Sort of autumn 

Although today’s temperature is 90 degrees, and our air conditioner switched on, the calendar and the light says FALL. 

I love the slant of the sun at this time of year. Vegetation is turning yellow which makes the air glow gold. The shadows fall just right, like this on my front door. 

The morning sun comes through the window and electrifies the kitchen. 


I don’t have as much time as I would like to spend in the backyard right now. I rake leaves every few days and try to sweep the patio weekly since I cannot hose the dust away due to our lack of water. 



Birthday weekend

Although Terry and I had a packed schedule last week and undone chores at home, we still took off early Friday morning to get to the Bay Area in time to join our daughter and son-in-law at Judah’s preschool to celebrate his 4th birthday. Jen made these fruit kabobs for his class:


We continued the birthday celebration with a party in the park with Judah and Leeya’s friends on Saturday. There was a gale-wind warning. Fortunately it rained a bit in Fresno while we were gone. 

Sunday was Jen’s 37th birthday so there was a small celebration for her after church. My baby:

  The October birthday celebrants. 

Now we are back home to all those chores and making preparations for the next two weeks which are filled with activities. The grandkids will be getting a two-week fall break but we probably won’t see them as our schedules don’t mesh. School has changed the way we plan our times together. 

Rain update: since October 1 we have received .07 of an inch. Not much, but it’s a start. Too much rain at once will cause some major disasters in the area that have been devastated by forest fire. 


The skies are dark with clouds today. I awoke with a bad sinus headache so I know the barometer is shifting. Can we be hopeful for some precipitation on the first day of the new rainy season?  

Even on a dark, cloudy day the place where I do my writing, reading, praying is warm and cheerful. 


Soon I will leave this to drive across town to Columbia. I’m hoping that the office will be calm today. When I arrived yesterday I found a number of kids there, all in some sort of trouble. The office manager and receptionist both needed hugs. They bear the brunt of disruptive students. 

When I went through on my way out yesterday, one second grader was still there, on the naughty bench. His teacher didn’t want him in class and had sent a packet of work for him to do which he did not understand.

 I sat for awhile, attempting to help him. Common Core math is hard. All these boxes and groups of boxes. The receptionist was complaining  about its usefulness, but as I told her, you have to jump through the hoops that the educational bureaucracy puts up. This is just the latest. 

Chaplaincy accouterments 

The school chaplains meet once a month during the school year, on the last Thursday, at a restaurant where we have breakfast and get our marching orders for the following month. We share trials and tribulations as well as successes. We pray for our schools and for one another. Last week we got some new uniform decorations:

The pin on the right marks my one year of service. It is a star that can be worn on my collar. 

The badge on the left is a magnet to be worn on jackets during the colder months. 

This week I am giving a pre assessment to the four first grade classes to determine what they know. In May I will give a post assessment to see how much they have learned. I am adverse to giving these, but they are required for reports that provide funding and staffing. I think we test kids too much. 

Gratitude attitude

Time…I am grateful for time.

Time to spend with my grandchildren.

Time to write in my journal every morning.

Time to go to lunch with my friends.

Time to attend Bible study with new friends.

Time to write my blog and to read others’ blogs.

Time to prepare for Good News Club and school chaplaincy.

Time to spend with small children, showing them that someone cares and loves them.

And as much as I would like to say I don’t have time to do it, time to do housework and yard chores.

Change or don’t complain

I went to lunch with a long time friend (35 years) who has two children and three grandchildren who live far, far away. She was very sad and disappointed that she so seldom hears from any of them. On top of it all, her husband has been very ill (and depressed) for the past three years which has made her life harder and lonelier.

When he first became ill, I was calling her on a regular basis, but she didn’t want to talk on the phone because she needed to be at his beck and call. I would suggest an outing for lunch but she would refuse due to his need for her to be at home or to take him to a doctor’s appointment. I also tried to visit, but she didn’t want anyone in the house as that disturbed her husband and his need for rest. I finally gave up. Even now, three years later, she doesn’t want to be away from him for long periods, and the last phone call was cut short because he had gotten up and wanted his breakfast.

On top of this, she refuses to do anything on social media. No texting, no Facebook, no Skyping. She reads her emails once a week, maybe. Then she complains that the children and grandchildren don’t contact them. I tried to explain, at lunch yesterday and at previous times, that the younger generations do not use mail and telephone calls as we did. They communicate through the technology of today.

Her older brother is on Facebook and will send her pictures of her grandchildren that he sees on their FB pages, but my friend still refuses to go on Facebook herself. I told her that she could make comments on the photos and her grandchildren would see them and it might lead to more communication. She didn’t agree.

The whole situation makes me sad.

Be the hero

I expected it to be a quiet week at school. It’s a new year and the kids seem to be pretty calm. There aren’t many kids in the office when I arrive before lunch. Not like the numbers last year as the school year was finishing. I haven’t had anyone to talk to on the “naughty bench” outside the principal’s office.

On Wednesday I hadn’t been on campus for more than 10 minutes when the fire alarm sounded. It was a scheduled drill to get practice evacuating the buildings. The principal announced that the kids cleared the classrooms in three minutes. I stood with the first and second graders on the field until the all-clear bell sounded. By then it was lunch time so I went off to the cafeteria to again encourage the students to eat their fruit and veggies.

Today I sat down on that bench outside the principal’s office and chatted with one of the home liaisons who has a desk in the area. Before long two boys came in and sat down next to me. They looked to be fifth or sixth graders. I start questioning them about why they are there and they tell me they were singing.

“I’m assuming it wasn’t in a chorus class?”

“No.” Giggle, giggle.

The second boy chimes in, “The sub didn’t like our song.”

“Oh, you have a sub and you weren’t being nice.”

Giggle, giggle, “yeah, we turned off the lights and threw paper. I guess he got tired of it and told us to leave.”

Oh, brother. Substitute teachers have a rough time and they need kids to be on better behavior than these two rapscallions were giving him. I told them that they needed to be the hero in the room and behave better and encourage the others to do likewise. They are two very good looking and smart boys, and I’m sure they are leaders. We talked about better ways to do it the next time and what they should tell the principal they would do differently. Then I went to the cafeteria for lunch with the first graders, leaving the two miscreants to face their fate.

While standing outside, greeting the first and second graders as they came for lunch, I see the two boys from the office coming over with the vice principal. She  put them to work helping the first graders with their lunches, much like I do, unwrapping the packages and clearing the plastic wrap from the tables. They did a super job, stepping in to take handsful of wrappers from me a couple of times. They were kind and considerate to the little kids. I told them how much I appreciated their help. They said “thank you.” I think they decided to be heroes.