Well, the last Christmas decoration has been packed. The Bowl game has been played and lost. 2008 is here! I promised myself that as soon as all that was done I would start on Relay for Life. I am so excited! I have been going to events like Relay University in October and executive committee meetings since November. Of course, all that was around funerals—both on the same day– for my cousin Sophia who had leukemia and my dear church friend Fayette who had cancer.  I get so excited about the work that Relay accomplishes and then, pow! The reason we have to keep fighting back hits hard!

I imagine that you can sit there and count on your fingers the people you know personally who have been affected by cancer. This year the Relay motto is

celebrate, remember, and fight back!

Will you help me again? Please!!!!! I want to raise over $2500 this year. Even more if possible! Cancer needs to be stopped! I am begging you to help!!!!!!

The site is secure for online donations. I really encourage you to donate that way. It cuts out the processing costs of cash/checks. The URL is http://www.events.cancer.org/rflgreenvillesc. You can click on the John Knox team and then my name to contribute. If you want to donate in memory or honor of someone please include their name either on the site or on your check. 

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Shortly after September 11, I noticed an American flag flying from the flag pole in the parking lot of the empty building across the street from Mitchell Road. The daycare that had been in the old building had moved out several years ago. The property had had a forgotten look about it for quite some time. So the flag flying in the breezes of late summer caught my attention as I stood at the front of my classroom and could see out the window. Everyday the flag was still flying. It was an inspiration to me during those first days after the attack on our nation. I never saw anyone on the property. I wondered who could have put up the flag. I could figure out why someone did it, however. Someone was proud to be an American and wanted to fly our country’s colors in a very prominent place. Days and weeks went by, and the flag still flew. What a powerful message it had for me each time I looked out the window!

Almost a month later, I noticed something going on in the parking lot by the flag pole. I kept watching while I was teaching. My curiosity was really aroused. A man got out of a big dark car. He clipped the flag to the cords on the flag pole and raised the flag. Again, it flew proudly in the breeze. Though I kept teaching my mind wondered who the man was? Why did he choose to fly the flag from that pole? What kind of person was this man who cared so much about his country?

That was on a wet Friday. All weekend I thought and wondered about the Flag Man. I told my husband about what I had been observing. I decided that I was going to write The Flag Man a note to thank him and let him know how much seeing the flag flying during these days of concern and sadness in our country meant to me.

Monday was a beautiful day. Even at 8:00 AM the sun was shining brightly. As I started talking to the class, the flag was standing straight out in the morning breeze. Wow! It was beautiful! I stopped what I was going to talk about and asked the students to get up and go stand at the windows. That is always an exciting thing to do if you are six or seven years old, so they hopped right to the windows. I directed their attention to the flag and told them the story that I have just shared with you. They were instantly as fascinated about the flag as I had been. They decided that we should write a letter together for the Flag Man. So I got out the chart paper, the red and blue Magic Markers, and we got busy.

Teachers will understand: I was making an educational experience out of writing the letter. Where to put the date, the greeting, the body, the closing…

When we got to the greeting, I asked what they wanted to call the man since we did not know his name. Immediately, the unanimous response was, “Dear Mr. Friend.” And so we began. The letter was awesome. I wrote exactly what they told me to write. Though I cannot remember everything, they included that the flag was very pretty and he must be a caring American to fly it so everyone could see it. They said they were proud to be Americans, too. They thanked him for sharing his flag and for loving America. After the closing, which we signed Love, Cloer’s Classy Clowns, First Grade, Mitchell Road School, each child signed his or her name with the blue and red markers. We folded the chart paper to approximately 8 X 11. We decided that later in the day, we would walk to the end of the drive way of the school. Mrs. Aiken, our aide, would walk across the street and tape the letter on the flag pole.

The school day passed. After computer lab, we decided that we better get on down there and let Mrs. Aiken tape the letter because it was getting almost time to go home. We lined up. We got the digital camera to take Mrs. Aiken’s photo as she taped the the letter to the pole. As we walked down the driveway, a big dark car pulled into the parking lot across the street. It stopped at the entrance to the old building. I said to Mrs. Aiken that I thought that the car looked like the one that I had seen on the previous Friday. She said she would go up and ask the driver if he were The Flag Man.

We stayed on the school property and watched. In a few minutes, Mrs. Aiken and the driver started walking across the parking lot and across the street. Indeed the driver was The Flag Man. He introduced himself. He was so genuinely kind to the students who were running up to him and hugging him. They thanked him for flying the flag and being a proud American. He thanked them for his letter. He promised to read it when he got back across the street. We took a couple of photos and promised to send him one. The students and I lined up to come back into the classroom for dismissal. We were all so touched by actually meeting The Flag Man and by his warmth and friendliness to us. He never showed any agitation about having his business meeting at the entrance to the old building interrupted. He really seemed as touched as we were.

The story seemed over, except that we knew the flag would continue flying each day thanks to a very nice man. The next day, however, a lady came to the door, quietly opened it, and asked if she could come in. She quietly introduced herself as being in charge of student teachers at a local university. She said she was in the building observing one of her student teachers, but had to come by and tell me how touched her husband had been with the letter to The Flag Man. He had been one of the business associates with whom The Flag Man was meeting at the old building when Mrs. Aiken interrupted. The Flag Man didn’t get to read his letter until later when the two of them returned to their office. She said that both men were so touched by the students’ letter. They said that they were going to hang the letter in their office so all could see and read. She said she was going to use the letter as an example to her student teachers for a real language arts lesson.

So many acts of compassion! So many people were blessed because one man cared so much about his country during the dark days after September 11! Indeed, we all are so fortunate to live in a country where freedom is such an integral part of our lives.

  • Written during the week after 9/11

jkpc-steeple.jpgGuy and I have made this walk together. He cannot be here today since he is with his mother who fell and broke her hip. She had surgery yesterday and he is with her.

We’ve been married for 41 years. When we got married I was a member of a really big Methodist church and he was a member of a really small Presbyterian church. We set out to find a church that would fit us. We found it–a medium size Methodist church not far from our home. We felt so at home there. It was a perfect fit. We loved the people there and they loved us. One of the very special people we met there joined the church the same day we did. She is here today–charter member LN. What a dear friend she has been over the years! Though we loved that church very much, we realized that there was one concern–there were few children in the congregation. When out daughter K joined the church, there were only two other communicants. One of them –CM–is here today. He will be speaking later. How special to have him here with us!  But this caused us to realize that we really wanted our children to grow up in a church with a bigger youth group. We started looking. We visited many Methodist and Presbyterian churches but did not seem to find the right place–the place that would fit us. One Saturday we thought about a church not far from our home that some good friends had joined. They really liked it a lot so we visited there the next morning. We knew immediately that it was home. When we got in the car after the service, all four of us were in agreement–John Knox was the church.

The next morning I was out shopping. When I returned there was a bouquet of flowers and a note from FB and LD telling us how much they had enjoyed our visit at JK the day before. On top of that, we knew so many people already. There was even H and H D who were former members of Third Pres where Guy had grown up. They are such special people. H was so inspirational! There was also BS whom we had met through girl’s church basketball. What a blessing it was to have his influence in the lives of our children at John Knox.

In a year or so, JK had a Lay Renewal. That’s kind of like a revival. What a long term impact that was going to have on our lives. You know those small groups that J is always talking about….  Listen to him! Those groups can be so meaningful. Well, several started up as an off shoot of the Renewal. We were blessed to be a part of one that still meets some 27 years later. God blessed us with such special friends in this group that have been such true blessings in out lives. I think about BB–a true gentleman and saint. What a blessing it was to be his friend! What a deep impact he had on our lives! Then, there are J and D D who are not able to come anymore but we feel like they are still in our midst. Many times we will say something like, “You know what D would say….” What special people they are and such a witness to their faith! The others who still are part of The Sharing Group are FB, The R’s, and The V’s.

Over the last few years Guy and I both have had some health concerns and we both have commented over and over how we can feel the prayers of the people of JK. Those prayers have seen us though to good health.

There have been so many people that have made a tremendous influence on us. People who have made our life at JK so meaningful. I guess when it comes right down to it, the difference at JK is the people. But is goes even deeper, I believe. The real difference is that at JK the people have accepted God as their Lord and Savior and have been willing to let Him act though them with such deep care and compassion. That is the real difference!      (Comments shared on Homecoming, November 5, 2007, at John Knox)

I have been working on the software Crazy Talk. It looks like fun and that educators will find lots of uses for it. I’ll post some of my “products” as I do them.

I found out that if you want to comment on something that is not on the home page, you can go to the particular page you would like to comment on and scroll down to the bottom. There you will find a comment box. Cool!

I am in the blogging world! I am learning how to keep up with technology which is ever changing.  I am at Greer Middle right now. Cathy is teaching me about how to blog. I am doing okay with it. I am glad I practiced with edublogs.org last night. It gave me a head start. But I think I am holding my own right now…considering I am an old dog!

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