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 have been amazed at angels, miracles, and dreams. Students, I am currently Sal the super busy Gal. I am currently juggling this year’s race, a Haunted Trail, and serving on committees to bring the good to our little corner of the world besides having two weekly Bible studies [one virtually and one in person] and teaching Wednesday nights at church. I don’t tell you this to impress you, I tell you because just think what you could do with an ambulatory body. I totally understand that I get one chance to do as much good as I can for God on this Earth. I totally understand that we are all living on borrowed time. Heaven does really await us if we only choose it. Have you made your choice? Or are you wavering? I think that is why I write this blog, my students.
Today is the feast day for guardian angels. This week was also a holy day for the angels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Do you believe in angels? I hear a lot of people talking about angels. I have read a lot of books about people seeing angels. Whether you choose to believe or not each one of us is granted a guardian angel at our birth. That gives us a segue into miracles.
Have you ever had a time in your life where you escaped death? Miraculously, you were unscathed. As I think back over my life, oh, there have been several occasions that I should have suffered grave injuries but walked away unharmed. I can remember on one of my birthdays I was in a terrible motorcycle accident with my brother. He only had on cut off blue jeans. He had stopped by to wish me a happy birthday on one of the coolest motorcycle ever. I begged and pleaded with my mother to let me ride just up to the highway and back. I was on the back and I was around 11 years old. I don’t remember what caused my brother to have to lay the motorcycle down on the highway but this is what I remember. I could still see how we were slowly going toward the pavement. My brother reached around and grabbed me. He threw me into the median. As all of this was going on while the traffic was completely stalled. Everything was frozen in time. I watched my brother’s body fly across the pavement. Remember he didn’t have on anything but cut off jeans. On one side of his body he had severe road rash and horrible deep holes where some of the flesh had been ripped away by gravel. I sat there in the grass and watched him get up bloody and come over and asked me if I was okay. I think I just shook my head yes. He righted the motorcycle and we got on it. He took me home. This accident happened on the bypass that was only a few miles from my house. The birthday girl arrived back safely but my poor brother had a long road of recovery. I am so sure that the guardian angels of my brother and I are still very busy and have been throughout our lives. Another time I was in a wreck and everything was going in slow motion as we hydroplaned. I threw my hands up and just started praying because I thought this is it. My friend, Big D, grabbed me and the steering wheel. I was freaking out and she said get ahold of yourself! We barely missed rolling the truck down an embankment that would have surely killed us. Guardian angels are real. I have had so many near death experiences. One of those, actually the last one, I am writing it into a book. I don’t think God is ready for me to leave the Earth yet. I still have lots of work to do. I want to live a life that speaks of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know I will go to the other side one day. The closer I get the less scared I become.
And last but not least, let’s talk about dreams. I have some of the most vivid crazy dreams ever. Just ask my poor family. In one of the Bible studies we are talking about the Book of Daniel. Talk about dreams! This guy was an interpreter of Dreams. As we discussed all of these Mysteries of the Bible, my mind became clearer. One of the ladies in our group had covid. She was not supposed to live. Her family was called in several times. As she lay there on a vent for days upon days she had vivid dreams. She explained to us that she felt a battle. Something was trying to pull her to death and something was trying to pull her back to Earth. She had friends that drove all the way from Alabama to just drive around the hospital in Jackson, Tennessee to pray for her. She is a miracle. She also had vivid dreams that she is trying to understand. The doctors told her that the medicine she was on would not have caused such vivid dreams. My husband was also on a vent a couple of years ago. He did not remember anything. You see dreams are important. They happened all the times throughout the Bible. There is something mysterious and so much bigger than ourselves that fights each day for the good. Have you made a connection yet? Yes! Front row students, angels, miracles, and dreams are so intertwined. Good question back row! Yes, if there are angels, there are demons as well. We have to guard ourselves against the demons that are also out there fighting for the evil to do their god’s bidding. Here’s a good assignment for you over fall break. Read the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. This is exactly what I envision the devil and his demons are trying to do even today. These letters were written at a very pivotal time in history. I think we are there again students. Are we going to choose the good? Are we going to be the good? Are we going to give in to all of our vices? It is so easy to give in to all of your vices. It is not easy to say no. You have to be strong. Join me and try to be the good. There is a good fight and this is it.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Dreaming Gal
Quotes of the Day:
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
“There are many who are not guilty of doing anything wrong but very guilty of sins of omission – the things they neglect to do – the good things – the kind, thoughtful words, compassionate thoughts and hopeful attitudes they might have had towards their neighbor.”
“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” C.S. Lewis
“For every angel fluttering through the skies, there is a divine counterpart here on Earth. Each of us has a golden celestial-self just waiting to be awakened.” Sue K
They are the ones who . . . bear fruit through perseverance. (Luke 8:15)
In my mind today, it’s so full of words and emotions and blogs that are swimming in my head and making me dizzy! (Remember that song “Dizzy” students? If you haven’t, listen to it. Yes, it’s homework back row!) Let’s look at that word perseverance. The above is my verse for the day.
What is perseverance? Well, it’s when you suck it up buttercup and just do the work that needs to be done. Never give up. Never. Today’s readings talked about the parable of the seeds and the types of ground they will fall upon. So this is another assignment too, I want you to reflect on your heart. Not the blockages or your cholesterol but your heart. Is your heart workable? Is it ready to hear good things and to do good things? A teaching partner of mine always said if a child’s heart becomes hardened by the world then it is hard for us as teachers to break through all of the hurt. Thankfully in the 20 years that I was able to teach I could only recall about five children who would not allow us to help their hardened hearts. What is the cure for a child whose heart or even an adult whose heart has been so devastated? It doesn’t even allow his/her ears to hear good things. Something that stuck out to me one Sunday was this :it is not the outside world that can defile your heart but what you put in or let in it. This makes me feel so much better especially as a teacher. If you can get them to listen and put good things into their hearts, it will help their heart to be fruitful. It could crowd the bad and the good works will overflow.They will give good back because that’s what God wanted all along.
Some things that harden your heart for example are addictions. God had warned us of these; they are the seven deadly sins. That’s homework, too. You need to look up the seven deadly sins and be honest with yourself. Which one of these allows your heart to be defiled and corrupted? Addictions come in all shapes and sizes. These are the tools that help us to fall and fail. These are not tools of God. If you are reading this right now and you have trouble with any type of addiction God will help you. It’s a two way street. Just like the woman that Jesus said your sins are forgiven but go and sin no more. You simply have to say help me God. Help me not to overindulge in whatever vice you have. I do not want to be a slave to my addictions. You have overflow. You have to try your best to resist. Will you always be able to resist? Probably not. You will still have times that you fall. Here is the key. Remember what I told you I heard at church? Yes, that’s right nothing from the outside can defile you. Only what is in your heart can. If your heart has been hurt over and over then you have a lot of work to do. The work will be hard . Nothing that is worth anything is easy. God did not promise this life would be easy, on the contrary he told us it was going to be extremely hard. That is why we have Jesus. Our God is the God of redemption. Are you tired of this world and its snares? Place your burdens on Christ. He will carry you. Whisper that simple, “Help me God.”
What do you keep in your heart? Is it treasure? Is it trash? Is it weeds? Is it bouquets of beautiful flowers? You see students, it’s your choice what you put in your heart. Please begin to build treasure in your heart. How? By doing the good that needs to be done, Wherever You Are! We are all in this together. It doesn’t matter red, yellow, black, white or whatever you want to call yourself. Every single one of you, students, is first and foremost a child of God. That is your label. So many people today will argue that there is no God. So how can I be a child of God? Well until you are able to create another human without anything but basic elements then you will only be a child of God. How do you think we got here? A creator blessed is how we came to be. Science is not our God. I totally understand that a lot of hurt has been done in the name of God. We have to realize that hurt comes from our weaknesses as humans. We are given a free will. The free will to make good choices or to make bad choices. As a teacher so many times it hurt my heart to see precious children who were not loved or treasured. Their hearts were just a mess. The good news is until you take your last breath, your heart can be Redeemed by God. Does this mean you’re going to get that Escalade or the popularity you always wanted? No. It means that God will allow you to love again and you be sure to give love. Why, because that’s how love is. The more you give the more you get in return. That’s why I talk about building treasure in your heart. Do something good for your mother today. Do something good for your neighbor today. Stop and talk to someone who looks lonely. If you see someone hurting or in a bad situation you pray for them and help if you can. This is what building treasure in your heart in looks like. The treasure will continue to grow and it will flow out of you like gifts to everyone around you. You don’t believe me back row? Try it! I think you will be so amazed at what God will do for your heart. Do your homework!
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Perseverance Gal
Prayer for Today: “Jesus, help me persevere in prayer so that I can bear fruit for you.”
In my mind lately, I have been thinking a lot about this life and this world. I don’t have all the answers. Who does? I don’t know how we go each day and continue through sorrow, great times, and mediocre days. The latest book club read was a deep one. It made you analyze everything. I have already had my eyes open to so much of the grief caused by the human will and wheel. This world keeps turning and turning. It is older than time or the time that we are cognizant of at least. The book is set in the heart of the African continent: the Congo or Zaire. The thing is the oldest forest is where I took the journey with this book. Students, when I read a book I actually take a vacation. I begin research on the areas of the book: topographical and political. The more that I find out or see of this amazing planet we call home I know there is something so mystical about it. This area is considered the cradle of civilization. To have trees that are thousands of years old and to be able to walk under those are to me treasured. The richness of this area was so baffling. The ruthlessness of this area was breathtaking. In the 17 months of the stay there, 31 children died in the little village. Do the math. Back row you can do division and you can also round and figure out the percentage. I know that the front row wants more data like the total number of births, but the point is that the mortality rate in this area is astounding to someone like us living here in the United States. The amazing thing is that the people there, the indigenous people, work with life just as well as they do with death. This is how this book connected with my mind as I live this little bitty life in West Tennessee.
Do you ever think about the older you get the smaller you feel? I don’t know if it is our brains that pick up the speed and start collecting data and figure out that we are quite insignificant. There are so many things going on on this earth at this very second from forest fires, to hurricanes, to droughts, to famine, to deadly viruses, and the list could fill an entire blog. This is the point. No matter how big or small you feel in this life, this is it. This is our journey. This is my journey. What is this we call ourselves today? The information age? The disinformation age? Who do you trust? Who do you believe? What do you believe? How do you believe it? Who’s right? Who is wrong? All of this stuff gets in my head and I try to make sense of it. I am not always successful but I had a reckoning the other day at church of course that has urged me to write and teach.
Sunday before last was the day chosen to Christen or baptize our youngest granddaughter. I have been so blessed in this little life. Things are so crazy everywhere but in this moment I received clarity. I watched my beautiful daughter-in-law hold my beautiful granddaughter during the service. A sadness washed over me. I quickly realized this was a blessing; I was getting to watch my four grandchildren grow and become so beautiful and wonderful. I thought about my youngest daughter. As I prayed and swayed with the rhythm of the mass and heaven coming down to this little altar in Tennessee, I envisioned my youngest daughter holding an infant at the baptismal fount beside a handsome man. She was glowing. The homily or the message is what took my breath. The message this Sunday was about whether in life or death we are all connected. Even after my death I will be able to visit this altar each time the hallelujahs and the Holy Holy Holy are sung in unison. I realized this is where my spirit dwells with God. My days will be filled in heaven as they are on earth. I will be able to visit and be a part of that everlasting love until we are all back together. Death really does not have the sting we humans are so fearful of in our fragile, mortal vessels. The fabric of our lives, our very own DNA will continue the journey. Everyone wants specifics. In the Congo, the people understood so well the ebb and flow of life and death. Does this mean that they had a hard heart? No. It means the exact opposite of that. The children lost were wailed over and cried over as their bodies began to return to the very dark soil of the heart of Africa. So many of the women have up to nine children but only one survives and that is if they are lucky. Each one is cherished and celebrated whether they stay in the living or are in death. Their little time here is part of what God calls creation. Everything works together. Everything is of God to these indigenous people. They continually depend on daily sustenance from God. Does it magically poof out of the air? No. Is it a treacherous and hard life? Yes, most definitely. Front row students, what have I tried to get across to you? That is right. We have to embrace our journey no matter how small and try to do the good work with God for all. Can I change governments and all of the wheels of consumerism and neglect of this precious earth? No but I can do the best I can with what God has given me and where he has placed me in his picture of our world. Do what you can where you are. Do not forget the gift of our planet. We have the chance to use our knowledge for good. To live gentler lives on the land and to not rape and pillage other areas for the consumeristic will and wheel. To be a good steward of the land is what God wants for us. To live in communion with the land and to treat it with respect. I am going to die one day. Who knows what day? The next church service that I attended the priest announced that one of our faithful parishioners had entered into heaven that same very day. Was I sad? Yes very for us but not for him. He did his work well. I smiled. I knew he had no limits anymore of his earthly body. He had come down to the altar and celebrated with us. I felt so full of God and the Holy Spirit. Yes we say goodbye but then we are born into that everlasting life. At the funeral mass, there were so many reminders of his goodness. The biggest ones were his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I was able to sit right behind a beautiful 9-month-old child. She was so beautiful and I could see the light in her eyes. I could see her Papi’s spirit shining through her. She smiled so beautifully and communicated with me. I am so astounded at the children that are drawn to me. This body ravaged with ALS is a spectacle indeed. I just think the light of Christ beams out of me in some way or form so children want to touch me and to smile and giggle. I know the back row thinks that they are laughing and giggling because I look so goofy but I think there’s just something more. I don’t think it; I know it. For all of those who have faced death of a loved one or are facing death I am to tell you be not afraid. Don’t be scared to live for fear of dying. It is in your death that you are one of those praying for others. Your journey matters. Let me say that again for the back row: your earthly journey matters no matter how long or short, big or small. Live it fully with the grace of God.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Living Eternally Gal
Quotes of the Day:
Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.
Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.
In my mind today students, I am thinking about Marthas and Marys as well as years of jubilees. I definitely do not want to forget about prophets. As of late I have been quite the Martha. Students, do you know who I’m talking about? You know the sisters of Lazarus. Martha was that sister that was always busy, busy, busy! She was busy preparing the way to have a great feast or festival to gather as many people together as she possibly could to hear the words of her friend Jesus. Her sister Mary on the other hand was the one that sat at his feet and listened to all of his stories and parables. She listened to Jesus’ philosophy of life. She is also the one that much to Judas’ chagrin used an entire container of perfumed oils on Jesus’s feet. The longer I live with ALS the more I become a Mary. I have been given time to study, read, pray, and reflect on what God really wants for us. During this season I have met the most amazing Martha.
This Martha that I have become a sister with is so like the Martha of Jesus’s time. They’re not enough adjectives to assign to this amazing woman. She has and will continue to try to work and bless others in the little city and county in which we live. Her influence and inspiration doesn’t just reach within the little county borders. Everyone she meets realizes what an amazing woman she is. For years she has been a one-man show or should I say a one-woman show holding up Matthew 25:40 INC by her sheer will. I came up on board with her during one of the most tumultuous seasons of our little nonprofit. She never wavered. She never lost faith. She continually leans on God. She is a friend of those on the fringe of life. I am so glad to be a part of this with her. The little group of women that all fight so desperately for this little non-profit remind me so much of those women that were at the cross. (There’s also good men that are in our boat!) We are building something so beautiful, so big, and we know God is going to bless it. Our goal is to be a non-profit that can stand alone and help all of those in need. You see, we are so very blessed to be tied with wonderful organizations like the United Way. We want to be able to help all people regardless of their station. This is hard to do whenever you have so many guidelines. During the pandemic there were so many new clients that were just like my precious Martha and me. People that just work to survive and to provide for their children. People that want to give their children a hand up not a handout. These people in turn would turn around and give much of their stimulus contributions to us to help keep going forward for all. Jesus told us the poor would always be with us and we do provide very well for them at Matthew 25:40 INC. We want to be able to provide for all of God’s children. That means the ones who fall on hard times, the addicted, the struggling women with children with an absent father or visa-versa, the struggling sons and fathers, and the homeless. All of the Marthas on the ship have so many wonderful ideas and plans to help our little city and county be the healing source God intended for those that are the least. You never know when a storm will come to you. We want to be able to use our faith and God’s Providence to help you. Thanks be to God for all of the Marthas and the Marys.
Yesterday was a great day! It was a day of jubilee. I began reading my scriptures this morning and that was the first thing I read. Jubilees are years of great forgiveness and love. They spread hope. They are new seasons. We had the Back to School Biking for Bart parade yesterday. We had 250 backpacks full of supplies, treats, and chronologically separated for grades ready to go. Several people came with bikes. Several people came just to walk. Several came to just show how wonderful Mr Bart was to us. We had an antique bike rack donated and blessed that will be at the Farmers market to commemorate Mr Bart. We had several new bicycles donated as well as old to be given to children. We had children chanting Mr Bart, Mr Bart, Mr Bart,! This was all going on while his precious grandchildren watched. They know how special their “Cookie” was. His children were so happy. His wife was so gracious as always. We had our own jubilee yesterday!
Students, what is the definition of a prophet? Come on first row! Don’t think about money all the time. Yes, learned teacher. If you live in this little corner of Tennessee you will probably say you were blessed to know a prophet. That would be my friend, Mr Bart. He was so many things rolled up into one. Everything honorable he possessed. Humility beyond compare. He was very gallant. He was a school counselor and teacher for 40 plus years. Had cancer not come to his door, I know he would still be there today. I don’t really think he was that well known in the little city in which he was born, Miami, Ohio. But boy oh boy, we all know him by name and he knows us. My friend taught me so much and now that he is gone on to bigger acquisitions in heaven. All of us are going to pick up the baton that he has left for us. He really prepared us well. His legacy will continue on. Students, do you think that there are prophets still around today? Oh I really do. They may not wear sandals or dashikis in our little town or county but they are all pulling for you to be the best person you could possibly be. What is that? Well students, the best you could possibly be is to be a living saint. Those are some tough standards to live up to but it is doable. Just look at the long list of saints throughout history. People didn’t just stop trying to live lives as saints; we have just become blind to the possibility of living up to these standards. It is so much easier to not worry about others and their strife. To stay complacent in your comfort and to just live your life for you and not for others. It is a big deal and a big challenge. I really think you could do it, students. I am trying my very best but I also fail. I just won’t give up! Our big friendly giant, Mr Bart, was definitely on to something. He was a quiet man. His life on the other hand screamed volumes of how to be a better person. Students, I want you to look around and search out people that live lives that are honorable. Yes it is homework. I want you to thank them. Just like I am writing this to thank all of you for our little jubilee yesterday! God is good all the time. All the time God is good!
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Prophet Seeking Gal
Quotes of the day:
It shall be a jubilee for you. (Leviticus 25:10)
What you do to the least of these you do to me. (Matthew 25:40)
The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenements halls and whispered in the sounds of silence.
In my mind, I have been very busy. So has my sweet little family because of me. It is so hard to be a caregiver. I think it is the hardest thing ever. It becomes very tenuous at times whenever those closest to me become exhausted and even hurt because of my ALS adventure.
This past week has been a whirlwind. Lots of jobs to do and lots of places to go to advocate for the good. I absolutely wear my family out. My son who is my main caregiver had his back go out. My daughter who has been my main caregiver as well during the pandemic and the summer has gone to a summer adventure archaeological dig for school. My poor husband has to be on continuous oxygen all the time. His health is just as fragile as mine. I really cannot write this crazy stuff that happens to us. My other son has two little ones and his life is very wild trying to build a family and work. This is why I have some days that are just crying days.
I cry because my children should not have to do this for me. Don’t get me wrong I am so very grateful for them. I do not want to hurt them and that’s what it feels like on these crying days. My sweet sister has had to come and try to fill in the empty spaces but this is not fair for her. She just began her season of retirement. ALS just plainly sucks, that’s all it is in a nutshell. The days that I watch my family suffer because of me hurts me more than anything. I have to cry through the tears just to write this stuff. It hurts so, so much in my heart and in my soul. Mother’s are supposed to take care of their children, not the other way around. I truly hate that my family has drawn the short straw.
As we hurriedly tried to get everything together for my last little bird to head out for her archaeological adventure, I found myself having little spells of grief and crying. She and I have this secret club; it is the Bug Club. We had so many days together this summer working at the library with children that we didn’t have extra special bug-to-bug time a lot. We shared ourselves with the community and at the end of the summer I found myself craving for just a little more bug to bug time. Our last little bug adventure was to Charlene’s Tea Room. The next day I had Bunco with the Bunco girls. We rushed out after Bunco so I could go to church with her that evening. She was not going to be able to go to Sunday services because of leaving on the archaeological adventure AKA Indiana Alley. Everything was just going by at light speed. That’s how life is. If you do not enjoy the journey, you end up a very sad person. I had enjoyed this journey and I was wanting more but I knew this season was over. That’s why I was flooded with so many tears. When she left I became almost inconsolable. Unbeknownst to me she had to come back in for something and she heard me crying. She came around the corner and said, “What’s going on with you?” I just kept blubbering and crying. She washed my face, cleaned out my snoot, and let me blow my nose. She was very adult-like and told me, “You’ve got to cut this out. I’m not going to be here to wipe your nose again for a while. Big bug you need to strengthen up.” I was able to suck it up buttercup after that. God gave me a little bit of fortitude to reassure her and my little bird was off again.
I didn’t want her to stay with me, that was not why I was such a mess emotionally. I just knew nothing gold could really stay. Remember that quote students? It was the book I did at the first of the year almost every year: The Outsiders. It’s so true. Life is an ebb and flow of good times and bad and a whole lot in between. The important thing is to embrace those golden times. If you didn’t embrace them then you would never cry when they were over. Students, be in the moment of your life. It was our essential rule number 55, carpe diem. This is life. This is my life. This is your life. If you do not treasure your moments, then you are missing out on so much during your earthly journey. No day is ever promised so please get out and enjoy your day. It may be the last one that you get. Yes back row, it’s homework!
Sal the Carpe Diem Gal
Sarah Anderson Alley
Quotes of the Day:
“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.”
—The Dalai Lama
“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”
A wise parent humors the desire for independent action, so as to become the friend and advisor when his absolute rule shall cease.”
In my mind today, I am thinking about bicycles and babies. Yes back row students the things that eat, sleep, and poop and that’s about it! Each year there is something fabulous that happens in our country. We have a group of young missionaries that ride bikes in the shape of a cross in the middle of our United States of America. They do this to spread the word about babies. It is for babies that are never given their first breath. These young missionaries have a central starting point in St. Louis, Missouri. From St. Louis, Missouri each group will ride out at the four Cardinal directions. Students, do you remember those? North, South, East, West are the directions they ride. They will ride down 800 mi and then back up for the leg that comes through our little city. Each year we are blessed enough to share a church service with them and feed them. We get to hear their stories about why they do what they do for babies. We get their background stories and we actually make friends of these wonderful missionaries.
After the church service, we share a meal with them. The missionaries will then spread out and sit with different tables to talk about the journey and their mission. This year the missionary that sat with me was named Mary. You may think it’s ironic but I am getting used to the way God works in my life. This beautiful young lady is on fire for God and for the fragile lives that are taken away each year because of abortions. I know that people want to be the boss of their own bodies. After all God has given them free will to do as they please for their body but here’s the rub. Whenever someone becomes pregnant there is another soul living within them. Another body entirely to its own and this is the way God created us to reproduce. Do pregnancies always come at the best times? Do some pregnancies come at the hands of violence? Yes and yes. Who has the authority to choose if life is granted to go forward? If that life is to come into a world and take a breath, who decides if it could go forward into this world? Should we have the choice to take a life, a soul. Yes I know that there are so many children that are born to such grievous situations. I know that our society is not equipping single mothers with everything they need, especially holding the father’s accountable. I just know that thou shalt not kill is a grievance against God. I also know that many who do have abortions suffer lots of mental anguish and are changed forever after the decision has been carried out. I also know that minorities get more abortions than any other demographic in the United States. The adoption system in this country is broken. The rights of children are nonexistent, especially unborn children. Should a law that is part of our government give the right to kill? No. I repeat it over and over No! If that child is unborn or if that child is in prison from being raised from a broken home the answer is still no. Taking a life is not what I want to be a part of and I hope you feel the same. There are lots of things that need to be fixed in our country and this is one of them. It should not be legal to have an abortion or to kill someone on death row. We have to look for better options. In the huge court case Roe versus Wade even the woman that started the whole ball rolling regretted it. She regretted the whole business. Something within her stirred. I know what the something was. Do you? We are at a point in this country that we need to make changes for the good. This law has absolutely splintered our country and I want you to call your congressmen and women and ask them to get rid of anything political that is for abortions or the death penalty. Life is given and who are we to take it?
As Mary shared her story with us, this blog was forming in my mind. I want you to think about King Herod. I want you to think about after he realized a new king was amongst us and had been born. He sent out legislation to kill all boys 2 years old and under. In the Catholic Church we call this the slaughtering of the innocents. It is commemorated in our calendar each year as we pray for those that have died before us. Each year as we think about this travesty, I weep. I weep for the unborn. I weep for those born into horrible situations. I weep for those children who are among me that need so much love. I weep for my country who has gone so astray from God. Today’s students if you want to know what your homework is, here it is: pray to end legal abortion in our country and pray to end the death penalty. If you want to know more about biking for babies, I will leave a link for you. Please join me in our efforts to build God’s kingdom here. How so very blessed are we here in my little corner of West Tennessee to be pro-life. Thanks be to God for Life Choices and Lifebeats here to help the most vulnerable around us in West Tennessee.
I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.
It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta
I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is ‘Abortion’, because it is a war against the child… A direct killing of the innocent child, ‘Murder’ by the mother herself… And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love… And we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts
It seems to me as clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.
In my world you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children…The term “pro-life” should be a shorthand for respect for the sanctity of life. But I will not let that label apply to people for whom sanctity for life begins at conception and ends at birth. What about the rest of life? Respect for the sanctity of life, if you believe that it begins at conception, cannot end at birth.
In my mind today I am wrestling with God. I got up this morning and read my scriptures. I read about Jacob wrestling with someone but the person had extreme strength. They didn’t give up the fight. In the end the angel or God spoke to him and said from this day forward you will be Israel. I said I cannot imagine wrestling with God but then when I look at my life with ALS I am wrestling with God. Sometimes I wrestle with God and plead for more time to be with family and friends. Sometimes I wrestle with God crying out for him to use me to help this little city be a place of solace, a place of peace. Sometimes I wrestle with God and cry out for him to end it. I’m exhausted and tired and ready to go to my resting place. Some days are diamonds students and some days are dust. I’ve had quite a few dusty days. My body has been screaming out in pain but the pain of my physicality is not what cripples me. It is the pain in my heart that longs to be free. Free to be with God forever. Peace. Rest. Bliss. These are things that my heart craves. These are things that I know as a human I will never be totally free of while I am on this Earth. There is always someone that needs a loving touch, a helping hand, or a simple prayer. Busy. That’s what I am, busy. To look at the chair you may imagine that this girl is not busy. She is like the queen bee! I chuckle because at the library last week and the week before we talked about bees with the children. As they described the queen bee, I thought wow that is the way my family has to be for me. It doesn’t seem very fair. These are days that I cry out for God to rescue his faithful servant. There is so much to harvest for God in our lives. Just as scripture says the laborers are few. That is why I wrestle to stay here. I talk to God often and I know his plans are for the good of not just for me but for everyone around me. I have to stay the course even though some days I desperately want to wave a white flag. Students, do you wrestle with God? I know the back row thinks they can take him out! And you may think that I am a little crazy to think that anyone would try to wrestle with God but we do. We bargain constantly. We wrestle with God when he speaks to our hearts and we do not listen. If something goes wrong in our life, we wrestle with God. Students, what are you wrestling with today? If it is something you feel trapped with or is it someone who has hurt you, stop wrestling God. Ask him to take it. He will. This will be the only way I will surrender, into the arms of God. Have you figured out what you need? Cry out to God. Yes, it is a daily assignment!
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Wrestling Gal
Quote of the Day
The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Matthew 9:37-38
In my mind today, I have been thinking of all of the miracles around us. Every day I begin my morning with the readings from the Bible: verses from the Old testament, verses from the New testament, and Psalms. They always speak so loudly to my heart. Ironically and mysteriously they always line up with my life. Is this because I am cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs? Am I a raving lunatic? Something inside me tells me that I am very lucky. Something inside of me woke up when I was diagnosed with ALS. It sent me on a journey to find the way, the truth and the life. I began to read so many things to try to figure out what this earthly life is really all about, and not if, but when I die, what happens? The verses today speak of a man who left heaven to be among us in the suffering world we call home. Crazy, right? There is historical basis and evidence that the man lived and performed lots of miracles. He only got 33 earthly years before death came for him, but for the first time in history, death was not victorious. You see, death is of Hell, not Heaven. Death can no longer be proud. Face it. Everything, from the universe, the solar system, the planet, the beings on the planet, the oceans, the sky, the water cycle, the complicated life forms within forests that are so much older than us, down to the last blade of grass is all inexplicable. Inexplicable. Do you hear me? Not one single human has the ability to understand or to create what we already have in motion. Yes, we are learning tidbits, just like the genetic fixer shot. But we do not have the ability to infuse a soul into a being. Even if I did not have ALS, I would die one day. It is just part of the cycle of life. We desperately try to get as much as we can out of this earthly life, but there’s more. The people that have the abilities to do these wonderful things hopefully have the good of all in their thoughts and hearts. I know that when I take my last breath, it will be just a breath away from eternal life. I will leave this earth headed to heaven. You see it, death was conquered. If you are of heaven, then you will be there in a nanosecond after your last breath. Every electrical pulse within you that helps us to live this earthly life will be jettisoned back to our maker. Remember students, energy can never be created nor destroyed but changed. Today, so many can see only the trees, not the forest.
This morning, I listened to my Flash Briefing and they have a genetic fixer injection. It is so promising. It can possibly correct muscular dystrophies, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. This is so great. Then, I think about how something that has potential for so much good could be used for evil. It made me think about Brave New World. This summer I have sold my soul to the local public library. Much to the chagrin of my family, I have volunteered to do two classes a week with the local children this summer. Hey, I’m not dead yet! This has been such a fruitful season, even though it’s been hectic. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I get to be with children and adults and talk about art and writing. It’s been so successful that many adults are like, “Can you do this when the kids go back? That way we can enjoy it!” I’m telling you, it has been such a wonderful, wonderful experience. The other upside is that I am getting to use the posh conference room with my book club for adults at the public library. We have first dibs on the conference room with the big cushy chairs with wheels and the huge executive table. Stuff like in the oval office! The name of the book club is called Turn the Page. And yes, students, I love Bob Seger. Selling your soul to the public library gives you some perks. We meet on the third Wednesday of the month. This is also one of the wonderful parts of my life in this season. This group of octogenarians and septuagenarians sprinkled with several other age groups is just absolutely amazing. They are so valuable. I learn so much from them every time we have a book club meeting. This will be our fifth year! These people have lived a life. They see how the world is and how it has changed so rapidly, ignoring the traditions and virtues that were passed down culturally from grandparent to parent to child. Generational love that extends across time. All of these wonderful book club members have this and they share so much. Our culture today is toxic to those who are the most vulnerable. If you look at it, in a way, we are institutionalizing our children from the cradle to the grave. I am so grateful that these people I meet with are able to still live independently. They are just treasure troves of knowledge. Several are veterans of different wars, discussing things within the same group. It’s great! One of my star pupils is Vernita. As we were discussing our book this month, Brave New World, she told the group that she didn’t understand why Ms Sarah had wanted all of us to read this book until she got about three chapters into it. She said, “Bingo! This stuff is happening today.” Sadly, it is. Separate and destroy the nuclear family and you can take down any culture. You will destroy their children. Look around you. We are so tied up with trying to make heaven on Earth that we are losing something much more precious, and that is living in the moment, absorbing the beauty of nature, relishing the love of family, and sharing such wonderful lives that grow so much fruit for those that will come after us. I am asking you, students, to care first and foremost for your family, your community, your friends, the gift of your station here on this Earth, and the ability to know that love conquers all. The station of your life has a lot to do with the choices you make. We are all such fragile human beings created with a light or an electric pulse, however you look at it. It is part of something so much bigger. Something so much stronger than where you were born or who your parents are. God did not create you to be destroyed but to be redeemed. The devil is the destroyer. God wants you to be with Him one day.
After having the classes with the children on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we usually go down to a little mom and pop coffee shop called The Bus Stop. A little history lesson is that The Bus Stop was the original bus stop in our little town, and it has now been refurbished and repurposed. This is our little dive. We were there last Thursday. I was rolling around the downtown area and going to another little mom and pop shop to purchase something. Another good reason to do the library activities is that I get to be with my grandchildren and lots of other children. As my oldest grandchild and I were going back across the street to meet the others at the coffee shop, I had a man come up to me, and he wanted to pray for me. Now, we were getting ready to load up the mystery machine AKA my big blue handicap van. He asked me if I had a moment, and I always do if someone wants to pray for me. He said, “I recently have been given a miracle. I have been woken up to the spirit and power of God. I almost lost my son. God brought him back to me.” He explained that he had been raised Christian but had never really felt or understood the power until he almost lost his child. He said his life was a wreck. His marriage was a wreck. He said his children had suffered from their broken marriage. After his son was given a miracle, he has been urged to share and to pray for others. He said, “When I saw you cross the street, I thought to myself, that woman could barely breathe. She rolls in a wheelchair, and God said, ‘Go pray for her.'” The first thing he asked me as he approached was, “Do you believe in miracles?” Now remember, we are trying to load the mystery machine. I have two grandchildren with me, me and my ALS awkwardness, and my 82-year-old mother-in-law. He wanted to speak to me, and I answered him. I said, “Yes, absolutely. You can pray for me.” He had told me he was inside of the coffee shop trying to write about the miracle of his family. We talked for at least 30 minutes and probably even more because we began to pray for each other. My family had loaded into the mystery machine while he and I had our moments of prayers and thoughts. Miracles.
The last two days of my readings have been about miracles. Today was the one about the little girl that everyone thought was dead and Jesus told the man, “She will live.” Recently, I heard about a little girl who was in a similar situation. She was about 12 years old. Her wonderful young mother has to do everything from being the father and the mother and everything in between. She survived a broken marriage, and she fought her way through school. She became a teacher. All of this while being a single mom. Family and friends have helped her through this season. Tragically, the same Thursday I was talking with this man about miracles, she was in a car accident. She survived. Her son survived but has lots of injuries to his legs and many surgeries ahead of him. Her young daughter, around 12 years old, did not. Also, one of the students this summer at the library has a terminally ill brother, and as he talked with me, he let me know that his brother is enroute to heaven. He is now at the doorstep. How can these families survive this gut-wrenching grief? Here is where belief in God gets really hard. So many precious mothers lose children. It always makes me think of the man that performed so many miracles. His earthly life ended with his mother at the foot of a brutal crucifixion. Precious blood pooled around his feet. The precious blood was poured out for all. And then you think about the agony of Mary having to watch a child being tortured to death and then you really get how Mary’s heart felt. How this father felt. How this mother felt. But thanks to the sacrifice of that man of 33 years, because of that the little girl who’s just entered heaven was only away for a nanosecond. Death is no more for her. She is of heaven. What does it take to get through the travesties of human life? Faith. Is it explainable? Not always. Will you know for sure or can you understand totally? Maybe. I hope it doesn’t take cancer, ALS, losing a child, or any type of terminal diagnosis for you to understand. Don’t ever forget that there are angels above us and among us that help us through these times. Don’t ever forget that there is an advocate in the Holy Spirit to help us with our journey each day. Don’t ever forget that there is a son of God and He did come to Earth. Don’t ever forget to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and especially above all things. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. If you do these things students, you will be part of the body of Christ. If you do this, before you know it you will be back with the Father who has all the answers you ever thought to ask and even ones you didn’t. Miracles.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Miracle Gal
Dedicated to Jason, Amber, Kim, and to all those out there who have cried out for their children.
Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.
In my mind today, I am thinking about birthdays, summertime, grandchildren, and friendships. I am so so grateful for all of the love that shows up in my life every single day. I recently had my 52nd birthday. I can’t tell you how much beauty and love was poured into me from so many people. I received so many wonderful well wishes and even gifts from people that I haven’t been able to be around in a while because of the pandemic and just distance. That’s something you need to understand students. True friendships will never end. It may be someone you went to kindergarten with but that love is always there and sparks so many beautiful memories. We all have seasons to go through in our lives. The people and friends that surround us are what make it so special. It’s not that you had the best set of cleats on the softball team or if you were the most popular in school. It is about the true friendships that weave in and out of your life until you go to the next chapter. I am so amazed that God has gifted me with so much time. I am so very grateful for the time. Students that is the second objective of the day. Let me reiterate the first one in case the back row of students was doodling on their paper. The first objective of today is knowing that love and friendships are eternal. The second objective today is the most valuable thing in anyone’s life is time. Think about it, students. Time is something that we give to others. We give them our time. Let me break it down for you. All of those times when you listen to others without speaking that is treasure. All of those times when you meet others just to help them be okay and have lunch to talk over problems or just to enjoy each other’s company, that is treasure. Especially when you feel like you have no time to spare and you do it anyway, that is true friendship and that is true treasure. So many of us want to think of treasure in terms of materialistic things. That is so far from the truth. Things that pass away on this Earth are not treasure. The memories and the love you share, giving your time to others is the true treasure of this life. I am so grateful for the 52 years of time that God has given me. I take each day as an absolute gift. The time that God is giving me is the time for me to share God’s love to those around me. It is not because I’m in a wheelchair and I have ALS; it is because that’s what we are created to do. We are created to live in communion with each other and to love one another as brothers and sisters. I didn’t say it was easy but it is so very worth it. Why do I give so much time to the local library? Why do I give so much time to Matthew 25:40? Why do I give so much time to my little book club every month? Why do I give so much time to the children at the church that I attend? Why do I give so much time to my friends? Why do I give so much time to you students? It is because gratitude begets generosity. I am so very grateful for every second of my life. Generosity is something we are in great need of during this season of Earth. Most people are wanting to look and point fingers at those who are not being what they need to be. Competition and comparison are killing our nation. I don’t know what news is fake or not anymore whenever I open my phone. Everyone has an agenda and they all want to brainwash us to their agendas. Everything that we need to know students and this is objective number three for the day is simply to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and to love others the way you love yourself. As I look out onto social media and to other things like news and commercials, it’s all telling us it’s all about us. It’s all about what we want. I’m not talking about civil rights. Yes we all deserve civil rights but the lives that we build are not contingent to things that we get like money or status or cars. I totally understand that people are born into different situations. Some of these situations are not so great. How do people rise above horrible situations? How do we pursue happiness? That’s a question for the ages. We have the right to pursue happiness and happiness is not a given. Look at history. There are so many atrocious events in human history but there are also so many beautiful stories of those who rise above horrible situations. It’s not just a black or white question. We want happiness for others. The objective that is so crucial right now is that happiness is nothing that you will be able to attain of your own volition. You cannot be the God of your life. If you surrender to commercialism and materialistic culture or science, then you are allowing that to be the God of your life. I remember something I read a long time ago that stated happiness is being content with what you have and where you are. I have seen so many children in my lifetime as a teacher that have no reason to be joyful. Their homes are broken. Their parents are addicted. They are raising their siblings. They are not allowed to be children in their own right. This is a tragedy. If we want to satisfy our needs at the cost of our children then we have missed the mark. The world is trying to have a paradigm shift. We are trying to shift from parents being selfless and what they build for their children to being selfish. It will never work. The most important commodity in every culture is their children. Let me say that again. The most important commodity in every culture is their children. How are we as Americans treating our children? It breaks my heart to see so many broken families and parents and children. If you want to erase a culture, what do you do? You attack their children. If you look at our culture in America today, what do you see? Be real with yourself. Ask any teacher today and they will tell you that our society is in trouble. Another thing that we need to look really hard at is how people are treated who try desperately to raise their children in a Christian home but they are mocked within our societal structure. If women choose to stay home and raise their children, they are mocked. They are made to feel less than. Is this right? When someone gets pregnant because of unprotected sex or even an abusive situation what is the first default people come to in our society? Abortion. I know there are people who have been raped and have conceived a child from that situation. It is never okay to take a life. Thou shall not kill. There are so many variants and arguments to this. I am not belittling the people who have been abused and conceived. What I am trying to get you to see is when someone has a child or has sex what is going to happen or possibly happen? Conception. The start of a new soul within another person. Who has the right to abort another person? The same thing goes for the death penalty. We have so many ways to do things differently but we choose to do them according to man’s rules. We have forgotten God’s rules. I know so many people that have had abortions and they regret it. Many of those were girls with wealthy parents. Some were just girls that were not ready or it was not the right time. If you look at the statistics many of the aborted in our country are minorities. Is this okay? There are so many people that would love to be parents but the system is not for children anymore. I don’t really know if it ever was. I am telling you today students that the first thing we should protect in our country is our children. It doesn’t matter the color of the skin or the situation they are born in, we should protect children. How do you do that? Love. Children do not need materialistic things. All they need is love. All we need is love. So students review today’s lesson. Objective one is true friendships are eternal. Go out and make a new friend today. The second objective is time is the biggest treasure given to you as a human being. Go out and spend your time on something beautiful. It may just be sitting out looking at nature but do it! Yes it’s homework. And last but not least happiness is something that comes from within and you need to remember how you get happiness. Love God and love each other the way you love yourself. I have so much faith that you will do these things and you will start your journey of gratitude begets generosity. You want to have that heart that freely flows love to others. Why? It is what we are called to do, love. So yes your homework is to go out and to love others the way you love yourself. Don’t pick someone like your mother. Yes love her but back row students find someone that you have a beef with and then show them some kindness. You will be amazed at what love can do! It can turn sinners into saints. It can turn bullies into team players. It can help you build a kingdom of God. Thank you for being so generous and reading my blogs. I am eternally grateful. Sarah Anderson Alley Sal the Grateful Gal Quotes of the day: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” — Dr. Seuss
“Adults are just outdated children.” — Dr. Seuss
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” — Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa
“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” — Lady Bird Johnson, Former First Lady of the United States
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” — Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist
“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” — Billy Graham, evangelist
In my mind today I am thinking about brokenness and basketball. There are so many ways to break your body playing sports. The relentless practices while everyone else is sleeping is the real deal. My mother to this day tells me that I have run my body in to the wheelchair. You see she has a hard time remembering the recent years. Each time I get to see her it breaks her heart over and over again. We soon move forward after the initial shock, she sees that my body may be broken but my spirit is brighter than ever. All Thanks be to God. We then talk about her childhood and my childhood and the beautiful memories we have. We begin to see the way God has never forsaketh this poor, humble and beautiful family warts and all. The first visit we were blessed to have after the pandemic we sat on my back porch and talked the sun down. I was able to spend my favourite time of the day with her. The blue hour right after sunset is when I feel and hear God the best. Students look up the blue hour on the internet. Find a day to sit and watch God’s glory in your heart and soul. I guarantee that your heart will stir within your chest. This, my wonderful students, is the Holy Spirit. Yes back row it’s homework! Yes you can even have a beer as you watch, but remember everything in moderation.
Let’s get back to the Glory Days of my youth. This is what God has urged me to share :blessings from brokenness. I remember all of those wonderful years of my youth playing sports in my small town. My love for sports came at such a young age. I was blessed that my parents were able to purchase a small, beautiful house in a new upcoming neighbourhood. We would leave the government projects and my mother would be able to fulfil a lifelong dream of owning her own home. It would be a sanctuary of sorts for her five children. She paid eighty one dollars a month for thirty years. She did. She is still living there by God’s love and the love of the children she bore. The move from the city to this rural neighbourhood blessed me immensely. I had lots of kids to play kickball, baseball, and basketball. One of the kids whose parents had a double lot let us have our own “sandlot.” Yes back row, kids really did play ball in their neighbourhoods like the movie. Where do you think they got the idea for the movie? Fact is better than fiction! Yes back row, add that to the homework.. Watch The Sandlot and laugh your arses off.
This new neighbourhood also blessed me with a small county school to attend. I can fill books with all of our Holice Powell Elementary School antics. Sadly as I began my school adventure my father’s five years of sobriety ended. He would be estranged from us for until my eighth grade year at HPS. God provided me with a beautiful friend and her family loved me as their own daughter. You see, my mother never learned to drive. She also worked third shift at the nursing home. She entrusted her youngest daughter to this amazing family. It started with PTO basketball in the third grade on Friday nights at the school. My best friend’s mom was our coach. They were so vital to me in this broken season. They picked me up and took me home for almost the entirety of my childhood. It Began with PTO basketball but this family encouraged me to play basketball and softball at the Neighbourhood Activity Center until their daughter and I could be on the little basketball team at Holice Powell. Our little school was K-8. We continued softball at the NAC throughout our lives playing on various church teams as young adults. I thank God for that place that was started and staffed by the Johnson family. The impact it has on our little city is still reverberating to this day. This amazing family started the parks and recreation for our town with lots of blood, sweat, tears and the love of Christ. Today there are three pools, beautiful parks with walking trails, tennis courts, softball fields, weight room, community rooms for family gatherings, and last but not least, gymnasiums. They gave us children places to have good clean fun. I spent many summers splashing in the pools they advocated for and yes back row it was so similar to The Sandlot. Watch it!
My father had gone to the VA Hospital in his early fifties, around 52. He rejoined our family. He was on his road to redemption. He became involved in my life with sports and even coached my softball teams at the Neighbourhood Activity Center. I owed so much to the family that nurtured me until my family became whole again. My childhood friend became involved in AAU travel basketball in the summers of our high school years. We drifted apart and had different friend groups but continued to play basketball for our high school :DHS. We had one of the first great girls basketball teams at our school. The other successful team had been decades earlier and led by Lillian Yarbro. Our four years of high school we made it to the state tournament three of the four. The whole city loved us. I thank God every day for my small town. My senior year, we won the district but lost in the second round of the regional tournament. It was one of those games that the mojo was not in our favour. It was a gut wrenching loss and the season of high school was over.
The next season would be college. I had no idea how to navigate the scholarship and college selection. I had a decent ACT score but my choices were dwindling because I waited until the last minute to choose. The University of Memphis, then Memphis State, had an available full scholarship. I had always loved the Tigers and would mimic the center, Keith Lee, in my backyard on the dirt court. There was absolutely no grass in the basketball area. It had been worn off by years of backyard ball. I wanted to make my little city proud so I chose Memphis State. The first year was so hard. In the country growing up, your chickens have pecking orders. I was the lowest in our pecking order. I had not sat on the bench since 7th grade. I was now in the big pond. The coach and I never clicked. I was a free spirit. I was not the best player and I lacked confidence. I went to a coach that thrived on fast breaks and pressure defense from half court sets and slow down defense. College had the shot clock. I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. I swallowed my pride and sat on the bench. I told myself next year I would come in ready. I promised myself I would be better. In the summer I worked for a daycare keeping school age children. That next fall I came back to college with a mission. I was going to get some playing time. I worked so hard however I was still a ghost to my coach. The last straw was the Tennessee game against the legendary coach Pat Head Summit. We had two outstanding post players and at the half we were tied. Our outside game was nonexistent. We needed shooters. I was a baller shot-caller. I was big, skinny, slow, but I could shoot from anywhere on the court. She played every single person but me. After the game the first words out of her mouth in the locker room were, “Girls, you fought hard but I tried every combination possible. We needed outside shooting. “I felt so small. She looked directly at me but never put me in the game. I felt like the Isralites of the Old Testament. I was girding my loins and fleeing. I went to the dorm, packed up, and headed home. The coaches came by to talk me down. Even she who could not be named. I went back home and back to the day care where I would meet the love of my life. I turned down two more scholarships and got married.
For years I lived a quiet life. Ashamed that I had let my city down. I was determined to rectify the failure. I went to the local community college and began my own road to redemption. I had to go before the board and tell them I would fulfil the scholarship. I was granted one year of eligibility. I would go back, play, and get my GPA back up. A fire had been lit inside me. My life was different now. My husband and I had children and I had a much bigger reason to succeed. I received my associate degree in science. I began my junior year at The University of Memphis. I graduated in 1997. This was exactly ten years from my high school graduation. My husband and I had four children and I began my teaching career. I was blessed to serve the children of my city for twenty years before ALS. I was able to give back and love them the way they loved me. No more shame. Just love. Love covers so many sins and hurts. Students, today the lesson is never give up and always get up. Every life road will have pot holes and forks. Not one life is perfectly happy. The happiness is in the journey. Allow God to shoulder your failures and try again. Choose good. Choose God. Students, those are the key.
Sarah Anderson Alley Sal the ALS Gal
Quote for the Day Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord, “ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.