In August of 2015 during my first week of teaching at Cornerstone, a random teacher walked into my classroom. Well, not completely random. I hadn’t officially met her, but we both knew of each other because her dad was my middle school math/computer teacher back at Trinity. Susan walked right into my room, gave me a loud, “Hey! I’m Susan. You’re new, huh?” She sat right down and was intentional about getting to know me. I stopped my (probably frantic) cutting out stuff for my empty bulletin board and sat down with her. I knew she would be a friend already.

She used to teach fifth grade. She was going to bring me a basket of some of her stuff she used. I told her I had nothing…I had thrown away all my stuff years back after thinking I’d never become a teacher. She said that was no problem. It would be ok!

Susan checked in on me at least once a week during my first year of teaching. She genuinely cared about how I was doing as a newbie, how much coffee I drank that day, and what funny story I had to share about my students. Many times we would spend too much time talking, and we would both be off “task” or “schedule” according to others. It was ok though. She was always a welcomed friend to my classroom. She was also hilarious!

From October to May the first year, Susan and I tackled the Nation Notebook project together. We didn’t just tackle it, we revamped it from scratch. It was awesome. It was stressful at times, but we had so much fun making it our own. For as different as we were in some of our approaches to teaching, we were a lot alike in many ways. She was one of several teachers that I loved to sit down with during my first year of teaching and just talk about Jesus with. That made creating the project even better. At times I’d share an idea I’d have (that I thought could be awesome), and she’d look at me and go, “You have got to be kidding. No.” We would both just laugh. Then she’d tell me an idea we should try for part of the project and I’d literally drop my jaw and say, “Seriously, that will not work.” We spent more time laughing, drinking coffee, and talking about God than the project. I remember the day we finally had been waiting for—Nation Notebook Day. It was really one of the best days of that first year. We had pulled off an incredible project, learned a lot along the way, and the kids had so much fun.

Susan taught me a lot during my first year of teaching. She was a caring friend, a great listener, and gave Godly advice. She was a friend I felt like I had known for decades. She, along with several other teachers, walked through some tough things with me during that year. The next year was no different. She’d randomly pop into my classroom, throw candy on my desk, and tell some funny joke to the kids to totally interrupt the lesson. She was one of the first ones to come give me a hug when I’d leave school bawling, know when I needed a Bible verse texted to me, or just a, “Hey, you gotta just brush that off. God says you’re awesome.” She was the best. I’ll never forget the day she brought me Starbucks and had secretly ordered 3 shots of espresso without telling me. Coffee already made me bouncy at times (which she knew), so I literally thought I was going to collapse because of all the extra caffeine that day. She knew I needed a good laugh, and enough caffeine to make me bounce off the walls for the next week.

My third year of teaching was very different simply because Susan wasn’t there. I missed her, but it gave us an excuse to get together regularly and not be at school. We got together often (usually at a coffee shop), and it was always enjoyable. We had so many talks about God, life, and what He was teaching us at the time.

News of Susan’s brain tumor hit me hard. There were many emotions, lots of questions I asked God very regularly, and many prayers for Him to please heal my friend.

Susan taught me a lot these last couple of years. She was strong. She loved the Lord, and she had a new peace about her that was so encouraging. She continued checking in, just to see how I was doing. She certainly didn’t have to, but she was always thinking of others. She was never afraid to ask for a flat white on my way over to see her, and she absolutely adored Rylan from the week he was born. Our conversations changed from trivial school/teaching things to deeper things that God was teaching us and taking time to appreciate the little things in life.

Susan grew noticeably weaker each time that I saw her the last couple of months. It wasn’t easy, however her faith remained strong. She always had a smile on her face and we always had something to laugh about.

Tonight I miss her terribly. I’m still in shock that she is gone, however I am so thankful she is no longer in pain. She’s in the arms of our Savior, and she was able to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I remember talking about heaven with her years ago. We would talk about life goals, things we wanted to do or see in our lifetime, but always came back to how cool it would be to just be done with all “this stuff down here” and be in eternity. Although my heart broke in pieces tonight again, I’m so happy she’s with Jesus.

Susan, you fought that nasty tumor with all that you had, and you continued loving Jesus through it all. Thank you for your constant reminders for me to read Joshua 1:9, and to not just read it, but believe it. You impacted hundreds of students, teachers, and families throughout your lifetime, and we will miss you dearly. Now you’ve been able to completely explore the world like you wanted, are no longer in pain, and are united with our Heavenly Father for eternity. We love you and are so thankful for your life.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. — Joshua 1:9 (NIV)




2019: A Year to Remember


  1. R

    Beautiful, just beautiful

  2. Barb

    Such a precious tribute!! Thank you and yes she so loved you and Rylan.

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