May I Never Forget

Martin Luther King Jr. stood on this spot to give his “I have a dream” speech. It is located at the Lincoln Memorial.

I never shall forget the peaceful solution he offered our country. Love conquers HATE. And God is LOVE.

This overwhelming feeling sweeps over me as we fly home from Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Not only was I moved, but 35 7th graders were consoling and encouraging other each as we wept with tears of appreciation. Our freedom is not free. What this country stands for reminds me of what Christ did for me…for YOU. Paying the ultimate price, death on a cross, was not free, and I shall never take it for granted.

Of course I desire happiness, fulfillment, and a peaceful life. But the cross continues to remind me that sometimes these things come at a cost. I don’t think freedom is necessarily about being physical enslaved, although for some it was. The freedom we have in Christ is to be who GOD wants us to be; that is, to release our fears, our worries, and our desires to HIM. Freedom is trusting that He has our back. Freedom is knowing that we will end up with HIM, and all THIS will pass away. Freedom is walking on the water daily and living each day in expectation of His blessings, not fearing His outcomes, even though the process of getting there is painful.


May I never forget.

Skating on Thin Ice

Skating on “thin” ice


Was it gymnastics? No. Was it going to be ballet? No. My “Sunday” Dad would introduce me to tennis and basketball, but it did not catch on. With an athletic family, there must be something I would excel in. One day, my mom took me to the ice skating rink. She struck gold when she bought me a pair of pricey ice skates. It was a huge sacrifice for her due to her extremely limited income. My father would support this sport for me, but with much contention. He made it difficult for me to thoroughly enjoy it because I was reminded often of how costly my chosen sport had become.

My skates would adorn my cold feet as they came to bed with me every night. Of course, the rubber guards covered the sharp blades at all times or else mom would have banned this habit. I could put out an eye! (or a toe!) The morning sun would shine through my white wooden shutters and up I would rise to a new day of gliding through the house.


It was the day of my lesson with coach Jim and how I panted with excitement to attempt that darn axel jump. The lay back/sit/camel spins were the most exhilarating, but how I longed to land that axel with precision and ease. “If you don’t fall and get scraped up, you are not trying!”, I would hear over and over. The warmth of my leg “sweaters” would cuddle my legs and the hope of Dad or Mom watching from above would coddle my soul. I hoped they would eye my grace, but often that was not the case. I was usually floundering on the ice to make it through a day’s lesson and I would watch all my “competition” look perfect.  I’d exit the ice and grab a hot chocolate out of the vending machine to rest my weary body, but “no rest for the weary” would play in my head as I savored every drop only to go back and try again.


It was time to prepare for the ISIA competition to be held in Phoenix. If I could earn a medal in this event, Dad would perhaps let me go to California to compete in a larger event. The day was approaching and I found that all the other girls were adorning their tiny skater bodies with expensive, ornate costumes. I so wanted to fit in to the “look” of the hip skaters. I also wished I could afford the fancier, more durable skates. I was never to complain. My dear mother took her precious hard earned income and created an emerald green sequenced butterfly to be sewn on my basic green skating dress. It was beautifully made and from the heart. No, it did not fit the “look” of the rest of the girls, but I appreciated it immensely. My dad was too busy to come for the big day, but I did have my mom and grandparents there. My coach also watched with pride and expectation. The cameras were ready and music began to play. It was just me; alone on the ice with not a movement or sound to be found. Before I knew it, I had completed my program. No knees were scraped and no falling took place. I heard on the announcements, “And…the Gold medal goes to…..Stephanie Scharf!!.” I did it! My first front of all those peering eyes!!


Now it was time to head into the room for pictures. I knew that this was a moment to be proud. I think, however, my mom was more proud than me. When I first started out, it was pure enjoyment. However, sometimes I felt like I was doing this to be perfect and accomplish something great for her. But I digress. I now can laugh at my stickly figure which was two long legs butting out from my chest. My waist was non-existent as I resembled a beanpole adorned in a teeny green dress and poofy, little belly. Those pictures will always make me laugh and also to be proud. Oh Boy! Orange I come!


The part that makes me cry pierces my heart to the core. From the day I started, it was always brought to my attention how expensive my chosen sport had become. My father, who contributed to this endeavor never let me forget how hard it was for him to keep it up financially. Everything cost money. On Sundays, the only days I saw him, he would take me to the rink and watch me for a few minutes. Then he would leave and come pick me up later. He never had time to come to competitions, but I did know he was proud of me. I think I skated my heart out to please him, but I could never do enough. I also could never get



My Road Not Taken

Grassy Roads

            I have a confession to make: I never felt part of “the group” in middle school. It wasn’t until returning to my high school reunion that my classmates shared with me how much they thought I had it all together and that they had an abounding respect for me. Looking back now, I realize that the poem I had to grudgingly memorize in 8th grade, The Road Not Taken, would profoundly influence and encourage my life. Often I was faced with “two roads” and over and over again I picked the least popular way. But now, as the poem relays, “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Making a difference has been my battle cry since I can remember. Graduating college at 20 years old with a marketing degree, high aspirations, and a shiny new company car, I was ready to take on the world! California, here I come! The plethora of cardboard boxes which served as my faux furniture populated my apartment until I could afford a real table and chairs. It was now that I was really grown up and ready to not only make some real money, but hopefully change the world. After about one year of going from client to client and hearing, “No, thank you…..we have what we need,” I was unsure what my purpose served. That is when I headed straight to a professional career counselor.

Fast-forward about ten years. I did not quit my job, but I bided time for many unquenched years. Frustrated…empty…and truly marking time, I couldn’t understand how I was going to satisfy this yearning in my heart to turn my desire of “making a difference” into a reality. All of my friends, including me, were making tons of money, but I was miserable. This is when I knew I needed to take a different route. It was time to return to school and pursue a nagging passion for which I had been dissuaded from pursuing early on. “Why, Stephanie, would you want to go into a profession which doesn’t produce a high income?” Having the money and working countless hours on something that produced no internal rewards was leading me to a wasted life. No more time to waste. I knew if I did what I loved, the money would follow.

Teaching has proved to be the hardest job; much harder than any million-dollar producing business endeavor for which I had ever participated. However, I go home each day exhausted with a sense of satisfaction, warmth, and eternal perspective. I may not be raking in the dough as I had in my past (like the so-called “world” would desire), but I’m hopefully making more of a difference than I would pounding the pavement selling a product for which is unneeded.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I; I took the one less travelled by. And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost knew that a grassy road may be unpopular, but sometimes, the grassy road wants wear. I will never fully know for whom I have helped or what mark I will have in this world, but I will now never regret my choices to be a bit “different” in order to make a difference.