Arkansas Mine as Penned by Poet, Jimmy Simpson

November 13th, 2017 Comments off

I didn’t live in Arkansas as long as Jimmy, and I really did not get to explore the natural beauty of the state as he has, but I share the love for the land from which we both came. 

Arkansas Mine

God made this haven I call mine,

With many wonders, rare and fine,

From wooded slopes with trails pristine,

To thriving meadows lush and green,

Where springfed streams collect the rain,

Then send it to the delta plain,

That crops of fertile farm and field,

Might share the bounty of their yield.

Each dawn I rise with grateful zest,

For this good land that God has blessed;

And breathe untainted air He made,

In meadowland and forest glade,

As I, with pleasure, proudly scan,

This Arkansas, where I began.

Across this planet, to and fro,

Are many precious lands, I know,

No doubt providing much to they,

Who live their lives some other way;

But as for me, by right of birth,

There is no better place on earth.


JLS – 11/10/16


Giving thanks for photography – capturing the moments of our lives.

November 11th, 2017 Comments off

Clark Burrow escorted me in our High School Homecoming procession. Earlene Brown and Sammy Spencer were next in line.

Ah yes, I remember it just as if it were, well . . . fifty three years ago!

Today’s moment of thanks-giving is for photography  and the pleasure it provides in linking us to the past.

Who do we thank for inventing the camera?

Alexander Wolcott invented the first camera and was patented in 1840. However, the principle of making pictures was created by Joseph Nicephore Niepce.

 In 1826 Charles and Vincent Chevalier in Paris created the first camera that could take photos.

Then in 1827, the Frenchman Joseph Niepce managed to make a photographic image.

Wouldn’t those guys be shocked and delighted at how far we have come in photography?

“Hey, Mr. Wolcott, we can take pictures with our telephones!  “

“No kidding? Uh, what’s a telephone?”

(Mr. Bell didn’t invent the phone until 1876.)

Giving thanks for loving parents.

November 9th, 2017 Comments off

I was home for my summer visit with Mama andDaddy in 1969 when this snapshot was taken. I don’t think I have another one of just the three of us together, so I love having this one.  In the background is our big Oak tree.

Now that I am at least ten years older than Mama was in this picture I can’t help but yearn for the time when I was young, and so were they.  It all went much too quickly.  

By this time I was living in California and my summer vacations spent with them were precious.  I loved being  ‘home’ again.  They were always busy working, but on this day I asked them to stop a minute for  a picture and they obliged.   Sitting  between them made me feel like a child again, safe and special.

Loving parents . . . how can we ever thank God enough for them?

November 8th, 2017 Comments off

buck usher

Can’t you just hear him singing ?

November 6th, 2017 Comments off

It’s now or never, 
Come hold me tight 
Kiss me my darling, 
Be mine tonight 
Tomorrow will be too late, 
It’s now or never 
My love wont wait. 
When I first saw you 
With your smile so tender 
My heart was captured, 
My soul surrendered 
I’d spend a lifetime 
Waiting for the right time 
Now that your near 
The time is here at last. 
It’s now or never, 
Come hold me tight 
Kiss me my darling, 
Be mine tonight 
Tomorrow will be too late, 
It’s now or never 
My love wont wait. 
Just like a willow, 
We would cry an ocean 
If we lost true love 
And sweet devotion 
Your lips excite me, 
Let your arms invite me 
For who knows when 
Well meet again this way.
It’s now or never, 
Come hold me tight 
Kiss me my darling, 
Be mine tonight 
Tomorrow will be too late, 
It’s now or never 
My love wont wait.





A Question for Mr. Know-it-All

November 5th, 2017 Comments off

Who are most affected by sleep deprivation, younger or older people?

Like most other adults, seniors usually need about seven to nine hours of sleep, though they may have a harder time getting it in a single block of time.

But healthy older people are less affected by sleep deprivation than younger people.

In one 2009 study, healthy people aged 65 to 76 had faster reaction times, focused better, and dozed off less than people 18 to 29 years old when they went 26 hours without sleep.

Whatever your age, lack of sleep — even one night — can cause you to be irritable and vulnerable to stress. It can affect your memory and your judgment, too.

Oh, the Irony . . .

November 4th, 2017 Comments off

Because of Franklin I went to graduate school and became a Special Education Teacher. He changed the direction of my career and my life.

November 3rd, 2017 Comments off

The photo was taken the day I took Franklin home with me and gave him a haircut.  He got to take a bath, get new clothes and new things for school.  Mama and I had a wonderful time and he did too. Franklin Secrest changed the direction of my life, and I remember him with love. 


I was just twenty-one when I began to student teach the third grade children within my youthful reach.

They were bright and clever, their smiles and laughter rang with each story we read and each song we sang.

I thought my future was set for grades ones, two or three, but that was before Franklin stole my heart from me.

It wasn’t even subtle, he just took it right away, this eight year old boy in hand-me-downs every day.

He didn’t know his ABCs and two plus two never made four.  One eye wandered a bit and he pigeoned-toed ‘cross the floor.

Life was difficult for Franklin as he struggled with each new task; but he kept a quiet dignity behind a shy smile of a mask.

The regular class was too hard for him and it was assured he would never succeed.  So they asked me, a brand new teacher, to start a class for kids with special needs.

At first I resisted, it clearly was not what I had dreamed;  I should race with the wind, soar in the clouds, or so it seemed.

But if I didn’t do it, who would?  Would anyone else really care?  Then questions became answers.  It was not an accident that I was there.

Franklin became the first of my special kids from Arkansas to Germany to L.A.  I believe God in his wisdom, used that little guy to start me on my way.

Sadly he drowned at twenty, but his legacy lives on . . . in my life and in the hundreds of children I’ve taught, since I was just twenty-one.

My dear little Franklin, I’ll never forget your sweet face. Because of you so long ago, I found my rightful place.  I’ve spent my life teaching children who find the going rough too.  Very special children I learned to love, through you.

Dedicated to Franklin Secrest, 1955-1975  –  Reprinted yearly on his birthday.

Of all the gall!

November 1st, 2017 Comments off

I’ve had quite the adventure over the last 10 days: in and out of ER, night in the hospital, hole in my side for tube to drain infected gall bladder, heart monitor attached to chest, ultra sound, catscan, and some procedures I don’t recall by name.

Thankful and most grateful for Carol Ziegler for taking me to ER to begin this whole process, then of course, Tim and Alice who have been wonderful, caring. The Santana family has been very kind to me too. How blessed to have a family-in-law like them.

juliana has added her own touches to the healing process, in laughter and storytelling.

thanks to all who are praying for me. I will go to the surgeon next Monday and hopefully get a date for surgery to remove the gallbladder, which should be less painful than what I’ve been going through.

thanks for your concern and prayers. May God bless us all. Mary

‘Forgiveness’, by poet Jimmy Simpson

October 30th, 2017 Comments off


The Bible tells me how to live,

How to be humble and forgive;

But nowhere am I told to be,

A partner of iniquity,

Nor to abet by word or deed,

Repeat transgressors who impede.

Forgiveness is a noble act,

God asks of those who are attacked,

To show offenders love is true;

And that it matters what we do,

That by example, not duress,

Mankind might witness righteousness.

While saints do not participate,

In doings that are reprobate,

They do forgive and then forget,

Discretions that must be, and yet,

Remain beyond the reach of sin,

Because of Whom their faith is in.

JLS – 10/16/16


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