Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

It is again that time of year.  Wow!  The years go faster and faster.  We enjoyed spending a lot of our granddaughter Briar Rose's first year with her.  We were able to share most of her first holidays. She was a year old December 8. It seems hard to believe.  We are proud of  her mommy Jess for staying in school and participating in so many school activities like band, one acts, show choir, and of course art.  We flew her to Kansas City for portfolio day at the Kansas City Institute of Art where she received favorable reviews.  She is quite the artist.

The other grandkids are doing well too.  Sierra is in 8th grade this year, and Sammy and Kaya are growing taller and wiser.  Our children are still in their same careers.  Mandy and Teresa are in health care.  Teresa did the sugar beet harvest this year, and is now doing home health care.  Mandy is working for a nursing home.  Chad is in his second year of teaching math and coaching.  Tori is doing well with her naturopathy practice.

In January Frank and his brother David had a celebration for their Mom's (Alice's) life.  We shared our favorite memories of her.  Frank made a video to share photos, and we were very moved by it.  We miss her and yet we know she is at peace now.

March madness brought Frank and Chad to Omaha.  I spent one night with them before heading to Kimball to celebrate Jessie's birthday with her, Teresa, and Briar Rose.  Jess and Alex's sister Maegyn have birthdays one week apart so we celebrated them together.  I went back for Easter and took Briar Rose to her first church service.

Frank took me to St. Louis and Chicago to celebrate my birthday.  We went to a Yanni concert.  It was great until someone broke into our van and stole our computers, I-pad, and kindle.  Thankfully, we had insurance and were able to replace them.  Unfortunately, Frank's business computer was stolen though, which cost him hours of work to re-do all his stuff.

After school was out all the grandkids made it to our place for Camp Nana.  We had a good time at Worlds of Fun and other adventures.  I always love spending time with the grandkids and this year it was great to have Briar Rose join Jess, Sierra, Kaya, and Samson for the fun.  We spent part of the time in Eureka Springs.   It was awesome.

July was hot and fun.  We rented a boat and went with Tori, Caleb, and kids to Table Rock Lake. The last part of July and the first part of August we vacationed with Frank's brother and sister-in-law David and Sherry.  We camped on the north rim of the Grand Canyon where we renewed our vows after fifteen years of marriage.  The view was spectacular.  Then we headed for the lights of Vegas where the fun continued.  Above is a photos of Frank's brother David with Vegas showgirls. :) 
October we went to Eureka Springs to carve pumpkins with Kaya and Samson and then to Dallas so Frank could attend continuing ed classes.  Thus was the beginning of our Holiday season.  We went to the Bruce Springsteen concert in KC to celebrate the election results. We went to Tori's for Thanksgiving dinner and had a wonderful feast.  The first of December my brother's son Seth hosted a Christmas party in Gothenburg, NE, where Seth is activity director at the school.  It was a wonderful time.  The children in the above picture are nephews Crayton, Bailey, and Bryce Ryker, Ryan Douglass, nieces Katy Douglass & Jaden Ryker, and our precious baby Briar Rose. Then I went to Kimball for an early celebration of Briar Rose's first birthday.  She is such a sweetie.  Now we are getting ready for Christmas.  It has been a blessed year, and we are looking forward to 2013.  We hope you have an awesome year as well.

Merry Christmas!

Patty and FrankChristmas Letter 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Encourage One Another

Aww...the last Presidential debate was held last night.  Most people are wanting this election to be over.  Actually, I am kind of enjoying it.  I love our President.  I have noticed, though, that some of the comments this year on political posts have been polarizing.  This election does not seem to bring out the best in people. I think a healthy debate is good, but the name calling needs to stop.  The candidates are not the ones doing the name calling, but their supporters are doing plenty of it.  How do we build our candidate up without tearing the other one down?  That is the delicate balance.  I do not think I have been too good at it.

I want my candidate to win of course, but my attitude needs adjustment.  I need to get rid of some of the fear I have been harboring about the other candidate.  I am afraid he will take away my social security.  Yet as a spiritual person, I know my help comes from the Lord.  God is my source and that brings me inner peace so I need to let go of the fear.

I Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Encourage one another and build each other up."  How do we do that?  I remember going to Worlds of Fun with the grandkids on a very hot day once, and my grandson Samson (who was two at the time) became very fussy while waiting in the long lines for rides.  An older gentleman noticed this and said to him in a very kind voice, "Young man, you are doing the best you can in this heat."  That was far from what everyone else in the family was saying to him.  Instead we were using bribes, threats, etc. to try to calm him down.  None of that was working, but this man speaking words of encouragement turned Sammy's mood from fussiness into tolerance of the situation.  Someone finally understood him, and it healed his attitude. He stopped fussing and stayed calm through the rest of the line.

Now I wonder how we could apply this lesson to the last three weeks of this pre-election period.  Maybe we could see that each of us has our own set of fears, and that the only thing that will relieve them is love.  Maybe we could have confidence that everyone is doing the best we can in the heat of this election year.  Maybe instead of being a naysayer and a discourager, we can speak faith into our system that God has under control.  Maybe we can start building confidence in others instead of tearing them down.

We need to cast our vote and support our candidate by lifting them up and encouraging them, but also we need to build people up that do not think our way.  When someone is hot-tempered and foulmouthed, we can neutralize the situation by speaking in a peaceful way and building them up.

Sometimes I can't think of anything nice to say about the opposing candidate, but last night, I saw a peaceful Romney.  I think he is probably a good man at heart.  After all, he is one of God's creations.

Of course my candidate is Obama.  I have seen him go through difficult times and remain a leader.  He has faced some major issues and criticism without giving up or giving in to the pressure.  He is consistently trying to do the right thing.

I want to remember to be an encourager.  Joel Osteen says, "Your bringing out the best in others will bring out the best in you."  So while I am into this election big time, I also try to post something positive too.  I started a page on facebook called "Be Happy" to help me, and maybe others, remember not to take life so seriously that we lose our joy.

God bless!

Love and Light,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lift Others, Lift Yourself

We are in this together!  My husband was telling me this morning that back in 1960 when Kennedy ran against Nixon, their ideologies were very close.  Kennedy won of course, but back then our country was very moderate, and we accomplished much more.  Now the Democrats are more liberal, and the Republicans are more conservative, and the country is very divided.  We need to get back to the idea of moving forward.  When we help others achieve, we start achieving ourselves.  If Congress and the President could work together, we could pass legislation that would help move our country ahead.

It's the same in the work world.  I take classes and enter them on MLP (my learning plan).  One of the items on the form says, "How will you share this information with other people in your building?"  I like that idea.  We share our knowledge with others.  If we lived in fear that maybe someone will become a better teacher than we are, we might try to keep our information to ourselves.  That not only holds them back, it also holds us back.  When we share information with others, it refreshes it in our own mind and makes us better teachers.

I remember years ago when I taught in a blue ribbon school in Fort Smith, AR, that we developed a program in which students had to read one novel on their own every month.  We had to figure out a way to  assess the students to make sure they were reading their novels.  I came up with a generic test that asked for the setting, the theme, the protagonist, the antagonist, the falling and rising action, the suspense and the conflicts, the climax and the conclusion.  I typed it up and shared it with the other English teachers.  It became our test, not my test.  It helped us all.  Many of the other teachers worked hard to increase the students' vocabularies and came up with a list of twenty "smart" words to use on a quiz every Friday.  We also set aside reading time every day called DEAR (Drop Every Thing and Read).  We had a lot of low income students, but our programs made their test scores soar. The head of the English department took all our programs and typed up an application for us to become a blue ribbon school, and we earned that designation.  If any one of us would have selfishly kept our ideas instead of sharing them, we would never have achieved our goal.  When we lift up another, we lift up ourselves at the same time.

I remember that when I was a girl, I decided to walk to our neighbor girl's (Caroline's) house for a visit.  It was in the middle of a harsh Nebraska winter, and I would have frozen to death if it had not been for Caroline.  She came to meet me and almost drug me to her house because I was too cold to walk any more.   Caroline was a good friend already, but she became my best friend for life that day.  She saved my life by helping me.  There is a saying, "No one stands taller on their climb than when he bends down to help somebody else."  I will never forget Caroline's courage and compassion that day when she came out on the coldest day of that Nebraska winter to help her friend.

My point is this:  When we lift up other people, we lift up ourselves.  When we disagree with someone politically, we should pray for that person.   Not for them to come around to our side but for them to experience peace of mind and success.  Thank God for them and do not judge them.  Visualize them in a happy space.  If we do this, we will not harbor any ill will toward them.  If we lift them up, we will feel buoyant ourselves.

Lift up the President too.  He has had a challenging four years and yet is willing to serve us for another four.  God bless him and his family.

Love and Light,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Smile! It Cures What Ails You.

"Smile, and the whole world smiles with you.  Cry, and you cry alone."  I don't know who said that, but I like it because it is true.  Everyone wants to be around a happy person.  A couple of weeks ago, I created a facebook page called "Be Happy", and it has 84 "likes".  People like to see us smile and laugh.  It relieves stress....theirs and ours.  Joel Osteen says, "If you have a sense of humor and you laugh regularly, your mind lights up.....As a result, your problem-solving skills are increased."

I've found this to be true when I am teaching my students.  I was trained back in the day by someone who told me not to smile at my students until Christmas.  Now, that is some bad advice.  Since I am retired, I sub every day so I greet my students with a smile.  When I taught full time, it took me a few years to realize that I needed to have fun with the kids and make learning fun.  Once I started doing that, I loved my job.  I wish I would have known from the get-go that smiling helps with bonding and drawing students to me.  I was taught not to be friends with my students, but guess what?  When I became friendly, I got a lot more work out of my students.  It's not good for us, or those we teach, to be serious all the time. A smile brings down the walls and makes us accessible.

My grandkids make me smile.  My little baby Rosie laughs a lot.  It's contagious.   Her mom sends me videos and I post them on face book.  It brings me such joy.  Job 8:21 says, "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter."  This is so healing.  It cures what ails me.

Love and Light,

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Laughter is Good for Us

Laughter relieves stress.  There is no doubt about it.  I love to read "Pluggers", "Family Circus", and "Off the Mark" in the comic section of the paper everyday.  Then I glance around to see if there are any other cartoons that catch my eye.  My husband and I enjoy watching reruns of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Seinfeld".  We love to laugh.

I just started a page on facebook a couple of days ago called "Be Happy" with posters of inspirations and things.  We need to be optimistic and positive and laugh a lot.  This would dispel many health problems like bad digestion, edginess, headaches, sleeplessness, nervousness, and lack of energy.

Laughter is just good medicine.  It stimulates natural healing in the body.  The average child laughs 200 times a time.  Compare that to the 14 to 17 times an average adult laughs.  That is why I love to host Camp Nana.  The laughter of my grandchildren is contagious.  I learn how to play again, and it is fun!  I just read that every time we laugh, we reduce a stress hormone and increase a human growth hormone known as the "youth hormone" by as much as 87%.

I am a big Obama fan.  I've seen him age a lot in the four years he has been in office.  I'm sure the stress is causing it.  He gets criticized every time he does anything and heaven forbid, he take any time off or vacation or anything.  He is a funny, classy man, though, and I wish he would take some time to just have fun.  He works too hard.  It would reduce his blood pressure and make his immune system stronger.  But, hey, we all need to play more.  We all need to take time to have fun and laugh every day.

Proverbs 17:22 says, "A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing." Yes, sources say that people who laugh regularly are 40% less likely to have a heart attack than those who don't.  Also people who laugh regularly develop "natural killer" cells that destroy cancer cells.   That's enough to make me want to laugh right now.  I have "Seinfeld" on, and I am enjoying it a lot.  George and Jerry are acting like juveniles mimicking each other and Kramer slides through the door in the most hilarious way.  Then Elaine comes in and acts all excited, jumping up and down, in a weird way.  It is too funny.

Well, we all need to laugh a lot.  It free and it's good for us.  Let me end with a story I just read: "Energizer bunny arrested.  Charged with battery."   LOL

Love and Light,

Friday, July 6, 2012

See with the Heart, Not the Eyes

A classroom poster read, "Acceptance is seeing with the heart, not the eyes."  So many times we judge people based on our own experiences, not really knowing what has happened to them.  We use our limited perception to interpret their appearance or behavior.  Everyone has a story.  Joel Osteen wrote, "The world is full of people who need to be understood.  We don't know what others are going through.  We don't know the hurt or the pain they've endured.....Give people a little room....When you see people through the eyes of love, eyes of compassion, and eyes of understanding, you won't be nearly so critical."

This reminds me of the story of Mary Groda-Lewis who was dyslexic.  Because no one recognized it, she was illiterate until age 16.  She was very rebellious and went to reform school.  While giving birth, she nearly died from a stroke, but through it all, she never gave up.  At age 18, she received her GED and was named Oregon's outstanding Upward Bound student.  She worked odd jobs and earned enough money to go to college and earn a degree.  She still wasn't through with her education, though, as she applied to 15 medical schools and was rejected by them all.  Finally she was accepted by Albany Medical School where she graduated with honors at the age of 35.  A movie was made about her life.  She is now a renown and respected doctor at an Idaho Clinic.

This rebellious young lady turned into a wonderful doctor.  Albany Medical School gave her the chance she needed to fulfill her dreams.  It would have been easy to write her off like the other medical schools, but this institution saw something in her that other schools had overlooked.

I think the lesson in this story is to practice acceptance and understanding so that we can be a catalyst and make a difference in someone's life.  We are all teachers, and we all can be taught.  Let us encourage family and friends who are struggling.  Make us a blessing in someone's life.

Love and Light,

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Critical Spirit

"Perception is a mirror, not a fact.  As I think, so I see." This quote from Jerry Jampolsky has meant so much to me through the years.  It reminds me look for positive things in people and in my environment so that I will live in a positive world.

This is especially true in my relationships.  My husband is a wonderful man, but everyone has faults, and he is no exception.  I really try to focus on his strengths instead of his weaknesses, and then he displays even more strengths.  Actually, my husband is not a very critical man so he is easy to love.

Sometimes, though, I encounter negative people who would rob my joy if I didn't take time to be in touch with God.  I like the story I saw in email once about the woman criticizing her neighbor's dingy wash on the clothes line only to find out that she was looking at it through her own dirty windows.  When she washed her windows, she was surprised to see that the neighbor's wash was really clean, not dingy at all.  I think I encountered this recently when someone was criticizing a member of my family and hadn't bothered to wash their own windows.

It is during times like this, though, that I realize how important forgiveness is, and how I need to stand guard over my own spirit so I do not become critical.  I need to realize when my own window is dirty and train myself to see the best in people.  Joel Osteen suggests that you have this internal conversation, "You know, I may not understand them, but I will not be a faultfinder.  I'm giving this person the benefit of the doubt."

The way other people make a living or raise their children is none of my business or none of anyone else's business, unless, of course, they are breaking a law or something.  If everyone would spend the time and energy on their own issues that they spend on other people's issues, they would have it all together themselves.  There would be no time for nosiness, only time for celebrating their own successes as well as other people's successes.

Well, I am getting out the windex today and cleaning my windows so I won't look at other people's laundry and judge it as dirty.  I need to do that in all my relationships and even get prayed up enough to not be critical this coming school year of my district's policies.  That's a big one for me.

Light and Love,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Camp Nana

Camp Nana is an annual event where all the grandkids come, and we just enjoy being together.  This summer was special because the parents came too for the first few days and took the kids to Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun.  They are creating such good memories.  My hope is that Camp Nana will be a peaceful retreat in the turbulence of life, not only for the children but for the parents as well.  We all need a little break sometimes from the pressures that come into play in a family in today's economy.  The parents need time to relax and gain perspective while I need time to enjoy these precious little beings that are my legacy.

I am happy that I can have this time and hope that in some way I can help when my children feel overwhelmed with the challenge of parenting and making a living, etc.  I also gain insight from talking to the parents about their own childhood.

When I was a young parent, I was a worrier.  I must confess that I still fall into that trap sometimes as a grandparent as well.  My oldest granddaughter Jessica noticed that and her mother Teresa told her,  "Nana does a lot better at maintaining inner peace than she used to.  You should have seen what she was like when Tori and I were kids."  Well, that makes me feel good that I have made some progress in that department, lol!

I know it is my faith that has helped me make a change.  I know, without a doubt, that God is still on His throne, and that I have the Holy Spirit inside me to guide me into all peace.  When turbulence comes, it's a wonderful opportunity for God to show how really great His is!  When we face adversity, we realize that God is the One who pulled us through. He is the Light  that overcomes the darkness.  Our part is just to keep shining and smiling through it all.  Joel Osteen says, "When unexpected challenges appear, your attitude should be: This, too, shall pass.  God will help me handle this.....God did not bring you this far to fail you now."

Yep, Camp Nana is a fun place, and I hope with all my heart that it provides good memories for the grandchildren and a peaceful respite for their parents.

Love and Light,
Patty (Nana)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Happened?

I gained twenty pounds this last year.  I have been successful so many times with losing weight, and this last time I was sure it would be the last time.  Well, guess what?  This is not over.  The twenty pounds will come off.  I am not discouraged with this temporary setback.  I am making no excuses.  This is a test that I will pass..  I am good at taking tests.  I always score well, and this will be no exception.

I am still joyful.  I still have a spring in my step.  God is still leading me, and He gives me strength.  I write the story of my life, and it will have a happy ending because I choose it.  I am committed.  I am disciplined and willing to sacrifice.  I will give up unhealthy food to have a better life.

I am willing to accept that responsibility.  There will be opposition along the, emotional setbacks. holidays, etc.  Sometimes I won't lose weight as fast as I would like.  Sometimes it will be difficult.  I've been through this many times before, but this is a test I can pass.

Having my mind made up and being of high resolve, my victory is on its way.  I just weighed myself, and I am claiming the Word in Galatians 6:9 which says, "Let's not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up."

Psalm 24:9 reads, "Lift up your heads....and the King of Glory shall come in."    I lift up my head to see God's favor.  My extra pounds are weighing me down so I'm trading them in for a new vision of myself.

I feel so light already.

Love and Light,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Freedom of Forgiveness

"When I choose forgiveness, the path to peace, happiness and freedom is revealed.  I choose to forgive myself and others.  I choose to be happy." ~ Daily Word

When our van was vandalized and our electronics were taken about a week and a half ago, I realized that I had a choice to make.  I could cling to the hurt and resentment of being robbed and let it destroy my happiness and poison my view of humanity, or I could release it and take away the power of the criminal to hurt me.  If I held onto the hurt and allowed it to make me bitter, I would continue to hurt.  This would imprison me, not them.

No, I wanted to move forward.  I had a valid reason to be angry, but I wasn't going to dwell on it.  It was not going to consume me and be an open wound.  The only way to heal the bruise is to forgive and let it go.

Once I forgave, God restored double my joy.  Not only was all my stuff replaced by my wonderful husband, but I have better things now.

"If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." ~ John 20:23

Do we really want to hold on to the wrongs someone did to us?  If we do, we remain a prisoner to it. We remain hurt when Jesus was sent "to announce release to the send forth as delivered those are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity]" according to Luke 4:18.  It's frustrating trying to get back at someone who did us wrong.  We need to let go of the baggage so our happiness can be restored.  Joel Osteen says, "If you will let go of the hurts and pains and get on God's payroll, God will settle your case.  He will make your wrongs right.  He will bring justice into your life.  You will get what you deserve, and God will pay you back with double the joy, double the peace, double the favor, and double the victory."

What more could we possibly want?

Love and Light,

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Right People and the Right Outcome

Aware that I am empowered by God, I have nothing to fear. Lately my family has had a couple of health issues. As hard as I try not to worry, the serenity I desire is not always there. At those times, I have to surround myself with people who truly are 100% supportive. It's important to have people in our lives who build us up. These are the positive, faith-filled people who connect with us, inspire us, encourage us, and challenge us to be our best. I met someone the other day who had a positive attitude toward our teaching jobs. She had faith that no matter what the economy is doing to discourage the district, that we should stay with it and that things would work out. I came home feeling like I was on the right path. It's the same with my family. I have to believe that they will make the right decisions for their health and well-being. I know that God is arranging things in their favor. My daughter is a naturopath and believes in alternative methods for healing. I want to embrace her vision and faith. I have been encouraged by her optimism. God always sends the right people to help me in my quest to stay positive, and for that, I am very grateful. I keep my guard up against negativity and when I fail at that, I forgive myself pretty easily. I stay in the present moment and know that God has everything under control and will always help everything to turn out as it should. Love and Light, Patty

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

There Is No Comparsion

"To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are," writes Sven Goran Eriksson. If we could only learn to be comfortable with the person God made us to be, we would not get distracted from becoming the best possible self we can be. Others can inspire us and challenge us, but we need to stay focused on our own goals. Jerry Jampolsky, renowned psychologist and one of the most inspirational people I read, writes, "When I find myself comparing myself to other people, I can now recognize that I am not only being unloving to myself, I am setting the other person up as my enemy. Admiring someone's abilities and aspiring to them as a positive role model is quite different from drawing comparisons and judging myself or the other person. As I look for and find everyone's uniqueness and support them where they are, I can also support and enhance myself."

Joel Osteen says that "when you celebrate others, God will celebrate you." Our job is to support other people in their success. This is not always easy. Sometimes we get jealous. Sometimes it doesn't seem fair that other people seem to get the breaks that we don't. However, each of us has talent. Each of us has something great in our person to be celebrated so we should hold our head high and be the best we can be.

The other day I saw a poster that said something like, "Don't aim to be perfect. Just aim to be better than you were yesterday." I am taking that to heart. I was in yoga class last night, and I couldn't do the poses perfectly or even as well as most of the people in the class, but I noticed that I was doing them better than I used to do them, and that I was feeling stronger than I used to feel.

This morning in spin class, I was listening to a song that said, "You probably think that you're cooler than me." Well, that is OK because I know my limits, and I also know there is nothing wrong with who I am. I don't have to measure up to anyone else's skill level. I am celebrating myself and I hope you are doing the same.

Light and Love,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Walk with Love

We need to accept direction from an internal GPS (God's Powerful Spirit). We need to be open to the words of our friends and family, but ultimately we have to follow our own heart. There is a gut instinct, often called the small, still voice of the Holy Spirit that guides us through any challenges that come our way. Isaiah 30:21 says, "And you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"

Sometimes we try to determine what is right and what is wrong. It is hard to know that. I have found that the most reliable guide to knowing is to ask myself, "What would love do?" That is where wisdom is. When we do the most loving thing possible, we will always make the right decision. We shouldn't be afraid to follow our own wisdom. We all have a direct line to God. If other people try to dissuade us from our goals, we need to remember that we only need to please God, not anyone else. In Galatians 1:10 Paul says, "I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God."

Walk with love today. Let God guide you safely like a lighthouse guides ships safely to shore. Trust your wisdom.

Light and Love,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Frank and I moved to Denver in 1998. This country girl had never driven in that much traffic. At first I would not drive out of my suburb, but one day Frank called me to pick him up at the office because his car was being repaired. I panicked. I was so nervous. I had no choice but to drive in traffic. Not long after that I was driving all over the city. My confidence soared. I felt really good and proud of myself. Frank did me a favor by forcing me into a situation that made me stretch beyond my comfort zone. I entered a new phase of my life. It opened new doors. I started substitute teaching in five different districts. This gave me a very flexible life. Before I had always held a contract teaching position that tied me down. Now I was free to work when needed but also to travel with Frank and spend time with family.

We need to help other people stretch too. Every day that I teach, I have students who want my help. I want to help them, but I do not want to hinder them by not teaching them to think for themselves. I do not want to do things for them that they can do for themselves. I want to empower them and give them confidence that they are equipped to solve problems, write creatively, and understand literature. I don't want students to depend on me for the work that they can do themselves.

We need to believe in ourselves. We are capable of doing so much more than we think we can. "We have to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies," writes Roderick Thorp. We need to stretch and let others stretch too. We really can do it.

Love and Light,

Friday, March 2, 2012


Sandra Fluke, a 23 year old Georgetown University law student, testified before Congress, and presented her opinion that women should be allowed access to birth control. For some reason, this has been controversial lately with the Republican party. Rush Limbaugh, a conservative radio talk show host, lambasted her and called her a slut. This very mean, critical, and hurtful attack was totally unjustified. I could not imagine the hurt and anger that Sandra must have felt.

When President Obama heard about it, he called Sandra and thanked her for standing up for women's health issues. He was her avenger, and I am proud to say that he is my President.

So far, Limbaugh has not apologized or asked for Sandra Fluke's forgiveness. I feel that even though Sandra was treated unfairly, she took the high road. She realized that Limbaugh was trying to silence her and all women by his insulting remarks. She did not try to defend herself or strike back, but she held her own and controlled her emotions. I was proud to have her represent the women of this country. She is a brave young lady who will not be silenced by a bully. Yay for her.

I feel that God sees every time we are wronged and vindicates us. I feel that Sandra passed the test by using her time and energy to promote fairness for women. Joel Osteen writes, "Those hindering you, trying to bring you down, will see you stepping to a new level" if you don't sink to their level.

I think Sandra has already received the respect she deserves for championing women's rights by receiving a call from the President of the United States. I think Limbaugh will see Fluke's promotion and vindication and that she will have the last laugh. I predict that she will become a great lawyer someday and that Limbaugh will fall on his face. God bless you, Sandra Fluke. You told our story and you will be avenged.

Love and Light,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Commit to Love and Happiness NOW!

What is holding me back? What challenges do I face? Nothing is holding me back. I have no challenge that can keep me down. I really do enjoy life. Sometimes though something will get me down for a little while before I realize that any problem I have is transient. I am made in God's image which means that I make the most of what I have and who I am. I make no excuses. There is no reason for the blame and shame game.

Last weekend was my husband's birthday. I had planned a nice weekend with him. We ate lobster and went to a KU basketball game, and then Sunday I invited the kids to come celebrate with us.

Well, on Sunday I felt cranky. It may have been from lack of sleep or some other reason, but I was a little short with everyone. I woke up Monday morning feeling a little guilty so right away, I messaged my family on facebook and apologized. I didn't want to wallow around in self-condemnation or waste time making up excuses for my behavior so I just decided to ask forgiveness. I received it right away.

Most of the time, it is our own unforgiveness of ourselves that is holding us back. The truth is that we don't have to stay in a state of crankiness or unhappiness. We can move out of it. That's not to say that we always have to put on a happy face even when we don't feel like it. It just means we need to realize that our inner joy runs deeper than our pain.

Sometimes we try too hard to be perfect. God accepts us as we are so there is no guilt or condemnation for being human. All we really need to do is ask for forgiveness. God is our strength. In Him we find joy.

I also find joy in my family. About the time when I was feeling the crankiest, I saw a picture on facebook of my new baby granddaughter with the hugest smile on her face. This lightened my mood considerably.

I'm not going to sit in judgment of myself for my crankiness. Instead I am going to commit myself to love and happiness NOW! I love that quote from Maria Robinson that says, "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." Happy Mardi Gras!

Love and Light,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be a Valentine to Yourself

Aww! Valentine's Day! It's a beautiful day to remember love. I'm thinking of all my loved ones, but I am also thinking about how much I love myself. Everyone is in on this. Many of us think that it is not spiritual to say we love ourselves, but after all, aren't we creations of God?

Why do some of us want to feel unworthy? Romans 8:1,4 says, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." That is the key. Walking in the Spirit where there is splendor and unlimited joy is a choice we can all make.

Too many of us feel unworthy and look for something outside ourselves to make us feel complete. Some turn to alcohol and drugs or unhealthy relationships to make themselves feel better, but truly the only thing that can bring relief is forgiveness. We need to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes because God does.

Saturday we heard the shocking news of Whitney Houston's death. I am not judging or trying too hard to interpret what happened to her, but I can't help but wonder why someone as young as 48 is gone. She was beautiful, talented, rich, and famous, but still there was something missing. She had a relationship with God, but I wonder if she realized that like the prodigal son, she could have come back to her Father and He would have forgiven her for her wild, partying, undisciplined life. God is so merciful. I know that Whitney is now at peace. I just pray that her daughter can realize the comfort of God and learn to love herself enough to get through all of this.

Well, Valentine's Day is a day of love so remember that God loves us and that we need to love ourselves as well. Let's be good to ourselves today and every day. God bless!

Love and Light,

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Take the High Road

This will be an interesting year. Obama is up for re-election and the political rhetoric is deafening. One thing I notice about Obama, though, is that he always takes the high road. He seems to pay no attention to his critics, no matter how outspoken they are against him. I think he knows that the critics can not keep him from his destiny.

I think we could all learn from his example. We need to learn what to ignore. Instead of using our energy trying to please people, we need to use our energy to improve our lives. We need to be at peace with others and ourselves by forgiving our critics. (That includes our inner critic).

We need to celebrate who we are because our happiness depends on it. Bill Cosby once said, "I don't know the secret of success, but I do know the secret of failure, and that is to try to please everybody." We have to choose our battles wisely. There is an old saying that "a bulldog can whip a skunk any day of the week, but sometimes even a dog realizes it's just not worth the stink." If we accept ourselves and live peacefully, our joy will strengthen us for the battles that are really worth fighting.

Well, we do have an election coming up this November, and I really do want to see Obama re-elected. However, I will try to follow Obama's example and not enter the blame game too blatantly. God bless America!

Love and Light,

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beautiful Blessings

I am so grateful tonight that I can hardly contain my joy. My beautiful new grandbaby Rosie is doing well. I will spend time with my grandson Sammie and granddaughter Kaya soon. I am blessed. My husband has a good job. My teaching assignments have been fulfilling. We have such a lovely home. The reason I am counting my blessings tonight is that I am appreciative for what I have. Joel Osteen wrote, "Seeds of discouragement cannot take root in a grateful heart."

Alphonse Karr wrote, "Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful thorns have roses." It's all a matter of perspective. My granddaughter Rosie's name is Briar Rose. She is a good reminder that beautiful roses grow among the briars. She was born to teenage parents, but she is thriving. I am so grateful that she has such good responsible parents even though they are young.

Recently I came across a poster that said this: "If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back." I think that is so true. There is always someone who has it much worse than we do. Joel Osteen says, "Keep the right point of view. If you have a hard time getting to sleep at night, think about all the homeless people without beds. If you are stuck in traffic, think about all the people who can't afford cars. If you have a bad day in the office, think about all the people who are unemployed. If you have to walk three blocks to church, thank God you are healthy and able to walk. If your hair is turning gray, be grateful it is not turning loose!"

Yes, we have much for which to be grateful. If we would keep the right perspective, we would thank God for each day we are alive and for every minute we have to spend with our loved ones.

Love and Light,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rosie Makes Me Rich

Briar Mercury Rose Rawlings was born on December 8, 2011. She weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. She is absolutely beautiful! She was born on her cousin Sierra Jade Faulkenberry's 13 birthday so that made it even more special. I can't begin to describe what joy she has brought into our lives already. I just feel like a new person.

She is a little cutie patootie. We call her Rosie. She makes me want to take time to smell the roses because life is not about getting somewhere, it is about enjoying the journey. She was born during the busy holiday season, but I certainly took time off to go visit her for two and a half weeks. She was my Christmas!

During that time, Frank's mom Alice passed away. That was December 19, and it was a very low point of my visit. The weather was bad that day so Frank told me to stay with Rosie, and that he and his brother David would plan a celebration of her life in January. To have this sadness juxtaposed with the sheer joy of Rosie's birth threatened to take away the happiness of the occasion, but it also reminded me to slow down to enjoy my family because one never knows how long we will have them with us.

So for the first time in many years I enjoyed Christmas with my husband, my girls, and all my grandchildren, and it was joyous. I had to put it all in perspective. I will never get this time back. Rosie will never be a newborn again. I just couldn't take that for granted.

After Frank made some arrangements, he arrived to spend Christmas with the family. I know it was hard for him to share our joy when he had just lost his mom, but he did the best he could. I tried to lift him up and be his strength, but he was hurting. The day after Christmas, we went to visit my mom. It was there in the peace and quiet of Mom's home that he found solace. I am so grateful that my mom and Frank have such a special relationship.

We have a wonderful family and that makes us rich. Someone said, "It's not the time we spend together. It's the moments we ignite to make memories." We are not here forever. We need to take time to smell the roses. I think Rosie will remind me to do just that.

Love and Light,