Feliz Navidad 2020 y Próspero Año 2021

Mentioning the year 2020 immediately raises most people’s blood pressure or instant grief or negative thoughts. It has inspired unique creativity in the meme world, which definitely helps relieve stress. Normally optimistic folks who take on challenges for fun have either stopped trying new things or complain more than usual. Granted, between 9 months of COVID living, racial strife, ugly political leadership, and so many changes to the perceived normal, we’re all a little on edge and a little more quick to pout or quit. Personally, 2020 will forever hold several monumental happy memories for me.

The first two events are intertwined. First, it’s the year my daughter and I spent nearly 24/7 together from February to August. Emily came home from China for Christmas break and the day she was set to fly back, February 9th, every airline cancelled all flights overseas – she was home to stay! Since I had just had my right knee replacement surgery on February 4th (positive event number 2), and she was completely my right-hand girl, this was not sad news to me. I’ve always pushed my children to go, go, go explore the world, try new things, go places! Since she couldn’t go anywhere, I felt personally blessed to have her with me. She did more than the obvious: drove me to physical therapy twice a week, drove me to school and back home, brought me things when I was too tired to get up, made me get up when I was too tired to get up. She watched funny shows to cheer me up, made me join her YouTube drawing lessons, walked with me, talked with me, drew with me, wrote with me, read with me. Replacing my horribly worn-out right knee could not have been more positive, due to Dr. Hanby and Emily Rose.

Event number three was left total knee replacement. Again, Emily was there for me and we kept learning new things, dreaming about what we wanted to do, watching more Taskmaster, and recuperating. By the end of July I was slowly playing tennis again – just standing and hitting at first – but I played my first doubles match in early August and it was a phenomenal feeling to play tennis with no pain in my knees! After not playing for 6 months, almost every other part of my body ached, but it was such a good feeling!

Next, my granddaughter Piper Joy turned a year old on August 5th. Julius and Nicole made the trip north to celebrate with GP Rains, Mama Elena, and Ganny Haynes and it was simply wonderful to see her after 8 months of separation! Julius and Nicole were wonderful about sending pictures, taking time to FaceTime on the weekends, and sharing her growth and changes with us, but seeing that beautiful, funny personality in our home in Arkansas was priceless!

After school started (crazy, blended, insane, sometimes illogical system that it has become), and I got a bit of a feel for what my year was going to look like, Fred and I decided to have our Vow-Renewal Wedding as planned. Well, not exactly as planned, but at the Christian Life Cathedral Chapel on our 30th anniversary, and live-streamed with limited, socially-distanced seating! My best friend Kristen Novotny planned and took care of about 90% of every detail, with Fred’s help on decisions. This left Fred and me free to meet with Pastor Ron Harris for counseling, growth, and planning for our Covenant Marriage ceremony. We enjoyed taking care of what details we could before we left for Florida, like shopping for outfits and buying lovely “past, present, and future” rings! With the benefit of two “Remote Learning” days which were designated “recuperation days” for teachers, students, and everyone involved in school, we headed to Florida. While there we had the time and separation from daily life to focus on our vows, the details of the ceremony, and ourselves. We chose songs to play with a slideshow we put together, decided on songs for during the ceremony (thanks to Aunt Nancy and Uncle David), and then a playlist for after the ceremony. With Pastor Ron’s direction, we discussed our Core Values, and took care of our extensive list of questions for homework. While some friends and family were able to attend the ceremony on Sunday, October 25th, most watched from the safety of their homes, sharing sweet comments on the FB Live Stream. The day was so special for both Fred and me: our best friends from college repeated as our Best Man (Gred McCone), and Maid/Matron of Honor (Irene Larson Dacus), my best friend organized everything, our daughter selected and sang “Tightrope” from “The Greatest Showman,” both my parents walked me down the aisle, and our friends Jared and Tanya Park carried a picture of Fred’s parents down the aisle. We have video, pictures, and a lovely framed picture with signatures to constantly remind us of this special day and our re-dedication to each other. Kristen collaborated with Fred, my children, Irene, Nicole, and others to ensure everything was wonderful for us. Fred made sure the day happened – for me, for him, for us, for our children. I have the most beautiful 3-stone diamond ring smiling at me every day as a reminder of our past, present, and future together!

On another professional note, we still managed to have a large number of students in Springdale apply for and earn the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy during the Pandemic – nothing will hold some people back! Young people are resilient. Don’t let them think this is completely negative – ¡Sí, se puede! Yes, you can! Making excuses has been a problem to deal with. Perspective: if everyone on the planet is dealing with masks & COVID, you are not unique and you can’t claim “adversity,” the meaningless sports claim. Not for everyday tasks that a person can definitely perform. Make excuses and underachieve all you want, but many people are completely overcoming every obstacle thrown at them – racism, COVID, extreme poverty, language barriers, lack of resources. With excuses, you will be left in the dust. [Note: I am very aware that many people who were already struggling with anxiety, stress, and other mental illnesses, or simply needed counseling to deal with life, were hit especially hard with the isolation and differences in a COVID life. This is NOT what I mean by “making excuses;” rather, I am talking about kids and parents who have no real excuse, but use them as a crutch.]

Finally, with the support of an excellent principal in the best school district in the region, surrounded by outstanding teachers and an especially team-oriented World Language department, and of course, my best friend Kristen Novotny, the fall semester was an interesting experience. I’m not a liar – there were definite moments, days, and even a few weeks of extreme frustration and mind-blowing, life-altering situations. However, we all felt “in it together” and sometimes together against the world. We were always supported to do not just what was right for the student, but what was best for me personally so that I could survive, continue, and not give up. So much support from so many sides made it all possible and even positive overall because, after 27.5 years, I learned a great deal.

Here we are, December 31, 2020. We celebrated Christmas with all our children, our sweet, perfect granddaughter, friends, and even with family thanks to FaceTime and Zoom. We watched Christmas movies, hung the lights, sang the carols, read the Advent Calendar posts, wrapped and opened gifts, and played with Piper. [My children are amazing aunts and uncles!] Heading into 2021, we have to face the reality that our COVID situation continues and we absolutely must be diligently safe for everyone’s sake, regardless of personal safety ideas or incorrect philosophies. A vaccination has arrived on the scene, but it’s so early in the process, we have to hold strong on mask-wearing, hand-washing (still can’t believe so many needed reminding to wash hands after going to the bathroom – gross – so please continue that for the rest of your life), and socially distancing regardless of supposedly-important shopping needs or desperate need for bars (is the need for strangers so important?).

We can do it, people! Remember that “freedom” does not mean that you can do whatever you want whenever you want wherever you want…because I have rights, too. We all do – so wear your masks, treat everyone (of every race, social status, religious belief, political belief), with respect and kindness, and continue to stay at home when you can. These aren’t “limitations” but rather “measures” to keep us safe while still doing, mostly, what we want or need to do. Family game nights, family pizza nights, and family movie nights are on the rise – keep up the traditions! If you don’t have a family to stay at home with, invite 2-3 people to be part of your bubble and go out of your way to plan weekly, fun activities either in person or through technology!

I wish you all a wonderful, positive, memorable 2021 – but hopefully memorable for different reasons!

#blacklivesmatter #2bilit2quit

Leer con los hijos: 5 beneficios [2017 dic]

Leer es la actividad más importante que hacemos con nuestros hijos que los impacta ampliamente. Mientras leemos, todas las lecciones de la vida se enseñan y por eso la discusión sobre otras actividades es irrelevante. Leer puede ser el empiezo y la manera obvia o sutil para abordar todos los demás temas. Sin duda, debemos hacer otras cosas con ellos, pero leer es un elemento que no se puede minimizar ni eludir.

#1 – Compañerismo. No importa si tienes un hijo único o varios, un niño o una niña, existe intimidad en compartir experiencias tras leer. Ahora tenemos experiencias, temas y fondos para discutir. Tenemos referencias, ejemplos y perspectivas comunes. Experimentamos con la fantasía y aprendemos a soñar y a tener esperanza.

#2 – Aumentar el vocabulario y desarrollar el alfabetismo. Para tener éxito en la escuela y el resto de la vida, no hay nada mejor que podemos hacer para afectar su éxito en la escuela. Ellos saben más, han visto más (aunque sea tras ilustraciones o fotos), y han tenido más contacto con más ideas, temas, perspectivas. La lectura afectará su nivel de lectura (sin duda), los estudios sociales, las matemáticas, las ciencias, las habilidades con computación, cursos de elección, y todo tipo de éxito en todas las áreas de la vida. Puede hasta influir en la espiritualidad y sistema de creencias porque aunque los iniciamos en su camino, tendrán la habilidad de leer autónomamente y crecer personalmente en este sistema de creencia cuando estén más grandes, si son capaces.

#3 – Desarrollo de los Padres. Sí, todo el mundo puede continuar aprendiendo, madurar y desarrollarse. No se termina en el grado 5, ni en el 10, y mucho menos al graduarse del colegio o la universidad. Continuaremos aprendiendo palabras, sobre culturas, de la gente, sobre materias hasta el día de nuestra muerte . Cuando leemos con nuestros hijos, su inocencia al hacer preguntas, sus perspectivas nos causan pensar profundamente y aprender a expresar de una manera cariñosa sus peticiones sinceras por dirección y entendimiento. No es suficiente decirles, “Simplemente es así.” Nos desafían.

#4 – La Conciencia. Cuando seleccionamos ficción y no ficción apropiada pero estimulante basada en los intereses de los hijos, aprenden más sobre el mundo a su alrededor: las culturas, la historia, maneras de expresarse, perspectivas, valores, creencias, celebraciones. ¿Por qué dijo eso o se portó la niña así? ¿Por qué esta familia celebra así? ¿Por qué celebramos o no celebramos nosotros algo? ¿Cómo es posible que los aviones vuelen? ¿Cómo funciona el aparato digestivo? ¿Por qué creen alguna gente en cosas diferentes? ¿Por qué trataron / tratan alguna gente a otra gente de esta manera? ¿Por qué tengo pecas?

#5 – Curiosidad, Interés. Aunque esto es similar a todo ya mencionado, es importante. Es una gran lección aprender que se puede leer lo que quiera, deja de leer algo que te aburre, etc. Cuando los hijos son más jóvenes es tan importante seguir con sus intereses, pero que hagamos las selecciones o mínimo guiarlos con firmeza para que los libros estén apropiados para el hijo. Tú eres la persona que debe conocer mejor a tu hijo, no son los maestros, los trabajadores de la guardería, ni los abuelos (al menos que tienes el papel doble de padre-abuelo), ni hasta los amigos. Leer te deja conocer profundamente al hijo. Compartir tus intereses y preferencias, sí, sirve, pero leer con los hijos tiene que ver con cultivar SUS intereses y preferencias.

Leer, discutir, reírse, disfrutar. El tiempo con nuestros hijos es precioso y una responsabilidad grave, pero debe ser divertido en vez de un trabajo pesado. Es nuestro trabajo alegre. Quién sabe, posiblemente ellos te conocerán de ti en el proceso también. ¡Anímate!

Why should you maintain your Heritage Language with your children.

Razones para mantener su idioma natal con sus hijos.

Real de Catorce, Parte 2 [2009]

El próximo año decidimos viajar la noche anterior para poder disfrutar un día entero en el pueblo.

Esta vez viene mi hijo Benjamín y también David O, Ann A, Anthony y Hilde B, Larry, y mi amiga y anfitriona de casa Mary Malacara.

Me estaciono al lado de un edificio, tan cerca como los nativos: sin un centímetro extra para tocar la pared.

Las calles – las llamamos caminos desde ahora, ¿no? – tirados de escombros, piedras y montones de tierra o un burro atado enfrente de la puerta de una casita.

Encontramos el hotel y detrás del mostrador de la recepción veo retratos enmarcados de una cantidad de estrellas, directores y productores de Hollywood. Obviamente este escape a otro siglo no es tanto como secreto que habíamos pensado. Aunque el estilo del hotel queda con la atmósfera de un pueblo antiguo, no es tan rústico como el túnel, gracias a Dios.

Antes de acostarnos por la noche hay tiempo dar un paseo por la “Plaza Mayor”, pasar por unas tiendas y un supermercado y hasta comprar gorras y guantes al estilo andino o nepalesas en mi opinión. Empezamos a sentir la atmósfera mejor – increíblemente tranquila.

Para no gastar tanto dinero, compartimos un cuarto con 2 camas dobles: Ana, Mary, yo y mi hijo Benja de 16 años. Como hombre normal no quiere dormir con su mamá tan cerca y se acomoda en un sillón con una manta. Se enfría tanto por la noche que de repente se levanta y sin vergüenza se mete en la cama conmigo, enterrada con mis 25+ centímetros de manta. Como tortugas sólo sacamos la nariz para respirar de vez en cuando.

Por la mañana el aire es tan claro y refrescante. Se ve el sol en la cima del cerro tras el valle cerca mientras el pueblo está en sombra. La noche anterior yo decido no bañarme porque hace frío – ahora no puedo adivinar porque pensaba que haría más calor por la mañana, pero es necesario entrar la ducha, que de repente descubro que no hay agua caliente. Yo dejo correr el agua, rezando que se caliente con los minutos, pero no tengo suerte: me ducho con agua fría en un baño con azulejos fríos con una temperatura de probablemente 2-5 grados Celsius. Estoy totalmente despierto.

Es similar a una mañana al acampar – poco a poco la gente empieza a salir de sus casas, a vender chocolate caliente en la plaza (sin duda es como medicina para los turistas tontos que se bañan por la mañana), a abrir las tiendas…todo lentamente, con calma y sin prisa. Dando un paseo por las calles tan temprano, observando a los residentes que empiecen uno por uno su día, me da calma. No hay prisa en la vida aquí: ¿por qué me preocupo de los detalles de la vida afuera? Tengo una perspectiva bonita, me estoy cambiando.

Todo el día no hay prisa. Nadie es flojo, están trabajando, sirviendo comida, guiando a los turistas, dando masajes en una plaza, vendiendo artesanía en todas partes, pero no hay prisa: hay tiempo. Me siento visitante en un drama como los Festivales de Renacimiento en Estados Unidos, o Mountain Village 1890 o el Ozark Mountain Folk Center en Arkansas donde la gente lleva disfraces de la época y actúan como si fuera viviendo en aquellos entonces. Pero aquí vive la gente así, no actúa nadie. Es más moderno que el siglo XVI, pero no tanto.

Hay hippies, indios y muchos turistas de todas partes, y no solamente de México. El tipo de turista que visita el lugar tampoco está apresurado como el mundo moderno. Posiblemente se cambie al pasar por el túnel antiguo. En la esquina hay un burrito típico atado a un palo. Si fuera un caballo mesteño y grande, hubiera esperado que saliera John Wayne de la puerta – pero tampoco es suficientemente alto el portón para el hombre vaquero.

Lo que les interesa más a mis hijos, es la oportunidad de un paseo a caballo. Aunque no hay árboles o posiblemente porque no hay árboles, las escenas que se pueden ver en el sendero son impresionantes. Hay pozos, nopales, arbustos y cuevas chiquitas. Puedo imaginar la historia, los españoles dirigiendo la excavación de oro, plata, o lo que sea hacia los trenes en la estación Real de Catorce hacia los barcos rumbo a España y el Rey.

Llegamos a unas ruinas lejanas y arriba del pueblo. Nos dicen que los pozos tienen un depósito para guardar la dinamita fuera del pueblo. Nos damos cuenta que todo queda más lejos que parece – hay un grupo a caballo tras un vallecito, pero parecen tan chiquititos como hormigas por la distancia. Nos paramos y caminamos por unas ruinas y pasamos por una cueva que por dentro en una parte no podemos ver por la oscuridad y tenemos que tomar la mano formando un tren para no perdernos ni caernos. ¡Emocionante! En los Estados Unidos no podemos visitar lugares así porque los guías tendrían que temer demandas; así es la vida en EUA, no se puede aceptar la responsabilidad de sus propias acciones ni aceptar que pasan accidentes. Como resultado, restricciones, reglas, estrés.

Después del tour a caballo [el mío se llama Mariposa y por pelear con el de Dave le renombra Mariposa Traicionera], Ben, Rory y Courtney quieren hacer otro paseo y porque ya he sufrido suficiente y estoy sorprendida que no me he caído como en Costa Rica, me quedo con Mary. Quiero descansar e investigar lo que me ofrece “Real.” Comemos en un restaurante simple con comida tradicional y Mary me introduce el pozole.

En la plaza hay un jipi que da masajes de 15 minutos en una silla apropiada como en mi mundo. Me duele todo el cuerpo desde el pelo hasta las uñas de pies y en aquellos entonces batallaba mucho con la espalda hasta no poder ni caminar de vez en cuando. Después del masaje mágico, me siento curada y llena de energía. Me dice después el masajista que ando con mucho estrés, imagínese, y que debo tener un masaje cada día. Pues, como dice Tevia en Fiddler on the Roof acerca de hacerse rico, “I would agree if they would agree”, “Estaría de acuerdo si ellos estarían de acuerdo”; pero tristemente cuesta demasiado, aún aquí en este pueblecito, y todavía no los recibo diariamente y ando con mi estrés.

Al salir de Real de Catorce por segunda vez, tan tarde como posible, saco una foto en el túnel de una de las capillas.

Ofrezco una oración por la bendición de la oportunidad del viaje y también por la resistencia del túnel tras los años. Me transporta al mundo moderno de nuevo y estoy un poco triste por las preocupaciones que me esperan.

Real de Catorce, Parte 1 [2008]

Este pueblo se encuentra escondido en las montañas del estado mexicano de San Luis Potosí. Al salir de la carretera, empieza un viaje al siglo XVI por una calle de piedras como los romanos en España. Se espanta al principio pero si se maneja rápido, mejor para mí, el coche no vibra tanto.

Se acerca las montañas lentamente presuntamente para aclarar la mente de nuestro mundo moderno. Cuando se sube la montaña pasando, lentamente, unas cabras por aquí, unas casitas por acá, hay acantilados más y más escarpados sin ninguna barrera como protección. La persona que maneja no debe ser la persona que saca fotos – una sugerencia gratis – porque tiene las vidas de los pasajeros en sus propias manos.

Por fin se llega a la cima. Hay varias tienditas viejas con lo necesario: comida, bebidas, collares de los santos…enfrente de la entrada de un túnel. Parece igual que los que se ve en los Estados Unidos o España. Los grupos en coches o autobuses se estacionan para un descanso, una merienda, el baño y para sacar fotos enfrente del túnel.

Cada vehículo paga una entrada para pasar como si fuera una montaña rusa en la feria: un viaje al siglo XVI cuando reinaba el Virrey de Nueva España. Adentro se da cuenta pronto que no es igual que los túneles modernos que se acostumbra más allá. Es rústico con lámparas y bombillas colgadas, con paredes de tierra como en las minas o las cuevas y cavernas que visitamos en Arkansas (Blanchard Springs). Cada rato se ve un espacio al lado (¿para parar un rato?), o un altar a un santo…o posiblemente para honrar a un muerto, ¿de cuando se construyó el túnel o, por Dios, un día normal dentro de la tumba? Quién sabe…

Es increíblemente largo, más que una milla, y aunque no sufre alguien de claustrofobia, se puede sentir un poco cuando a cada curva no se ve la luz del día que se espera.

Por fin sale el vehículo moderno, pero jamás en su propio mundo. Me ha llevado a otro, lo antiguo, casi como en el cuento de Horacio Quiroga, La noche boca arriba; ojalá no me persigan unos aztecas. En este mundo el coche es ajeno, extraterrestre; no parece espacio para manejar ni doblar. Abajo a la izquierda hay callecitas casi más como una cerca para caballos y vagones, pero sumamente empinado y estoy segura que mi adorable, querida Pontiac Montana (irónico, ¿no?), no puede bajarla ni subirla sin resbalar.

He visitado Real dos veces. La primera vez con mi hijo Samuel. Basada en la descripción del lugar antes de ir, me deleitaba explicarle a Samuel que por fin no tendría otro remedio que comer algo auténtico, por fin, en vez de salchichas, quesadillas y otras comidas más americanas. La mamá de casa con la cual vivíamos, mi amiga Mary, simplemente quería que comiera porque era un joven de 12 años y nunca le esforzaba probar nada nuevo.

Cuando llegamos nos separamos y Sam se fue con Rory McW y su hijo Colby para un paseo a caballo. Aparentemente después de su viaje, en este pueblo escondido del siglo XVI, ¡Colby y Sam encontraron una tienda con hamburguesas con queso, papas fritas y pizza! Ya tenían mucha hambre pero Sam guardó una de sus 2 hamburguesas hasta estar enfrente de su mamá para comerla con ganas y ruidos de satisfacción como si fuera la mejor que jamás había saboreado en su larga vida.

Punto, Samuel.

Great-Grandpa’s Funeral [2006]

Pictures from the memory…

The reception at the church. We were well-fed and enjoyed family time.

These were all taken at Livingston Cemetery. The great-grandkids were all interested in the history of the place. Rowdy has a place picked out, but Aunt Erm didn’t want to hear about it:)

Great-Grandpa Wallace’s ceremony site.

Icie Lee Rainey [2006]


Icie Lee Rainey

{Thoughts the first week of August, 2006 – I wrote this while attending the home-going ceremonies for my mother-in-law}

Icie Lee Byers Rainey was born January 27, 1937 five days before my own father. I never have been so proud to know another person, but I also grieve the loss because I realize there is so much I don’t know about her.

I met Icie on the 4th of July 1990 when I drove down with my now-brother-in-law, Dan, for the day’s activities out at the house; Fred was already down there. There were so many people I was astounded and I didn’t know who was an actual brother or sister and who was an in-law. I soon came to find out that to the Raineys it didn’t much matter – all were welcome and treated well. Since I was only a “girlfriend,” Fred and I each drove our cars back to Fayetteville that night and at the time I didn’t really understand that. I really appreciate it now, knowing Icie, Carl and the family – the difference is a lifelong commitment to God, spouse, and self. While we were down there for the funeral, Laurinda seemed frustrated that her fianceé Derrick wasn’t able to stay out at the house, but with 15 siblings before her that was the case and it wasn’t and shouldn’t be any different now:) I think she too will understand when she is older.

When Fred and I came down to tell Carl and Icie we were married and expecting, it was all calm: “Well, congratulations. Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?” That was it! I’m a Rainey and we all talked and played games and started the journey of getting to know one another.

Fred and I came down to Cleveland a lot in our first several years of marriage and even had Julius and Ben stay with Grandma Rainey for 2 months the summer when they were 2 and 9 months old, because we needed the help – no questions asked and no worried on our part – if you can’t trust the mother of 16, who can you trust? We dropped Jules off and when we picked him up he was potty-trained! Why didn’t we do that for Ben, Emily, and Samuel????

The kids spent a lot of time at Grandma Rainey’s and every time I would run off to Spain or Costa Rica or Mexico with students, they would spend at least some of their time with Grandma Rainey. What do they remember the most? Grandma Rainey’s breakfasts! It was huge and my kids have my appetite I think, but it was something anyone could make: scrambled eggs, bacon, spam, sausage, malt-o-meal, and biscuits. Hey, I can make all that! However, no one, but no one can make even simple things delicious and special like her. And she was no help to me in the kitchen because I would have to study by her side to learn anything. Many times I requested a recipe for something and she would just rattle off ingredients in random order and couldn’t tell me how much of anything! I would ask her and she would just say, “Oh, I don’t know!” The woman could cook, but recipes meant nothing…it was all in her memory from experience.

The kids also remember her “switches,” what my grandmother called “fanny-whackers,” when they were not behaving. Someone today mentioned she never got angry. That may be true, but I’ll venture to say some of her grandkids, following in the footsteps of their aunts & uncles, pushed her pretty good:) She just trusted in the Lord to straighten a child out.

She just had a way of talking to everyone, to make you feel like a person – valued! She would tell you what was right in such a way that you got the message, but like it was your idea – like deep down that’s what you wanted to do anyway. She never made me feel bad about myself, no matter what we were talking about.

We had a long conversation on Dusty’s wedding day (July 2nd…probably 1993?). Fred had taken Julius & Ben over to the church and somehow it was Icie and me in the truck driving over. Never an awkward moment, so easy to talk to. She told me how old she was when she got married, how old she “thought” Carl was, and how she and Carl met. I’m sure I told her something insignificant, but when you’re with Icie Rainey, listening is so pleasant.

Icie always remembered everyone’s birthday and anniversary. The kids received a letter or card and a dollar or check every birthday – they knew Grandma Rainey would remember them.

How could you have 16 children??? “Are they Catholic?” No, my mother (in-law) actually, truly, faithfully believed that it was in God’s hands and that if she had a child, God would provide. And did he? Yes. Were there times when the Rainey kids didn’t have fancy things? Yes, and no guilt. They had, and have each other. Icie’s children are strong ladies and gentlemen because fo their parents and Icie was the one communicating with them to know what was going on – the hub of all information.

Smiling, loving, patient – she IS I Corinthians 13 – the LOVE chapter. She was actually capable and lived that definition of love in the Bible: non-judgemental, patient, kind, selfless, never jealous or needy. She was always there for all of us no matter the need or the situation, whether you needed an ear or advice – no matter what. Just call, write, or visit and she was there.

I am very proud to be a Rainey because I know what that means and that I have a lot to live up to. I’ve always told Icie about my family and my parents had the privilege of meeting Icie and Carl once or twice. Icie even wrote my mom a few times and mom was quite impressed – just the way she wrote – mom couldn’t believe Icie wasn’t a college grad! That comes from upbringing and the selflessness showed in her letters. My sister told me once not to brag on my mom-in-law to my mother because it might cause jealousy. Not the case. Nell knew Icie and once you met her you understood that she did not instill jealousy in others; you loved her too much! I wish Kim could have known her. My mom has told me that she could not ask for any better mother-in-law for her daughter.

If I were only a real writer, or even better a poet, I could hope to do Icie justice. But, no. Just picture a calm, content, beautiful person who always smiles, then give her wings and a beautiful white, filmy dress, no shoes. This is my mother (in-law) rising up to heaven to be with her creator. And there is Peter at the gates to let her in, and the Trinity, too, to say, “Job well done my child, you deserve a rest, we could ask no more. Watch over them from here.”

I imagine her finally getting to meet my grandmother who was a lot like her in upbringing and background.

Icie Lee Byers Rainey was a beautiful person who I regret not being even half the woman she was. I will have to resign myself to working to get into heaven so we can have a long talk and I can finish getting to know her.

Ellen Jane Engeler Rainey

Other things: she did everyone’s taxes out in the county, wrote beautiful letters and Bible stories, all-state basketball player, #13 of 15 kids herself, choir director, piano player, church Sunday school teacher, church secretary, big in 4-H with her kids and all the area kids,…

Help me, family…help me to know her better – what do you know about her? Share.

**NOTE** I feel no less the loss today than I did in 2006 when I first wrote the original post. My mother-in-law remains one of the most loving and special people I have ever met. My mother, Nellie Faye Wallace Engeler, is grateful to have met her, corresponded with her, and that I was blessed with another great influence in my life. I’ve been told to be careful what I say so my mom doesn’t get jealous, but that means you really didn’t know Icie – she was incapable of inspiring jealousy because she showed such ease of character and demonstrated love in everything she did and said.

La Tomatina, Springdale Style [2007]

**Previously posted in 2007 after our FIRST EVER event; we continued the tradition for 10 years**

Nos divertimos mucho el jueves, 13 de septiembre. La Sra. Novotny de SHS y yo planeamos y organizamos una Tomatina en Tyson Park para nuestros estudiantes AP. Ellos tenían que leer sobre La Tomatina, un festival en Buñol, Valencia, España y también tenían que leer “Oda al Tomate” por el poeta chileno muy famoso, Pablo Neruda. Después de estudiar mucho decidimos que sería muy divertido y especial tener nuestro propio festival. Nos divertimos mucho pero mucho y quisiéramos darles gracias a todos los grupos y las personas de Springdale que nos ayudó: Springdale Fire Department, Harp’s stores, Price Cutter, Neighborhood Market, Springdale Super Center, IGA in Lowell, y nuestros directores (Mr. Danny Brackett and Mr. David Kellogg) por dejarnos tener esta experiencia fenomenal.

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