Sunday, October 27, 2013


One of the most common questions I get asked is, "How and why did you get back into school so fast, after such a devastating experience?"  "Why didn't you get a full-time job instead of school?" So, YOUR questions have become the inspiration for this post.

 "Learning"  would definitely describe the past three years of my life.

It was October 2010, Winter was right around the corner.  The air was cold, my heart was heavy and I could barely wrap my mind around my new reality.  I was alone.  I had 4 children.  I never finished college.  And, for the past 18 years, I had just been a Kool-Aid mom and taken care of our children and managed our home.  Now, I found myself needing to manage my life and the lives of 4 children, as a single mother.  And, the tremendous weight that accompanied my new reality felt all-consuming.  I decided that I loved taking care of people, so I would try to get into a  Nursing program.  At that point, obtaining a CNA was a prerequisite, so I went to check out a nearby program.  I found out the next CNA program started in two weeks.  They gave me a stack of papers to fill out.  I sat down and began to write, as I was afraid that if I left, I would would never have the courage to come back again.  Upon completion, the secretary told me that I needed to take a math test, before I could be considered for admittance.  She handed me the math test, 50 questions, and two pencils and two blank pieces of scratch paper.  I walked through the sterile hallway into a testing room, found a seat and began the test.  I remember, looking at the paper and then looking out the window, and thinking to myself, "This CANNOT be happening to me!"  "How did I go from full-time mom, PTA regular, and Garage Sale Guru, to single-mom-taking-math-test, in a moment of weeks?"  I then sent a prayer to the heavens, pleading for help on this math test, a subject that was my least favorite in school and of which, I had not had formal instruction for over 20 years.  I made a deal with divinity that if I were to go back to school, I needed a Math Miracle to give me the confidence and courage
I would need to succeed. I took a deep breath, opened the test, got my scratch paper ready and began!!  Some of the problems were harder than others.  I would sit and stare at equation after equation and wait for inspiration.  Sometimes, I could see myself helping one of my kids with a similar problem during a homework session.  Other problems, I could hear my father instructing me as a young girl, "Work it out backwards", "Figure out which answer it is not."  I only had an hour before I needed to pick up kids from school and practices, so my mind was on my test and the clock.  As I finished, there were 2 problems I just could not figure out.  Finally, I took one last look at each, chose the best answer for both and turned it in.  The secretary corrected it immediately.  My score-------- 49 out of 50.  That "A" on my math test that day stood for:
                                                    Absolutely go back to college!
                                                    Always pray for help!
                                                    Alone I was NOT!    and,
                                                    Ashlyn, Adam, Amber and Andrew Garrett are counting on you!

I signed up that day.  Found the entire CNA program paid for by dear friend.  And, that friend, you know who you are.  YOU are the reason that I was able to hold my head high when I felt lower than low.  YOU are the reason I had the courage to try.  YOU are the reason that I did not quit.  If I had paid for the program myself, I would have quit when the work got hard, the homework even more difficult, sleep became scarce, the stress of tests and deadlines overwhelming when coupled with the demands of single parenthood and shattered dreams. But, your gift of education and courage taught me not to give up, that I could do hard things and smile, and that someone much bigger than I was ultimately in charge. I completed the CNA program, applied to college and jumped in full-time.  I am now in my 5 semester of college studying Public and Community Health.  I hope to work on the Utah Valley University campus with the Turning Point program geared towards helping people in transition, or in the Women's Center---- and sort of give back as so many have given to me.

Going back to college, I have LEARNED that I can still LEARN at age 47.  Not only can I LEARN in my classes and become better and brighter with each credit.  But, I can LEARN with each life's experience.  Some classes are more challenging than others.  Some classes require a tremendous amount of reading
and quiet studying while other classes require more group work.  And, life has proved no different.  Some challenges have sent me to retreat with the ultimate text book, my scriptures, and quietly ponder for answers and inspiration, strength and motivation.  While other experiences have drained the life right out of me, and my only hope has been a group of family and friends,
to bring me to my feet again, and give me hope for a new tomorrow.  I have LEARNED that prioritizing makes all the difference.  When I have taken care of my children, put my house in order, accomplished my part-time jobs, and even taken time to serve, I can go to my Heavenly Father in prayer.  I remind Him that I have taken care of the sweet spirits He has entrusted me with, I have tried to lighten someone else's load, I have worked to help provide monetarily, and now I need Him to help me.   I plead with Him to take the hour or two that I have and make them more.  And, He always does!!!  I have been blessed to be able to memorize in an hour what should have taken a week.  I have been inspired with different ways to study, like recording my notes, and playing them while I shuttle kids, fold laundry, change sheets, or make sack lunches for an entire basketball team at a moments notice------- then go take a test.....and succeed!!

 LEARNING has helped to heal my broken heart.  About a year after my husband left, he began requesting a regular schedule of visits and weekends with the kids.  The first day of the first visit arrived.  I had a suitcase packed with tender loving care----- medicine just-in-case, vitamins, warm jammies, clean clothes, favorite blankets and a picture of me with an I Love You note placed right on top!  He arrived, kids left.  The car drove off with my most priceless possessions.  I shut the door.  I slowly slid down the inside of the of the frame, barely clearing the doorknob and crumbled to the floor.  Not only was I empty and broken-hearted, but the sweet little ones that I lived and breathed for were gone.  The house was still and quiet.  The lump in my throat enlarged so big that I felt I could no longer breathe or swallow.  Unable to mutter even a prayer, the tears began to pour and I just simply looked up.  There on the kitchen counter, illuminated by the only light on in the house, sat my pink plaid back pack.  Homework!  I could do my homework!  When the kids were gone, I could work feverishly on homework, and even get ahead.  Then, when they were home, my time could be more devoted to them and to our home.  That day, I realized that I needed to go to school for many more reasons other than obtaining a degree.  I needed to teach my kids that education and LEARNING are important.  I needed to create a career that could provide for them and me in the future---- a career I would love and that would enable me to give back.  I needed to meet people and professors who would go on to inspire me.  (This blog is the result of one such class and one such professor).  I needed to learn how to prioritize and rely on the heavens to make up the difference.  I needed HOMEWORK, to fill in those dark and lonely nights with deadlines and study groups------- requiring my mind to focus on education while healing my broken heart.  And, I have LEARNED that I am never Alone------- and if the adversary wants me to believe that I am,  it only takes "Reading" or a little "Group Work" to know that I am wrapped in His arms, all throughout life---- and all the while I am LEARNING!!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I will be facing many of these issues as well..

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