A Special Birthday And How I Got Over!

•January 31, 2015 • Comments Off on A Special Birthday And How I Got Over!

January 29th,2015 was my birthday. It was to have been a significant birthday for many reasons. First and foremost, I didn’t think I would make it to this birthday and the ripe old age of 65. Illness had robed me of most of my vim, vigor and vitality, and my mom died at 64. So….about a week before my birthday I made big plans to celebrate this milestone. Most of my extended family lives in Philadelphia, so I invited as many as I could afford to come to dinner with me in Philadelphia. My wonderful hubby and I would come down the day before my birthday, have the dinner, spend the night and go back home on my actual birthday so I could be with my daughter. A simple plan, I looked forward to it with the eagerness that a child looks forward to Christmas. Reservations were made, invitations were called and emailed, everyone accepted. I was elated. Because it was January, in the back of my mind always loomed the possibility of bad weather. It must have been a premonition, because two days before my big day, the east coast was hit with a major BLIZZARD! All plans were cancelled.

On January 29th, 2015, instead of a beautiful memory from the night before I was stuck in the house with pain in my left foot, and an ache in my heart for my lost celebration. I had one really good private pity party. I invited NO ONE!

Sometime during the evening I went on Facebook. There I found many birthday greetings from family, friends, and former students. Each one lifted my heart. There was one very special message from a young man I had taught. He told me how I had changed his life. He started piano instruction under my tutelage, and went on to be a pianist, and organist. Self-absorption is a bitch! and not a trap one should fall into. I have had several other students write and tell me how much my class has meant to them, but this one took a special place just when I needed a lift the most. God’s timing is always perfect.

At my mom’s funeral, a lady sang “If I can Help Somebody” not at my request, but because that was the kind of person my mom was. I would like to think that in some small way I have followed in her footsteps, because she was one hell-of-a woman. At 5’4″, she was somewhat like Hetty on N.C.I.S Los Angeles. A no-nonsense dynamo with a heart of mushy gold. I have now officially lived longer than she, and I live to carry on her legacy, which is an awesome responsibility.

So to sum up my ramblings, 65 turned out to be a great birthday. A Milestone! A Hump on a camels back, that I have now gotten over. “MY SOUL LOOKS BACK AND WONDER, HOW I GOT OVER!” “PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW”.

It Takes a Choir

•December 30, 2014 • Comments Off on It Takes a Choir

Today I watched a TV show called “It Takes A Choir.” Now although I am a retired choral teacher I do not watch every show, nor would I say that I am a fan of the show. Today was just a day my remote got stuck on this channel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, a choirmaster from England tours the United States and tries to bring people together through music, thus The Choir. Now why he did not start this venture in England, I will never know. Maybe he thought we Americans needed this sort of help. Anyway, he went to a small town in Pennsylvania and started recruiting. He first efforts fell on deaf ears, somewhat like telling junior high school students especially boys that you teach a singing class. Eventually, he got a group of reluctant singers who probably joined just for the chance to be on television. In a little over a week he turned the reluctant singers into a choir. Not a great choir but a reasonable facsimile of a good choir.
More than their performance, I was struck by their sense of accomplishment. At the end of the performance there were hi-fives, tears, hugs, and smiles all around. For a split second I was back in the classroom, or in the auditorium after a performance with the smiles and hugs, and it felt great.
I don’t think It Takes a Choir will win awards or be a dramatic success on the small screen, but if you have ever sung in a choir it just may make you shed a single tear and bring back a fond memory of a better time.



•June 16, 2014 • Comments Off on I AM A PART OF THE MAD HOUSE

I am a square peg in a round world

I do not fit a size 12

I don’t play well with others

People hurt people

I try to hurt

No one.

Friends are ….few

I love


My family

a warm sunrise

a soft puppy

I am a writer

I am a musician

I am a singer

I am a wife

I am a mother

I matter

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free.

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches,

I know he’s watching, I know he watches…





Turning the Corner

•May 20, 2014 • Comments Off on Turning the Corner

I am at a point in life where I am turning a corner. Life as I knew it just ten years ago was very different than life at the present time. Getting older comes as expected, however feeling older is a kick in the butt. Accepting these facts is enlightning. When you turn the corner in life, you suddenly realize how finite life is. Towards that resolution I have created my own Bucket List.

These I may be able to realize:

1) I want to see Paris and London.

2) I would like to visit the Holy land.

3) I would like to see my books Rag Doll Tales and Rag Doll Tales Mama Mabel’s Journey made into an animated cartoon

These are loftier goals that I probably will not realize:

4) World Peace

5) An end to world suffering

6) A cure for cancer and other diseases 

7) Acceptance of people in this world for who they are, not what they look like.

And then there is the  goal  that I am currently working on:

8) Use all the gifts that God gave me.


In the Bible there is a story we all have heard about the people who were given talents by God, and used them in very different ways.

Personally I was half way between the one who used them and the one who buried them. Well….I got out my shovel and the results are the notice below. Most astounding is that since I have made this decision, almost daily I have recieved messages from various sources  that reassure me I have made the right decision. Further below is a message from Joel Osteen, I know he probably sent this message to millions of people, but the message was meant for me.

The bottom line is, don’t wait till you are in your senior years to explore your dreams, live life with a passion, or “find yourself.’ No matter what you age, race, finances, or circumstances live life to the fullest and go with God. 




“The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain.’ ”
(Deuteronomy 1:6, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
Have you been facing a mountain for so long that you feel like you are just sort of stuck there? Maybe at one time you knew you would break that addiction. You knew you would beat that sickness. You knew you would get married. But, you’ve gone through disappointments. It didn’t happen the way you thought.

Today, God is saying to you what He said to the people of Israel. “You have dwelt long enough on this mountain.” It’s time to move forward. God has new levels in front of you, new opportunities, new relationships, promotions, breakthroughs. But, you’ve got to stir up your fire. You’ve got to get a vision for victory. The dreams, the promises that you’ve pushed down and thought, “Oh, it’s not going to happen. I’m too old. I don’t have the connections. I don’t know the right people,” God has it all figured out. If you will start believing again, start dreaming again, start pursuing what God put in your heart, God will make a way where you don’t see a way. Press past the mountain and move forward into victory!

Father, thank You for Your grace and mercy on my life. Thank You for empowering me to overcome every obstacle and press past every mountain. I look to You to lead and guide me into victory in every area of my life in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Tell me Grandma, is there really a Santa Claus?

•December 14, 2013 • Comments Off on Tell me Grandma, is there really a Santa Claus?


A few years ago my granddaughter crawled onto my lap and made herself right at home. Like most children of this newest generation, she was older and wiser than her years. She sat quietly for a while, then looked up at me.

” Grandma” she said, ” Christmas is coming soon you know.” I nodded, I knew where this conversation was going, but I decided to say nothing.

” Mommy and Daddy say there is no big fat man at the North Pole making gifts for children. They say he doesn’t exist and that all those other parents lie to their children. Then when the children find out there is no Santa Claus, they are sad. Is that true Grandma?”

I had been put on the spot before, but this was different. Do I agree with my child’s point of view and shatter the myth once and for all. I looked into my granddaughter’s eyes, so trusting, and inquisitive.

I reflected on my own childhood. I delighted in the knowledge of Santa Claus for many years, that belief was one of my fondest memories. As a parent I tried to pass on this wonderment to my children, but alas my children grew up in a different world, and their peers were only to happy to shatter this dream and to bring my children back to reality. Now with my granddaughter growing up in the internet age it seemed my options were very limited.

” Well darling, Daddy is not wrong, there is no big jolly man living at the north pole making presents for good little girls and boys, but there is a Santa Claus. You see Santa Claus is more of a feeling.  He is the feeling that parents get when they see the light in the eyes of their children on Christmas morning. Such joy in the hearts of both parents and children is the spirit of Christmas. It is the same spirit that brought the three wise men to Bethlehem many years ago to bring gifts to the newborn Christ child. It is the same loving spirit that God shows  us because we are his children, he just passed it on.  She sat deep in thought for a moment.

” I know, it’s the kind of happiness Lady shows with her tail wagging when we give her a biscuit.” We both laughed and I gave her a tickle.

” That’s right, God show his love through all of his creatures.”

” Even an ant?”

” Yes darling, even an ant.”

She pressed her head against my chest as I stroked her hair. I knew one day she would come to realize the joy a grandmother gets from just stroking the hair of someone she loves. One day, but today was MY DAY.

Is Failure Sometimes an Option?

•July 17, 2013 • 5 Comments



   About a year ago, I embarked on a venture that was really out of the box for me.  After years of trying to get a publisher interested in my literary efforts I decided to self-publish. The deciding factor that stimulated this decision was the publisher I found on Facebook. Mindstir Media advertised that if you had a children’s book without illustration, they would illustrate it for you. I was hooked.

   The creation of my dream, a legacy for my grandchildren is called Rag Doll Tales, and I have had good success getting it into the hands of the public.  I have been privileged to present my book at schools, churches, two book signings and a daycare center. Each place Rag Doll Tales has been well received, and I have been elated. My first absolute failure came one Sunday July 14th

     I looked forward for about two months to the Baltimore Urban Book Festival. Originally when I saw the advertisement, I think it was the Baltimore Urban Children’s Book Festival. Sometime in the two months the name was changed. Neither the less, I looked forward to the event. I sent in give-a-ways for the goodie bags that were to be presented at the festival. I sent in an interview about myself, and a synopsis of my book. I publicized the event on my Facebook page, and my Rag Doll Tales Facebook page. My business had grown to include not only a book, but also a doll from the book. The dolls had been a huge hit at other presentations. So I prepared 15 new dolls for the Baltimore event. I even recruited my girlfriend to help make them so they would be ready on time. My hubby and daughter volunteered to come with my and we would make this a family affair.

     The day of the festival, we set up the table, it looked wonderful. My pens, business cards, dolls and books found just the right spot to show off their best potential. At 12:PM the festival opened and people started to trickle in. Between 1:PM and 4:PM, the largest groups of people came. Many stopped by my table, many read my poster, took a pen, spoke about the merits of my book and its idea, and promised to contact me at a future day. Alas, that was it: My first failure.

So, where do I go from here?  For the first time in about a year I have no events to look forward to. Do I pack it up? At this moment I don’t know. I guess this story will be continued.

Rag Doll Tales- The Journey Continues

•June 13, 2013 • 1 Comment

Rag Doll Tales-The Journey Continues


About a year ago I started this blog.  At the same time I published my one and so far only book Rag Doll Tales. It was at the suggestion of my publisher that I started the blog, he thought it would be a good way to get my writings to an audience.  The year has had its ups and downs, far more ups than downs, and that is a good thing.

During the year I have had two book signings in Philadelphia. I have learned that because my book is self-published the large chain stores will not sell it in their stores only online, and consequently my book signings have been limited to privately owned bookstores.

Book signing in Philadelphia

Book signing in Philadelphia

First Calvary Baptist church in Brooklyn has been one of my biggest supporters and I would like to publicly thank them for all of their efforts on my behalf. St. John’s United Methodist church in North Valley Stream is my home church, and they too have been supportive.

United Methodist Church New York Conference

United Methodist Church New York Conference

Eugene captivates young school children
Eugene captivates young school children

Eugene captivates young school children

Through the efforts of my church I was invited this year to the New York United Methodist Annual Church Conference. That was a marvelous experience. The sale of books and dolls was secondary to the people I met and the love they bestowed upon me. One of the most memorable encounters came from a lady who’s church does missionary work in Mozambique. She purchased my book and accompanying doll to share with the children of Mozambique. To me that was nothing short of awesome.

Another stop on this incredible journey was Davidson, and Downing schools, both in the Malverne school district, Explore Charter School in Brooklyn, and Carousel Daycare Center in Brooklyn. The children I met in these schools ranged from 2 years to 11 years in age. At each presentation I was met with wide-eyed curiosity, and an eagerness to hear my story that only the young can provide. Each school was unique, each school was delightful, and at each school Rag Doll Tales was well received.

Next stop on this journey, I sent Rag Doll Tales to Oprah, and Michelle Obama, hoping for than one in a million chance that one on them would read it, like it, and help publicize it. Alas, no such luck, for my postage I received two very polite letters sent by the 33 secretary to the 33 secretary, saying thank you.

A side road on this journey was Eugene. Eugene in the Rag Doll featured in each story of Rag Doll Tales. Fifteen years ago I had a doll made, and whenever I did a presentation Eugene was right by my side. She proved to be a wonderful visual aid in my presentation with one drawback. People wanted her. After several unsuccessful attempts to find someone who could make Eugene dolls, a bolt of lighting hit me and I contacted my good friend Linnette. She and sat down and figured out how to make a Eugene doll, and thus another aspect to this journey was born.

Now entering the second year of this journey my aspirations are more school engagements, and more opportunities to share the love of Rag Doll Tales. The response has been amazing. I have received tons of wonderful compliments about Rag Doll Tales.  As one review stated:

The book is recommended for children but I read it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The stories were compelling and I could not put it down. I would recommend it for all ages. Adults will enjoy the stories and learn something from them and pass the stories on to their children or grandchildren. I gave it a 5 for excellence.”



For the future I am busy making dolls and planning another series of Rag Doll Tales. Remember, OPEN A BOOK AND OPEN A MIND there is LOVE AND KNOWLEDGE IN EVERY STORY.

Rag Doll Tales is available at Amazon.com, Booksamillion.com, Barnesandnobel.com, and from me, the author. I can be reached at scribe312@yahoo.com.

Facebook readers please reach out a LIKE Rag Doll Tales today.

I Live in a Madhouse-The Next Generation

•April 5, 2013 • 3 Comments


This weekend I had the privilege of spending time with my two grown children and my grandchildren. I say privilege, because with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is indeed difficult to find time to spend with my children, much less my grandchildren. To find a time when we all can be together is priceless.

About a month ago I saw an ad on Facebook for tickets to the White House Easter Egg Hunt. They were to be given out in a lottery and there were only two days until the deadline to apply. So I thought, “what the heck? Let me send in my email address.”

Low and behold I was chosen.

Two weeks later four tickets arrived in my email box. For two weeks we talked on the phone of nothing else and made plans for our big trip. We discussed the possibility of seeing the Obama family. Easter baskets were bought and everyone on my children’s jobs and my grandchildren’s schools and day care knew that we were going to the White House for Easter.

I was amazed when on the day we left, I told my 3-year-old grandson that we were going to see the president, and he said “Oh, we are going to Obama’s house.” I don’t think I knew who the president was at 3 years old. Sorry, Ike.

The journey was flawless and hotel was great. We found out after we got there, that the Easter Egg Hunt is not an Easter Egg Hunt. There was a series of tables and tents set up and many activities for the young and old.

The most disappointing aspect of the excursion was the fact that we had just missed the Obama family. You would think they would have waited for us.

Nevertheless, this was a once in a lifetime experience, I don’t think anyone would want to brave the crowd a second time, and a good time was had by all. The best part was family time. As it has been said on a television ad … PRICELESS!


I Live in a Mad House-You just never know!

•March 17, 2013 • 5 Comments

I have known since the fourth grade that my profession would be teaching. The only detour to this plan was the type of teacher I would be. I wanted to be a teacher of handicapped children. In my childish mind anyone could teach “normal” children, I believed I had that special gift to teach special children. The name of the detour was Hampton Institute, now Hampton University. I saw the Hampton Institute Concert Choir perform while I was in the later grades of high school. One concert, and I was in love. I wanted to be on that stage one day in the worst way. The only problem was Hampton did not have a special education major. Thus my plans were changed and I majored in music. Vocal music to be exact, and it was everything I wanted it to be. I loved chorus in high school, (La Guardia High School of Music and Arts) and Hampton, under the direction of Roland Carter took my love to a new level. Upon the completion of four years, I was standing in front of my own music class. I was told: “We got rid of three teachers already, how long you gonna be here?” Not exactly the greeting I was expecting. Not one to be defeated, I stayed in that school for thirteen years, and things did get better.
In the second school things got even better. Here when you told a child to sit down, they really did it. The first time this happened I was in shock, but that subject is for another blog.
Recently I opened my old tweets, and noticed one that I did not think I had responded to. I took a chance since it was over six months old, and was delighted to receive a quick response. The tweeter was a former student from the second school. He informed me that not only had my influence had an impact on this life, but that he had become a very successful vocal music teacher in his own right. Of course that was one of the best tweets I had ever received. I estimate that over a thirty-five year career, I have taught about ten thousand students. To each one I hoped to bring a love of music. I tried to let them know that there is a world of music beyond what they hear on the radio or at the local club, or at a party. I am more than gratified to know that I made a small difference in the life of at least one of my students. This particular former student is a junior high school chorus teacher with a chorus that has been rated superior by the state in which he teaches. This old retired teacher is mighty proud. You just never know where your seeds will spread and take root. The fact that I spread them is enough.

As a postscript, I would like to add that within in past year I made contact with my former junior high school music teacher. She seemed a little disappointed that I was a teacher, she was also a former opera diva, and thought that I should have had a career  on a stage. What she failed to realize was I was on a stage for thirty-five years  with the best audience a person could have. To teach a child is to change the world.

My student's students.

My student’s students.

Sometimes the Madhouse has a Window

•March 6, 2013 • 4 Comments


Dear Friends, and all of you who have been kind enough to follow my musings for almost a year now. Today I have something very special to share with you.

Today I opened my mail and found a very special letter. I have seventeen new friends. Last week I visited the second grade at Maurice W. Downing school and it was my delight to regale them with Rag Doll Tales. Today I received thank you notes from one of the classes. To say that they are precious is an understatement. Each one has a beautiful picture that can only be appreciated by the eyes of a parent or teacher. Lucky for me, I am both. Most said the same thing, “Dear Mrs. Augustin, Thank you for visiting M.W. Downing school. However three students from the Brave New World of thinking stepped outside the box and wrote their own thing. I would like to share these with you.

On the first one, the outside has a flower and the words True Friend. The inside is as follows.

Dear Mrs. Augustin, Thank you for visiting M.W. Downing school. I really like you. I am wondering that if you can make more books, so I can read them. You are kind, funny, and a good story teller. I wish that you can stay at our school much more longer. You are a true friend.  Your friend “C”

The second one has a picture of two people on the front. One person has an arrow and says Mrs. Augustin, the second person has an arrow and says “H”. The inside reads as follows.

Dear Mrs. Augustin, Thank you for visiting M.W. Downing school. I wish you could come to our school another day. I love reading the book Rag Doll Tales, it was really fun having you here!!!!!!!!  Your friend, “H”.

Last but not least, the cover of the third one says, ” Thanks for coming.” with a big smiley face. On the inside I found:

Dear Mrs. Augustin, Thank you for visiting M.W. Downing school. I really liked your book The Rag Doll Tales. I order one of your books! Thanks for coming. Your friend “B”.

Now if you are reading this and, it doesn’t melt your heart you must be made of stone. Of course Kudos to the teacher for encouraging these children to be so kind to an old lady. If I ever wondered why I write, I received seventeen good reasons today. These letters have touched my heart and I hope they have reached a little part of yours.