• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 149 other followers
  • “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” — Isaac Asimov

  • Recent Posts

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 175,581 hits

Vitamin Sea Therapy

Weekends in Florida during the spring.

They are simply the best – especially when you have a demanding job like mine.

The Mr. and I had been waiting for a warm, rain-free day, and we finally got it on Saturday.

We loaded up the car and headed out . . .

How fancy are we?

It didn’t take us long to get set up ,and all I can say is oh my happy.  I was exactly where I needed to be.

It was a fairly windy day, and our tent blew over around 3.  By 4, we were ready to go.  The temperature had dropped a little, but the wind made it feel even cooler.

We had planned on going to the pool on Sunday; however, there was an issue with the water (city problem), so we had to come up with something else.  The weather, surprisingly, was cooperating with us a second day in a row.  I told the Mr. and that I couldn’t spend the day inside.

After coming home from church, we got ourselves ready and headed out for round two.

Snacks had been packed; a quick trip to Publix for ice followed.  I waited for the hubby in the car . . .

My friend, Megan, met us out there, and we just could not have asked for a more perfect day.

Well, okay, maybe if the water had not been filled with seaweed, it would have been perfect, but it was close enough for me.

As of tonight, we have five more Mondays until summer vacation – when Sundays won’t be sad, and I can be even more relaxed when I go to the beach.

Heeding the Call of the Hodgepodge


How awesome is it that it’s Wednesday already?  As a person who tries to look at the glass as half-full, I’m happy that Friday is only two days away.  Ha!  I’m loving Joyce’s questions this week – so much fun!  Play along by answering your own and linking up here.  Oh, and thanks for visiting my humble corner of the world!

1.  They say you learn something new every day. What did you learn yesterday?

I’m always learning something new from my students.  Yesterday, while discussing how to organize information for an essay we are writing, one of my students told me that he’d had an elementary teacher who had taught him to use a web (cluster) to organize narrative writing and an outline for informational writing.  I was a little dumbfounded because I’d never heard of that.  I asked him a few questions and learned that since narrative writing is more visual in nature, the planning of it, with the web, meshes well since it’s a visual planning too.

Oh yeah.  My mind was blown.  I’m still processing this.

2.  Have you ever had a now or never moment? Elaborate.

This is a tough and philosophical question.  When I think of now or never, it sounds like a person has an ultimate decision to make about something and the person can’t go back and make a different decision.  Am I overthinking this?  Probably.

With that said, I think that some decisions can feel like now or never moments.  For instance, when I had my second ankle surgery to remove the hardware that had been used to put my ankle back together after I broke it, I had a moment when I felt like it was now or never.  It was kind of an elective surgery that was kind of necessary to help me progress to the next stage of recovery.  I remember taking a deep breath as I was wheeled in, knowing that many people live with the hardware forever.  I also felt that if I didn’t go ahead and do it, I’d never get around to it.

Another example is that I’ve been considering getting a tattoo (or two), but I haven’t quite said yes in my brain.  If I do make this step, I’ll definitely have the now or never feeling.

3.  April 25th is National Telephone Day. Do you still have a land line or have you gone mobile only? When you receive a text message do you respond immediately? Last time you turned your phone off?  In two or three sentences share with us a story/memory/incident from your childhood (or something current if that’s too hard) where the telephone is featured.

I do still have a landline thanks to the Mr.’s job, which requires it.  When he retires, we will go mobile only to save some money, although I suspect that my landline is part of my cable package, so there’s that.

I am a person who responds to text messages immediately.  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by doing otherwise.

The last time I turned off my phone was probably a week or two but only because I needed to update it.

As far as phone memories . . . I remember that I stayed on the phone all night years ago while talking to my boyfriend (he’s now my hubby).  I had watched one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and was petrified of going to sleep.  He talked me through the dark hours of the evening until I dozed off at twilight.  I don’t do scary movies, y’all!

4.  Close call, at someone’s beck and call, call the shots, call a meeting, call it quits, call in sick, call on the carpet, wake up call…which call have you ‘heard’ recently? Explain.

I’d say that I’m constantly at someone’s beck and call right now since there are still four and half weeks until the end of the year, but who’s counting.  The kids keep me on my toes, let me tell you, and that’s saying something considering that I teach teenagers.  They are in the process of writing an essay, and I promise you that they are asking a bajillion and one questions.  I feel like a mother of multiple children who are constantly calling, “Mama, Mama, Mama.”  All they really want is for me to write their essays for them.  Ha!

5.  What subject do you wish you’d paid more attention to in school?

I wish I had paid more attention in math.  I struggled so much with this subject, but as an adult, I wish I hadn’t let it beat me.  I wish I’d been more interested so that maybe I could have done better on the math part of my ACT.

6.  My Random Thought

The weather around these parts is slowly starting to warm up.  It’s still being a tad fickle, but I’ll take the warm, sunny days when I can get them.  Last Saturday night, the Mr. and I drove to the bridge to attend a wedding reception.  The couple had rented a house on the beach, and the view was incredible.

I’m a sucker for sunset beach photos.  The light, as it makes it way through the clouds is always awe-inspiring.

I don’t know how people can not believe in God when you see such handiwork.  Folks, this doesn’t happen by chance.

The Boy He Was

Last week, a friend from high school passed away.

Although it wasn’t completely unexpected, the news still shook me when I received word during dinner.

I had watched Chuck battle cancer from afar, through Facebook posts his wife wrote and tagged him in.

As I processed the fact that he was gone, my mind began to sift through memories.

Despite all of the negative press that Facebook has received the past few weeks, I am grateful for the platform that has allowed me to connect with so many friends from my childhood, including Chuck.

When we first became “friends” on Facebook, he and I “chatted” for a short while, catching each other up on the past twenty-plus years.

He had been a gifted athlete in high school – point guard for our basketball team and quarterback for the football team.  If I’m not mistaken, he also played baseball.  When you go to a small school, kids play every sport available to them.

He had gone to college after high school and ultimately fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor.  He’d always been one of the smartest kids I’d ever known in school – the person who made academics look easy.

As I read tributes that people posted after Chuck’s passing, I wondered about what it was that would define how I would remember him.

Over and over again, my mind kept going back to a long conversation we had when I was probably a senior.  He was a year behind.  It must have been lunchtime, because I know that I wouldn’t have skipped a class.

Our high school was housed in a large, almost plantation-like house that had a gym and lunchroom built on.  It had two sets of wooden stairs on opposite sides of the main hallway.  We sat on one set of stairs . . . not the one leading up to the girls’ restroom.

It was there that he poured out his heart to me about a person he cared a lot about.  What I remember about that conversation was his sincerity and humbleness, often rare things given teenage flightiness.  I don’t know how Chuck was around other people, but I remember him being tenderhearted and all-or-nothing.

So now, when I read of how many people’s lives he touched, as a doctor and a friend, I think back to when I knew him as a boy, and I nod my head and think to myself, yeah, that doesn’t surprise me one little bit.  It’s who he was from the beginning.

Even though I’ve seen pictures of Chuck with his white doctor coat, looking all grown up, as a man in his forties should, I’ll always remember him as a boy, sitting on those steps deep in conversation or dribbling a ball down the court to the applause of those watching.

Buckets of Fun With the Hodgepodge

Look at me . . . two weeks in a row of participating in Joyce’s Hodgepodge.  Can I get a round of applause?  Ha!  Thanks for visiting today!  If you’ve never done this before, grab the questions from Joyce, link up there, and make a few new friends!

1.  Three things on your spring bucket list? If you don’t have an actual list that’s fine, pretend you do.

Spring, where art thou?  It’s been a weird one so far with hot and then cold temperatures.  Oh well, that’s not going to stop me from adding my first trip to the beach this season as item number one on the list (not a true bucket list item, I know, but can we just go with it?).

Number two:  Increasing my run intervals.  Ankle recovery is in year two, and it’s still a process, let me tell you.

Number three:  Getting abs like Autumn Calabrese.  I’m going to be starting a new Beachbody program, 80 Day Obsession, soon, and although I know it’s going to take 80 x 15 days to maybe start to see one can of a six pack set of abs, a girl can always dream, right?

2.  Where do you find rest? What restores your soul? When was the last time you did whatever it was you answered here?

Where, as in literal where or figurative?  Hmmm.  I literally find rest in my recliner at the end of each day.  I figuratively find it in the quiet hours between getting off of work and the Mr. getting home.  Empty nesting provides a lot of time for rest, and I do not keep a busy schedule, homebody that I am.

What restores my soul is time at the beach.  I find it very restorative to just lay there, listen to the surf and birds, and just be.

I last went to the beach a year ago when Chicky came to visit.  The Mr. was still too sick to go, so I didn’t get back there during the summer with my bum ankle and all.  We are planning on going a lot this year though.

3.  April is National Celery Month. Who knew? Do you like celery? What’s your favorite dish made with celery? On a veggie and dip platter which would you reach for first-carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumbers or cherry tomatoes? 

There is a National Day for everything, it seems.

This is from a couple of weeks ago.

I do like celery,, but I can’t really say that I have a favorite dish made with it.  I use it often as the base for stews.  I’d probably go for cucumbers (peeled please) or celery from a platter.

4.  I read here eight things to do before 8 am to make your day less hectic-Start one load of laundry, drink water, empty the dishwasher, read your Bible, know what you’re having for dinner, get dressed, brain dump (two lists-one what you’re thankful for and one what’s weighing on your mind), and after the brain dump make your to-list for the day

How many of these are you currently doing? Which one do you think would help the most if you added it to your early morning routine?

Things I’m currently doing (can we pretend that I’m writing this in the morning?) are drinking water (after my pre-dawn walk), getting dressed (the work life, y’all), and reading my Bible (I try to read the First 5 app in the mornings but don’t always get to it early).

I’d love to add starting a load of laundry, but I am out of the house by 7:15, so I can’t follow that up with putting stuff in the dryer.  I am not a list person, so I will never do a brain dump as described above nor make a to-do list.  I hate lists.  My mom always left long to-do lists on weekends, which completely ruined my time off from school.  No thank you.

5.  Describe the view from your window.

Looking out my friend window, I see a rose bush that’s grown quite tall, a lot of weeds in my flower bed, and the pond across from my street.  It’s not a bad view at all!

6.  My Random Thought

I’ve been walking in the mornings before work, slowly increasing my mileage and backing up my alarm (ugh) to give me enough time.  Yesterday, I went the farthest I’ve gone since breaking my ankle . . .

That photo is from 2.5 miles in, and yes, it was pretty dang dark.  Thank heavens for the street lamps in my neighborhood.

My friend, Leanne, told me that my pace was really good.

I very slowly jogged the last half mile, which probably helped.

I have goals . . . a specific one in fact . . . an item for a non-spring bucket list.

I’m Sorry If That’s Not Your First Name

Today started out as pretty much an average day.

I got up, put in some miles, and went in to work.

It was testing day for our 9th graders, so we were on a delayed start.  Students who were not testing weren’t due until 1:05.  We rotated through four 25-minute class periods before calling it a day.

I stopped at Best Buy on the way home and then ran by the nail salon for a bit of pampering . . .

I called my friend, Christina, to wish her a happy birthday.  In the middle of our conversation, I walked to the mailbox.

That’s when my day became anything but average.

Waiting for me was a letter with a return address of Parris Island.

All of a sudden, my heart was in my throat, and I could hardly think straight.

Instantly, I was taken back to the spring of 2016 when such letters regularly populated my mailbox — all from my Rooster boy.

Christina had to get off the phone to get ready for her birthday dinner, so I wished her well, hung up, and headed straight for my letter opener (mustn’t mess up the nails).

Inside, I found a two-page, handwritten letter from a young man I’d taught three years ago.

He was writing from Marine boot camp – a dream he’d cultivated for years.

He held a special place in my heart – his whole class did, small as it was.  This class had watched as I’d become an empty nester and had sent off my own boy to Air Force basic training.

In fact, my student, who had asked me to call him Fluffy, had drawn a picture of Rooster’s dog, which I sent him while he was still in BMT.

I had given Fluffy my address after he graduated and told him that if he would send me a letter, I would write him back.  I knew the importance of supporting the young men and women in training to serve our country.

He kept his word; today’s letter was proof of that.

If you’ve never held a letter from a loved one who serves, you might not understand the range of emotions a person goes through.

It’s a combination of joy and pride as memories of that person flood your mind.

The opening words made me laugh.  Fluffy was himself, as always.

For the record, he did remember my first name and did include it on the envelope.

My mama heart hurt as I read that he’d been pretty sick.  Poor kiddo.  I’m praying that my own letter will find him well.

His second page is what brought the rush of tears.

Just look at how much he’s grown already – the sage advice he’s offering to my current charges.

My face as I finished . . . well, it was a good thing that the Mr. and I had not made any dinner plans.

You know, just this morning, another teacher and I were lamenting the woes of teaching – the ridiculous mandates – the horrid VAM system, by which we are judged as worthy and capable teachers.

This letter, from the first word to the end, made me snap my head back where it belonged.

I chose this profession to help kids recognize their potential.

God has been so gracious to allow me to see the fruit of my labor, one child at a time.

Although Fluffy may not remember my first name, I’ll always remember his.

It’s imprinted on my heart forever.


I might have mentioned, a time or two, that my classes have been in test mode . . .




We had the FSA and SAT in October, the ACT in December, the FSA in February, and the SAT and FSA in March.

Lots and lots and lots of testing . . .

And waiting for results . . .

And rejoicing for those who made the required scores . . .

And encouraging those who were left behind when the others got schedule changes.

There have been many snacks purchased . . .

And toted to computer labs, to be doled out when kids start falling asleep . . .

I started the year with 180 students.

I’m down to 45, most of whom have passed one or more of the above-listed tests (some moved away or changed schools for various reasons).

This is what teaching in Florida has been reduced to, folks, and I can’t help but feel badly for the kids.

A week or two ago, I heard one of my girls say that she hadn’t been to class in days because she had been testing so much, and that she had no clue how to do the work that other students had been learning while she’d been gone.

Next week, our ninth and tenth graders will test.  My kids took their tests earlier, so they are getting a break, for a change.

I’m trying to take it easy on my students because, quite frankly, we are all test-tired.

They worked on a literature project last week, and this week, they are reading articles about artificial sweeteners.

My job – helping them with their reading skills – isn’t over yet because many of my kids will be taking the SAT in June, hoping to pass before the concordant score goes up in the next few months (I’ll be in a rage over this factoid very soon).

So, if you’re looking for me around 4pm each day, here’s how you’ll find me . . .

A Musical Hodgepodge

After a bit of a hiatus, I am back and excited to participate in this week’s Hodgepodge.  Thanks, Joyce, for posting these questions, even as you’re snuggling that precious grandson of yours!  Now, let’s get to my answers!

1.  April is National Jazz Appreciation Month. Are you a fan? If so what’s a favorite you’d recommend to someone new to jazz listening?

I can’t really say that I’m a fan.  I do appreciate music, but I don’t listen to jazz it and probably could only list out a few  musicians in this genre.

2.  Mandolin, ukulele, harp, accordion or banjo…which would you be most interested in learning to play? Or do you already play one of the instruments listed?

I think it would be fun to learn how to play the banjo.  Growing up in the South, I grew to love the sound of this instrument, and I always enjoy it when someone at church pulls one out for worship.

3.  Do you judge a book by it’s cover? Elaborate. You may answer in either/both the literal or figurative sense of the word.

I’m human, so I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I do, sometimes, judge a book by its color.

I think that teaching has changed this tendency, though.  A lot of my kiddos present tough exteriors as defense mechanisms.  I’ve learned that taking time to get to know them . . . to compliment them . . . to show them that I’m interested in them goes a long way and removes some of the walls they keep around their hearts.

As far as books and covers, well, there again I do judge them, initially, from how they look on the outside.  Let’s face it, folks.  Publishers need to help their writers market their books with eye-catching covers.  They are the first things that entice us to pick up their books and at least turn them over to read the blurbs on the backs.  I’ve often skipped over books (and have probably missed out on great plots) because the covers weren’t alluring enough.

As I said, I’m human.

4.  According to a recent study the ten most nutritious foods are-almonds, cherimoya (supposed to taste like a cross between a pineapple/banana), ocean perch, flatfish (such as flounder and halibut), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, swiss chard, pork fat (shocking! but I don’t think they mean bacon), beet greens, and red snapper. Are any of these foods a regular part of your diet? Any you’ve never ever tasted? Which would you be most inclined to add to your diet?

I would have to say that almonds and chia seeds are a regular part of my vegan diet.  I’ve never tasted cherimoya (sounds interesting), Swiss chard, perch, flatfish, beet greens, or red snapper.  I guess I’d be most inclined to add the fruit to my diet, if given the chance.

5.  Besides a major holiday what is the most recent thing you’ve celebrated with your people? Tell us how.

The most recent thing I’ve celebrated with my people was my birthday last month.  Chicky was on Spring Break, visiting a guy friend nearby, and drove over to eat dinner with us.

We went out to a popular Mexican restaurant . . . a local establishment that has divine food.

Unbeknownst to me, she arranged for a surprise after we’d finished.  Of course, we had to wear the special sombreros . . .

I was both mortified and entertained by this guy (I do not like to be the center of attention).  He certainly earned his keep, let me tell you.

The singing came with dessert, which I couldn’t really eat.  Chicky dug into it though.

The evening was definitely memorable!

6.  My Random Thought

So, while we’re on the topic of birthdays, allow me a moment to share what my sister gave me.

But first, the video of me opening it.  Excuse the hair (ahem) and lack of makeup.  I was about to go for my pre-work, o’dark’thirty walk – no fixing up required.

After I finally got it opened, I found this . . .

The Mr. had snuck into my jewelry collection and given her a list of the charms I already had.  Of course, he told me later that he had a hard time getting to the bracelet because I wear it almost every day.

Here’s a closer look at the charm . . .

It was the perfect gift given my love for books and my job as a reading teacher.

I discovered that it opened up and had a special message inside . . .

“Ignore the things you have to do and just enjoy a book or two.”

What a lovely addition to the other charms!

Dear Tuesday

Dear Tuesday,

No offense or anything, but I wish you were Saturday.

It’s only two days into the week, and I’m already dreaming of this . . .

Even though my testing is over, I’m still teaching all of the reading things because the kids I have left are awaiting their FSA test scores.

Let’s just say that while some of my students are enjoying my very relevant (ahem) lesson on artificial sweeteners, one of my classes is less than impressed, and that’s making for the longest 47 minutes EVER.

So, not to be ungrateful or anything, but seriously, don’t be mad that I want to fast forward.  It’s not personal because I feel the same way about Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Friday is like Saturday-Eve, so there’s a bit more love going on there and a whole lot of visualizing myself here  . . .

After walking when it’s not the butt crack of dawn . . .

Yours Truly,

A very tired teacher who’s officially on the countdown toward summer, when I can give Tuesday the love it deserves

It’s Been Awhile


Y’all.  Life.  It’s just been



Hence, my nearly six-week absence.


But the busy has been good, I promise.

It’s going to take me a week and a day to get you caught up, so why don’t I start where I left off.

And no, I’m no going to write everything in one post.


I think the first thing I want to talk about is my ankle.  My last post alluded to a final appointment I’d had with my surgeon.

That appointment took place February 9th, exactly two months ago today.

I took the afternoon off because my doctor is a solid two-hour drive away.  Of course, I stopped by Which Wich to grab lunch since, at the time, the one in my town had not opened yet.

I also ran by Shoe Station.  This store is my jam, y’all.  I like to buy my Vionic shoes there because I can use a store coupon.  These shoes are expensive, let me tell you.

Super Sis was supposed to meet me there, but she wound up having a meeting to attend, so I had to go solo.  I sent her pictures of the shoes I was trying on . . .

I was giggling when I found these shoes because, just that morning, I’d been thinking that I needed a silver pair.

Ask and ye shall receive.

I also found these adorable (and comfy) flip flops . . .

I didn’t know what to do . . . which pair to buy . . . because the struggle is always real when you’re shoe shopping . . .

I made it easy on myself and got both.

Then, I headed to my appointment.  I hoped that arriving early would result in getting in and out and, thus home, quicker.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.  I had to wait over an hour just to get back to a room and then about another thirty minutes for the doctor to come in . . .

Knowing that I had a two-hour drive ahead of me, in the dusk, was not an appealing thought.

But, and that’s a BIG but, my surgeon is amazing as is his nursing staff, so I put on a smile when he came in.

My surgeon has the best bedside manner.  He’s professional and patient and allows his patients to talk.

And boy do I talk.


After he walked in, he pulled up my new x-rays.

He told me that things looked great and asked how I was feeling.

I told him that the second surgery had really thrown me for a loop – that it was much harder than I’d expected.

He reiterated the fact that my injury had been quite serious.

It still seemed surreal – hearing him say that made me feel better about the aches and pains I was still going through because, if I can be frank, I had sometimes felt like a baby and that people sometimes felt like I was exaggerating my discomfort.  I’d heard at least one comment to that effect.

Then, we got down to business.

I had a few *cough* questions and a couple of concerns as I showed him my ankle . . .

That’s the incision on the inner part of my ankle – the incision I’d had problem with after my second surgery.

The outside incision looked really good though.

There was also the matter of the swelling, which wouldn’t go away . . .

Then, he pulled up a stool and grabbed my ankle, gently of course, and maneuvered it this way and that to check for range of motion.

I described how I’d taken a needle and drained the stitch abscess, per his nurse’s instructions, a few weeks prior.  However, there was still a stitch poking through the skin.  He took a closer look, got out a needle, and proceeded to try to coax it out.

He kept asking if he was hurting me, but honestly, after everything I’d been through since I broke it in 2016, the discomfort was minimal.  He wound up not being able to remove the stitch.  He gave me information about pulling it out if my body decided to expel it later (it had receded back into my incision).

We then went through my list of questions, and I learned that I could expect the swelling to continue for up to another year.



I asked what kinds of exercises I could do, and he gave me the ALL CLEAR for all exercises, including RUNNING!

He assured me that my diagnosis a few month prior of osteoporosis (have I shared this here yet?) would not affect my ability to run and that, in fact, running would be good for strengthening my bones.


I floated on air as I left.

Before I’d had the second surgery, I’d questioned my decision a bit, and I certainly wondered if I’d done the right thing after the surgery with all of the issues I dealt with.

I can say that I’ve seen a lot of progress in my recovery in the past few weeks.  I still have some pain, but most days, it’s at a two or a three.  I’ve had a couple of bad days here and there, but that’s so much better than having a bad day every day.

I am so thankful that God led me to this doctor and the orthopedic practice that took care of me.

I am still healing, but I can finally see light at the end of what has been a freakishly-long tunnel.

I am, as always, #findingjoyinthejourney.

%d bloggers like this: