Looking for Meena

meenaSo many things come along each day that cause me stress.  The pressure gets overwhelming at work.  My teenage daughter is calling from college wanting money.  The bank account has run out before the month has.  An appliance has stopped working.  The 14-year-old dog is sick.  He is sick all over the place for the past 3 days.  While none of these scenarios are terminal, they pile up and wear me down so I feel sad, weary, let down, lost.  I know that I’m not alone in this, but technically, I’m alone.  My oldest daughter is married with children, my middle daughter works her tail off between full time work and full time school, and my youngest is in her first year away at college.  So, the sick dog and I keep each other company.

Louie is a miniature pinscher mix who is 98 in people years.  That’s old.  Recently he has had a little trouble controlling his functions, if you know what I mean.  This thought plagues my drive home from work each day.  After dealing with my classroom full of first graders, I know that at the end of my drive I will have some cleaning up to do-doo.  A couple weeks ago, I stressed about this the whole way home to the point where I was actually mad at the poor little guy before I ever walked through the door.  As I reluctantly climbed the stairs and came in, I could tell it was going to be bad.  All I could do was yell out, “LOUIE!”  What came back, surprised me.  I heard someone singing, “Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing.  Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing, mama.”  This response stopped me in my tracks and left me standing there with my mouth wide open.  What the…?

Now before you call the looney bin on me or assume I must be delusional, let me explain an earlier event.  I went with my grandchildren to see the movie, Sing.  We loved it.  My 3-year-old grandson loved those little bunnies and walked around singing their line repeatedly.  If you’ve seen the movie or even just the commercial, you know what song I’m talking about.  Not necessarily appropriate for all occasions.  After the movie, the kiddos wanted to stop by McDonalds for a Happy Meal with a toy that featured Meena from the movie.  Meena, the elephant, sang her song non-stop, all the way home and by the time we were there, she was played with until I was hearing “Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing,” ringing in my ears.  Listen here if you’d like…https://youtu.be/t8tv38egpx8

The grandkids cleaned up to go home and I was relieved that Meena was going to get to entertain my daughter and son-in-law for the foreseeable future.  As it turned out, Meena never left my house.  She is somewhere in or under my couch and every loud noise or hard thump on the floor causes her to belt out her admonition to stop worrying.

This is what I heard as I yelled at Louie that day.  I looked for Meena briefly but stopped after I realized that her voice was just the reminder I needed to knock off the worry, to not sweat the small stuff.  Being home alone gives me more, although not needed, time inside my head, but Meena keeps me going.  I don’t know how long her little batteries will last but so far, she’s been right on time, every time, with her plea.  Her interjection catches me by surprise almost every time but it’s always exactly what I need to hear.

I believe that God slips these reminders into our lives in whatever ways He thinks we’ll pay attention.  He knows I need them frequently.  I hope we can be those reminders for one another as well.  Let’s all channel our inner Meena and stop worrying about the thing; the doctor’s report, the news about our parents, the stress of our jobs, etc…  Let’s begin to do something, no matter how small, to make a difference, to make it better, to help.  I’m willing.

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 


There’s No Telling How Far

My pastor recently spoke the following words, “We can know how many seeds are in the pomegranate but only God knows how many pomegranates are in the seed.”

We must have a spirit of giving.  We have daily, abundant opportunities to give in some form or fashion.  Think of your own day.  My day started off with a visit from my grandkids and my grandson was interested in me giving him some attention by reading a book.  My dog wanted me to give her a little ball-throwing session in the backyard.  My daughter wanted me to loan her my laptop so she could finish some school work tonight.  As I left for church, my neighbor stopped to talk for a few minutes in the driveway.  On the way to church, the man at the intersection held the sign that read, “Please give.  Anything helps.”  In church, the collection plate was passed around and we were reminded of our missionaries and the debt-reduction that we are trying to achieve.   Stopping at the grocery store, the nice lady in aisle 3 needed some help getting something off of the top shelf.  Once I got home, my parents called and wondered if I had time for them to come visit.  Do you see all of these opportunities that were opened up for me to give of myself?  That’s only half of my day.  How many more times will I be called on?

In each of these instances, I can see and count the tangible gift.  I can see how my grandson liked hearing the story.  I can’t tell though, what good came from that later in his day.  Was he better-behaved for his mom later?  Did he learn a few new words that he couldn’t read before?  I can see how my daughter will take my laptop to but what will happen beyond that?   Could she also use it to apply for a job she’s found available?   The $10 that I gave to the guy on the street corner was just $10 but to him, it was a meal for himself and something for the dog laying next to him.  The offering at church was a set amount for me but where will the church use it?  Will is support a missionary and make something possible in a country I will never see?  Will it supply meals for the youth as they come to learn about God’s place in their life?  Will it be used in the community to create programs to draw people to the works of God in our church?  So many possibilities.

I think I can fully understand the gift of the time with my dog outside.  Because of that gift, I won’t have any gifts to clean up when I get home from church later.

I know what I have given.  I have counted those seeds.  But only God knows what those seeds will sow and how far and how wide they will be broadcast.  In all of those instances ask God to do His Will and with others’ giving, the results are limitless.  Give when you can, in whatever way you can.  We all have something to give.

Proverbs 11:24-25  One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to want.  A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. 

Not Over My Head, You’re Not!

I’ve always been a worrier.  As a child, most family outings started with me having a nervous stomach ache.  It was just a fact of life.  I worried about everything.  In the winter, when we’d have a fire in the family room fireplace, I would sneak back downstairs after everyone went to bed so I could keep watch to make sure our house wasn’t going to burn down.  I worried about not being prepared for school on Monday mornings so I had a stomach ache every Sunday evening.  You get the picture.  Little Miss Worry-wart.

Those were the regular worries.  I had a pretty good handle on all of those.  Then in 2004, I was diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera.  It’s a blood cancer that causes my red blood cells to be abnormally shaped and way too plentiful.  Thus, blood that’s the consistency of a Slurpee.  Sorry if that was TMI.  The way this disease is treated is to have a regular phlebotomy schedule (think blood donation plus a little more) and many medications.  The side effects from this disease are scary to think about, so I don’t.  I do my best to follow directions and take care of myself so that those other problems don’t need to become a reality.  My doctor is a knowledgeable, caring, brilliant man.  He had hoped for a “long, boring illness”.  It was just that for about 5 years and then I got a blood clot, in my pointer finger.  No big deal to me but apparently, a huge deal for my doctor.  I was hospitalized and put on another batch of pills.   Problem averted but now my doctor was worried that my illness could be moving out of the boring category.  He felt that I should go see a more renowned specialist for some monitoring.  I had a bone marrow biopsy and went to see this medical genius with my hopes high.  She was certainly brilliant.  There was no doubt in my mind that she knew everything about this disease and any blood related event you could think of.  She knew every standard problem that someone with this disease faces.  All those smarts however must have crowded out the part of her brain and heart that hold the caring bedside manner.  She had none and that’s putting it mildly.  She blankly told me every negative thing that would happen to me.  Not the things that Could happen but in her explanation, it Would all happen.  She even gave me a timeline of when to expect to hit rock bottom.  She was not polite or caring or hopeful.  She was downright deadly.

Now I’m not one to hide from the truth and believe me, I had already Googled every possible angle of this disease and knew all the dire possibilities she was speaking over me.  I knew them and with my doctor at home, we would be prepared if the need arose.  This expert did not want to answer questions.  She did not want to offer any hope.  She wanted to lay it on me and go on to the next patient.  After that appointment, I cried the entire 2-hour drive home.  Her words left me feeling that there wasn’t going to be much of a future for me.  Her words.  This momentous visit brought on the first panic attacks I’d ever experienced.  I was terrified of every twinge, every muscle ache, every headache, every everything.  I was afraid to live.

My God does not want me to live that way.  He wants me to live.  Truly live.  I am trying.  I had to come to a point where I decided who was going to speak the truth over my life.  That doctor who didn’t know me and my faith, or my God, the great healer.  I would like to report that I let it all go, all the worry, all the fear about my illness, but the truth is that it’s a work in progress.  I’m learning how to do that and focus on what’s going right in my life.  I have dug deep into my faith and I’ve gotten excellent counseling and my doctor is more resolved than ever that my disease will be long and boring.

My point in writing this is that the enemy will take any avenue possible to derail us and to turn our lives to fear and pain.  I know he thrives on that.  When something comes into your life that speaks despair and hopelessness over you, don’t give in.  See it for what it truly is.  Know the facts, but more importantly, know your Faith.  Our God is Bigger!

Psalm 30:2  Oh Lord, my God, I cried out to You for help and You healed me. 

Lessons Learned at the Water Park…Trust


I got to spend this day at the indoor water park with my three daughters, my son-in-law, my two grandchildren, and my friend/ex-husband.   What an exhausting yet exhilarating day.  Much of my time was spent hanging out at the baby pool area so that everybody else could go on the water slides.  I got to watch my granddaughter and grandson splash themselves silly and wear out a path up to the froggy slide.  Up and down, up and down.  Over and over and over.  While I was watching this endless procession of slide merriment, I got to have some unintended people-watching time as well.

This really got me thinking about trust; trusting what we cannot see but also trusting what’s right in front of our faces.  Some of these smaller children were asked to trust their parents to be at the bottom of the slide to catch them before they hit the water.  Parents promised.  They smiled.  They reassured.  They clapped.  They gave the thumbs-up.  The children immediately smiled as well and were all for it.  Most of the sliding happened uneventfully and inspired squeals and screams as the kids felt encouraged to do it again and again and again.  With each successful slide and catch, the child’s trust in their grown-up grew.   My own grandson was excited to have his turn and once at the top of the froggy slide, he whooshed right down and spilled out into my arms.  I caught him and he jumped right out of them and was back up the steps for another go.  This went on for a good ten minutes and finally he said, “I do it myself.”  I stayed close, proud of him for feeling like he could do this on his own, but ready to help.  He shot down the slide and landed with a splash.  He stood up quickly, spit out some water, and came right to me for a hug.  After the hug and my reassurance that he was okay, he got right back to it.  He was a man on a mission now!

Then there came the cute little girl in the Shopkins, one-piece, bathing suit.  She eagerly got to the top of the slide and her mother knelt in the one foot of water at the bottom.  “Come on baby, I’m right here.  I promise I’ll catch you,” her mother said.  Baby pushed off and came sliding down.  Mom put out one arm and caught part of a shoulder as Baby’s head went under.  Mom pulled her out almost instantaneously but the look on Baby’s face said, “WTH!  How did you let the water get up my nose?”  Mom loved on Baby and helped her cough and sputter the last of the water out.  Then Mom put Baby back on the top of the slide and said, “Come on, I promise, I’m right here.  No more water in your face.”  Baby did not look happy or trusting this time.  Baby looked a little nervous.  She’d already been let down.  Literally.  But, being a kid, she tried again.  Sliding down with the gushing water, Baby landed across her mother’s arm, face first, in the water.  More coughing, more sputtering.  More apologies.  This happened one last time and Baby, through her tears, said, “All done.”

Where should we place our trust?  These precious children placed their trust in their grown-up family members.  When that trust was validated, it grew and spread and gave the kids the feeling that they could keep going.  When that trust was disproved, the child gave up.  Isn’t this so true of our grown-up relationships?  We put our trust in so many people.  Our parents, our spouses, our friends, our children.  They all have our trust initially, but when time and again, our trust is broken, we tend to want to be like Baby and say, “All done.”  When we put our trust in God, it is nurtured and rewarded over and over again so that we are emboldened to realize that we can stand, we can breathe, we can walk, and we can even love again.  While our earthly trust can let us down at times, our heavenly trust is infallible.  Give it a try.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways, submit to him and he will make your paths straight. 

I Brought it Home…


I had to bring my bag of papers to grade.  I had to bring my manuals to figure out these writing lessons.  I had to bring my packet from the last faculty meeting…you know, the one I haven’t read through yet? Wasn’t I supposed to have implemented those new strategies into my curriculum by now?   I had to bring my box of markers.   I had to bring my mugs and cups that have accumulated for far too long.  No choice, I had to bring those things home.  

I also brought home the cancer news from a child’s parent.  I brought home the sadness of knowing what that child is going to find out this weekend.  I brought home the anguish of the kid who just can’t get it no matter how hard he tries.  I brought the fear of the child who wishes her mom could stop doing drugs long enough to help with the homework that I keep asking her to do.  I brought home the worry of a parent who just wants her child to be a good student and not get sent to the principal’s office again.   

I’ve brought it all home, and you know what?   I think my heart is heavier than my teacher bag.   I’m not unique.   These are the same things every other teacher takes home too.  Here’s to all of you who help carry the load.   You are appreciated and you are not alone.  

The Versatile Blogger Award

I feel so honored to be mentioned for a blogging award and I have to thank RisFit for thinking of me.  You made my day!  Please check out RisFit’s wonderful blog at https://risfitblog.wordpress.com/


This gesture of sharing the love is a beautiful gift.

To nurture this chain of friendship, play by these rules:

~ Write a Word of Thanks to the blogger who nominated you and don’t forget to link their blog.

~ Share 7 Fun Facts about yourself with the Blogging Community.

~ Choose at least 15 bloggers who deserve your little words of encouragement and nominate them for the Versatile Blogger Award.

~ Send word to the talented bloggers whom you nominated, link their blogs and inspire them to grow in their creativity.

About Me:

  1. I teach first grade.  I’ve taught either first grade or kindergarten for 25 years.  My job is brand new every day.
  2. I was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and grew up in Maryland.
  3. I have always loved to write but never thought about sharing what I do with others.  This blog has given me the opportunity to be a part of you wonderful group of peers!
  4. I am a faith-filled person and hope to share that faith through my blog.
  5. Favorite author from my younger days was Erma Bombeck.  She wrote about everyday life in the most hilarious way.
  6. I have raised dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, lizards, guinea pigs, rabbits, and ducks at my house.  Love love love animals.
  7. I came late to the realization that I need to love myself and be happy with myself before I can be anything to anyone else.  I have finally figured it out!

I nominate these bloggers for the versatile blogger award!

  1. http://www.insidethelifeofmoi.com/
  2. http://www.fourthgenerationfarmgirl.com/
  3. http://nancyaruegg.com/
  4. https://painpalsblog.wordpress.com
  5. https://braverthanbefore.com/
  6. https://geethaprodhom.wordpress.com/
  7. https://wordsonemptyears.wordpress.com
  8. https://geofflepard.com/
  9. https://thephilfactor.com/
  10. http://www.logicalquotes.com/
  11. http://littlefears.co.uk/
  12. https://eyespluswords.com/
  13. https://lance-price.com/
  14. https://steve-says.net/
  15. https://vasinvixon.wordpress.com/


When I was a little girl, I loved to watch the Carol Burnett Show on TV.  Some of the funniest moments on TV occurred on that show but one sketch in particular really got me thinking.  Mr. Tudball (Tim Conway) and his secretary, Mrs. Wiggins (Carol Burnett), are trying out their new intercoms.  Mr. Tudball presses the button and summons Mrs. Wiggins, who reponds by pressing the button on her end.  Mr. Tudball proceeds to press his button once again to spout off some direction.  All the while Mrs. Wiggins is still holding her button down and saying, “Hello?”  Finally after much trial and error, Mr. Tudball emerges from the office to exclaim, “Don’t a-press that button when I’m a-talking to you.”  If you want to watch the episode in part or in whole, feel free.  I’ll wait.  The Carol Burnett Show

How does this sitcom sketch illustrate our interactions with God?  I’m so glad you asked.

Most of us spend some part, even a minuscule part, of every day praying to God.  We each pray differently.  The languages are different, the tone is different, even the location varies from person to person.  Many of us have something in common though.  We pray, “Please forgive, please comfort, please strengthen, please bless, please help, please give…you fill in the blank.”  With that said, how many of us take the time to let go of the button and listen for God’s response?  We tend to call God to us in prayer just the way that Mr. Tudball calls his secretary.  Once we have His attention though, we “hold that button down” by turning on the car radio, going back to the chaos of the household, rolling over and going to sleep, or a million other things that call for our attention.  We’ve done our part, right?  As God is responding to answer, to lead, or even to ask more, we are holding that button down and are deaf to His voice.

Let go of the button, people.  Listen to what He’s telling you and you will be oh so glad that you did.

Peachy Winslow (Book idea?)

I have a character who’s been running around in my head for a quite a while and I know that she has a story to tell.  This is part of her story.  

Peachy Winslow has a story to tell.  She is from Cumbersome, Iowa.  Do you know what cumbersome means?  It means, “slow or complicated and therefore inefficient”. Peachy knows because she looked it up on one of her many trips to the library.  Normally, on her way through the small, dusty, 2-room building she doesn’t stop at the giant dictionary by the door.  She keeps going straight over to the biography section to pull out the well worn copy of “Annie Oakley”.   There is only one book about Annie Oakley in the whole library.  I guess the town council of Cumbersome, Iowa, feels that it would be just too, well… cumbersome to burden their readers with too many books about the same topic.

Down to One

I started as 3, my parents and me
in spring of ’65.

We grew to more when Jeff made 4
in spring of ’69.

We stayed that 4 for many years more
moving so many times.

They were now 3 when I left to see
where my future would lead.

I became 2 when, out of the blue,
he asked to marry me.

He and I were now 3 when Abigail C.
showed her cute little face.

Anna made 4 as she came through the door
spikey brown hair and all.

Audra was 5 and our family could thrive
for many days to come.

Then down to 4 when I needed more,
divorce became our norm.

Abigail didn’t tarry, she left to be married
to her love from the first grade.

Anna left next to join the vet techs
and help our 4 legged friends.

Audra has grown and just left home
to figure out her place.

And that leaves me, as you can see,

No more we,

No more they,

Only I.