Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive

Hey, You...Get Off of My Cloud!
If you do, "I Will Survive" (and you will too)
But if you get too close "I'll Fly Away!"
(Sorry....just a little "beer virus" humor!)

Isolation is for the birds….well, guess that’s not true.  They seem to be flying around rather freely these days!  Sure wish I could.  I am doing my best to stay away from as many people as possible, not only so that I will be following the rules set up by my local and state governments; but also because it’s the best thing for my health since I have asthma.  I want to protect myself and my family as much as possible, but it sure is hard not to get out and see people.   I did go out to the cemetery for a few minutes, but I wasn’t worried about anyone there giving me those evil germs.   So…what have I been doing while in prison isolation?

One of my least favorite jobs….cleaning out flower beds.  We are planning on relandscaping some areas but won’t be able to get the plants until after all this craziness is over.  By then it might be winter!

HOMESCHOOLING.  One grandchild is in 10th grade and the other is in 8th, and let me tell you….what is being taught these days is soooooo much harder than when I was in school.  In fact, I’m not sure I would have ever graduated if I had to do all that they do.  I mean, I know we learned about cells but I’m pretty sure we didn’t have to learn the names and definitions of all the hundreds zillion different cells swimming around in our bodies.  

I have a Master’s degree but sometimes I honestly have no idea about some of the things they are learning.  I am helping them when possible (and they both have called on me a few times these past two weeks), but doing school online can be very difficult when you are used to having a teacher and the structure of a classroom.  My grandchildren are hanging in there, but I know many children don’t have anyone at home directing their path and keeping them focused.  Please pray for them...and for their teachers who truly care.

I have organized closets (color coordinated), cleaned out cabinets, and found dust bunnies I didn’t even know I had.  Guess there are at least a few positive outcomes of this devil's handiwork.

 Another positive outcome has been that in many homes, parents are spending more time with their children than they are normally able to.  Have you seen the new game going around…the one that pulls parent and child together as they travail their town looking for TEDDY BEARS in windows, behind trees, or hiding in bushes?  We are doing it in our little town and one friend recently reported finding over 235!!!!  But it’s not only fun for the young, because two “oldies” whose name I won’t mention jumped on our their golf cart and went looking too😊  Such a fun way to soothe some cabin fever and the “I’m bored” syndrome.   (And yes, my sweet teddy is sitting in his own little chair on the front porch!)

Of course, I’m reading, doing crosswords, walking in the neighborhood (keeping my distance from any other walkers), and finishing up some projects that have been on the back burner for awhile.  Things like cleaning out my computer files and favorites, making out menus, and going through mountains a few recipes I’ve collected.  If only I could get to Wal-Mart to pick up some spray paint, I would be painting up a storm!  I am not a “sitter”….I have to constantly be doing something.  I am beginning to understand how those poor animals in cages at the zoo feel    

One negative of this whole situation is that by staying home I am doing way too much of this…..

and none of this.      

I’ve hidden the bathroom scales for now!!!!!

Another positive in all this sadness and fear is that GOD still knows how to put on His spring nature show.  The azaleas and dogwoods are blooming and so I get to enjoy those as I walk the neighborhood.  And once again a sweet little cardinal couple is building their nest in the candlier on our front porch.  If the mean old cats or some other unwelcome visitor doesn’t bother them, we will get to enjoy waiting for the eggs to hatch and then watching mama and daddy feed their little ones.  Definitely something to look forward to!

I am 70 years old young and so I don’t have any memories of the Great Depression or WWI or II.  I do remember having those drills in school during the Cold War where we had to dive under our desks when the alarm was sounded…and I remember my neighbor digging this HUGE hole in his backyard that I was hoping was going to be a neighborhood swimming pool but instead was a fallout shelter.  (This worried me tremendously…thinking that if the worst happened his family would be safe inside that shelter while my family was annihilated!)  But other than that (which turned out to be nothing) I have never seen or really even imagined anything like what we are going through today.  I can’t help but ask, "Is this God's wake-up call for all of us?"      I am so tired of seeing and hearing people from our highest government to my local community argue, put down each other, and just be plain mean.  I’m not trying to say I know what God is up to, but I am praying that maybe, just maybe, at least some of our world will now appreciate the blessings we have and learn to live in love and peace with all people.

I pray that you and your family and friends are safe and well, and I ask that you pray for my family and me too.  WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER... if we just love one another, care for one another, and PRAY PRAY PRAY!     Keep washing those hands and distancing yourself….go clean out some closets and find some dust bunnies to sweep away.  This too shall pass.

Sunday, March 15, 2020


If you are like me (and most of America), you have concerns about what is going on all around us.  Not only are we faced with an unknown virus for which there is no vaccine or medicines to cure it; but we are also faced with empty shelves at our local grocery and big box stores, feeling the need & urgency to hunker down and quarantine ourselves and our families, and a lot of fear for what will happen next. 
This morning before church I was watching the news on TV (I really need to stop doing that), and they were showing how people were actually fighting and beating each other over toilet paper and bottled water!  One shopper even grabbed a wine bottle, broke it, and then used it to stab another shopper!  Much of the world’s sanity and decency have seemed to go by the wayside.  As I watched what had transpired on the TV, I began to cry and to feel the need to pray; so I sat down at my computer and prayed and typed.  I sometimes write down my prayers because it helps to keep me focused and my mind doesn’t go off on tangents!  I shared this prayer with my Sunday School class, and I thought I would share it with you also.  I know God has got this virus and HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS, but I have to admit I have moments of fear and anxiety.  I need HIM, I need HIS love and grace, I need HIS calm in the face of the storm.


First of all I come to you this morning thanking you for all the many blessings you bestow on us each day, especially your LOVE & GRACE.  But, dear Lord, I also come to you this a.m. with a heavy heart.  Our country, our world is going through a crisis like none most of us have ever seen or even imagined.  We are frightened, we are at times discouraged, we are struggling to stay calm in a chaotic time.  Although we know that you are always in control, some of us struggle with keeping our faith strong, some of us are living in such fear that we may not be making the best decisions….and we need YOU, Lord, to help calm our fears and to guide us through the days & weeks ahead.

I ask God that you will keep us safe, that you will help each of us to do our parts in ending this crisis.  I ask you that we put all selfishness and greed aside and that we remember those around us who may need our help.  Lead us and guide us to do your will through all of this.  Help us to set good examples for our children and grandchildren as we know that how we behave in a crisis may set a precedent for them.  Watch over our older citizens and those with chronic diseases; help us to not take up valuable time and resources that they may need.  Help us to be mindful of all those we live among.

I ask, God, that you bless our country financially.  Knowing that our economy has been and will continue to be hurt by this at least for awhile, we ask that you help us to be good stewards of our monies and our supplies, yet also generous.

I ask that you watch over our doctors, nurses, and health workers; that you will keep them safe and healthy and that you will richly bless them for their sacrifices.  I ask that you bless those who are searching for a vaccine and that you will sustain them with your strength as they work with urgency and without rest.

I ask that you bless our president and all world leaders as they try to figure out what is best for our world.  I ask that you would help all our government officials to put aside their desire to best the other party or their opponents.  Help them to come together to lead our country and to set an example for all of us.

And finally, dear Lord, I ask you to put on each and every heart the desire to help each other, to share with each other, to put aside all thoughts of “self above all else”….help us to look to you for peace, comfort, and grace.  Bless not only our country, but all countries…help us to keep our eyes on YOU, the giver and sustainer of life and all that we have.  Take away our fears and fill our hearts with faith, hope, & love.    AMEN.

May you and your families stay well; may your faith remain strong; may God Bless America and the world.                                                                           
Love,                                                                                                 Cheri                                

Friday, March 6, 2020


 When I began my career as an Early Childhood educator, my principal assigned me a mentor teacher named Jeannette A.  She had already been teaching for a few years…and by the way, she was just a natural born teacher.  Jeannette was my life saver that year…she taught me all the things that I wasn’t taught in a college classroom.  When she breathed in, I breathed in; when she breathed out, I breathed out.  I followed her every move, and I was so very wise to do so.  Even now that we are both “old” and retired, she is still a very, very dear friend.  Jeannette was my MARIGOLD. 

MARIGOLDs are those little flowers in the daisy family that usually have yellow or orange blooms; and did you know if you plant them in your garden alongside your vegetables, those vegetables will grow big and strong and healthy?  They also protect many plants from pesky insects and weeds.  It’s as if the plants are loved & protected by their MARIGOLDs and they respond to that love & protection.

But people can be MARIGOLDs too.  Those MARIGOLDs are the friends that stand by us through thick or thin; the friends who love us warts and all; the friends who encourage us to be our best.


Smart gardeners plant MARIGOLDs alongside their vegetables, but smart gardeners also know you should NOT plant a garden next to a WALNUT TREE.  These trees contain a chemical known as juglone which can “deprive sensitive plants of needed energy for metabolic activity."  The plants can wither and wilt and their growth can be stunted; they can even die.  WALNUT TREEs can be like poison to your garden.

But people can be WALNUT TREEs  too.  Those trees are the “friends”, family members, neighbors, or coworkers who “poison” you with their negativity, their jealousy, their everyone is out to get you or their nothing is ever good enough attitude.  WALNUT TREEs discourage rather than encourage; drag you down instead of lift you up; and want you to be just as unhappy and miserable as they are.


Over the 40 1/2 years I was a teacher, I worked alongside many MARIGOLDs but also a few too many WALNUT TREEs.  The MARIGOLDs loved the kids and their jobs in spite of how hard and tiring it was some days.  The MARIGOLDs encouraged the other teachers around them, they supported each other on good days and bad, they saw the good in every child. I had so many wonderful MARIGOLDs that loved me and taught me to give my all each and every day.  Thank you Jeannette, I. Archer, G. Dunn, D. Davis, Mrs. G., Jean, Debbie, Susan, Bonnie and many others.

Sadly, the WALNUT TREES did nothing without complaining, failed to find any joy in who or what they taught, and tried to drag everyone around them down to their miserable state of being.  I won't name any names.


I want to encourage others rather than discourage them; I want to help them rather than condemn them for where they have failed; I want to give love to those who feel unloved; I want to lift up rather than tear down; I want to see the good in others and sew seeds of kindness; I want to share smiles with those who have lost theirs; I want to forgive and help others to forgive themselves.


WALNUT TREES ARE POISON. Avoid them whenever you can. If you don’t, they will start to infect you, and soon you’ll hate your life as much as they hate theirs.  Pray for the WALNUT TREES; set an example for them.

Be a MARIGOLD and watch those around you blossom and maybe become a MARIGOLD too. 

So….are you a MARIGOLD or a WALNUT TREE?