Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In A Hodge Podge State Of Mind

Hello fellow Hodgepodgers! So glad you stopped by here today. If you've answered the questions add your link by clicking here and heading over to Joyce's blog, then run say hi to the neighbors. Here we go-


 1. Did you do anything 'memorable' this past weekend?  We had a Memorial/Homecoming service at my church.  We usually have somewhere between 40-50 people at church, but Sunday we had 152.  It was awesome. 
 2. Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying-  "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."  Your thoughts? Do you somehow acknowledge and appreciate the freedoms you enjoy? Did your upbringing contribute to that sense of appreciation? If you're a parent, are there specific things you do to pass on this sense of responsibility and appreciation to your own children in regard to the freedoms they enjoy?  I, like Joyce, try to acknowledge and appreciate the freedoms I enjoy.  I think it's good we have some days on the calendar to remind us too. I try to speak to service men and women when I see them and tell them "Thank you", I support troops and their families in my prayers, and they are permanently on our prayer list at church. My heart is full of love and gratitude for the brave souls who protect and defend this land I love.  My upbringing most definitely contributed to my sense of patriotism. My father served in the Navy during WWII.  I have sung at many patriotic programs and it always makes my heart swell to be a part of such a proud event.   As a parent I have tried to instill in my children a love of country. We've traveled a lot, have made a conscious effort to soak up the history where ever we are, and to appreciate the staggering natural beauty and differences in food and culture you find from region to region in the US.  I've taught them to be respectful of the flag and to recognize that while there will always be things we can do better, there is much we do right here in the US of A. To be proud of America. Thanks for the powerful words Joyce.
3. Loudest noise you've ever heard?  Fireworks on the Mall in Washington, D.C.  As the band played...."and the rockets red glare..." standing with my friend, Mary, there was cannon fire, and it was deafening.  I stood in the crowd singing...with my hand on my heart, chills running down my spine, and tears running down my face.  4. What was the last thing you ate that might be considered 'junk food'? Did you enjoy it?  I ate some chips with onion soup dip yesterday for lunch.  Was it good? Yes!
5. When was the last time you were somewhere the crowd felt 'packed in like sardines'?  This is a situation I try my best to avoid.  I am terribly claustrophobic.  This situation causes me to have panic attacks. 
6. Are you organized when it comes to packing for a trip? Do you make a list weeks in advance or toss items in last minute? Are you a carry-on only sort of packer or do you need an entire suitcase for your shoes?  I am a packing fool.  Packing is part of the fun for me.  I feel like once the packing begins the trip is at hand.  I do pack and make lists in advance.  I am a carry on packer and actually went to Europe for 10 days with one carry on.  
7. What was the last sporting event you attended in person? Did your team win? Did you care?
We attended a girls softball game for the high school where I teach.  It was a tournament and our girls finished in second place. 
8. Insert your own random thought here.  Do you plant a garden?  I love the taste of garden grown tomatoes.   Frank and I planted a couple of tomato plants, a hill of squash, cucumbers, and zuchinni the other evening.  I also potted some herbs for seasoning and fragrance.  I love the smell of spearmint, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint..  We had a glorious rain for the next three days.  I can't wait for the fruits of our labor. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

My Memorial Day Ramblings

     I found myself asking this morning....what exactly is Memorial Day?  Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
     On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.  On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.
     Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.  For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
Memorial Day
I have had the privilege of being at Andersonville, Barancus National Cemetery, Arlington, and many others and have seen tiny flags flying in front of the rows and rows of white marble stones bearing the names of men and women who gave their lives so I could be free.  While in Washington, D.C. a few years ago I had the privilege to visit the WWII monument, the Korean wall, the Vietnam wall, and Arlington.  My friend, Marian, told me about her father who had died in Korea as we stood facing the wall.... I cannot begin to explain the emotions that rushed through me as I looked into the faces of the men/women who died in Korea.....and then turned to see them standing behind me.  Marian and I both were crying as we finished the walk.  If you have never been here....you must go....you will be touched to your very core.

The Vietnam wall always makes me cry.  I sat for hours once and watched friends and family come and leave their tributes, touch their loved ones name on the wall, and have an emotional moment standing there.  It is a haunting place.  One you never forget.
My dad and his brothers all served in WWII and I was fortunate enough to visit the WWII Memorial the first year it opened.  As I sat and observed it and all its magnificence I could feel the spirits of the men who gave their lives during this time touch my very soul.
All over the country there are many places like this....places that honor the fallen heroes.  Memorial Day is for them.  It is not about the bar-b-que....it is not about spending time at the lake.  It is a time to spend remembering.....and teaching our young.....so that the fallen ones are never forgotten. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Alzheimer's and Momma

Alzheimer's is a disease that needs is frustrating.  It is frustrating to the person going through it....because they can't remember simple things....and to the care-giving person(s) because they are helpless as they watch their loved one leave them.  My first experience with it was first hand.  My mom began slipping and forgetting things she did automatically.  She was aging and we thought it was just a little hardening of the arteries.....but then it got worse....and I did not know what to do.  Eventually I had to admit her to a lock down Alzheimer's unit in a local nursing home so that she would get the care she needed.  Physically she was still my mother, sister to her brothers, aunt to her her nieces and nephews....it was mentally that was so heart breaking.  The few times her two remaining brothers stopped in to visit...she knew their faces....but not their names.  They did not visit much after that.  That broke my heart.  She was their sister.  When they were ill she visited them.  Angela Windsor's mom came to visit her often and always made my mom smile.  She would always remember those visits and tell me about them.  Melinda Blair visited regularly and my mom always called her her little angel.  Melinda did not always sign in, but she would leave little momentos so I knew she had been there.  Even the nurses on the unit would tell me that mom's angel had visited.  It made me smile.  Eventually...the only ones who visited where Angela, her mom, Melinda, and Frank and I.  Eveyone else forgot her....wonder if they had a touch of Alzheimer's too.  I was sad when even her pastor from the church they supported and loved quit coming.  Visiting her was always interesting.  Once with my husband Frank with me....she asked me who he was dating now.  We had been married  over  7 years.  Once she called him Dougie.  Dougie was my baby brother....he died when he was 5.  Frank was such a good sport during these lapses in memory.  I was not such a good sport.  When she thought I was her sister, Shirley, it broke my heart and I cried all the way home. Many times I asked myself, "Why me?"  "Why her?"  My mom was a character...filled with wonderful life stories and one day they were gone.  The only life stories that remained were the ones I remembered as a child.  For those of you with family suffering from this horrible affliction my heart goes out to you.  It is not a fun road to travel.  I encourage you to keep a journal and write down all the memories during this time.  You won't regret it....and one day you will be able to read them and laugh.  Spend time with your loved one....even if they are not there mentally with you....it will prevent you from having regrets.  I would not take anything for the time I spent with my mom.  When her memory was pretty much gone.....she did remember one thing....the lyrics to "You Are My Sunshine."  Every visit I would wrap my arms around her and we would sing the song....multiple times.  When she was gone I had a charm made so I could remember that very precious memory....and I did a folk painting and put it on the wall next to her picture....she was my sunshine....and I was hers.  God bless you all! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Aba


The girl on the left is Aba.  She is incredibly talented as a dancer, one of my Wadley seniors, and class Valedictorian.  I have enjoyed being part of her life this year.  Aba is not her real name....but it is what I call her in Spanish class.  I wish everyone could meet her...and know her heart.  Aba teaches dance and is awesome as a dancer herself.  She plans to go into the medical field and I know she will be amazing at that....she is amazing at whatever she attempts.  Aba lost her dad this year and while many would have just sat down and given up....not Aba.  She worked harder.  I know her dad would have been so proud of her.  As teachers one of our tasks is to be mindful of the baggage our students bring into the classroom with them.  We, as teachers, have emotional baggage too....but....we need to be intune with our students.  I had a young momma in my class....who rarely missed a day....and graduated in the top of her class.  She worked hard and has plans to be a nurse.  I know she will succeed.  I had a couple that reminded me of a young me.  They were old souls....and if they were older would probably be some of my dearest friends.....but this is about Aba.  She loves to dance....yet, will forgo going to college on a dancing scholarship because she needs to devote her time and energy to being a nurse practicioner.  She will be amazing.  God speed Aba.  It was a joy to walk along your path for a brief time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Congratulation Wadley Class of 2015!

Tonight I attended the third graduation this week.  As most of you know when I changed jobs I was required to travel between two schools.  Wadley High School is where I finished up my day.  amie Langley, a native of Wadley.....and former Miss Alabama was the Keynote speaker.  She is amazing.  Each one of my seniors touched me in a different way.  Some made me laugh, some made me sad, some made me smile, some amazed me, and some were just special.  No matter how they touched me my seniors there all left their footprints on my heart in a big way.  I met all of them the first day of school and by Labor Day they were mine.  I will miss them madly next year and I hope they know how much I love them all.  I wish them the very best as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. 







Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Congratulations RCHS Class of 2015!

Tonight I was part of a very special event.  My first graduation for Randolph County High School.  This has been an awesome year.  As I sat in my seat on the field I felt a magnitude of emotions welling up inside me.  These were my first seniors.  Some of them I knew before I came to RCHS and others I met in August when they entered my classroom, but they all had one thing in common.  They left their footprints on my heart and for that I am truly blessed.  Congratulation Class of 2015!  May the next chapter of your lives be as memorable as this one was.

Graduation Hodge Podge

Welcome to your weekly dose of Hodgepodge. Thanks for playing along...if you've answered the questions today, add your link at the end of my post then go say hi to your neighbors. Here we go-

 1. Did you make someone laugh yesterday? Was it intentional?  I did not laugh or make anyone laugh yesterday.  It is the last week of school and tensions are running high.  There may be laughter after graduation ceremonies tonight....but yesterday....not happening.
2. What's a simple question with a complicated answer?   How are you?
3. Rhododendrons or azaleas...you have to choose. Are any currently blooming in your yard?  Azaleas would have to be my answer.  None are blooming in my yard right now...but they have bloomed recently.


 4.  May 21st is National Waitstaff Day. Have you ever worked as a waiter/waitress? How would you rate the experience? What was the best/worst part of the job?
I have worked as a waitress several times in my life.  I have worked in dives, in a bar and grill, at a nice restaurant.  I enjoyed the money and the experience for the most part.  There are good memories and not so good ones.  I hate the smell of grease to this day.   It gave me an appreciation for my waiter/waitress....and I know that all waitstaff does not get paid minimum wage.  Many of them make waitstaff wage...which is a whole lot lower and tips are very much appreciated. 
5.  What fashion trend for women should be outlawed? How about one for men?
I have to agree with Joyce on her answer.  I hate it when I see a man's underwear because their pants are hanging to their knees.  For women I hate seeing bellys, busts, and stuff....Ladies...look at yourself in the mirror....Don't wear these clothes.
6. Name a writer who inspires you...now tell us why.  Dr. Seuss.  It is graduation week and I have heard many references to Oh The Places You'll Go.  I think it applies to us all at whatever stage of life we are in. 
7.  What well known quote or saying sums up your plans for today or this week?  Ok, so this week I need more than a quote.  I need the whole poem.
 
1. The version found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta:
              People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
         Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
         In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa
 8.  Insert your own random thought here.  I have two this week.  What do you remember about your graduation?  How long has it been?  I am celebrating my 43rd year as a high school graduate.  My second one is to remember that Memorial Day is more than a time for bbqing.  It is a time to remember those who have given their lives so that we can still be free.  I agree with Joyce...if you have never been to Arlington....you need to put that at the top of your bucket list.  If you have never seen the Vietnam Wall, the Korean monument, and all the others...you must go to Washington D.C.  It will touch your life forever and you will never be the same again.