* A new year!

I’m looking forward to putting 2016 in an attic box, out of sight and out of mind.  Of course, that reminds me of what a pastor used to say: You might prefer the cards you have already been dealt.  Uh-uh.  Not this year.  I’ve never been good at cards and this has felt like a losing hand.  I know it’s not, but I’m stumbling.  What I need is a good snowfall.  Or more chocolate, which my dearest teaching widower just plopped into my hand.

The antidote to this malaise is gratitude.  So thanks, dear Miss Emily, for your Three Things Thursday challenge.  Here goes.  First, our son and his wife bought me something amazing for Christmas.  It just arrived and wow, I am loving it!  ipad-air2-hero

Yep, it’s the iPad Air 2 (I added a Zagg shield and Incipio case).  I am still pushing down guilty feelings because this is such an extravagance.  Ooh la la!  Now I am creating courses for Tiny Tap!  I’ve wanted to do that for so long, but needed an iOS.  This iPad is a gift that keeps on giving!

I’m thankful for the thousands of answered prayers this past year.  And the millions of unanswered prayers, because only God knows what’s good for me and others.

I also thankful for the precious kiddos I teach and their amazing families.  These kids work sooooo hard, face heartbreaking challenges, and inspire me to press on.  Their parents/guardians are incredible.  They invite me into their hearts and homes, enriching my life beyond measure.

Let’s hear it for 2017!  Snow, chocolate, and teaching, not necessarily in that order.


* Sharing my world, thankfully

Cee’s Share Your World challenge is all about gratitude this week, a perfect match with Thanksgiving!  She made a funny comment about writers; it also applies to teachers, so check out her post for details.  What am I thankful for in:

  • My home life?  Love and peace. A life that provides a glimpse of heaven.
  • My family?   Our sweet son and his adorable wife, my precious sister and her amazing husband, and all the trillions of kiddos.  Well, it sometimes feels like there are trillions, in a good way!  We have the BEST extended family as well.
  • My blogging community?  Oh, so many kind bloggers who read and like and comment.  Wow, I am blessed.
  • My city or immediate area in which I live?  What a gorgeous place to live!  Our neighborhood is special, there’s an awesome lap pool not far away, and people are genuinely friendly.
  • The regional area in which I live?   Another positive!  We’re midway between mountains and beaches, not far from many places to hike and explore.
  • The country where you live?  I love this country, with our tapestry of folks who embrace such a wide range of beliefs.  I am thankful for our freedom and the efforts of those who seek greater freedom from prejudice and injustices which still abound.
  • Me?  I am happy in my skin and growing more so every day.  That’s a huge change from the tortured soul I used to be.
  • God.  (I added this one.)  Where would I be without the creator of all that is beautiful and good?  Where would I be without His death so that I might live?  Thank you, Jesus!  I am also grateful for our family of believers.  When we broke ground for our larger building recently, my widower and I inscribed rocks (without looking at each other’s first) which have gone into the foundation of the building. His is on the right.  What a precious man!

* Cee’s Share Your World

Thanks to Cee for her wizardry in photography and her Share Your World weekly challenge!  

What is your earliest memory?  I remember events from well before I was two years old because traumatic events stick so much more strongly than pleasant ones.  That’s probably why it feels like I recall every day of my life until I left home at 19.  I am grateful that our son has a relatively blank slate for his early years!   Thankfully, he doesn’t remember when I zipped up a certain body part into his cuddly sleeper or when I closed the trunk on his flexible fingers.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?   I took some selfies last night to use with a student as visual cues.  For some kids, that’s much more effective than saying a word.

Have you ever danced in the rain?  Yes, and on stage as well.  I was working with psychotic adolescents and we staged “Singing In the Rain.”  Don’t ask me why.  It was a series of traumatic moments for both teachers and students, since we had to practice for a month.  Between kids tantruming, spacing out, and having seizures, the final performance made for an eventful evening!

What is the longest you have gone without sleep?  I had to take an sleeping EEG, which meant staying up all night and then somehow, falling asleep at a clinic.  The room I was “resting” in was next to the nurses’  lounge, full of laughter with a door that repeatedly banged shut.  I never fell asleep, so it was the following night before I finally got some shut eye.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?    I am soooooo grateful that my dearest teaching widower did not leave town last week!  We have been enjoying his Father’s Day gift of the BBC series on World War II.  Awesome.  I am also grateful for the family that forgave me this morning for oversleeping and missing a tutoring session.  My phone’s ringer had been accidentally turned off by the selfie stick, so my alarm was all for naught.  I am looking forward to eating the goodies that another family gave me today!  Yum!!  Thank you, Golio!


Golio nut blend.png

Golio’s nut seed blend!

* Sharing my world

Thanks, Cee, for this Share Your World challenge.  Here are this week’s questions.


Me and my sister during the era of summer circuses

What was one of your first money making jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?   I was a young entrepreneur and went door-to-door selling greeting cards from the Cheerful Card company plus homemade “soap” that needed to be kept frozen.  I also put on a summer circus for the neighborhood kids, training our dogs to endure circus collars and writing/directing one-person theater productions. Occasionally I could browbeat my sister into performing but often I played all the parts without missing a beat.  I also raked in money with carnival-style games which were impossible to win.  For some reason, the kids always came, cash in hand.

What is your favorite month of the year?   This is hard.  I LOVE the snow more than anything so winter was always my favorite, but as I’ve aged, I’ve become cold-natured and enjoy sultry summers.  I do love the spring, as fresh life appears all around me.  Don’t care for autumn.

What three things in nature do you find most beautiful?   Oh my.  Just three?  Snow, of course.  I love how it absorbs the sounds, making the days and nights soooo quiet, and transforms everything, even ugly stuff, into beauty.  Birds.  Their pecking order is hilarious, their colors are marvelous, and they sing so beautifully before eating in the morning.  I do not sing before breakfast.  The high desert.  Where you find Ponderosa pines, where your feet sink into a reddish dust, where the scents are addictive.

List at least five of your favorite spices (excluding salt and pepper).   Cumin, chili powder, fresh basil, and cinnamon.  Yum.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?   I am grateful for my new phone, since I recently drowned the last one.  I also managed, with help, to sync my dearest widower’s FitBit device, which hadn’t worked since he went to Spain (nothing against Spain, but the time changes scrambled FitBit’s little brains).  I’m looking forward to a special graduation event with an amazing student and his precious family.

* Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for her celebration of GRATITUDE!  See that spiffy new badge on the lower right?  You can get one, too!  Just visit her site and grab it!

I am thankful for finishing two April blogging challenges this past weekend.  Better late than never.  I didn’t count how many posts I needed for the Color Your World and A to Z Blogging Challenges.  I just kept writing until I was done.  Yea!  Twenty-nine posts later, I relaxed and grinned.  My son told me that my Tweets were a bit tooooo much!  Oh well.

survivor-atoz 2016.jpg

I am thankful that my dearest widower comes back home today.  I always miss him SO MUCH when he’s out of town.  He’s an adorable, sexy guy with the best sense of humor EVER.  We talk a couple of times a day while he’s gone, but it’s not the same as “real life.”  He does important work to improve the lives of abused children and to support the professionals who help those kids.


Finally, I am thankful for awesome music.  Here’s a current favorite of mine.  Jeremy Camp singing, “He Knows.”


* Three Things Thursday: May 12, 2016 (With Announcements and Things) — Nerd in the Brain

Nerd in the Brain is moving!  Be sure to follow this awesome woman!

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy* A sharing note: Be sure to add your Three Things Thursday post to the linkup!😀 And another note: This may be the last Three Things Thursday post at this […]

via Three Things Thursday: May 12, 2016 (With Announcements and Things) — Nerd in the Brain

* Three Things Thursday

Nerd in the Brain is a continual source of inspiration for all things nerdy and clever.  Every Thursday she posts these fascinating glimpses into the giggly life of a nerd.  Between her and Lizzi, who gleans gratitude from even the rough patches in life, I should be able to scrape something together, right?  Even if my week has been a bit glum?  Here are my scraps for the week:

Scrap one:  I reinstalled Windows 10!  My previous installation had deleted all my files and ruined almost every app.  Why on earth did I try it again?   Because I hate to be defeated by a computer program?  Yes and no.  Sadly, I can’t control how Windows chooses to update.  Because I adore any new techie thing?  YES!  And Windows 10 now works beautifully.  It’s faster than my previous OS and I have a new persona to aggravate.  Dearest Cortana.  I have yet to determine how she compares to Siri.  Did you know you could once get Siri into a silent snit if you asked her whether she has been born again?

Scrap two: As craft-challenged as I am, I was hesitant to guide a student in creating a Cherokee village.  I figured it would look like Godzilla Meets Wooden Huts.  (No contest there.)  Surprisingly, the village is not half bad.  Yeah, that’s weak.  That’s why we call this a scrap.

Scrap three:  Today is my dearest teaching widow’s birthday!  Just to keep him in shape, he got to move the treadmill so I could reach my rock collection trapped in an out-of-reach closet.  I HAD to get that rock collection because 4th graders study rocks and minerals.  Plus, I LOVE rocks.  Almost as much as tech stuff.  My neck was set into a downward position until I started taking all these fun photos for Jennifer’s Color Your World challenge.  But that would be my 4th scrap, so I’d better stop while I’m ahead.

* Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Nerd In The Brain, an excellent blogger and teacher, for her inspiration to post three things from the past week for which I am grateful.


1.  I am grateful for my students.  They work SO hard and despite bumps in the road, are delightful, resilient, and funny.  A sampling of conversational topics this past week: hippo poop, mouse poop, dog poop, signs of aging (hmm…), autism, college football championship, and skiing.

2.  I am grateful for the parents of my students.  They are gracious, kind, generous, and supportive.  A sampling of conversational topics this past week:  back injury, allergies, skiing, the flu, icy weather, and poop.

3.  I am grateful for my husband.  He is endlessly supportive, hauls my materials everywhere, and makes me cups of tea at every opportunity.  A sampling of conversational topics this week: Friday Night Lights, what’s for dinner, it’s getting late, and “Don’t talk about poop!”

I’d love to hear your list!

* Three Things Thursday

three-things-thursday-spreading-happiness1Thanks to Nerdinthebrain, one of my favorite bloggers, for inspiring others to express gratitude.  Research suggests that grateful folks are happier and healthier.  What’s not to love about that?

Here are my three things before Thursday is a memory:

1.  I am grateful for my new Asus Transformer tablet.  It’s amazing and looks a lot better in real life than in this photo.  My family was SO generous to me at Christmas and my kiddos love using it.

Asus tablet

2.  I am grateful to some wonderful friends for giving my husband and me this inspiring book.  It’s going to take me a while to absorb all of it.  I love books that are rich in content like this.


3.  I am grateful that our pipes did not freeze last night!  I would be even more grateful if it snowed tonight!  I love this time of year.  My daily obsession with SNOW is in full swing!  weather

Be sure to check out Nerd In The Brain and thank her!  And what are YOU grateful for?

* Grateful for small mercies

baby stepsIt’s the small things for which I am most grateful.  Like those tiny increments in millimeters that eventually lead to a young man six feet tall, kids must often make hundreds of small steps in their path towards mastery.  One student required almost 30 trials per task in order to achieve a goal.  Those steps seem can inconsequential or even frustrating at times.  It takes extra teacher effort to remain upbeat and encouraging when the pace is sluggish.  I draw pictures for kids to show them that their mountain top is within reach.  I tell their parents that we will see it happen.  Based on experience, I know the labor is not in vain.  So I smile and guide and encourage.  And then it happens!  That mountain-top moment!  The kids usually know when that moment occurs.  What does it look like?  One struggling student raised his hands like an Olympian and called out, “If anyone needs help with their reading, ask me!”   Another student hugged me.  Yet another student stopped speaking to me in the hallway; my presence reminded him that he had once been unable to read.  I have to tell the occasional student that we have arrived.  I shared reading test results with a girl who was astonished.  “I can read on grade level?” she asked incredulously.  Yes, I am grateful for every step.