May 04

Today I had a great appointment with Dr. Wonderful.  We talked about real life for forty minutes, and cancer for five minutes.  In a middle of the night epiphany last week, I wondered if perhaps Dr. Wonderful was the father of a former student of mine, Junior Wonderful.  Wonderful is not that common of a last name, right?  (Haha!)  Today, I asked Dr. Wonderful about it, and we were both delighted to find that my student was in fact his son.

During my very first year as a teacher, I had Junior Wonderful in my ninth grade World History class.  It was a course I loved, and a group of students I loved.  They were bright, engaged, and I had great rapport with them.  Some of my favorite memories as a teacher were with that class: I remember sitting on a desk at the front of the room and telling them stories.  (That’s they key to teaching history: telling great stories… about real people and events.)  All of the reasons that I loved teaching combined in that classroom.

Since I was a first year teacher that year, I had to apply for a license renewal and a big wig from the state had to observe my class.  The day before the observation, I told Junior’s class, “Tomorrow is a big day for me.  I need you to pretend that you follow normal classroom behaviors and that we don’t run amuck around here everyday.  There are days that you can mess with me, but, people, tomorrow is not that day.”

Junior raises his hand, “Miss Teacher, I have a great idea.”

“Really, Junior?  What’s your great idea?”

“Well, to make you look like a great teacher, we should ALL raise our hands every time you ask a question so it looks like we all know the answer.”

I’m laughing, and thinking where is he going with this, “Okay…?”

He continues, “But, if we don’t know the answer, we’ll raise our left hand, and if we do know the answer, we’ll raise our right hand.”

There was much laughing.  I have no idea what I said in response, but I do know his idea was really funny.  He was witty, and fourteen year old boys are rarely witty.  I still remember him, and that fun class, nine years later.  Oh, and I passed that observation the next day, too.

It brought me great pleasure to tell that anecdote to Dr. Wonderful today.  He wrote a note to himself with my maiden name, and asked my permission to share our conversation, and my patient status, with Junior.  I hope he remembers me, too.  I think Dr. Wonderful was mildly surprised that I had such nice (all true!) things to say about Junior.  I can’t help but think that God knew all this was going to happen nine years ago and laid these connections out for us to walk today.  I had fun talking with him, in the same way that I had fun with his son’s class.  Conversations like the ones I had today reinforce my desire to Do Today Well.  Every day, every interaction matters.  After Dr. Wonderful and I spent another forty minutes talking about what each of his sons did for college and what they are doing now, we got around to the whole cancer nonsense.

He smiled as he said, “I think the tumor is breaking up and shrinking quite a bit.  We’re making good progress.”

I grinned back at him.  Grace and goodness abound today.  Hallelujah!

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  –Mark 11:24

I tell ya, I darn near frolicked out of that office today.


  1. You nailed it, Jen: Grace and goodness abound today. Hallelujah! Praise God!

  2. Pat Powell /

    Jennifer dear, this is Mar calling – loved your story of the teacher – I badly wanted to be a teacher but my mother would not allow it – she was being over-protective of me and I was too mousy to demand what was my heart desire. So sadly I missed out – lovely to her your stories lovely Jenn

  3. Prasie God! Woo Hoo! Waking up to your email is an awesome start to this beautiful day. Thanking God for answered prayers~
    And know that I will keep on asking, and keep on believing!! I am grateful for our newfound connection~

  4. jen powers /

    Shouting from the rooftops here!! Praise God!! Love the words breaking up & shrinking. Thank you Jesus!

  5. What a great story. I bet all those students remember you, it sounds like you were such a fun teacher. So happy to hear the tumor is breaking up and shrinking.

  6. Bonniebj /

    Only the Lord can provide such absolutely wonderful news!!!! And the connections-yes, they are real and not just happenstance. Love it that the Lord is so intimately acquainted with us all and treasures us so deeply. Have another great day Jen. “this IS the day the Lord had made. Let us REJOICE and be glad in it.”

  7. Rebecca /

    I am a teacher too (but staying home with my little one right now) and this just made me smile. I could totally relate with your little talk before your big observation. What a sweet story to share with Junior’s dad. I’m sure he will remember you! 🙂 Also, this story seems fitting to share since it is Miracle Week over at Momastery. You are experiencing so many miracles and today’s story is just one of so many! Sister On!

  8. ohiofishergirl /

    What a wonderful way to start the day! Chemo is kicking the cancer’s butt! I’m doing the happy dance with you! Hugs, Lauri

  9. Yes. Every interaction matters. The right people show up. And, according to Anne Lamott, “Help is always on the way, one hundred percent of the time.”
    Thank you for sharing your journey. I know lots of people are praying for you and your family, and I just want you to know I am, too.
    Andrea from Chicago

  10. What an amazing and small world we live in. It seems those little miracles God places before us can be the biggest bright spots of hope in our lives. Great news about the cancer! Came across this today and thought I’d send it to you for some more inspiration:​watch?feature=player_embedded&v​=qX9FSZJu448

  11. Sorry, let’s try that again.

  12. Jen /

    Wow! I LOOOVE that story!! I find it amazing that you are the one lifting the rest of us (those of us with no immediate, obvious worries) every day! I am grumpy for no reason, feeling down, etc. and then I read your blog at the start of each work day and I feel uplifted. As a parent to boys, I would love to hear a story like that about my kids. That is was years ago makes it even more bittersweet. Best of luck! have a beautiful weekend!

  13. BettyB in KC /

    That is quite simply, amazing.

  14. What a neat story!! And wonderful news from Dr. Wonderful!!

  15. Never stop writing. I love you.

  16. Marsha Vonderwish /

    You put a BIG smile on my face! And what a great verse!

  17. Cyndi /

    He smiled as he said, “I think the tumor is breaking up and shrinking quite a bit. We’re making good progress.” — Frolicking on your behalf in sunny South Florida!! 😉

    I love the Dr Wonderful family story, too!! You’re such a great story teller!!…and I’m still smiling about your exuberant little dancer!

  18. Kim /

    Praise God! Smiling for you right now!

  19. Leah /

    I love this story, Jen. I enjoy reading this and find it sort of odd to say that…but your positive attitude gives me a reality check. I am so happy to hear the good news and love hearing stories about your girls. Smiles, hugs and lots of positive vibes coming your way for you to contiue healing 🙂

  20. Teresa /

    3 of the most *important* jobs, in my opinion, are parent, teacher, and doctor (or health professional). The reason being: they allow and give opportunity for connection in the deepest sense. However, it takes an incredible person to properly explore and open up that opportunity for that connection. You seem to do that in all aspects of your life. Connection is what we’re here for – thank you for being such a shining example of how Jesus wanted us to live!

    …My 9th grade history teacher was great as well, but he spat when he spoke, so my favourite memory from his class revolves around those sitting in the front rows jokingly bringing umbrellas so they could stay dry! Thankfully, he had a good sense of humor!

  21. Julie /

    You are doing it! I have been preoccupied with my life, and teething for a bit but we have prayed everyday for you. What a terrific post to come back to! Keep on beating cancer! Trust in God, and in the mean time, do whatever you can to help him out!!!

    P.S. As a former teacher, I know those students, and I know those laughs.

    Julie + Baby

  22. Yay! Answered prayers!

  23. /

    aw what a great story!

  24. You’re a teacher! Now I know why I like you so much! hehehe I’m a teacher too! Continuing to pray for your health and healing.


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