Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Good Friend Helps in Times of Struggle

There really are no words to describe the special connection between a grandparent and a grandchild. Jokingly, grandparents tease by saying, “If only we could have had the grandchildren first.” 😉

Grandmas and grandpas learn so much from their grandchildren. A few lessons we’ve learned from our four grandkids are:

   ❤ Becoming a better listener,

   ❤ Cultivating patience,

   ❤ Awakening curiosity,

❤ Staying active,

   ❤ Finding joy in the simple things,

   ❤ Laughing and having great fun, and…

   ❤ Discovering having great fun is A LOT of work the older we get. 😜

Not only do grandparents learn from their grandkids, our grandchildren learn from us. I think of my hubby who has more patience than anyone I know. He is a great role-model for this character trait. He also loves to do projects, so he invites the grands to explore and create with him.

We can also teach our grandchildren about our faith. I had this opportunity arise recently.

Camping is something we love to do. When the grandchildren can’t come to the camper, then we bring the camper to our grandkids.

A few weekends ago was filled with tons of camping activities. One of those was swimming. The grands were going to get their swimsuits on. My granddaughter and I were in the camper and no rooms were available to get dressed with privacy. I offered to hold up a blanket for her while she changed clothes. She accepted.

About three minutes had passed and I asked her how she was doing. She responded she was almost done. I told her I was thankful because my arms were getting tired from holding up the blanket. This brought a bible story to mind so I shared it with her while I continued to hold up the blanket and she finished dressing.

“Sibyl, this reminds me of a story in the bible. Have you heard the story of Moses holding up his staff?”

“I haven’t, Grandma.”

“Moses was leading his people to freedom. While they were traveling, they ran into some people who wanted to fight them. Moses had a staff, or a big stick, that God had given him to use to protect them. When Moses held up this staff, his people were winning the war against the bad guys. When he lowered his arms and the staff, they would start to lose. Two of his friends saw how hard it was for him to hold up his arms for that long so they went to him to help him out. His friends found a spot for him to sit down, and then one friend stood on one side of Moses, and the other friend stood on the other side. They held up his arms for him. Moses and his people won the battle. Isn’t that a great friend to have, Sibs?”

“It is, Grandma.”

“I have a friend like that. I know my friend would help me out and support me whenever I really needed the help. I hope you find a friend or two like that, Sibs.”

“Me, too, Grandma. I’m done.”

Down went the blanket and, off to the pool we went.

Grandchildren bring so much love and hope and joy to our lives. Hopefully we grandparents bring a little of those things to theirs too (with a lot of spoiling to boot). There is no better gift than the special connection we have with each grandchild. Let’s never stop sharing our faith with them.

Stay Calm & Share Your Faith!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V.   

And… Go Up, Up, Up

Go Up, Up, Up

It took some time, but we finally watched the film, Clouds, a story about Zach Sobiech‘s life. It was a heartwarming, tear-jerking, awakening reminder all at once. We need to keep living and loving each precious day. It is a reminder of Carter for sure. A lot like Zach’s story, Carter lived a short but full life with lessons for us all to live, laugh, and love each day we are given.

It seems like just yesterday and a lifetime ago all at once. We see and HEAR you clearly yet. The sad memories remain but the memories of living and loving are stronger.

Resharing as we honor Carter’s memory today and always…

Today I want to share about Carter – the following Eulogy was shared at his funeral.  Please excuse the ramblings and copyright infringements.

For those of you who know our family well, you know that we are a tight-knit group…who happen to be a little competitive. We have a “Who’s the Smartest” contest that has been going on for years. We each take a turn at being the brilliant one. When Wade informed me that I was unanimously voted to give the Eulogy for Carter Joseph – pointing out that I still wasn’t the smartest – I was left speechless. This would be no small undertaking – share about this boy, this young man who as his mother put it “his soul was too big for this body.” How could I possibly do that? Even though I am rarely at a loss of words… I prayed to God to give me the words. I received these words from family and friends – from all of you really – and realized that I had found the words:    …but just in case though – Big brother William has my back.

Carter left this earth at the young age of 14, but he had lived and loved with a passion beyond his years.

If only we had a little bit more time
If only we had a little bit more time with you
We could go up, up, up
And take that little ride
We’ll sit there holding hands
And everything will be just right.

We know from scripture –
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
And there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.
Revelation 21:4

Carter would be rather upset to say it politely that we are all sad. As he told his mom over the past year and a half …and on his last day. “Will you stop crying, please?!” We know the clouds are here with us today, and there will be days like that, but we know the sunshine is somewhere up there, too.  This is kind of perfect because his dad liked to call him sunshine.

Today we have some of his cousins sharing a little bit of his sunshine:

What can I say? The kid liked basketball with a passion. From his plethora of facts and critiques of the professionals to his love of the 3-point shot, this baller had a finesse on the court and in life.

Carter was a bright light for us. He had a contagious smile and sense of humor we will never forget. His sense of shoe-style and team pride will not be lost. He is our team leader and goes before us.

His cousins, Jackson, Jonah, Jesse, & Tori carry his prized possessions from this world:
Jackson – carries Carter’s signed basketball – he loved this game and we knew even at a young age he was given a gift from God… although Jackson reminded me that he tried to turn it into hockey – that just wasn’t his game and gift. Carter loved to practice and play – whether alone or with his teams.

Tori – carries his Duke jersey and his signed poster from Duke’s Coach K. Carter had a love for Duke basketball that no one could deny. Not even Carolina-lovers, right Uncle Dustin?
Although Carter didn’t get to live out his dreams fully –his reach made it to his dreams with the signed poster from Coach K and the signed ball from Stephen Curry.

Jonahcarries Carter’s signed ball from Curry, wearing his jersey. Carter wasn’t able to Make-A-Wish, but Coach K and Steph Curry know of him and supported him.

Jessecarries the basketball that represents Carter always being told “Stop bouncing that ball in the house.” Sorry about this part, Father Paul… Carter talked to God about this and got the ok.
Well today – we hope and pray he is bouncing the ball in His house. We are positive that Carter is keeping God busy with questions and ballin’ it up.

More than even basketball, Carter loved his family and friends. One of his all-time fav foods was Nana’s pancakes.
Wyatt –carries forward the pancake bowl used to make so so so many batters of pancakes. Nana tried to get us to represent with a nice glass measuring bowl, but that is not what we knew growing up so it simply wouldn’t do. Sorry – Mom.
Carter loved going to Grandma & Grandpa’s farm for breakfast, and it was whip-cream-with-a-cherry-on-top if there happen to be a pie and 4-wheelers involved…or driving along the countryside.

Really this bowl represents so much more than food. It represents the love of family.

Carter lived and loved his final vacation at the Geske lake-home with his whole family surrounding him with love, humor, and smiles. That is how we should remember his sunshine – how he would want to be remembered.

Wyatt – carries the fishing pole that represents his love of family. He carries a fishing pole to represent Carter’s love of fishing and being with others. Again- this is really a social event for him… although he would want you to be quiet, he would want you there with him. This happens to be a sponge-bob fishing pole because he loved himself a good laugh.

Marie– carries the Carter Strong sign to represent the outpouring of community support – support from friends – that Carter and the family have received this past year and a half. May our community and region really be an example for others of how to treat and support others. Without this support, this road would be so much tougher.

Without a doubt, Carter was a fighter. He fought the good fight, and enjoyed his life. (Don’t get me wrong – he is like his dad through and through – he is really more of a lover with a soft spot for people.) Near the end when he was discussing the possibility of being accepted into a trial for treatment. He said to his mom “If I take a spot, that means that someone else will not have the chance.” What 14 year-old says that? He really cared for others.

He enjoyed his time with family and friends – all of them. We are thankful for Sam, who kept him both in and out of trouble – we are thankful for that and the stories to share. He was a dear friend and with him his last day.

We are also especially thankful for Maddy, who was able to remind him to just be and enjoy life’s moments. Maddy carries up pictures of their shared happiness. When asked what Carter said about living with cancer, her response was that they really didn’t talk about it. They would just be – living today. We are forever thankful that Maddy came into his life, and they knew that kind of love. Most 14 year-olds don’t have that – and she was an escape from pain, who made him smile and simply be.

Even through the pain, he was strong and enjoyed life.
When he was at the Mayo, he was asked how he would rate his quality of life. He immediately said a 10, which surprised his mom and dad. That is just who Carter was though. When he found out that the cancer had spread to his lungs, he told his parents something to the effect “I guess that makes this day a “C.”
I’m pretty sure even with grade inflation the rest of us would give that day a “F” for a grade. As scripture tells us, For everything there is a purpose… Let us learn from Carter’s story and share it with others so they, too, might be strong.

Tiffany – carries his cross. Jesus tells us, I am the alpha and the omega. I am beginning and the end. We know that Jesus walked with Carter on his journey from the chubby baby to the young man. Carter held tight to his faith until the end. He may not have been shouting his faith from a hill, but his strength showed us his true faith. He often prayed Psalm 91 with his Mom and Katie – God our Protector. He had many conversations with God – getting to really know him. We can only imagine… Surrounded by His Glory…Carter took his faith with him as his guide home.

His mindset showed his faith – faith in God, faith in family, faith in friends, faith. The saying holds true “It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight; it is the size of the fight in the dog.”
We know from scripture – 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. #carterstrong

And maybe someday I’ll see you again
We’ll float up in the clouds and we’ll never see the end
And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer

Carter – here’s to you – go up, up, up. Please join me as we cheer for our Team Carter. “Carter Forever!”

~Auntie Sonya

blog-12-13-16-motivation-8

#CarterStrong 

Stay Calm & Go Up, Up, Up!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Because You Have the Least Chance for Retaliation

While having dinner with friends the other night, we were chatting about the upcoming filings for local governance; those positions like school board, city council, and mayor just to name a few. One friend mentioned running for city council. When asked why, this friend said it was because there was no reason to worry about retaliation. Our friend does not have a business in the community and also does not work in the community in which we live.  

How sad. I would hope we would NEVER have to worry about retaliation.

This dinner conversation sparked a memory from my early years teaching future teachers.

One fall, many many years ago, I was appointed to mentor a colleague who was struggling with communication skills. At first I was honored thinking I must be good at communication especially since this was only my second year at this position.

I asked the Dean at that time “why me? It is only my second year.” Well, I quickly found out it had nothing to do with my personal skills. His response shocked me…

“Because you have the least chance for retaliation.”

WHAT??  

I was a lot younger back then and didn’t even hardly know what retaliation meant. Let me define it just in case some of you aren’t quite sure either. According to Merriam-Webster.com, retaliation means, “to get revenge; to repay in kind.”

I was stunned by the Dean’s answer. My response was, “do people actually do that?”  

Yes, I guess they do.

John 18 tells the story of Simon Peter retaliating when soldiers arrived at the garden to arrest Jesus.

“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away!”’ ~John 18:10-11a

Amen to that command.

Some folks probably think I look at life through rose colored glasses. Maybe I do, but, I will always have hope for a world that does not retaliate. I will always have hope for a world that is only filled with people getting along, caring for each other, and loving one another. Hope…it’s all we really need.

In spite of Facebook being a platform for retaliation (and a lot of other nonsense), once in great while someone will post something that restores my joy. Study the picture below. What do you notice? What do you wonder?

📷 Credit: Theresa Stangle

This picture would be a lovely view through my rose colored glasses. Three opposing teams and no retaliation what-so-ever. This picture brings such hope and joy to my heart. From the boys, to the t-shirt message, to the words printed on the tent…all so uplifting.

Let’s put our swords away and stop retaliating. Let’s be thankful some are willing to run for City Council because most of us wouldn’t want that task anyway. Let’s be thankful some are willing to mentor others graciously. Let’s cheer each other on even when we are on opposite sides. Let’s empower each other.

Stay Calm & Put Your Sword Away!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

Finish Strong While Singing Your Song ‘Cause It’s All Good in College

Teacher candidates were walking the IL halls of SMSU, thrilled for their new year to begin.

They were so excited for their methods year, they sang this song…

🎶 We love SMSU.

We love the School of ED.

We will succeed.

We will finish strong. 🎶

Oh no!

COVID found some, a few received late placements, student-athletes occasionally missed class.

Did they cry? Goodness no! They kept moving along, and singing their song…

🎶 We love SMSU.

We love the School of ED.

We will succeed.

We will finish strong. 🎶

Oh no!

Various hours of field experience awaited, several miles were traveled, unexpected surgeries/illnesses disrupted schedules, mental wellness waned.

Did they cry? Goodness no! They kept moving along, and singing their song…

🎶 We love SMSU.

We love the School of ED.

We will succeed.

We will finish strong. 🎶

Oh no!

Pre-student teaching for two full weeks, a practice edTPA completed during that time, many assignments, many projects, many tests all while working other jobs.

Did they cry? Goodness no! They kept moving along, and singing their song…

🎶 We love SMSU.

We love the School of ED.

We will succeed.

We will finish strong. 🎶

And guess what? They did! 💪👏🤗

The moral of this story is…no matter what your SMSU methods year tosses at you, just keep moving along and finish strong while singing your song…

…Because it’s all good — in college!

Stay Calm & Finish Strong While Singing Your Song!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

P.S. Thanks to the children’s book Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin for the inspiration for this blog.

P.S.S. Teacher candidates, it’s okay when you did shed a few tears. 😉

Even Though…

While playing a game of catch as we waited for the rest of the family to get ready for church this past Easter Sunday, 4-year old Lucy caught the ball then paused and looked intently out the window and commented, “Grandma, it’s snowing.”

“It sure is, LuLu.”

“But Grandma…it’s Easter. It is supposed to be shiny and bright outside.”

“We can’t do anything about it, honey.”

With only the look Lucy can give, she narrowed her eyes, scrunched her lips to the side, and said out of the corner of her mouth, “Yeah, well Jesus can.”

I smiled and took our concern directly to Jesus, “Well, let’s ask Him then, Lu.”

“Dear Jesus…it is Easter Sunday and we would really like for the sun to shine today. If you would be willing to do that for us we would be so grateful. Love you, Jesus.”

Lucy continued to watch out the window with anticipation for a few more seconds then turned to me with her eyebrows raised and in a matter of fact tone stated, “It’s still snowing.”

I shrugged and replied: “I guess Jesus wants it to snow right now then.”

She gleefully shot up from the couch she had been sitting on and even though it was still snowing outside, Lucy joyfully ran out to the kitchen with a bounce in her step.

In the bible, Habakkuk was one to boldly take his concerns to God. We read Habakkuk’s prayer in Chapter 3. In verses 17 and 18 is where we see two very significant words: “Even though…”

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet, I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17 – 18 NLT, emphasis mine).

We all have life challenges. Some more difficult to navigate than others. I think of a few I am experiencing and wonder…do I live out and role-model even though. Like Lucy, do I have a pep in my step even though…?

Even though sleep does not come, and exhaustion overwhelms…

Even though heart palpitations kick hard, and the blood thinner is mandatory…

Even though shoulders carry stress and pain intensifies…

Even though parents and sibling are home in Heaven and are deeply missed…

Even though a little forgetfulness happens and fear prevails…

Even though unnecessary words are spoken, and uncontrollable tears fall…

Yet, do I boldly and confidently bring my concerns to Jesus? Do I rejoice in the LORD even though? Am I joyful in the God of my salvation even though?

I hang on to the hope found in the last verse of Habakkuk 3: “The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.” (Verse 19 NLT).

What are your even thoughs? Even though life will continue to hurl challenges and sorrows (John 16:33), we can rest in the truth that God will give us the strength to get through them, to safely travel over life’s mountains. And, just like Lucy, we can have a pep in our step and be joyful knowing God has our backs.

Oh, and just to let you know, when we came out of church, the falling snow had stopped and the sun was straining to peek out from behind the clouds. Lucy was running ahead of me so I yelled the obvious to her: “Lucy…look. It stopped snowing and the sun is trying to shine. Answered prayer, Lucy, answered prayer!”

Stay Calm & Be Joyful!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

Hello…I am a Child of Alzheimer’s

Hello. My name is Wendy and I am a child of Alzheimer’s. Yes, I am a daughter of parents who both suffered from cognitive decline. My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and my mom was diagnosed with dementia and they lost their battles with this memory thief. Quite frankly, cognitive decline scares me way more than the virus being dealt with these days.

I had a moment of confusion the other day, and it caused a little bit of a panic in me. I was in a new school building reading to PreK children. A friend had also joined me. When we finished with the PreK students, this friend wanted to head to the first grade classrooms we had read to a few weeks prior so she could share a gift with them. As we began to venture to those classrooms, my memory failed me as I thought those classrooms were on the next floor up. She reminded me they were on the same floor just over on the other side. While we were chatting and walking to the other side, I got a little discombobulated on which way to go.  

When I returned home, I fretted about this confusion for a little while. I’m sure you can imagine the negative rabbit hole my thoughts jumped down. “What if I have early onset of cognitive decline? What if I end up in a nursing home like my parents did? What if, what if…”

I am not a fan of the words what if… As Matthew West sings in his song, “Is my story gonna have the same two words in every chapter? What if, what if? What I’m trying to say is I don’t wanna say these words again, What if, what if!”

I decided to call my daughter to talk it through with her. She is good at speaking words of reassurance to her mom.

She gently reminded me: “Mom, you know you get disoriented easily. That is not unusual for you. Don’t let satan do that to you! You are just fine. It’s a brand new building and you were in a different classroom!” After we hung up, I didn’t even try to fight the tears. I just let them fall because tears of relief have a cleansing effect.

I love Jesus and I believe in scripture! So, WHY on Earth do I allow these fears to become a stronghold in my mind and heart? I know I am to “fear not” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV), to “not worry about anything” (Philippians 4:6 NLT), and that “worry does not add any single hour to my life” (Matthew 6:27 NIV)! Yet, these fears sneak in and try shoving me into a deep dark hole. Grrr…

Well, after the encouraging words from my daughter and after my tears finally stopped flowing, I lifted up a prayer and boldly asked Jesus, again, to protect my mind and my heart and to help me replace the lies of the enemy with truths from God’s Word.   

So, here is the truth…

Hello. My name is Wendy and I am a child of the one true king, daughter of my Savior and best friend, Jesus, who loves me unconditionally. I know “His goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6 ASV) no matter what life challenges come my way. Furthermore, as Priscilla Shirer has preached: “Jesus is our savior, our guide, our peace, our joy, our comfort, our Lord, and…He reigns to bring us peace.”

Those are the truths I want to focus on! Those are the truths I need to replace the lies!

Will I never fear again? Oh, heavens no. Every single day I need to intentionally capture my thoughts, and give my absolute best to change my mindset to thinking positive thoughts and quote the Truth instead of focusing on lies!

Here is our challenge…to think about such things such as “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).  To start speaking life over ourselves and others (like my daughter did with me when I called her) rather than speaking death. To delete all our “what ifs.” And finally, let us defeat all lies that torment us, and replace them with Truth! God’s Truth!

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

God Speaks To Us Through March Madness

A few weeks ago, my preacher shared how God speaks to us. Pastor Jeff taught us that God speaks to us through His creation (sunrises anyone? 🙋‍🌞), and He speaks to us through scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). This sermon reminded me of the Notes journal app I have on my phone. For about four years, I thumb-tapped into my Notes app ways I believed God was speaking to me.

Similar to Motherese, which is the special way mothers vocalize to their babies, I titled this Notes file Godese, which I define as the special way God vocalizes to us…His children. I smiled while I read through some of these past Godese stories. It was a fun trip down memory lane. I do believe God speaks to us through creation and scripture, plus, I also believe He speaks to us in many other ways! Let me elaborate…

Today is March 1st, which is the day I try to remember to send my son a “Happy March Madness Month” text message each year (yes, that son of mine certainly LOVES basketball, and now so does my grandson). 🧡🏀 So, when I read the Godese story I had written back in 2013 about March Madness, I felt compelled to share it with you. I think you will enjoy it! 😉

3/29/13

God speaks to us through March Madness

As my man and I were watching Michigan vs Kansas in overtime, Burke, who plays for Michigan, had a tattoo on his left shoulder that read Proverbs 3•73. That is the way my hubby and I saw it anyway. We paused and rewound the DVR just to get a closer look.  

It allured us to the bible. First off…there aren’t 73 verses in Proverbs 3. We had to narrow it down to what possible verse it could be. Verse 7b in Proverbs 3 states to “shun evil.” That’s good. Proud of the young college basketball player for possibly having that on his arm.

My hubby then said it’s probably a fancy script and the “7” is most likely a “1.”  If that is the case then it could be Proverbs 3:13 which reads “blessed is the man who gains wisdom, the man who gains understanding.” That is a really good verse too!

My hubby suddenly shouts out to me “that’s it.”  He had searched the web using his phone by typing in Burke Michigan Tattoo Proverbs into the Google search engine and this is what he found…

“All eyes will be on this point guard during the NCAA tournament. (He was just named Big Ten player of the year, after all.) But our eyes will be on his single shoulder tat that shows a set of cupped hands holding an owl with the script Proverbs 3:13 above it…”  

I know I could use a win in the game of wisdom and understanding. And, searching the bible for that verse in Proverbs was a gift from March Madness and from Mr. Burke. Congrats to Michigan on their win in overtime.

Lord…thank you for the mini bible study tonight all because of watching a basketball game during the Sweet 16. 

Isn’t that a fun story? 😍🏀 Happy March Madness Month to my son, Kyle, to my grandson, Warren, and to all you college basketball fanatics. Good luck to all the teams who make it there this month. Maybe this year’s tournaments will bring another Godese moment.

I pray we all gain His wisdom and His understanding, and I also pray God continues to vocalize to me, to us, in His own special way!

Stay Calm & Listen for Godese Moments!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

None is Easier than Some

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. image 1

I heard a mantra the other day that struck home and is so good that I’d like to share it with you. While this mantra was stated by someone on the Bright Line Eating (BLE®) Program while trying to lose weight (she lost 165 pounds, by the way), the mantra applies perfectly to any wellness journey we may be on (and no, I am NOT on the BLE program).

Whatever poisons we are trying to rid from our lives, whether it be sugar, social media, shopping, alcohol, salt, smoking, Diet Coke®, carbs, excess weight, gambling, coffee, or whatever bad habit/poison we would like to permanently break up with forever, this mantra is a perfect one to put on sticky notes throughout your house, office, classroom, vehicle, etc.

“None is easier than some.”

Such solid advice when it comes to our vices, our addictions, our bad habits. Think about it. When we have a little, we want more and more and more, right? So, “none is easier than some.” This Bright Liner included another thought which also really hit home for me.

When you are trying to break a bad habit, do you have that tiny little annoying voice in your head telling you “come on, it’s fine! Go ahead…have one bite, one sip, one look, one scroll through, one bet, one hit, one click, one ____” (you fill in the blank)?

Maybe you don’t, but I sure do. When I make a goal to change a bad habit, I struggle with that infuriating voice in my mind. Ticks me off! Well, the gal from BLE® added this thought to her mantra…

“I don’t negotiate with my inner terrorist.”

Wow…what a way to think about capturing the wicked thoughts running around in our head! We CAN take down our inner terrorist! We do not need to negotiate with our enemy. We are to take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

When that terrorist torments us with “you will never be able to do this,” we need to scream “I can do ALL things through Christ!” (Philippians 4:13)

When it shouts at us “you are too weak to follow through with this,” we need to yell back “God has given me power and strength!” (Psalm 68:35).

And if that terrorist shames us with “you have no willpower so you might as well give up now,” we can loudly roar “God has given me a spirit of power, love, AND self-control!” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Together, let’s annihilate the terrorist in our minds.

Know, without a doubt, we CAN kick our bad habits to the curb. I’ve read it takes 21 days to form a new habit and 90 days to make it a new lifestyle. We’ve been given the power and the strength and the self-control to do this. Also, it sure helps A LOT to have an accountability partner or two or three (thanks Jamie and Jess and Elyse 🙌❤😊).

Have none because it is easier than some. That some will most likely lead to having more and more and more so just have NONE. And, never negotiate with your inner terrorist! Take it down! Take it out! Defeat it! Protect your mind!

We CAN do this. All things are possible with God! (Matthew 19:26).

Stay Calm & Be Strong!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V.   

You’re Never Too Old to Hug Your Grandma

“You’re never too old to hug your grandma!”

Those were the wise words from Boston, the young teenage boy who had been babysitting my grandson while my daughter and I ran a few errands. He spoke those words after I summoned my grandson for a hug goodbye. I smiled at Boston then hugged my 6-year old grandson and joked, “Yeah, Tyus…even when you are 40.”🤩

I pondered my comment on my drive back home… How many years is it until Tyus turns 40? How old will I be when that happens? How old will I be when each of my grandchildren celebrate their 40th birthday? Will I even be alive by then to celebrate with them?

These thoughts certainly had me reflecting about life and where I hope to be when the youngest of my four grandchildren turns 40 (God willing, I’ll almost be a centurion when that happens 😲😀). Contemplating all of these thoughts at the end of the year is a good time for me to consider what my New Year’s resolutions might be. It also has me pondering what my one word could be for 2022. Hmmm… 🤔

I wonder…what can I do to help myself stay as healthy as possible in the last quarter or last third of my life so I can be around to celebrate my grands’ 40th birthdays? The bible offers me these words of wisdom: “The righteous will flourish…they will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm 92:12a; 14 NIV). It also provides this truth: “Teach me to number my days aright, so that I may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 NIV, emphasis mine). All our days are numbered. I want to make the best of the number I have left, so Lord, help me to be a righteous person for You. 🙏

All this contemplation has led to the choice of my one word for 2022 (and hopefully for life)…STRIVE.

  • I will devote serious energy to grow in my relationship with Jesus by reading my bible daily in addition to my morning devotions. I want to get to know Him more intimately and grow our relationship.
  • I will strive to love others unconditionally (especially those difficult people who rub me the wrong way 😬). 
  • I will fight vigorously to eat healthy, exercise often, and take the best care of myself as I believe I should and can. I did get a jump start on this one back in August by giving up alcohol. Nope, I didn’t hit rock bottom. I just made the decision that alcohol was no longer serving me in any positive way so I took a break. Still going strong on that one and the benefits have been AmaZinG! Ask me about it anytime. I’d be more than happy to share my story with you.
  • I will make strenuous efforts to do whatever it takes to thrive and make it to the ripe young age of 97 so I can celebrate my youngest granddaughter’s 40th birthday in 2057. Just typing that year out and seeing the number on this word doc makes me giggle. 👵😍

So, Tyus…Boston was absolutely correct when he stated, “you’re never too old to hug your grandma.” Even when you turn 40 in 2055, buddy! 😉🎂

Have you picked out your one word for 2022? Or, is that not your jam? Totally okay if it isn’t. BUT…if it is, please share with us in the comments.

Happy New Year to all. 🎉

Stay Calm & Go Hug Your Grandma!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…FINALS

🎶 It’s beginning to look a lot like finals – stress in every soul
But the happiest sight to see
Is the end of finals week
When we’ve reached our goal!
🎶

It is that time of the year – getting ready to finish out this semester with big plans in place to enjoy a break before starting again new. The catch…there is simply so much to do between now and sanity – um, we mean winter break.

Isn’t this busyness true at all stages of life when it comes to the holidays? Whatever your religion or holiday participation, December is about closing one chapter and January is about starting a brand new one. 

With that in mind, we need to check off the many items on our list and hope for even greater things in the New Year. It seems a little scrazy to talk about the New Year already when there is so much left to do in this one. (We just can’t decide between “scary” and “crazy” so our stress has caused us to create a new word…which can be a positive thing about stress — it can raise our productivity level! Anyway… back to the main focus of the blog as stress has clearly caused us to ramble)!

Below are a few words of wisdom to remember during finals week…

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Make a list and check it twice. It is easy to get distracted – especially when there is yummy holiday baking and shopping, and decorating, and so much cleaning to be done and … wait a second… let’s get back on track here…
  3. Take much needed brain breaks – just don’t forget to get back to work and finish the task at hand. 
  4. Enjoy the journey and not just the destination or we end up wishing our life away.
  5. Are you still breathing? Yoga or a quick walk will do too.
  6. Look at the big picture – this too shall pass. In the moment, everything can seem like the big picture, but it is just a small piece of the puzzle.

Enjoy the ride – sleigh or otherwise. Best wishes on your finals, teacher candidates, and a huge congrats on when they are completed! We knew all along you could do it! 💪🎉👏

 Joyful message from a few of our teacher candidates…
“We are celebrating being done with finals. We all love you.”

Stay Calm & Enjoy Break!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V.