Keeping it Real with Teri Netterville: A Fresh Start

In Louisiana Ladies, Teri Netterville by Lola Magazine

The beginning of each new school year was always one of my favorite times when I was a little girl. The excitement of seeing all of my friends again after not seeing them for a whole summer. The excitement of finding out who my new teacher was going to be and which of my friends were going to be in my homeroom class. It was all just so exciting.

One of my very favorite parts of a new school year was getting all of my new school supplies. Brand new pencils, brand new erasers, glue, crayons… And I especially loved my new notebooks. Ahh…Fresh notebooks! Not one page torn, smeared, tattered or marked on. I especially loved writing on that very first page. I don’t know why but it just seemed that on that first page I always tried my hardest to write as cleanly and neatly as I possibly could.

To me, my notebook was a symbol of a fresh start, a new beginning. I would always think back to how tattered and torn my old, messy notebook was from the year before. You see, all of the old tattered and torn notebooks were all once new, fresh notebooks as well, but after a year of wear and tear due to lessons, assignments and challenges, my notebook was simply banged up.

The new, fresh notebook had endless possibilities. What lessons would be accomplished in this new notebook? What learning challenges were ahead of me that would fill this notebook? Just the idea of it all was so exciting to me.

Each year, I would start off carefully trying to make sure I didn’t mess up or make a mistake that would cost me to tear out a page, erase a blunder or even have it marked through with a red pen.

The red “teacher” pen… Remember those? The red teacher pen was used when the teacher needed to give special attention to my work that had mistakes on it. She would then use that very same red pen to write down different ways I could improve upon that particular assignment.

I reeeeeally didn’t love the red ink on my pages, so much when I was little, I would get so nervous when I would see my work marked in red, especially if there were marks all over the assignment. And I couldn’t wait to get through each assignment because there was always a new fresh, clean page waiting to be used right after that messy used-up one.

But here’s the deal, as I grew up and matured, I realized that the red ink was actually something to learn from. I began looking forward to seeing what my teacher had written because I knew that ultimately it would be something to help me improve my assignment for the next page.

Let’s think about something. What if we had notebooks that represented our own lives? What would they look like after a year of living? I can only imagine all of the “red marks” that would give color to many of the pages in my own life-notebook.

There is no doubt that there would also be many pages torn out where I would wish to forget some of my decisions. In fact, many pages would most probably mysteriously disappear for fear that anyone else would know about these poor decisions. I bet there would be many scratch outs, erases and mark-throughs where I learned from and tried to correct my errors.

I can also speculate that there would be pages highlighted where I would want others to see where I had actually made some wonderful progress in my life story.

You see, each chapter of our life brings with it lessons… Sometimes very hard and humbling lessons.

Throughout our lives, we will discover things about ourselves that we cannot possibly imagine at this point. There will be tasks ahead of us that will challenge us in ways that will stretch our heart, our mind and our spirit.

If your life was lived out on that fresh new notebook, what do you think it would look like at the end of the year? Would it look brand-spanking new at the end of the year?

I hope not!

I would hope there would be all kinds of lessons, challenges, tests and stories that would tell the world of your work.  Mistakes? Absolutely. This is how we learn! Red ink? Pages torn out? Yes! Without a doubt! How else would we receive wisdom, courage and strength of character?

Each fresh new page, however, is up to you as to how it will be written. Take pride in those old, banged-up, tattered notebooks of life. Those lessons are invaluable. All of our life lessons are purposeful and good. Take advantage of every fresh start! Use it to allow others to see the light that shines within your soul.

The beauty of another day is that you have one more opportunity to conquer the world with your generosity of spirit. So embrace it… and keep it real.