From Grief to Growth: A Choose Your Own Ending Adventure

Gathering Music: Come Into This Place by William Schulz and Betsy Pusey

  Come into this place of peace, and let its silence heal your spirit.

  Come into this place of memory, and let its history heal your soul.

  Come into this place of peace, and let its vision change your heart.


Wishing for Safety in Disasters

Living on the Gulf Coast of Texas,I began to wonder where one could find safety. It reminded me of when we dealt with Hurricane Alicia to Ike in south Texas with no electricity for days on end and food and water ran low to the point  of hunger. We finally made peace with planning what we could and then sheltering in place. (By the way, I truly experienced all of these choices):

Disasters Here, Disasters There, Oh Disasters Everywhere!

Where can I go to escape hurricanes likeIke?

Drive way out west or up the turnpike?

If I head to the west will there be an earthquake?

Will my car and my family become afraid and then shake?

Or should I go up toward Kansas, or just head north?

And let a tornado whip us back and forth?

Where ere I go there are no safe places.

So let’s just stay home with hope on our faces.


Welcoming Words 

A Child’s View — Tadpoles, Hospitals, and Teddy Bears

The Terrible Tadpole Tail

As an elementary school teacher, I tried to make learning fun and interesting. I obtained a frog habitat and found a local source for tadpoles. The students were cited to check on it each day as they arrived.

One Saturday I worked in my class to catch up on some paperwork, and gleefully noticed one had made the transition into a frog. I knew the kiddoes would be thrilled.

When Monday came, I eagerly went to my class after morning duty with a sense of anticipation. But as I walked in, I immediately checked on our new frog—only to find it missing!

Right about then my aide opened the door and informed me she had found a frog in our room and put it outside. She sounded so pleased with her action. It seems the frog had somehow pushed its way out by raising the lid a bit, and the teaching assistant didn’t realize it was our tadpole who magically had escaped.

Needless to say, the class and I were devastated. So I had to come up with a Plan B in a hurry!

We wrote and drew about The Frog That Left in an effort to put a positive spin on the day’s mishap. The children brainstormed about how it pushed the lid, then wrote about its adventures on the table, and how it liked the playground for its new home. Some even drew a map of a possible path the ex-tadpole probably took on its way outside. One made a funny face of how it felt when it made its wild escape from the tadpole pond. One even said the tadpoles tail was lost as he escaped the lid and the others rushed to look for it.

I saw no reason to tall them the frog had some help making it to the school yard. Their imagination created much more interesting adventures.

From this I learned to look for the blessing when life seems to betray you.

A Child’s View of Sickness and Death in a Hospital

Then another day life reminded me that a little child shall lead us.

We were visiting my best friend Ann in the hospital. Things didn’t look good. It showed in all our eyes.

Then we heard the elevator ding and a cherubic voice flowing down the hallway. A good friend and her face year old daughter had come to visit our patient.

After a short visit with Ann, her mom sat on the bed to chat, leaving the child a bit at loose ends. She and I took a walk back and forth in the hospital hallway. At one point some orderlies wheeled a gurney into the hall, leaving it there while they attended to other tasks.

As is usual in a hospital, we passed the time with small talk. I knew the strange smells and excessive quiet might be overpowering to her, and tried to carry on with normal chitchat. Then she seemed to wake up to the moment, noticing an empty bed in the room they had just left.

She said, “I hope no one  died in that empty bed. I hope it’s just ready to help someone new.” I assured her it was, while musing myself about what might have ju8st happened before we arrived.

But even a young child knows people sometimes do die, and I knew she had already experienced losses in her short life.

Fortunately we both had several weeks of processing time before hospice was indicated. By then, she was involved elsewhere i her life, and the time put a bit of distance between her and Ann’s passing.

This sweet gal helped me see the reality coming even before I was ready to face it, reminding me that children are often attuned to feelings and realities even sooner than adults. We can learn from our children to pay attention to the moment instead of the wall we all build to help us avoid impending realities.

I will always cherish the chance to see my friend’s coming transition through the eyes of this lovely child.

The Teddy Bears are all on Fire!

2 bus loads of students where I taught had only what they brought to school that day. I was used to seeing them daily to smile, hug, etc. They were my friends.

Friday afternoon we teachers heard the news during school—sketchy at first, then confirmed to be worse than we could ever imagine—the apartments where these students lived were caught up in a raging fire. At that time there were more than ten fire departments involved. We continued the last period of the day in shock.

Toward the end of the day, the principal rounded up some of the older students and took them to the library. Then bus time came and we teachers who were on bus duty were instructed to take each and every student from those two buses to the library too.

Parents who could be reached were being called, and the adults tried to keep some degree of calmness as the students watched a video instead of being loaded onto buses. They weren’t sure what to think, but some suspected a bus breakdown.

Too bad it wasn’t just that. There was no way of knowing which students at that very time were losing their home and all of their possessions.

Then it hit me like thunder: these little kids’ teddy bears were in flames — bringing the depth of the loss home to me. How do you tell a child their teddy bear, and other toys just burned up?

Somehow that day finally ended, but not the needs. I sent an email to a number of friends asking for help. I had a particular concern for the children who not only had no home, but no toys. Many in the community rallied to the cause and brought needed items. I helped deliver my friend Ann’s twin beds to one apartment, a TV to another along with many toys.

I can never forget the day the teddy bears were on fire.


Reading: The White Trees—a poem by Bob Smith

Sunshine Interlude: Sunshine on my Shoulder played by Stephanie Nixdorf

(May we use these moments to reflect, with deep gratitude, on nature and its healing which has been given us.)


In the 80s, before computers were everywhere, there was an interactive series of books called Choose Your Own Ending Adventure.You could read the same book many times, making different choices at select junctures in their adventure. Readers would discover that their decisions affected the outcome. Once a grief has hit, we can each choose our own ending even though we may not want the adventure. We will now explore grief, faith and high hopes.

A Date with Grief: Sad Stories with Not so Sad Endings      

We all must have our date with grief—at times it seems beyond belief.

You cannot put off or run from grief.

Be with the pain, and seek relief.

 My Grief Tearbook reflects a variety of poetry and stories. I found the process was a surprising metamorphosis from pain to growth. 

If you haven’t had it yet, you’re gonna get it. It’s kinda like the measles, only you can get this more than once.  Mourning and its trail of tears can be evoked by a variety of life losses including divorce, death, handicap, illness, disaster, or even life’s transitions and passages like reaching a certain birthday. It could even involve loss of a pet, a job, a physical ability, or even bring able to drive, etc.  

Recently the TV told me I needed to make my skin bounce back like it used to. Hmm, I can’t seem to remember or appreciate my former bounciness. However, a couple of diagnoses did give me an unwelcome opportunity to renew my subscription to reality recently. A number of you provided the hugs, help and comfort to help me move on. 

The path through pain is necessary but it does not have to be a permanent outcome. It is only a temporary but crucial   station on our journey.

There is even a Kleenex portion of my Grief Tearbook, when sadness can overtake us but hang on, better times are a coming! 

Sometimes it helps to learn about others’ experiences with grief. Than you can plug your own situations into a recovery plan. I share these poems to let you know it is OK to have feelings. So fasten your seat belts and take a journey through the grotto of the soul, a panorama from pain to peace.

Feeling Wrenched

We all have dreams, expectations; perhaps it tempts us toward exaggerations. 

When hurt, and looking for placation, I wonder where in the grotto is my mental vacation.

I wrote this Tearbook for those moments after the darkness yet before the stars come out, perchance to help in getting past the scars to see the stars. Maybe my talking thusly to myself can be like a scream of pain in a grotto—the echo returning to me from the cave may feel like I was heard.

Then after such respite I can continue on my sometimes foggy path toward an unknown dream quest, with self-nurturing skills increased, and my hurt somewhat released.

I even dedicated this Tearbook:

For the dark and weary moments of my soul, when the hard and mixed up feelings seem to roll.

I will write in the Hobbit’s lonely grotto, and healing—with real fears dealing—is this cave’s motto.

Tears don’t help, nor will they stop.

Ya know, someone said Sorrow is the rust of the soul, but activity can eventually cleanse and brighten it.

     TODAY, we will be traveling from grief to growth in the hope that you can use some of this as a road map the next time you find yourself in the grotto of grief.

We’ve all heard poems and songs of broken hearts which present two extremes: the desolation of depression, and that sparkle that sprouts from the psychiatry of friendship as new horizons as they enter our lives.

  Before we wander into the Grotto of Grief it may help to note that it can come from many causes. Cause doesn’t matter—the process seems similar in all paths of grief. Recognizing the commonality of all such experiences is important.

So, even if some of these poems may not be about your particular events, grief isn’t about only one kind of pain. It’s about a process, and the hereafter (after grief that is).

When my children were young my father-in-law’s health was failing. I had majored in psychology so I purposely planned to prepare my two sons and comfort my husband. This search for a nurturing approach was the start of my personal experiences with grief.

A few years later Hurricane Alicia gave me a refresher course. I had just moved into  a building for a private school I was starting. We saw many thousands of dollars worth of damage the first week there. At home, four cars were smashed, trees attacked every room, and both yards became a house-high monument to debris. People said it looked like a war zone! Especially when fires were lit to burn debris in the big holes in the ground where huge trees used to live. 

One of the main reasons to talk about grief is to help oneself or others when it comes to call. I know because the hurricane prepared me for the horrendous impact of a mid-life divorce. In that situation I read voraciously and learned about stages. Whatever way you feel is just right, as some days will be better, or worse, than others. 

There is no schedule or timetable for these “stages.”  My only guide for myself is to hold onto hope with full intention of healing, not just festering forever. The poems are poetic photographs of particular points in the process as my soul passed through grief’s journey.

Shock-Denial may include a last ditch attempt to stay busy, display false smiles, stare, or even choose martyrdom. We are recognizing there is a problem and sadness, yet trying to avoid and maybe even bargain with it.

Hope Dream

I chase a dream    to make it seem    that someone still loves me.

But he ere must go,    seems it must be so.    What I get doesn’t flatter me.

I shed a tear.    I wish for beer, but none of it will help.

From   my   dream   I   must   wean,   rough   realities   do   seem   mean.

Oh, to be a puppy with hope for a yelp.

Anger-Depression is the time to be with the sadness and pain, be honest, perhaps making it the worst phase, or Kleenex time! Realizing it will never be the same, yet not being able to answer the all-encompassing WHY. The danger is getting stuck here with bitterness and destructiveness to oneself or others. Be with that  pain, suffer deeply as you brush yourself off and look for a way out.


Why?     Why live or die?      Why try?

I know I need positive but I can’t find anything festive in this time of year  .  . 

Not even can recreation be restive to qualm my fear.

That I might ought to take charge of my future (no matter what that means?)

And not let myself be hurt anymore. 


How am I to know?     How is the pain to go?

Down we all slowly go (or have we been there all along?)

On and on goes the dirge, and the silent sad song.

This depression usually gets better, and the next stage of acceptance will eventually show up around the corner. 

Holding On

(the in-between stage, where one knows it is real, yet still reverberates between gnawing on the rope of moving on while at times hanging on for dear life to a past already gone and just out   of   reach.)

I’m clinging to a hope.      Acting like a dope.  

Gnawing on the rope.   .   .       Yet yearning still to cope.

Understanding-Acceptance is the gradual willingness to search for healing and the will to forgive yourself and others,     and life itself.

Giving UpThis stage lets one recognize the gravity of the sadness, yet consider that holding on to the grief forever serves no purpose. With this comes the realization that, to move on, we must first let go—just like when one swings out on a rope over water. To enter the clear water  one must let go of the rope. This is the hint of moving on with one’s life. This is when I tell myself it’s time to stay mostly in the cognitive, taking time to think things through .

Giving Up is not all bad. One thing’s for sure; it’s so very sad.

Stay Sad? Among my friends that’s not the fad. Someday my aim is to again be glad.

     Things can never be like they were. Cause ‘were’ is gone and it’s just a mere blur.  .  .  


Am I on the tracks of a solution, or just stirring up some mental pollution?

Perhaps writing and the study of philosophy would help when I’m hit with my reality?

Philosophy, religiousity, uncertainty—good materials for a faith of reality.

For real is all there is     and dreams fly away

To disappoint some else’s future day.

Yet in the sacred sanctums of my heart, with my own dreams I’ll never wholly part.

For they’re where I’m going, and where I’ve been, and my only chance for peace within.

Alas, and yet     amen.

In grief the process is the product. Moving through the stages is the key.   Yet remember there is no obligatory schedule as one moves, sometimes back and forth, along the stages. However, when people become stuck in a stage for too long, like anger or bitterness, it can color their future days or even years.

When Barbara Walters once interviewed Priscella Presley, some listeners were surprised to hear her say she still loved Elvis, but in a different way, and with clear-eyed empathy for him.

Love doesn’t always end. It can change. When life changes, good memories can still be good. They just have to be accepted for what they are—gone.

This year I had to deal with the passing of my sister, then a few months later, my brother. My only sister and my only brother.

Joe Biden recently said, “There will come a day when the thought of the one who passed will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.”

Lately we’ve all grown weary of politics, yet I did hear two helpful quotes: Obama speaks of “the audacity of hope” and North Carolina’s motto is “While I breathe, I hope.” Life does have one thing in common with politics—not always winning. Sometimes we must compromise with life, still moving on… following the breadcrumbs of hope.

The challenges of this year made me realize that my life is a series of seasons. Although I do not pick what happens to me, I can choose my own endings to each of life’s adventures I am handed.

Bless us all in all of our seasons. Go in peace.

Sing-Along Hymn:

SONG Sheet:

 The Church In the Wildwood—UUFBR

to the tune of Little Brown Church in the Vale by William S. Pitts

Verse 1

There’s a church in the middle of the wildwood

No lovelier spot in the dale.

It stands as a beacon to our freedom

Our little brown church in the vale.


Oh come, come, come, come

Come to the church in the wildwood

Oh, come to UUFBR

A haven for liberal religion,

One that puts its faith squarely in you.

Verse 2

Oh, come to the church in the wildwood.

Where the trees and the wildflowers bloom.

Where the freedom to think is cherished,

And for reason there’s plenty of room.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 3

How sweet on a clear Sunday morning

To be where our friends gather ’round.

Everyone is welcome at our doorstep.

Here we celebrate the faith that we’ve found.

Repeat Chorus

Words adapted by Hildra Tague and Ray McLain



Faith of Our Uncertainty

Come, Faith of our Uncertainty. When life deals with us impertinently.

We’ll never know what may hail tomorrow.

So calm yourself, don’t more trouble borrow.

Think of the future. Live in the now.

Learn from the past. Go on somehow.

So we don’t know what may come—Write the script, and beat the drum!

Real faith comes from forging ahead, by faith of one’s uncertainty led.


Postlude:  High Hopes in ukulele, song, and then rousing piano.


Copyright by Hildra Tague 2016.  Obtain permission for use online or in print.


Order of Service for UUFBR August 21, 2016

Gathering Music

Come Into This Place       Fritz Auchencampp and the UU Ukuleles

Centering Moment

Chalice Lighting

Safety in Disasters and Dedication

Welcome                      Board Member

Reading: A Child’s View: Tadpoles, hospitals and Teddy Bears

Milestones                    Board Member

Reading:  The White Trees by Bob Smith

Sunshine Interlude:   Sunshine on my Shoulder piano by Stephanie Nixdorf

Affirmation: fill it in

Sermon:  A Time to Grow: A Seek Your Own Adventure

Sharing of Responsibility  Hymn    Church in the Wildwood  from song sheet

Circle of Care               Board Member

Announcements           Board Member

Hymn    This Little Light of Mine   p. 118

Closing Words:  Faith of Our Uncertainty

Postlude:  High Hopes – Feel free to sing along, greet others and even dance in the aisles as you leave.

Posted in Poetry and Inspiration: Including Personal Growth and Self Awareness, Presentations, Sermons, and Other Public Musings | Leave a comment

Honeysuckle Air:Thank You Broward North

As a caregiver for over a dozen years for my husband’s two journeys with cancer, I want to give a big Thank You to all the medical professionals who helped us at Broward North Cancer Center.

I feel qualified to speak to this issue since we’ve spent our mornings there for almost three months. I’ve had the pleasure to observe these caring folks on a daily basis.

Upon arrival at the blue awning at the back of the hospital, we’ve regularly been greeted by the fine security and reception personnel.

Then we went back to the Radiation Department to be welcomed once again by the wonderful staff there. They always took the time to share smiles and put patients and their caregivers at ease.

We probably spent more time there than most since after radiation we headed to the Memory Center for a place to sit while waiting for the marvelous TOPS transportation to arrive. That bus takes my husband to a day program at a senior center. Since my hubby has memory issues, I always stayed with him till he safely boarded the bus. The staff of the Memory Center was always quite gracious as we sat in their waiting room.

Our only challenge was being sure to know when the bus arrived. As my husband sat and rested, I walked to and from the door, since sometimes the transportation was not visible from where we were sitting down the hall. It took going outside to see it at those times.

I wondered how other patients who waited on the various medical transportation services managed if they didn’t have a caregiver to do what I was doing. I noticed some went to the parking lot and perched on the 4 ft. high curb. We couldn’t handle that due to 1) being in the hot sun since meds preclude that, and 2) balance and coordination issues of not falling and being able to get out of the way of cars as they come and go.

Day after day, as I walked back and forth I noticed a fine shady spot by the blue awnings at the entrance of the Cancer and Memory Clinics. I wished we could wait there, but my spouse had to be able to sit down.  I began to envision how great it would feel to have a bench to sit down on while waiting for the bus.

Even though we won’t be here daily much longer with my husband’s treatment almost over, I keep thinking about all the other folks who, like us, just need a place to sit down while waiting for their medical transportation.

I mentioned my concerns to a nice lady at the Security desk and she said she’d tell me when the administrator was nearby so I could share my dream with him. Today this gentleman was kind enough to speak with me about this critical need of a place to sit down while still staying in eye contact with the parking lot where buses arrive. He was very encouraging that a bench might be possible! I would be forever grateful if it could happen.

Broward North has been such a great place for us to come for medical treatment. We offer our heartfelt thanks to all whose paths we crossed.

I sign off with a sincere hope for the sake of the many vulnerable patients who will come after us.  If a bench could be provided I would always know they will have a place to sit!


Hildra Tague

Writer, Caregiver, and Retired Teacher




Posted in Honeysuckle Air - Memoirs, Savor Our Seniors to Grow Bold Along With Me – The Rest is Yet to Come, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meditation: Sunshine Rain

As a lifelong teacher, I always taught my students the value of nature, like daylight, sunshine,trees, and the relaxed beauty of darkness. (We even gave names to construction paper like sunshine for yellow, daylight for white, topsoil for brown, and darkness for black.) This emphasized the specialness of the contributions of each type of diversity which we encounter in our daily lives.

One day it suddenly started a late spring downpour though the sun was still shining brightly. One child noticed steam rising from the well-heated road surface. Another blurted out joyfully, “Look, it’s Sunshine Rain!”

I learned a lot from that gal. Since then I’ve always called special unexpected moments, good or bad, Sunshine Rain. It helps me remember to find the blessings and beauty in whatever mixed events a day may bring.

From my many years teaching school I learned even more tidbits:

  • A smile is the best makeup.
  • Daylight is my coffee.
  • Show up for life every morning.
  • Even grownups need a lullaby at times.
  • Sometimes there can be 2 or even more answers to life’s multiple choice questions. For example  professor said I must choose ONE area to write about. I chose 5!
  • The satisfied sighs in the teacher’s lounge after giving it their best shot is like Norman Rockwell to my ear.
  • Another word for “what if” is “next” so look out front for new adventures.
  • Today is a fire drill for your future. Hold its lessons close.
  • The human face has the power to bring hope and peace just by changing expressions. Give positivism to a world hungry  for hope.
  • On my resume: My most important credential is relationship and the psychiatry of friendship.
  • Cherished possessions are to the soul like furniture is to a house. Yet we have the power to give up things when appropriate and still hold them in our memories!
  • We can declare most days good days. Heck, in Texas we say, “It’s been a good day if I didn’t get a sharp stick in the eye and nothing ate me.”
  • May this day attain for us all the emotional punctuation we need to embrace a new dawn. (And just like shampoo, rinse and repeat.)


Copyright 2016 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.


Posted in Deep Breathing Moments: Meditations for the Unpremeditated, Education and Parenting, Poetry and Inspiration: Including Personal Growth and Self Awareness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Honeysuckle Air: Seniors Chuckle at Simple Sounds of Home

As my hubby and I elapsed into our senior years, we began to be a bit on the tired side when evening came. No matter what “they” tell you, energy levels may decrease with age! (I can’t help but notice that the experts in aging have never been old.)

So when we got home from work, we shifted our supper habits from catching a meal on the way as we were running an errand to saving our errands for the weekends. We found we could enjoy more simple fare at home.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like cooking. I enjoyed it–when I had some energy, which was not usually the case right after working all day. Thus simple suppers became routine.

We also became a bit more quiet as the evenings progressed. We both were avid readers, so we could often be found with our heads in a book as the sun went down. We lived on a quiet block with only a couple of houses and a school, so it became customary to enjoy only the calm serenade of frogs and crickets chirping.

When the house was purely still, I jumped out of my skin at a startling noise. My husband and I got up to investigate and found to our grinning surprise it was the ice maker! It made one crashing sound just to get our attention, then a few bumps. But it was the running of water reloading which gave it away.

Another time as nightfall came, we settled down for an hour or two of reading, chatting, or maybe even some TV.

Not to be! A jerking sensation overtook my body as what sounded almost like truck brakes grinding right into the house. You may already know that the softer the quietude is, the louder an interrupting sound seems.

Again I hopped up to find the culprit. Evidently there is a point in a hot water heater’s life when it just must moan and groan to achieve its appointed tasks. (Since there are other sounds during the day of TV, radio, traffic, and people, it isn’t noticeable then.)

From then on as the sun was setting and tranquility had arrived a our house, we did not find these moments of strange sounds disturbing. One of us would simply chuckle and say, “I see our evening’s entertainment has arrived.”

Now that we’ve retired and moved, the gentle humor of home sounds continues. We still enjoy the amusement of household noises after dark.

It’s nice to know that one can find moments of happiness in the little things like the sounds, gurgles and bleeps of a gentle evening.


Copyright by Hildra Tague. Please obtain permission for use online or in print.



Posted in Honeysuckle Air - Memoirs, Savor Our Seniors to Grow Bold Along With Me – The Rest is Yet to Come | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Of These My Children: Prevent Intergalactic Shock!

My students teach me so much at our small private school. Each day I spend with them is almost better than a trip to outer space.

One Monday morning during our warmup, which we do to get the brains started for the day, a boy just couldn’t wait to tell us about his weekend. He went on, “My uncle and I came home  from the Star Wars movie and made a pizza. He turned the TV news on and it talked about someone having Intergalactic Shock. Is that a sickness? Can it make them so sick they get shot up into space, like out in the galaxies?”

Looks like we have a new Vocabulary word for our list, anaphylactic shock!

There is so much to learn in Language and Spelling class. As one aggravated kid exclaimed, “Every hour or so the teacher just up and changes the subject!” We had just finished singing the names of the continents and he didn’t really enjoy moving on.

But Spell we must. So I asked them to put their list words in order. One sweet gal inquired, “You meant put the words in African order?”  Actually, I had in mind putting them in alphabetical order, but I was taking no  chances so I replied, “ABC order please.” 

Then we wrote sentences using the spelling and vocabulary words. One little guy wrote how much fun he was having with his library book which Dr. Juice wroteThose Dr. Suess books fascinate me too.

Sometimes the students remember what we studied the day before. One boy even went home and asked his dad, “Do you know who the Egyptians were? You know, they built those huge periods in the desert.” Yup, it’s true that I reminded the class to use their periods in the sentences, but maybe he listened too well. Maybe next week we’ll have fun with words which look a little alike, like periods and pyramids.

The class enjoys Lunch in the sideyard where we could eat at picnic tables or sit up high on The Chocolate Porch among birds, frogs, squirrels and our school mascot Miss Popcorn Goat. It’s such a great time for us to catch up on our visiting. One young lady was all excited about her aunt who “just got engaged to be harried” last weekend! Now I’ve always heard that marriage can be a challenge, but that one’s in for it.

Kids just don’t see the world as disastrously as we adults sometimes do. A child said his dad had lost his job. Another guy tried to help, “Don’t they have a Lost and Found where he could go to find it?” I had a good chance to teach some manners as I squelched the someone’s giggle. Now that we were on the topic of careers, one gal said, “My mom always wanted to be a traumatic actor.” I guess if you’re that dramatic, trauma can’t be too far behind. One guy took such pride in knowing how to pronounce a long word as he bragged, “My dad is an entree manure.” Maybe entrepreneur is a little long for our vocabulary list but I did add manure since we were learning about country life in History class.

No one ever sleeps in Science class. Each student may come away with different observations. One kid learned that blood is made of platinum but when we looked in the book it said plasma. Another saw a picture of a sweet gum ball from a Texas sweetgum tree  and hollered out, “This must be a porcupine egg!” 

When we study the weather, I never quite know whether to call it Math or Science. But one student knew exactly what the  temperature was, “It’s 30 agrees outside.”  What could I do but agree with him?

One girl was a stickler for the rules. She looked at the clock and demanded, “It’s Math Enforcement time. We gotta get going on it!”  It was nice to know she remembered that I use the first few minutes of Math class to reinforce the math facts.

As the clock continued to march, I realized that the students were tired and so was I. So as we closed things up for the day, I noticed no-one objected when I changed the subject to “Time to go home” so they went to their rides and disappeared.

I had to stay a while longer to mark the day’s work with encouraging words and stickers to be found the next day so none of my students would go into Intergalactic Shock!


Copyright 2016 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.



Posted in Of These My Children: Infamous Sayings of Insidious Intellects – Humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

School Yard Tales:The Great Green Frog Teaches School

Tree Land School was filled with excitement about the Halloween party the following Monday. But Miss Landers had some bad news.

“I’m so sorry to miss our big day. But the sub will be the Great Green Frog, so you’ll be OK. Be good for the Frog.”

The students really wondered about that since their teacher never missed school. She always said teaching was her favorite thing to do.

Then Miss Landers went home and spread out her things on the couch.  She laid out lots of green makeup, a huge mask, green leotards, and funny flippers for hands and feet.

When Monday came–just like she said–their teacher wasn’t there to say hi when the kids walked in the classroom. But there was a funny looking thing. The students figured it was the Great Green Frog. But it didn’t say anything!



It was kinda big, for a frog, that is. Its skin was yucky green all over. It flapped its feet as it walked. And that head! That thing was so big and gross it was hard to look at.

When they had all taken their seats, the Great Green Frog wrote on the board, “Sorry, I lost my voice. I can’t talk till I find it. Maybe we can look for it at recess. But for now you must  read the chalkboard.”

The class did their math and language assignments. They weren’t sure about that ugly frog face, so they behaved very well.” One time they got a bit noisy, and the Great Green Frog quickly wrote, “Careful now. You don’t want to miss the party this afternoon!” The room got real quiet and they did all their work, although it did seem a bit funny without Miss Landers walking around and bragging on them or patting them on the back while she helped students.

Lunch time finally came! Days always go so slow when you’re waiting for a party.
That frog-teacher was not on lunch duty. The kids belted down their food while they talked about that strange new substitute teacher. One guy said, “The Frog lady jabbed out her finger at me when I was talking, so I shut up. No wonder what could happen with a teacher like that!”  Another student giggled as she declared, “Well, I for one am glad the Frog’s voice was lost. It would have been really freaky trying to do our work with croaking all morning long.”

Before long recess was over and The Great Green Frog was thee to pick up the students. When restroom turns were finished the children went into their classroom. Everyone was puzzled about how that weird substitute would handle Story Time. Soon these words appeared on the board: “STAR TIME: In case you don’t know, that means Students and Teachers are Reading.” So they all had one last look at the huge pile of Halloween books since they knew Miss Landers always made holiday books disappear the very next day. She was funny about that. She always said people needed calm times after exciting times.

P.E. time came and every single student was worn to a frazzle as they flopped onto their desks in the classroom. What a surprise! Miss Landers was in the room, and the Great Green Frog was mysteriously gone. One kid noticed a suitcase by the teacher’s desk, so she thought that meant Miss Landers had just returned from a trip.

The Halloween party was fantastic like all Tree Land events were. After the Historical Costume Parade Miss Popcorn Goat performed in the Goat Zoo and Fly Swatter Bubbles filled the sky! Some guys yelled as they carried Monster’s Eyeballs around a picnic table. If they could get all the way around, they got to eat those huge grapes.

But the best of all was the Sponge Throw. Kids could throw at each other’s faces. They went wild when a girl splashed Miss Landers smack dab in the face. After all the wonderful food and lots of yelling, the tired students headed to their cars.

As the last boy was leaving he pointed to Miss Landers’ left elbow. It was kinda green. He winked at her and said, “I’ll never tell. I promise.”

The Great Green Frog got busy finishing cleaning up from the party, but first she washed her elbow and checked herself over for any more green spots.


Copyright 2016 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.


Posted in Children's Stories, Education and Parenting, Holidays & Celebrations including Christmas Sparkles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Parent Vitamins: Learning How to Spit!

Parents are often left out when it comes to the professional discussion about how to deal with children. Yet the parents are the most capable and involved professionals on the team.

Adults may be concerned about being able to be assertive enough to provide appropriate leadership for their offspring. Living in Texas helped me come up with a rather simple experience which hits right to the heart of being able to say no or draw the line of structure in a child’s life.

My own life has been a lesson in assertiveness, and I was fairly slow to catch on. Therefore I see the value in developing skills in being assertive both as an individual and as a parent.  Such responses don’t mean you have to be overly tough, angry, or combative. They just involve learning how to draw a line before too many emotions take you to those darker places.

Making presentations to parents always inspired me to come up with “homework” to make the concepts carry over past the day of the workshop. One assignment worked better with a practice session in the group before trying it at home.

I asked the parents to learn to spit! The idea is if you can spit you can probably be able to draw a line when needed in your own personal life as well as that of your parenting endeavors.

This usually requires a talking session afterwards. It’s amazing how realistic people become in that discussion time, compared to before the spitting exercise! Suddenly ways to apply this learning jump out of the woodwork, and parents begin to see clearly how they might need to hone their ability to lay down parameters for both their children and themselves.

Okay, you know you want to. Go ahead and try it.

Copyright 2015 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for publication in print or online.




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