The Happiest Place on Earth

Most things about the week were magical. Some were not.

I’m sure the title of this blog will give you a hint as to where I spent Spring Break this year. We (my husband and I) went to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and got our Disney on. We accompanied our 5 year-old grandson, his parents, his other grandparents, and his dad’s brother.

We started our adventure last Saturday, March 9. We all arrived at our resort to check in. Then we headed over to Disney Springs. We ended up not having a dining reservation at T Rex. So we settled upon eating at Cookes of Dublin. We also had a 45 minute wait to be helped at guest services. We also paid a visit to the LEGO store which was an overwhelming experience for my grandson. It took him quite a while to decide what to buy with his gift card.

On Sunday morning we went to Hollywood Studios. We all powerwalked to the Slinky Dog Dash. My grandson gave that ride a big thumbs up. We ended the day with dinner at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. “Aunt” Teresa, our waitress had us all in stitches. My son-in-law had his birthday button on and she gave him a hard time. When he got up to take my grandson to the bathroom, Teresa was at another table and asked them if they had been excused. When my son-in-law returned we got a big laugh when he accused the waitress of sending him to the kitchen to do dishes instead of directing him to the restroom. We were there for 2 hours for dinner. When the grandson had to go to the bathroom again, Teresa (who was waiting on another table) said, “Again?” Then she told them to wash their hands before returning this time. One tip if you ever eat there: if you are served vegetables that you don’t like with your dinner, make sure someone at the table will eat them for you. My son-in-law’s brother did not eat his vegetables and Aunt Teresa fed him a large mouthful. He handled it graciously and then discretely spit them out into a napkin when she left our table. Seriously, they should not do that.

Monday was spent at Animal Kingdom. I highly recommend the Festival of the Lion King and Tusker House. Satu’li Canteen was an excellent lunch. Of course, the Kilimanjaro Safaris is a great activity. I really like Animal Kingdom, and I don’t think it really gets the attention it deserves. However, I’m sure that is changing because of the new Pandora area of the park. My son-in-law, his dad, and brother got to the park an hour before “rope drop” just to get in line to ride the new Avatar Flight of Passage ride. They waited 45 minutes to ride. Later in the day, the wait in line got to be as long as 4 hours for that ride. That is just crazy!

We started the day on Tuesday with breakfast at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort. We had a great time. This was a character meal. My son-in-law told Goofy that there should be Goofy waffles, and asked him why there were not any Goofy waffles. Goofy took off and then came back and shook his head to indicate that there weren’t any Goofy waffles. However, Goofy was not finished. He came back a little while later with the restaurant manager in tow, and got my son-in-law to ask her why there weren’t any Goofy waffles. Goofy stood there with his fists on his hips. We aren’t sure how Goofy’s campaign is going to turn out.

Then we took a monorail ride to Epcot. I was having trouble with my feet and ankles swelling, so I decided to go back to the resort and put my feet up. I joined the rest of them later in the early afternoon. We enjoyed a German buffet at the Biergarten Buffet that evening. Delicious!

We went to the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday. We did not have any dining reservations for this day. The long lines waiting for the bus to the Magic Kingdom at our resort alone was an indicator of how crowded the park was going to be that day. I have never seen a Disney park as crowded as the Magic Kingdom on that Wednesday.

Thursday we went to Epcot again and then finished up our trip with the Magic Kingdom again on Friday. We had a lot of snack credits on our meal plan so Thursday was spent snacking around the World Showcase at Epcot. That was really quite fun and tasty.

Most things about the week were magical. Some were not. A 45 minute wait to be helped at Guest services was not magical. Not being properly checked in when we got there was not magical either. On Sunday, I could not use my magic band to buy a banana because it had not been set up properly. So I paid $2.50 for the banana, and then waited in the check-in line at the resort to get this fixed. Some of the magic bands did not open the doors to the rooms. That meant more standing in line to get that fixed. The long, hot trudge to the buses when you’re sweating and in pain was not magical. I’m sure the walk to the bus at Hollywood Studios was at least a mile. I figured out that if you stay in a value resort your buses will be the farthest from the park gates. We stayed in a Lion King suite at the Art of Animation resort. Nice resort but it’s considered a value resort.

It’s also tough when there are not enough places to sit down in the shade. The World Showcase at Epcot seemed to have the least amount of shade. The temperatures were quite warm and the sun was brutal. I don’t handle heat very well and my swelling feet and neck and back pain made it pretty miserable. Another situation that shocked me considering Disney want their customers to be happy was an incident with bedding. My grandson had a nighttime accident on Tuesday night. (My husband and I shared the suite with my daughter and her family while the 3 others stayed in another suite.) I did not know about the accident and did not tell housekeeping when they came in to service the room. When I found out, I later called housekeeping about the situation and asked for the bedding (including mattress pad) to be changed on my grandson’s bed. A girl came to the room with fresh bedding and left. I hollered down the hall at her asking her what I needed to do with the bedding I removed from the bed. She said to put it in the hall. I was floored. They expected me to change my grandson’s bed! I did and will soon call to tell the resort manager about this.

My grandson’s 3 most favorite rides were: Slinky Dog Dash, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Test Track. On this past Saturday morning when my daughter and son-in-law were trying to get him dressed at 4:30 AM so they could go catch the Disney Magical Express bus to return to the airport at 4:55 AM, he whined and said he didn’t want to go home. He wanted to go to the park. He said, “It’s a bad, bad, bad day!”

As for me, I was ready to go home. My Disney gauge was maxed out. As my daughter said, “There is no tired like Disney tired.”

When God Calls

I started college intending to become a certified public accountant.

I taught in public schools for 28 years. I meant to teach for at least 30 years, but the stress was getting to be too much. It was slowly killing me. When I found out I could retire without a penalty after 28 years, it was a relief. Thankfully I heard God telling me that I could finally put down the “chalk.”

It’s funny, though. I went to college not to get a teaching certification. I started college intending to become a certified public accountant. Then my life took a drastic turn just as I finished my freshman year of college and came home for the summer. My sister was finishing 2nd grade, and I went on the end of the year picnic with her class. That was the day God told me to get my degree in elementary education. I knew it as sure as if the angel Gabriel had appeared to me and told me straight out. The road was not going to be easy for me.

The course work was not a problem for me. I made good grades. However, one of my elementary education professors told me that I would not make a good teacher. What?!! I had to keep on because God had told me to become a teacher. I graduated 3 years later with a degree in elementary education and a minor in history. I was certified to teach grades 1 through 8.

I applied to different school districts armed with a recommendation from my supervising teacher. I was turned down because of my lack of experience. I kept thinking to myself, “If you will give me a job, I will get experience.” I’m also sure that part of the problem was that I didn’t interview very well. I just wasn’t good at tooting my own horn. I needed a job so I was hired at an accounting firm (ironic, huh?) as a computer operator. They were starting to computerize their billing. I entered a lot of data and tried to compile it. I know I’m dating myself, but this was in the early days of the computers. That was a very tough year as I struggled to work with a program that didn’t work very well.

The following year, a small school district in east Texas contacted me in September. They needed a special education teacher in the junior high school. So, I was hired on an emergency certification and required to register for classes to earn my special education certification. The 8th grade history teacher left after the Christmas holidays, and I was then moved to that position. My teaching career had begun.

The school did not have any air conditioning. I remember days of the wind blowing so much dust into the windows that we could barely breathe. On those days, I moved my class to another location. There was also a certain 8th grade English teacher who didn’t feel I was qualified to teach junior high. My older daughter was born at the end of my 2nd year at this school. I was out for about 4 weeks and returned for the last work day of the year. I’m guessing that my sub was certified to teach 8th grade history and a friend of the English teacher. I’m not sure what was said behind my back to the principal but he put a lot of pressure on me to quit even though I had received good evaluations. He kept telling me that teachers with new babies didn’t want to work, etc. I resigned, and needed a new job.

That summer was very trying. My husband had finished his degree and didn’t know where to go next. We had to move out of married student housing and ended up in the filthiest mobile home I had ever seen. It had no air conditioning and no stove. We cooked in a microwave, a hot pot, and an electric skillet. We were able to get a couple of window units to keep cool. However, when the weather began to cool off we found out that there was also not any heat. On top of all that, I was trying to find a new job and we didn’t have a phone for a couple of weeks. I remember putting my daughter in the car and going down the road to use a pay phone. We finally moved out of that mobile home in December. The weekend we moved out, the water froze in the toilet.

I got a job at a smaller district than the first one. I was hired to teach Chapter 1 (Title 1) reading at the elementary school. I estimated that about 90 percent of the students were on free/reduced lunch. I’ll never forget the principal sitting in the hallway next to the vending machines with her cigar box of change so the students could buy from the vending machines. They may not have had the money to pay for the school lunch, but they had a dollar every day for the vending machines. I was shocked at the students who would go through the lunch line, pick up a lunch tray, toss the food into the trash, and head out to the playground with their sodas and chips from the machine. I’m sure that school lunch lacked a lot in nutrition, but I’m also sure it was likely the most nutritious food they were given all day.

After 1 1/2 years of teaching reading, I was moved into a 2nd grade classsroom. I don’t think the parents liked me very well because I had such high expectations of my students. So, at the beginning of my 5th year of teaching, the principal moved me to a 5th grade classroom. However, my husband was offered a job in Fort Worth, and we moved. It was back to hunting for a job. This time, I was offered a 5th grade job at a suburban district. It took about an hour for me to drive to work. My class was made up of students moved from the other overcrowded 5th grade classes.

At the end of my 5th year of teaching, I was pregnant with my younger daughter. The school district didn’t want to rehire me for an additional year. So they set about finding ways to give me a bad evaluation. The principal even had the school superintendent come in to evaluate me. They put things like “doesn’t change bulletin boards often enough” on my evaluation. Without a job again I filed for unemployment and had to go on job interviews, but being obviously pregnant I was not offered any teaching jobs. I did not work the following school year.

I seriously questioned my abilities as a teacher. But what else could I do? God wanted me to teach. I had to continue. After a year off, I was offered a job at a school where I taught for 23 years. (It was also the first air conditioned school I worked at.) I still struggled through the years. I never felt that I had a natural talent for teaching. I knew, though, that God wanted me there, and He blessed.

So, when God calls, I have to obey.

Poetry

Many years ago, I wrote a lot of poetry, so I decided to share some of it today.

Many years ago, I wrote a lot of poetry, so I decided to share some of it today. The following are some of my favorites.

Growing Up

I dreamed I was sitting by a stream

Watching the smooth, calm, flowing water.

I envied the stream,

So calm, so undisturbed.

How I wish I was like that;

Knowing what I really want out of life.

Love? Happiness? What? I don’t really know.

You see, I’m growing up.

 

One minute, I know where to go,

What to do.

Another minute I’m not so sure.

One second I’m a little girl who is

Confused and afraid, willing to learn.

The next, I’m an adult with ideas,

Thoughts, dreams, beliefs.

You see, I’m growing up.

 

My thoughts, my mind, my heart,

Are torn apart. I’m confused.

I’m turning in circles. I don’t know where to go.

I want to confide in someone,

But I don’t know who that someone is.

So, I try to be perfect and not let anyone know

My griefs and sorrows, conflicts and aches.

You see, I’m growing up.

1970

 

Acts 16: 16-40

I’m a jailer in this town—

This town of Philippi.

A very strange story have I to tell;

This is truly not a lie.

 

Two strangers came to this town

Some days ago or more.

Their names were Paul and Silas.

None had seen them before.

 

They spoke boldly of a man

Who could save us from our sin.

“Eternal life is free for those

Who believe and enter in.”

 

A slave girl, who was put upon

By men full of greed,

Had an evil spirit.

Paul commanded it to leave.

 

The men seized Paul and Silas,

And took them to the court.

They laid their case before the judge;

A pitiful report.

 

The chief magistrate tried the case

And found them as charged, “guilty.”

He whipped and threw them into jail

And gave to me the key.

 

And thinking all was safe,

(Paul and Silas were surely as dead)

I stealthily tucked the key away

And happily went to bed.

 

Paul and Silas prayed and sang

All night to their silent Lord.

The other prisoners listened well;

But, frankly, I was bored.

 

“Ha!” I cried. “Where is he now,

This One to whom you sing?”

I snickered as I lay down

To the bliss that sweet dreams bring.

 

At midnight, (oh, what a dreadful hour!)

An earthquake shook me awake.

And all the jail doors were opened.

They had to have all escaped.

 

I drew my sword, as I was doomed to die,

To plunge deep within my chest.

I heard a voice cry out, “Stop!

We’re all here. Put your mind at rest.”

 

I turned around. Yes, there was Paul,

And all the others, too.

Why—none of them were gone!

This was something new.

 

I ran and feel upon my knees

And cried out imploringly,

“What must I do to be saved?”

Paul said, “You must believe.”

 

I was saved that very night.

Yes, I and all my kin.

And now my joy is full and free

And my rejoicing never ends.

1977

 

HE

He made the mighty mountains

And He let them touch the sky

He added a snow-dipped forest

And made wild eagles fly

 

He made the lowly valley

With riches of green and gold

Trees bowing down in honor

Blossoms that shyly unfold

 

He made the thundering oceans

And rivers racing to the sea

And tapestries of waterfalls

The streams add harmony

 

He made the yawning plains

Its grasses’ golden heat

He rolled out sloping hills

Added clover, soft and sweet

 

He made the fiery sunset

The rays that linger fast

To give a tribute of color

To the day that now has passed

 

He made the dreaming moon

To soften the cold, dark night

And enthroned it among the stars

And flashing meteors in flight

 

He made the dark green forest

And the fern and moss below

The guarding trees above them

Blocking cold winds that blow

 

He made the pounding storm

And the gentle touch of rain

The lightning and the thunder

Are in His vast domain

 

He made the wondrous world

And in His mind He had a plan

The smallest grains of sand

Were placed by loving hands

 

And who can see the beauty

Of the earth where He has trod

And doubt that He’s creator

And He, indeed, is God

1975

 

Blessings to you!

There are no Words

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139: 13-16 NLT

Abortion is murder. I have no doubt of that. And woe to those who support and perform abortions. They will someday stand before a holy and just God in judgment. There can be no explanations or excuses for the killing of millions of babies just since 1973.

I was shocked today (January 23) to learn that the governor of New York signed a new abortion law allowing abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Abortions are an abomination to God, the giver of life. One article I read even went so far as to describe the horror of a late term abortion. Gruesome.

Have we become so depraved that we condone the killing of innocent babies? Have we become so morally corrupt that animals have more protections and rights than our precious babies?

Don’t get me wrong. I care about animals, and I don’t wish to see any animals abused or neglected. But something is wrong when abused animals can make you cry and abortions only get a shrug.

How horrible will be the day when God punishes this country for it’s descent into sin and depravity of all kinds! Christians need to get on their knees and pray for this country and our leaders.

Life and Death on a Farm

Farm life has its ups and downs.

My younger daughter and her family live on a small farm of almost 20 acres. Currently they just have goats and chickens but have plans to add more animals in the years to come. Farm life has its ups and downs. There is the joy of new life, and the sorrow of loss.

They started nearly 2 years ago with a flock of 10 chicks. At first, they were kept indoors until they were big enough and it was warm enough for them to move outside. After about a year, they added a rooster. Each chicken was banded and named. They have lost 2 of their hens–one to a predatory bird and one was stepped on by a goat and injured. The rest of the flock pecked at the injured bird until they had to take it out of the flock and kill it. I didn’t know that chickens would do that, but it makes sense.

One day, my daughter’s favorite hen, named Mischief, could not be found. They finally discovered her under one of the goat’s bowls which had turned over. She must have been under that bowl for most of the day because she was quite disoriented. Being that it was a favorite chicken, they separated the chicken from the rest of the flock and nursed her back to health. She survived. In fact, she became quite adventurous, and my son-in-law came home one day at lunch to find Mischief in the house. She had come in through the dog door. She was reintroduced to the flock. She may be at the bottom of the pecking order, but she is doing well.

Not long after they acquired the chickens, they also got twin female goats named Lucy and Ethel. They were very vocal about leaving their mother and moving to their new home. They soon settled in and got along well with the chickens. However, they tried a couple of times to get into the chicken coop which required some repair and modifications.

Several months ago, my brother-in-law gave my daughter and son-in-law, a male goat (buck). You guessed it. They named the buck, Ricky.  It took a while to be sure but it was soon obvious that Ethel was pregnant. Lucy was a couple of months behind.

Over this last weekend, they were sure that Ethel was close to giving birth. The signs were there. They were expecting some kids to appear at any time, and separated Ethel from Ricky. However, when they awoke yesterday morning, they found that Ethel had died while in labor along with her babies. They had taken such good care of Ethel. She had been healthy. It was just one of those cruel tricks that nature likes to play.

I was so sad when my daughter texted me that Ethel had died. My heart aches for my daughter because I know that Ethel was her favorite goat. I liked her, too. Ethel was the only one who let me pet her. Whenever I would pull up to the house and walk up to the back porch, I could hear Ethel greeting me. (Most likely she just wanted me to come out to the pen and feed her.) I will miss her.

I have learned a lot about God my father from having children of my own. When our hearts break over the struggles and difficulties our children face, I realize how much more God longs to reach out to us to comfort us in our sorrows. I know my daughter will grieve over the loss of her goat. God is there to walk with her and comfort her. I will be praying for her.

God loves us more than we will ever completely realize on this earth. He cares about us. He is concerned about the things that concern us.

Life is an adventure with all of its ups and downs. Life is also tough. We face illness, struggles, sorrow, and pain. We also experience joy, love, hope, and peace. I have the hope that God will be there at the end to welcome me home with open arms.

Too Much, Too Soon

I agree with Charlie Brown. Christmas is too commercialized.

I love Christmas!

I love the lights, the music, the decorations, the movies, and etc. Most of all I love the fact that Jesus was born into the world to save us from our sins.

However, having the Christmas season start before Halloween is way too soon. Hallmark Channel was showing Christmas movies in October. Stores already had decorations out and Christmas music playing. Christmas ads were already showing on TV! This is crazy!

I love to watch the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, and there seems to be better quality movies this year than before. But I have to be honest with you. I’m already getting burned out on Christmas movies. They started showing them way too early. True. I could record them and watch them closer to Christmas but with over 40 new movies, that kind of binge watching would really cause a major overload for me. Besides, I also like watching Christmas classics like “White Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “A Christmas Carol.” I also have things to do to get ready for the holiday, like bake cookies or a gingerbread house for my grandchildren to decorate or prepare meals for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

When I was a youngster, Christmas was really special. It was that magical time between Thanksgiving and December 25. It just doesn’t feel that special any more because the Christmas frenzy starts so early. It seems to be fueled by the greed for money. Black Friday used to begin early in the morning. Now it’s starting on Thanksgiving afternoon. I feel so bad for retail workers who have to give up spending time with family in order to man the stores. Not only that, they have to deal with people shoving and pushing and trampling them. There are people who miss out on Thanksgiving altogether because they are camping out in line in order to get the very best deal on that television, gaming system, or other gadget. Since when did bargains become more important than family? Oh, yes. I understand wanting to get something at the best price, but keep your family a priority. If you can’t afford something at a regular price, then maybe you don’t really need it. And it doesn’t hurt kids to not get everything they want.

I went shopping on Black Friday only one time at Fry’s Electronics. After arriving at the ridiculously early hour when they opened, the checkout lines were already snaking through the store. I’m sure the wait was at least 3 hours or more to check out. Not worth it to me. We left without buying anything. I can guarantee that I will never go shopping on a Thanksgiving afternoon. In fact, I don’t like to support businesses who open on Thanksgiving.

I love the movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” when the Santa is telling parents where to buy the toys their kids want cheaper and sending them to other stores. I can’t imagine that happening today. In 1965, Charlie Brown was lamenting on how Christmas was so commercialized. It was nothing then like it is today. At least retail workers in 1965 got the whole day of Thanksgiving off.

I wish we could go back to a less frantic time when businesses weren’t fighting with each other to get every possible dollar. A time when people had their priorities in the right order. However, I don’t see that happening when I’m just thankful to eat a meal without cellphones.

I agree with Charlie Brown. Christmas is too commercialized. For many people and businesses, it doesn’t mean anything more than making lots of money, the presents, having the best decorations, or the most Christmas lights.

Time to go watch “The Polar Express” or “Prancer” and drink some hot chocolate.

 

It’s a Dog’s World

I enjoy the dogs, but I’m glad they don’t belong to me and live with me.

I talked about the cats in my life. I also have dogs. Both of my daughters have 2 dogs each. All 4 dogs are rescue dogs.

My youngest daughter has a male Border Collie mix named Remy and a female Rhodesian Ridgeback mix named Roxie. They got Remy in 2009 and Roxie in 2017. They are medium to large dogs. Even as big as they are they love to jump into laps and lick. I have a rule against being licked so sometimes I have to get the water spray bottle because they never seem to remember that rule.  Remy has stopped chewing everything in sight which is a relief. When he was younger, he chewed up remote controls, water cups, anything within reach. Now Roxie has taken over the chewing, and she is sneaky. My grandson will be playing in the living room with his toys. Roxie can sneak a toy and chew it up before you even notice. My daughter still puts her Christmas tree inside a child’s play yard to preserve it. Remy was a middle-aged dog when they got Roxie as a puppy. He acted out at first when they got Roxie. The move to a new house and a new dog a few months later must have really upset poor Remy. He tore up quite a bit in the new house. I’m not sure, but I think my daughter is the pack leader.

Roxie gets more upset at the chickens and goats than Remy. She also doesn’t have as much patience with my 4 year old grandson. Remy has always been my grandson’s big brother. He would sleep outside his door and pretty much let my grandson do anything to him. Remy would also share my grandson’s food when he was smaller.

My older daughter has 2 female dogs. One is a 20 pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/terrier mix named Annie, and the other is a 30 pound Basenji mix named Stella. They are picture above in their safe spots. These dogs make quite a pair. Stella was rescued from being euthanized and must have had a difficult start in life. She still has nightmares during which she twitches and whines. They had tried fostering Stella out with families without other dogs but she was too nervous when the owners would be away during the day at work. She has done well with Annie and loves her forever family.

I spend more time with Annie and Stella, because I care for the grandkids when the parents are out of town for work or medical treatment. Annie is very protective of “her space.” If the mowers come into the backyard or if she just hears anyone around the house (even if they are next door), she goes berserk with her barking. Thankfully, Stella is much calmer. One morning while I was trying to nap, Annie kept up her barking and running back and forth for at least 45 minutes. Stella played with a squeaky toy. The combination of the two made me laugh.

When let outside, Annie will run circles around the back yard and sniff for rabbits. I’m sure there are times she has run a half marathon in the back yard. She has caught several rabbits. I was staying with the kids and Annie (this was before Stella) for a week while the parents went on a cruise. Annie caught 2 rabbits that week. I was running around the backyard trying to catch that crazy dog. That dog is FAST! The kids heard my hollering and checked to see if I needed any help. We finally caught Annie and got her in the house, and put that poor rabbit outside of the fence. If the neighbors had been watching, they would have had quite a show.

The poor neighbors also can’t be in their back yards without Annie running and jumping up and down the fence barking at them. It’s a good thing the fence is 6 feet tall and Annie is pretty short. I’m sure the neighbors are relieved when Annie goes inside. She may still bark but at least it’s muted.

One day I was at the house and we were getting ready to leave. Stella went right on in, but Annie was barking at the neighbor mowing his yard. I was trying to catch her and get her in. No way was I going to grab that dog. My daughter came to the back door and yelled at Annie to get in the house. NOW! Annie went immediately to the door. We know who the alpha dog is at their house.

The dogs are getting used to me. Annie will come snuggle some, and Stella will eventually also want to be petted. The welcoming committee is hilarious when my daughter and her husband get home.

I enjoy the dogs, but I’m glad they don’t belong to me and live with me. The furniture can smell quite doggish at times. There’s also fur on the floors, furniture, and clothes.

It’s a dog’s world.