Connected by Kindness

A baby born with medical issues, a kind doctor, and a chance meeting five decades later. Click the link below to hear my story, “Connected by Kindness,” on the Chicken Soup for the Soul podcast. Mine is the second story on the 1/27/21 episode, “When Amazing Coincidences Prove It’s a Small World.”


The Old Blue Chair

Since we are all confined at home due to the coronavirus, I thought I would offer to mail you a copy of this newly-released book, COFFEE with God (as long as the mail continues to run). It is a 30-day devotional book written by me and four other North Alabama authors. The “new life” theme may brighten our spirits with stories about spring, Easter, birds, babies, and flowers. Mail your address and $10 to me at: Becky Alexander, 173 Ghost Hill Road, Decatur, AL 35603. See a sample devotion below called “The Old Blue Chair.” Everybody stay safe!


The Old Blue Chair

“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19 (NIV)

She had been in the family for years, ever-present in her usual place in the living room. Her blue, soft covering calmed those who slowed down enough to sit for a while. Her squeaky rock comforted four generations—a baby boy when he cried, a mom when she was exhausted, a grandma when she was stressed, and a great-grandpa when his body ached. Her strong and steady frame withstood climbing, bouncing, plopping, and roughhousing. Her cushions absorbed snores, laughs, secrets, sobs, and prayers. The old blue chair was beloved by all.

As the time came for the old blue chair to be replaced, my heart would not allow it. She was one of us, a delight to our days, a witness to our lives, a link to our history. I decided to rescue her rather than bury her. She still possessed strength in her frame; it was her fabric that displayed thin areas, fuzzy spots, and protruding padding. So I embarked on a search for new fabric.

At a local store, I found the perfect pattern to honor the old blue chair. It flaunted big flowers in a contemporary design. Yes, it contained blue, but also orange, lime green, hot pink, yellow, and red. My first thought was, “What a happy print!” I purchased the fabric and hauled the chair to an upholstery shop.

A week later I picked up a bright and beautiful chair that looked like new. Because she was no longer an old blue chair, I appropriately renamed her “the happy chair.” To this day she sits in her familiar place in the living room. Just this week my three-year-old granddaughter, Sadie, tugged on my shirt. I bent down, and we exchanged a big hug. Then she made a simple statement that caused me to smile: “Happy chair, soft blanket.” I knew exactly what she meant. She wanted Grammy to rock her in our special place—the old chair that continues to create loving memories for our family.

We are much like that old blue chair. Life scurries around us and plops on top of us at times. If we see someone hurting or tired, we offer comfort. Through both good days and difficult ones, we do our best to remain steady and strong. We relish in the sounds that reach our ears—laughter, prayers, and even snores. All the while God watches over us from above and delights in us. And when we begin to wear thin in spots from the stresses of the world, He rescues us, providing us with a new covering of happiness. We are beloved by Him.

Dear God Who Rescues, life has plopped on top of me. I am stressed, weary, hurting. Please rescue me—I want to find joy in life again. Cover me anew with your happiness, so that I can once more offer comfort and encouragement to others. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Art and Much More

“Mom, I have kids in my classes who constantly whine, ‘I can’t do this!'” my daughter said. “They don’t get any sympathy from me. I tell them there are people without arms who do art with their feet. There are people without arms and legs who do art with their mouths. There are artists who are blind. I tell the kids that they have two good arms and two good legs and two good eyes and I don’t want to ever hear ‘I can’t do this’ in my classroom.”

I smiled at my spunky 26-year-old as she flipped back her long brown hair in defiance. I smiled on the inside, too, so proud of her determination to teach her elementary students much more than art.

Before I could respond, she continued. “I tell them about you, too. How you were born with one arm, but you never let that stop you from doing anything. I want you to make a YouTube video for me to play for the kids. Show them how you do things. Talk to them about how they should never say ‘I can’t.'”

“Wow, Cassie, I’d be honored to do that. I think that’s a great idea,” I said.

Over the next few days my mind swirled with possibilities. Which tasks should I demonstrate for the kids?

I could show them how I type. My computer keyboard has one simple adaption—I built up the shift key with Velcro squares so that I can press it with my prosthetic left hand and not accidentally push the keys around it. I taught myself to rest my right fingers on the traditional home keys and make all of the reaches to the other keys with one hand.

I could show them how I hook a necklace. I put the necklace around the back of my neck with the latch and ring in front. I hold the ring end of the chain in my mouth and, looking in a mirror, navigate the latch into the ring with my right hand.

I could show them how I hold things in my prosthetic hand. I move back the upper arm to trigger the lock on my prosthetic elbow. Once the elbow is locked, I can do shoulder movements to pull cables that open and close the hand, allowing me to grip things.

And then it struck me. The question kids ask me most is: “How do you tie your shoes?” That was it. I decided to make the video of me tying my shoes, an easy task for kids, a not-so-easy task for me. I first demonstrated tying my pink Sperry shoes while wearing my prosthetic arm. Next I demonstrated tying them without wearing my prosthetic arm, a larger challenge that requires using my knees and feet.

I closed the video with these words: “‘I can’t.’ Do you ever say those two words? The next time you start to do something and hear yourself saying, ‘This is too hard, I can’t,’ I want you to remember watching me tie my shoes. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You can use that smart brain of yours and figure out a way. You can keep trying until you get it. You can do amazing things if you never allow yourself to say ‘I can’t.'”

Cassie showed the video to her students. They exclaimed, “That’s your mom?”

“Yes,” she replied. “And just like her, you can do anything if you try.”

Cassie said the “I can’t” whines decreased significantly during the remainder of the school year. Her students worked hard to master basic art elements like shape, texture, symmetry, perspective, and color. When summer break finally arrived, the kids left with new art skills… and much more.