So I am one the many the media keep talking about with a compromised immune system. Do I look unhealthy or sick? Probably not. Can you tell that I have Lupus? Definitely not because you cannot tell from the outside. But I can tell. I know my Lupus by the fevers I get on a daily basis. I can tell by the aching joints, the rashes, the fatigue and twice daily necessary steroids to stay somewhat normal so I can make it through the day. I know by the year round anemia and decreased white blood cells. Truth is I may never know if I have the Corona Virus because I live with those symptoms daily. My life is all the symptoms especially in a flare. My blood work always comes back low and abnormal. Not a pretty picture, but my reality.
However, and I am probably in the minority here, my health is my biggest concern not yours or the public. I mean the public has a part by not knowingly going out with contagious diseases, but not going out right now where anyone can have been exposed and not know is all me. In the midst of all this I need to quarantine myself and not be out exposed. The truth is you do not know what to look for, but I do. So since my disease is one of those that is mysterious and easily covered up then it is up to me to stay safe. Reality is you would have no idea my immune system is compromised unless I told you. So I pray for all the people like myself that others eyes are opened. I pray my symptoms and yours stay mild. I pray all your organs stay active and well and that the good Lord brings a miracle quickly for not just this disease but sickness and disease everywhere including the heart disease of not knowing Jesus!
First, I am one of the lucky or unlucky teachers that started my break this week. The unlucky part is that I will be unable to enjoy a single day of this Spring Break. Too much worry and uncertainty and fear of what will be in the future for myself and my students. Lucky in that we had days to prepare; we sent home work and logins, grabbed our planning materials and most importantly said good bye. We left knowing the days ahead would be uncertain, so we kept calm but prepared ourselves.
But the days of this week being a time of celebration and catching up on rest are anything but especially if you have a child of your own. In an instant I became a home school teacher, an online teacher and a wife of a man that is invested in the travel industry that is being destroyed with every passing day.
So the truth is we are waiting, watching the news, catching up on technology learning, anticipating the next email or tweet about how the district is handling this and praying, praying, praying.
Praying how God can use me for His glory in all this, praying I can be the teacher my son needs, praying this will bring people everywhere closer to Christ and to the truth that God truly does have the whole world in His hands, praying my students have food and their parents still have jobs and praying the leadership on all levels will be led with wisdom and peace. Finally, prayers for health, vaccines, medicine, miracles and safety. Prayers that the boredom will be a blessing, the stress will lead to scripture, the worry will start worship, the panic will turn to praise and the God of the universe will take His place over Google.
I have already seen God at work as we band together to offer free resources and teachers helping teachers by sharing ideas and support. In light of eternity, this is a small moment in a big picture. Praying with power for us all!
I feel good at this mom thing about 85% of the time. I get him to school daily, we bathe daily, he eats every day, I get him his medicine and yearly appts. Overall, he is living large. But then school projects pop up or parent homework as I call it and this girl falls a part. Sure other parents think “Poor kid” as he carries his lunchables to school daily, or this mom shows up to parties late or forgets to sign the folder again. But school projects make them shout “Is she even trying!?” Exhibit A: 100th day of school shirt. The poor boy practically refused to wear it. It fell over him like cardboard and ruined one of his favorite shirts.
Exhibit B: That sad robot VDay box that was basically me saying “I am wrapping this box in foil, you figure out the rest.” Thankful this kid does not feel the need to compete because this mama is not helping his chances.
I am a big advocate of having a circle of women that you can connect with and grow old together. Seasons change in life so much that it is likely the friendships will change too. Hard reality, but truth. While we lived in one city, our friendships were very different vs another. While our son played on one team the parents we hung out with varied from the next time. Proximity is important.
I am thankful for my DC or Dinner Club girls. These ladies have been in my life for 15+ years. No season could separate us. We are lifers. We have literally raised families together. We make the time and that is key. Be grateful when you find a crew that knows it all and still love you. Hug them tight and do not let go.
I write all this to say, we were made for community. Isolation is lonely and dangerous. When you are down, you need someone to help you up. You need a partner to laugh with and love hard. I cringe at couples that say “we have each other”. Love the bond, but you need more. Fellow moms that get how hard it is, wives that feel the struggle to stay sexy, women that know the pressure, Christ followers that see how narrow the road really is and get when you do not always feel like you fit in. Spouses are great, but the girl time makes the spouse time better. I have had girlfriends that chose the boy. Only want to go out as couples. Cancel at last minute or never fit the date into their calendar. I get love, but I refuse to be the only one trying to make the friendship work. You choose to make time or you do not. Simple.
I am fortunate to have several groups. Church community, work community, city community and my lifelong friends. Make no mistake it is does not just happen…you make it happen. You create time, you say yes, you give your ear and be attentive, you stay loyal and guard your heart and mouth so other women want to invite you and be around you. You stay confident and secure so you can shine each others’ crowns instead of rip them off.
Women can be as tough on each other as much as we are tough on ourselves. But when the relationship vibes are right, no one understands women like we understand ourselves. The giggles are loud and the conversations get deep. Big tears can be shed and the dancing and singing can free the soul. Go on the get away and leave the kids …they will make new memories just like you. Embrace the girl time. Leave the man for a few hours…better yet, marry the man that selflessly supports it. It.will.be.worth.it!
I have worked for some good principals, but the one I had 5 years ago was undoubtedly the best. She always put her trust in the teachers that she hired and always saw us as humans first and employees second. When tough conversations were present, she would always say “Is this the hill you want to die on?” Most times, I sheepishly said no then I would turn and just stay silent knowing it was not worth the fight.
But now, I have a situation where I have discovered that I will indeed choose to die on this hill.
The issue is small for most teachers in the education world, but it means everything to this reading teacher. The issue: how we prepare students for reading tests.
Our reading education has come down to test passages and standardized tests and my feelings always have and will be that building lifelong readers comes first. I have done my job if students leave my class loving or tolerating books more than when they walked in. I regularly incorporate reading time in my lesson plans and only read children books so we have something to talk about. My hero is Donalyn Miller and her thoughts give me passion.
But doing this kind of reading means test scores take time to grow. In the beginning, the scores are low because we are not taking test prep passages all day and getting good at tests. We.are.reading! Shocked I have to defend the act of reading to teach reading, but I have literally planned with teachers that have a lesson plan of legit reading passages all.day.long. Well, good for you that your scores are good, but sucks your kids now hate reading.
So spring forth to this week where I have a lengthy conversation with a colleague encouraging me to test prep, do a lengthy list of reading strategies geared for only making them more tired while reading and to read the questions first before reading the passage so we can improve test scores. Forget comprehension or reading for meaning…what was I thinking? We are about passing tests. I sat in shock and explained that some of your strategies will exhaust my advanced readers as they do their magic without all that extra work (aka they read a lot) and my struggling readers may never finish the test. Then while they are thinking about the questions they just read, they are missing the main idea and inferences required to answer the questions and evaluate the author’s craft. But I only have a Masters in Reading, A Master Reading Teacher certificate, 18 years in education with all 18 years getting 80% or above passing STAAR in areas of Texas with high poverty rates so what do I know? (For real, despite my multiple years of reading success-last year over 90% grew from the year before…I am still getting this talk.)
So I sit here and ask myself change my plan to fit their (admin) needs and completely destroy myself as an educator and lover of literacy…maybe the scores will go up or maybe not…or stand firm in my belief that tests will come and go but lifelong readers will not.
I am not a good cook. If someone says that I am, they are lying. I can follow a recipe, but not a good cook.
But with Blue Apron, I feel like I can cook anything. Quiche…no problem! Enchiladas…Gotcha! Stir fry…why not? After much thought, it has to do with the box. The company only gives me what I need. Tiny bottles and bags of the exact ingredient with the exact amount. Just like my Father, they believe in me and only give me what I can handle for one meal at a time.
I have chosen a word of the year to guide me the last 5 years. I call it “my word that empowers”. It starts in prayer then follows listening until I hear God speaking his will over my life. This year God and I fought about it as the word He chose made no sense.
Who wants to be vulnerable? Isn’t that weakness? Doesn’t it mean open to attack? It was clear that this was my word but it made no sense and I felt embarrassed to share it. So I began to research and found a great author and TedTalk that really shed light on the power that comes with bring vulnerable so I embraced it. Even made a bracelet!
My husband and I are getting more info on the process of fostering children in our home. A process we feel God putting on our hearts. We contacted our first choice agency and this is what we got in response.
God speaks. A word that made no sense was a guiding star to a future He has in store. Now it all is clear and we have a Word of the Year to thank.