Solar Sal

Pictures from our solar eclipse adventure.
In my mind today, I’m reflecting (no pun intended) on the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. I took a vacation day along with a lot of other Americans. Eclipses have been recorded as early as 780 B.C. They were thought to be omens. Wouldn’t it be great if yesterday the eclipse inspired Americans to cast away their prejudices and hate for others. That would be miraculous indeed.

This past Sunday when I awoke and was getting myself together for teaching Sunday School with the help of my son and husband, my chest felt heavy and my stomach hurt. My son suggested it was anxiety. I pushed through it and arrived to my class feeling under the weather. My lesson was neatly planned and in my lap as I rolled into the classroom.

Then something happened. After our attendance and brief devotion, my heart nudged within me. This is the question I asked my 9-12th PRE Class this past Sunday in light of the chaos in Virginia and our world: “What are we or more specifically you going to do about this?” I told them truly the future is theirs and they would be the future of America. Here are some responses: nothing, ignore it because they want attention, and more education to stop ignorance. They are an ethnically diverse group who attend five different high schools. They voiced there is a faction of students at schools that use hate and prejudice as a tool to intimidate. It is usually done in secret or behind a nice demeanor, but it does sadly still exist. I then shared with them the civil disobedience of the Civil Rights movement: marches, lunch counters, bus rides, rallies, and allowing the evil to be visible. We suggested to form clubs to promote education, simply speak out when they see or hear classmates use hate actions or speech, continue to educate themselves, and last but not least to pray together for the future of the world. Before my class Sunday, I had planned on our Proverbs lesson taking the majority of our time. Then, I launched into this. I know it was the Holy Spirit that urged me. After class, my chest and stomach discomfort faded.

So, wouldn’t be nice for an astronomical event immediately inspire all to do the right thing? For us all to love each other as we love ourselves? Ironically or maybe not so ironic, we sang “Make me a Channel of your Peace” during mass after class. That’s what I desire for my life: to be a channel of peace. Let me reflect the one with true light and maybe just maybe I can help bring light to drive out darkness in the form of hate. Today, reflect the inner light of God in your interactions with others whether they be red, yellow, black, or white. We are all precious.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Dedicated to my PRE or Sunday School Class

Quotes of the Day:
“Overcome evil with good” (Romans 12: 21).

“It is as necessary to reject untruth as it is to accept truth.”

“The rays of the sun are many through refraction. But they have the same source.”


Pieces of our journey.


In my mind today I’m thinking about commitments. Are you true to your commitments? Do you follow through? My mom was big on commitments and following through. I still hear her in my mind when my calendar begins to fill up. Then I hear my daddy saying, “Girl you are burning the candles at both ends or Sarah Anne, you have too many irons in the fire.” Yes, I do. You got me.

Let’s brain storm the types of commitments that are important in our daily lives. We have to be at work, church, kid functions, and keep the household running. Our lives are whirlwinds of activities. When I look at my calendar, I cringe but my mother is in my head saying you are only as good as your word so hop to it. Guess what? I do and I’m so relieved to check one more thing off of my calendar. Thanks mom.

I read this morning about marriage commitments. Remember this, “What God has bound together, let no man separate.” What about today, how do we view marriage? Do we take our commitments serious enough to our partners? I hope so. When we find that person who is our partner, we were not promised “happily ever after.” There are ups and downs, highs and lows, but we have another person there to be our sounding board. We make one unit and we do give up the “me” to form “we.” It’s about faithfulness. It’s so enduring to look at your partner and know that they chose you and love you.

If you know me, you know I’m stubborn. My husband had other lives and wives. On our journey together, this created many pot holes. Sometimes I would hit one and begin to question his commitment and love to me. It makes me sad that I questioned it so often. I was committed to the long journey of being the younger one and caretaker to my aging husband, but my script was flipped. I can’t express the genuine love we have because it’s so deep and perpetual. It is truly an endless love. Thank you Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie for the expression in song. I hear my friend saying, “It’s getting too cheesy in here!” Ah, so it is but I need to give you a weekend assignment. This weekend leave a simple love note, embrace, share a meal or moment, surprise them with a memory, get them their favorite candy bar, or just let them control the tv(this is serious at the Alley house) to the one whom you are committed. Thank them for their enduring love and commitment. Hey, be a cheese-bucket like me! Stop sighing back-row! “Feel da 💜!”
Sarah Anderson Alley
Quotes of the Day:
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
Mignon McLaughlin
“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.”
Franz Schubert
“Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.”
Barbara De Angelis
“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.”
Winston Churchill



Dolly our new addition that chose us. She strayed our way and is bringing new life into our old girls. It’s beautiful. Top right she is sitting by me whilst I ponder America. 💜


In my mind, I’m thinking about forgiveness. Have you ever held a grudge? Did the sight of someone that hurt you make you emotionally, mentally, and physically sick? I admit it. I’ve had those feelings before. They were toxic. It made me loose my religion and control of myself. That’s what hate, envy, and jealousy can do: make you lose your soul and control.

Did you ever try to step out of the situation and analyze the reasons behind the scenario? You should. When you are able to rationally examine the situation, you gain clairvoyance. Every problem personal and political has it’s time stamp. Each problem we face is unique in its time and place. You’ve heard the saying “You have to take the good with the bad.” Every aspect of our own timelines is a chance to grow and to forgive. Really forgive. Genuinely forgiving is letting the person you forgive freedom to be responsible for his or her actions. Love them enough to let go and let live. You cannot force forgiveness or put stipulations on it: if this then I forgive you. I think America is being torn apart by hate, because forgiveness hasn’t been genuinely been given. It is erupting into a sea of hate. The current situation is actually fueling the fires of hate.

While the media fans the flames of each side of the current political argument, where do we Americans stand? Do we really understand the complexity that this current dilemma evolved from? I fear many Americans of all ethnicities do not. It’s so much more than a black and white situation. I was born a white, Caucasian like the other 62% of today’s Americans. I cannot understand the reasons behind the forefathers perpetuating an evil institution like slavery except for money for the 1% of wealthy white land owners. See. Economics and money are all a part of the wheel of injustice. My ancestors were literally dirt poor European descended sharecroppers with a sprinkle of Native American living a similar plight during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. What breaks the spell of ignorance and poverty? Education. This is a commodity that is drastically dwindling in America.

I hope America is learning and moving forward with forgiveness among all people. I can only help what I do in my space and time on the timeline of history. Creating divisive agendas only keeps the common men and women at odds while America goes to hell in a hand basket. What should rule? Majority interests or minority’s? Our history however treacherous or spectacular cannot be undone or erased. Think really long and hard about this. We can only learn from our mistakes and try to create a better tomorrow. Whatever happened to the E pluribus unum? That’s America. We all deserve chances and freedom to make our own choices. This whole blog started out as simple forgiveness, but evolved into a plea. America can we genuinely forgive? Can we lay down our prejudices of all varieties? Can we all move forward for the good of ALL? Can we quit saying yes, but…. It’s time to truly forgive each other America. We are all losing until we do.
Sarah Anderson Alley

Quotes of the Day:
“If we don’t figure out a way to create equity, real equity, of opportunity and access, to good schools, housing, health care, and decent paying jobs, we’re not going to survive as a productive and healthy society.”
Tim Wise

“Social equity is based on justice; politics change on the opinion of the time. The black man’s skin will be a mark of social inferiority so long as white men are conceited, ignorant, unjust, and prejudiced. You cannot legislate these qualities out of the white – you must steal them out by teaching, illustration, and example.”
John Boyle O’Reilly

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Abraham Lincoln

“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”
Alex de Tocqueville

“Now, as a nation, we don’t promise equal outcomes, but we were founded on the idea everybody should have an equal opportunity to succeed. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, you can make it. That’s an essential promise of America. Where you start should not determine where you end up.”
Barack Obama

I ask myself if slavery can ever be abolished from America’s psyche? Eh, Nina? I answer, “I pray time really can heal all wounds. Let forgiveness ring.”


Watching the Rain


My impatients in the window box after the rain.

Watching it Rain

In my mind today, I’m watching it rain and thinking of rainy days of my past. I remember getting up on dark rainy mornings and going through my routine that lead me to rushing to work with a huge Tervis tumbler full of coffee. I would not have a second to spare as I leaped out of my car and to my classroom. From this point forward, my day was an absolute blur of teaching and interactions with my students. When the 3:00pm bell rang, I was totally spent. I would sit at my desk and prepare for the next day. Often students would stay with me cleaning or organizing. I would usually get out of there between 4:30pm and 5:30pm. Sunny or rainy, my days were packed full. When I reminisce, sometimes those days seem like a different life.

Today, I was up at 6am. Share a cup of joe with my husband. We talked about our ordinary things as I ate my peanut butter toast. After he left for work, I nestled into my reading and reflecting. The darkness made my eyes heavy and I drifted in and out of consciousness. Them my aunt arrived and I had my daily shower. I’m really blessed and grateful for these. Before she left, she opened my door so I could watch the rain. I sat there eating lunch and drinking coffee admiring the rain. My plants were so saturated and happy. I watched a tiny bird flit around in my deck tree. The sounds were soothing as I watched the earth be washed once again. My impatient flowers are really showing out. They usually spring to life and mature beautifully from August to October. Watching them drink in the rain brought me satisfaction and comfort.

What a blessing I have to take joy in the slow, summer rains. I looked at my clock. It was just after 12 noon. I thought about if I were teaching, I wouldn’t have this treasured time. I wouldn’t have a peaceful lunch and extra cup of coffee to rest, watch, and soak in my blessings as the flowers do with the rain. Today is a day of gratitude. Today I whisper, “Thank you God for all of your plans for me and especially the slow rains.”
Sarah Anderson Alley
Quotes of the Day:
“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.”
Langston Hughes

“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain; What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again.”
Arthur Freed





In my mind today I’m thinking about squabbles. We all have them. They happen at work, at church, and between family members and friends. They cause lethal divisions. How do you handle these in a way to save relationships and productivity?

This morning the first scripture I read stated “Does your teacher pay temple tax?” The people in power were trying to squabble with Jesus. Jesus didn’t take the bait. He sent one of the disciples to catch a fish and look in the fish’s mouth. There would be a coin worth enough to pay the temple tax. He didn’t have time to squabble about just passing through and on my way to be crucified. So do we have time for squabbles?

At work, it may be about who used all the ink in the copier and didn’t replace the cartridge. With family, it may be about jealousy over who is getting more attention from a parent. Friends can be upset because of someone’s sarcastic humor. Church family can become divisive over who is in charge of the church festivities and how they are not following the protocol to the letter. All of these mentioned can waste precious time and energy.

Students, how should we deal with the squabbles in our lives to prevent them from growing into feuds? Find a positive way to act. Don’t react with hostility and authority. Reacting causes the squabble to grow. Evaluate the situation. Could you do something to diffuse the situation? Put an extra toner cartridge in the copy room? Pray about the jealousy and bitterness in your heart. There is enough love for everyone in your family. If you give love, it grows. Admit things could be done by others in a great way, too. Competing and comparing is toxic at church, work, or home. We all want the best, so let’s work together.

What’s the goal? I hope the goal is to love God with all of your heart and your neighbor as you love yourself. Those are the ultimate rules after all. So we have to sometimes be the bigger person and act out of love to prevent a chasm from forming between us. This is a tough and crucial assignment today students. Today, think about your squabbles and be the person with the bigger heart.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Quotes of the Day:
“Arguing isn’t communication; it’s noise.”
Tony Gaskins
“To settle an argument, think of what is right, not who is right.”
“Arguments drag out because one is too stubborn to forgive and the other is too proud to apologize.”
“To truly forgive is to erase the transgression from your minds and lips.”
Sarah Anderson Alley

Angels and Light


Angels and Light
In my mind today, I’m thinking of angels and light. Back row, it may get deep today as I think about these two: angels and light. Keep the comments from the peanut gallery to a minimum please. Mention of Angels and light are repeated throughout in the Bible. Today, I read about Jacob and his fleeing after stealing his brother Esau’s birthright. He was gone for 20 years. He fell into fitful dreams of angels of light ascending and descending into the heavens. He was wrestling with the angel because he knew he had to face his personal demons. Did he literally wrestle? I think it was an internal struggle between light and dark. What about you? Do you have those guttural moments when you are presented with choices of good versus evil? I do. It’s not fun and yes there are sleepless nights and bouts of fitful dreams. Know the story of Jacob? If no, read it this weekend and see what you think. Stop grumbling back row! Some weekends you get homework.

Think about your own life. Do you believe there are angels? What about light? Do you believe ALL matter has light? Pieces of divine hidden in all of creation? More homework so stop the mumbling. This weekend look at the sunset or sunrise. Look for angels in the light. And no back row, I’m not taking hallucinogens or hitting the peace pipe. Search for the light in everything around you, not just people. It’s there. I find it daily on my rolls outside with my dogs. It’s in the trees and the breeze that rustles the leaves. It’s in my pets. It’s in the flowers in my yard and even the grass. Oh, and it’s especially illuminated in the clouds. Here’s your to do list: read the story of Jacob, watch a sunrise or sunset, and look for the angels of light around you.

Sarah Anderson Alley

Quotes of the Day:
“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”
Saint Augustine

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
Alexander Pope

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”


Time Management


Time Management

In my mind today students, I’m thinking about time management. Ol’ Ms. Alley is burning the candle at both ends again. [insert stress emoji here] This week has been a whirl of activity and as I look into the future I see a tornado forming. I have reading assignments(4 chapters), 8 discussion questions to answer, write and reflect in my writing course, a book club book to read, prepare for my Sunday School class, and write to you my students. Students an F5 tornado is headed straight into my mind and I’ve got to start battening down the hatches. Oh, and I apologize for yesterday because I took a sick day. I was at the ALS Clinic all day. No hatches were battened!

Go ahead back row; start the spit-wad war while I organize my planner and desk. Time management is a wonderful gift. We each get 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds each day. So how does Ms. Alley hold it all together? Even though today was a rest day, I started it with reading my small devotions. They literally lit my path through this day. They told me to rest. My body is tired. I listened. All of my upcoming activities will fall into place. I have no doubts or fears. My assignments will get completed. My books will be read. My lessons will get planned. My blog will get written. The back row is grumbling, “Good luck. I don’t see it happening.” Oh ye of little faith. My timekeeper is the master of all time. He carries the lamp to light my path. He is the ultimate time manager and totally free. Need time management?
Sarah Anderson Alley
Quotes of the Day:
“So during those first moments of the day, which are yours and yours alone, you can circumvent these boundaries and concentrate fully on spiritual matters. And this gives you the opportunity to plan the time management of the entire day.”
Menachem Mendel Schneerson

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
Bruce Lee

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Barack Obama




In my mind today I’m thinking about human touch. Minds out of the gutters back row! I’ve always been a person who craves big hugs, a pat on the back, and warmness of hand holding. As a teacher, you are warned about being too touchy-feely with your students. Some students cringe if you touch them. Some want daily morning hugs. You have to know your students preferences to recognition and rewards. And I did. I didn’t run around grabbing students, but there were moments when touch was appropriate and desperately needed. Discernment is needed.

At church this past Sunday during communion, I was first to receive because I’m on the front pew in a little wheelchair niche. Many times my fellow parishioners will touch my shoulder, hair, arm, or head as they pass by. Remember, I love touch and I’m grateful for those love pats. This Sunday, someone grabbed my arm and lingered. I looked up and it was a former student. This student was one of those that I taught in 5th grade and also 8th grade. As our eyes met and he smiled, I was catapulted back to my physically strong days. I remembered his hunger for more in math and how I gave him harder objectives than the others. I thought of how I had literally watched him blossom before my eyes. Yes back row, I began to cry as the memories flooded my mind. Not tears of bitterness or regret but tears of joy. God had given me this beautiful mission. Even though my student is an adult and now a doctor, his touch and eyes gave me that touch I desperately needed to say, “Thank you Ms. Alley. Love and peace be with you. I remember.” His visits home are sporadic now. He’s busy being an adult. Moments such as this are affirmations to living my purpose. Today, hug a teacher or tell them thank you. I mean it back row!
Sarah Anderson Alley
Quote of the Day:
“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”
Malala Yousafzai



In my mind today I’m thinking about a multitude of concepts: loneliness, pettiness, works of mercy, painting, writing, teaching, and prayer. I need to be a good student and narrow down my topic less I just make a mess of this reflection. So, here it goes. Drum roll please back row students. Our learning objective today is going to be prayer. Oh, back row how you try my patience but thankfully I have a few nerve cells left. Prayer is not a chance to catch a few z’s before the big Friday night tomfoolery. Let’s begin.

Prayer is a form of connecting with the unknown in a semiconscious manner. Is it just a Christian thing? That’s correct front row; most major and minor religions pray. They pray to a God and some to gods.

Prayer comes in many forms: formal, informal, solitude, groups, long, and short. Do you pray? Or better yet do you call out for help on some of your most trying days? Yes, back row like when school began.

Now, let’s assume we all pray or mimic prayer in our lives. When do you pray? What time of day? Is it sporadic or routine? Is it usually in times of trouble or great need? Do you awake with a prayer of thanks on your lips? I do. I’m thankful for every waking I’m granted. That means there is work still here for me to do.

Here’s a tough one. Do you feel your prayers are answered? Did your older sibling reach for that sobriety for which you are praying desperately? Did the mother who lost her child find the peace you prayed for? Were you healed physically? You see when bad things happen to good people and their prayers seem unanswered, herein lies a problem. We lose our faith and hope.

Life is messy. Being human is even messier. Of course all of this is spurned from reading about the Israelites in the desert. We, like the Israelites, have painful life situations. The key to staying in the game of life is trust. You have to examine the ways God has been in your life. The blessings given and the hope of those yet to come. Believe me when I say if you are breathing then your story has not ended. The plan has not been fulfilled. Pray.

The back row students are my toughest critics. They blurt out things like, “ALS has wrecked your body, made you retire, and you wear a diaper. Ms. Alley you are crazy to pray and give thanks. I would be the opposite of thankful.” Yes, all you said is true, but I’m thankful for this messy, little life. Listen carefully students. My joy is from within me. It was put there at my conception. This part will be called home when my diaper wearing body ceases to breathe. I don’t know all the plans, but I know I’m never alone in my plight. Neither are you. Today examine your lives. Count your blessings. Continue to plead for peace, healing, or change. It’s not a question of “if;” it’s a question of “when” your prayers will be answered.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Quotes of the Day:
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado
“I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord’s side.” – Abraham Lincoln
And last but not least, students this is why Ms. Alley is still rolling and uber busy.
“God is looking for people to use, and if you can get usable, he will wear you out. The most dangerous prayer you can pray is this: ‘Use me.'” – Rick Warren
And He is wearing this diaper wearing girl out!



In my mind today I'm thinking about poverty. I went to a brief meeting of the local Matthew 25:40 last night. So many of us have no clue of or about poverty. There are probably hundreds of impoverished people in our small town population of around 16,000 people. Some are mentally handicapped, some are drug addicts or alcoholics, and some are just truly down on their luck.

As a former teacher what bothers me most about poverty is the fact that children are trapped in this wheel of poverty. They know nothing but the life of living moment to moment. The lives of other more fortunate children is totally foreign to them, and uncomfortable. Routines, rules, and hygienic lifestyles totally turn them off. Education is just another tool of the privileged to embarrass, oppress, and degrade them making sure they understand their "places." I have to give props or positive affirmations to our little town for trying to be a village for all especially the poor. We have several nonprofit outreaches.

At the meeting, the council is trying desperately to become a better steward with its resources. Trying to make appropriate times and allocate places to serve the poor is a daunting, two-edged sword. I sat there thinking the poor have no routines, schedules, or time management skills. Every aspect of being poor is on the cusp of survival. It's the now. There are no plans for the future much less tomorrow's meals. We try to fit them into our world of routines, 401k's, and commitments.

The poor are modern day hunters and gathers. They are in a constant state of flux. When I was a teacher in public schools, I can't tell you how many times I wanted to either stay at school keeping my students there and safe because I knew what waited at home for them. The students would want me to give extra assignments because they needed the distraction from their home lives. I often got in trouble with administration because students did not want to leave my room in the afternoons. Through the years I contemplated adopting students after mine were grown but my teaching career ended prematurely because of my health. So now I try to support my would have been students through other venues.

Hopefully, small and large communities can help solve the cycle of generational poverty. So where do you start? Do you rip out from under the current poor the resources they have and decide who among them is worthy, redeemable, or can rehabilitate? Do you narrow those hand outs hoping it will spurn them to get a job, be responsible, and most importantly nurture their children? Or will they exploit and squander said resources for their addictions whether they be drugs or materialistic or egocentric? Is the poverty snowball too huge to stop? Where is the enabling and helping line drawn? These are real life conundrums.

After sleeping on it, I have come back to the children. It always does with me. We have safe houses for men and women but today we need them for the children. The end of poverty begins with nurturing and educating the mother before the child is born. Providing and educating the mother and child from infancy until school. This may be in forms of modern day orphanages that let the addicted or inept parents leave their children to a safe place so they can become givers not takers. The first three years are vital. They may be there until adulthood but their lives could possibly be more fruitful than their parents. I know you're thinking this is too much. Why are they having these babies for someone else to raise? They have zero resources. Your anger is justified from your educated perspective but grumbling is not classified as an action. That's textbook poverty. No planning just surviving the moments. Some of those moments create passion and children. Listen to "In the Ghetto" by Elvis.

What did I learn today? Remember I'm taking some courses this summer. See, feel, and act are key components of compassion. Today see the poor. Search your heart and try to understand from their perspective. And if you can, act. Here's your assignment today. Help stock the local food pantry. Volunteer to read at a public school. Look into the eyes of the poor and acknowledge them as sisters and brethren.
Sarah Anderson Alley

Dedicated to our villages

This was the quote that started my quest this morning. It's from Give Us This Day.
["In a world of different and even conflicting values, it is not easy to hold to principles without becoming self-righteous. But to act as judge and jury is to exceed our authority and may alienate those we should love. If the final judgment is for the angels and for God’s loving mercy, that should be enough to quiet the tempest within us. "Do you understand?" asks Jesus of each of us. It’s a question we will always struggle with."]