Advent Journey

Advent Journey

Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God… Isaiah 35: 3-4

In my mind today, I’m going through lists: bills, cards, church events, and gifts list. As I perused my Amazon app trying to find items for family and friends, I always halt before pushing that proceed to checkout button. I go to my bank app and to try to decide on how to give meaningful, useful gifts and stay within our budget. I watch the Amazon app timer tick away warning me of losing my hard thought of gifts. Oh the inhumanity! I hear ya Grinch.

My husband is literally the best. He always asks, “What do you want for Christmas?” He worries about me and he always has. I replied, “I have everything.” And I do. My name is not Sal Rockefeller, but I have everything that matters. My entire existence is immersed in Love from my home to my errands. They are all drenched in Love. My heart is so full. My mind is so peaceful. I’m tingling as I pen this blog because the gift I have has taken over everything in my life. It guides my thoughts and words and what I do. I’m free. I sit in my wheelchair and just feel an energy guiding me. Only one person can give this unending gift and I accepted it long ago. In that acceptance, all hills were made low and every valley filled. My knees may not be strong and my hands are very feeble, but God makes everything okay. He really does.

My Advent Journey 2018 is and will continue to be one of joy regardless of the Amazon timer and only one thumb working to peck out my thankfulness. I will continue to sojourn through my earthly life with praise and Thanksgiving doing all that I am called to do. This blog was one of them. Please accept this gift from my heart and not a store. Remember these are the best gifts. Back row if you need extra credit here are some ideas: ring a bell for the Salvation Army, serve at a soup kitchen, sponsor a child or family or donate toys to Matthew 25:40’s outreach, reconcile with a family member or friend, and to everyone you meet say “Merry Christmas” because He’s here. If you haven’t unopened that 2000 year old gift, no time is like the present! Did you catch that pun back row?
Merry CHRISTmas
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Advent Gal

Join me at Wal-mart ringing the bell:

Bellringers
December 22nd 11-5pm
11-12
Will @ 12-1
George & crew 2-3
Aiden @ 3-4 pm
Ms. Alley @ 4-5
1 slots available

December 21st 9-5 pm
9-10
10-11
George & crew 11-12
12-1
Tanya @ 1-2
Ms. Alley @ 2-3
Aiden @ 3-4
4-5
4 slots available

Or

Working the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen January 5th 10-2 PM

Donate time, clothes, food, or money to Matthew 25:40.
432 W. Court Street
Dyersburg, TN 38024

Quote of the Day:
“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white.’ ”
Bing Crosby

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

In my mind today I’m thinking of all of the blessings of 2017 and how things have changed from my childhood. Remember as a child how the 2000’s seemed otherworldly? They seemed so distant as we envisioned a world like The Jetsons. We’ve yet to have flying cars, but we have rumbas, drones, and FaceTime which are amazing when I think of my techno-free childhood.

My family certainly wasn’t the jet-set. We had an antenna for tv and seven tv channels. One of those was PBS. I think I’m the only one that couldn’t live without it, and it’s still one of my favorite channels. Go ahead back row and call me a geek. Mr. Rogers taught me how to deal with kids like you. Now, kids watch tv on their phones. Remember favorite tv shows that we all gathered to watch? The only time we could watch cartoons was Saturday mornings. If you slept late, you missed out.

What about having one phone jack and one phone in the entire house? I was envious of friends that had phones in their bedrooms. Seems unbelievable doesn’t it? Phones were for function and not so much for entertainment. I remember waiting anxiously by the phone for that person I was crushing on to call so my parents wouldn’t embarrass me or interrogate them if someone of the opposite sex called. Just like Archie and Edith sang, “Those were the days.”

It makes me wonder what will kids today look back on and feel nostalgic about when they reminisce? Are things today worse or not as fun or are we not as connected as days gone by? Are we all freaking out? Yes, there is a lot of disparity, but I also see so much good. There are many organizations and individuals working for people struggling in the middle of the healthcare gap crisis, poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, neglected children, better environmental choices, and natural disaster relief. And we aren’t giving up or stopping. Why? The good anyone does reverberates and multiplies no matter how minuscule the deed. 2018 here I come. Sal the New Year Gal is brimming with ideas to promote goodwill toward all. Join me.

Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the 2018 Gal

Dedicated to Matthew 25:40, Salvation Army, Union Mission, McIvers Grant Public Library, Dyersburg City Schools, and Dyer County Schools

Quotes of the Day:

“I just believe in the goodwill of people, the power of people to do something positive.”
Eddie Izzard

“In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics.”
JFK

“Justice and goodwill will outlast passion.”
James A. Garfield

Death

Death

In my mind today, I’m thinking of death. On the Catholic calendar, the day after Christmas is a day of remembrance for the first Christian martyr, Saint Stephen. As I read I was thinking, why would this be placed in such a celebratory time of year?

Death. It does come for each of us. It doesn’t care what time of year. Recently, death has visited a sweet, young woman to whom I shared my writings with each day. Janie was only 56 years old. She was terminally ill and my brother suggested I send my reflections to her. After each reflection, she would send me a text or some type of positive affirmation. We became friends even though I never was able to see her face to face. Rest In Peace my sweet friend. I’ll see you on the other side. Death is not an end.

This Christmas held so many blessings but also sadness. The day after Christmas my family lost a member. My sister’s husband crossed over after several years of physical debilitation. During family gatherings we would joke about who was going to die first. Then we would discuss how our bodies are betraying us. We then thought of the blessings in our lives. We all missed him Thanksgiving and he was hospitalized through December so we missed him Christmas as well. Death came to him December 26th, on the day of the celebration of the first christian martyr.

So back to the question, “Why should we celebrate the death of the first martyr the day after celebrating a savior’s birth? Where’s our season of joy?” Just as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:55, Death lost it’s sting. We have joy, hope, and faith that there’s more to our lives than our earthly chapter. There is more! Shout it from the rooftops. This is what Janie sent me after one of my reflections: “Thank you Sarah. Now, I understand. I’m not scared of death anymore. I get it” Gordon, my brother-in-law, also made his peace with this life. We all will have to meet Death one day. The seasons may all vary when Death arrives, but the sting will be gone. There lies the true meaning of Christmas.

Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Death be not Proud Gal

Dedicated to:
Janie Newhouse 1961-2017
Gordon Hooper 1952-2017

Quotes of the Day:

“If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.”
Maya Angelou

“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”
Socrates

“While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.”
Leonardo da Vinci

1 Corinthians 15:55 & 56
55
“O death, where is thy victory?
O death, where is thy sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

Faith, Hope, Love, & Radicava

Faith, Hope, Love, & Radicava

 

In my mind today, I’m thinking of rejoicing. This is the third week of advent. We are called to rejoice remembering our savior entered the world. Behold! Emmanuel is here within each of us. He is.

Ironically, I’m also rejoicing because with faith, hope, and love God has granted an approval for me to begin infusions of a new drug to sustain me on this side of heaven for a bit longer. It’s called Radicava. If all goes well, Sal the Hopeful Gal will be given more time to share my light with you.

If you research ALS, there are so, so many variations. I’ve already been blessed by a slower progressing form of the disease. Now, Radicava may slow down my progression further still. So Sal is the Rejoicing Gal! My first infusion starts tomorrow. I promise to update as I go through this process. We PALS (people with ALS) pray for more time. We want to love just a little longer.

Are there glitches? Oh yes, isn’t there always? First, I’m praying I have no allergic reactions. Second, I’m praying both my insurances help pay for it. At the moment, only my private insurance is willing to pay. The costs are outrageous My first infusion is $15,000. Only 70% is being covered at the moment, but I have hope that all will work out. I’ve been carried for my 48 years in His Palm, and I have peace with whatever life throws my way. Just this morning I was reminded that each trouble we encounter has meaning and purpose. Last, I’m asking for your continued love and prayers as I begin this part of my journey.

So students, God willing we will have many more lessons together. I’m headed to the church today to work with the youth on a Christmas skit to be presented Thursday night. I asked God to use me and I sincerely thank Him for doing so through help from my family and friends. I am living not dying with ALS. I’m not giving up or slowing down. Just like Robert Frost penned, “I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.”

Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Radicava Gal

Dedicated to past and present PALS. We pray that there will be no more PALS in the future.

Quotes of the Day:
“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.”
Hippocrates

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”
Audrey Hepburn

“Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.”
Karl A. Menninger

https://www.radicava.com/patient/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-als-drug-approved-for-lou-gehrigs-disease-radicava/

Creating Your Bedford Falls

Creating Your Bedford Falls

In my mind today, I’m thinking of my favorite Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. This is saying something because boy, I have so many favorite Christmas movies from classics to modern. The movie was originally a flop but over time it became a blockbuster. There are so many lessons in this film. I enjoy uncovering each one and new ones each year. You have an assignment! If you haven’t watched it, watch it! Then continue reading this blog. The film is 71 years old. It is AMAZING!

Analyze the characters and then look around your town or city. See if you can match the characters with people you know. Yes, that’s another assignment. Quit grumbling. Yes, every town sadly has its share of Mr. Potters, but also just as many Peter Baileys. At least I hope so. I hear the back row grumbling, not everyone lives in a small town and small town living isn’t always so “grand.” I agree it has its drawbacks but the blessings outweigh the cons. Here’s the secret: you can have your own Bedford Falls anywhere in the world. Oh ye of little faith! Where do you reside on this blue and green planet? Whether it be urban or rural, a Bedford Falls can be established. How? Your cities or hamlets are not physical entities; they are made of living substance not inanimate objects. Why are fictional places like Bedford Falls, Stars Hollow, Bluebell, and Mayberry so charming? Think students. Yes! It’s the people. Be kind to all the people in your sphere of living. Each one has a purpose and function. Each one needs love and encouragement whether they work in a shop on 5th Avenue NYC or a small grocery store in the countryside. They are the true substance of our “Bedford Falls”

In every life, some rain must fall. The difference is knowing you have living, breathing characters to bring you a needed meal, help with a broken car, or simply share an umbrella during your monsoon moments of life. Start recognizing the George Baileys in your burgs. Help the Uncle Billys who struggle with keeping it all together. Go watch the lil ZuZus recitals. Cheer on hometown heroes, these are your Harry Baileys. Compliment your Sam Wainwrights for their philanthropy. Embrace your Martini families for striving for the American Dream. Treat the Violets of your town with respect and give them dignity. As for the Mr. Potters, you have to battle their icy hearts with love. Take the high road always because they are the ones that need love the most. Love cannot be purchased only created with help from our creator. Are you ready to create your own Bedford Falls? Sal the It’s a Wonderful Life Gal has been for a while. Join me.

Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Bedford Falls Gal

Dedicated to the hamlets in NW. Tennessee: Dyersburg, Newbern, Trimble, & Union City
I adore the Mom & Pops and each and every village square.

 

Quotes of the Day:

“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.”
Pa Bailey aka Peter Bailey

“Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn’t there to save them and you weren’t there to save Harry.”
Clarence

“You see George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?”
Clarence

“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”
George Bailey

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
Clarence

“Look, Daddy. Teacher says: every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”
ZuZu Bailey

“Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.”
Clarence

Tis the Season

”Tis the Season

In my mind today, I’m reflecting on the blessings in my life. When your blessings are so, so numerous that you have a hard time listing them then you are living right. When you are able to see them instead of your woes, you are truly fortunate. Your assignment students is to list three of your blessings and then whisper a thanks be to God for them. Then, Bless three other people. Then see what happens. And yes, back row you can list no school for two weeks starting this Friday as a blessing!

This is the second week of advent. This week we focus on the return of Jesus. Our hope is in the saving of the world: the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the meantime, each of us is called to bring Jesus to the world in our actions. We should be blessing others by being Christ in the world. I’ve had so many unexpected blessings: my youth Group, our coming home committee, and Christmas carolers from a former student. Lately, my eyes and heart are seeing so much in my little nook of the world. It’s beautiful.

Blessings and tidings of joy flow. They are in flux. One of my biggest blessings is my family. My Aunt Linda is one of the most selfless people I know. She truly has a servant’s heart. My Aunt Linda is the one who gives me baths each day because of my immobility. She and I talk about blessings flowing all the time. It’s usually while we are in the shower. Students, do you want blessings, good tidings, and cheer? They flow. Really. The more you give, the more you get. So why are you waiting? Start helping others. There are as many ways to bless others as there are snowflakes. So, my snow-people start spreading your magic this season.

Be jolly! Yes, there are always reasons to smile. Watching children visit Santa is so entertaining. Seeing an older couple still giddy to be together 50 years later, always makes me smile. Young people going to holiday dances all dressed up and bubbling over with excitement are automatic mood changers. This is the season to be merry, very. Sal the Jolly Gal wants you during this second week of Advent to be the Hope of Christ coming back to earth. I Hope and pray you can. ”Tis the Season for Love.

Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Blessed Gal

Quotes of the Day:

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”
Roy L. Smith

“For it is in giving that we receive.”
St. Francis of Assisi

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
Mother Teresa

“Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.”
Thomas S. Monson