Me! I am a retired teacher. I taught 20 years. I retired because of my weakened condition but my mind is afire. I read, write, reflect, and write every day. My POV is usually as a teacher but not always. I have a bucket list and on it is to be a published author. I have many books to write. I want a cure for ALS. I want to spread LOVE. I want my maker to use me until I'm completely exhausted. Life is for living. "Enjoy every sandwich" Warren Zevon
In my mind today, I am thinking of the phrase whom shall I fear? I am one of those people that believes in God. I believe in a Creator. When you observe all of the nature around you and the skies above you and the stars that glow, there has to be something much, much bigger than us. I don’t think that there’s any coincidence that our solar system looks just like an atom. The sun is our nucleus the planets are like electrons rotating around in ellipses. The smallest part that we can even think of mimics the largest part that most of us know about and that is just not a coincidence. There’s just something to this life of ours that serves a greater purpose. As a family, we usually try to find a show to watch together in the evenings. We don’t typically pick modern shows but we have in the past. Currently we are on a vintage Star Trek binge. When you look at shows like this it makes you imagine and think how vast the world can be beyond our little galaxy. We are not the only galaxy. We don’t have the only sun. There are so many others out there. It just speaks of the greatness of our Creator and on the other hand it shows the smallness of our humanness. These little souls that dwell on the planet Earth. Right now our Earth is in a turmoil because of the pandemic. This is not the first time nor will it be the last. What I am reminded of daily is whom should I put up my trust in? Governments? My trust is always with the Creator. It is with the people that have the greatest interest for their fellowmen and women that bend my ears. The Earth is such a living viable part of us and our existence. We have all been treating it like Once-lers. If you don’t know what that is read The Lorax by Dr. Suess. It also deserves our attention as well as the resident aliens, widows and orphans. You see there is so much work that we can do with God’s help. We have to stay united in our humanity. The word devil means division. It looks like a whole lot of division is out there in our governments and in our cities and communities. Don’t fall for the greatest trick in the world: dividing to conquer. Does anyone remember this? A house divided will never stand. I don’t want this blog to bring doom and gloom. I am not afraid of the big bad wolf and you shouldn’t be either. Whom shall I fear? Whom shall you fear? We all should work together for the greater good of humanity. It is our job to not fear but to be fearless. Stop all of the divisive talk on social media and news. We need to unite with one another regardless of political affiliation, religion, Creed, color, and gender. We, you and I, are the gears that do the work for this world and this country. It is time that we put down our differences and show the world that we still believe in something so much bigger and better than we ever could be. Let us do the work for the kingdom of God here on Earth. People cannot lead unless we let them. It’s time to wake up. It’s time to be self-sufficient. It is time to be by the people, for the people, and of the people. People with morality. People with empathy. People that are fair. People that are just. People that are selfless. Remove lobbyist at PACs out of our government. It shouldn’t cost billions to be elected. That is outrageous.I believe in God and us as we tread through these times, together. Sarah Anderson AlleySal the Togetherness Gal Quotes of the day by Stephen Hawking: ❝If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God❞ – A Brief History Of Time, published 1988❝One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away❞ – Interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, June 2010❝My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically❞ – Interview, New York Times, May 2011“Einstein was wrong when he said ‘God does not play dice’. Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.” The Nature of Space and Time
In my mind today I am not thinking of John Cougar Mellencamp, but his songs do ring true to me. I am thinking of those times when you love someone and it does hurt when they move on to their heavenly chapter. Missing them and the opportunities to show them that you love them are not a reality anymore truly hurts. Today is my father’s birthday. He has been gone 17 years. He would be 95 years old today. My father was a colorful character with many talents and many crosses to bear. He was a veteran of WWII serving in the Pacific rim and came home an alcoholic. He struggled and battled his entire life with alcoholism. The key here is that he never gave up and he triumphed over it. He was able to become the father we needed and the precious grandfather that was cherished by all of the children in our family. He was a musician, nature lover, and such a proud man. He often tried to warn others especially in our family of the pitfalls of addiction. It often didn’t take especially among his own children. I know this troubled him greatly during the end of his life here on Earth. He was just such a wonderful mess. It does hurt so good to remember him. I’m so proud of my father and the struggles that he overcame. He had a gift for making me feel so loved even to a fault sometimes. He did the same with so many of the grandchildren in his life. Whether it be a Saturday visit to deliver a watermelon to a granddaughter that loved them so much or picking up a sick child from school and sitting with them until the parent was able to get home, these are just a few of the redemptive things he did to rectify the years our family dealt with his addiction. Saturdays were his days to pop in and visit me. He always had something in tow for my children and of course me. He taught me so much about flowers and trees. I always shed tears on this day . Not for the loss of him but for the everlasting love he gave me. It does hurt so good to remember him. I hope everyone reading this realizes how precious time is. Your parents and grandparents will not be here forever. They have a treasure trove of memories and of times past that can help us through our current situations with the crisises of America. Please sit down and talk to them. Give them your ears and your time. People are so very important. God gives you each other to help and to heal. It’s not always going to be easy, but it is so very worth it to invest in people and communities. My father grew up in the Great Depression. He knew hunger. He experienced bravery in the face of death. He knew if a person could be relied upon that was worth more than money. Did he learn all this overnight? Of course not, neither do we. As we go through this day and every day remember that it does hurt so good to remember those we love. But what a priceless treasure it is to have been loved. Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Grateful for Love Gal Me: “Daddy why are you so brown?”Dad: “I drink too much black coffee pumpkin.” “Shoot the ball Sally!” “Sarah Anne there is no such thing as a sale.” Me: “Daddy I want a pair of Nike shoes.”Dad: “Just get a plain pair and write Nikki on them.”Me: “Forget it!”
In my mind today, I am thinking of miracles. This time in history is so scary for all of us. Pandemics are very serious business that tend to strike every century. How do we deal with them? That’s how the strong are separated from the weak. Or should I say you discover who has a stout heart during times of adversity. Last night, we had a Matthew 25:40 meeting over Zoom (a video calling service). We were discussing usual business, but as we were discussing how we have been reacting as a non-profit to the pandemic I felt an overwhelming surge of love and admiration for everyone involved in this small non-profit association. As I was reading my devotional ironically it was about the loaves and fish. Jesus told the disciples to give the crowds something to eat. The disciples were scrambling for answers. Then one of the disciples says this child has a lunch, and Jesus said bring it forth. Then he performed a miracle. Of course He could have just performed a miracle instead of asking His disciples for a solution. However, Jesus wants us to be in the midst of the battles on Earth because he knew one day he would go to His heavenly home. With the Holy Spirit, then we simple humans would become His hands, feet, mind, and heart. Remember, Thy Kingdom Come? My heart swells because Matthew 25:40 has been multiplying the loaves and fish in our little community along with many others. As of this week, Matthew 25:40 will have served supper to 7,000 children. Our local schools have provided lunches to our most needy, but we knew these children and families needed more. We have provided food from our pantry for those in need. We have provided money to pay utility bills. Matthew 25:40 just hasn’t stopped being the hands and feet of Christ in our community. I am so grateful to be president of the board for this wonderful non-profit. We heard His voice and we did not harden our hearts. We work so closely with the homeless and knew how devastated they would be. When you think with a heart of Christ there is no other answer besides helping. I want to give a shout out in this blog to all of those out there on the front lines helping others, whether it be a small non-profit like us or medical workers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Each day I wake giving thanks for the breath in my lungs so I can live another day to be a part of God’s plan. The people who have come out to help us at Matthew 25:40 have been priceless. We have had local food businesses donate meals, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. We are still in a battle and appreciate all of the donations and will still need more. We will always have people who need non-profits like Matthew 25:40. Today I am asking you to continue to help out those who need it, but I also want even more for you to pray for us. Pray for us to have the strength and the resources to do the work set before us during this time and in the future. Thank you for being part of the modern day miracles. Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Matthew 25:40 Gal
Quote of the Day: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” -Mister Rogers
If you can donate please use this PayPal link. Thanks so much! PayPal is … Matthew2540@cableone.net
In my mind today, I am thinking of all of the blessings, yes blessings in our little corner of the world. We are in the middle of a pandemic. We have been isolated from family and friends. I was writing a friend this morning about my heart being filled with joy and it hit me that it has been almost three decades since I have physically missed Easter at our little parish. Last night we watched via social media Easter Vigil Mass. My daughter, the priest, a parishioner, and the music director were the only physical people there. At the consecration of the Eucharist I felt it. It was the Holy Spirit flowing in to me. Amid the tragedy of this time, God is there. He has never left. He never will. Neither will we. God does not spurn a good, faithful heart. A heart that is pure in its love for God and his neighbor. I’ve heard many upset about Easter being ruined. Easter can never be ruined. Yes, we miss our routines, church families, and freedom to flow through the cities as we please. I understand. I love people. I miss communion with my little town. Instead of thinking about what we’ve lost because of our situations, think of what was given. Time. It is the most precious commody. Ken (Papa Smurf, Poppa Ratz, Dad) has not used all of his vacation for probably two decades. He has been given precious time at home with his family. We have enjoyed this sabbatical from the rat race. We have been given a wonderful gift. My son who cares for me has not been to church in more than five years. Last night he watched the Easter Vigil Mass with us. God is working always working. Gifts. I sat by my window and watched the rain so thankful. Amazed that birds were frolicking by the feeders and the squirrels were up to their antics. This filled my heart with hope. As I watched, I prayed for all of you who may come across this blog. The pandemic has taken many earthly lives. This is such a tragic, grief-stricken times. That’s what happens periodically: plague, colorea, polio, & Spanish flu. Death happens. Doing my ancestry, I discovered that my grandmother was an orphan of the Spanish flu. Her life was so hard, but the beauty and love of her posterity lives. Why plagues and pandemics? That’s the question. Or is it? We are living history every day of our lives. Take notice and be in the moments of each and every day. It’s so hard to do but this pandemic has given us time to do just that. That’s why we say, “Call it all a gift.” My friends enjoy this time. Happy Easter my friends today and every day. That is the Greatest Gift of all. Sarah Anderson AlleySal the Heart-full Gal Life never ends because love never does.
In my mind today, I’m thinking of Resurrection. It was in today’s gospel reading. Lazarus was brought back to life. With the pandemic that lurks over our country and world, lots of people begin to reevaluate and start thinking about the BIG question: What happens when a mortal person dies? Yesterday’s readings talked of the resiliency of trees. Did you ever notice what happens when a tree is cut down? There is evidence by my mailbox. There are new shoots each spring that my nephew cuts back for me. Trees are amazing. They were here before us and will outlive most humans. I have several dear friends fighting cancer in the midst of a pandemic. Lots of my prayers are with them these days. One recently read a book given by his children about trees. From the jest of the book and gift, I think my friend’s children were saying, “Look Dad, we are your shoots. We will continue the good work started. Don’t worry.” It’s so true. Whenever I look into my grandchildren’s eyes, I see good. I see a future. I see pieces of my child, my husband, and me. God has wonderful plans. I have faith in that. I do not fear death. Everyone has questions and fears of the unknown. Most are resistant to change, good or bad. During the early stages of this pandemic, I have seen change. I have seen sacrifice. I have seen selflessness. I have seen God working with us in this small community. If you don’t know by now, I am a teacher by trade. My fellow teachers are doing teacher parades to the children who live on the precipice of poverty (in cars no physical contact). My amazing community of teachers is delivering lunches to these children. Yes, they are taking measures and being safe. There are ways to BE THE GOOD safely. Guess what? They are planting seeds that will one day be shoots and yes trees in our community. As a matter of fact, many of our teachers are from this area. Many were my students. I want those teachers in all systems during this time to know how thankful I am and ever so proud to live in this little “Mayberry.” “Whenever you help the least, I am there also.” God is with you and for you. These are great lessons we are learning today and I have faith and hope that after the dust settles, we will be forever changed for the good. Greed has no place where love resides. Some will not make it through this without losing their earthly lives. This is just life. It’s not too late. I believe people can choose good and be the examples given in small town America. These examples will resound throughout our country and the world. So what happens when we die? Rest, peace, release, and our spirit/soul continues it’s journey. That journey back to the source of all goodness. During my meditation times, I feel as if I am resting there in His Heart. That’s where I long to be. Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Resurrection Gal Dedicated to my wonderful, amazing, and selfless teachers and school systems during this time. If you can,
Keep safe distances
Limited contact with others for at least two weeks but longer is better. (It’s been 14 since my daughter came home from college. We are staying to ourselves.)
In my mind today, I am thinking about the recent disease pandemic. This morning I began looking at news updates before I opened my devotional. Big mistake! Then I began reading about all of the epidemic and pandemics of the past. I was trying to find some type of consolation for this rapid spreading disease. I had to make myself stop and open my devotional. I focused on the readings and then flipped back and forth from this week’s readings. They had consolation for me where I could not find any anywhere else: tv, internet, or social media.
Proverbs 3:5-12 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, / on your own intelligence do not rely; / In all your ways be mindful of him, / and he will make straight your paths. / Do not be wise in your own eyes, / fear the Lord and turn away from evil; / This will mean health for your flesh / and vigor for your bones. / Honor the Lord with your wealth, / with first fruits of all your produce; / Then will your barns be filled with plenty, / with new wine your vats will overflow. / The discipline of the Lord, my son, do not spurn; / do not disdain his reproof; / For whom the Lord loves he reproves, / as a father, the son he favors.
Students read this three times. What pops out? We are reminded that we are mere humans. We do not have all the answers. We do need to live in a godly way. We need to turn from evil. We need to start giving God the glory and love that he deserves. How can we do this? It’s really simple. Love each other. This is not going to be the last time something comes around to diminish our lives and livelihood. If we do this, God will take care of us. It may not be on the Earth but we will go to Him upon our death. We were made to flower and fade. We do not get the luxury of choosing the length of our earthly lives.
Then Jeremiah 17: 5-10
Thus says the Lord: / Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, / who seeks his strength in flesh, / whose heart turns away from the Lord. / He is like a barren bush in the desert / that enjoys no change of season, / But stands in a lava waste, / a salt and empty earth. / Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, / whose hope is the Lord. / He is like a tree planted beside the waters / that stretches out its roots to the stream: / It fears not the heat when it comes, / its leaves stay green; / In the year of drought it shows no distress, / but still bears fruit. / More tortuous than all else is the human heart, / beyond remedy; who can understand it? / I, the Lord, alone probe the mind / and test the heart, / To reward everyone according to his ways, / according to the merit of his deeds.
Students read this one three times. Back row quit grumbling. What is this virus? Is it a curse? Where can we find refuge? That’s right front row. We know our hope comes from our belief in God. God has gifted each human with different talents. Those with talents will be leaned heavily upon during this time. Pray for these who are on the front lines fighting this pandemic. The ones that are using their God given talents to create test and figure out the code of this virus. I pray that God gives them the insight to create a vaccine.
Psalms 90: 1-4, 14-17 O Lord, you have been our refuge,from generation to generation.Before the mountains were born,or the earth or the world were brought forth,you are God, from age to age.You turn human beings back to dust,and say, “Return, O children of Adam.”To your eyes a thousand yearsare like yesterday, come and gone,or like a watch in the night.At dawn, fill us with your faithful love;we shall exult and rejoice all our days.Give us joy for the days of our affliction,for the years when we looked upon evil.Let your deed be seen by your servants,and your glorious power by their children.Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;give success to the work of our hands.O give success to the work of our hands.
Students, you know the drill. Read it three times. What sticks out in this one? That’s right God is eternal. Before the mountains were born; he has been here from generation to generation. He is not limited by time or space. That’s right back row, we will turn back to dust. Give us joy in the days of trouble or affliction. That’s right back row. We are petitioning God. You guys are really getting it. We are asking Him to help us through this giving success to the heads and hands of those who are working for the greater good. Help those who have continued to look to evil for answers and turn back to you.
The last two readings were about Joseph’s brothers and how they betrayed him and threw him into the well. They sold him as a slave to Egypt. Next, I read about the parable of the vineyard as the workers killed the heir as soon as the father/owner had left in order to steal the riches.
First, we are so upset at Joseph’s brothers right? He was treated horribly. Envy. Acting out of their sin God turned it into a blessing. Had Joseph not been sold into slavery, the line of Abraham would have ceased to exist. It was for the greater good. Students, God is in every single aspect of our being.
The parable of the vineyard shows us how we reject the authority over us. We think how could they tell us what to do? We can overcome them and do it ourselves. We are good at rejecting what is good for us. So many rejected Jesus and his teachings. Who wants rules? That’s right back row, nobody. This is pride. We have been gifted with consciousness and made in the image of God. We fall when we try to be the God of our own lives. Turn away from evil and do good. Be a part of the healing that God wants to give us. He works through us.
Some of us will not make it through this pandemic. My husband and I may very well be two that do not make it. We are susepectible because of underlining issues: COPD & ALS. We will trust in God and take the precautions that have been given. We will use this time to pull closer as a family and a community. We will enjoy this time together in solidarity. We will not live in fear. We will live one day at a time. That’s all we get.
Students use this time to grow closer to your loved ones. Use it to enjoy one another’s company. Make a blessing out of this. There is no amount of toilet paper or antibiotics that can cure this. Be strong. Put your faith where it should be.
Sal the Fragile Gal
Sarah Anderson Alley
Stay home if you can.
Stock up on fever reducer, Mucinex, and cough medicines. Alternate between Tylenol and another fever reducer like ibuprofen.
Stay hydrated. Drink a lot of fluids if you start to show signs.
If the fever becomes uncontrollable or breathing becomes worse, go to an ER.
In my mind today I am thinking of breaking bread. This was something Ken and I were always adament about with our family. We always ate together around the table, no devices, and enjoyed each others company sharing our day. Breaking bread with each other is such a beautiful example of human communion. If you have not noticed, it is Lent. These 40 days before Easter we do our best to become closer to God. Many people give up sweets or favorite drinks. Some give up technology. The flip side to this is instead of giving up something try to give of yourself in some way. One year I gave a bag full of items a day to the local shelter. So 40 bags of stuff were donated. Another year I tried to go to church each time there was mass. Remember that the Catholic Church has church every day, but some parishes take at least one day off during the week. So I could literally go to church 6 days a week for 40 days. This year I am attending a Bible study on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. The Bible study is based on the seven deadly sins and the seven heavenly virtues. Lent is a time for Christians all over the world to work on their vices and virtues. I understand that many of you are in the mist of survival. Spring is coming and so many families are busy. There are baseball and softball practices as well as soccer practices. It’s so hard to juggle all of the trappings of being a parent. So if there’s nothing else you could squeeze into your schedule, remember to just break bread with one another especially if you are busy and meeting yourself coming and going. Even if you eat out or get takeout, bring it home and sit around your table. I think a lot of Americans are not taking time to commune with each other especially at meal times. Our table is less crowded now because our little birds have flown the nest, but when they are home it is fabulous. To see a family gathered around the table enjoying one another is such a beautiful sight. Each morning I drink my coffee and eat my breakfast with my husband as I watched through the big window at the children scurrying for school. I remember those days. They go by too quickly. This is a time in our liturgical calendar to focus on what God wants in our lives. If the rat race has you down, remember you can still break bread with one another. Listen to each other. Look at each other. Work on those family ties. They are so precious and if done right they are so strong. Remember that “if you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” (Mother Teresa aka St. Teresa of Calcutta) Sarah Anderson AlleySal the Breaking Bread Gal “When we sit at the table, there is more going on than satisfying hunger. It is sad to think of those who eat simply to satisfy their hunger and who do not permit themselves to linger under the many spells offered by a good meal – the satisfaction of our hearts, our minds and our spirits.” Leo Buscaglia
“When we sit at the table, there is more going on than satisfying hunger. It is sad to think of those who eat simply to satisfy their hunger and who do not permit themselves to linger under the many spells offered by a good meal – the satisfaction of our hearts, our minds and our spirits.” Anthony Bourdain