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Freeze Frame

Yesterday afternoon, I checked the mail and found an envelope from the Florida Department of Education.

I had recently gotten my fingerprints redone…a FLDOE requirement.

Because I’m with the public school system now, the final requirement for my professional teaching certificate could more easily be taken care of…the fingerprinting.

My school district’s office submitted the prints electronically, and I waited.

Meanwhile, time was ticking.  My Social Sciences subject area was about to expire…on the 22nd, and I did not want to have to pay major moolah ($$) to have it re-added to my records.

So, when I saw the envelope, a mere two days after I’d called the district’s office and confirmed that it had sent the fingerprints (DOE’s website did not reflect this, nor did the representative when I phoned), I briefly entertained the idea that perhaps my professional certificate was in that envelope.

I pulled this from the envelope…

My name and address were in the top left corner…so it would fit nicely into that window envelope.

There was a second piece of paper…

This was not the certificate I wanted.


A little disappointed, I set the papers aside.  I had been told by a lady in HR that if the 22nd passed, her office would call the State and let that office know that my fingerprints had been sent prior to this date, and that the FLDOE would honor the timing, not requiring me to pay the $$ to re-add the subject area.

Being a person of action, I looked up HR’s phone number, called, and left a voicemail explaining what had happened.

Then, I went to my school’s homecoming game.  I wanted to support the students where I teach.

Late that evening, my friend, Jane, and I had a rather lengthy phone conversation…catching up from our week.

She and I can talk like nobody’s business.  In fact, we stayed up past 2am talking.

The Mr. and Rooster had gone to Auburn for a college tour and the Saturday football game, so I was home alone…free to chat as long as I wanted.

During the conversation with Jane, she mentioned that she had gotten her certificate a few days ago.  Because she works in a private school, she had to submit her fingerprints herself, so the process had taken longer…over a month.

She mentioned that the certificate was different from what she had expected…that it LOOKED LIKE A REGULAR SHEET OF PAPER.




I jumped off the couch and told Jane to hold on while I frantically looked for the mail I had opened earlier.

I grabbed that white pice of paper with my name on it…

And I flipped it over…

Yep!  It was my certificate!

I hadn’t even bothered to turn over the sheet before.

I can be dumb sometimes.

Actually, I just don’t take my time with things sometimes.

If I had even bothered to read, in detail, the “Renewal Requirements” sheet, I would have seen that it listed how to stay current with your certificate.


Jane and I agreed that God had led me to initiate the late-night conversation and for that certificate to come up in our talk.

Before Jane and I hung up, we made plans to meet up at Michael’s, buy frames for our certificates, and go to lunch after.

The next day, armed with coupons, we shopped.  I brought home these…

I had decided to go ahead and frame my diploma from Troy (earned in 2008) and my naturalization certificate…

What a difference a frame can make!  Just look at each document.

I stood back, taking them all in at once…

These frames will travel with me to school, where they will be proudly displayed in my classroom.

I want to share these pivotal points of my life with my students and explain that my life did not take the direction that I had originally planned.  God’s timing was vastly different from mine.  I experienced a lot of curve balls, challenges, and detours that threatened to permanently steer me off-course.  Through God’s help, support of my family and friends, determination, and persistence, I persevered, accomplishing what I had long dreamed for and actively pursued.

I hope that my students will be inspired by these tangible items of goals fulfilled and remember them when they face their own challenges in life.

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