One Last Note from Your Professor

Greetings soon-to-be teachers…it’s me again. Just popping in one last time to say thank you! 🤗

I couldn’t have asked for a better group of ‘Methods Year’ teacher candidates to end my teaching career with. We shared many laughs and many tears this year, didn’t we?

The laughs! Oh, I have so many joyful memories. Ready for it? Here it goes…tie the tie contest, welcome door décor, homecoming and singing “It’s SMSU,” getting to know the Thai grad students, attending MREA, a silent auction, having the best office helper ever, playing with Play Doh®, Dave Burgess Zoom visit, playing some serious Operation®, spontaneous ice cream date, random pictures because of a phone thief, retirement party, EMAE co-advisor, BeReal moments, hanging out, walking the hallways, visiting the outdoor classroom, learning a line dance, and your commencement. A year filled with laughter!

The tears! Oh yes…there were also some difficult days, weren’t there? I’m not sure if any of you follow Simon Sinek on Instagram. If you don’t, I highly recommend you check out his posts. I recently watched and listened to a short clip of him explaining how shared struggle can deepen our relationships with others. He comments and I quote, “When families go through tragedy, they get closer. When societies go through hurricanes…we support each other. It’s the same in our relationships. If you allow someone to sit and struggle with you, it actually deepens the relationship.” (Sinek, S. [@simonsinek]. 2023. Shared struggles [Highlight]. Retrieved April 24, 2023, from

When I heard Simon talk about this, I immediately thought of all of you and the ‘hurricanes’ we experienced this past year. We certainly shared struggles together throughout the 2022 – 2023 school year, didn’t we? I believe those difficult days strengthened us as human beings and strengthened our close-knit family relationship. From Dr. Lori’s passing in November to your endless expectations throughout this methods year, and then to the bittersweet moments of my retirement; we were like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. We sat together quietly ‘on the log,’ swinging our legs all while relying on each other to get us through the difficult days. The difficult days were a little bit easier because we knew we had someone there for us; we had each other. We came out on the other side stronger, bolder, braver, better, and self-assured because we did it, we made it through…together!

Thank you for sitting on the log with me!

As I’ve said several times this year, and I don’t say this lightly…I would be honored to have any one of you be my grandchildren’s teacher. And that says a lot about your character and about the teachers I know you will become!

Kudos to your parents! They did a phenomenal job at raising you! Thank you for allowing me to serve you and to be a part of your life! With gratitude in my heart, I wish you all the best! 🙌

Stay calm & Be EDU Rock Stars!
Prof 💖 Dr. Wendy

Teacher Candidates…Who Has Your Back?

Teacher candidates…who has your back?

Thirty six years ago, I was hired to teach third graders in my hometown where I had returned to live. A few short weeks after being offered a contract, an article came out in the local paper with the title: School Board Questions Principal’s Hiring Policy. I thought I was fired before I even got started. It scared me to death.  

The principal who hired me way back then, attended my retirement party a few days ago (thank you SO MUCH for coming 🙌). When I mentioned this memory to him, he smiled and asked if he had ever shared what he told the school board after they questioned him. I told him no, so he proceeded to tell me ‘the rest of the story.’

The school board members at that time wanted him to hire someone who did not live in the district because then the school could gain more tax revenue. He reminded those board members about their WHY for hiring him…to get the best teachers for the children of this district. He boldly instructed them to ask the parents of the district if they would like the best teacher for their children, OR, if they would prefer a mediocre teacher just so they could increase the tax revenue dollars. I guess that silenced the school board members immediately, and it was never discussed again.  

This principal had my back!

Being a novice teacher only in my second year, I sent an informational letter home to all parents that clearly stated my expectations and consequences for the students in my room that year. The last consequence and “worst case scenario” for challenging these expectations was “staying after school with the teacher for 20 minutes.” After receiving the letter, one parent went storming into the principal’s office strongly demanding that her daughter would NEVER stay after school. My principal’s response to this irate parent was astounding to me, “Then make sure your daughter follows all the expectations and she won’t have to.”

This principal had my back…again!

So, I ask you again teacher candidates…who has your back?

A thought to ponder! When you have finished your teacher prep program here at SMSU and you begin the excitement of searching for that first teaching job, remember this…not only are they interviewing you, but you are also interviewing them.

Usually at the end of interviews, the final question is “Do you have any questions for us?” Ask specific, clarifying questions during the interview. The difficulty with this is you don’t know what you don’t know. So what do you ask? Use your resources. Research the district. Reach out to others. Google great questions to ask during an interview.  What are some issues/ideas that are important to you? Do you want the district to have a mentoring program? Do you want more specifics on what your role will be in the grade level you are interviewing for? Are there extra duties you will be responsible for? How will you be supported? Just ask! Be different, be brave, be you, and just ask!

Just like when you were searching for a university to attend and you ‘just knew’ SMSU was the right fit for you (you ‘just knew’ SMSU was where you belonged 😉), it will be the same with your job search. You will ‘just know’ if the district is the right fit for you. Does it feel like this district will have your back? Do you just know it is where you belong? Pay close attention to your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, you have my permission to turn it down.

Teacher candidates…I know all of you are going to be phenomenal teachers because I’ve seen you grow into dynamic educators this past year. I know you desire to be the best of the best for the kids out there in classrooms. You are EDU rock stars and will change this world one school district, one classroom, one student at a time! Now…get out there and be champions for children! Have their backs, and always know I have yours! (And, principals…please have your teachers’ backs!).

Love you all!!! 🥰

Stay calm & Just Ask!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

Oh, the Places Mustang Educators Will Go… Part III

The Adventures of Dr. Wendy Schoolmeester

This is the last part of this blog series… Part II focuses on Mrs. Julie Kelly while Part III focuses on Dr. Wendy Schoolmeester, a retiring Professor of Education at Southwest Minnesota State University, where she was Mrs. Julie Kelly’s professor and mentor as an undergraduate teacher candidate. Today, we get to hear from Dr. Wendy as she reflects and respond to the same questions formerly posted to Ms. Devyn and Mrs. Kelly. 

Why SMSU? 
I choose SMSU because we have hands-on, in-the-classroom, real life teaching experiences from the semester you begin as a Freshman to the semester you walk across the stage and receive that hard-earned diploma. By offering these real teaching experiences, teacher candidates have the opportunity to hone their craft and soar to new heights as a teacher. SMSU facilitates our teacher candidates to go from good to great in their future education profession. 

Why the education profession? 
Because educators make a difference if the lives of young people. I believe education is the foundation for the future of these young people.  We guide our teacher candidates to help them thrive. One of my favorite quotes is by Rita Pierson and it rings true for all educators and is the why education is the best profession: “Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best they can be.”

Dr. Wendy and her children… her first year of teaching

What motivates you? 
Serving others, treating all people with unconditional regard, making a difference, hanging out with family and friends, teaching, singing, dancing, writing, drawing, coloring, camping, praying, reading, coffee, smiles, being creative in any way possible and more. 

What is your passion? 
Professional Passions: helping students know they are cared for, respected, and appreciated; assisting students to become the best educator they can be; being creative and thinking outside the box to develop engaging lessons and presentations. 

Content Passions: I love everything about teaching Children’s Literature and within this course there are several engaging lessons I am more passionate about than others. For example, I enjoy the genre of Poetry and Historical Fiction the most. Social Studies Methods is another course I truly enjoy. Sharing and role modeling creative instructional strategies and assessment methods are a favorite of mine. 

Personal Passion: My list of what motivates me is also my personal passions. Making connections with my students first, then teaching. Within my teaching I enjoy implementing my personal passions. 

Who is your role model? 
My dad is my role model. While my dad only made it through the 8th grade, he ended up being very successful as a Public Relations Manager for the Rural Electric Association (REA). He enjoyed people. I remember as a child reading the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie because my dad had it on his bookshelf.  He survived the ‘dirty thirties’ as a child because he was taught to make do with whatever he had. He also had grit and determination because he was electrocuted when he was in his mid 40’s. He lost part of his arm, leg, and fingers and had to fight through several painful surgeries while in the burn unit. My dad was full of wisdom because of his life experiences. Andy Rooney once said, “I’ve learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.” I may not have sat at my dad’s feet, but I did sit at his side and learned so much from him. 

Dr. Wendy & her father… 💖

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My oldest grandson is 11 so in 10 years I see myself sitting at his college graduation. 💙🎓🥰 I pray I’m healthy and enjoying life to the fullest. 

Dr. Wendy & her family

What advice do you have for aspiring educator Mustangs?
To be that champion for children. To truly care about them because “kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Develop those relationships with them. Get to know them on a more personal level. Use the 2 x 10 theory with as many students as you can. It’s a relationship building technique. Spend 2 minutes a day for 10 days consecutive days with an individual student to help you get to know that person on a deeper level. Never ever give up on your students. And give those young people your very best EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. They deserve nothing less than YOUR very best!

Dr. Wendy & Mrs. Julie (Pohlman) Kelly presenting on “Undergraduate Action Research at a Glance…” at the 2009 ASCD Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Dr. Wendy & Amanda Meyer (her office helper the past three years).

Dr. Wendy & her advisees

Dr. Wendy & Dr. Sonya… collaborative blog partners since 2014

This concludes the three-part blog focusing on the adventures of Mustang Educators: Ms. Devyn Coté, Mrs. Julie Kelly, and Dr. Wendy Schoolmeester. Their passion for education and people is felt around the world without a doubt. Each generation of Mustang educators continues to impact the next… the circle of education.

Stay calm & find adventures!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

Oh, the Places Mustang Educators Will Go… Part II –

The Adventures of Mrs. Julie Kelly

Part I of this blog series focused on the adventures of Ms. Devyn Coté, who found herself in Sweden based on an invitation from Mrs. Julie Kelly, who spoke with teacher candidates in a methods course the previous year by invitation of Dr. Wendy Schoolmeester. Mrs. Kelly’s enthusiasm for education was (and continues to be) amazing as she shares her passion for learning and teaching at her school. Mrs. Kelly is an alumna of SMSU, and is the principal of the Internationella Engelska Skolan Länna, where Ms. Devyn is student teaching.

Pictured (L to R): Mrs. Julie Kelly, Ms. Devyn Coté, & Ms. Holly Meyer (Ms. Devyn’s cooperating teacher)

Why SMSU? Why the education profession?

I chose both SMSU and education because I thought they would be “okay” options. Little did I know they would both be incredible and life-changing.

What motivates you? What is your passion?

My students motivate me. Each day I am reminded of how we as educators have a special opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives, and each day I am reminded that the small things I do, even as a principal, can eventually create a big difference.  

Recess wall sits with students

Who is your role model?

My staff. Each day, they face seemingly insurmountable challenges–global pandemics, nearby wars, political unrest, gang violence, changing educational policies–and they continue to show up with the students’ best interest in mind (and with positivity and energy). I could not do the work that I do without the phenomenal team around me, and they inspire me on days I feel down to re-focus on the kids and my love for them.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

Making a difference. I want to ensure that whatever I am doing, I am making a difference in society. I never limit myself by setting time frames, but instead guide my work with the impact I am able to make. If I can make a positive impact, I am in the right place!

What advice do you have for aspiring educator Mustangs?

Take a chance. Try the job that is out of your comfort zone. Take a trip that frightens you. Stop focusing on collecting things or checking things off life’s to-do list and start collecting experiences. I promise, you won’t regret it!

Living Life

Mrs. Julie Kelly is a passionate Mustang educator, who is changing the world one learner at a time… much like another passionate Mustang educator we know. Wait for Part III of Oh, the Places Mustang Educators Will Go: The Adventures of Dr. Wendy Schoolmeester. 

Stay calm & find adventures!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

Oh, The Places Mustang Educators Go…Part I

The Adventures of Ms. Devyn Coté

This is a three-part series focusing on three Mustang educators and their adventures.

Recently, I found myself navigating in a new city in search of something. It was actually more like in search of someone in some place. I was adventuring to see Ms. Devyn Coté, SMSU teacher candidate, student teaching in Länna, Sweden just a short drive south of Stockholm. I had never been to Sweden so this was a fortunate opportunity for me to visit a new place and a different school system. It was exhilarating and exhausting all at once. The rational part of me thought that perhaps this was not the ideal time to visit given the immense amount of work and responsibilities that this time of year brings – some usual and some not so usual like adopting new standards to overhaul our teacher preparation program alongside a number of searches for new hires as well as the completion of LETRS – Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling training and deadlines looming for writing projects…the list seems to go on. Also, raise your hand if you are a mom of a graduating high school senior. (That’s me.)

You get the idea… BUSY! That is the exact reason I chose to go. Life is short and learning opportunities surround us, but we have to agree to the challenge to just go and grow.

Recently I was reminded by a colleague and friend that life doesn’t get any easier. We just get better at harder. We learn to juggle a little more, juggle a little better, and be better. I could make this visit work alongside everything else that needed to happen and be accomplished.

If you need to be reminded of handling hard better, check out Kara Lawson’s “Handle Hard Better” speech as she reminds the players on the Duke Women’s Basketball team of the expectation to handle hard better. 

So did I make it to find Ms. Devyn Coté? You bet. Ms. Devyn is most certainly brave to accept the challenge to teach abroad, and she continues to learn how to handle hard better as well. I am thankful for the opportunity to visit Ms. Devyn in Sweden and learn about Sweden as well as the International English School.

I asked Devyn to consider the following questions, and this is what she shared with me. 

Why Southwest Minnesota State University? Why the education profession?
Ever since I was a child myself, I have been around children. I started babysitting from the age of 11 and still do it to this day. When someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, there were many answers that I gave such as baker, nurse, neonatal intensive care nurse, day-care provider, etc. These professions were across the board because there are many things that I would have liked to think of myself doing. I originally ended up heading to Normandale Community College (in my hometown) for nursing. After a year of doing nursing courses, I soon realized that it was not for me. I had no idea what I was going to do after. I then signed up for business classes because it is a very broad career path and many options that come out of it. I did one semester of that and absolutely disliked it. During all this, starting from my sophomore year of high school, I was working at my old elementary school as a before and after school activities assistant. I got to see a lot of my old teachers from when I went there but also see the new generation that is growing up in the same hallways that I did. I think just one day I realised that I should be a teacher. I have always loved kids and being around them that it just made sense for me to go into the path of education. How I ended up at SMSU is a little bit of a funny story. I have four older siblings. They each went to their own universities, and I needed a transfer college that would take in the courses I had already taken for credit towards my bachelor’s degree. I researched online all the options through the MinnState program and SMSU is the one that I had never really heard of but saw great opportunities with the education department. I had decided to apply, then was accepted for their education program, and found an apartment before ever even stepping foot in Marshall, MN in my entire life. I wanted to go off and do my own thing, and I can proudly say this was the best decision I could have made. 

What motivates you? What is your passion?
My family and role models motivate me the most. I have always had such a strong connection with all of my teachers growing up that they inspire me to be the best for my future students just like they were for me. My family motivates me a ton because all of my siblings are older. I am the youngest of five children and each and every one of them have made an impact of who I am and what I am doing. My biggest supporter, my mom, has guided me through everything. My supporters, friends, family, colleagues, past and present teachers have all inspired me to continue along this journey of becoming the best educator I can possibly be. One of the pictures is me with my 5th grade teacher whom she’s known me since I was 2 weeks old and am still in contact with to this day. My passion for working with student all comes down to building the relationships with them. I believe that a student will not learn from a teacher they do not like. It does not matter the size of puzzle a student may be, my goal as a future educator is to get to know the students so I can better their education with things they enjoy and can relate to. How will the students be able to learn if they do not get that connection from home life to student life? I believe that all students can learn, and as educators, we need to help personalize the instruction for every child to learn best. My passion lies in the outcome of hard days as well as the days that go by too quickly. Every student has their own personality and I enjoy bringing that out when it comes to teaching. The best feeling in the world is when a student finally gets ‘how to’ do something and that lightbulb clicks on. That is my passion. 

Who is your role model?
I have a ton of role models for all different reasons. My mom is my first and biggest role model because she has taught me to never give up. Stick with it, run with it, and live your life to the fullest. She has been there for me with every decision I make and continues to help me along to this day. My older sisters are also huge role models in my life. They are always there for me whenever I need, and they are incredible moms to their little ones. My oldest brother and I are a ton alike and he always tells me how it is. He urges me to do what I want with my life and pushes me to be the best version of myself. My other older brother was my best friend all throughout school and we could not be separated. He has encouraged me to do what I am passionate about and how to make the most of what life brings you. My other role model in life is my nanny mom back home. She is a businesswoman who has always encouraged me to stand up for myself and know my worth. She never lets me back down out of an opportunity and urges me to go for it no matter what. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
I see myself teaching 10 years down the road working on my administrations license or something close to it. I would love to say that I see myself still being abroad, but also have no idea where life will take me. If not abroad, I would love to see myself either back in Minnesota or somewhere just a little bit warmer. I would love to have a family and take them traveling in the summers to see what the amazing world has to offer. From going abroad, and seeing the world in a new perspective, I have set off a light in me that just wants to see more of it. The education world has also inspired me to see how different countries have set their educational standards up for their students and incoming generations. In 10 years, I would love to say I have or am teaching in a couple more countries to experience different atmospheres and bring in what they do. 

What advice do you have for Mustang aspiring educators? 
My advice for aspiring educator mustangs would be this: 

  1. Take your time. Life is not a race. Focus on where you are at before rushing through your college years. It can be hard not to just think about your future and what your classroom will look like, and don’t get me wrong, it still matters, but enjoy the classroom you are sitting in at the moment.
  2. Find a mentor at SMSU. The professors are there for your success and want to see you succeed no matter what. Work hard, do your assignments, show up, and be the best version of yourself.
  3. Be open to the change that happens in every single classroom you step into. The classrooms you enter are there for you to take and learn from those students and mentor teachers. 
  4. Being a teacher, you are never ‘the best’ at what you do. Be open to the professional development opportunities that might occur as the education world is ever changing. The students deserve just as much learning from the teacher as the teacher is giving back to them. 

How did Ms. Devyn find herself in Sweden on this adventure you ask?
Wait for Part II of Oh, the Places Mustang Educators Will Go: The Adventures of Mrs. Julie Kelly.

Stay calm & find adventures!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

Tame the Tongue!

I feel nudged to ask a serious question… When we don’t agree with or are ‘offended’ by something someone did or something someone said, does that give us the right to be cruel? To use our words to break down a person? I’m hopeful all of you would agree this is not okay!

Why is it then that ‘word’ meanness appears to be ‘okay’ and acceptable on social media? I will never ever understand this or any kind of meanness or cruelty!

No surprise that there is a chapter in the bible dedicated to this word meanness. James 3 is titled Taming the Tongue! Something ALL of us could use help with! Parts of this chapter read something like this:

A small bit can move a large horse.

A small rudder can move an enormous ship.

A small spark can set a whole forest on fire.

Our tongue is small but it is mighty. It can corrupt our whole person!

In the picture above, Toby Mac says it perfectly, “Be careful with your words! The tongue has no bones but is strong enough to break a heart.”

Why are we breaking hearts with our words? Especially on social media? WHY? In my humble opinion, people, there is no place for this. Agree with the bible…

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:9-10

So, may I ask a favor? Before sharing our strong opinions about something on social media, let’s give it some serious thought, and let’s please pause before we post! Because we all need help taming our tongue! We’ve all made mistakes in life. God certainly knows I have! So, please…let’s stop condemning others with our words when these human beings may or may not have made decisions we don’t like. Let kindness prevail!

Thanks in advance for considering this challenge. 🙏

Stay calm & Speak Life!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

A Grandma’s Lesson on Perspective

Dear Educator…just yesterday I learned an entirely different perspective from my 7-year-old grandson about the 100th Day of School activity of dressing up like an ‘old’ person. Please know I mean no disrespect to any of you reading this who have already done this or are planning to do this activity. Seeing Instagram or Facebook posts with you all dressed up as a centurion has given me a few giggles. So, I ask you, please read with an open mind because this lesson on perspective comes from a first grader.  🙌💙

Yesterday would have been my grandson’s 100th Day of School celebration. My daughter even bought a few items to help with making him look like a 100-year-old man. On Sunday evening, Tyus told his mom he didn’t want to dress up. She said that was okay.

Monday morning before heading to school, my grandson told his mom one more time that he did not want to dress up. She said that was fine, but she would put the items she bought for him in his backpack just in case he changed his mind when he got to school. He assured her, “I don’t want to bring it with because I don’t want to dress up. I’m sorry, Mom, that you wasted your money.”

My daughter told him he didn’t need to apologize and that she will make sure to ask him next time if he wants to participate in the class activity.  

Monday evening, he shared with his mom why he didn’t want to dress up like an old person. Below is the text message I received from my daughter last night…

My grandson shared with his mom, “Mom, dressing up like old people is sad. It made me think of Great Grandpa Eddie and he died when he was old.”

Tyus has an old soul and doesn’t like teasing or causing heartache or making fun of others with jokes. He has a kind heart, and I love that about him.

And that, teachers, is why my 7-year-old grandson chose not to dress up. Isn’t this an interesting perspective on dressing up for the 100th Day Celebration? I did read an article asking for this to stop. Some comments at the end of the article bashed the authors because ‘they’ve never been in the classroom,’ or to ‘lighten up, they are just kids.’

I get it. I’m a teacher and I’m positive I would have joined all of you in this activity. Goodness, I just helped my niece find items for her daughter to dress up on February 13 for her daughter’s 100th Day of School celebration. It’s just now I have been handed a different pair of glasses and will forever see this activity differently. I told my teacher candidates today to remember not all students will want to participate in all activities and that is okay. Respect that.

This kind of makes me want to ask the elderly what they think. I’m confident most elderly won’t care one bit. They will think it is hilarious. However, maybe, just maybe others won’t find the humor in it because they do not want to be reminded of their unwanted aging. Hard to say. The only way to find out is to ask.

Tyus…thank you for teaching Grandma an important lesson, and for reminding me to listen to and respect different perspectives. Big hugs, buddy!

Stay calm & Honor the Aging!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

Shh…This is a QUIET Blog

I’ve realized the older I get, the more I yearn for quiet. A few synonyms for quiet are tranquil, calm, peaceful, serene, still, silent, and hushed. When I think of watching gigantic snowflakes falling from the sky for the first time each winter, I think peaceful. There’s a quiet beauty in that.

When I think of soft jazz playing on the radio, I think calm. Music soothes my soul.

When I think of my accidental pink hair color years ago, I think still. The shock of pink reflecting in the mirror left me speechless.

And, when I think of the train rolling by at bedtime during my childhood, I think of hushed. Once the train arrived, the continual sound of the wheels on the tracks lulled me to sleep. 

There is a charming children’s book called The Quiet Book that explains nicely what quiet might be. “There are many kinds of quiet: Quiet can be delicate. Quiet can be thundering! Quiet can be sweet and cozy, and can most definitely help you fall asleep.”

I couldn’t agree more. Below are a few examples of my quiet:

Early morning devotions quiet;

Reflecting on my teaching quiet;

Listening to the Chris Rice station on Pandora quiet;

Losing a colleague quiet;

Sitting by the campfire quiet;

Birds singing in the early morning quiet;

Admiring the sunrise quiet;

Waiting for the thunder after the lightning strike quiet;

Prayer time quiet;

Grandchildren playing quiet;

Snow blizzard quiet;

Reading a book with a cup of tea quiet;

Decision making quiet;

Inner beauty quiet.

In the bible, 1 Peter, Chapter 3 verse 4, Peter mentions we should desire “to be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” I want that! I want that quiet spirit. I long for the Lord to quiet my tongue, my anger and frustrations, my inner turmoil, and my emotions. Then maybe my quiet spirit within will ignite so my inner beauty can shine brightly for Him.

The older I get, the more I am finding beauty in the many kinds of quiet. I pray you do too. “Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life…” ~Khaled Hosseini

Quiet my sadness

Quiet my tears;

Quiet my worries

Quiet my fears.

Stay calm & Find Your Quiet!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V.   

Underwood, D. (2010). The quiet book. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co, New York, NY.

Pour Some Love Over Others

Devotions in the quiet early morning hours by the Christmas tree lights and fireplace is a favorite part of my days in December. A few days ago, while reading one of the devotions, I discovered a bible verse I was unfamiliar with. This verse from the Psalms touched my heart in so many ways.

Psalm 42:8 reads “All day long God’s promises of love pour over me.” That kind of love made me think of Jesus being born in a manger for one purpose only; to live a flawless life then die for me, for us, so our sins will be forgiven. We can receive the best gift ever…the gift of eternal life in Heaven. All we have to do is accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Wow! Love sure poured down at Christmas time, didn’t it? I believe that.

This verse also made me think of my sweet friend who recently lost her battle with mental illness. A few months ago, she came happily bounding up the office stairs and was in such a chipper mood. She shared with me that she had just heard a new song on the Christian radio station and loved it.

“Something about fill my cup,” she said as she grinned from ear to ear.

“Oh, yes! Fill My Cup by Andrew Ripp. I heard him in concert just a month ago. He is married to a gal from around here. Isn’t that awesome?” I replied to her.

“Made me think of the song Red Solo Cup, Fill Me Up,” she laughed.

That comment took us on a YouTube hunt for the country song and we listened to it while dancing and giggling right there in her office. I’m sure everyone else who were in their offices that morning thought we were a little on the goofy side. But, I’m sure it brought a smile to the faces of those who heard us.

My beautiful friend loved Jesus.  Because of His gift of salvation and eternal life, I am 100% sure I will see my friend again. I am missing her this Christmas! However, I know she is in her glory and spending Christmas with Jesus.

I’m Spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this Year (author unknown)

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below

With tiny lights, like Heaven’s stars, reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, wipe away that tear

For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear

But the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here

For I have no words to tell you the joy their voices bring

It is beyond description to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, but please remember dear;

That I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I cannot tell you of the splendor of the peace inside this place.

Can you imagine Christmas with our Savior, face-to-face?

I will ask Him to light your spirit as I tell Him of your love.

So then pray for one another as you lift your eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful and let your spirit sing

For I am spending Christmas in Heaven

And walking with the King!

Are you missing a loved one this Christmas too? Please know I’m thinking of you, pouring out my love over you, and lifting you up in prayer.  Merry CHRISTmas, friend❣

Stay calm & Pour some love over others!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V.   

Jesus Took the Wheel and Drove Her Home

Dear Lori…I love you with all my heart and I will miss you immensely. 💔

I will miss our fun-loving bantering back-and-forth between our offices. I will miss the walks in the hallway and the walks around the track. I will miss eating our peanut butter pops together. I will miss the tears and laughs we shared and our talking out loud to ourselves then yelling to each other “you talking to me?” I will miss our outings together such as snowshoeing, golfing, or hiking monument trails. I will miss your benevolent smile, your wisdom, and your giving heart. I will miss our visits about our faith…our Jesus talks. I will miss hearing the stories about your family and the love you had for your husband, children, parents and brother. I will miss hearing you say “Jesus take the wheel,” and “oh, my lanta,” which you and I both picked up from my daughter.

I giggle when I remember our recent trip to Brainerd with seven SMSU Aspiring Educators. You chuckled when you shared with us the story of your resort room missing a few essentials such as a shower curtain, coffee pot, iron, and hangers. You never once complained about these glitches. You handled it with such grace! This impressed my daughter, and it impressed the students you were mentoring.

The SMSU Aspiring Educators adored you and were appreciative of all you did for them and for the knowledge you shared. You touched their lives more than anyone will ever realize. The letter and pictures below are from three of the seven:

You have been a light for me the past 2.5 years, Lori, and I thank Jesus for introducing us and putting our offices right next to each other. Oh, if our office walls could talk.

I love you, Lori.  As our mutual friend said to me after we learned of your unexpected passing away, “Gosh, I just cannot even imagine the GLORY she is seeing right now. There is NO joy in death, but Praise Jesus…He has overcome death.” And as my six year old grandson said to his mom, “Mom, she is WITH Jesus. She is so lucky. I know grandma is sad, but her friend is WITH Jesus.”

Jesus took the wheel and drove you home, Lori! I know where you are, and I’ll see you again someday, sweet friend❣❣

Stay calm & Hug a Friend!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V.