amazing little ripple on the pond!

This past Tuesday was our homeschool co-op day.   I teach first period US Geography for 4th - 6th graders and third period Artsy Journaling for 6th - 12th graders.   Second period is my free period but now that we've started this Biggest Loser And Beyond (TBLAB) contest, ladies are streaming in and out of my room for their weigh-in.  (So much for it being my "prep" period but I don't mind because I'm a loser, too!)   Fourth period is Teacher's Toolbox which I organized, host and lead; fifth period is the highlight of my day:  I lead a ladies' Bible study for the moms.   

So.  I dreamed up Teacher's Toolbox when some of the homeschooling moms (several years ago) asked if those of us with professional teaching backgrounds would be willing to mentor them.   They needed hints on things like classroom management and organizing and lesson-planning.   Last year I offered a few sessions on these topics during my free period.   Since that turned out well, I went head-long into it for this year and loaded the calendar with nice juicy topics!

This past Tuesday my friend, Vanessa, was leading a Toolbox session on Working At Home and was covering all sorts of interesting topics related to this.   She mentioned business opportunities, service opportunities (assistance or administrative), direct sales and multi-level marketing.   

During that last one (MLM) she gave several examples, and then added, "If you're a good writer, you could do a blog and then monetize it."   She pointed out that I have a blog (this one!) and that I've chosen NOT to monetize it because I consider this a ministry of sorts.   She mentioned the name of my blog.  She also mentioned that one can use Pinterest to link your blog and get more visibility.   And that I had done this, too, with my blog.

From across the room, my new friend, Julie, who is the helper assigned to my Artsy Journaling class, raises her hand and says, "Deb, you have a blog?   And your husband was hurt in a motorcycle accident last year?"

Yep.  That's me.

Then she says, "I knew you looked familiar."

Oh.  My.  Gorsch!    

So.  Here's the rest of the story.   

Julie and her family moved to this area (eastern panhandle of West Virginia) from Seattle this past summer.  Talk about a cross-country move!

Seattle to the eastern panhandle of West Virginia - now THAT's a cross-country trip!

Anyway, before they moved, like any good inquisitive homeschooling mom, Julie did a little internet searching and came across one of my Pinterest boards that has  homeschooling stuff on it.   (Of course she fell in love with my OTHER Pinterest boards, too, because I'm just that cool.)   One thing led to another and via Pinterest Julie came across things I'd pinned in my "Titus Two Friends" board, and that's how she found my blog!   

Just think about this for a second....because to me, this is so hugely enormous and just so God-like randomly & perfectly planned:   Julie in the Seattle-area, looking straight down the barrel of a cross-country move, types a few letters into the search bar.  Up pops a few bajillion "relevant" findings, she clicks on one of them which takes her on a little journey.   She digs around for a bit, and idly drops into the TTF blog.  Reads a few articles and thinks, "hmmm, this is interesting."   

Months later (after all that packing, a long move and unpacking), she registers her children for a few classes at this sweet little homeschool co-op.  Part of the deal is she has to be a helper and gets assigned to this whacky-doodle class called Artsy Journaling with a teacher who is all over the place!  Julie finds out there's this other session during 4th period she can attend (for free!).   Some of the ladies are slightly crazy, but she's  new here and hoping to make friends, so she attends a few sessions and also signs up for the 5th period Bible study, too.   

Ripples on the pond may bring a new friend into your life!
Fast forward to Tuesday.   It's late October.  And the ripples on the pond from that long-ago search of homeschooling in West Virginia and the blog article about the guy in the motorcycle accident are an unremarkable, almost forgotten, ordinary part of an ordinary day months ago when preparing for a cross-country move.   Until a chance remark brings it all clearly into focus!   

Sure, we don't always meet the people who read our blogs or the people who write the blogs we read.   My point is how amazing our God is, that He puts us in just the right place, at just the right time, and how He uses us for the glory of His kingdom.   

Gosh, this lady looks familiar, but WHERE did I see her before?  

At Bible class, talking & baby-holding---love it!

Our times are in His hands, remember!?   So, to me this is another reminder that I'm where He wants me, and He's (again) reminding me to do the things I do--that's He's laid out for me to do--and to do them to His glory.

And yes, God DOES work little miracles in our lives.   Daily.

Just like that.  

You might also like this post about friendship!


I am dedicating this article to all the moms who have ever faced a move to a new place, 
whether across the county or the state or clear across the country.   
Picking up stakes, leaving all the beloved friends and family, 
and facing a new adventure takes courage and faith.   

I've been there, I've done that, and I know what it's like to have to start over from scratch.   
I've stood in the  middle of a new grocery store and cried because I missed my old store.   
I've felt the fear of not knowing if the road I was on would take me back to my new house.   
I've walked into a room full of strangers and not known a single soul and 
bit back the tears of missing my old friends so much and wishing I could be transported back to them.

I know how long it takes to make new friends, 
and how long it takes before a new place feels like "home".    
Before this place IS home.

And I'm dedicating this to the not-yet-friends 
who need a reminder to invite the new gal or guy to join the group, 
to get to know them, to include them in your little circle of conversation.   
To invite them over for dinner.   To light up with a smile when you see them.   
To offer a hug and a shoulder when home-sickness bears down.   
For it does.  And it's hard to feel friendless.