Saturday 21st May 2022

Women Of Courage Series. #45. Laurie. 51/2020.

Women Of Courage Series. #45. Laurie. 51/2020.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week until the series concludes in 2020.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda.


I ‘met’  Laurie, who’s in her early 60s and  from USA, here…from the blogging world we inhabit. Firstly via a link up with another blogging group called Mid Life Share The Love found here….and then. over time, as Laurie began linking up for my Monday’s link up Life This Week. Both of us are teachers who are retired and grandmothers…but there is more for me (and you, dear readers) to learn from Laurie and she shares her story generously with us today. Thank you!




What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

When I went to college, I already had a toddler at home. My mother, who was retired, babysat for me while I attended classes. I paid for my own tuition, books,  lab fees, etc. from money I made from a part-time waitressing job. I studied to become a teacher.

I graduated after struggling through four years of a very tough and time-consuming chemistry education major, got my first teaching job…and hated it.

I was not a very good teacher that first year. I was at odds with the kids, didn’t feel grounded or appreciated and dreaded getting up and going to school each morning.

I got pregnant with our second son at the end of my first year. In those days, pregnant women did not teach, so I didn’t go back to school. I stayed home with my two young sons and worked part time as a waitress again.

A few years later, we had another son.

I enjoyed staying home with my three boys but one day the local high school (not the same school I taught in before) called and asked if I would be interested in substitute teaching in a chemistry classroom.

We needed the money, so I said “OK”.

I absolutely loved it!

I matured during my time at home with the boys and developed more patience and appreciation for my students.

I went back to teaching after one year of substituting and stayed for another 31 years, loving every minute of it.


How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I learned patience, perseverance, and that things happen on God’s timeline, not mine.


Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

I learned to be patient, to trust myself to make the right decisions, and to trust God to be there with me in difficult situations.


Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I believe that courage, like trust, is accumulated a little bit at a time. When we have been courageous in the past, we can lean into that knowledge if we need to summon our courage. We know we have been brave before, we can do it again.


Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

I would tell others to relax, find some good mentors or friends who will stand by you and offer encouragement, trust yourself, and pray.

Laurie eventually found the role in her life she loved and I know that must have come as both a great relief and a joy. However, as now retired teachers, I know both of us are glad to be away from the classroom but relishing the life time of memories, joys, highs and lows that come with the privilege of the title ‘teacher’.

Thank you so much for sharing your story of courage. 



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Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

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  1. It’s lovely to learn a little bit more about Laurie. Your comment regarding the right time is so true – and helped you find your way there on the timeline that was right for you. Thanks for bringing us another great story Denyse.

    • Thank you for your comment, Jo. The time was not right for me to become a teacher right out of college. I needed more maturity and patience. I am so thankful I got the second chance because it truly was the job of a lifetime!

    • It is always interesting to make a connection with something another has written. Thanks Jo.


  2. Thanks Denyse and Laurie. I particularly like the idea that – though something might not be right or feel right for us at one point that it will always be that way. That we change, circumstances change and things can be a better fit at another time.

  3. Hi Laurie, I think as we mature we’re better able to cope with situations much better, and we’re more confident as well. I’m glad you got to use your teaching degree and really loved it the second time around. The students would have benefited as well. Regards, Christina

    • Interesting isn’t it? We can do more and deal with more with life’s experience …not always a great way to learn but it seems to teach us more that way.

      Thank you Christina.


    • I have found the same thing, Christina. Coping skills do improve as we age and our self-confidence increases. It sometimes takes a while but we do learn!

  4. Hi Laurie – amazing to do 4 years of tertiary study with a small child in the mix. I’m so glad that it wasn’t wasted and turned out to be so useful for the rest of your career. I wish I’d found something that I loved like that for a job – it might have made my working life a little more engaging!

    • Laurie’s post sure is a good example of once finding what you love and where your passion is, so work is more interesting and rewarding.

      I am sorry it was not like that for you Leanne. I still believe you made a lot of good things happen in people’s lives via your interactions, as you do here as a blogger and commenter.

      Thank you for your understanding and kind words for Laurie.


    • When I think back on it, my parents never chastised me when it looked like teaching wasn’t my thing. I am so grateful for their help and support. I was lucky to have a second chance at teaching!

  5. I enjoyed learning more about Laurie and how she got to be the teacher she wanted to be. It’s always interesting to read these posts from courageous women, so thanks for sharing your story Laurie. Thanks Denyse for this great series. #mlstl

  6. Lovely to meet you Laurie!! Thanks for sharing your story. The first part of your journey (going to Uni after having had your first child) in itself is very courageous. So many people take the path of least resistance when it comes to furthering themselves after kids. It’s a tough gig, I know, I tried it! I attempted to do my Masters as a mum … only got through one semester. So I think the fact you stuck with it is awesome.

    • Thank you, Leanne. I loved having the chance to tell my story. I was lucky to have had a lot of support when I went to college. I never could have done it without my mom and dad’s help. I got my Masters after all of my kids graduated from high school! I could never have done it with small children! 🙂

    • Ah, yes it is tricky to combine parenting, work and Uni.

      I managed to do it for 2 degrees (Bachelors and Masters), but my kids were pretty understanding as was my husband. It did give me a greater range of skills to use in my roles in schools over the years so I am proud to have done them. Took 7 years altogether.

      Thanks Leanne.


  7. Lovely to learn more about you Laurie. Sometimes I think we’re thrown into the adult ‘working world’ far too young with a need for more life experience and maturity. I’m glad it all worked out for you and you had a long and rewarding career. xo

    • Thank you, Min. I think you are exactly right. Students are asked to choose a major in college before they have had any life experience. How can you know what you want to do when you are 18? I’m so thankful I got a second chance at teaching.

    • Thank you Min,

      You are so right about ‘too early’ for some. I was fortunate, that I knew I wanted to be a teacher and started at 20. The way it was then!!


  8. Hi Laurie and Denyse and I enjoyed getting to know more about Laurie’s story through her post. I agree that courage is something we can build on through experience. I also agree that there is a time for everything and obviously your time for teaching was after you had the experience of motherhood and raising children. It is wonderful that you career resumed and I admire you studying especially chemistry, whilst being a new mum. Now that is courage and determination. Thank you Denyse, for sharing Laurie’s story at #MLSTL