Monday, December 28, 2009

Resolution 2010

I am still working on my computer problems, but with holidays out of the way, I may be able to take care of the more mundane problems in my life now.

I have been thinking about how the economy really sent me for a loop. I have been scrambling to keep my home, find a new job, be able to regain health care, put food on the table. God has been good, but maybe he wants me to take more responsibility. I haven't moved forward fast enough. When I was younger, I was able to rebound much more quickly.

This year I have resolved to change things a bit. How? I will let you know more later.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm So Sorry

As I posted on Facebook, I am having some technology problems getting on-line. I hope to have them solved soon, but as days have turned to weeks, I have been neglectful of my blog. For this, I apologize

As you know, I do love Christmas and love writing about Christmas. Last year I posted a series of blogs called The Magi's Journal. It was an advent series, 25 posts leading to Christmas. I hope some of you who did not follow those posts will go through my archives and share these posts this holiday season.

Hopefully I will soon have daily access to the Internet once again.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If You Have Done It For The Least Of These

I found out today that the food pantry at church is empty. Mine is not a small church. The other large church in our town has a dwindling pantry, too. I should have suspected this. Many people have reached the end of their unemployment and there is no work here.

It was very humbling to have a college degree and a license in 2 states and still be unable to find work. I am employed now, but make about a quarter of what I made 3 years ago. Others may not have my resources.

I guess what I am trying to say is this, if you are a member of a congregation, inquire as to the state of your church's food pantry. See what you need to round up to donate. If you don't belong to a church, check out other local agencies that provide food for your community.

If we all do a little we can ease the suffering of other. I am about to see, right now, what I have to share.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This is the time of year when teachers are required to update their training. Last weekend I spent time training for my teaching job at Sylvan Learning Center. The rest of this week I was off at a TACS training conference, updating my skills for my job at Woodlawn. I attended numerous helpful, informative classes.

All this training reminded me of some other teaching conferences that I have attended.

I once attended a training conference for my short-lived job working for Shelby Co. public school system. I knew instantly how they regarded their new teachers. Their schedule was so tight that there was no time for a bathroom break and if I wanted a lunch I should have brown-bagged it because there was no time to drive to a nearby fast food restaurant.

My first impressions were correct. The sessions were more about a show of authority and less about providing information about classroom management or teaching techniques.

I taught for 8 years in West Memphis public schools. I did sit through a few good classes, but the basic in-service trainings should have been outlawed under the rules of the Genevia Convention. They were basically ways to cover themselves in an environment of political correctness.

I spent the first 3 days of every school year knowing one thing; I was being paid essentially, to stay awake. I used many methods to try to achieve this end. Once I spent several hours attempting to keep one foot, then the other, about 2 inches from the floor. If I could hold up the foot, it would be impossible to fall asleep, which would have brought down the wrath of my principal.

On another occasion I spent an afternoon doodling in a notebook, hoping that everyone would think I was eagerly jotting information. In fact, I figured that as long as my hand was moving, I couldn't fall asleep. I eventually began drawing large circles on the pad, hoping to fight slumber. What was the session about? I don't know. I just remember a social worker on the stage reading her lecture from a spiral notebook. She never made eye contact with her audience and her monotone voice was like a lullaby. I barely was awake when I exited the building, walked across the parking lot, and headed for home.

I have to say that the sessions I attended last week were much more entertaining and far more helpful for any teacher.

Well, I'm all trained up and ready for action. I wonder what the kids will throw at me this year.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Dying Tradition

Friday a tradition ended. The daytime soap, Guiding Light, completed its long TV run. It was the first of the TV soaps and, when it began, Roosevelt was the U. S. President. I never watched the show, but have seen soaps come and go over the years.

When I was a girl, my family lived for a year out in the country while my dad was in Japan. My grandmother used to watch 3 soaps; The Doctors, Another World, and Days of Our Lives. My mother, aunt, and I used to gather around the TV each day to watch. Of course, more was implied than shown in soaps back then.

A lot was different in those days. More women were at home and the soaps were entertainment as they cared for the house and their children. Women who didn't have time during the day to turn the pages of a book, could get their romance fix from TV. --And no man could be as romantic as those soap opera guys.

The Doctors bit the dust in the early '80s. Another World--my personal favorite--left the air in the late '90s. Only Days is left to remind me of the time when family gathered around the TV to see what kind of trouble Doug and Julie were into this week.

I confess. I haven't watched a soap in about 6 months. Even before that my viewing was sporadic. --Been to busy with work and life. That's what's killing soaps. Women are out in the work place or in the world. They don't stay home to raise the children or care for the home. For better or worst, times have changed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'll Be Good

That is what my Labrador/mix and my renegade Carolina dog are whimpering to me from my back deck. --But I don't believe them. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." What did they do that was so terrible that I won't let them spend time with me this evening? They made an escape, not once, not twice, but three time!

All I wanted was to come home and rest after a long day at school. I had to stop at the store in town, to buy ice cream for a bake sale tomorrow at school. I know, ice cream at a bake sale, but it sells and is an easy way to contribute. Anyway, the checker at the store loaded all my groceries except--you guessed it--the ice cream! Naturally, I didn't find this out till I got home.

As I was unloading the groceries, the garage back door flung opened and the dogs ran through the garage and through the front yard. My son and I called them, but they weren't coming back. As I took the groceries into the house, my son tried to chase them down. They were outrunning him and having a great time. Did I mention that it was raining?

My dogs have an odd habit. They always respond to the sound of my car's engine. The minute they hear the motor running, it is like a moth to a flame. When my son didn't quickly return with the animals, I started up the engine and began to drive down the block. They magically appeared in the middle of the road. I opened the car door, drove home, and parked in the driveway. Adam led them into the house and out to the back yard. The only problem was, both the garage doors were still opened. Within minutes, the dogs were leading 25 year old son on a merry chase through the neighborhood. Again I drove down the street till they returned for another drive home. They were happy, happy dogs, despite the scolding they received.

I called the grocery store and asked about my ice cream. Sure, I could come back and pick up another gallon. Lucky me, another drive into town. When I returned to the garage I noticed something was amiss. The garage door was cracked only about an inch high, just fifteen minutes before. Now it was up about two feet from the ground. Then I realized that the back door was ajar, once again. The dogs must have used their noses to push the heavy garage door opened enough to escape a third time! Who knew they had it in them?

I went to pick up my ice cream while my son scouted the neighborhood. It took about 45 minutes to find them this time. We decided to split up the pack. Taz rode home in the car with me while Dixie Belle walked home with Adam. Each whimpered to be reunited with the other.

They were reunited in my back yard and they have been whimpering ever since. They are going to stay outside, too, at least until I get the wet dog smell out of the back seat of my car.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Long Day

It was overcast today--not quite autumn--didn't seem like summer. It was a sad sort of day. My son and I went to his father's memorial ceremony.

The date for the ceremony was planned months ago, but that didn't make things any easier for my son. He adored his father and seeing a little leather case that held his ashes was still a difficult thing to do--though he had all ready seen the ashes months ago.

I hadn't seen those in-laws in over 10 years--some in over 20 years. It was a reminder of who I once was and who I thought I would be.

I wonder how I will be remembered.

Frank's dear friend, Joe, read the last chapter of Ecc. during the service. How appropriate. That will surely cause a person to think.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bi-product of the Recession

People have been impacted by the recession in ways they never expected. Many have come to realize that their financial shortcomings are affecting the treatment of their pets.

Pets are an expensive luxury. Dog care is especially costly. Families have made the heartbreaking decision to take their precious pets to the humane society because they can no longer afford to care for them.

The result is, animal shelters across the country are filled with wonderful, well-trained older animals that are waiting for a good home. Over the years I have owned puppies and I have rescued grown animals. I can say, without question, I prefer the older dogs. Older indoor dogs can be housebroken--a wonderful treat. They have outgrown the gnawing and tearing up phase. They are more settled down and are a lower maintenance animal.

Anyone planning to adopt a pet should consider the animal shelter. Don't be quick to dismiss a mature dog as a family pet. If you prefer a full-blooded animal, be assured that many shelters have them. I once rescued a full-blooded Boston Terrier from a shelter in Murfreesboro TN.

Check out your local shelters and see what they have to offer.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Family Reunion 2009

It means going through your recipe file to find that dish that will both taste good and travel well. My family hits the highway and travels to the middle Tennessee town of Camden. We rent a lodge at the local state park, enjoy the beautiful countryside, good company, and lots of food.

We have been meeting at this lodge for about 14 years. Lots has happened over the years. We have watched the children grow up and a couple of times gathered together to mourn the passing of a loved one. Right after 9-11 we gathered at the lodge and were able to escape the horrors of terrorism for a weekend. We were so far in the hills we had no TV or cell phone reception. For a weekend we were able to sleep without nightmares.

Memorable or average, a reunion is a nice way to spend a weekend.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Good Tired

Long days, rushing through books and lesson plans, trying to be two places at the same time--I am back in a classroom again. Since I have been out of work for a year, I was worried about being rusty. Well, teaching is like riding a bike. You don't forget. We have all ready had an insect zoo and used the microscopes.

In a school district that has publicly announced that no primary students will be retained, the children at this private school have higher standards. I have to have a higher standard, too. With God's help, I think we will be okay.

Monday, August 17, 2009


It's always something!

Last week my computer crashed. Fortunately, I was able to save most of my manuscripts before the last rites were given.

At a nearby restaurant, I sat with friends
Sunday after church, and discussed how to get me back into the 21st century. They discussed ram, rom, bits, and bytes. I had no clue what they were talking about. I admit, I don't know much about computers and the technology is totally over my head. What will I do? Don't really know--but somehow I will have to find a way to get plugged in.

After all, my son hates it when I use his computer. To him it's about like sharing a tooth brush.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

About Julie & Julia

No, it wasn't Gone With The Wind, but if you are a writer or a blogger or want to be either, you will find Julie & Julia a very interesting movie.

If you are a woman who feels that sense of panic that your life might not be headed the direction you want, you will certainly identify with the main characters in the story. I enjoyed the movie. Whether you get your girlfriends and go to the theater to see it, or wait for it to come out on DVD and make a party night of the movie, it is worth seeing.

In honor of Julia Childs, I plan to poach an egg for dinner and serve it with some asparagus. I insist upon wearing pearls and heels as I prepare the meal. Bon Appite

Friday, August 7, 2009

When Did Vet Care Stop Being About The Animals?

I sat in a little room away from all the other clients at the Munford Animal Hospital and listened as a kid in a white lab coat, about the age of my own son, explained the policy of the hospital by using some unfortunate words:

"We believe in our policy of testing yearly, no matter what. We are willing to lose a sales, before we will compromise."

My expression must have shown my surprise because he continued to explain. "After all, I am aware that you could simply take your business elsewhere."

What I wanted to say was that I didn't realize that my beloved animals were simply a sales to this hospital.

You see, my animals are rescue animals. They came to me with heartworms. I faithfully give them there necessary medicine, because my sister went through the dangerous heartworm treatment only to have her dog die from the medicine.

I have just started a new job and money is so tight that it was difficult to find 50.00 to buy a 3 month supply of the medicine. When the vet said he wouldn't even sell me 3 months worth without the tests, that made no sense. It was like withholding insulin from a diabetic. The doctor knows that without the heartworm meds my dogs will die, but refused to sell them to me until I got the updated tests--even though I can't afford those tests at the moment.

I remember the old days, back in the 1070s when we could take the dogs to the vet and make payments for their treatment. Sometimes it might be only 20.00 or 30.00 a month, but we made sure the vet got paid. Just as important, dogs and cats weren't turned away because their owners fell on hard times.

Remember that charming old book by James Herriot, All Things Bright and Beautiful? How would Herriot and his vet friends have handled things today?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

An Emotional Week.

This has been a very emotional week! One minute I am working at a daycare center. The next I am preparing to teach in a classroom.

Tuesday was my last day at the daycare center. As stressful as that job was, as difficult as it was to stay motivated when you knew you weren't going to be paid enough to keep up with the bills, it was still hard to leave. I especially thought my job with the babies was important. I know that interacting with them was important to stimulating their little minds.

The staff lured me out of the school age classroom and the kids were proud that they kept my little party a secret. Some even cried about my leaving. I cried too.

Then the next day, there I was moving crates of supplies to my new classroom. It is all so surreal. I know I will soon be as attached to these kids as I was to the ones at the center. I will have a little more control of my world at this job.

I am hopeful.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Through the Camera Lense

I haven't been very faithful to this blog lately, but those of you who follow it know why. It has been a long year and I sometimes have to will myself to face the day.

This has been a year marked by losses. I lost a job I loved right after receiving a series of excellent performance evaluations. When unemployment began to run out, I took a very low paying job and soon afterward, everyone had their hours reduced. My part-time job was cut to a couple of hours on Saturday. My savings were gone. Then came a greater loss. My ex-husband who had eventually become a sort of friend, was diagnosed with cancer and liver disease. He died within 3 months. A dear friend had his cancer return. He also died. I was so afraid to say, "God, what next?"

I was digging through a drawer and found my camera. I haven't used it in awhile and eagerly turned it on to see some of the pictures stored there.

There were pictures of the vacation my son and I took last year. We stayed at the lodge at Natchez Trace State Park. That was just before I was laid off. It was the last happy memory I have.

Next was my nieces wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony. I was still feeling hopeful and saw my job loss as a minor setback.

I have some photos of my family reunion. The reunions are usually pleasant, but this year I was embarrassed whenever family asked what I was doing with myself these days. I was unemployed and didn't know how I would make ends meet. Though they would never think ill of me, I still felt like a failure.

Then the photographs became more bittersweet. Winter came and the first snow. I took pictures of our dogs, who sadly begged to come back into the house till the snow melted. I inteviewed for a job that day. I was so hopeful, but the job was merely one in a series of rejections.

Then there were the Christmas pictures. They would be the last photographs I would ever take of my ex-husband and my son.

A new school year is about to begin and I have been offered a teaching job at a small school in the area. It is a chance to build my career again. I have grown an affection for the children at my daycare center, but I know the teaching job is best for me, not just financially.

I have learned some things from this experience and those things will show themselves in future writing that I do.

There is a lot of memory in my camera. I have believed, for many years now, that 2010 would be a special year for me. I look forward to it with great anticipation. I want to post some happier photos. I want to be more faithful to my readers, too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Longest Day

The Summer Solstice is a special time to me. For a few short hours before sunset, it seems as if there is magic in the air.

I first noticed this phenomenon at the beginning of the decade. I used to take a pet hedgehog out for evening walks in the flower bed under a huge shade tree. Watching the little creature dig for slugs and bugs was relaxing during a stressful time.

Under our large shade tree the sun's rays peeked between the leaves and lit the yard in a way that it did only once a year. Blades of warm grass stuck to my bare feet and I reveled in the moment. Then darkness fell and the magic was all but gone.

Ever since, I have make a point to be outside during sunset on the Summer Solstice. As long as it was sunny, I was not disappointed.

Last summer I spent the Solstice at Natchez Trace State Park, in TN. It was a lovely day, probably the last really worry-free day I can remember. That was the last full day of my summer vacation. Just a few days later I learned that, due to low student enrollment, my contract to teach would not be renewed.

First, came the feeling of failure as rejection after rejection piled up. Even public schools had a hiring freeze. Next, there was the trauma of unemployment. Then, I became underemployed, underpaid, and eventually all our hours were cut! My ex-husband was diagnosed with cancer and died. A dear friend came out of remission. A little over a week ago, he died also.

I didn't get to tell that friend that I got the new job we had been praying about. Last Solstice I had no idea what the future held for me. Now I am looking forward to a new job and a new school adventure. Maybe things are changing for me. For almost 10 years now I have felt that 2010 would be an amazing year for me. That is funny, since 2009 tested my faith.

This year I sat in my lawn chair under my shade tree, watched the sunset, and thought about all that had happened. I considered what the future might hold and remembered the verse in the Gospel of John: Let not your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid. Soon, I was sitting in the dark and the fireflies were dancing around me. The Summer Solstice magic was gone.

Hope remained.

I love the Summer Solstice. Please share your Solstice memories.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Last Saturday I attended a manicure & pedicure party with some friends. It was kind of like the old slumber party days where we painted our nails and did each others hair. Only now we had professionals working on us and the goal was to de-stress. Relaxing music played in the background and scented candles perfumed the room.

On Sunday we all wore sandals to church to show off our freshly painted nails. I do enjoy my Sunday School class!

On Monday I received a call I have been waiting for months
to get. The supervisor of a small private school confirmed that I have a position for next fall. In two months I'll have a new job!!!

The people I spent Saturday and Sunday with were of great support during the long struggle of this past year. Many good people have given me encouragement and have prayed for me. Family and even visitors to my blog have left me messages of encouragement.

Even before I received the confirmation call, I realized how fortunate I was to have a support system--family and friends--to help me through.

Thank you all!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Racism Hurts

I work in the city. That makes me a minority. Functioning as a subculture is stressful.

When I was a school teacher I was surprised that a parent would be quick to believe outlandish stories that problem children would invent. Just before report card time, children often said just about anything to discredit me. I was fortunate enough to work at a school that had video cameras to prove my innocence. Still, it always bothered me that parents were so quick to believe the accusations.

I work at a daycare center right now and spend hours attending to precious infants. The ratio, by law, is 4 children per adult, so I am seldom in the room without another staff person. It usually doesn't bother me that many of the parents ignore my presence and speak only to the other staff person. I just let it slide and continue to care for the babies.

--But last week I wasn't so cool about things. I had grown attached to a very inquisitive, active baby, not yet a year old. I understood that she needed a little extra love because her active nature tried the patients of others. The only thing that slows her down is illness and she was often sick. This little girl and I bonded.

I learned that Katura was going to attend a new daycare center. I felt the change would be good for her, but would still miss that big smile that greeted me every morning.

Katura's last day arrived and she was sick. She slept through the morning but woke around 12:00. I rocked her most of the afternoon until I was transferred to work in the school-age classroom. Fortunately, I caught sight of Katura's mom.

"Please bring Katura to me so I can tell her good-bye," I asked. In fact, I asked her twice. Mom promised to bring her little girl to my room to say bye.

I waited and waited and waited. When I went to the nursery, the family was gone. I was left feeling embarrased and hurt in front of all my co-workers.

I wept that night and a few times since. Why couldn't this woman believe that I sincerely cared for her child? Would she have treated me differently if we had both been the same color? Only God knows.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. In the U. S. it is a day set aside to honor and remember those who died on the battlefield. Mostly, children today don't even know what the day is about, except that school is almost over.

Our President has asked people to stop at 3:00 PM for a moment of silenced to remember those who are on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. I suggest we do one better. Why don't we stop for a moment of prayer for those soldiers and all other soldiers? A moment of prayer will do much more good than a moment of meditation.

Ask a soldier which he would rather receive, kind thoughts or prayers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another Mother's Day Thought--2 Kinds of Mothers

My current job has left me somewhat jaded. I work with beautiful little babies and children, but many of the mothers seem to view their children as an afterthought. I won't venture to guess why they have put their child's needs on the back burner when other parents don't. I daily see parents come to the center to pick up their children after leaving them in our care for almost 12 hours. Instead of greeting their child, they are talking to someone else on the cell phone. How is it that the parents don't notice the child's crushed expression?

Daily, parents bring sick children to our center. We actually have to demand the parents come to give medical attention to their children--even though many qualify for and receive free medical attention. One parent was called at 10:30 a.m. to pick up her feverish child. He also has many other medical problems. Mom wasn't working and receives free child care. She didn't pick up her son until the center closed at 6:30 p.m. Even though the child has free medical care, the mother never bothered to take the child to the hospital. She brought him back to the center every day for a week. Daily he would be fever free in the morning, but developed a high temperature couple of hours later. Children's Tylenol, anyone?

Then I went to church on Mother's Day. Naturally the mothers were recognized in various ways.

Then there was a baby dedication. About 10 couples brought their babies in front of the church to publicly acknowledge that they were responsible for the raising of their own children. They accepted that it was their job to instill morals and values in their children.

I felt a glimmer of hope burning within as I watched these parents, barely in their 20's standing before the congregation, determined to go the extra mile for their babies. I know that they don't have a clue about what the future holds. Maybe that's what makes parenthood such a tender, personal adventure.

I hope that they enjoy the adventure as much as I did--and still do.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Escape

I spent some time at a bookstore this Mother's Day. I needed some time to escape my troubles and just relax--kick back in a fluffy armchair with a cup of java--and escape for awhile into a world that books offer.

That's the great thing about books. They are a very inexpensive way to escape.

I never know how to get rid of my books after reading them. After all, I read a lot of books. This is a store for recycled books that are in good shape. This bookstore will buy many of your old books and give you cash or store credit. Great, a responsible way to get rid of my old books! After all, they aren't doing anyone any good sitting on a bookshelf.

Everyone needs a respite and many of us are on a very tight budget. An escape to a bookstore for an hour to peruse their newest arrivals is just the beginning. Each spring I look forward to sitting on my deck in my favorite lawn chair, with a novel in hand. I have a tall glass of iced tea and my favorite tunes playing in the background. I traveled all over the world in that lawn chair last summer. Those hours were some of the best parts of the summer.

By the way I found a Michael Crichton hardback for summer reading.

Happy reading!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Death and Anger

I know there are phases of grief and anger is one of them.

My son has just entered that stage. Frank didn't want a funeral but agreed that we could have a memorial ceremony for his passing when the family gathered together in the summer. He wanted to spare his family the grieving process
, but it hasn't really provided my son with closure.

This week Adam received his dad's 401K. As he held the check in his hand, it became real. His dad was gone. With the check came a sudden anger that Adam couldn't explain. Things like taking the trash to the curb became the topic for an argument. All I know to do is stay clear of him for a time.

I know this will pass and soon acceptance will come. It is a long, long road.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Could a story more compelling ever be written? The contrast from Good Friday to Easter Morning is the most amazing of all time. As a writer, I think about all that goes into the telling of the Easter story (complete with the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah playing in my brain) and I want to turn my computer off and call it a night. I will never write anything more gripping, more brilliant.

Truth is more amazing than fiction.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Silent Day

A professor of a New Testament Survey always gave the same final exam essay question: List the events that occurred from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. It was a hard question, but each Easter I reflect on what I learned. There was a good bit written about what happened during that week, except the day after Christ died. That seems to me to be the silent day.

A death is a sad thing for those left behind, but if you shared a vision with the deceased--dreams, plans--it is harder still. I think about a parent losing a child. The parent expected to see that child graduate from school, marry, and have a family of his/her own. When the child dies, the parent knows he will never see any of that, never hold a grandchild in his/her arms. A child has died and dreams have died.

The same is true when losing a spouse. When my ex. husband died a few weeks ago, I thought about all the things we planned. We were going to grow old together, be grandparents together. We divorced and dreams died. In the back of my mind I played with the idea that, by some miracle, we might someday reconcile. When he died that silly dream is also died.

The followers of Jesus had dreams, plans, too. The mother of James and John planned that her sons would rule alongside Jesus. Isn't that just like a mother? Simon thought he was a part of a revolution. Peter had only a glimmer of insight and still denied knowing his master. All of the followers had some kind of dream. They mourned the loss of their Rabbi, but they also mourned losing a dream.

Not much is written about that time that the followers hid and mourned, just before the resurrection. Maybe it was all too painful to write about. I kind of think this is an example of an occasion when silence speaks volumes.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Calm before a storm

I am sitting at home, waiting to go to work. Clouds are gathering. We are under a tornado watch. This is the calm before what might be an impressive storm.

It's also Good Friday. I am reflective. There was a calm before that storm, too. Everyone gathered on what we now call Maundy Thursday in the home of John Mark's mother (so many scholars believe) to have a Passover meal. Sure, the disciples felt a storm brewing. Jesus had chased out money changers and alienated many religious leaders, people who had found a place in the Roman society.

--But this moment seemed calm. Then Jesus made his predictions, one would deny him and one would betray him. He told Judas to do what he must do. The storm had begun.

I sit at home waiting to go to work and wonder if this storm will pass us by and I meditate on the storm which we now call Good Friday.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Two Types of People

As many of you know, my ex-husband, Adam's dad, died from lung and liver cancer. We both spent time with him during his last two months of life. Naturally, these trips were filled with emotions, but one thing really struck me. My ex. sure had a lot of devoted friends in Murfreesboro. He was not connected to any church. All his friends were people he once worked with. They all kept in touch with each other, even after many were laid-off.

That got me to thinking about my own lay-off. Once I and other teachers were laid-off, it ended our relationships. I was so disappointed that fellow teachers no longer returned my calls--or even e-mails. After all, it was a Christian school. I hoped that maybe I had built relationships with the staff, but time told the true story.

How had Frank managed to keep up a relationship with his co-workers? I have a theory. Some people work on assembly lines while others work in cubicles. People who are separated by walls or particians just don't develop the same kinds of relationships as those who struggle, side by side, to achieve a goal.

I have worked at many schools and have worked at several restaurants and can tell you that I forged much closer relationships with restaurant workers than with teachers. We had to work together to feed a crowd at a restaurant, but were isolated in a classroom when it came to teaching.

I'm not saying that there aren't people who care for me. When I went through my own battle with cancer many people showed me great kindness. I had my family, friends from church, and even co-workers. At the time, I worked at a library--no walls.

It is sad to think that many of us, without knowing it, have chosen careers where we will spend 8 hours a day in a sort of isolation. We will sit through meaningless "team building" staff meetings but will never really act like a team.

I guess it is important to seek friendship, a support system, elsewhere. No one should have to face life alone.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I know that I have been away for awhile, but things really got to be overwhelming, working during the week and rushing to Murfreesboro on the weekends, or on the weekends we couldn't get away, we had twice as much work to do at home. It was worth it, to give Adam a little extra time with his father.

Frank Mabry died on Friday, March 27th, at 7:22 PM. He wanted to die in his own home and he did. I thought he might have more time and a better quality of life if he had gone to the hospital sooner or more often, but that wasn't my choice to make. Right up until the end he wanted to be independent--and he was.

I knew Frank for 29 years. Adam knew him all his life.
He will be greatly missed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Catch Up

I am sorry that I have neglected this blog for so long. Between my own illness (cold/virus) and my ex-husband's serious illness, I barely have a minute to breathe. My son and I have made 2 trips to Murfreesboro to sit with Frank. During this last trip he seemed to be more active. He is bored with watching TV, but doesn't really have energy to go much of anywhere. He lives on the second floor of an apartment and the stairs alone are exhausting.

Hospice visits Frank a few times a week and he has friends who drop in on him from time to time. It is odd to look into the eyes of the man you have known most of your life, someone you once shared a home and family with and know that without a miracle, he will be gone from your life. I do have some unresolved feelings--for sure.

When I get a moment, I will be blogging on some of my observations.

Thanks again for your patients.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Great Regret

It is with a heavy heart that I come to you today. A family member has been diagnosed with an incurable disease and has been given a brief time to live. He will probably be put in hospice and kept comfortable.

For this reason my post will probably be few and brief. I must deal with a family crisis and with normal life at the same time.

Please remember us in your prayers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Lemonade Award

I received wonderful news a couple of days ago. I was presented The Lemonade Award, for my positive posts.

The announcement is on Linda Yezak's site, 777 Peppermint Place, She nominated me for the award after reading some of my pet stories. You all know how I love my animals. She particularly liked the story, Sibling Rivalry.

Thank you Linda for this honor. Check out Linda's site. You'll love it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Manna. Most of us know the story from the book of Exodus, about the little flakes of bread from Heaven. God used the manna to care for the Hebrew people as they traveled through the wilderness. It was also a way to teach His people how to trust Him. Even though God made provisions, the people still complained. They had a lot to learn.

I have been going through a wilderness in my life, too. I lost a job I enjoyed and existed on unemployment for 6 months. Potential employers yanked me about. Several of them lied to me without even blinking. Then, I finally found a job. It was not quite what I expected, barely enough money to cover the mortgage, but this may be the manna that sustains me until the economy recovers. That’s why I’ve decided to focus on the positives that this job offers.

Here’s positive #1. Picking up and caring for children at the daycare is much more physical than I thought. My arms, neck, legs, thighs, and rump are sore from bending, lifting, and rocking toddlers.

As a teacher, I used to stand and walk about the classroom so I was tired by the end of the day. Daycare work is much more physical. I am now more active than I used to be. That is very positive.

Positive #2. I am working through meal times and take my breaks much later. That doesn’t sound so good, but I have managed to lose the 8 pounds that I put on while I was unemployed.

Maybe working at this job will make me a healthier person. Perhaps I needed some time away from my former job so I could become a little more fit.

I can hear people groaning and saying that I am grasping at straws. I am trying to apply purpose to a random situation. Well, that’s the science teacher in me. I know there are no random acts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I am a sci-fi fan. I like true sci-fi much more than than sci-fi/fantasy blended. I am a purist that way.

My son and I were watching a sci-fi double feature last weekend, a couple of movies I've watched dozens of times. I was surprised at how the M. Night Shyamalin's movie, Signs, really seemed to speak to me. I can't get the movie out of my mind.

There is a scene where the two main characters, brothers, are watching the TV and trying to find more information about crop circles and alien sightings. The younger brother asked the older, who was once a minister, if this was the end of the world.

The older brother says there are two types of people. One type believes that everything is a matter of luck, that life is a series of random events, with no reason or greater purpose. They will see these events as the end of the world.

The second group sees miracles and signs--reason and purpose. They don't believe they face problems alone. Those people won't see these events as the end of the world.

There have been numerous anxious moment during the past 6 months of my life. I walked away from a good paying job to teach in a small private school, but was laid off when enrollment declined. I was totally unaware that the economy would take such a downturn. I wasn't even told that the decision to lay me off had been made till it was too late to find another teaching job. I have spent months trying to make contacts, to little avail. I have had potential employers string me along, even after positions were all ready filled and there was no chance I would be hired.

During this time I've drained my savings--and financial security. I've been concerned about making mortgage payments. Though I will soon be working at a new job, I will be earning a dangerously low salary with no benefits.

As I watched that movie, the tears began to flow. The former minister asked his brother, "What kind of person are you?"

If I looked at the chain of events this last 2 years as simply bad luck, I would be crushed. I don't know if I could be strong enough to take blow, after blow, after blow. I might think it was easier to give up and go on welfare.

--But I have tried to stay focused and believe there is something out there for me. There is a reason and purpose for what has happened. I don't know where this path leads, just that I am to follow it.

Like the characters in the movie Signs, I'm confused and don't understand what is going on in the world around me. Like the younger brother in the movie, I am seeking the signs and am comforted in knowing that I am not going through all of this alone.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dixie's Surgery

Dixie's surgery went well and after 2 nights away, she is back with her family that loves her. Now that Dixie Belle is home, Taz is acting like a normal, jealous sibling again. All is as it was.

Adam said that Dixie Belle was so eager to leave the hospital that she wouldn't wait for Adam to open the exit door. She kept ramming her head into the door, trying to get it to open. I knew she was a hard headed dog!

There's no place like home.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

I have always thought it was very significant that a large part of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, deals with family relationships. A theme that appears over and over again is sibling rivalry. You see it with Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Rachael and Leah. What a sad trap those sisters were caught up in.

Maybe God wanted us to know that sibling rivalry is real and that parents should intervene or it can get out of hand and destroy a family. In fact, later in the Bible we see how it affected a nation in the case of King David and his children.

I was simply reminded of this because I took my dog Dixie Belle to the vet. She will be at the animal hospital for 2 nights. What does this have to do with sibling rivalry? Bear with me.

I didn't have the joy of having two children so I never had to worry about sibling rivalry as such. I have had two dogs, though. I inherited Dixie Belle when the neighbors moved and left her behind. She was accustomed to being tied to a tree. Her only entertainment was to eat through her collars. When she succeeded, she would run for days up and down the street until her owners would notice she was untied. She was used to interaction with other dogs.

Dixie liked the freedom of our backyard, but missed running with dogs and was very moody. We (my son and I) thought another pet might help. It did, too. They loved to play in the back yard.

The problems came when we became involved.

Dixie Belle and Taz, a Carolina Dog, would do almost anything to get all the attention from one of us. It was funny sometimes, bothersome other times. An adult lab/boxer mix on your lap is very uncomfortable--and if Taz could get on my lap, Dixie thought she belonged there, too.

Anyway, I was convinced that Taz, would love having two days of our undivided attention while Dixie Belle was at the animal hospital--but I was wrong. Taz saw me put the collar around Dixie Belle and lead her to the car. She was upset because she wanted to go with us. --But she was also upset when I got home and there was no Dixie Belle with me. She was really confused when it was bed time and there was no Dixie Belle. Right now she will have next to nothing to do with me. She may want all the attention when both dogs are at home, but she really does love her companion.

It is fortunate that love can overcome sibling rivalry.

We saw that in the Biblical case of Joseph and his brothers, too.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dixie Belle's Surgery

My heart is heavy today.

I just took Dixie Belle to the vet. and they said that her heart seems strong enough for the surgery to remove a tumor from her leg. That is the good news. The bad is that I won't see her until Saturday when we will bring her home.

I am sure all will go well. This Animal Hospital is good and Taz had a similar surgery a couple of years ago. Still, Dixie doesn't know what is going on or why I have abandoned her. She is confused and I will worry--and say a prayer.

You dog lovers know just what I am talking about.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Getting Ready

I have had this week to get things ready to start my new job. I had some auto work done. Remember, a woodland creature decided to build its nest on my warm engine?

Now I am getting ready to have surgery done on Dixie Belle. She has a tumor that the Vet said was benign. I was unable to do the surgery until I got back to work.

This has really got me to thinking. Shouldn't there be some help for families who took on the care of a pet during good economic times, but are now struggling economically? The humane society in our city does give out one 20 lb sack of dog food per month, to needy families. Of course for me it is almost as expensive to drive across town to pick up the dog food, but I am sure this service is helpful to others.

My needs were much more serious. I have a dog that needs expensive surgery. Both dogs need their yearly shots, check ups, and heart worm medicine. A year ago these would not have been burdensome, but now it is almost overwhelming. I am sure that there are other people who are in the same situation as me. It seems as though organizations such as the Humane Society or PETA, that really loves animals would have addressed this--though PETA really lost a lot of respect after the Hurricane Katrina fiasco.

I will let you know how things are going with Dixie Belle. She will really be on my mind a lot for the next few days.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Good Things

It looks like I am going back to work. I was fingerprinted yesterday and they are ordering a uniform for me, so I think that means that it is pretty certain. It will be daycare work, a bit different from being a school teacher, but what can I say? The school's aren't hiring and I need a job. I am qualified, so I figured I'd better take it.

I was feeling a little sad about some of the things I wasn't going to be able to afford, taking this job, but something really nice happened. My aunt and uncle drove across country to check on a new job. (I think everyone I know is looking for work right now!) Anyway, I got to visit with my aunt and uncle as they passed through town.

My aunt lost some weight and filled up a suitcase with gently warn dress clothes; skirts, jackets, blouses, slacks and gave them to me. Trying on the clothes was like a 2nd birthday or something. I got about 9 winter blouses and shirts, 12 summer t-shirt style blouses, 2 skirts, 3 pairs of slacks, and 2 pairs of pajamas. The clothes were so nice, it was hard to believe that the clothes had been worn at all.

This did so much to lift my spirits. I felt as if this was just one way God was showing that He would bless me, even through family and friends. Yeah, I am going through financial troubles--as many people are--but I am still very blessed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

First Draft Finished !!!

At 4:18 a.m. I finished the first draft of the 2nd novel in my romance series! Yes, I was determined to finish it if I had to stay up all night--and I did. Though I haven't found a publisher for the first book in the series, I felt the need to go ahead and finish the 2nd book--since I have the time. I am so excited that I know how the book ended. As I do the revision, I can work out kinks in the story.

On another note, I went to fill out a job application today. It took me two hours to find a building fifteen minutes from my home. I followed 2 streets through several suburbs--and into some scary looking neighborhoods, too. I finally gave up and headed toward home when I passed the school's van on the highway, made a quick turn and followed it to the daycare center.

At least I know how to get to the daycare center if I get a call back and I made it home before the ice started started sticking on the road.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Facebook trouble

I wanted to find a way to contact all my Facebook friends and tell them that, for some reason, I can't post or update facebook from my home computer. I am not trying to ignore anyone. Until I can figure out what's wrong, I am unable to make any updated for the time being.

Hopefully I will be able to fix the problem soon.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Years

I planned to write something profound about the coming new year, but with the holidays out of the way, I feel more inspired to work on my manuscript. It is almost complete and I may finish it by tonight. What a nice way to start the new year.

Of course, I am also still job hunting. I applied for a local library position. That would be nice, spending all day surrounded by books. Sigh.