Hopeful for a bright future

I’m sure many of us are following the news about President Jimmy Carter’s announcement of cancer in his brain. It is sad news, but he gives us hope with his way of life. He taught Sunday School yesterday, as he has for decades, at the Baptist church in Plains, Georgia. He too is hopeful and plans to live life on his terms right up to the end, just as he has done all these years. He has remained quite active after his term as presidency, which was just a blip in his life story when you compare it to all of the other work he has and is doing.

Terry and I attended the memorial service for a long-time friend who died in July, just a few months after we celebrated her 100th birthday. You might remember that celebration that I posted here. The memorial was held in the same room as the birthday bash had been held, at the retirement home where Margaret had lived for over 30 years.

Margaret had always worked at the church where we attended–teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir, being the church clerk, and her last years were filled with greeting everyone who came on the church campus when she was in attendance which was every Sunday up to this past Christmas when she fell and broke a hip. Her hearing was gone, but she still had smiles and hugs for everyone.

The room was filled at the memorial service, even surprising her family who had not expected such a crowd. It is unusual that a person of such advanced age hasn’t outlived all of their friends. Margaret just kept making new ones.

So, here are two great examples for me–President Carter and Margaret. They did not see age as a deterrent to living. Or helping. Or doing. I am going to keep them in mind as I continue on my life, staying busy helping others, doing things I love, and making younger friends. These two give me hope.

It’s Friday

and I’ve no where to go. I’m home all day, doing various household chores, along with lots of reading. It’s the kind of day that called for a batch of cinnamon rolls. 


Back in chaplain mode

Thursday morning was our first chaplain meeting for the new school year. We got our schedule of storybooks for the year along with classroom tips and strategies. A new chaplain onboard this year is a retired school psychologist who gave us a presentation on what to look for in abused children.

I came home and immediately started making plans for the next few books as well as looking ahead for what I need to buy or make to add to the delivery of my stories. I also loaded up my chaplain bag with stickers and a few other goodies to head out to back to school later that afternoon at the cross-city school where I do this work. Just the drive across town is a lesson in itself as I go through a variety of neighborhoods, each getting a little sketchier than the previous. Makes me remember to pray for my city and it inhabitants.

Some of you may remember my first post about my chaplain duties. There was a bog named “George” who had a run-in with another boy that had landed him in the office. George was having a melt-down when I arrived and I sat with him for awhile. Talking with him seemed to calm him down. Because he was a fifth grader, I didn’t expect to see George again as I work with the first graders. But, in February I saw George in the office again. He wasn’t in trouble, and I wrote about that time here.

Thursday afternoon, there was George again, this time with his grandmother and his small sister who, it turns out, is in first grade this year. George looked very nice in his pants. His grandmother continues to dress him well. I complimented him and he gave me a hug. He was excited to get to the meeting for the sixth graders who will be going to camp in a few weeks. It is indeed a continuing saga.

More social media connections

Terry has been the photographer for the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation for many years now. It’s a volunteer job that makes great use of his photography hobby. He is a very good photographer, he has no fear of people, and he can get in close to get the best shot. They like the work he does which covers their monthly breakfasts, yearly celebrations, ribbon-cutting events for businesses they sponsor, and other events as they need him.

Wednesday was the monthly breakfast where members of the foundation meet to network, meet new members, hear guest speakers, and hear about legislation and other details of the city. I occasionally attend and decided to on Wednesday as the Fresno State president’s wife would be speaking. She has become quite the celebrity in her own right and I follow her on Twitter. Sure enough, her presentation was indeed worth hearing as she spoke on giving back to the community, doing things for others, looking beyond your own self and comfort to help make others successful. She has done much for the students at Fresno State like starting a food pantry for food insecure students. I was glad to meet her in person. Now we know who we are tweeting to.


Also in attendance at the meeting was a man who is running for state assembly. I knew his dad when he had the position. Our daughter went to school with this gentleman as well as his siblings. I have been following his run for political office on Facebook so it was fun to see him and hear more about why he made the decision to leave his medical practice to do this.

Dr. Joaquin Arambula

Dr. Joaquin Arambula

One more person to see at the breakfast was a former student who is now working for the Foundation as its membership director. Sandra took many classes in the business department where I taught and is now finishing her degree at Fresno State.


It was indeed a fun morning to catch up with all of these people, plus I even made a couple of new acquaintances along the way.

Why are you on social media?

Last Saturday we attended the California Fig Fest courtesy of Yelp. Being an Elite Yelper, I was given free tickets for Terry and me. A little perk of social media. Knowing that a vendor whom I follow on Facebook and Instagram would be there, I made a special point of looking for her and meeting her in person. How did I know she would be there? She had posted it on her social media sites. We had chatted back and forth on those sites, but never met in person. It was fun to actually meet. She treated Terry and me to her frozen pops.

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As we chatted, she made the comment, “You have such a presence on social media. I feel like I’m meeting a celebrity.”  I laughed out loud and told her I should record her saying that. For you see, the reason I started this blog eight years ago was because I was told by someone that I had no online presence, and sure enough, when I Googled my name, I had but four or five listings, all having to do with education.

We both lamented that Facebook has changed so much in the last couple of years. She has switched more to Instagram, as have I, because FB is getting to have an older, more conservative group of users. They are less likely to share their life as they are their political and religious views. Those are not the reasons I am on social media. Pre-made posters of religious or political rantings do nothing for me.

Instagram is fun because I can take a photo on my phone and immediately upload it to Instagram which also allows uploading to Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. I can hit four social media sites at one time, tagging others as I do so. My iPhone will also allow for a photo to be uploaded to Facebook and/or Twitter, too. It’s a great way to share life. Which, if you haven’t guessed by now, is the main reason why I’m on social media. I also learn so much.

Yesterday was the first day of school so The Ladies Who Lunch went out for lunch to celebrate. I was telling them about our trip to the goat farm and also the wonderful soaps Basilwood Farms produces from the goat milk. Someone asked how I learned about the goat farm. Why, social media, of course. I don’t remember the exact place, but I do know I follow Basilwood on both Facebook and Instagram. Social media makes me smarter (especially Twitter), and better aware of what friends and family are doing. That is, if friends and family will post about their life. Otherwise, why are you on social media if you aren’t willing to share?

About those spam comments

There has been talk around here, and at other blogs, about spam comments and how Blogger uses those crazy pictures and check-off boxes to prove you aren’t a spam-bot. I get so frustrated when I try to leave a comment and I have to go through so much rigamarole. Many of you have lamented the need for such tactics if you are to keep spam away.

Well, I don’t get spam nor do I have the check-off boxes or the picture selections. But, WordPress has an effective method of catching the spam. Today, I noticed this message on my statistics’ page: 

Akismet has protected your site from 47,547 spam comments already. 

I’m telling you, WordPress is the only way to go.

Just what does that mean?

For years now I have been using the phrase–doing good work with good people for the good of the community–as my mission statement. This summer, while reading a book by John Maxwell, “Good Leaders ask Great Questions,” I was forced to ask myself, “just what does that mission statement of yours mean?” I spent a day or so thinking and writing to come up with this:

What is GOOD work?

True, good, beautiful, just, perfect, successful, creative.

It may make me feel uneasy, anxious, confused, clumsy, but always hopeful.

There will be danger, trouble, fear, and faith to see it through.

Who are GOOD people?

Like-minded, God-loving, everyday, simple, willing, smart, funny, kind, generous in spirit.

Faithful to their call.

Hopeful for the future.

What is GOOD for the community?

Encouragement, opportunity, possibility, generosity, prosperity.

To grow in kindness for ALL citizens.

To give all citizens a sense of hope for the future.