Just Do It

Just Do It! (Thanks Nike.)

In my mind today I’m thinking of the Beatitudes. The first half is so consoling. Those who have been dealt the short straws in earthly life will be rewarded. If you’re hungry, you will be fed. If you’re poor and homeless, you will inherit the kingdom of God. If you’re crying, you will laugh. If you are persecuted, you will be rewarded. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Don’t stop reading there students. The last half is what makes us pause and think. We go from being blessed to woe unto you. The warm fuzzies dissipate and the stomachaches begin. If you are wealthy, comfortable, well-fed, and laughing all the way, you will get the script flipped on you. This makes you stop in your tracks. How do you avoid the fires of Gehenna if you are loving your life and have pleasure while you’re here? Looks pretty bleak, doesn’t it?

Thankfully there is a loophole. If all of these earthly treasures blind you from seeing the poor around you, get your flame retardant pajamas ready. If you’ve been blessed, then you have been entrusted with the care and welfare of your sisters and brethren. You are the ones who have wonderful work to do. If you can take off your blinders and really see those hurting around you and help them, you will be blessed. Remember this, “What you do to the least of these, then you do it to me.” It’s not easy when we live in a world of narcissistic behaviors, materialism combined with consumerism, and rampant addictions of all kinds. It’s easy to stand back and judge others. Our work is hard. It is to accept our weaknesses and those of others to bring light into the dark.

Today, look around you. Seek out those who need a kind gesture. There are an estimated 35,000 displaced from hurricane Harvey alone. If you have a dry home and food on the table, find a way to extend that to those displaced. It can be as easy as looking someone in the eyes and smiling or taking extra items to donate to a hurricane relief center. If you can, do more. I know Nike coined the phrase, but “Just Do It.” I promise you will be elated you did.

Sarah Anderson Alley

Dedicated to the survivors of natural disasters past and present and our locals who have family in the wake of it all.

Quotes of the Day:
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
Barack Obama

“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”
Gordon B. Hinckley

“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.”
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
H. Jackson Brown

“Service to humanity is service to God.”
Lailah Gifty Akita

Here’s a way to help Harvey victims.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ls/ref=?ie=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0&lid=1UA6YCT9GQR92&ty=wishlist

 

 

 

Overwhelmed

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Overwhelmed

In my mind today, I’m feeling you guessed it students OVERWHELMED! We all get this way periodically. I’ve just been way off of my game as of late and I’m trying desperately to right my routine and world. As my dad always warned me about too many irons in the fire, my irons are glowing red and about to melt into the flames. I’m doing my best but between book clubs, organizing a race, teaching Sunday School, planning youth group, doctor appointments, meetings, and trying to keep my daily reading, reflecting, and writing going, I’m a ball of anxiety. So guess what my body has been doing? Shutting down and literally passing out in the middle of my ambitious ventures. I know, I know. That’s a normal reaction because a healthy person would be snoring along side me as well.

My internal clock is ticking and my body cannot fail me now. I have too much to do. My youngest daughter is only sixteen. My body is screaming from exhaustion but my mind is pleading for more time. I recently had my Vanderbilt pulmonary check-up. My lung capacity was down to 18%. I played it off but something inside me lurched. It’s happening and I’m fighting it with all of my mind. When I get too much into my tomorrows, I panic. Don’t fret students. Just do me a favor and follow my lead. Let’s center ourselves with prayer and cry out to God together. Not just for longevity but for lives well lived and with purpose. That’s what truly matters most.

Before I bum the entire classroom out, let’s examine some positives. As a former teacher posted recently on social media, the news is being inundated with stories of hope and strength from the recent natural disasters. This makes my heart happy because the media tends to spread despair and promotes dissension. Please join in by giving to a local charity that helps people rebuild after such duress from the recent disasters.

Also, good news in the world of ALS. There is a drug available to help slow the effects of the disease. It’s costly but available through the free clinic the Autumn March for ALS supports. I hope to be included in this treatment soon. Prayers please.

Another cause of my stress is that I have begun to raise funds for the Autumn March for ALS 2017 and want to allow all students in our county and surrounding counties to run FREE! If they sign up by the October 7th deadline, I’ll guarantee them a shirt. Of course, I need people to help sponsor this endeavor. I want this to be the largest child participated race in Tennessee. It’s always been about the children with me. I love each and every single one I meet. I’m asking for online donations through gofundme.com; just search for Autumn March for ALS 2017. A $10 donation will sponsor a child. You can mail a check to me payable to Autumn March for ALS at my address listed below my blog. Please help our children run and help me defeat ALS. Students 18 and under can sign up online or with a paper form. I’ll have paper forms available at Los Lomas, El Patio, and Java Cafe. I’ll hand deliver them if necessary. Last year was amazing, and I’m praying this year will be just as fruitful. As I typed this last line, “Whom shall I fear?” popped into my mind. I have faith in myself, you, and God. I feel so much better already. Thanks be to God.
Sarah Anderson Alley

Dedicated to children so they will never sit idly by in a chair from ALS and watch others run.

Quotes of the Day:
Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.
H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
Charles R. Swindoll

Sarah Alley
370 Heathridge Dr
Dyersburg, TN 38024
Checks payable to Autumn March for ALS
Visit online:
https://www.gofundme.com/autumn-march-for-als-2017

https://racesonline.com/events/autumn-march

 

 

Fair Days

Fair Days below:

Abbey with Dad and big brothers after playing in the talent show. Robert & Patty & Me at the Autumn March for ALS fair booth. Last but not least, my mom at the 1965 fair with her cousins.

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Fair Days

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In my mind today, I’m thinking about carnivals and fairs. Do you remember your first fair trip? Our little county has always been in love with the annual fair so much that they let the schools close the Friday of fair week.

I remember my first fair. I rode the school bus because they dropped us off and picked us up just like a school day but you spent it riding rides and hanging out with your friends all day. Then my mind remembers the tween years of getting to go to the fair at night. The smells and noises are still prevalent as I revisit these memories. Ah, those years when you went on dates to the fair. Those were fun times. Walking and holding hands around the midway was such a thrill. Coming home with prizes your sweetheart had won for you and riding the Ferris Wheel hoping to steal a kiss at the top were epic adventures of growing up. As adults bringing your own children, the times were just as dear. And now I go as a retired adult. I people watch and remember. The people spark memories and send me on a journey in my mind full of memories.

Small town America, you just can’t beat it. I’m grateful for my little county’s traditions. The people whom I reminisce with when I revisit the fair. Looking at the local artist and children’s exhibits, petting animals, tractor pulls, watching talent shows and beauty pageants, and eating fair food are the prizes of fair week in a small town. If you didn’t grow up in a small county, you probably wouldn’t understand the mesmerizing effect of a County Fair. If you did, I’d say you were blessed.

Dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of the Dyer County Fair.

 

Three Line Tales, Week 84

After the ceremony, they escaped to the hut for a night of physical rapture. The string lights were glowing dimly as they kissed underneath them. The night had many “firsts” to be unraveled.

Only 100 Words

Welcome to Week 84 of Three Line Tales.

three line tales week 84: glamping photo by Niv Rozenberg via Unsplash

You’ll find full guidelines on the TLT page – here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post (& check the link shows up under the weekly post).
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.
  • Have fun.

Happy three-lining!

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Children of the Light

Children of the Light

I chose this photo because Sandra and her children spent may days here. The photo was taken from the choir loft early Christmas morning. This is where we grew, shared, and gathered our inner light for many years together. Look at the light. It seems alive as it filters in the windows and glows from the fixtures. It is. It’s called the Holy Spirit. Rest sweet Sandra.

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In my mind today, there is too much. I’ve experienced every emotion possible since August 26th until now. As my husband escaped death and was given more earthly time, others have crossed over into the light of eternity.

The devotions and readings I’ve been able to research have ironically been about death. Keeping your lamp trimmed and full of oil, the workers in the vineyard, and the fires of Gehenna. Between doctor appointments, family reunions, race obligations, and daily life, I caught up on my rest and readings but no writing. I’ve been an exhausted mess, but I’m slowly coming around. I’ve missed writing so much and talking with all of you.

Hearing about the untimely deaths of friends in our small community has me reflecting more about the next chapter. Rest. Bliss. Peace. I’m reminded these are not promised in this earthly chapter. We are called to be children of light. Eddie and Sandra were most definitely Children of the Light. They were those strong olive trees that I read about this morning. They have deep roots and such strong fruit laden branches. Their roots were steeped in Christian values and so, so strong. They have fruit that will continue to bear goodness wherever they fall. Their children, grandchildren, and everyone they touched became the fruit of their legacy of goodness.

Many may wonder how they will live on in spite of death?Remember they are Children of the Light. Their light will continue to shine through all of those they have touched. They both had leadership roles in church and the community. Their lights were such beaming examples through their volunteer work. Their lives spoke volumes about good character. To whom were their most beloved clients? Children.

How can we honor such lights that are now at home as a luminescent glimmer in the heart of God? Embrace the torches that they carried into the future. All of the Girl Scouts, first communion classes, friends, co-workers, and children that Sandra’s light shined upon continue to radiate as they forge on with her spirit within them. Her beloved daughters have her bravery and courage melded into them. Mr. Eddie has a legacy of young men who are better to have known him. His son’s strong, brilliant light is a testament to his parents love. His daughter and her children carry the essence of his gregarious spirit and love. Will they be missed? Oh, yes terribly but they are onto the greatest adventure of all.

Students see, we all have to make this journey to the other side. All the things I’ve been reading tells us to prepare. Sandra and Eddie were prepared. They put more love into the world than it had before they were in it. Their smiles and laughter resonate within those who were blessed enough to have seen their lights in action. They would want you to continue to shine. How? 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Build one another up,” because our world desperately needs it. Encourage others especially when you see they are struggling, weak, or weary. Be positive especially when in the moments of adversity. Say kind words to strengthen, encourage, and empower others around you. After all, we are all called to be Children of the Light. Grab your torch and shine.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Dedicated to all those that were illuminated by Ms. Sandra Rausch and Mr. Eddie Vernon’s light.
Shine on.
Quotes of the Day:
“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
J.K. Rowling
“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.”
Roy T. Bennett
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
Plato

The Fourth Watch

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The 4th Watch
In my mind today I’m thinking of compliments and watches. Back row students not the kind that guys give to get dates like, “Where have you been all of my life gorgeous?” Compliments like opposites: positives~negatives, moon~sun, east~west, light~dark, smooth~rough, good~evil, or cold~hot. I just finished a book and it mentioned this and that our world is filled with complimentary opposites.

This weekend actually Saturday, my complimentary opposite became severely ill. He was hurting in his lower left rib cage and could not breathe or get any relief. It was an acute exacerbation. Here’s some backstory. In 2009, right before my son’s high school graduation he found out his lungs were horribly damaged. Doctors said he had end stage emphysema or now called COPD. We visit Vanderbilt every six months to see our pulmonary doctor. Every time Dr. B tells us Ken is amazing, a miracle. She warns us of the precipice he is walking. Then with PMA/ALS, we walk together teetering along clinging to each other desperately. Yesterday, he tipped over the edge.

As I clung to his warm hand last night, I kept him on this side of heaven. He gripped my hand tightly as we survived the 4th watch of the night. This is the desolate and hardest hours for sick patients in the hospital: 3am until 6am. Prayers during this time are powerful.

I’m here beside him and refuse to leave because he is my sun and I am his moon. We have traversed this life together for almost 28 years. We’ve had seasons of struggles, love, playing softball and baseball, watching our kids play, Tiger basketball, our Grands, and so, so much more. I keep remembering all the love we’ve shared and it spills over into eons not a mere 28 years. I’m so grateful. I remember watching the movie “Walk the Line” about Johnny Cash and June Carter. My daughter and I were obsessed with the soundtrack and movie. I researched more about this love story and cried because they only had 35 years together. I kept crying thinking that’s not long enough for such an amazing love.

Holding Ken’s warm hand, I kept thinking of this. I’m being greedy and selfish because I’m arguing with God for more. I’m here with the bleeping of machines, clicking of IV drips, and whooshing of his vent clinging to that warm hand and standing guard for the 3rd & 4th watch. I know I’ll meet God in the darkness early this Monday morning as my soul mate fights. Tomorrow if you think about me or Ken or our children, say a prayer for strength and more warm hand holding for us. I’m praying for strength.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Dedicated to:
Liz and George
Betty and Harold
Pete and Gloria
Peggy and Bob
Robert and Tracy
Sandy and Tom
You have been blessed with having and sharing life with a love that never dims but continues to shine in each other, your children, grandchildren, and all those who had the blessings of witnessing it first hand.
Lots of amazing events happen in the 4th watch.
• Jacob wrestled with God and met Him face to face just before entering into his destiny as Israel. Genesis 32:22-31
• Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea Exodus 14:25-26
• Gideon defeated the Midianites (middle watch), Judges 7:19-24
• Peter and Jesus walk on water, Matthew 14:25-26
• The angels appear to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the savior.  Luke 2:8-14
• Jesus is resurrected from the dead, Matthew 28:1
• The bridegroom woes His bride in the night hours, Song of Solomon, Matthew 25:1-13

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.”
Gandhi

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