Christmas 2016 - Dear St. Nicholas

My Dearest St. Nicholas,

Each year, I thoughtfully pen my letters to ask for my Christmas wishes. I also enjoy letting you know I am at peace and I do feel the joy this time of year brings. There are moments, though, when I miss those I loved and want heaven just a little closer to home. But, I will trust as to why Angels were given wings.

Santa, this year I will ask for understanding. I have realized many often suffer, sometimes in silence, with profound heartache during this season. Their sorrows are etched into hearts that have broken. Their tears, held back, are locked away behind eyes that smile but without the joy that can make them sparkle. Would you mind, Santa, asking others to understand and be patient and loving? It may be the kindest gift given to someone who's sad.

Their reason for sadness is uniquely their own. Perhaps loved ones will not be touched, their hands not held in grace at Christmas dinner. Little ones without a lap, in which to nestle, on Grandpa's fa…

I Love You, Mom

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. There is no one I consider more worthy of holding that most honored name. When I hear the word 'mom', to me, it means strength, integrity, understanding, and love. It means trust and stability. You, Mom, have been the beacon of light on my darkest days, the safe place to land after the countless falls I've made, the hand that reached out and took my own when my heart and head battled for my life's direction.

You have managed, and perhaps on many days simply coped, with the heartache no mother should ever have to endure. Yet, your spirit for life and family remains so strong. It's remarkable, really, and in so many ways you're the greatest thing I have to look up to.

Thank you, Mom, for all that you are and I love and trust you like no other.

Christmas 2015 - My Letter to St. Nicholas

My Dearest St. Nicholas,

In the corner of my living room, standing tall, my Christmas tree, with twinkling lights like fallen stars from heaven, reminds me that angels, shining brightly, are here, still with me despite having made their journey home to God. The ornaments, each one with a story to tell, are touched by me and joyful memories are somehow whispered through my hands and into my heart. Soon, the presents will be nestled below the piney boughs and I cry just a little remembering there will be fewer gifts this year - angels can't unwrap presents. Yet, I still feel the peace this time of year brings. I also feel the tears and wish I had a tissue.

I don't want much this year, Santa. To ask for peace, love, and joy, I must first bestow it upon others to know its true value and what it means to me. What I will ask of you is help in overcoming, if they cannot be removed, my fears. Reassure me that in giving love and joy, I will receive, or perhaps achieve, peaceful comfor…

My Mom, My Inspiration, My Hero

Mother's Day has passed but this isn't just about celebrating my mom only on that day. It's about the respect and honor I have for her everyday. I love my mom and I'm going to share with you who she is and what she means to me all the days of the year.

I'm getting older which translates to, in a scary way, that she is too. It's not often enough I let her know she was, and is, the most solid foundation upon which my life was built. She gave to me all the things she knew I needed to live my life with proper values, good morals, and integrity. She also allowed me freedom to make my own choices and either reap the rewards or suffer the consequences. And she loved me through both the joyful or sorrowful results. I've never doubted that. She is the only person I have ever fully trusted; she made me feel safe to do so.

I wanted to be a veterinarian, or maybe it was a nurse or a teacher, when I grew up. Well, I am grown up now and I've realized all I ever real…

Common Core Math Just Doesn't Add Up

Ugh! Common Core Math. It's supposed to explain the logic behind the answers to a problem. It's supposed to allow an understanding of the concepts behind WHY the chosen method works to solve everyday problems.
I'm not a mathematically savvy person. I think in 'words', not 'numbers'. If number solving, crunching, manipulating - or processing in general - is required, I manage. But, I'm not using anything special, such as logic, or  a deeper knowledge, to verify the correct amount of change is given when I buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. What I'm processing is, Dunkin Donuts is so much cheaper when I use my 'Perks' Rewards Card. Clearly, not the logical choice.
Let me give some examples of Common Core Math situations I found online and how they compare to the "old method" - the method I learned back in the day. I found these examples on the Foundation for Excellence inEducation .
Elementary School Example

Previous Math QuestionCCSS …

A Little Girl I Know

There is a girl I’ve come to know. She is about 8 or 10 years old. She is shy, quiet, and introverted. This child went through a world of emotional hurt by the time I met her. My heart breaks for this child.

I do not pity her for all that she is. I only want to love her, to hold her close, and tell her that she will be ok.
No one chooses to be a victim at such a young age and when she became one; no one gave this child the love, support, or help that she desperately needed. Those closest to her couldn’t understand. Things got lost in the translation from the child’s voice, or perhaps in expression, to the adult ears and eyes.She, being so young, didn’t know how or what to ask for in terms of help. She simply told what had happened to her and then…became invisible.She didn’t choose to be invisible, it was just what happened.
Her voice was not heard, her tears were not wiped away, and her pain was not seen. Most importantly, though, her ‘truth’ was not believed or validated.
She reali…

Content, I Am

Content to be amid flower and trees And meadow where plush grass, with ease, Waves to summer's docile breeze
Content to see full moon pinned high, An opal brooch clasped to velvet sky, Which holds her stars for gazing eye
Content to know sun's rays will grace Each day its warmth upon my face With comfort gentle in embrace
Content to trust true tides of oceans Which quiets seas, calming emotions Bathing shores in rhythmic motions
But content, my heart, forever to beat Sharing God's wonders of quiet retreat Where only with Him is faith complete