Charity

Oh my students! Ms. Alley has been suffering from a fever these last few days. Spring fever! I have spent the last two days outside until dark. Monday was chilly but God had provided me with help to visit my favorite plant nursery and then gave me two days of cleaning and planting in my yard. If you know me very well, you understand what a gift of Charity from God this is to me.
To begin our adventure, my Aunt and Uncle Poe drove me to Yorkville, TN to my favorite Mom and Pop plant nursery Z’s Greenhouse. I’ve been buying the most unique and beautiful flowers there for a decade. I didn’t physically make it last year but a sweet garden fairy friend delivered and planted my Z’s treasures. Z’s ower, Debbie, started this little side business when hard times hit her home. One of my best friends mentioned would I consider buying plants from Z’s to help them out. I did and have been every year for 10 years. Debbie and Jimmy are some of the most charitable souls I know. I never left there without an extra plant or item just because they love me. Charity is so beautiful and such an important virtue. If you live in our little corner of West Tennessee, please consider visiting Z’s and buying a plant or two. She has had to scale back this season because of her health and her sweet husband is fighting cancer. Every day is a gift from God. You just can’t out give God, but it never hurts to try.
Gardening has always been a love of mine. Not being able to get down and dirty gardening has been so hard for me. My 73 year old newlywed Aunt Linda knows that. She now lives four hours away. She visits maybe once a month but knew she would not be coming back to see me for three months. She has spent enough seasons with me to know that rolling in my yard and praying on my deck amid flowers fills my soul and makes me so happy. She and her 85 year old husband decided this trip they were going to set me up with flowers to help me stay mentally healthy until she could come back in July. What charitable hearts these two love birds have. 🙂
Students have you guessed today’s virtue? Come on back row! That’s right! Charity. Christian charity is not just giving goods; it’s giving of yourself. It’s giving from your heart. It’s part of the first commandment: Love your God with all of your heart, mind, and soul. The second commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. When you love others like this you are spreading God’s love. Where in your life can you show charity? It could be in small ways. Those small acts melt the hardest of hearts. It makes me laugh to remember as a child I would pick wildflowers or weeds and take them to a neighbor who was wheelchair bound. That’s right front row, irony and foreshadowing! I would walk up to her front door before I started an adventure with a hand full of weedy flowers. I would knock and she would roll to the door. She took the flowers every time with such amazement and gratitude. She would then put them in a vase, put them on top of her tv in the picture window so I could see them, and enjoy them as if I had given her a bouquet of expensive, exotic flowers. That’s charity. I had no clue God was using me but he definitely used Mrs. Opal to encourage my heart.  Students it happens that way. God uses us for the good if we let Him. Try to find some small way this Lent to serve others. Embrace the big charitable heart God gave you and use it.
Sal the Charitable Gal
Sarah Anderson Alley
Z’s Greenhouse and Nursery
TN-188, Yorkville, TN
Search Z’s Greenhouse on Facebook
Quotes of the day:
We are constituted so that simple acts of kindness, such as giving to charity or expressing gratitude, have a positive effect on our long-term moods. The key to the happy life, it seems, is the good life: a life with sustained relationships, challenging work, and connections to community.
Paul Bloom
Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these, they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.
Saint Francis of Assisi
Charity is a supreme virtue, and the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed onto mankind.
Conrad Hilton
True charity is the desire to be useful to others with no thought of recompense.
Emmanuel Swedenborg
 The world calls for, and expects from us, simplicity of life, the spirit of prayer, charity towards all, especially towards the lowly and the poor, obedience and humility, detachment, and self-sacrifice. Without this mark of holiness, our word will have difficulty in touching the heart of modern man.
Pope Paul VI

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! People all over the world celebrate this day. Students do you know where the holiday has its roots? That’s right front row the Roman Catholic faith. Catholics believe in the communion of saints. That is that some people have lived holy lives and are canonized as saints. We believe these people are in heaven. So today is the feast day of Saint Patrick. He is the patron saint of Ireland although he wasn’t Irish. He was Scottish. He was captured and enslaved from ages 16 to 22. He escaped to France and became a Catholic. He vowed to return to Ireland convert it to Catholicism. He was successful. He established many monasteries, churches, and schools. There are many legends surrounding Saint Patrick. My favorite is that he used the shamrock to explain the trinity. He died on March 17, 461. Students this may be an extra credit question on our final exam!
Today our readings were about the covenant of Abraham and the promise of his people outnumbering the stars. This makes me remember using the book by Lois Lowery Number the Stars as an English teacher. The gospel reading was about the transfiguration of Jesus when he went to pray on the mountain. It makes me think of the old Ten Commandments movie. Moses (Charlton Heston) came down from Mt. Sinai looking like he stuck his finger in a light socket. Boy, he was transfigured! This makes chuckle.
First let’s look at the promise to Abraham. Do you realize that even though many of us are not descendents of Hebrew ethnicity, we are a part of God’s holy family through Jesus Christ. If you look at the covenant to Abraham like this it’s easy to see that yes we are also his posterity or future children. The price paid by Jesus was not only for the Jewish people but also the Gentiles and all humans. We are family! All 7.53 billion of us.
Think about transfiguration. When you are transfigured, you are changed. Students, this is exactly what we want to do with our 40 days before Easter. Remember? We wanted to rend our hearts. We wanted to clear the clutter. I think we are on our way to doing so. Every homework assignment we complete, we will transfigure our hearts. This is our second Sunday of Lent. We have four more weeks to go and a lot of transfiguration yet to accomplish. Thank you for walking with me as I roll through these forty days with you. Here are a few reflection questions as we move into our next week together:
Are you finding God?
Are you feeling like your heart is lighter?
Are you happier?
Have a great St. Patrick’s Day!
Sal the Transfiguring Gal
Sarah Anderson Alley
Dedicated to:
Brenda Darby Reed my cousin who was born on St. Patrick’s Day. She’s celebrating in heaven this year.
Quote of the day:
Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.
Saint Patrick

Reconcile

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Happy Friday! Students today we have shared 10 days together. Time really flies when you’re having fun, right back row? We have a list of things that we need to do. Those things will create a lot of goodness and light. Examine your heart. Does it feel a little lighter? I know that my heart does just by being able to teach.

Today the readings focus on forgiving others in particularly your brother. Try loving those who hurt you. It also mentions when you do good things, good things will happen to you. That’s right front row this sounds like karma. Many times in our faith as Christians we think karma is a pagan ideal. But hey, we came up with the same idea but with just a different label. Good works will beget good works. Love will beget love.

Today is such a beautiful warm Friday here in my little corner of the world. Spring is in the air and with that comes spring fever for students. Students are not only guilty of getting spring fever, I have always been guilty of yearning for the outdoors when the weather becomes beautiful. But back row we have to stay the course. On this beautiful Friday our homework assignment is to think about a brother or sister or a relative that needs to be forgiven. Someone that needs your prayer. Someone that you need to reconcile with and to show Mercy. It will not be easy. So this weekend when you encounter a relative or sibling, try to show love and forgiveness. If you don’t have a chance to see this person or they live far away from you, write and send them a letter or card or send them a text message. The message needs to be positive with no underlying anger or passive aggressiveness. It could simply be a remember when…. Share with them a memory of a good time. Or simply sign love and your name. Trust me and trust God. This is a thorn that needs removing. Be strong! Do it!

Sal the Reconcile Gal
Sarah Anderson Alley

Quote of the day:
Do you have to have a reason for loving?
Brigitte Bardot

Knock on the Door

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Matthew 7:7&8
The Answer to Prayers.
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Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
8
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Good early morning students! This is coming to you a bit late but this is day nine of our adventure. Ironically I got a knock at my door early yesterday morning. It was my aunt and her husband that had come to visit. They are newlyweds. They are at the young ages of 76 and 85. They live close to Cookeville, Tennessee and had traveled to visit relatives and follow up on some doctors appointments. When my aunt visits, it is a wonderful day for Sal. She showers me with love and helps me do things that normally do not get done. She gives me love and attention because my mother loved her so much. You see my mother is beginning a journey with Alzheimer’s. My aunt comes to share that love of sisters and keep it alive. After she performs many works of Mercy for me, we then play Rook. It’s my favorite and she will stay and play until my body is worn out. Why am I telling you all of this? This is why my post for day 9 is late! I am only human. And back row yes you will have two assignments today.
Our journey has been fruitful. We are resisting temptations, forgiving others, praying for those who need it most, freeing our hearts of hatred, and doing acts of Mercy to change the world. Yesterday before I got the knock on the door, I had decided that our lesson was to be about the Bible verses Matthew 7:7&8. We’ve been working so hard to help change the world. We’ve been focusing on others and how our attitudes, skills, and knowledge can be used in this world. Today, I am wanting us to think really hard. We need to search our hearts and discover something that is in need of God’s Mercy. It could be a sick parent, a child of ours struggling with addiction, students that we teach who come from neglected homes that will suffer greatly during the breaks from school, or an unhealthy habit that we just can’t seem to break. Your homework is to knock. Knock on the door of heaven with your prayer. I’ll give you a little cheat sheet. Here is a small prayer:
Dear God,
Here I am Lord. I know I am not worthy of all the good could you give me but as a child of yours I am knocking on the door and asking for an act of Mercy. You told us if we knock you will open that door. If we seek we will find help from you. Today I ask you to open the door and help (feel in your request here.) Thank you God for hearing me. Help me to be a light in this world in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Amen
Sal the Knocking on Heaven’s Door Gal
Sarah Anderson Alley
Quote of the day:
Attitude
Skills
Knowledge
All you simply need to do is ASK. God will use your attitude, skills, and knowledge to answer prayers.
Dorothy Alley
FORMER PRESIDENT OF CCW
From a speech given to the council of Catholic women: CCW. Currently the best mother in law and Rook partner ever!