Posted in Family, Parenting, Shadows and Black Clouds

Nursery Chimes: Silence Stills Joy

Joy is the giggly giver of happiness, smiles, and laughter. Ahh, laughter, my all-time favorite sport… and I think I am pretty darn good at it too. I could earn trophies for the following laughing events:

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Loudest Laugh – Sounds like a megaphone roar

Longest Laugh – The funny moment replays in a loop, resulting in 70,000 minutes of hilarity

Crying Laugh – A transition from the longest laugh, ending in heaving moans, eye spillage, and remnants of giggles. 

Nervous Laugh – Pretending to get the joke 

Post-Humorous Laugh – Finally getting the joke

Mirror-Length Laugh – Laughing at your own jokes as if a true comedian were in you presence

Har-de-Har Laugh – Filled with sarcasm over a non-funny incident. Moms and teachers often participate in this event. 

Beyond laughing, it makes me even happier when I can induce others to join in the merriment. I’m on a constant mission to find more light in this wacky world and share it with you. I love telling funny stories.  Continue reading “Nursery Chimes: Silence Stills Joy”

Posted in Family, Father Time, Holidays

Cheers to Festiveness! Bah Humbug to Stressfulness.

Yesterday, began gently without an alarm clock. It was the first of a twelve day winter break from teaching and school. My teenagers and husband weren’t home, so I treated myself to some extra relaxation with one of the many to-be-read books on my nightstand. The sunshine beamed through the blinds targeting my dogs who basked in the extra brightness, snoring in warm-and-fuzzy harmony

Continue reading “Cheers to Festiveness! Bah Humbug to Stressfulness.”

Posted in Education, Family, Teenagers

What the FAFSA Comes Next?

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Overwhelming Confusion

Yesterday, October 1, 2019, was FAFSA Day, when the Free Application for Federal Student Aid became available for possible higher learning financial aid.  After making our FAFSA ID’s, researching how to fill out the form, and then completing the detailed process, I admit to being more confused than ever about how college will be affordable for my daughter, a senior who plans to be enrolled in a four-year major next fall.

We are a two-income, middle class family of four humans, two dogs, and one kitty. I know that my child won’t get a Pell Grant or Federal Work-Study because the FAFSA will accuse us college-educated parents of making too much. For my daughter’s freshman year, FAFSA will, most likely, only offer a $3500 subsidized Stafford Loan (one that will be deferred and not accrue interest until she graduates). That will cover about four college books, a laptop (or really pretty notebook), a package of highlighters, and a meal plan for a semester. The other federal loans are non-subsidized, and interest will start the day the loan begins.

The four-year schools she’s considering cost anywhere from $25,000-35,000 per year, and these are the most economical ones. This price tag includes tuition, room and board, and a free library card.

I didn’t expect to get free money from the Free Application… but I didn’t expect to only find loans in which the interest starts the first day of classes. It’s daunting and probably deters many prospective students to chant, “No more pencils, no more books…”

If you’ve been through this financial process and understand my frustration, please share what you have done to help your kids such as take out a: home equity loan, home equity line of credit, or Parent Plus Loan. Or did the student take out a private student loan? If so was it better for you to cosign to help their interest rate go down? Risks? Pros? Cons?

Anything you are willing to share about your experiences with financial aid triumphs and/or letdowns would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

I’ve been a secondary English teacher since 1995 and believe that education ignites the world. Can you help me figure out how to take a monetary monster off of our future light bulbs in America? Shine on!

(Feel free to comment here, in my email (, or on social media. Thank you in advance.)