Sunday Glory

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He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 (NKJV).

Gail 

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Sticky Fingers

When my sisters and I were in elementary school, someone kept stealing my oldest sister’s lunch money coins. Our next door neighbor, Mrs. Startup, happened to work in the school cafeteria and was the lunch room lady who took the student’s money at the end of the cafeteria line.

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My mother talked to our neighbor about how frustrated she was that my sister’s lunch money kept getting stolen and so my mother and Mrs. Startup devised a plan to try to catch the little thief. Mrs. Startup told my mother to take some red nail polish and paint red dots on my sister’s lunch money coins. She assured my mother that she would be checking the coins for the nail polish and was confident she would catch the student with the sticky fingers. She did. Their plan worked beautifully and the student was caught and reprimanded.

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vintage coin purse like my sister had in the 1960s

When I was in the 5th grade, I had a Christmas brooch stolen right off my coat. Coats were hung on hooks in the cloak room in the back of the classroom and at Christmas time, our mother would pin Christmas pins on our coat collars. At the end of the day, when I went to put my coat on, I noticed my little rhinestone deer brooch pin was missing. I loved that little pin. I searched the cloak room high and low and it was nowhere to be found. A few days later, a classmate, Cynthia Bennett,* was wearing my cherished Christmas pin on her dress. When I pointed to it and declared it to be my missing pin, she denied it and said it was her pin. My mother talked to the teacher who talked to the student but she vowed it was her pin. I never got that pin back.

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In fifth grade, we had what they called activity centers. We rotated to different centers around the room and we even rotated classrooms so I guess you could say with all the rotating of students, and with the teacher having to walk around to all the various centers, there was a certain amount of organized chaos.

My pencils started disappearing right out of my desk in that 5th grade classroom and so my mother ordered me red and green pencils from a mail order catalog that were personalized with the words Stolen From Gail on them. Pretty clever, huh?

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Soon after my beloved deer brooch came up missing, those personalized pencils came up missing too. And wouldn’t you know, Cynthia Bennett suddenly started writing with green pencils that had Stolen From Gail on them. I went to the teacher, upset when I noticed Cynthia writing with my pencils. The teacher confronted Cynthia, who made up some elaborate story that her Aunt’s name was Gail and that they were her Aunt’s pencils! She told the teacher that her Aunt had given her the pencils to use. Yeah, right. My mother had another talk with the teacher after the pencil incident. I don’t recall ever getting the pencils back either. But the teacher started watching little Cynthia Bennett a whole lot closer.

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I always wondered what made this little girl want to steal things. She lived in a nice house (much larger than my own) and she seemed to have nice things. She was always dressed in nice little dresses and cute shoes.  But she never seemed like a happy girl. She didn’t smile much and she wasn’t very friendly. I always believed her parents to be much wealthier than my own. I never saw her mother at school, only her father. It was her father who dropped her off in the mornings and her father who picked her up. He drove a very nice big car. I always used to wonder how many other students she was stealing from.

I remember the day my pencils were stolen and I came home from school and vented my visceral reaction to my mother. I told my mother that I hated Cynthia Bennett because it seemed she always got away with stealing and got to keep what she stole from others because she lied about it being hers. It wasn’t fair. It seemed to me that all the teacher had to do was contact Cynthia Bennett’s parents and get it confirmed that she had no Aunt named Gail who had given her pencils. It seemed so easy to prove that she was lying. I don’t know or remember if her parents were ever contacted. I do remember my mother telling me she understood my anger but that hatred wasn’t the answer. My mother told me not to let anger fill my heart and not to hate. She told me that I was always to be nice to Cynthia. I told her I would try but that it would be hard. It was hard but at some point, I started actually feeling sorry for Cynthia Bennett. I always suspected there was some sort of deep-seated emotional insecurity in her to make her want to steal from others. I still felt she should have been reprimanded and not been allowed to keep the stolen items but I also started feeling there were deeper issues with her and her family that I would never come to know about. Looking back, I suspect my teacher and my mother knew what some of those issues were.

I lost touch with Cynthia Bennett after elementary school.  We went to the same high school but it was a very large school and I didn’t have any classes with her nor do I even remember seeing her. I often wonder to this day what became of her.

Gail ♥  

*name with asterisk has been changed
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Total Eclipse Experience

I grew up in Nashville, TN and now live in a suburb of Nashville so I was fortunate to be right in the path of totality and was able to experience the total solar eclipse from my own front yard.  My oldest son came home to view it with us. He’s an aerospace engineer so yep, he was TOTALLY into this and had anticipated it for a while!  He came bearing NASA-approved eclipse glasses for us all. Thanks son!

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Hubby and son viewing the eclipse prior to totality.

This was a BIG deal here in Nashville and I’m now hearing reports that in downtown Nashville, a cloud appeared during totality and lot of people missed the corona. There was a big viewing at The Adventure Science Center in Nashville where LOTS of people gathered along with scientists, astronomers, etc. I heard it had been cloud-free all day, and right at totality a cloud moved right over the eclipse. How disappointing that must have been for all those people. I felt bad for them.

Here in our front yard, we saw it all. No cloud cover here and it was pretty amazing.

  • This was a very big event for Nashville. 1,000,000 traveled here to see the eclipse.  Hotels booked up months ago. And they weren’t cheap.
  • We witnessed the mysterious shadow bands that appear seconds before totality.  Scientists can’t really explain these and don’t know exactly what causes them but they were pretty awesome to see (they looked like shadowy waves on the ground).  For me, this may have been the best part of the eclipse.  A little eerie perhaps but very cool.
  • The darkness came quickly.
  • While it didn’t get totally dark, it was more like dusk and it was like seeing a 360 degree sunset.  DSCF8326
  • The street light at the end of our street came on.

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  • Totality here lasted approximately 2 minutes.  It was something to experience.
  • The darkness came quickly and after totality the light returned rapidly.
  • The corona was spectacular! Even my husband got a little excited over seeing that!  I didn’t take any photos of the eclipse because I don’t have a fancy camera and had heard you needed a special filter anyway.  Here is a photo of what it looked like.
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Photo credit:  Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be

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At totality the glasses get to come off!

  • There were reports that we would see odd behavior in our pets. People have asked if my cats went wacky.  No, no more than usual.  “Wacky” is normal for them. Actually, they didn’t seem phased. As we stood in the front yard just off our porch, they peeked out the front storm door. They were curious as always and wondered why their people were wearing strange, funny glasses. I think I may have seen them pointing and laughing at one point.  🙂DSCF8322
  • Despite reports that crickets would start chirping during totality, I did not hear any crickets chirping. People mentioned on TV about how the cicadas got loud during the eclipse. Here, the cicadas were noisy prior to the eclipse and during the eclipse. I think the birds did seem to quiet during the two-minute darkness.
  • People in Kentucky reported bats when the darkness came who were swooping at insects. We have lots of bats here that usually appear at dusk, but I didn’t notice any bats during the eclipse.
  • People were definitely celebrating here. I could hear loud “WOO-HOOs “even in our quiet little neighborhood. My sister said people were cheering and shot off fireworks where she lives not far from here.
  • The experts said to expect drops in temperatures. I really didn’t think we would see much of a difference with our heat and humidity.  I was wrong. The temperature dropped from 97 degrees to 90 degrees during the eclipse and you could definitely feel that it was cooler.

So that was my Solar Eclipse 2017 experience. It was my first and probably my last so I’m glad I got to witness it.

Gail ♥ 

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Sunday Glory

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 So God made the two larger lights, the sun to rule over the day and the moon to rule over the night; he also made the stars.  Genesis 1:16

Gail 

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The Veterinarian’s Oath

This post is in response to the WordPress one-word daily prompt: recite

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Physicians take the Hippocratic Oath whereby they vow to abide by certain rules, ethical standards, etc.  Veterinarians take The Veterinarian’s Oath.

During my hooding ceremony in veterinary school in 1985, I remember having to raise my right hand and recite The Veterinarian’s Oath at the end of the ceremony.  I clearly remember the emotions I felt and getting a little choked up and teary-eyed while reciting it. It has been modified slightly since that day in 1985 to emphasize a commitment to animal welfare.

My niece had to recite the oath from memory in front of the veterinary school dean, fellow students, and professors at her veterinary orientation recently.

Here it is:

Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

Gail 

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A Better Place

Love. Love. Love this.

Gail 

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Virtual Coffee

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If we were having coffee today, I’d invite you in out of the oppressive heat and humidity and ask you to have a seat in the cool air-conditioned house and probably explain (and even whine a little) about how we can’t EVEN sit outside on the porch to enjoy a cup of coffee because this time of year in the southeast, the temperature rarely leaves the nineties. We’d melt and/or smother.  lake-696098_960_720

In fact, since it’s August and being the good southern girl that I am, I’d probably ask if instead of coffee, you’d rather have a large cold glass of iced tea with lemon and maybe even a sprig of mint from the mint patch in the backyard beside the porch. 🙂 Because, like my husband asked the other day, “Who in God’s creation drinks coffee in 100 degree weather?” And I sheepishly raised my hand and told him lots of people do.

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If we were having coffee (or iced tea) I’d ask you if you’d read any good books lately. I’d tell you I’m reading Timothy Keller’s book Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering and it’s really, really good as I’ve found all of Tim Keller’s books to be. I’m savoring it which probably means I’m not going to reach my reading goal again this month, but that’s okay. I’ve tried and tried for months now to read Marianne Williamson’s book: A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever. I’ve sat myself posed in front of that book with pen and notebook in hand, ready to answer the hard questions and do the work. I’ve read the introduction and the first chapter a half-dozen times and can’t seem to get any further than that and I don’t know why. Lord knows I need this book. I’ve failed at my weight loss attempts these last few months and given into temptations. I’m afraid Licorice is my downfall. Oh, how I love it and that blankety-blank Walgreens keeps putting it on sale so Walgreens, this is all your fault!  🙂

twizzlers-licorice-twist-marrdiconauto-1501-16-MarrDiconAuto@2We have three family birthday celebrations in July and our wedding anniversary August 2nd, so July and early August is always about eating cake and ice cream. And WHY do I feel that I just can’t pass up that cake? I think it stems from a chiding I got many years ago from, of all people, an old and wise phlebotomist! It was my birthday and I had gone to the doctor and he had sent me to the lab for some blood work. I was disgusted with my weight and had decided there would be no birthday cake that year. The phlebotomist noticed on my lab form that it was my birthday, and as she tied the cream-colored stretchy latex tourniquet on my arm, she said, “WELL HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAIL!” I thanked her politely. She then asked what I was planning to do for my birthday. I told her nothing really and commented that it was just another day. She asked if I would be eating birthday cake. I replied, no, not this year, and then muttered something under my breath while patting my belly about not needing it. I’m sure she wanted to slap me because I kinda wanted to slap myself. She raised her eyebrows, pointed her finger at me, and very sternly said, ALWAYS, ALWAYS eat birthday cake on your birthday and ALWAYS have a celebratory birthday dinner!” Her words stuck with me. So ever since then, I eat birthday cake. As for the weight loss, I had a serious talk with myself last week (yeah, I do that sometimes) and told myself I can do better on both the eating and the exercising. So. much. better.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you I’ve been marathon reading Michelle DeRusha’s blog (she’s a Christian writer and published author). I think she’s my absolute favorite writer. I read her memoir Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith in 2015. I just love her writing because she’s so honest and transparent and she lets me see into her soul. I love how she works out her faith in her writing. Sometimes when I blog about my faith, that’s actually what I’m doing…. trying to work it all out in my jumbled up mind because there’s so much I don’t understand. Michelle lives in Nebraska and has two bug-loving sons and her stories of them make me laugh because I raised two bug-loving sons myself. I started reading her blog from the very beginning which she began in 2009, and I’m just now starting 2014. Doing this has made me want to read her memoir again.

In fact, I decided that next year, God willing, I think I’m going to spend the entire year of 2018 rereading some of my favorite books. Do you ever reread favorite books?  I love to hear about books that people think are worth rereading a second time, or even a third or fourth time. My sister and I both love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and its a favorite reread for the both of us. I’ve read it three times and lately I’ve had a yearning to pick it up again.

Anyway, there’s just something about reading Michelle DeRusha that makes me want to pick up a fountain pen and paper or write in a journal.  I’ve learned a lot from her.pexels-photo-356366If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I can’t believe it’s already mid-August and I can’t believe Hobby Lobby has had their Halloween and Christmas “stuff” out since July. I’d probably tell you how I felt like vomiting when I ran in to Hobby Lobby at the first of July to buy Fourth of July napkins and was met by cascading leaves of orange and yellow garland, smiling Jack-o-lanterns, and festive red, green, silver and gold Christmas ornaments and twinkling Christmas trees! It just felt too early for all of that! I can’t believe Christmas will be upon us before we know it and I don’t EVEN want to think of all that right now (mainly meaning all the shopping and the commercialism). I feel like such a grouch saying that but it’s true.

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I can’t adequately express to you how sad I am that we lost Glen Campbell last week and honestly, I’ve never wept over a celebrity/musician’s death until now. I told my sister I wanted to jump in my car the night he died and drive into downtown Nashville (my hometown) because a TV news reporter said every honky-tonk in Nashville was belting out Glen Campbell songs and you could hear the guitar music and the songs from the street. And while I’m certainly not a honky-tonk type of girl, I would have given my right arm to have been down on Nashville’s lower Broad that night just to hear Glen Campbell music and honor him in some way. We’ve lost such a great musical legend, who in my opinion, didn’t get near the credit he deserved for his musical genius. I read his autobiography many years ago and cried like a baby when I read about his hard childhood growing up in poverty with a very strict father. A father who once made him drown a litter of kittens by tying them up in a burlap sack and throwing them into the river and ordered him to stand there on the riverbank until they sank and drowned. And Glen, being only about seven years old really didn’t want to do that dastardly deed and he cried so hard that he could barely find the strength to do it.  But he sobbed hard and talked to those kittens and told them that he wasn’t mad at them and that there would be plenty of food for them when they got to heaven and he did it.  He said that was a hard thing for a little boy but that was his father’s answer to not being able to feed all those hungry kittens and so he made poor Glen hurl ’em right off that riverbank. When I saw Glen Campbell in concert at the Ryman auditorium on his farewell tour in 2012, I kept picturing him in my mind as a small boy standing on that riverbank with the burlap sack of kittens and let me tell you, the hot tears started streaming down my cheeks and I had a lump in my throat the size of Texas. I’ve heard people say that Glen Campbell was a good ole country boy at heart and that he never EVER forgot where he came from. I imagine him in heaven now and he’s strumming for the angels on his 12-string guitar and those angels? Well, they’re in awe.

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If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I turned into an emotional mess this past weekend. I found a suitcase full of old letters my parents sent me when I was in college and veterinary school. My youngest son was here for a visit and we were reading them aloud. My son was perplexed as to why all of my father’s letters were written on hotel stationery and then sealed in hotel envelopes. My youngest son never really knew my father (his grandfather) since he was only 16 months old when my father succumbed to colon cancer. There were letters written on Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Best Western, and other stationery. My father was a pilot (not commercial, but private) and so he stayed in hotels quite frequently and he’d drop a few lines at whatever hotel he was staying at. My son said, “So was PawPaw stealing the hotel stationery?!” I told him no, he wasn’t stealing it (!), that back in the day hotels used to put a few sheets of stationary and an envelope in the desk drawer (explaining this to him made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve seen hotel stationery– I guess because no one writes letters by hand anymore). Reading my parents’ letters brought back so many memories.  I missed them terribly after reading them. But one thing was so clear to me by their words, and that was how much my parents loved me. And I felt saddened because my sons will probably never know what a joy it was to get all those handwritten letters and what a keepsake letters written on paper really are. Somewhere in my basement is a whole box of love letters my husband (boyfriend then) wrote to me during our dating days when I was away at college and then veterinary school. We dated eight years before marrying so there’s a lot of letters in my basement somewhere.

stack-letters-letter-handwriting-family-letters-51191If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ve been thinking a lot about my niece lately. She started veterinary school last week and I attended an orientation luncheon with her and her mother (my oldest sister) last Monday and we toured the veterinary college and got her settled in for her orientation. Her first day of classes was yesterday. She was scared and anxious and understandably so, and it brought back memories from exactly 35 years ago when I was starting veterinary school myself and was scared out of my wits. But she’s in a good place, and she’s one of the most conscientious girls that I know and she’s a genuinely sweet and truly kind person who I know will go far in life. I wish her the best and I’ll keep her in my prayers because I know these next four years are going to be hard and exhausting, frustrating and challenging, but also exhilarating, memorable, rewarding and fun. I’d probably ask if you’d say a prayer for her too.

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My niece at her college graduation last May

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College graduation for my niece…. and then it’s off to vet school!!!!

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If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you how much I enjoyed the visit with my youngest son this weekend and how he’s the son I don’t see very much or talk to near enough, and I’ve missed him. His dad walked him through making homemade ice cream because when he got the family recipe and tried making it twice this summer, it didn’t turn out. So he and his dad made homemade vanilla ice cream together on Saturday and my son learned a few tricks from his dad, the master ice cream maker, and my son said he realized he had not used near enough rock salt when he made his. We ate it the following night and it was thick and creamy and a delicious treat on that hot summer night.

DSCF8276I’d tell you we had a nice lunch out when my son was here, just the two of us, and for the first time ever, I saw the man in him and not the little boy.

Well, it’s looking like rain outside. It’s been a rainy few days here. I’d offer you an umbrella or hold one over you as you walk to your car and I’d thank you for having coffee with me today.

Gail 

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