I Got A Rude

One of my favorite Andy Griffith Show episodes is the one where Ernest T. Bass comes to town demanding an education. He thinks his beloved Romena will marry him if he can read and write. As usual Andy takes pity on poor ol’ Ernest T. and convinces Helen to let him come to her class.  In the midst of a hilarious classroom scene Helen tells Ernest T. he is being rude. To which he proudly turns and says, “I got a rude!”  Lord, honey I got two rudes this week.

Let me start by saying its been quite the week. My great aunt Elsie Hall was laid to rest Tuesday and a dear, sweet family friend passed away late Wednesday night.  My blood pressure has been all over the map, I didn’t get in the running mileage I had hoped for and I had to deal with two complete idiots.

The first one is a young man who wants to bring carnival rides to the watermelon festival. He started contacting us early this year. We told him we didn’t do carnival rides and we had limited space. This joker wouldn’t take no for an answer. He worried me and another festival committee member, Nathan to death.  He finally understood that he wasn’t coming to the 2017 festival.

I  thought that was the end of it. Nope. A couple of weeks ago, he started emailing Nathan and I again. Nathan was smart enough not to reply. I told him that we were not interested in carnival rides, not the type of festival we are shooting for. I thought that was the end of it. Nope. He started messaging our festival Facebook page. Went through the same crap again. Since I was responding as the “festival” he didn’t know he was still talking to me, at first. He soon found out though. He literally messaged us 3-4 times a day.

There are three of us that are page admins, if any of us read the message the guy could tell. Well, this royally pissed him off that we were reading and not responding. Once again, I couldn’t help myself and responded, told him in no uncertain terms we were not interested. At this point I had had enough and blocked him from our page.  Thought that was the end of it. Nope.  He created a fake Facebook page and started the same mess again.

At first, I didn’t know it was him. But it didn’t take long to figure it out. As soon as I told him we were not interested in balloon art he accused me of having a “god complex” and a few other nice things.  He also went on the festival page and under the review section and reviewed ME!  The nicest thing he said about me was that I was rude. That’s my first rude of the week. (I blocked the fool again and deleted his review.)

My second rude came two days later. In my job, I constantly have sales people calling me wanting to sell the latest and greatest technology products.  99.9% of the time I do not answer my office phone. On the rare occasions I have, as soon as they start their sales pitch, in the nicest way possible I say, “Sir (or Ma’am) we have that covered and we really aren’t interested. I appreciate you calling, thank you” and hang up. Usually they are still talking, but I hang up anyway.

One industrious salesman thought he had a way around my tactics. He left me 3 messages in 2 days. His messages were good. He has a company in Searcy, he was vague as to why he was calling, but he acted like I should know him and what he wanted. Since I do business with several vendors, I thought it might be possible he was working with one of them on a project I have going. So, I made the critical error or returning his phone call.

As soon as he told me what he was wanting, I used my standard line, “Sir, I’m sorry, we already have that covered. Thanks very much.”  Click. I thought that was the end of it. Nope.

A couple of hours later Marc Walling, my high school principal came by and asked me to go to his office. That’s not too unusual, so I didn’t think much about it until he said “You better close the door.” To which I laughed and asked if I was in trouble. He never cracked a smile, and I knew something not good was about to happen. 

At this point, he was reaching for his phone. He dialed his voicemail and handed it to me and said, “Do not get mad. Just listen. It’s important you don’t get mad.”  Low and behold it was the salesman from before ranting and raving about me. He demanded that he be put on the agenda for the next school board meeting because he is going to file a formal complaint against me…for being rude.  My second rude of the week.

Marc had called him back after he left the message and God bless him, defended me. Nothing would appease the fool and he kept demanding to be put on the agenda. Finally Marc told him to just come on to the next meeting.

By now you are asking yourself if I got mad. If you know me at all you already know the answer. If you felt the earth shake at about 1:30 Thursday afternoon, that was me. I was absolutely livid.  Naturally I wanted to call the idiot back and show him just exactly what rude was, Clyde Estes style. (Clyde was my grandfather and known county wide for his temper and colorful vocabulary.). Marc convinced me not to do anything. 😦

When I told Phil he asked for the guys number so he could handle it. I didn’t, I have fought my own battles for 50 years and don’t plan on stopping now.  It has been unbelievably hard for me not to do anything. I don’t think the guy will show up, but I’m ready for him if he does!

This episode really fouled me up. I have been in education 30 years and  have never had anything like this happen.  Sure, I’ve made people mad, but never had anyone threaten to file a formal complaint against me.  I could understand it better if I had cursed him and slammed down the phone, but I was nice!  Don’t misunderstand, I am more than capable of being rude, but in both these instances I was not.  I have decided that more and more people cannot take being told no. They think the are entitled to get their way in everything they do and if they don’t they will attack you.  I’ve also decided that becoming a hermit is looking better and better!

It was a crazy hectic week and I only ran 3 times and did 1 day of strength training. I had two good runs and 1 completely crap run. My watch gives me all kinds of information about my runs. On my third run, it said “Sister, go home and hang up your shoes, you suck.” 

There are times where I cannot figure out why I run.  I am slow, it is hard,  and the universe throws me one curve ball after another.  And for some reason I cannot explain, I keep going. Yesterday’s run sucked, tomorrow’s will be better. If not tomorrow’s then the next day.  The main thing is I’ve got to keep going. 

I’m playing with the idea of going through a half marathon training plan. I’m not going to enter a race, but training for one might be fun. It will give me some structure and a goal. I found a schedule online that looks pretty good. It incorporates cross training and strength training.  Since my mileage had decreased during July and August I have devised a schedule to gradually increase my pace and mileage again, so I’m not sure which path I’ll take.  Stay tuned!

Run happy. Be fierce. Don’t get any rudes!

thirty years

Thirty years is a long time to do the same thing. Monday was my 30th first day of school… actually it was my 45th if you count my years in 1st-12th grades and 3 years in college… but I digress.

So much changes in 30 years. My first year teaching I came home every day for the first semester and cried my eyes out. To say I was miserable would be an understatement. I begged Phillip to buy a diary, build chicken houses, shot me, anything to get me out of teaching. Sometime after Christmas that first year, my principal had to leave the district for unseemly reasons and suddenly everything changed!

Our superintendent served as our principal for the remainder of that year and he was wonderful. He and Phil’s superintendent taught me everything I know about the school business and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

Everything about school has changed in the last 30 years. The thing I am most acutely aware of is our kiddos home life. Gone are the days of a two parent home where the kids are fed, clothed and made to feel safe and loved.  For too many kids school is the only place they get that.  If you were to see the conditions some of these kids live in, you would say it is a miracle they make it  through our doors in the mornings, let alone are able to focus on their schoolwork.  With all the technological advancements we’ve made, we’ve gone backwards in the things that matter most.

Running gives me a chance to clear my mind after a long day of school. I won’t lie, the first week of school came with some pretty crappy runs. I have started running in the evenings again, that just works best for me. But the downside is, some days I’m really tired.

Monday was a hard day on every front. I needed to run for my sanity, but my body couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. Two miles was the best I could do. I know there are going to be days like that, and I know not to dwell on the bad runs, but it still bothers me. Runs like that make me question if I am an actual runner.  I know I am, but self-doubt is my closest friend.

Typically I don’t get to head out until 8 or later.  My headlamp draws every bug in Sharp County to my face. I was actually stung on the eyeball by some little obnoxious winged devil.  The nights were hot, still and humid. Arkansas is notorious for its pop up thunderstorms, on two nights it began raining about half way through. I was fortunate enough to see quite a light show Friday night! I did run a little faster to get back home!

The worst part of Friday night’s run was traffic. I’ve mentioned before that we live on the beer run road. Friday nights are “let’s get on the back roads, drive 60 on a one lane dirt road and drink beer.”😖 Usually I don’t run on Friday evenings because of that, but I knew that was my only chance to get a fourth run in. Many drivers of UTVs are ridiculously unsafe. They only have one speed, full blast. I was run off in a ditch by one such driver and was lucky I didn’t face plant. It’s too bad his radio was up so loud he couldn’t hear my greeting!

There are times that I feel like the universe is against my running, but I’m not stopping.:)

Run happy. Be fierce.


So Long, July

July is the end of a lot of things. In my school world, it’s the end of summer. My teachers come back next week, and the kids come back the week after that. The days are already getting noticeably shorter, and the watermelon festival is over.

The 38th annual Cave City Watermelon Festival was July 27-29. I spend a lot of time working on the festival. We have a committee of 10 people and we work on it all year long. Which in a way is crazy if you think about it. We work for 12 months on an event that lasts 3 days! That just shows how important this event is to our community. The people on the committee LOVE this community and work really hard to put on a top-notch festival.

The festival was great this year. Saturday is our biggest day. The weather was perfect. Cool and sunny. The crowds were huge, probably the biggest ever. The entertainment was awesome! Even as great as I thought it was, there were plenty of people to tell me otherwise. But I refuse to dwell on them. To quote Taylor Swift, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off, I shake it off.”

You see and hear a lot of unusual things when you are at an event like a festival.  Apparently it is the going thing now to have service animals. I’m not talking about dogs that help the visually impaired either. The first thing that caught my attention was  a man walking through the park with an iguana strapped to his chest. Now, if you know me you can imagine the thoughts that went through my head.  The park has a “No Dogs” policy, but nothing about iguanas. So we didn’t say anything. But one of the police officers did. The guy had a doctor’s prescription for this thing. It helps him stay calm in crowds. Hmmmm. My first thought was, “I wouldn’t be too calm if that thing decided to pee down the front of my shirt.”

There was one lady pushing a baby stroller…full of chihuahuas. Another pulling a wagon with a puppy. At least 20 more on leashes. At first we reminded people that they couldn’t have dogs in the park. But honey, that was a losing battle. We finally just started telling them that if the dogs pooped, they had to clean it up. Which they all agreed to. They had the supplies they needed with them to do that.

As a dog owner/lover this is what I don’t understand. Why do you want to bring your dog to a festival with thousands of people? Most of the dogs I saw were trembling with fear. They were overwhelmed with the sights, sounds and smells.  If you are using a dog to keep you calm, who is supposed to calm the dog?  I completely get if you need a service dog to help you get around and I have seen news reports of soldiers with PTSD using them and I think that is great. But goodness, your dog doesn’t have to go EVERYWHERE with you. Yes, they miss us when we aren’t home, but I would much rather mine miss me a little while than traumatize them by taking them to a stressful event. And really do they miss us when we are gone short periods of time? I’m pretty sure mine stay busy during the day chasing squirrels, cars, and buzzards to give me much thought. Yes, they are always happy to see me, but do they really pine away missing me???? Would they be happier going to WalMart with me or staying at home?

My running has suffered this month. Three runs a week is the best I’ve been able to do. Two days of strength work. Except last week, 2 runs, 1 strength.  I tried to run this morning and all I could do was 1.5 miles. After a week of long days and late nights working at the festival, this old gal is tired, bone tired. I don’t bounce back like I used to.

August is a new month, I’m starting with a clean slate and hoping for the best!

Run happy. Be fierce.

July, Where Did You Go?

Could a month be going by any quicker than July is?  I have always heard that is a sign you are getting old!

July is always a challenge for me to get my runs in. Work, cows, watermelons, dogs, and the heat determine when I run. For the first couple of weeks in July I tried to keep my evening/night running schedule.  This quit working for me for a number of reasons. By the time I leave our melon stand and get the cattle taken care of it is at least 8:30 p.m.  I have to use my headlamp for the majority of my run, and it is a bug magnet. I have eaten more bugs than I care to think about!

Since I don’t let the dogs run with me, I put them in the garage. It is unbearably hot even with the windows open and a fan running.  I just can’t keep them in there for the 45-60 minutes I run. Plus, if the windows are open Gus has learned how to knock the screens out and he and Walt come find me!

I finally decided that if was going to run in July I was going to have to run early in the morning. Now, I roll out of bed about 4:45 and hit the road. It is cool enough to put the dogs in the garage and  it is much cooler on me. I don’t have to use the headlamp that much and I guess the bugs must be asleep that early, because I never see any.

Surprisingly, I am loving running in the morning. It is quite, there is zero traffic besides Phil going to pick melons, it is cooler, the birds are everywhere, and the sunrises are stunning.  Once school starts, I’m not sure yet if I will keep it up. I will have to get up even earlier to get to work on time, so I may have to go back to the evenings.  Time will tell. At least I know I can do it!

I have added a few other changes in my routine lately. I have added sprints to my runs. I’m hoping this will help me get a little faster. I am also paying very close attention to my breathing. I am taking breathes as deep as possible. This extra oxygen has really helped my stamina and kept me going on many runs. An added bonus is it makes me stand up straighter too.

The other change is that I have added strength training. Two days a week I hit the local physical therapy clinic and work on my arms and legs. (Since I am a former patient, I am able to buy a membership and use the equipment.) I am really loving these workouts. I don’t want wings and this is absolutely preventing that!

Phil and I celebrated anniversary #32 this month. I do not know how that happened. I don’t feel much older than that! Phil is a saint for sticking it out with me. I’m  hoping we go another 32 at least!

Our big watermelon festival is next week and I will be praying to get at least 3 runs in. With all the stress that comes with the festival, I definitely will need those runs!

If you get out there, be careful and stay hydrated.

Run happy. Be fierce. Be kind.


26 June 2014

June 26, 2014 was a turning point in my life. After years of  dieting and feeding frenzies and a basement full of exercise equipment, I finally found my “thing.”  On that hot Thursday afternoon I began the Ease Into 5k program, and life as I knew it changed.

Up to this point I found myself overweight, unhealthy and miserable with my appearance. It had gotten to the point that I was avoiding old friends and family because I was so embarrassed by my weight gain.  I had to make some life changes, little did I know that running was what I had been missing.

Ease Into 5k is an 8 week program you do every other day.  Day 1 starts with a 5 minute warm-up followed by a 60 second run, a 90 second walk that you repeat 9 times, then a 5 minute cool down walk.  It progresses with each session, gradually adding running time. The program stresses that you are not to repeat sessions, once you finish one, move to the next one.

For the 8 weeks of the program I ran at home. We have a circle driveway that is ¼ of a mile. I thought it would be best to do this in my front yard in case I fell out. The first few days, I could NOT run the entire 60 seconds.  If I couldn’t run, I walked it. When the voice prompt said “Run” I ran as long as I could, when she said “Walk” I walked. I did NOT quit.

Every other day I would lace up my shoes and head out. I didn’t know or care  about shoes, shorts, moisture wicking fabric, sports bras, etc. Once I began running more and walking less I learned fast about the shorts and sports bra thing. There is nothing like having your inner thighs chafe so bad you have to wear Spanx 24/7 just so you can walk or having the underwire in your bra come out and nearly take off your left bosom to make you an expert on those items!!

Ease Into 5k is the only program I have ever religiously followed. I did everything exactly as laid out. I didn’t add to it or take away from it. I have had a couple of people tell me they tried it, but didn’t make it through it.  Both of them tried to tweak the program. You can’t do that, you have to trust the process.

I don’t know how many miles I have logged in 3 years. I have tried to run 3-4 times a week, 3 to 5 miles a run,  every week. I was sidelined with the flu for a week, sinus infection for a week,  and shin splints for  3-4 weeks, but other than that I have not missed more than 3  days in a row running.

I run when it is hot or cold. I run in the wind and rain. I do not run in lightning or ice. I hate treadmills and running early in the morning, but I will when I have to.   I am not fast and I do not care. I do not enter races. I have nothing to prove to anyone. There are people that make fun of me. I do not care. I have found that the running community is the most supportive group of people I have ever encountered. Any time I have doubts about myself, I always find encouragement from a fellow runner.  I have also found that running has given me a world of confidence.

Please don’t think that this running thing is all sunshine and roses. I have had multiple setbacks, both mental and physical. I have suffered from more self-doubt than  you can imagine. If you have read any of my earlier blogs, you already know these things. The most important thing is regardless of any roadblocks thrown in my path, I have not quit. God willing, I will not. I may have to stop sometime due to age or health issues, but I won’t do it voluntarily.

We all have a weight or size where we feel our best and I’m not at mine yet. I have returned to the gym and have added two days of strength training to help. I really, really enjoy my workouts so, fingers crossed.

I’ll end this with two things. I think it is critical to have a diet and exercise plan. Not necessarily a weight loss diet, but a healthy eating diet. (I have a lot to work on in that area.) It is also important to move, especially the older you get.  Running isn’t for everyone, fine. Find what you love. On my running days the first thing I think of when I wake up is “Yay, this is a running day!” I look forward to it all day, and I get madder than hell if something messes it up. I’m fast becoming the same with my gym workouts, I look forward to them all day. Find something that you look forward to and challenges you.

The last thing is a before and after shot of me. The photo on the left is from August 2014. The photo on the right is from last week. I was a size 18 on the left, I’m a size 12 today. I don’t know exactly how much weight I’ve lost, but its in the 60 pound range. Sorry for the goofy after shot, I hate pictures of myself.


Run happy. Be fierce.

Accidental Farmer

I never intended to be a farmer.  I was going to major in business and live in a big city like Dallas.

I was raised on a farm that has been in my family for over 100 years. My dad worked for the U. S. Department of Agriculture, taught a Veteran’s class at night and raised cows. Being the youngest of four and the only girl, I didn’t have to do a lot of farm chores, the boys got to do that. Mainly, my chores were to care for the zoo that Dad allowed me to keep.

There were times that he would make me “work” too. I went to the hay field a few times to do something… I’m still not sure what. I was too small to load hay bales and too young to drive. I carried water and whined as much as I could without get my jaws slapped.  I often checked cows with him, but I was scared to death of them and he carried me on his shoulders until I was about 13.

When I was 16, my brother James went to college leaving me the only kid left at home. This is when I became Dad’s farm helper. I checked cows for him when he couldn’t and helped him feed  in the winter.   I helped him get the cows up and “work” them, which might include vaccinating them, medicating them for various ailments, worming them,  getting them up to sell, etc. My dad had zero patience with cows and most of the time zero patience with me. He had one hell of a temper and it was always a good idea to do exactly what he said.

The most memorable cow experience we had was once when we were getting cows up to send to the sale barn. We had a Hereford cow that was a little high headed (wild and mean) that he wanted to send. Our corral was at the corner of the barn. We would get the cows in the barn lot and then separate them. The ones we wanted to keep, got turned out and the ones we wanted to sell got put in the corral.

The said Hereford decided she didn’t want to go. I let her get past me a couple of times. This meant she was running around like a wild animal and not going toward the corral and I was letting her.  I was 17 or 18 by this time and still had a respectful fear of cows. Dad was livid. His face and bald head were red as red can be, and I still remember his exact words.  “RENO! What the hell are you doing? Whatever you do, do NOT let that damn bitch by you again! Do you understand me??” Me: “Yes, Sir I do.” And I did…

As he brought her around the barn again, my job was to stand in an opening to keep her from going through. She was running at top cow speed and I got down in the defensive stance I had learned from playing basketball. I was NOT moving, she was not going around me again. As she got closer I  held my ground. When she was within about 4’ of me Dad started yelling again. “SISTER, get the hell out of the way!!!”  I never moved and by the grace of God, she turned and we got her in.

Once the dust settled, I thought I had done good. She was penned up and Jim Baxter would be to pick her up shortly. I was wrong. Apparently, I had scared my dad so bad  he couldn’t speak for several minutes. When he finally did, he asked me what I was thinking by not getting out of the cows path. There was a lot of cursing in there too. Since I was his child, I replied “YOU said NOT to let the damn bitch by again, and I DIDN’T!” He just shook his head.

When Phil and I bought our farm in 1988, Dad gave us our first two heifers. We still have descendants of  one of them and it has been nearly 30 years.  When we first got cows, Phil told me that I would never know they were there, that he would take care of everything.  That didn’t last long.

That first spring/summer when he got so busy with the watermelons, I got the job of checking the cows and I’ve been doing it ever since. I check them daily. I talk to them, walk around and through them. My face is typically the first human the babies see.  Phil does the hard stuff like pulling a calf that can’t be born on its own, giving shots, untangling wire from around a leg, etc… but typically I’m right there with him. He puts the hay out in the winter. He won’t show me how to do it, because he says if I can feed them on my own I will have no use for him. They bring me a lot of joy and sometimes a lot of sadness.

This morning Phi and I got calves up to sell, my least favorite thing. Phil is much calmer than Dad was and for the most part our cows are pretty easy to handle. Very seldom when we get the cows up do I not think about my dad.  He loved living on a farm and having cows. He was raised a “town” kid in Ash Flat and he wanted nothing more than to live on a farm.

A few weeks before he died I was visiting him in the nursing home. The nursing home can be seen from the school so I was there often. On this particular day he started talking about my brothers and me. He was talking about the things my brothers had done and the all the things they had accomplished in their careers. When he came to me, he paused. This made me so nervous, I was so sure I had been his biggest disappointment. He looked up at me with those blue eyes sparkling and said, “Then there’s you. I have 3 boys and you, my only girl, turned out to be my farmer! You turned out good Reno!”

Only because of you Dad. You gave me the best gifts of all, the love of the outdoors and animals. You taught me to care and respect nature and the land. You taught me in you own way that I can find God among the trees if I will just stop and look.  You taught me to be independent and stand up for what I believe in. You taught me to love deeply and that when you love someone so much, you will grieve for them everyday they are gone. You also taught me to curse like a madwoman, but we won’t get into that!

This is absolutely not the post I intended to write today. In my head, it was going to be a short blurb about farming and mostly about running and some of the new things I am doing.  I guess I will have to save that one for later… it has just occurred to me that Sunday is Father’s Day and that I’m missing someone a little more than usual today.

Run happy. Be fierce. Hug your daddy if you can.

I Don’t Know What To Call This One

To say it has been an interesting week would be an understatement.  It started with my elderly mother taking a nasty fall while out shopping and winding up in the ER. By the grace of God she didn’t break anything. She was badly bruised and had a huge knot on  her head, but otherwise she was ok. She refused to go to the ER in an ambulance so the owners of the store drove her to the hospital. She didn’t know them, they didn’t know her, they just did it. They are good people! They were probably amazed that she insisted on doing her shopping before going to the hospital. Only my mother would do that. My friend Lori was my lifesaver that day and went with me to drive Mother’s  car back to her house. Lori never blinked an eye when I asked her to go,  she just said, “Let’s go.” I am blessed.

That night I had a watermelon festival meeting. On my way home, I discovered one of our calves out on the road. Phil was at Melbourne, and since I have a tendency to be independent I decided I could get him in on my own… in the dark.  One thing I did have going was the moonlight. It was so bright and beautiful.  As I was making my way down the road walking behind this thing, a truck stopped. Most people would when they saw someone walking down the middle of the road at night with a flashlight herding a calf, but since this is the beer run road you never know.  I had no idea who it was since their lights were shining in my direction. A man’s voice said, “Hey Julie, want me to open this gate?” Absolutely I did and was so grateful these two men had shown up when they did. They parked their truck where the calf couldn’t get by, spread out, shined their lights toward the gate, and the calf went in as pretty as you please. I was so relieved by the ease of it all.  The man said, “You can take the man out of Sidney, but you can’t take Sidney out of the man!” To which I replied, “Who are you??!” It was my former neighbor and student Tyler and another former student Zack. I told  them they were an answer to my prayer. (The first thing I do whenever I’m in that kind of situation is ask God for help. He always supplies it too!)  They just laughed and said no one had ever said that about them!  I was so glad they picked that night to come to Tyler’s parents farm to coon hunt! I am blessed.

The next afternoon I had more cow drama. Walt and I went to the farm to check the cows. I noticed a cow laying on the creek bank, but didn’t think anything about it. It was pretty warm, and she was in a nice cool place. I had to make my way around the creek to see all the cows. When I got to the side of the creek she was on, I happened to notice her stretching her back leg out behind her. That’s not normal, cows don’t do that. As I approached, I saw she was tangled up in barbed wire. Phil was in the watermelon field and had sketchy cell service. Between repeated calls and texts I finally made contact and he headed my way. While waiting for him, once again I thought, I can do this by myself. Wrong. The cow was so calm, she didn’t even twitch when I started trying to free her. She had been there so long and had tried so hard, the wire was wound  tightly around her leg, there was no way I could do anything. I also realized Phil was going to need wire cutters and someone a little stronger than me to help him. So, I called our neighbor Chance and asked him for wire cutters. When I told him what was going on, his reply was “I’ll be right there.” He and his wife Kate pulled in when Phil did.

As soon as Katie saw the cow she said, “”You always have the oddest things happen to you.” She and Chance have helped me with coyotes a couple of times and a few other oddball incidents. Phil and Chance were able to free her pretty quickly. She had been down so long and the wire was so tight she had lost feeling in her leg. She was wobbly and we worried she would roll down the creek bank into the water, but she didn’t. Once she got her balance, she just stood still for a while. She is doing well. I am blessed.

If you follow me and don’t know me personally, you may not know that I am the IT Director for my school district. I have a degree in Business Education and taught for 17 years before taking my current job. I work at the school Phil and I graduated from. Many of my friends kids and  grandkids go to school there, so I take what I do extremely personal. Our area is very, very poor. I know that education is the only chance many of these kids have for a better life.  I will fight you to make sure they get the best education we can give them.

Since we are a small school, the staff is close knit,  like family. We will fight among ourselves, but NOBODY from the outside better mess with one of us.  That became very clear this week.

The end of the school year is filled with field trips. On one such trip this week, there was a little unnecessary drama. While playing at our local park, a few students called their parents to ask them to bring them drinks from the local fast food restaurant. They told their parents they had  playing and were dehydrated because they had no water. Which was not true. Instead of checking out the story, a parent took to social media to criticize the teachers on the trip and the school.  Several people chimed in on criticizing the teachers and the school as a whole. Then, someone posted that the “teachers at that school needed to have the crap smoked out of them….”

Needless to say all hell broke loose. When I was shown what had been posted about my “family” I got about as mad as I have been in a long, long time. The teachers felt threatened, I would have too. The person who made the post should have known better than anyone else not to post something so stupid. After a lot of talking and discussion the situation was resolved, but the damage was done. The person who made the statement has lost all credibility with a whole lot of people.

As a school family we all rallied around our fellow teachers and was reminded that we truly are a family. I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I am blessed.

*I guess I need to tell the entire story since I always try to give you the good, bad and ugly. In case you are wondering why the remark was such a big deal, it is because it was made by a police officer. We probably won’t have thought much about it if it had been made by just some good ‘ol boy in town.

Speaking of social media, I was blocked by an old friend this week on Facebook. My politics lean to the left. I don’t make any apologies for my opinions, they make me who I am and I have the right to speak them from time to time. But, since I live in a very conservative area, I don’t talk politics often. I have no desire to argue with people and do not feel the need to defend my political position.  If you want to know where I stand on an issue, ask. I will be happy to tell you. 🙂

My so called friend had posted a rant about respect. He said if you wanted respect you had to give respect and that liberals needed to learn that lesson. My co-worker and right hand man Jonas replied to the post with something like, “yes, that is true, but it usually doesn’t work that way and the Bible has that part about doing unto others…” That’s a bad paraphrase but you get it. I posted three words, “as do conservatives.” The friend blocked Jonas and I both. The irony is the friend is a preacher. 

I am constantly amazed by the intolerance of people these days. If you don’t go along with their way of thinking, you are an idiot. And they will tell you that. I love people who have different viewpoints and life experiences than me. I love to hear others opinions and thoughts. I love a good lively, but civil debate! Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority.

That is what I love about the running community. Runners stick together, runners encourage each other, they build each other up. In the nearly 3 years that I have been running, I have NEVER had another runner say one thing negative to me. If I say, “I’m not a real runner, I’m too slow.” They say, “You run. You are a runner.” They don’t say “Wow you had a slow run yesterday.” Instead they say “Great job, you ran 5 miles yesterday.” They look for the positive. I like that, I like that a lot. 

I think there is a life lesson there. Be like a runner, build people up, respect the differences in others. Be kind, be supportive, be a positive voice in the world of negatives.

Run happy. Be fierce.