Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart

choose goodWhat a fun song, eliciting smiles and memories of childhood songs from Sunday school or church-sponsored summer campsThe Weekly Photo Challenge:  JOY,  put this song in my head and it’s been there since last Friday (when the challenge was posted).  It also made this nice picture posted by Stephanie Ackerman Designs even more meaningful to me.  As a thank you to Stephanie and a way to wish a Happy New Year to everyone; here is the picture as well as link to a YouTube video of the song–you’ll remember it too when you hear it!

Happy New Year Everyone!  I hope 2014 brings you great JOY!

Betsy: New Year’s Revolution

The kid in the AT&T commercial may be on to something:  New Year’s Revolution.  I’m sure I won’t be the only blogger to use it as a prompt for my writing today; there are surely thousands of bloggers who will share their year-in-review thoughts or their promises for the year to come.  I hope thought that my approach might be a bit different.

Let’s take a look at the two words:

Resolution:  declaration, decision, pledge

Revolution:  rebellion, upheaval, uprising

Since declarations and pledges are typically only words, RESOLUTIONS can easily be pushed aside and quickly forgotten. It seems to me that a REVOLUTION is about action, changing your life for good, forever.

I have a Facebook friend who is also someone I knew when I was living in Vermont.  I met Betsy when I was working at Castleton, she was a student.  Smart, funny, popular, and like many others, still figuring out who she wanted to be when she grew up.  Rarely was Betsy ever without a huge smile on her face.  She’d shared with me some of her personal struggles in her young life, but had clearly overcome them and appeared to me to be a confident and capable young woman.

One of the things I’ve continued to admire about Betsy is her unwavering commitment to life, a revolutionary if you will.  I remember when she ran into my office to show me her tattoo–dropped her pants to show me a bright green and blue earth on her hip.  She’d decided on something and went for it, completely, all-in!

Over the past two years I’ve followed Betsy’s journey on Facebook as she got married, quit her job, started a Cross Fit business, and continues to be a super-cool mom to Olivia.  Rebellion, upheaval, uprising…I think so!  I continue to be in awe of her revolutions!  I want to thank her for being a person who I can keep in mind as I look to making 2014 a revolutionary year for myself.  Thanks, Betsy!

betsy lifting
This IS Betsy!

Judy, Judy, Judy (Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy)

My sister Judy and I used to date; each other.  For quite some time, throughout much of our 30’s in fact, we were each single.  Some on-line dating efforts proved occasionally to be fruitful but nothing so long-term that we had to give up our shopping, movies and dinner dates.  We accompanied each other to every family gathering including christenings, birthday parties and weddings.  Wherever Judy went, Kelly was sure to follow (or be in the seat right next to her).

Judy has a fantastic sense of humor.  One year for my birthday she sent me a “from both of us” card.  When I opened it, I saw that she had signed it from Judy and Sam.  I was certainly puzzled since I knew at the time there was no “Sam”.   It was at that point we created  pretend husbands, Sam (and Judy) and Bob (and Kelly).

Judy and Bob First Dance
Judy and Bob First Dance

As we continued to escort each other to family events, we would refer to Sam and Bob (who were in business together and always traveling) in our conversations.  We would walk into a party and someone would ask, “Are Sam and Bob working, again?”  A good laugh was the answer to the question.

As it turned out, in our early forties, we each got married.  I married Steve.  And, in my “joy” picture today my sister is marrying her soul mate, Bob.Even more than my date for so many family events and Saturday night dinner and movies, Judy has also been my confidante, my cheerleader, my counselor.  She’s calmed my fears, wiped my tears, shared my successes, and always, always has made me laugh!  I love my sister.

Thank you, Judy.

Weekly Photo Challenge, JOY: Liam at Five

The weekly photo challenge is JOY, here is what came to my mind when I saw the challenge!

3 Grandchildren, 2 Grandparents, 2 Cats

Joy is a baby boy’s 5th birthday.  While no one was sure he’d make it this far, we all share in the joy of my great-nephew’s birthday number 5 on December 26th.  We are all so proud of him and of his parents (check out his daddy’s blog:

These pictures show Liam at three months old, smaller than his stuffed monkey and; at 5 years old the monkey, well….the monkey is still same size!

liam at five2

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Where the Sidewalk Ends

Shel Silverstein The VoicI came across this Shel Silverstein poem that someone posted the other day. It reminded me of when I did my student teaching during my senior year of college; Where The Sidewalk Ends was a popular book among the third graders in my class.  You might be familiar with one of his other very popular books, The Giving Tree.  If you’ve never read any of his poems you should look him up!

I was scheduled to do my student teaching the spring semester, so we had to get back to campus right after Christmas.  My friend Debi and I were going to be teaching at the same school; thankfully, because I didn’t have a car and would have had no way of getting to the school. I was assigned to the 3rd/4th grade classroom of 16 students, in a three-room school-house.

Every weekday morning Debi would pick me up and we’d stop at the corner store for a hot cup of coffee–there was no Dunkin’ on the way to anywhere back then.  We also didn’t have cup holders, so as the passenger I served as both the DJ and cup holder.  Given the rather long and winding, and often snow-covered, roads we traveled to get to the school;  balancing my radio and coffee responsibilities often was a challenge.

Every weekday for 15 weeks, it was the same routine:  the coffee, the two main roads we traveled, the cassette tape that played the same four songs.  I enjoyed every minute those rides.  Debi and I shared great stories, lots of laughs; the daily challenges of being prepared to teach and then going back to campus to do our work as Hall Directors.

sidewalk endsI haven’t been in touch with Debi in many years.  I know that she’s still an educator, a principal now–she may even be a superintendent.  I hope that she recalls our morning rides as fondly as I do.  Thank you, Debi!


December 26th Remembered

I got this in grade school and it followed me through 4 years of college.
I got this in grade school and it followed me through 4 years of college.
Auntie Tina and Uncle Ray brought this to the "three little girls" (me and two of my sisters) probably about 1968 or so.
Auntie Tina and Uncle Ray brought this to the “three little girls” (me and two of my sisters) probably about 1968.

The day after…the day kids actually get to play with the toys that were ferociously opened on Christmas day.  What I remember about the day after is going through the pile of opened gifts to choose a favorite. I may have mentioned that I grew up with seven siblings, so there were always lots of things under the tree.

I’ve been searching Google images for the last couple of days to find pictures of the ones I remember most.  So as a way to thank my Mom, Dad, Auntie Tina, Uncle Joe, Uncle Ray, Grandma Kelly, and everyone else, for the great toys (some I didn’t even know I wanted until they were) opened on Christmas morning, here are some reminders of my favorites:

Another favorite doll, Giggles.  Poor thing who kept my sisters awake at night; when you moved her arm she would giggle, a lot!
Another favorite doll, Giggles. Poor thing who kept my sisters awake at night; when you moved her arm she would giggle, a lot!
My Krissy doll, you could make her hair grow with the push of one button and shorten it with another; unless you have a sister who cut it off.
My Krissy doll, you could make her hair grow with the push of one button and shorten it with another; unless you have a sister who cut it off.

Amy Grant Restored My Christmas Spirit

My holiday spirit has been a challenge to find this year.  I’ve baked, shopped, wrapped, sent cards, sponsored a family for the holiday drive, visited our elderly neighbor.  The house is decorated; tree is in the window, wreaths are on the door and porch, candles are lit and the house smells like Christmas.

To get in touch with my inner Christmas kid, I’ve had Pandora’s Christmas station providing background music on my desk at work for the past couple of weeks.  But, like all the other 24/7 radio stations playing the widest variety of singers belting out their rendition of Santa Baby; it is the same music over and over and over and over…you get the idea.

The music though, that always fills me up, is Amy Grant‘s A Christmas Album from 1983.  I first bought it on cassette and played it every year on my way home from Vermont for the holidays.  When it wore out the tape I got the album on CD.  It was played so many times I can’t count.  And now, it’s on my iPod!

Today when I got home I put my iPod into the stereo and blasted it!  I stood in the middle of the living room with the surround sound overwhelming me, and I sang at the top of my lungs.  It felt great! Finally, Christmas; not just in my house but, in my heart.  The song that moved me the most this year, “Love Has Come”.  Thank you, Amy Grant!

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