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!

Survivors Club Review

Reading Survivors Club by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat.


Heart wrenching story about survival of a young prisoner of Auschwitz.  How could anyone question the reality of these death camps? How could anyone so young survive?  Prayers, hope, and belief that “this too shall pass!”  I’ve finished the first third of the book and plan to nestle down on this rainy day to read more. . .


I am thinking of two  of my favorite hymns. . .


Thus far the Lord has led me on;

Thus far His power prolongs my days;

And every evening shall make known,

Some fresh memorials of His grace.

Much of my time has run to waste,

And I, perhaps am near my home;

But He forgives my follies past;

He gives me strength for days to come.

I lay my body down to sleep

Peace is the pillow for my head,

While well appointed angels

Keep their watchful stations round my bed.
In vain the sons of earth or hell,

Tell me a thousand frightful things,

But God in safety makes me dwell

Beneath the shadow of His wings.. . .




. . . while blessed with a sense of His love,

A palace a toy would appear;

And prisons would palaces prove,

If Jesus would dwell with me there.
Jesus will always be with us!  He promised!  We can rest in peace knowing, believing that!

First Grade Life Lesson

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.: I am reminded of two boys in my first grade class, many years ago. “”ROB” was an average student with a kind heart. “FRED” was above average academically, but behavior was a huge problem. Fred’s parents had tried everything to get him to behave. Some worked for a while. They promised him a car, truck, legoes. . . if he could go a week without trouble.
One day while outside for recess, ROB came up to me. He said, “Can I ask you a question?” A teacher is never sure where this is going, but I told him of course and braced myself. “You know I try to follow the rules, and I’m always polite. I try to make Mom and Dad proud and happy. But I don’t get toys. FRED is always brining things and bragging that he had gotten them for being good. It doesn’t seem fair!” WOW. . . . that was more than a question–it was an observation of life.
I assured ROB that he was a great student and citizen. All the classmates loved and respected him. I was very proud of him! I asked him if he wanted to act like FRED so he could get toys. He looked at me like I had four heads! He replied, “NO! Are you kidding me? My parents wouldn’t buy the toys for being bad–I would be in time out for months!”
I told him he had learned and important life lesson . . he felt good in his heart! That is better than anything money could buy! It takes some children longer to learn life’s lessons. I have lost track of ROB. I am sure he is successful. FRED has remained in the area, and I have seen him be a good dad.
“Let us not be weary of doing good. . . “