Family, Church, and Local Community College

During my first year of college, Dr. John Willson’s history class mapped a substantial portion of America’s history through study of “Family, Church, and Local Community.” Expanding on Dr. Willson’s famous phrase, I observed a connection to education. Last fall, I accepted a part-time position as afternoon secretary at Kellogg Community College’s Fehsenfeld Center. To be completely honest, I questioned whether I should instead pursue a full time teaching position. However, I recognized something special here.

I first began working at the Fehsenfeld Center in the fall of 1996, teaching Transitional English and serving as a paraprofessional. Teaching at this level improved my understanding of the writing process. If students could master a quality paragraph, they could readily transition to the college essay. This experience served me well when later teaching Freshman Composition. I also met fellow instructors; many were members of the local community: Lawyers, high school teachers, business and community leaders, etc. They offered a unique combination of education paired with real world experience.

The Fehsenfeld Center also brings in a lively group of local students who, year after year, often form a learning community. Many become friends, form study groups, and succeed together. As an Adjunct Instructor for the past two decades, I was already part of this process; however, I wanted more. My brother once shared that secretaries are the sergeants of an institution; without their leadership, facilities could not function effectively. In addition to time in the classroom, I discovered that assisting students in the office often increased the classroom connection. I enjoy hearing about their current semesters and future plans, providing assistance if they are feeling frustrated and need a small nudge, perhaps a starting point for an assignment, someone to help brainstorm summer options, or just an ear to listen.

The Fehsenfeld Center offers a unique learning experience for the residents of Barry County:

• Want to complete core classes close to home and transfer to a four year institution? Did you know that 4 out of 10 students who earn a four year degree begin at their local community college? (insidehighered.com)

• Want to pursue a class or two at an affordable price and see if college is the next step?

• Interested in learning a trade? Come learn about our welding and manufacturing programs.

• Want to explore special interest classes? Perhaps you might enjoy Pastor Anton’s Life Long Learning Class, The Bible: A Closer Look.

• Want to earn an associate’s degree and take on the world?

Come see me in the office!

Thanks for reading!

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The First Blogging Award, The Liebster

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I am honored to report that Reflections from the Journey was nominated for its first Blog Award, the Liebster. This is an award where fellow bloggers recommend other bloggers. Thank you, Margaret Locke! By accepting this award, I have to answer a few questions and nominate other bloggers. Currently, we are in the process of building a house, selling a house, packing up a house, and raising a family and eight ducklings, the latter being much higher maintenance than anticipated, so I am going to modify this a bit. Instead of answering the eleven questions in each section, I am giving myself a much needed “pass” and shortening them to three:

#1: Three Random Facts About Myself:

I am a singer, high soprano. My Great-Aunt Gladys sang at the Met. Everyone in the family thinks the talent comes from her.
I am currently raising eight ducklings, four Anconas (a rare British Heritage breed) and four Pekings (which my husband wants to serve for Thanksgiving–this is still in discussion!)
Much to my husband’s chagrin, I prefer to sip wine out of a small coffee mug.

#2: Answer Three Questions:

If you could give one piece of advice to other writers/bloggers, what would it be?

My advice is Go For It! Write from the heart, show passion in your work. Yes, there will be duds, but in the long run, readers value your glimpse of real life.

If you could go back and relive college again, would you?

That’s a good question. I attended college where my father served as president. I have mixed feelings about this. I learned many valuable lessons, but it was challenging and at times painful being the President’s daughter.

If you could speak any other language fluently, which would it be?

Even though some consider this a dead language, I would LOVE to be fluent in Gaelic.

#3: Nominate Three other Blogs:

Pacificparatrooper (I nominated you because we have so much to learn from history.  You provide us with a front page view of your father’s experience in WWII.  Please keep sharing!)

Bluewhimsywriting (She’s a newbie, trying to get off the ground.  Take a look!  🙂

Raisingfivekidswithdisabilities (You take on the world, defending, protecting, and raising your kids.  Kudos to you!)

#4: Three Questions for the nominated Bloggers:

What is your favorite meal to prepare?

Share a moment in history that inspired you. Why was it so influential?

If you could pass one bit of wisdom along to another writer/blogger, what would it be?

Thanks for reading!

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

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I have been tweeting for about a month, and in that time, many friends have asked, “What’s the big deal with Twitter?” Well, I originally started the account to promote my blog and music, but in addition to the increased exposure, I discovered a wonderful multi-cultural social outlet. Here are a few things I learned along the way:

  • If you are promoting something, don’t be one of those folks who only tweets about themselves and their product(s). Take the time to meet others, what’s going on in their lives, retweet things you like, and look for people who share common interests.
  • Don’t expect followers to magically appear and don’t expect people to comment on everything you post. It takes time to build a following on Twitter. Take the initiative and reply to others, favorite and retweet items you enjoy. Follow those individuals whose tweets interest you. Most of the time, they will follow you back, though I am still waiting for Russell Crowe 😉
  • Many people prefer to remain anonymous. While my first thought went to the cruel messages unknown people leave at the end of internet articles, I haven’t seen much of that on Twitter. Most of the people I encountered have been courteous and respectful. While I stay relatively anonymous with most of my followers, I have exchanged e-mails with a few for more lengthy discussions about politics and made a few friends who have joined me on Facebook.
  • I have a large variety of interests, so my Twitter followers cover a broad group. I have those who love anything funny, including a few hilarious British airline employees and some American and Canadian gals who join in to give them a difficult time. Parenting tips are learned and shared with the many moms, and many of those moms join a fun Friday night group called #wineparty. In addition, Twitter has introduced me to fellow writers, musicians, and educators. I also love the contact with the military vets! They have some amazing stories to share (and I have a soft spot for my Marines). Finally, I have quite a few followers who cover the entire political spectrum.
  • While I post a few political tweets, I find 140 characters limits my ability to say anything meaningful. The occasional one liner is fun, but Twitter, for me, is not an effective place to debate ideas.

My favorite part of Twitter is the view of the world. Contact with people from around the globe still amazes me. I learn about their culture, traditions, joys, sorrows. For someone who energizes her soul when traveling and meeting strangers, Twitter gives me something to do while I am saving for that next great adventure.  Give Twitter a try!  I will be your first follower:  @Murphyblog