Happy New Year 2009

Even though I’m a bit late in wishing all a Happy New Year — it’s January 4th — I’d like to do so now. After re-capping some special or memorable events of 2008 in my journal, I’d say that it was a very good year. The Palmer’s filled it with many family activities, which is the best kind of way to enjoy our lives and to count our blessings. No, the financial world and U. S. economy did not do well in ’08, but compared to so many others in our world, we’re very well off. So, if we have more of the same in 2009, I’d say it was another very good year!

A few days ago, my friend Betty forwarded an article that included this quote from Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” That quote just struck me right between the eyes — smack! It was the same feeling I had when my senior English teacher, Miss Smoot , wrote a quote on the blackboard — “This is the first day of the rest of your life.” What? Whoa . . . just a minute, I’m not going to think about that! But I think it WAS at that time, I did start thinking about “the future.” Up until that time, thinking about the future for me was not too important. Yes, I had plans — to finish high school, get a State job as a stenographer, and maybe marry this guy I’d been dating steadily. But was THAT really what I wanted for the rest of my life? Evidently, NOT!

Several things had to fall in place for a big change in direction for me. First, I would not JUST finish high school, but I would receive a $100 scholarship. College was now part of the plan — mainly because I didn’t want to let down my teachers who had nominated me for this award. So, it was off to the University of Texas for a semester, or maybe two. Four years later, I proudly showed my family what a Bachelor’s degree looked like, since I was the first one to have that opportunity.

Next, I would add a second major to my graduation plan in Business Administration — in the field of Education. So, I graduated with skills to work in Office Administration, which I loved, OR I could enter the teaching field. This decision was made after the urging and encouragement of another teacher — Miss Stengel, a professor at The University. She was so helpful to me and all of her other students — she was interested in us personally as well as professionally, and she was the best mentor any of us ever had.

Then, I met the love of my life during the last two years at UT, and we were married the month before I graduated. We’ll celebrate our 44th anniversary in April.

Now, I’ll make this short — but again, as I look back over the past and forward to the future, I hope that somehow I can influence someone to “get busy living” and to remember “this is the first day of the rest of your life.” As a teacher, like the ones who influenced me, I could make a difference in some students’ lives, and hopefully I did during those 32 years. Now, who knows what a word or an action will do to move someone in a better direction. So, that’s something to think about for 2009!