Wednesday, September 29, 2010

THE 'REAL' NORMA RAE...

Many of you may not know it, but my aunt, Crystal Lee Sutton, was the 'real' Norma Rae. She was my mom's sister. She passed away a little over a year ago on September 11, 2009. If you knew my aunt, you could almost believe that she hand-picked the date she would pass away on. Both dates are historic yet tragic in nature.

My aunt was known for her role of standing up for the rights of herself and her fellow workers at a mill in Roanoke Rapids, NC in the late 70's. (Yes, she is the one who stood atop that table in the middle of the mill & held up the sign that read, "UNION"....just like you saw Sally Field do in the movie.) She believed in the rights of the working poor and the irony is upon her death, she was in a fight with the insurance company over coverage for the brain cancer she was suffering with. They denied her coverage of the medicines she needed to sustain her life. In reality, I don't know that there was anything that the meds could do other than prolong her life for a bit longer. She would have suffered regardless.


I recall the Tuesday prior to her death, something told me that morning to go see her. It was the last 'good' day she had before she was transported to our local Hospice home and slipped into a coma. On her last 'good' day she had incredible recollection of her past memories of family and friends. She, my mom & my other aunt shared some laughs and for a brief moment in time you almost believed she was going to be okay. But I knew that was the last day she would know laughter, tears and a sense of joy.

My aunt was a fighter. She fought for those she believed in and for those values that were instilled in her long before she ever knew what a union was. She was one of the strongest women I have ever known. She was a realist. She had a no-nonsense way about her that was loving and all too inspiring. She once told me when I was a young girl, "Dawn, you are gonna grow up to be President one day." She believed in people and made them believe in themselves.

While her legacy might be about what she stood for that made history, to me she was just "Aunt Lee" who was a family staple, who drank black coffee and sat around my parent's kitchen table in my early days growing up talking about how she would one day change the world. She wasn't far off base. She did just that. She took a stand for what she believed in and for those who deserved it and made her mark on this world...never to be forgotten.

I share all this because many of you know I'm an avid crocheter. I have been working on an afghan for my mom that will have my aunt's picture stitched on it. (See below....this is the pic I'm stitching.) It will be my mom's Christmas present. When I get it done, I will be sure to post pics. My aunt certainly deserved more than having her picture stitched on an afghan, and I can't imagine what she would say to that. One thing is for sure, just as her legacy will live on indefinitely, so shall this afghan prove to be a keepsake that will be handed down from generation to generation as a reminder of the person my aunt was and the person she is being remembered for.

If there was one thing I could say I took away from my aunt it would have to be to always believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams. She always had this saying, "if you worry why pray, and if you pray, why worry". Makes alot of sense if you think about it. That's just how she was...practical, simple and always full of hope. Her faith in God sustained her even in her darkest hour. She was an inspiration to me and so many of the lives she touched.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

IT'S BEEN AWHILE FOLKS.....

Well hello world! I'm sure you thought I'd fallen off the face of the Earth. Not so...it's just been a busy year, this last one. So much has gone on & so much accomplished! Gotta feel good about that.


I left off a year ago telling you all about my "Prince Charming". Well...Prince Charming is still very much in the picture & we're still going strong. Life is good with PC. (From now on when I post about my wonderful man, I'll refer to him as "PC".)

And now a year later, here it is the start of another new school year. The big news for this year is I decided to go back to school. I started back in the latter half of the summer after being accepted to Liberty University. I am taking all my classes online & pursuing a Bachelors in Education. I won't be the traditional college student however in which I take my summers off. No sir...my plan is to take classes through the summers so I can obtain my degree in 3 years. I was doing the math the other day & realized my son will be graduating from high school the same year I'm graduating with my Bachelors in Education.

So you ask yourself, what in the world is a forty-something doing going back to school 25 yrs after graduating high school? The answer is easy. This is something I've wanted to do since graduating from high school. Back then circumstances prevented me from doing so. I never gave up on my dream though. And with God's blessing my dream has become a reality.


Once I've achieved my Bachelor's in Education, I will continue on & pursue my Masters in Teaching (Secondary Education). My goal is to teach high school (hopefully in the next 3-5 yrs). Along with my Bachelors, my studies will allow me to obtain a double minor...one in Psychology and the other in Special Ed.

So far, so good. I finished my 1st two courses over the Summer and currently hold a 3.50 GPA. I have started Fall classes and love the setup. I'm a full-time student. Online courses are different than resident courses. It's set up where the semester is broken into two sections. I take 2 courses every 8 wks. What that also means is that in 8 wks I'm covering the same amount of material that I would be over the entire semester if I were attending classes on campus. It's a lot more work but I love the fact it fits into my hectic lifestyle & work schedule.

I never thought I would ever see the day when my dream would become a reality. But now that it has, my goal is to outdo myself from my old high school days. You see, when I was in high school, I was an honor roll student. I was inducted into the National, English & Spanish honor societies. I was in the 1st 4-yr graduating class at my high school & was voted my high school's 1st Freshman class president. I made good grades back then in preparation for college after high school. So in achieving this milestone in my life now, I am striving to maintain 4.0 GPA status throughout my college career. The sky is the limit!

I've got something to prove to my kids. I've encouraged them and taught them all through their schooling careers the importance of school work, doing homework, studying and making good grades. It's always been a rule in our house that when they get home from school they get a snack and then get on their homework so that they can have the rest of their evening free to do what they wish. It's worked out pretty well considering one of mine has already graduated and my other two are in middle & high school & their lives are filled with lots of extra-curricular activities. All the more reason why it's important to keep to this. They are at the point now where I don't even have to remind them anymore it's become such second nature to them. And it goes without saying how very proud I am of them.

This has always been my favorite time of year but this year in particular it is even more meaningful. I'm thrilled to be back in school after all these years. I'm equally thrilled that my college career is off to a wonderful start.

Well...gotta run...gotta hit the books! (I just love saying that!) Until next time.....