What do you think of when I say the word church? Joy? Good people? Pain? Hypocrisy? Unspoken?
So many thoughts…none of them wrong, but I think of home. My go to place each Wednesday and Sunday. My first boyfriend and best friend. Youth group hang outs and camps. People that prayed.
Sure it is full of broken people and sinners, but that is why I fit in so well. My brokenness is welcome here and yours should be too. My youth church closed its doors this past Sunday. Church is not a place, but still sad I cannot go back to visit the building where I was baptized. Happy to have my family with me this Easter. Hope my son has all I had in a church home and more. If you feel a certain way about church, I encourage you to try again. It is worth it.
One of my favorite things to do is work in the preschool at church. I get to love on babies, play with toddlers, tell little ones about Jesus and SHOW them God’s love on display. Tell each kid that Jesus knows his or her by name.
I get to give parents an hour to worship undistracted by little ones. My time with their children help ls them to feed their souls. Is it loud and crazy…oh yes. But is it important?
Nothing else matters.
The kingdom belongs to these littles. We must be careful to train up the next generation so the church carries on until He returns.
Be the church wherever you fit in using whatever gift He bestowed upon you.
I have several solid groups of girl friends. Girls connected in different ways. Moms of kids the same age, baseball moms, teacher friends, church friends, high school friends…women with things in common that get together and breathe.
My husband says this is harder to find in the man world. Maybe it is just him…who knows, but I am grateful. Grateful I can be vulnerable. Grateful we can vent or celebrate together. Just Grateful we can drink, dance, and let loose in our sweatpants and sweatshirts with hair pulled up and no make up.
If you are fortunate to find those friends then keep them and make time for them.
Covid has wreaked havoc on education. Sub shortages, teachers leaving the profession, kids with anxiety and on medication…now even the leaders are retiring. So the big question is “Why?”
The short answer is apathy. In order to keep schools afloat and not ruin an academic future, schools required as little as possible. We took one grade per week, made most assignments optional, gave a choice to show up in person…we made learning easy and students got comfortable. However, what we were doing was hardly education. We were surviving.
When schools reopened, we again made many things optional and the virtual experience became a joke. Students got a year of very minimal learning as most teachers were forced to do a hybrid learning model. So now even though school was back in session, the learning struggled as teachers were overwhelmed balancing both. Later, Texas tested all of our kids while saying it did not count…was a baseline for the future. Wrong!
HB4545 is attempting to bridge the gaps of the horrific scores that “did not count” while frustrating teachers and making them feel defeated. Students have seen how minimal effort can bring a grade and failing is still nearly impossible so why put in more than the minimal? Then we got the sub issue.
Certain districts pay more than others so subs are really community members that love their community.
Watching the Amazing Race episode 3 when they shut down due to Covid, reminded me I have trauma. Trauma from life shutting down and my job closing. Trauma from sending kids home with one hug and a good bye. Trauma from virtual teaching. Trauma from homeschooling as a teacher. Trauma from learning new things and putting them to use quickly. Trauma from wanting to teach but realizing we are just giving a grade…most kids did as little as possible.
The teacher trauma is real!
Now we have schools with anxious students and teachers and leaders in very stressful situations. Balancing everyone’s mental health and not wanting anyone to break.
So here we are…brave educators digging in deep to ride this out. Kids are fragile so we all must walk carefully. No other job impacts children like teaching and I am here to stay…but things are challenging as you have to choose between scores and sanity.
It is what is, but the more support the better! Parents show you care. Teachers check on each other. Leaders show grace and compassion and serve your staff. Students come to school to learn. We can conquer this together. God is with us and suffering produces perseverance. The answers are complicated, but hope and love are strong and I believe in our business and system.
I love Camp Gladiator, but sometimes you need to mix it up. So happy to share I found cycling! A new gym opened up in Kaufman called Arise. It is more elite with top notch equipment and technology. I have not tried everything, but I am hooked on their cycling!
Hear me now…it is expensive. 20 dollars a class…makes CG look cheap, but it hurts so good! I love you can track your performance, set goals, compete as a team and it is inside! Hot, cold, rainy…you are good!
Recently I found the love of theme classes! Praise and worship class to feed my soul. Lil Wayne to feed my inner hip hop. Lizzo to feed my diva. The music gets me going as I push myself to new records or just release my stress.
Of course, I still love my CG. Recently I found Camp Gladiator on demand workouts and Quick hitters have hit the spot! 30 minutes- you can do anything. No need to carve 2 hours out of your day…just get it done and check it off!
The live part makes it interactive but sometimes you need people so going in person is nice too. Whatever you choose to do to focus on your health…just move!!
So over the past few months I have continued to lose weight without trying. Sounds awesome, but not when you look sick and you are down to a size 0 and under 100 pounds. Only in small outfits does it look sexy…in most clothes I look ill. So I have had to pause Camp Gladiator so I can visit doctors and figure out the root. When you need every calorie, you have zero to burn!
So far I have been to three doctors and received an ultrasound of my thyroid. Gastronologist is next along with a high protein diet, delivered meal plan so I snack all day and eat and protein shakes from Crandall Nutrition. Again, blessed to not worry about losing pounds, but never Google unexplained weight loss.. it is scary! Join me in praying for some direction!
Finally, in all the day to day, I am leaning into my self. Put a pause in working on my relationships, and am focusing on God and my mental health. Sadly, I tend to lose me in us and it is time to look at who God says I am.
Turning 42 flipped a switch. Who am I? Where do I want to be in a year? Who do I want by my side if I have to battle a deadly disease tomorrow? No time to question loyalty…I need to know my team and live in it! Stay tuned for Julia 42.0!
In Lupus related news, I am now on Methextrate and off Plaquenil. Over time, my symptoms began to look more like RA and the joint pain became too much. I now have side effects of headaches and mouth ulcers, but feel better than ever joint-wise. Kinda scared to find out what 62 feels like since 42 already feels like 92, but believing in a cure and a good Lord comeback!
I stepped out of my comfort zone this summer and joined a Bible Study for women. Not only that, but I led a table group. I struggle being in a room with women that love Jesus because I feel like I fail in being a godly woman. I do not see myself worthy of being a pastor’s wife.
I listen to 90’s rap and like it. On bad days, I catch myself talking gangsta like in the lyrics.
I am good at doing the stanky leg.
I complain and am idle.
I do not like people in my home and buy goodies rather than bake them.
I do not craft…in fact I hate it.
I just do not feel like I represent a woman of the church. But I love Jesus and so do the women I got to “lead” this summer. I wanted to be at the table with my friends or the table with the people my age, but God had a better plan. I was at the table with a mix of ages and he sat me down so that I could be mentored and taught. I gained new friends and grew in my relationship with Christ.
This is Bible Study.
This is the church.
If you have not studied with Ruth Chou, then I encourage you to study Truthfilled. It takes you on a journey through Colossians to learn your identity in Christ. To rehearse His truths. So powerful in this age where we easily get our confidence from likes, views and followers. Truth is what we say to ourselves is everything…so speak truth!
You can tell I am a teacher since I have the time for three posts in a day!
Last summer I tried a new workout to stay out of a pandemic funk, heal my body from the negative effects of Lupus, build muscle and please my husband who loves fitness (gotta be honest). A year later and I am still going strong!
I find I look forward to it most weeks and I am seeing results. I have built new friendships and look better in my jeans so there is a winning all around. Added bonus love is I am seeing results with energy teas and protein shakes…all of it together and I can see and feel the difference.
I am a small girl so I am hoping the protein shakes will help me to look stronger, but I love how I feel and that was my biggest goal from the beginning.
Camp Gladiator promotions are based on referrals and I have none so if you want to try it then I can get you the info! Virtual options make a workout from anywhere possible! Even if you have another workout you love, just keep moving and I will be cheering you on all the way. Summer body is no joke and bikinis can be brutal…we are all doing the best we can!
2020 was the year our trauma was exposed. The year we had a moment to step back and see what God was seeing. Busyness. Greed. Selfishness. Chasing after the wind to gain power, success, money…but losing family, health and righteousness.
2021 can be the year to repair what the trauma exposed. Relationships with family, clarity in our mission, a new way of doing things. A greater focus on what matters and what you really “need” to thrive. God’s way is simple, but costs us everything. God’s way brings life.
2021 is the year of new habits. New mindsets that 2020 revealed are needed. Mindsets of humility, grace, health, knowledge of God’s word, seeing trials as a process for change.
This year starts some new healthy habits that will be game changers.
1. Reading the entire Bible. God gives us direct access to Him and I am taking advantage of it.
2. Changing what I put into my body. More water specifically.
3. Discipline through CG workouts. Build muscle, grow lung strength, push yourself mentally and encourage others around you. Take an hour for yourself to take care of your body and grow your mental toughness.
4. Choosing family and quality relationships while putting down the things that keep us from it. My FB friends do not fulfill me more than family.
5. Financial freedom. Stop using things to buy happiness. Get out of debt .
I struggle being generous because I fear not paying bills, but the truth is I am spending all my money on things for myself to make me happier. Time to stop.
This year is the year to make changes needed now that God has my attention.
I am putting it out to the universe a few goals I have for 2021 in hopes to hold myself accountable:
Goal 1: continue with Camp Gladiator to gain strength and good health. Of all the things in 2020 that make me proud, starting an exercise routine and sticking with it is at the top of my list. I pay more than I prefer, but I go and that is huge! I see results in my arms, abs and ass…also a positive. I feel more confident and my clothes fit. So the money is worth the confidence! I have paid gym memberships for years and never go so this works for me!
Goal 2: community. 2020 taught me to be vulnerable and be brave with people. I already joined a water group, Bible reading group and Camp Gladiator and hope to continue to step out with people. I have thought a lot about what people would say at my funeral and I hope they say “she was love”. My quote last year was “How do people feel about themselves in your presence?” I hope it is something positive!
Goal 3: get a foster care placement. This involves finishing the paperwork and application process so lots to do to reach this goal.
Goal 4: most important read the whole Bible this year. Growing closer to God and bearing more fruit that shows the light of Christ is always top priority but often my calendar and time does not show it, so accomplishing this will be huge for me.
Goal 5: continue to grow myself as a writer through this blog! Writing is my thing that I know God has gifted me to do and I pray to use this gift for His glory.