Make YOUR House a Sanctuary This Spring

Following the theme of Triple T’s Spring Daily Thread, I thought it might be a good time to tell the story about “Our Sanctuary”, which helps the birds, bees, trees, and most importantly, kids.

Before we bought the “big house”, we were living in “the little house” which backed up to the school property on the north side of the school. My step son was 5yrs old when I came into his life. We spent a lot of time together for reasons I won’t go into. He was young and learning but had a particularly hard time being compassionate, and was overly fearful – about anything. It wasn’t normal, especially for a boy, and I did my best to address the issues.

I fed the birds at our kitchen window. We named a pair of nuthatches Gertrude and Seymour, and my stepson was fascinated. He was terrified of spiders, snakes, bees, roaches, any kind of bug, and would squeal like a teenage girl. I brought home some autumn gourds to decorate for Halloween. A spider was amongst the gourds and he immediately wanted me to “squish it”. He was overly upset and I was unphased. I hallowed out one gourd and hung it by the kitchen sink. “Fred” the house spider, lived with us for years. Bizarre? Yes, but it worked.

Once, I caught him in the backyard, swinging a tennis racket, killing wood bees. He knocked one into a birdbath. While he watched the woodbee struggle, upside down in the birdbath, and he said, “I’m watching it drown.” I moved to saved the woodbee and he blocked me, “Don’t do that, the bee will sting you and kill you!” Straight-faced, I looked at him and said, ‘The bee’s wings are stuck because of the water tension. If I help this bee, he will go home and tell all his friends I’m the kind and gentle woodland princess and not to hurt me.” My step-son looked at me and was clearly, baffled. Then, I stuck my finger out to the bee, and the bees legs grabbed hold of my finger. The bee rested on the top of my finger, while his wings dried in the sun. I arose and pretended to talk to the bee and my stepson. Pretty soon, the bee flew away. From that moment on, he was convinced I was a woodland princess with special powers over flora and fauna.

We were on vacation and visited a butterfly house, when suddenly, hundreds of butterflies landed on me. They were all over me. Other visitors were taking pictures and in awe when my step son de facto stated, “She’s the woodland princess. They like her.” Other things happened with horses, birds, even fish, which added to my allure.

We bought the “big house” and I thought everyone was happy, but I caught my step son crying one day as we were packing and moving. I asked him why he was upset and he revealed he was worried about Gertrude and Seymour, and that the birds and his wood bees would die if we were not there. Fred the Spider was already firmly ensconced in the new house. Interesting problem, I thought about what to do.

Slowly, we moved the birds with us, or so my step son thought. Every few days, I would move the bird feeders further to the back of the little house’s lot. Finally, I moved the bird feeders to the back of the lot of the big house. He watched, diligently, waiting for nuthatches to appear. And what do you know, nuthatches appeared at the big house.

He was 7yrs old when we bought the house in March, and unknown to me, the legend of me being the woodland princess had grown. He was telling kids at school about my special powers.

About the same time, my step son’s mother decided to enroll him in an expensive after school program and he was no longer allowed to spend vast amounts of time with me. Typical ex-wife behavior. I get it. Yet, I seemed to adopt other kids.

Again, the big house is next door to the town’s school. The 4th grade classrooms have enormous windows which look out into our walled brick garden. There’s a slim single driveway between the windows and our brick wall. The school’s foundation is higher thus the windows offer a perfectly angled view into our backyard. Yes, we can imagine, 90yrs of 4th graders have let their mind wander to what is happening with flora and fauna, instead of paying attention to a teacher. Compounding the distraction, our home was abandoned for 23yrs, thus, the brick garden took on the appearance of a wild forest. Because I set up the bird feeders, bird houses, and a few bird baths, the backyard had even more activity than before. They could see me, in the backyard, digging, and clearing, and feeding birds every day.

To the kids, it was confirmation bias that, indeed, I was a woodland princess. I had no idea. Instead of the legend of the house being haunted, I became the “good” woodland princess who moved in. Ahhhh, the mind of a child.

As the men tackled the large items inside the house, I worked on the exterior front gardens and landscaping, which was a barren wreck. We pulled nasty overgrown holly bushes out with dump trucks. I dug and planted, planted and dug. We had a wonderful wrought iron half fence in the front but only spotty grass because of big oak trees. I created large winding beds along the fences, of azaleas, hostas, thousands of irises and perennials. The bed between us and the school was 150′ long and 15′ wide in spots. I planted azaleas but it would take a while for them to grow. I went and bought 6 flats of impatiens, which barely made a dent. I bought more, and more, and eventually, about 90 flats of impatiens to fill that spot. The kids at school were let out to wait for their parents in front of the auditorium, which is about 100’ from where I was planting. Curious, they would come up to the wrought iron fence to talk to me. Sometimes, they even helped me plant. One kid made diagonal rows, by color and shade. I could see the pattern he was creating. “Great job!”, I said, as I went on and on lauding the artistry of what he was doing. That kid was Anthony.

Throughout the spring, the kids would find injured animals on the playground and rush to tell their teachers. The kids insisted they be able to bring the injured squirrel or bird to me, because I could somehow, heal the animal, and the animal would then live in “our sanctuary”. It became a “thing” and the teachers allowed them to come, still in eyeshot of the children, to our back door. I would reward them with chocolate chip cookies and all was well. Often, I found 8-10 kids would deliver one wounded bird…. for the cookies.

One morning, a young boy appeared in my kitchen and was desperate for help with a blue jay. The bird had an injured wing. He introduced himself as Anthony and shook my hand like he was 40yrs old. I recognized him, vaguely. He informed me he would be back, after school, to pick up the bird, so HE could nurse the bird back to health. No cookies, no hugs, like the other children. He was very matter-of-fact. Suddenly, my reputation was on the line. What to do? About an hour later, my husband walked through the back door and said, “What the hell are you doing?” I had a clump of mud on the kitchen counter and was digging for worms. I had an eyedropper out, trying to feed it water. I was trying to keep that baby bird alive until 3:00pm. My husband thought I was out of my mind, but killing my reputation of “woodland princess” would be worse than telling the kids Santa didn’t exist.

After school, Anthony picked up his bird and thanked me politely. In a flash, he was gone.

Anthony, was always the last to be picked up and I started to pay attention to him. His family was poor, by his dress, and his haircut was homemade, but I liked him. He waited, dutifully, until after 5:00pm for his mother. Over a few weeks, Anthony and I became friends. He would bring me pretty rocks and help me do all kinds of things. We talked about what he learned that day and I often had an extra sandwich or leftover spaghetti for him. The kid was starving, but he was a growing boy. I tried to befriend his mother. She acknowledged me, always from the car, but wasn’t interested. Anthony seemed embarrassed by his mother but told me all about his dad, who had a pet alligator….., which he wrestled. “Hmmmm”, I thought.

One day, I wasn’t outside, but the front door was open with work crews moving in and out. Anthony appeared in the house and tapped me on the shoulder as if we had an appointed schedule. I was removing the old wool carpeting from the big staircase, which had been nailed to the stairs. I was struggling and Anthony offered to help. There were 19-25 nails in each stair and there were 31 stairs. I only know that because Anthony told me. Anthony removed every single nail, and had the nails lined up, by stair. Anthony provided me with a total and an average nail count, per stair, separating out the overage for two landings. 732 nails.

I took a few steps back and took a long look at Anthony. The realization hit me like a flood. Any adult who went through the avalanche of IQ testing during the 60’s and 70’s can spot a kid with similar attributes. Yeah, I was one of those kids. I started asking Anthony questions geared to test his IQ and spatial reactions. Normal kids don’t count, sort, or average a number of nails. Normal boys don’t design landscaping with the ability to imagine what it will look like, filled in. I recalled he was the one who did the flowers in a pattern, diagonal and by shade. Anthony’s brilliance was right under my nose. I tried to speak to his mother about him but she was skittish. Within a few days, school ended and Anthony was gone. Our garden bloomed and Anthony’s design was so spectacular, strangers stopped to photograph their children in front of my flowers.

Summer drummed along and we finished the renovation by September. Immediately, the school became one of our best customers. People were flown in for programs on how to teach teachers how to teach better, and the programs were held, conveniently, at our house. We held elaborate dinners for the school admin staff when professionals came in from out of town and I became friendly with the school admin. The #2 and #3 execs became good girlfriends and used to help me cater other parties. Yes, some of the teachers ribbed me about being the woodland princess and we all laughed. I had forgotten about Anthony and had not seen him all school year by the time the first frost killed his impatiens.

When Thanksgiving rolled around, we were doing trial runs on our turkeys. The #2 and #3 were in my kitchen and we were doing ‘girl talk’, when the conversation turned to a problem child at school. They were trying to decide what to do with him. He had been suspended several times. He had been to ISS repeatedly, and they were considering expelling the child, which was almost never done. His prognosis was HYPER ADHD and he would NOT sit still in class, always a problem for every teacher he had. I was working away and not paying much attention to their conversation (school stuff – none of my business).

They were talking about the boy’s family and how uncivilized/poor/redneck/slovenly the family was and one of them mentioned they even had wild animals as pets. The women in the room had their noses in the air as if they could smell the “stench of lower class” and wanted NOTHING to do with this kid. They were all nodding in agreement when one suggested a call to DHS to remove the child from his home because they heard a rumor the father had an alligator and was teaching the boy to wrestle the alligator.

An alligator? I stopped and spun around from the kitchen sink. My eyes were wide. “Are you talking about Anthony?”, I was almost screaming. “Well, yes, but we don’t confirm names.”, they were squirmy when realized they had revealed something they probably should not have said. I was undone. I went on a diatribe about Anthony and how spectacular he was. I was emphatic, championing my little friend. I was dogmatic, “There was no way in hell Anthony was a behavior problem.” and “there’s no way in hell a kid with ADHD can take out 732 nails in one sitting”. I challenged their prognosis, openly. I demanded to see Anthony… which they could not legally do. I even offered to take Anthony, which they could not legally do. I was furious, irate, beside myself, and my red hair was on fire. I talked to my husband about it that night.

Calming down, the next day I called #2 girlfriend and asked for Anthony to have his IQ tested. She reminded me, sternly, that anything said in my kitchen should NEVER be the subject of public knowledge, however, she and #3 had already agreed to talk to the parents about the boy. I was happy about it and drove around the school to see Anthony one afternoon. He told me he was in a lot of trouble at school. He shuffled his feet. He was half the kid he was the prior spring. It made my heart cry but he hugged me when I left – something he had never done before.

Anthony’s parents came in for the meeting, but could not do the IQ testing mid-year. It was expensive and they didn’t see the need. “What do you mean?”, I howled at my girlfriends. They explained that kids are evaluated in 1st, 4th, 6th grades, paid for by the district at a cost of about $250/kid for gifted programs. Only those who are suggested by teachers get ‘evaluated’ because of the overall cost. Obviously, Anthony was not suggested previously. To do an off year test would be in excess of $1375, and the simple fact was, his parents could not afford it. I was heartbroken.

In the meantime, another teacher professional, with a card deck full of PhD’s, came to visit me to consult for the school district. She had visited several times over a few months and we became very friendly. It was close to my birthday and HER birthday. She was talking about what she wanted for her birthday – to extend her mother’s silverplate pattern to get to 12 place settings. She described the set and on a hunch, I went to my toolbox and found a set of 6. I bought them in a garage sale for less than $20, handed them to her and said, “Happy Birthday = problem solved”. She asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I mentioned Anthony and the problems we were having. She knew about my objections already but she narrowed her eyes and told me she could test the child and she would be happy to do it for free. It was like God sitting on my shoulder.

I found Anthony that afternoon, and she tested him in our dining room, before his mother arrived to pick him up from school. What I did was probably illegal. What the PhD lady did was probably illegal as well. Yet, when the result came in, Anthony had a 168 IQ. No turning back now. I went to see the Superintendent and told him what we did. He understood. He also returned the check for $1375. Without telling me, my burly husband had spoken to the Superintendent and financed the bill. He couldn’t get mad at both of us. It was the 90’s. Today, I probably would have been arrested.

Anthony was placed in the gifted program, where he thrived, along with my step son. He graduated and became a Rhodes Scholar. Along the way, I lost my mystique of being a woodland princess but it didn’t matter one damn bit. The kids were more important. I often wonder what became of Anthony, but I still have his pretty sparkly rock on my desk. I’m looking at it now…. Kind of like that rock, Anthony was a diamond in the rough. He was a good kid who deserved a chance. I can’t plant an impatien in the spring without thinking about him.

Sanctuary.

 

 

 

101 thoughts on “Make YOUR House a Sanctuary This Spring

      1. Once again wow, daughn. You have contributed so much to your community,both people and animals. Truly you are the salt of the earth. My life seems so petty and mundane by comparison. I’m sure the ripples from your life just keep flowing out to touch even complete strangers. I’m honoured to have had you share your life stories, may you be an inspiration to us all. One doesn’t have to be religious to be a force for good and being religous doesn’t mean you are. No matter what society you could have lived in I’m sure you would have been a shining light. Grats

        Liked by 3 people

        1. It’s strange how people cross your path at just the right time. We touch so many lives. I’ve often wondered, how do you decide which child to help? But it never seems like one makes an active decision in a process. It just sort of happens………

          The kids were selling cookie dough, one year for Christmas, to raise money. I don’t need premade cookie dough and I scowl at anything but my own cookie dough. Nonetheless, I’m the FIRST STOP when the kids are selling something for a cause.
          On top of that, the day the sales brochures came out, I was really busy.
          Patience is not my strong suit.
          About the 5th time my doorbell rang with another child selling cookie dough, I invited the three of them in.
          Asked what they were raising money for, they responded it was for a new copier for the central office…. a very expensive copier.
          I asked, “How expensive?”
          The kids assured it was certainly the FRANKLIN MINT of copiers.
          I cast a doubtful eye, and told them to “stay right there”.
          I returned with a cordless phone.
          “Watch and learn”, I said.
          I called the Superintendent. Mike was a terrific guy who picked up school trash — as the head admin.
          I told him I had students in front of me who were raising money for a copier for the central office – his main office. I asked what kind of copier it was.
          He rattled off a number, told me of the research done to find the best copier for their needs, told me of the frustration of the old copier, etc.
          I asked him, “How expensive was the copier?”
          Answer = $6K (he gave me the precise amount down to the penny, plus shipping)
          I asked him if he was going to be in his office for another 20 minutes and if I could call him back.
          He said, “Sure”.
          The kids were sitting on my couch, formal parlor, wide-eyed.
          I called the biggest company in town and told the plant manager of our plight with the copier. If he didn’t cooperate, I was sending him 100 kids at 5 minute intervals to buy cookie dough. He chipped in $4K.
          I called the second biggest company in town and repeated my plea and threat. He chipped in the remainder + shipping costs.
          I wryly smiled at the kids, “And that’s how you do business.”
          I called Mike back at the school and told him we solved the problem.
          For the kids, I asked them for their order forms, I found a big red marker and wrote across the order form, “Problem solved”…..
          …. and sent them on their way, with REAL cookies.

          Liked by 4 people

  1. Wonderful thread DNW.

    Anthony reminds me of when the school in Seattle tried to force our oldest grandson on meds for ADHD. Our Daughter and SIL said absolutely no way, they knew he was just incredibly smarter than the teachers. When SIL was transferred to St. Louis, the new school there immediately administered and IQ test. Grandson was placed in the gifted program right away.

    Liked by 9 people

      1. I can remember one little 2nd grader I had long before ADHD was even thought of. I had 39 second graders. The kid was sharp as whip. He was finished with any work I gave the kids BEFORE all the papers were even passed out.

        To keep him busy, I put him in charge of passing out the papers. He would still be finished before half the kids even started, and then wound up distracting those around him with doing quiet but fun stuff at his desk. He would be about 57 years old now. Wonder where he is now.

        I always wanted to name one of our sons his name. Didn’t do it, but got 3 with that name in the family anyway – SIL, his father, and a grandson. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. This was back in the dark ages in the classroom though. No science curriculum at all. No AV equipment either. Kids brought in things like the cocoon from which a butterfly emerged the last day of school when the busses were coming to pick up the bus riders. I hauled in swaths of corrugated boxes for them to make a space ship, Anything I could think of off the top of my head. With 39 kids, I had to concentrate on math, phonics, reading, penmanship, spelling, religion, etc.

            With the religion, I realized that the kids just knew the Lord’s Prayer by rote, but not all knew it by meaning. We worked on that to start.

            Wish I could have helped them blow up things. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

            1. I can’t imagine 39 in one class.
              Jane, you sound like Godsend though, learning the meaning behind the words is more important than anything.
              BTW – I love empty boxes.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. At this point in my life I go into near cardiac arrest at the thought of 39 adults, much less kids. Heehee.
                Tell you what though, it was easier than subbing high school. And much easier than teaching 10 women how to sew in classes in my basement. Adults NEVER do their homework. LOL.

                Liked by 2 people

            2. If mine were to be in public school, K is 35 kids in 1 class and they told me the last hour is combined am and pm classes, about 70 kids. I said what are you teaching that many kids at once. The teacher got upset then said phonics or games or puzzles. Uh huh.
              I put mine in full day private.

              Liked by 3 people

  2. daughnworks it just shows that every person needs a sanctuary and it is not always a church but also safe people.
    Your loves shows through. I wish more children could find a safe place that you provided.
    What a wonderful story and an example what is important in life !
    Sorry I cannot like your story but like it a lot *****..:)

    I came across a wonderful woman everyone told me she was slow. Some people even told me they went school with her and rolled their eyes. She was a member of the church where I was an Elder and people kept hinting that she was not quit right.
    I befriended her and found out all kind of things she had many gifts. She played a clown and turned into a different person full of life being around children. She took care of her parents until they died.
    My biggest shock came that she was a girl scout leader taking her group through forests in Canada.
    The biggest surprise was that her group were all girls who were mentally challenged.
    No one knew about it except the Pastor.
    She was a humble kind soul and we became friends and she was a spiritual mentor to me. She became my sanctuary.
    I feel so blessed in my life to have had many sanctuaries people who shared the God’s Love freely.

    Liked by 14 people

  3. Why is it that when i read your posts onions are always an issue?
    Thank you….

    Why is it that us onlys are conbsidered spolied, bossy, and overly p articular, yet we can go out of our way for others? You go above and beyond every time. Im glad your hubby is on board.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Actually, that was the ex-husband. The guy who snarled all the time, never cracked a smile, mean and nasty. Yeah, the tough guy came through for a kid and he did it quietly, didn’t even want anyone to know.
      Good man.

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Good. That means it wasnt the only time either.
        My kiddo is 5. Having a hard time at school. They threw the book at him with all the testing. I knew he needed private school, but the public district picked up the tab. Our taxes paid for it already. I also did a quick testing through our health plan. Both came back smarter than average. Hes an only like me and a lot like me. He is self defeating when he wants his abilities to be perfect on the 1st shot so he will give up. And he gets bored in school fast even though they are way ahead of public school.
        We havent found the key for helping him on this stuff yet.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. With my step son, son, and two of the girls, I tried all kinds of things.
          Best thing to prevent boredom, was following the curriculum they had at school, but including MORE worksheet in their backpacks. When they came home, I would grade them independently.
          Books also helped.
          I had one that would finish their work early, but then, wouldn’t shut up, bothering others. Bad conduct grades. The sheets gave him something to do and I made out like it was his job. It worked.
          Try different things.
          Boredom is the kiss of death.

          Liked by 6 people

  4. It is wonderful what you did for this child. Being a young man by now I can imagine him being caught up in the work of making a life for himself but, don’t be surprised if one day he shows up at your door.
    A little wiser in his age and realizing what a wonderful person you are.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I imagine he had a touch of Aspergers. What do you think? He had a thing about touching people. Little twitches in his personality. I’m not sure.
      He had a wonderment about him that made it fun and interesting to be around him.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I would be cautious to guess but, I have heard of a mild form of Asperger. That high of an IQ makes me wonder and I’m no expert on psychiatry.
        Some kids I’ve seen makes me just stop and wonder. Gifted kids are fun to be around 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

      2. The touch thing is a clue about being on the Spectrum, as is counting and making up the game of averaging the number of nails per step. Many on Spectrum are sensory defensive, touch is a big deal. Also non-verbal empathic. They physically FEEL what others around them are experiencing.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Thanks, Triple T, I wish I knew more about it. I read everything I can find. First husband had a 155IQ and had social ticks on a list as long as my arm. It seems like it effect each child differently.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Daughn, I have a big lump in my throat after reading your story of Anthony and how you were able to find a way to help him. Thank you for sharing this very touching story, it is such an encouragement.

    Liked by 10 people

  6. What do you say after that? Accept that was awesome and you definitely have a gentle heart. What you did for that child you may never know except when y’all get to heaven.
    God Bless you.

    Liked by 8 people

  7. What an amazing story! Love it! But I must insist that you stop washing my eyeglasses with salt water! 😉

    Our place is a sanctuary for a LOT of wildlife. Although I do have some – how shall we say – “issues” – with carpenter bees. ALTHOUGH I have learned some great ways to make animals, ranging from insects to various mammals, MOVE THEIR ABODES, so to speak. I may BUILD THEM A HOME, but they can’t always stay in the exact places they want. I’m the MAD DOG MATTIS of our local animal world. They have to FOLLOW ORDERS.

    Anyway, I shall be calling Daughn / Diana her NEW NAME – Woodland Princess – from now on! 😉

    Perhaps not all the time, but I’m sorry – this is too good a nickname – MUST USE!!! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Racoons are bad news!

        We had a problem with them getting into our attic…until we finally figured out how they were getting in.

        The little devils would keep us awake at night, tumbling around up there, making skittering noises and screeching at each other.

        It’s good that you’ve got someone coming to trap them.
        We did it ourselves and it was not an easy chore.

        After the way they tore up our attic and shit all over the place…I was ready to just shoot them.
        But my big soft-hearted hubby insisted on using a Tender Trap and relocating them to a forested area by the river.

        Check your attic vents.
        That’s how they were getting in to our attic.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Eww!!!!!!!

          When we got our first beagle I had all her food in the kitchen. I got one of those sliding glass insert doggie doors for her. Well of course she started sleeping with me instead. When she had to go id shoo her down the hall and shed come back on her own. Her food kept disappearing really fast but she was always with me. I told mr gil that i thought i kept hearing the door flap open a t night and he told me it was the wind.
          Kitchen things dissppeared.
          Then one night i heard the flap. Dog in my arm though. I got up really quietly and heard munching.
          Went in the kitchen just in time to see a big ol racoon going back outside.
          Coonie took a look at us, knew he was busted, didnt sneak in again.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. One time, 6:30am on a Tuesday morning, the guys were working on the roof and my son was in the shower.
            I was making breakfast when my son called me from his cellphone. I heard his shower running a few minutes prior and his room was directly above the kitchen. The back stairs landed in the kitchen. I thought, why the heck is he calling me?
            A raccoon made his way into the attic and wandered down the attic steps, into my sons dressing room. My naked high-schooler was trapped in his bathroom.
            He was a little late for school that day but his excuse was one for the record books.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Hahaha! I can see the shot. Close up eyes wide on Gunner. Then the racoon. Then a scream or two, but you cant tell which one it came from. And then, “Mooooooommmm!”
              😂😂😂

              Liked by 3 people

          2. There has been a population explosion of racoons in recent decades.

            ‘Urban’ racoons, that is.

            There are hundreds of thousands of racoons now, much more than would ever exist in the wild.

            This is because racoons have discovered they can feast on backyard pet foods, bird feeders and dumpsters full of discarded food.

            If a racoon gets food on a regular basis…it triggers them to breed.

            They train their offspring to feed at the places where they have found food.
            And the cycle repeats.

            Racoons are cute and fuzzy…and people don’t like the idea of killing them.

            But I know first hand, that they will attack you if you come between them and the food that they feel entitled to.
            Yes…entitled.

            If a racoon feeds in your yard or around your house…then it feels ‘entitled’ to whatever food is there, forever.
            They will try to get inside your house to find more.

            They will kill small dogs and cats, if they see them as competition for the food they feel they’re entitled to.

            Urban racoons are bad news.

            Liked by 3 people

  8. Rereading it I have to ask did the bird survive?

    Anthony was placed in the gifted program, where he thrived, along with my step son. He graduated and became a Rhodes Scholar.——- Do you know what happened to him after that? Either way wonderful story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He went to Dartmouth but I lost track of him after that. He would be about 35yrs old now.
      Anthony’s bird lived past 3:00pm.
      We had all kinds of animals the kids brought us.
      We kept one squirrel, Elmo, and Elmo lived in a bird cage in the breakfast room for several years. Elmo visited the school classrooms at least once a year. When Elmo got sick, we called LSU Vet school for answers. The staff, everyone, loved that silly squirrel.
      We had a funeral for him, attended by hundreds. Minster spoke. Not a dry eye. Parents cried. We now have a little pet cemetery in a corner of the brick garden.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. Thank you for this moving story, Daughn!

    You truly have a talent for writing…and for telling a story in a way that engages the reader.
    Well done!

    Your generous nature is an inspiration.
    Your giving nature has touched so many lives and helped to make things better for them.
    God Bless you!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I don’t know Wheatie. It was not that long ago but a different time. Schools are now terrified of letting parents in, or have anything to do with the school or kids. It’s changed and it’s chilling.
      Maybe it was born out of protection from school shootings? Who knows? Or captive kids that needed to be indoctrinated? Or too many pedophiles? I have no answers.
      But the kids are missing something. Not good for the kids.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Absolutely beautiful story.

    Caring about a child is about the greatest gift one could ever give in the world. Sometimes, it only takes one person to make a difference in someone’s life. You sound like you’ve made difference for many.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Current husband, sugar bear, decided, since we were going to put Gunner into public school, we should/could spend about $200/month and do something with the kids. That would put us on the inside, help the teachers, get to know the kids and maybe some of the parents.
      It helped a LOT.
      The bureaucracy of a school made me insane. Definitely not my personality profile. So many minor problems that were easy to fix and became a production. Yet, the kids benefited, which is why we did it.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Great story, DW!!!! However, I’m very leery of the Rhodes scholar program and its use by the globalists to prime their future communist minions (e.g., Bill Clinton). Obviously named in honor of Cecil Rhodes, a globalist who started his secret Round Table Group (later, after Rhodes death, chaired by Lord Alfred Milner), which eventually became the Royal Institute of International Affairs with its American counterpart, the Council on Foreign Relations. Both of these organizations are globalist entities with no desires for nationalism worldwide. They are organs of the High Cabal seeking a One World Order. Smart, high IQ students are filtered into the Rhodes program for their indoctrination into the globalist plan. Hope your Anthony survived, although he was a prime candidate (home life, etc.) to be consumed by their lure of status, wealth, and position.

    This is the very element and enemy we are fighting today, all under Luciferian control. IMHO!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I don’t even know how to respond to this post, just a beautiful story daughn. I do have to warn everyone that I suggested to my wife she would love to read this,… she might join now 😐. Its ok, that’s such a lovely story daughn, thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Well I don’t know how to use this site and I’m trying to recognize the needs of my husband, which one is sleep so I didn’t wake him up to help me!😂❤️ Anyway after the state of the union everything made sense! I’m trying to recognize what is the spiritual realm vs reality and it’s helping in keeping me sane!🤗 So after the speech which really helped me see we’ve already conquered what I like to call Satan’s forces… I’m learning to not live in fear because it only burdens ourselves and others. But of course that means facing attack! 😬 So fun!🥴😂🙄 I’m blessed by parents who taught me to go to God! ❤️ Unfortunately it’s taken me 47 yrs!😬🙄 I really like this book A Shelter from the storm! We were so on a high from Trumps speech but after I faced pretty much Satan’s lies that have kept me bound.🥴 I read for Feb 5th since that’s when it began to happen. It pretty much says for the wisdom of this world is foolish. What stood out is this: take a little time to ponder how humanity would have fared without the assistance of the Lord! And I really would have not liked Trump if not for God telling me He was going to make him great like pretty much all people in the Bible who were not great but became great! Then because all people with a calling who break thru their inadequacies…I knew attack whould come so I prayed and now we are facing this day so I read again and saw this: (same book different page😂) How great thou art! come see what God has done on men’s behalf! We are blinded to the glory and greatness of God because we put our trust in man! I quickly realized that’s what prevents me from consistently being who God wants me to be! And it’s strange because when I see the truth crazy town quickly takes over… all the sudden our electric fireplace turned completely red and the animals went crazy… so I read for tomorrow (same book different page😂) and it basically said: know God’s grace and love! What stood out is we all seek man made methods to handle our problems but they are all temporary and only lead to guilt! But if you go to God He provides grace, peace and blessings!🤗 Anyway supposedly my husband warned you all… unfortunately I’ve been put in the place of raising a toddler (Shiloh the driller dog) and have had him with me the past 2 days!😂😬 But fortunely he’s reminding me all about how God is with us and all He requires is we trust! Then not only will He absolutely adore it but honor it!🥳❤️

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Aww, I think we’re fortunate to have you both here.
          Driller seems like such a great guy…reminds me of my big sweetie.
          😀

          Kudos on having such great taste in men and puppies!

          Liked by 3 people

  13. Daughn, thank you for sharing your gift of writing with all of us. I love how you calmly showed your step-son how NOT to be afraid of bugs and animals. All three of my kids were scared of their own shadows half the time. I had to be a patient mama when they were little. I was a stay-at-home mom for about 5 years and then went to work. I loved that time in my life and wish I could recapture it all over again.. only I wish I knew then what I know now. I suppose most of us would. I would never wish to be a teenager again and not know what I know now….
    As a public school teacher, I think your are right about kids missing something these days… In my opinion it’s that parents expect the schools to parent their child (without love and with out discipline). Thankfully I teach in a small enough community in the middle of flyover country, but there is still an element of “entitlement” which drives me nuts. I have seen students like Anthony, they either get found by a teacher or faculty or they get forgotten and left behind. You found him and saved him from the mundane – good for you! And you’re right… what you did could never happen today, if you’re not the parent or a teacher, it’s not just something that is done today. We have a group called Teammates (started by Tom Osborne of Neb. fame) where people in the community(mentors) come in and each lunch once a week with their mentee/student. It’s a great program, but we never have enough male volunteers for all the male students who could really use a mentor. I have seen some really great things come from that organization.
    Anyway, thank you again for your story. Everyone needs a sanctuary…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Tom Osborne is a legend!
      There’s so much more that could be done. It’s infuriating. God Bless the teachers who love their kids. And grant me patience to deal with entitled monsters.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Daugn, you are a wonderful story telller and a gifted mom, not just to your own kids but obviously to so many. I love the creativity you brought to that role. When I gave up my career to be “just a stay-at-home mom,” I felt so looked down upon by my peers — yet it was absolutely the best decision I ever made. And being a mom is the most important job I’ve ever had.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I ‘ve tried so hard to encourage our kids, please, find a way to afford it, but leave mom at home. Being here was the best thing I could have ever done.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Amen to that! And you are never “just a stay at home mom” – there is no higher calling and no job more rewarding and more challenging and more stressful, but it’s worth it! Your children are only young once and only for a little while before they grow up… You are strong! You can do it! 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  15. K– So daughn– I want to read every word and every reply to your article–But I need to block out time to savor it..Honestly– I need to nestle in Wheatie’s tree and enjoy your awesome story!!! so … when life slows down…I get to read and enjoy your post…
    You are a treasure– Hugs!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you for sharing your experience here…it was incredibly moving in such a bitter-sweet kind of way. I shared a link back to your post here:

    https://specialconnections.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/commenting-on-only-the-rich-will-have-rights-article/

    I am the parent of an exceptional special needs son & we had about a decade & a half of major trials with our local school system attempting to get his needs addressed. What a blessing for Anthony & his family & educators that you & your husband went to bat for him. Thank you for being part of the solution in this morass of broken promises!

    I think that it is your soul that is what is creating the sanctuary there for so many to experience! God Bless YOU!

    (hopefully you’ll see a beautiful scriptural image above)

    Liked by 1 person

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