Who’s Your Motley Crew

Who’s Your Motley Crew?

In my mind I’m thinking about friends. As I read today, Jesus told the apostles they were not just followers but also his friends. Jesus is still a great teacher, friend, and confidant to me or anyone who needs him. This is the year of our 30th High School Reunion. As I have been in contact with some of my closest friends, I have laughed until I cried just messaging with them. Memories.

All this talk about friends made me think about all the friends in my life. Friends that you can confide in and be yourself around them. In particular this morning I’m thinking of my middle school years. The old HPS Redbirds crew was so dear to me. There was Paula, Dawn, Gina, Jodie, LuAnn, Patrica, Conasaga, Pennye, Barbara, Melissa, Ivy, Shelia, Teresa, Jennifer, Cari, Kim, Tammy, Roxanne, Rodney, Hunter, Duncan, Dewayne, Roger, Robbie G., Artie, Robbie E., Dana, John, George, Shannon, Stacy Ray, Marty, Edward, and Chris. This motley crew was pretty tightly woven throughout our middle school years. Our lives had intertwined in this little rural school called Holice Powell. I can still see us out there when I pass the school. My mind’s eye is clear even though the landscape has changed drastically.

The memories squeeze my heart as I remember this season. Staying all night with friends and then staying up up all night. We stayed on the telephone, talking about our first kisses, parties at each other’s houses, and sneaking off to Fowlkes to “hang out.” We were little country cornflakes, and so innocent. I remember John drawing cartoons that were clouds of dust with feet and arms sticking out. I remember “Fig” and company drawing war scenes and then launching bombs from the paper to blow each other up or scribble them out. I remember the first time I listened in secrecy to the song “Big Balls” by AC/DC with Paula and how she would write the lyrics to songs she liked. I remember the odd cyst on her finger from her writing style. I also remember the long curly toe hairs I had and Paula informed me while laughing hysterically, “Sal, you are supposed to shave your toe hairs, too!” I remember the notes we passed and the stories and characters Dawn, Paula, and I created: Dirty Bert, Fatty Beatrice, Momma, and Rosetta. I remember the lip sync and John went total Angus Young as we played “Let there be rock” by AC/DC. Ms. Weakley gave us the opportunity to shine. I remember break time buying cokes and popsicles. We would sit on the stage and I remember the day John jumped off and ripped his pants. One whole butt cheek was exposed. We laughed hysterically. Robbie G’s Halloween party and those awesome cream puffs his grandmother made and the disappearing antics in the barn. Riding Jodie’s horses and her birthday hayrides. The Halloween Festivals that we had, getting to buy treats that week at school, and the crowning of the king and queen. Football and basketball games were so much fun. I remember the practices especially when Dawn got into a burnout tossing match with the coach. The girls basketball team scrimmaging against the boys team and winning. We had the cheer squad: Melissa, Jennifer, Roxanne, Pennye, Tammy, Kim, & Co. that led us in the “We Will Rock You” stomp during pep rallies. The assemblies when we finally got to be on the top bleacher as 8th graders. We had to coax Teresa up because she was scared of heights. Marty and Edward having huge arm pit hair puffs and mustaches in the 8th grade and Mr. Hummer’s anatomy sex talk with pictures during PE/Health. I also think Marty and Edward were legally eligible to drive in 8th grade. I remember at the 8th grade graduation ceremony and being so nervous and asking “Why did we have to do this?” Ms. Weakley said, “Sarah, this will be the only graduation some of you will get. Some don’t go on to high school.” She was right. Many of our Redbirds dropped out.

Today, I’m thankful for God giving me so many friends and memories of my childhood so I can revisit them. Many have begun their final season in Heaven which helps us all realize the importance of friendships, embracing each day, and counting our blessings. I want to say thank you to my Redbird friends; they remind me of this quote. “It’s the friends we meet along the way that help us appreciate the journey” and I do appreciate my school years journey and the friends that were and still are by my side.

In a few weeks, we will all get together and make more memories. I can’t wait! I’m in a wheelchair but I’m still me. Get the karaoke machine ready Class of 1987! Think about your journey today and reach out to your friends of yesteryear. They are only a memory away.

Sarah Anderson Alley

Quotes of the Day:
“Some balls are held for charity and some for fancy dress.”

“In the beginning
Back in nineteen fifty-five
Man didn’t know about a rock ‘n’ roll show
And all that jive
The white man had the smoltz
The black man had the blues
No one knew what they was gonna do
But Tchaikovsky had the news
He said ….”

“The trouble is you think you have time.”

“The purpose of life is life with a purpose.”
Robert Byrne

RIP Rodney, Roger aka “Fig,” Shelia, Conasaga, Teresa, and Robbie G. đź’ś

Dedicated to the HPS Class of 1983 I salute you.

Matter, Energy, & Love

Matter, Energy, & Love


In my mind today, I’m thinking of science objectives. I loved science as a student. My favorites were biology, chemistry, and natural sciences. The physical sciences were my least favorite, but I grew to love them. My professor Ms. Rena Moss would be so proud. So today students I’m going to review some objectives. Stop grumbling back row. I promise we will do a lab soon.

Let’s get started with Sir Issac Newton. What a thinker? He was born on Christmas Day in 1642 and lived 84 fruitful years. Students, if you hate Calculus then blame it on old Sir Issac Newton. His repertoire includes the following: mathematician, physics genius, explanation of gravity, telescope invention, and Newton’s laws. This is the short list. WOW! Right?

Matter. Back row here’s a question for you, “What happens when we burn a piece of paper? Does it simply vanish? Back row, I’m sure you’ve had experience with some of our homework sheets.” No, there are new materials created: smoke, ashes, and gases. It’s transformed. We, humans, cannot create something (matter) from nothing.

Energy. Okay, let’s list a few types of energy: kinetic, potential, gravitational, electric, magnetic, thermal, and solar. Where does the power for energy come and where does it go? Whether it be from the sun, generators, or the earth’s core, the energy output is always equal to it’s input. Energy is merely transferred. Awesome deduction front row! It cannot be created or destroyed either.

Love. Students do you believe Love is a form of energy? Think about it. A warm hug, a pat on the back, or a genuine smile is energy transferred and cherished. It lasts a lifetime in our memories. It is transferred to others and continues to exist. Love just like matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. It already exists within us. We just need to unleash it and let it flow. Yes back row, that is your assignment so quit the murmuring. Get your smiles and hugs on today! Humans like Sir Issac Newton are rare geniuses. But each one of you are charged with with a special energy and purpose. Time is of the essence.
Sarah Anderson Alley

Dedicated to the genius of Sir Issac Newton and the Ultimate Creator

Quotes of the Day:
“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
Sir Issac Newton

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Sir Issac Newton

“Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in night;
God said “Let Newton be” and all was light.”
Alexander Pope

The Worst

The Worst

In my mind and heart today, I’m feeling warm and fuzzy. I was able to spend the whole day with my sweet, strong, loving mother. My Aunt, her loving sister Linda, brought her over, and we had such a wonderful day.

Three years ago my condition worsened greatly. My diaphragm was failing, and I was close to death. I made it through it, but my mother’s mind began to slip. Every time we were together I could literally see her heart break. She couldn’t bear to see her youngest in such a weakened physical state. I was her tomboy that loved the outdoors and every sport imaginable. I chuckle when she tells me Sarah Anne you exercised too much. Ironically, she had lost her baby sister to the same horrible disease. My aunt was only 43 years old. This was such a hard time for our family especially for those sisters and her only son.

As I progress, so does my mom which is the worst. It makes our times together fewer. The logistics for me are hard but as she progresses she becomes less compliant to go on adventures and outings. I’m busily trying to live and advocate for education, social justice, love, and a cure for ALS until I take my last breath which ties up my days. I keep hearing Willie Nelson in my head “Still is still moving to me” as I keep rolling. I know my mom wants me to fight on.

Alzheimer’s is the worst. She is confused easily and her short term memory is shot. When I’m with her, we revisit the past. It’s always full of knee-slapping laughter and occasionally tears. It’s never a disappointment even if we laugh at the same story 20 times. I’m still so blessed by her love and earthly presence. Once after all of her fuzzy-headedness(this is one of her descriptions) started, she told my sister “Judy, I think God is helping me forget so I can deal with Sarah being so sick.” I think she may be on to something.

My mom and I both have bumpy journeys ahead. ALS and Alzheimer’s are really two of the worst fates for any human to bear. I always remind my healthy brain to focus on each minute while trying to prepare for the worst. This has always been my modus operandi with ALS and my advice for others who share my bumpy path. While you are able do these things if you can: handicap your bathroom, find equipment in loan closets, register with the local ALS Chapter, educate your friends and family, and then enjoy each moment one day at a time. The storm is coming and you will encounter many break-downs as you look into the future of living with ALS. It’s very ugly, hard, and expensive. But, I know someone will rather you be here even if it is excruciating at times. Just like my mom keeps reminding me when we talk, “Young lady, you cannot go before me. You are my baby.” I know momma. I know. I’m fighting very hard to stay.
Sarah Anderson Alley

Dedicated to all those who live and love through Alzheimer’s.

Quotes of the Day:
“If you learn to listen for clues as to how I feel instead of what I say, you will be able to  understand me much better.”
— Mara Botonis

“We remember their love when they can no longer remember.”
— Unknown

“It occurred to me that at one point it was like I had two diseases — one was Alzheimer’s, and the other was knowing I had Alzheimer’s.”
— Terry Pratchett




In my mind today, I’m thinking about genetics. We still know very little about the secret of how other living beings are created. We have found some very substantial discoveries in the DNA code but not enough to create a perfect, living being with a soul. The miracle of conception and birth is just that, a miracle.

I remember teaching genetics in science. We had so much fun with punnet squares, hereditary traits, and building DNA models with Twizzlers, colored marshmallows, and toothpicks. The only person that grumbled was Mr. Hobert the janitor because of marshmallows being stomped into the tile floors. Sorry Mr. Hobert! Learning sometimes gets messy. And boy, did we ever learn! The secrets of our chromosomes are definitely intriguing.

I remember having a simple conversation with my brother once and it really stuck with me. You have to understand my brother to get the impact of his comment. My brother is quiet, gentle, kind, intelligent, introspective, and a man of few words. Lots of things about him are oxymorons like he’s small but strong as an ox. He’s very intuitive, but he rarely interjects his opinion. He is to me a Renaissance man crossed with a mountain man. He is truly an enigma. I was admiring his handiwork building flowerbeds for me. He said, “Say, we are all creators because we are made in God’s image.” Just like that he showed amazing humility and comprehension of gifts and talents that are sometimes unexplainable. I thank God for my God gifted brother and his wonderful children.

So, this morning as I’m reading I’m thinking about DNA. Yes, we are such wonderful creatures. We are not only creators but also made to give light, hope, and LOVE. We have within our DNA the ability to be creators of good or evil, vengeance or forgiveness, and love not hate. We need to remember to think before we act and listen twice as much as we speak. (That’s why we have two ears and one mouth back row!) This is a challenge for me because I love to talk.

Miraculously, ALS hasn’t taken my upper motor neurons yet so students I apologize. I will continue to run my mouth, a lot. So let me say one more thing about DNA, “Embrace your DNA. There is no one else like you nor will there every be again. You my students are masterpieces from the Master. Let’s all treat us with that LOVE used to create us.”
Ms. Alley

Dedicated to my brother FWA
Quotes of the Day:
“The spiral in a snail’s shell is the same mathematically as the spiral in the Milky Way galaxy, and it’s also the same mathematically as the spirals in our DNA. It’s the same ratio that you’ll find in very basic music that transcends cultures all over the world.”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt

“With genetic engineering, we will be able to increase the complexity of our DNA, and improve the human race. But it will be a slow process, because one will have to wait about 18 years to see the effect of changes to the genetic code.”
Stephen Hawking

“Genes are like the story, and DNA is the language that the story is written in.”
Sam Kean



Bucket Lists


Bucket Lists
In my mind today, I’m thinking about bucket lists. Face it. We all have a timeline. I’ve learned that life is for living and spreading love. This past weekend, I was able to check off one of my bucket list items: Hot Air Balloon Ride! It was amazing and even more beautiful because I could share it with my Grands. It was made possible by the smartest and sweetest podiatrist ever, Dr. Kelly Walker of Walker Foot(no pun intended but isn’t that so cool?) She and Maple Ridge retirement facility gave not only me but other disabled and assisted living people a “lift” through High Jinx’s hot air balloon rides out of Memphis, Tennessee. See how God works through love and people.

As I look and revisit my bucket list, I know with ALS some will be literal miracles to complete like visiting Machu Picchu, Rome, and France. But hey, that’s okay. As a former teacher, I learned to monitor and adjust to help students be successful. So to live and accomplish some of my bucket list makes me giddy. Having a grateful heart with love and humility has been a gift to me from ALS. It’s made my perspective so much sunnier. How? When friends whisk me away on little day trips or my husband has to feed me because I’m so tired or my sons use the cough assist and suction to clear my weakened lungs or my Grands light up when they see me despite my chair or my daughter and son’s fiancĂ© have to bathe me or holding friends newborn animals or watching my great nieces and great nephews swim in my pool, or my nieces and nephews garden, clean, or just visit me and hug me, when children want to talk to me and take rides on my scoot or former students stop me to talk when they see me, all of these things make my heart swell with joy and love. They shape my spirit and soul. I’ve learned to be so grateful for all things big and small through Christ’s example.

So, it’s another day and I have race work to do along with living. Yes, you guessed it. I’m grateful. Students today’s assignment is to pen your own bucket list. I know it’s hard when you are in the middle of working to provide for your families, but just think of three things you would like to do or see in your lifetime. That’s the first step to making it happen. The clock is ticking!

Sarah Anderson Alley

Dedicated to Dr. Kelly Walker
Mr. Bill of Maple Ridge Assisted Living
High Jinxs
Quotes of the Day:
“Life is a One Time Offer. Use it Well.”
“Sometimes our only mode of transportation is a Leap of Faith.”
“Be Silly. Be Honest. Be Kind.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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.







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
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