Covid-19, too close for comfort

Tonight, a lady from my bible study group was careflighted to the hospital. She was placed on a ventilator and tested for coronavirus causing COVID-19, we are waiting on the test results. Her family is not allowed at the hospital to be with her, even though she is elderly- it’s too great a risk with the hospital staff not knowing her diagnosis. My heart ands prayers are with her all evening and night long. May God be gracious in his mercy and tend to her needs.

Robert and I were trying to remember if we had any contact with mutual friends in the past three weeks. It was mind-boggling because a visit from a mutual friend could expose us if they were exposed, according to the last news update. (A friend of a friend is your enemy.)

Social distancing, hand washing, masks, gloves and staying sheltered is the best preventative measure one can take against a flu virus. (Cleanliness is next to Godliness.) There is a shortage on cleaning solutions, hand sanitizers, and masks in the stores, as people try to protect their families. Wiping carts down or and wearing gloves in the grocery store is the best preventative and the mask , and six feet separation of course.

I am enjoying my time with my families during their haitatisis from school and work. I am helping Nate with his lessons and Kassi is helping Zack with his lessons. It’s more hand-holding as they gain self-efficacy in their assignments. The President Trump said schools are to remain closed through May 4th, 2020. They most likely will not resume school afterwards, but continue the distance learning. They will probably have one or two days at the end to return their books and gather their personal effects from their cubbies or lockers at school.


Inspirational poetry

The Power of Woman

The Power of Woman

From out of her mother’s womb

This sweet little girl does come

To capture the hearts of many


Exploring with her feet

She kicks wildly at her crib

And feels the bed shake


Hanging on mommy and daddy

Not just anyone will she go to

Just try and she will cry


Teddy bear so cuddly; a welcome night friend

Tea sets filled with rock to serve her imaginary friends

Big girl preschool, lots of playing while learning too


Shopping for sleeping bags and cool jammies

Sleepover’s we’ll plan with the greatest of ease

But come nightfall, she’ll want to go home, please


Little white tights, Mary Jane leather shoes,

Hair neatly braided, lunch safely tucked

In a carefully chosen backpack


On the first day of Kindergarten, she’ll say

“Please Mommy, let Daddy take me.”

A single tear rolls down my cheek after she leaves


The years speed by too quickly

Many third-grade romances

And broken hearts in Jr. High


Dad, I found the perfect Mustang

It needs a little work, but its so-oo cool!

Mom will you teach me how to drive


Graduation robed, and motors tossed in the air

The future is full of promises and dreams

A white flowing dress and love in her eyes

She says’ forever, “I do!”


From out of her mother’s womb

This sweet little girl does come

To capture the hearts of many


Kat Challis ©2010 The Dreamer’s Soul – Circle of Love


rants & opinions

Online, Private & Local School- What’s the Difference?

This year my sister Gabby decided to place her two granddaughters in a public online school. They said it was free to attend; what they didn’t tell you is it’s expensive if you don’t have scientific equipment (microscope, slides), art supplies (special paper, name brand paint, chalk, crayons, canvas), math tools (calculator, compass, rulers) just to name a few. It cost $300.00 the first week’s assignments to get started.

One has to be self-motivated, self-disciplined, and have the desire to accomplish goals. There are seven 45 minutes lessons due every day with a 30 hours minimum workload. If you get behind in your lessons; the teachers will work with you- but it becomes like a snowball trying to outrun an avalanche. This is not for the faint of heart.

If you skip a practice, quiz, or exercise you are marked as incomplete and you can’t move beyond to the next lesson. It doesn’t matter how many tantrums you throw- you’re not moving forward. You can blame the computer, you can call the help desk and they will research the issue, bottom line_ you are still responsible to get the assignments done.

One has to make a commitment to succeed. There aren’t any alarm clocks to go off and wake you up in the morning and tell you to get to school. If you procrastinate, it only adds to your stress of getting things accomplished that day. There aren’t any school dress codes or uniforms to wear- but it’s important for your self-esteem to dress as if there were (sorry, pj’s all day long don’t count).  And most important you have to show up ready to work. That means having materials ready, pencils and paper available if you don’t use the online note tracker feature, and computer logged in.

One has to put forth an effort. You have an online classroom teacher that connects with you for online live sessions and small class size online groups if you avail yourselves of them. Your teacher will provide feedback on your assignments- you have to be handle being critiqued. No one else is to blame if you fail a portion or all of your assignment.  You will get kudos for passing an assignment in the teacher’s feedback.  In public school, you can make excuses and get away with a lot until test time catches up with you. You also get peer praises to bolster your confidence. On the downside, your peers can reinforce a negative behavior or cause you to think less of yourself.

One doesn’t have social pressure in an online school. The pressure is self-driven and internal. There aren’t any clicks to navigate through. You aren’t bullied by anyone except maybe the computer (lol) and parental force (sigh). You don’t have any prestige or team sports and clubs spirit to attend, despite the school offering them to you via the internet, think chess club, debate, art shows, etc.

Parents have to make a commitment to have you up and dressed and ready to go to work for public, private, or online school. In my sister’s case, she has to drive 38 miles each way to the library, since, they can’t get internet service on the mountain where they live. It can be inconvenient, time-consuming (152 miles daily) and gas/maint expenses add up quickly.  Local public school is only 7 miles away.  In public school you can have an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) meeting on short notice, you have quick access to the teacher’s time.  You can form working relationships; party time, volunteering events and tutoring yours and other children.   You can carpool to local school and field trips. Your child can share experiences with other peer children at field trips in a public or private school. Online students meet a group of strangers at a given date and time frame and write their report or portfolio by themselves- no group work.

Children have to be educated- they are our future workforce replenishing the worn out senior citizens.  Minimal paying jobs are a dime a dozen, which means you’re often treated like you are dispensable, and it’s hard to make lasting working relationships with your boss or peers. Minimal paying jobs keep you in or at the poverty level living style.  College is not for everyone, but trade schools are. From being a mechanic, realtor, skilled laborer, trade schools teach one on a fast track towards success, that doesn’t require a lot of formal education like college does. College is a constant building block from Kindergarten onwards for a 16-17 year commitment to just learning and practice at work while you get a Bachelor’s Degree. Certifications are short, quick classes that tell potential employers that you have a specific skill set. I highly recommend certifications to pre & post trade or college level students. It may make a difference in getting chosen for a promotion or salary increase.

Finally, whether you choose public, private, or online school go at it with gusto. I tell my children to see it, believe it, and achieve it. Meaning if you can conceive an idea in your brain, believe in it with your heart, then you can achieve success. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.



Proactive Prophecy

Robert is the hardest worker that I have ever known. He was always studying for certifications (30+) that would help him move up the ladder or make lateral changes in his employment. He keeps his certificates up to date. He earned an Associates in Computer Science and Bachelor degree in Engineering, all while working 12 hour shifts at work for over ten years span during schooling. And many long days and nights over the 40-year span. He is the Central Region (Corporate) Facility Service Manager for Americold, he has 36 plants that he oversees. He stays on the go daily.
I was fortunate, Robert supported my efforts to go to a private university; Southern Nazarene, and attend for four years so that I could earn a Bachelor in Elementary Education and become a Teacher. Looking back at my employment record, I can see the gaps when I was too ill to work. Areas where I filled in as babysitter for Kassidey for five years. And times where I turned left when I should’ve turned right. Although I still have my license until 2020. I am woefully outdated. I need to volunteer for a year. And see if I can re-establish myself. I am seriously considering Master’s level college studies.
My girls earned their Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Education. They both have a solid career in front of themselves; they work hard and produce positive results with their Special Education students. Rose’s husband also has a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering.
My mentor and spiritual mom Dr. Edythe Leupp of Portland Oregon has been encouraging me to write this book for decades. She believes that young love, can mean everlasting love. She and Tom were married as teenagers also, albeit older than Robert and me. They had five children and numerous grand and great grandchildren many with advanced academic degrees.
Her biggest influence upon me was unconditional love. No matter what the story was or the excuse she loved me totally. Only Jesus had loved me totally and he died for my sins and entrance into salvations heaven.
Perhaps because she didn’t raise me she could love me totally. Sometimes the enormity of having three children can be a bit much for parents to deal with. The cooking and cleaning and discipling gets wrapped up so that it outweighs the fun times of just bonding and being together as a family. I can certainly understand it- I don’t happen to agree with it, but I understand parents who do.
Childhood can seem like it takes forever, so many milestones to meet and mark off time with, it’s been five years that Kass and the boys moved in with Robert and me. Time has flat flown by with the boys being 6 & 8 yr.’s old respectively. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it away. Roses’ Bella is almost two years old and thriving as a happy little girl with her parents and older half-siblings.
No matter how convoluted or congested things get and you think the drama queen or king is in the house permanently – unconditional love conquers all. Then in a blink of an eye it’s over, the children have grown up and gone their own ways.
Tell your children and grandchildren often that you love them, that they are a good person, that you like them, and you enjoy being with them. They hear enough negative talk at school and in the media so your sunny disposition will be the rainbow at the end of their storm.
I can’t stress the importance of getting an education. It doesn’t matter if it is a trade school or college; anything posts high school counts. My 16 years old niece said she is getting married when she turns 17. The age barrier is not my concern, lack of education and employability is. Her fiancé’ is ignorant as they come. He makes light of their housing, food, and other necessities. A HS drop out, unemployed, he says he’s a good hunter and they can eat wild game, and use the hides for clothes and shelter as they live off the land. Even, my brother a serious sportsman would not be so cavalier about such a thing. The fiancé sincerely has the Alaskan survival show in his brain where a family survives by working together out of nothing and bartering. The hardships are of no consequence to him in his romantic notions. I can’t believe my sister is going to permit this union to occur. I am praying for common sense to jump into their pea sized brains before she gets pregnant.
It’s all about character. What is it that makes one stand out from the crowd. What ideology to you scribe to? What are your work ethics, moral values, and ability to reason? Do you have common sense? I could get on board with a Survivalist Mentality if I didn’t know my niece so well. She has two cells phones going 24/7, she owns 4 and changes them out while the others charge up. She talks to friends, watches entertainment videos, and listens to music. She does not work at housekeeping, cooking, or any domestic chores like sewing, knitting, or crochet. Gardening and yard work are also out. She does what she wants when she wants and has an attitude if you try to correct her behavior or thought processes. My husband says it’s the “Me generation,” whereas, kids distance themselves from authority, disrespect our nation and its symbols, yet expects to get free food, shelter, and medical care. They don’t want an education and could care less about holding a meaningful job with any longevity.
She does buy, or accept donated pregnant dogs and sells the pups for a profit. She doesn’t have any license to do this. She uses the money she gets to pay for the upkeep of future puppy sales and her cell phones. At least she is halfway smart in that area. She is a beautiful young woman, with so much potential that is slipping through the cracks. I hope for her that she stays on the education path and graduates high school. I hope that her dreams of being a veterinarian technician work out when she turns 17. I hope for allot of good things to come her way- but she must put forth effort and time and want to succeed in life.
My axiom in life has been, “If you can think of a goal, believe in the goal with your heart, and mind, then, you can achieve the goal.” It’s call proactive prophecy; see, believe, achieve. Parents should model this behavior for their children or grandchildren.




The old meets the new learning styles

Teaching my great nieces (9y & 16y) remotely with the cell phone and laptop can be quite a challenge for anyone. Have you read the USA President’s Handbook for Health, Fitness, and Nutrition lately? (not exact title but should be)  Talk about a mind blower. It is lengthy and has many links to it for further research. My niece Makayla was telling me about how much she could walk at a time, which was wildly exaggerated or she is a gifted athlete but balked at the idea that she had to do a timed run of one mile, for her pre-test.

Well, she lives in the mountains up a steep grade 1/4 miles from the main road. I was doing the calculations of a mile equivalency based on endurance and how steep the road is.  She threw a fit at my numbers and I finally caved in and ended the call- she still hasn’t done her pre-physical test that the President says she must do. So, We go into YOGA – I don’t know the first thing about yoga except you try to bend like a pretzel.  My sister bought 4 video series starting with the basic concepts to expert yoginis. That has worked better as a 1 hour of physical activity requirement for children and 30 minutes for adults per day. She is up to 20 minutes of trial and error but confident that she will eventually master it.

I chose a digital microscope/endoscope for my nieces to use in Science classes. I had to walk sight unseen my 9 yr old through computer installation and calibration of said microscope over the telephone. She was blown away at the 1000x strength imaging of an ordinary leaf. She could see the membranes and cellular structure within on her computer screen.  Her grandma was really excited as they tried different materials, onions, paper, pebbles, etc.  It made the headache of choosing new and modern vs traditional microscopes worthwhile and hoping I didn’t get too much overkill.

When you live on a mountain you have to take technology with a grain of salt. I ordered a cell phone through T-Mobile to use the hotspot feature for the internet- wouldn’t work. Then we went to Verizon, wouldn’t work despite the fact that the local tower is from Verizon. They can’t get a landline service either. So my sister went to Walmart (28 miles away) and bought a Straight Talk 5 Gbyte prepaid card and it worked with the Verizon tower but ran out of time after three 8 hours days of being online. So that can get expensive at $50.00 per card real quick. So our next option is the public library over 35 miles away.  My sister had to convince the librarian to allow them to bring in their laptops and remotely connect to their (hotspot) internet so they could do their assignments. They are attending Alabama Connections Academy for their online education. We’ll see how that works out as I have to interact with them over the phone; I live in Texas, they live in Alabama, to teach the assignments so they can join the weekly online webinars and stay up with the classroom teacher.