I attended my great nephew, Derek’s wedding this afternoon. It was simple and elegant—outdoors on a beautiful sunny day with puffy white clouds in the blue sky. Derek’s best man was his six year old son, Jaxson. Lella’s twelve year old son walked her into a circle of family and friends. Afterwards, there was a meal and much laughter, hugs, and well wishes. There was a Jenga game for us all to write something for the bride and groom. . . advice or memory.
What do you say? What advice do you give? How can you put into words what is in your heart?
1. Love is doing, not just saying
2. Love is waking up every day and doing something for the other one that will make his/her day better.
3. Love is seeing to the needs and desires of your spouse first and foremost.
4. Love is patient.
5. Love is kind.
6. Love is from the heart, the soul.
7. Love is the blending of two people into one joyous union.
8. Love is honest, sure, and steadfast.
9. Love is the feeling that pours out even when you aren’t with the other one.
10. Love is for ALWAYS!
So what can you put on a Jenga block? Love like there is no tomorrow–one day there won’t be.

Strong Arms

Yesterday’s journal entry: Yuri is joining me in the gazebo. . . we will see how that works. “Faithful Lord, let me feel your ever lasting arms beneath me today” ~~Elizabeth Sherrill
Elizabeth had told about her father holding her up at age two. . . standing on his hands as he reached upward. She likened that to standing on the Lord’s hands. . . . I could see that picture. And I felt having His loving arms around me, protecting me today from all evil—the way I felt when Grandpa Robert or Great Grandpa Arthur Brown when they hugged me in a greeting on our Sunday afternoon/evening visits. I felt safe and happy! Years later I felt that same love and so much MORE with Rich. Those strong, loving arms have caused me to be able to stand strong, trusting, and knowing God is with me always. . . . and even though they are no longer here. . . I still find comfort, feeling their strength in my heart and memories!
Deuteronomy 33:27 —
The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and she shall thrust out the enemy from thee; and shall say destroy them.”

Dogs Are Man’s Best Friends

Dogs are man’s best friends. .  Uncle Don gave us a little mixed beagle puppy for our wedding.  Critter stole our hearts.  She watched outside at the Spencer Farm, had one litter, and made the moved back here to the Ranch in Delaware County.  Several years later we had very little money,and when she was ill, we had to love her enough to let her go. . . We were all broken hearted.


Riley, Golden Retriever/shepherd mix was our next fur baby. . . that even got to come and live inside.  My brother thought I had lost my mind, but I was starting  a new teaching adventure (Multi Age class of K, 1, and 2 students in the same room).  Riley became my relaxation buddy. . . The love between him and the girls was apparent.  He lived to be 14. . . he was blind and Rich was too ill to take care of him while I still taught.  The decision was made.  Jon Hatcher had held his dog, Serendipity when Seren  left this life. . . I thought then, that no way could I do that. . . but I did!  I held Riley in my arms as he slipped away.  I was sobbing when I walked out . . . my buddy was gone.


A month later we saw the article of the Border Collie/Australian mix puppies born in a snow drift on a state highway. . . three puppies survived.   Rich immediately wanted to go look at them.  I DID NOT want another dog yet. . . I was still grieving Riley. . . but I knew Rich would enjoy the company!  So, we went to just look!  Any dog lover knows that you don’t just go and look.  . . Lucky would be ours as soon as he was old enough.  Rich got to be with him for a little over a year. . . .when he passed away, Lucky became my protector.  He is 13 ½ and doing well. . . .moving a little slower, like me.


Somehow I got the idea that I needed a puppy–a Goldendoodle!  What was I thinking?  Yuri became mine after a just “look and see” trip.  He will be two in September. . . my lap dog.  I can’t imagine life without a dog to sit beside me, on my lap, or at my feet as I read and write.  Definitely God’s companions for us when we need them.


I Tim 4:4  . . .For every creature of God is good,  and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.”  Some people have told me that animals don’t go to Heaven, because they have no soul.  I certainly am not smart enough to know the answer. . . but my heart says that Riley is walking with Rich in Heaven!!

I invite you to write your fur baby stories!


Do you get so busy in your life that you barely notice your surroundings?  I do! Busy is a funny word. . . busy with mundane chores? Busy with enjoyable tasks?  Busy with TV watching?  Busy with watching birds?  I think we can really make time for the things we love. . . but are you too busy to notice your community?  How can you help?  What can you do to improve your little area?  . . . small little things can mount up for a big change–get busy about changing the world. . . one small random act of kindness every day. . . be a BUSY world changer!!


May 23, 1947. . . Today would have been Rich’s seventieth birthday!  Amazing! It just wasn’t in God’s plan.  I posted several pictures. . . many commented how Brock and AJ resembled him

. . . I thought so, but thought it was just me.  I think about going to the cemetery. . . I know he isn’t there.  Where and what do I do to feel closer to him?  Lunch at Red Lobster?  Mow and care for our church that he loved dearly? A walk through Christy Woods, our “Owen County,” get away during college?  Resting in the courtyard that he loved. . . a shaded, peaceful, escape from the world.  This evening will be a ballgame watching Brock.


I know I don’t need to go anywhere  to be with him. He is with me always, because his love is in my heart.  That was the biggest surprise in his death.  I thought I would have to stop loving him when he died—SO NOT TRUE. . . my love continues every day!  We said for ALWAYS!


In his last days, he wanted me to promise three things. . . . 1.  Mow the weeds under his red Chevy! :), 2,  No flowers on his grave, but always put an American Flag, and 3. Be Happy!  I have kept all three promises.  My family, friends, students, have brought me much happiness and joy in these twelve years since Rich left.
This travel of grief is a personal journey.  . . you can’t avoid it, go around it, or try and skip it. . . . You just have to muddle through the best you can. No one can do it for you. BUT know that the love you felt will last . . . ALWAYS!!!

You Are Weak. . .But Made Strong

Corin II  12: 9-10  , , , And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

During our Cancer crisis, I tried to be the rock. . . God was with me of course, or I would have crumbled like sand.  I would alternate nights with Rich at the hospital and home with the girls, days at the hospital or days at school.  I was on autopilot.

I remember clearly months later (when everything seemed to be sailing along smoothly) I walked into my principal’s office and said, “I am losing my mind!”  I felt cold, weak, and completely empty.  He wanted me to take time off to regroup.  I felt I needed my class to find normalcy again.  Angels were around me. . . I woke up one morning feeling this way.  I know I was MIA for my sweet girls and Rich.) I prayed, I cried.  Rich just put his arms around me saying, “I love you- we’re going to be okay!”  . . . and about a month later, I woke up feeling strong, confident.  The fog had lifted! Blessings abound!


 Years later when the effects of Rich’s illness were taking a toll on his health again . . . my “Mr. Atlas” husband was discouraged–standing and walking across the livingroom was impossible.  He needed much help for the simplest of tasks.  He said, “The thing about this disease is that I feel so weak. . . like a newborn kitten!  I need to be strong for you, for our girls, for my brothers!  I put my arms around him and said, “I love you—we’re going to be okay!”  Of course, Rich was made strong again as he lost his life here on earth.

Months later, I told Elder Dan the story and he said, “Oh Rich was one of the strongest men I ever knew. . . when you are weak in the flesh, you are made strong in faith!!” That he was!  He ran the race of life with patience! . . . so be thankful for each day, for the good and the trials. . . you will be made stronger!


Your “Mountain” Place

Where Is Your Mountain?

Marilyn King wrote about a mountain behind her house where she would go to find peace and calmness. . . “Whatsoever things are lovely. . . think on these things”

Phil 4:8.

Every home has a “mountain” — a place around or near your home. We don’t have to go miles, but we need the calming, mind resting, pressure escaping place. . . just to sit quietly, reflecting, hoping, praying, believing. . . where is your mountain? When I was younger and at home. . . I would go upstairs in my room and get lost in a book and read for hours, or in the basement at Grandma’s house behind the furnace with a book.  In college I would go and sit in Christy Woods, the college campus wooded area. I could sit and be whisked away. . . and for a few minutes I would be sitting with my love in Owen County. . . even if he was miles away, in Vietnam. Now I sit in my gazebo and enjoy the calmness and peace.
Zac Brown Band is playing . . . (perfect timing) . . “I’ve got everything I need and nothing I don’t. . .?”  Peace and contentment are worth more than all the money in the world. . . I am blessed. . . I am RICH!