Coming home

My mom has been living in Florida for twelve years. She moved to the Panhandle with my stepfather to retire. They built a lovely home that was hit by hurricane Ivan six months later but rebuilt and were enjoying their life together.

Nine years ago, my stepfather died and Mom has lived there by herself.

My mom has Parkinson’s disease and has battled its effects since she was in her forties. In the last couple of  years, as she has approached her ninetieth birthday, the disease has been getting worse. A few falls and then a medication snafu that caused her physical condition to weaken, made it impossible for her to continue to live on her own. At the time, we tried to coax her to move back to the Midwest, nearer to family. But it was to no avail. So, with much coaxing and disappointment, Mom had to move to an assisted living residence last July.

Her health has continued to deteriorate and now, we wish even more, that she were close by. My brother and I have been talking to her about moving; coming back and letting us take care of her while getting to know  her great-grandchildren and spending time with family.

Finally, last night during a weekly conference call, she told us to go forward with arrangements. It’s hard to believe she has agreed! I am so happy and anxious at the same time. We have been waiting for this and it finally going to happen!

Mom is coming  home!



How time flies!

Yesterday, she was our first granddaughter, our oldest daughter’s first baby. We welcomed her with the same joy and exuberance as do most grandparents. We have watched her take her first steps, begin swimming and gymnastics classes, and become a lover of unicorns.

Tonight, we watched her and her little sister, as our daughter and son-in-law went to a parent orientation for incoming kindergartners.

It seems like only yesterday. How time flies!

A roof over our heads

I came home from work today to a new roof! We had held off for many years getting it done. The roof was the original on our 30  year old home, and served us well, but we decided to have it done before it became absolutely necessary and reaching retirement also pushed us to purchase a new roof.

When I pulled up to the house this afternoon, the house looked lovely, modeling its new roof like a lady in her Easter bonnet. With the sun shining, the roof seemed to glow. We couldn’t be happier with the look and peace of mind for 30 more years.

Nickers and nudges

Monday nights are my favorite day of the week. After work, I drive a half an hour from home or school, depending on the time of year, to the mounted unit barn. As a special deputy with the county sheriff’s department, I work on Monday nights feeding and caring for the horses that are part of the unit.

There are very few times that I don’t look forward to my visit. It has become my therapy. A way to relax and ponder the day behind or the days ahead. The peacefulness envelops me as I go about my chores. Although the horses are hungry and anxious to be fed, they  wait patiently at the gate for me to make my rounds.

When they see me approach, some throw their heads, others greet me with deep-throated neighs and snorts. As I bring them in one by one, they don’t push or fight to get through the gate. A clear pecking order has been established. Some hold back letting the more assertive members of the herd go first.

Once they all have been fed, I enjoy hearing the sound of the them quietly munching on their hay as I fill water buckets, remove blankets, and check them over for any physical ailments that may have occurred during the course of the day.

Most acknowledge my presence with a quick look and then it’s back to the business of  eating. A couple, however, pause long enough to give me a small nudge with their muzzle and wait for a scratch behind the ears or under the chin (what I like to call their “itchy” spot), while I press my nose into their necks and take a deep breath. Only a horse lover would understand the aromatherapy of horse scent.

By the time I finish my chores, ending with the broom sweeping away dust and debris, most of my boys have finished their hay and watch me with heads over the stall doors. The routine includes treats and it wouldn’t be a night if they each did not receive a horse biscuit aptly called “Nickers.” As I make the rounds before calling it a night, that is the sound I hear going from stall to stall.

Some call out for more, others know the night has come to an end and go back to the business of being a horse. I turn lights out, lock the door, and look forward to my next visit.






New babies

We recently learned that our pregnant younger daughter is carrying a girl, the third girl  and not the boy her brother was hoping for. We also recently learned that our older daughter is expecting a baby as well.

Grandbabies numbers 6 and 7.

We have had a new grandbaby every year for the  past six years. Each year has held pure joy as we welcome each into our family with hope and love.

Hope for a healthy life.

Hope that they will always feel joy.

Hope to experience wonder in all things.

Hope in God’s love that they may know Him.

We are very blessed and  wait with awe-inspired anticipation.



Water, water everywhere?

I spent the day with a group of teachers exploring the Great Lakes watershed and ways to share this vast and vulnerable environment with our students. The lessons and content were interesting and fun and intriguing. We dug in and worked both in teacher mode, sharing sample lessons with our colleagues and peers, then turning the tables and becoming the students.

In the midst of it all, we learned how ALL of the world’s fresh water is at risk and the ways that we can help students learn to be stewards of this important resource.

In my own backyard, I will be making some changes come spring. One of the first will be to create a rain garden to control an area of pooling water when we have heavy rains and installing a rain barrel to help with run-off from our downspouts.

There are so many ways to help preserve our fresh water. Becoming educated is first.



Fiesta ware

I recently saw an ad posted on a neighborhood online garage sale for Fiesta ware. Not the new Fiesta ware that has names reflect today’s most popular colors, but the old Fiesta ware with the primary colors of red, yellow, cobalt blue, green and ivory. The same Art Deco-inspired bowls in which Rice Krispies were served for breakfast by my grandmother.

Seeing the ad stirred memories of “Banny”, my grandmother. Tennessee-born, Banny had been transplanted to Chicago by my Grandaddy, an auto-worker. Her cooking was inspired by her Southern roots, and Banny commandeered the kitchen of the little bungalow they shared. Rice Krispies may have been a commercial breakfast fare, but all other meals were made with flair and finesse.

Green beans with bacon, pork chops and gravy, buttermilk biscuits dripping with butter. Homemade peach pie and ice cream for dessert. A favorite Sunday dinner served on those memorable Fiesta ware dinner plates.

My Banny may have come from Southern roots with all of the old Southern charm and cooking  to go along with them, but her home was far from Old South. The Fiesta ware  brightened her kitchen and played the backdrop for her Southern fare. And while we loved the food, we loved her even more.

All of the love she shared through her cooking and her big, bright, and warm personality came back to me, flooding my mind in the vision of Fiesta ware.



The young family sat around the table, chocolate  cupcakes displayed before them begging for a bite. Excited giggles crescendoed into whoops as mouthfuls of chocolaty goodness unearthed pastel-colored m&ms.

Pink and purple candies spilled from the center of each small cake, revealing months of suspense.

“It’s a girl!”

My daughter and her family learned they are having their third girl! Our grandson sat smiling in shocked wonder.

Another sister?!





Happy birthday!

Happy birthday my dear Husband! Another year has come and gone and luckily you are still with us. Two years ago we celebrated your birthday as you were finishing your cancer treatment and there was more to celebrate than another year of life. It was also a celebration of another year of life well fought to keep.

This year, we can also celebrate not only your birthday, but a new lease on life after successful heart surgery.

You joke that I will trade you in for two twenties but I will keep the three twenty-ones instead!

I love you…every part, new and old!


I am a teacher. I am a cop. My husband calls me Teachercop. I have been a teacher for twenty years. Nine years ago, I went through police academy with our county sheriff’s department and became a deputy. I work part time on a volunteer basis and ride a horse with the  mounted unit. Next to teaching and raising a family, it is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done.

Working in the community and representing every other deputy with each interaction I have, is much like being a teacher. The way I relate to the public will become the way not only I will be remembered but will be the way that person views law enforcement. Similarly, the way I respond to my students may be the way they learn to feel about education.

I worked hard to become part of this law enforcement group and have learned so much about the policing community; the family that it creates and the brotherhood that is shared. It is reflective of the family that I have formed at school and within the teaching community. Both of these worlds play important roles in the shaping of those with whom we have contact.

I have been rewarded with two exceptional jobs and hope that I am doing justice to them both.