Tag Archives: #love

Holiday Sorrow

My jovial, handsome brother would be celebrating his 66th birthday today. Makes me wonder what he would look like at 66? Probably just as handsome as he was 42 years ago before he entered his heavenly home exactly two weeks prior to his 24th birthday. We lost him right before the holiday season began.

Losing a loved one is hard, really hard! Add losing that loved one around the holidays and it seems to magnify the sorrow. As sad as it was for me to lose my only sibling, I saw the devastation and turmoil it caused my mom and dad. Especially my mom. I’d say it took her at least five years before I saw a small glimpse of the mom she used to be. I had missed her so much, so I welcomed this tiny step toward her healing with such hope and gratitude to God.  

My hubby and I have been watching “The Crown” on Netflix and we just watched Episode 2 of Season 5 the other night. One scene shares Prince Philip soothing his grieving cousin after she lost a daughter to cancer. This cousin is wanting to start a charity for cancer victims, and the Prince shares these wise words about grief with her:

“A long time ago, I lost my favorite sister, Cecilia, in an airplane crash. I learned then what grief was. True grief. How it moves through the body. How it inhabits it. How it becomes part of your skin. Your cells. And, it makes a home there. A permanent home. But, you learn to live with it. And you will be happy again. Though, never in the same way as before. That’s the point. To keep finding new ways.

Prince Philip lovingly encourages her to keep finding new ways to embrace joy and happiness through the grieving process.

There have been so many losses recently and it is HEARTBREAKING!! I want to hug every single person who has lost one they love. I want to gently tell them “you will be happy again.” But I don’t. Everyone’s grief is their own. Everyone deals with loss in different ways. Those of us on the outside looking in…please be empathetic to this. Let them (us) journey through their grief in their own way. No matter how long that takes. Just be there for them. Somehow. Someway.

Whether it was just yesterday, last year, or 42 years ago, to all of us experiencing tragedy and loss, I offer these scripture hugs and love and heartfelt prayers…”

💔 I mourn with you. Romans 12:15B, “…mourn with those who mourn.”

💔 I weep with you. John 11:35, “Jesus wept.”

💔 I offer compassion and love to you. Lamentations 3:32, “…he will show compassion; so great is his unfailing love.”

💔 I pray for your broken heart to heal. Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

💔 I pray for God’s comfort to embrace you. Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

💔 I pray for you to find rest in the middle of your sorrow. Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

💔 I pray you know God cares for you and will lift you up. 1 Peter 5:6-7, “…so that at the proper time, he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  


💔 I pray you find inner peace. Numbers 6:24-26, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

Finding joy and happiness once again will come. It may never be the same, but it will come. It may take quite a while, but it WILL come. Believe it. Receive it.

Sweet Jesus, I lift up all who are going through or remembering a loss this close to the holiday season, and I pray you would be very close to each one who is in mourning today. You are the God of all comfort who comforts us in time of need, and I pray for those who are facing such a painful trial today. Uphold and draw near to all during this season of grief. Sooth away our heartache. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sending my deepest sympathies, hugs, and prayers to all of us experiencing new and old loss! And…happy heavenly birthday, big brother. Love and miss you.

Find Peace in the holiday sorrow! 🙏
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V. 

All I Know Is I Love You

As my dad’s health began to decline in 2008 and my mom became his main caregiver, I would often hear him say to her, “All I know is I love you.” And he sincerely did. 

They were perfect characters you might find in a romance novel. Dad was tall, dark, and handsome while mom was petite, blonde, and a blue-eyed babe in my dad’s eyes. He was smitten.

Dad was a resilient man who worked for the Rural Electric Association (REA). He knew how to climb poles like nobody’s business, and his interpersonal skills were out of this world, which got him promoted to the main Public Relations man. Not bad for a guy with an 8th grade education.

His electrocution in 1974 took a lot out of him, but he persevered and lived way longer than all those St. Paul Ramsey Burn Unit doctors predicted he would. He survived 72 hundred volts passing through his body so I’d say he was a walking miracle.

Alzheimer’s and Macular Degeneration are the two opponents that took him down. This is when my mom showed her Wonder Woman strength in her ability to take care of him…for a while anyway. He declined quickly and ended up living in the nursing home. She visited him faithfully every single day. During the first few years, they would still dance the waltz and two step during the live music entertainment out there at the Good Samaritan Society. And through it all, you would hear him saying, “All I know is I love you.”

Mom’s health also began to decline. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, went through the Whipple procedure, and we did not think she was going to make it. I called her grandkids home to say goodbye. Well, her Wonder Woman powers showed up again and she lived 2 ½ more years after that.

I guess it’s not the greatest to be on the operating table for 8 hours when you are her age. Her memory began to fail after that surgery, and she was unable to regain it back. Sadly, she also ended up in the nursing home.

When my dad lost his ability to communicate with others and just sat in his wheel chair with his head hanging down chin to chest, I witnessed a role reversal…it was my mom who started whispering to my dad, “All I know is I love you.” And she sincerely did. She was still smitten.

As time passed and my mom’s mind was worsening, she thought my dad was her dad. In her mind, she was still a young lady and that old man in front of her had to be her dad. Mom would say things like, “I’ll be back later, daddy.” Or…“all I know is I love you, Daddy.” It broke my heart, and yet, it warmed my heart, too, because of her evident love for him.

On August 17, 2013 at 2:00 in the afternoon, I walked down to my mom’s room to get her so she could say good-bye to my dad because he was on his way home. She sat down in a chair next to his bed, and said “Hi Daddy” then began to sing him the song she had always sung…You Are My Sunshine.

About thirteen hours later on August 18, 2013 around 3:00 in the morning, with my forehead pressed softly against my dad’s cheek while I quietly sang “God Be with You ‘til We Meet Again,” this kind, gentle, handsome dad of mine took his last breath and peacefully went home to Jesus. I ever so gently slid my brow to his chest and through my tears I whispered, “All I know is I love you, Dad.”

Here I am, nine years later, and I still say that. Only now I say it to my Heavenly Father. When I am struggling with sadness or celebrating with joy, I lift up my voice to my Heavenly Father and whisper, “All I know is I love you, Lord.” And I sincerely do. I am smitten with my Savior who holds me tight in sadness and celebrates with me in joy and has a love for me bigger than I could ever imagine.

Let’s face it, life can be really hard sometimes. So, to find peace, I place my trust in the One who I know is always there for me (Hebrews 13:5). The One who I know is always faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3). The One who I know is my light in the darkness (John 9:5). The One who I know is MY Sunshine (Habakkuk 3:4).

And when it’s my turn to go home to Heaven, I imagine I’ll run to Jesus, jump in his arms, give him a huge squeeze and say, “All I know is I love you, Lord.” Next, I’ll run to my dad and my mom and my brother for a joyous reunion, then embrace them in a huge family bear hug and hear us all say in unison, “All I know is I love you!”

And, to all of you reading this, know you are loved! Thanks for being here.

My mom and dad – 1955

Stay Calm & Know You Are Loved!
Profs Dr. Wendy Dr. V.   


One Fruit…Nine Different Qualities

Apples…I love all kinds of them. From varieties such as Yellow Delicious to Honeycrisp to Jazz to Envy, there’s nothing quite as delicious as sinking your teeth into a high-quality apple. What traits make an apple high-quality anyway? If you check out Google, there are several ideas listed there.

Personally, I want my apple to be unspoiled, firm, fresh, ripe, crisp, juicy, sweet, acidic, and versatile. Apple with peanut butter, anyone? 🙋 Or, better yet…how about a slice of warm, right-out-of-the-oven apple pie? Delightful!

One fruit…nine different qualities.

Another vital fruit with nine essential qualities is the Fruit of the Spirit. The mention of this fruit and its first-rate qualities can be found in Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia. In Chapter 5 of Galatians, the Apostle Paul shares with the churches about living a life in the Spirit. Specifically, in Galatians 5:22, Paul teaches the Galatia churches (and us) the important qualities of the Fruit of the Spirit.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  -Galatians 5:22 (NIV).

The Passion Translation (TPT) interprets Galatians 5:22 like this, ”…the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit.” Oooh, I love this translation!

Isn’t it interesting to notice both versions use the word fruit as singular. Just one. According to Lee (2014), it is important for us to understand that the Apostle Paul is not referring to nine different fruits. He is referring to one fruit with nine different qualities. Lee (2014) stated, “It’s the ‘fruit,’ not ‘fruits’ of the spirit. So it’s one fruit encompassing these nine qualities.” (Para. 4)

One fruit…nine different qualities.

Oh, how I want to BE all of these qualities every.single.day. Some days, though, I grow weary and lack energy. I begin to lose faith in my circumstances or the people around me. Some days it’s hard. Really, really hard to put on that happy face and BE the fruit of the Spirit. These are the days I need to lean on God. These are the days I turn back a few pages in my bible from Galatians to 2 Corinthians 12:9 (TPT) and hold on to this promise: “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.”

I’ll always do the best I can to live a life according to the fruit of the Spirit. Won’t you join me? Just like that sweet, warm apple pie, living in the victory of the Holy Spirit will be delightful!  

Stay Calm & Find the Victory!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

Lee, D. (2014). Fruit of the spirit includes nine godly qualities. The Spectrum. Retrieved May 4, 2021 from https://amp.thespectrum.com/amp/9319377  

Happy Birthday Dear Lucy

Miss Lucy

This week Lucy turns 3. Not a big deal to you, maybe, but a HUGE deal to this grandma. Lucy was born with some extremely serious health concerns, and these life threatening issues needed immediate attention.

I sat in the waiting room at Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls listening to my son tell me, through tears, of the complicated surgery Lucy was needing. Sadly, Sioux Falls was unable to perform it because of how delicate it was going to be. My son began the search for a skilled surgeon!

It hurts the heart to watch your adult son cry. I went out to my car and sobbed while pounding the steering wheel and screaming at God. (He’s a loving God, He can take the yelling).

Fast forward to today and Miss Lucy is a spunky, spirited little girl who will turn 3 on Thursday. She melts this grandma’s heart into a humongous puddle of mush whenever she says so sweetly, “Grandma, I love you.”  

This same week three years ago, a friend lost her husband to complications of a kidney transplant. She mourns while I celebrate. Why God, are some saved and not others? I don’t know!

A week ago, my blogging partner wrote about her 14-year old nephew who lost his life to cancer five years ago. Why God?

A few weeks ago, a young man lost his life in a boating accident. He was only 22. Why God?

The day before the boating accident another friend of mine said goodbye to her special friend who lost his battle against lung cancer. Why God?

Just this morning I received a private message from a childhood friend who laid her middle daughter to rest from a short war against cervical cancer. The daughter found out on Mother’s Day and was gone by June 28. This young woman was only 43. Why God?

When my only sibling was killed in a car accident 40 years ago, I found peace in Isaiah 57:1. Paraphrasing this verse, it says righteous people are taken home to Heaven early because they are being spared from something extremely evil. I hang on to that. It brings me some peace knowing my brother was saved from something wicked.

Why does God choose to save some and not others? I don’t know! We will never know that answer this side of Heaven. It’s certainly okay to ask, though. It’s okay to pound your fists and scream and yell at God. He is a good God and hears our cries!

The song below is called Why God? by Austin French. Give it a listen.

While pondering what to write next…I visit Facebook. Not a good choice. So.Much.Junk. People bashing others because of personal offenses or political views or __________.

Why God, can’t people take care of personal offenses or political believes privately without having to pollute Facebook? I don’t know.

Life is short! This world needs peacemakers!! So, during this week of celebration (and sorrow), I choose to be a woman of peace.

I have a happy birthday party to attend this weekend. I look forward to celebrating Lucy and my son (his birthday is July 12). Others are grieving the loss of their loved ones. I offer them hugs and prayers.

Happy birthday, dear Lucy. May you grow up to be a woman of peace, filled with love and compassion, always knowing that YOU, sweet girl, are a child of God.

Stay Calm & Celebrate Today!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

New Beginnings Never Get Old

BLOG JV graduation S16

It happens each spring and shouldn’t be a surprise. Kids grow up and spread their wings for the next adventure, leaving the nest and mama birdie. Graduation marks the closing of a chapter and the start of the next. It is a familiar storyline, and one we just wrote about last week. So why did it creep up on this mama birdie?

BLOG JV graduation3 S16


This BLOG JV graduation S16week my oldest son, Jackson, graduated from the 8th grade. Maybe this isn’t a huge ordeal, but to this mama, it was an emotional one. It seems like just yesterday, I was on bed rest for 8 weeks patiently awaiting (while trying to postpone) his arrival. We have been on a rollercoaster called “life” since before he was born, and continue to be – or get back in line for another turn at the amusement park.
JV – as his cousin, Carter, nicknamed him – has been in the same school and part of the school family since preschool. He is now preparing for his next adventure – high school.

Don’t get me wrong – he is ready. He is growing up to be a fine, respectable, young man. He has taught me much about being a mama birdie along the way. He is ready. I may not be, but that is how life goes. We sometimes aren’t ready for the big leap. We just have to have a little faith and jump.

Two takeaways from this post –

Do what you can to prepare – but know they will make some good and bad decisions along the way. Guide them to make better decisions in the future and commend them for the good decisions made. Good or bad experiences – learn and grow from them and love them.

This last one goes out to the teacher candidates – do your very best – give your very best each day because the students are courting on you – the birdies are leaving the nest in some way at every grade and every day of every year…and need you. No pressure! 🙂

Congrats on closing this chapter and looking ahead to the next!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

Cutest Glow Worm I’ve Ever Seen


Remember that cute little Glo Worm® toy that parents would buy for their kids so their children would feel safe at night from the soft glow it illuminated? I confess…I never bought one of those for my kids when they were little. Sorry kids.

Well, I’ve been redeemed…my 30-year old daughter received her first “glow worm” on Sunday. 🙂 And if I do say so myself, he is the cutest little glow worm I’ve ever seen.

Please allow me the pleasure of introducing you to the newest addition to our family…my little (big) grandson, Tyus…


Isn’t he one of the cutest glow worms you’ve ever seen? 🙂 Tyus decided to show up a few weeks early and has been in the NICU since Sunday. He is the biggest baby in there. He weighed in at 10 pounds 14 ounces. Big boy…and a fighter.

Because my daughter is a Type I Diabetic, Tyus was getting lots of extra insulin while in the womb. Now that he is on his own and no longer getting his mommy’s insulin, his blood sugars needed to be stabilized. Tyus also had a little fluid in the lungs so needed some extra help with O2, and today his jaundice got a little bit worse; which has made him become that cute little glow worm in the picture above. He is making great gains each day, though, and for that we are grateful. Our hearts glow with love. God is good!

Tyus is our new addition. A perfect gift for the upcoming New Year. He represents new life and isn’t that what we all need in the New Year…new life? I know I certainly do.

A new beginning.

A chance to start over.

A time to let go of the old, and start with brand spanking new. A new year…what a great opportunity for me. What a great opportunity for you. For all of us.

I mess up EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Some days way worse than others. But, with God’s endless love and grace and mercy and forgiveness, I get a new beginning each day. And so do you. Just like our new sweet little baby boy is the perfect gift for our family, God’s gifts of infinite love and mercy and grace and forgiveness are the perfect gifts for all of us.

To Tyus…my prayers for you are to keep gaining strength so you can go home with your mommy and daddy real soon. Keep fighting, little buddy. Grandma will keep praying.

To my daughter and son-in-law…my prayers for you are a peace of mind that passes all understanding, a massive faith, and an abundance of patience as Tyus continues to get stronger and heal.

To our readers…my prayers for you are to be blessed with new life and new beginnings in 2016. May you find that soft glow of love too.

Lastly, to my blogging partner…my prayers for you are that you are enjoying rest and relaxation on the beach in Cabo. I’m sure you are a cute glow worm as you soak up the sun’s rays. 🙂

Small request to ask…if you believe in the power of prayer, maybe throw one or two up for Tyus, will you? My heart will glow with thanks.

Happy New Year everyone! May you be blessed indeed in 2016! ~Wendy


Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Undone: A Life Memoir

BLOG Undone

One simple retweet by Michele Cushatt and my evening plans changed. I had intended to watch a little March Madness basketball on TV when I got home, but instead, I curled up on the couch with a blanket and the iPad all because of that one RT…

“RT @timdetellis: Started reading this new book by @MicheleCushatt It’s a page turner. http://t.co/dY4KIZ8pFf http://t.co/jKq1SR8751

Clicked on those links, saw Michele’s new book Undone: The Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life, and had it downloaded to my Kindle app on my iPhone within minutes. Read on our drive home, read through basketball games and before bedtime, read this morning with a cup of coffee in my hand, then, finished the book after church. Just under 24 hours later, I put the iPad down, wiped away a few tears, and said a silent prayer for Michele.

A page turner, indeed, @timdetellis!

This book yanked on my heart strings. The story made me laugh; cry; hold my breath in fear (and I wasn’t the one scuba diving); miss my parents; think to myself ‘hey, I floss everyday too’; sing praises that I’ve had very few, if any, horrific challenges in life; share a few of the funny written words with my husband (‘holy two by four’); and thank Jesus over and over again for the life I’ve been given along with the unexpected gifts each day brings.

Michele’s life memories are weaved together so beautifully with scripture. As I read, I would often stop and ponder moments from my own childhood or the years of raising my children. Memories of a life filled with adventure, small challenges, and lots of love.

The way Michele pens her fears of the unknown put my heart in a vice-grip, and at times I couldn’t breathe. Uncharted territories of cancer, of an empty nest that disappeared in a blink, of raising a blended family and children with exceptionalities, of loss and grief, of losing a parent, and of almost losing herself.

I would say the book is a love story. A love story between two authors…the author of the book, and The Author of our faith. A love story between a husband and his bride. A love story between a mom and all six of her children. Their love grew and grew. Deeper and stronger as they all navigated the journey together. And together is always better.

Warning…if you choose to read this book it just might change you. Change your heart, change your thoughts, change your relationships, change your love of others, change your life! Go on…take the risk.

I’m so grateful that Michele received that precious gift on Mother’s Day back in 2006. That twenty-by-fifteen inch package, give or take, wrapped hastily in recycled wrapping paper.” A special shout out to Michele’s husband for understanding his wife’s prized gift…the gift of writing.

Thank you for blessing us with this gift, Michele. Continued prayers for you and your family as you continue your life journey together. ~Wendy

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Chase Away the Winter Blues

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google images

Are you experiencing the winter blues? February is the month of LOVE filled with lots of red hearts and chocolate candy so let’s chase away the winter blues. If you are starting to climb the walls, we suggest that you take that literally. No, seriously, go climb some walls…do a little rock climbing that is.

Rock climbing might be just the perfect mid-winter break that you need. And it won’t cost you much either if you go to your local YMCA or your backyard. After perusing Pinterest, we found some cheap ways to hang out with friends or with any significant others (and we know how important ‘cheap’ is for our teacher candidates…not a whole lot of cash in their pockets this time of year. 🙂 )

Of the several cheap winter date ideas we found, below are a few of our favorites:

Picnic Date: Pick your favorite foods and beverage to pack into a picnic basket. Find a comfy blanket then throw it down on the floor in your pad. Unpack your food and beverage to enjoy some quiet time together…minus the ants. Don’t forget to savor some Valentine’s Day chocolate during your picnic together.

Random Acts of Kindness Date: Who doesn’t enjoy making homemade Valentine’s Day cards? Especially us educators. Grab your scissors, glue, glitter, yarn, feathers, beads, and other stuff to create a few snazzy Valentine’s Day cards. Together, deliver them to a few of the elderly at a local nursing home. You will bless their day, and, your heart will be blessed even more.

Photography Date: The possibilities are endless when your camera is right inside your pocket. Whether you are using an iPhone or a Canon, pictures are easily captured. Just remember a few basics when taking pictures: have a subject, take silhouette shots, include shadows and reflections, find unique angles, and keep pictures simple. Combine all of these simple tips, and you’ll have awesome photos. Have a contest and see who can capture first within the community, A – Z in pictures. Be the first one done and friends buy you a root beer float. 🙂

Fireplace Date: Find a fireplace then just sit and relax together. Grab a hot chocolate, visit quietly, and be mesmerized by the flames. It doesn’t get much better than that. Except if it’s a REAL fire, then you can make S’mores. Yum!

Read Together: February is I Love to Read month after all! Being reading and literature specialists, we simply cannot resist this one – as cheesy as it might sound. Go for something that pulls on your heartstrings… remember Fly a Littler Higher? Or something that makes you laugh like Sh*t My Dad Says; we read that one on a flight once and the gentleman next to me asked if everything was okay. Sorry to disturb! We did laugh together.

Wish Upon a Star: Whether at the planetarium or bundled up under the night sky, take time to look up together and make a wish. It is love’s season of hope after all. Be hopeful and optimistic together. The bills won’t pay themselves so you can’t wish work away, but you could wish and/or pray for the bright spot in life.

Sweetheart Resolutions: Think of Valentine’s Day as your chance to start a fresh new year together – significant other, family members, and friends. Establish a list of what you want to continue/encourage with the start of this new year of love or what you want to do better. With the winter blahs and life’s stresses, it is easy to take for granted those we love and who love us back despite our faults.

So, if you’re feeling cooped up, with your nerves about to fray; just change your attitude, there’s still time to save the day. Go on a winter date with friends or significant others because we are always better together. Happy Valentine’s Day to our teacher candidates and to all of our blog readers.

Please share with us some ways that you beat the winter blues.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.