Category Archives: faith

The Difference of a Year

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I just returned from a week in Mexico.

It was gorgeous, relaxing, adventurous, fun and much needed. I always plan it the week before I return to school as a last way to recharge, reflect and get ready.

The sun, blue water, time for self care is good for my soul. Seeing the Lord’s work in nature and taking the time to listen to what he is saying with new opportunities is a gift.

But this trip hit different because a year ago today my life changed when my marriage changed along with a stressful year in education (see other post about change and reforms in school). In this last year, the stress of all the changes restarted my body to get sick-very sick and it was obvious if you looked at me for the first time ever.

The butterfly rash, psoriasis, weight loss, eye inflammation, dental issues…all the symptoms came roaring back. The hardest was the weight that caused people to ask if I was okay and the hair just getting thinner and shorter without being cut.

It led to two new medications and finally tests and a biopsy.

Pictures do not lie! I usually pull it back, but this night I got feisty!

I often want to step out of the picture or refuse to take it, but I will not let pride and vanity win. This.is.me! This is my season of sickness. It is rough, but my reality. So I will show my confidence and continue to take the selfie or portrait. I an more than my appearance. I hope I inspire young girls that think they are fat or ugly to be confident and brave.

The hair will grow back or I will invest in wigs and hats. This is Lupus and the world needs to know…even Virgin River had a story on the disease!

So I start these meds today and wait patiently for a cure and hopefully an answered prayer with little to no side effects and some relief.

Pray with me!

Lupus Impact

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Here are just a few of the things an auto immune disease will attack in an attempt to fight off invaders:

Hair-thinning, falling out, bald spots on scalp, dry and brittle

Eyes-itchy, burning, blurry vision, inflammation

Skin-dry, rashes especially on face, psoriasis

Mouth- ulcers (the worst) cavities due to being too dry or too much bacteria

Joints-aches, pains, stiffness, deformities, loss of grip, cannot move arms above head, hard to walk or bend at the knees, hard to dress

Blood-anemic, easy bruising

Reproductive-can cause infertility, dryness, overgrowth of bacteria

Organs-failure of vital ones, hard to breathe, chest pain, lung inflammation

Digestive-weight loss, foods hard to digest, IBS, watch what you eat-sensitivities

Brain-forgetfulness, depression, brain fog

This is a list of things I have endured in my 12 years with this disease.

Thankfully not all at the same time and thankfully meds can help alleviate much of this.

My hope is in Jesus. I am thankful I have a promise of eternity and faithfulness in a cure or in a plan or purpose for my pain. Prayer is powerful.

Stop Going to Google and Start Going to God

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I do it every time.

Hear a diagnosis then Google it to death.

What I really struggle with is fear, control, the unknown and what-ifs.

God has the answer.

When will I learn to start with Him?

He knows, He cares, He loves.

The end.

Perspective is Everything

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Summer fun can be exhausting. Getting up early, going from lesson to playdate to camp…being in the car from 30 to 45 minutes at a time depending on traffic. Doing all I can to make memories and do all the fun stuff while school is out. Keeping cool in this heat…fun, but tiresome.

I was expressing this thought to my son’s tutor whom is a widow and all three of her boys are grown and out of the house. Her response surprised me.

She said the busyness traveling in the car is what she missed the most about raising kids. She explained the time she spent talking, laughing and going to all the places for the summer are the memories she holds dear to her heart. Being all together in the car is priceless.

It made me stop and think the thing that exhausts me is what she misses. I should learn from her and change my perspective and find joy in this phase of life. Appreciate the talking, the questions and the places we travel together. Value this moment in motherhood.

Don’t miss the memories we are making. God has given me this child for this moment and I refuse to miss this opportunity by not appreciating how blessed I am. So thankful this lady could unknowingly mentor me and change my perspective before it was too late.

Never Count out Creativity

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My son has autism.

My son has ADHD.

My son has epilepsy.

My son’s IQ is too low to be considered having a learning disability.

True story. Too low to have a learning disability. If my son, did not have the other health impairment a public school system would not qualify him for special education because he does not have enough strengths to receive services.

Let that sink in. “Not enough strengths”. As a teacher this breaks my heart. My students that get this information are basically being told find a good trade or marry a rich spouse because according to the SPED system you are too low to receive our help. We cannot help you.

Low IQ is 70-79- my son has a 54. But if you ever met him then you would know something is different but 54 does not describe him- autism and distractedness make a difference on these tests. Combine that with lack of motivation and in his world “these tests suck”. STAAR is a joke for him-he cannot logically reason or read those words (mind you in a home with two parents with a masters degrees)…he is below grade level with an other health impairment. The test does not fit him.

The state should differentiate their testing. Supports are not enough for some kids.

But God.

God knew what this kid would need. God knew what our education and finances could offer that he was not born into. God knew what faith, hope, love, early intervention and stubbornness could provide. God chose us to adopt him…a hard calling, but an important one.

You see my child thinks outside the box. He sees things not for what they are, but what they can become. He sees a rinse cup and creates false teeth (it works). He sees a happy meal can be turned into a computer. He sees foil can create 101 different toys. He will make the world better….mark my words….by creating something so simple, but no one saw it.

Someday public education will rethink their testing and accountability but until then…

Never count out creativity.

Church

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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.

Be a Good Neighbor

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On this Good Friday where we celebrate the life Jesus Christ gave willingly for our sins to be redeemed, I am reminded the importance of His love. His love I do not deserve. His love that sets me free. His love that allows me to love others.

A sweet neighbor just dropped off a basket for my son. A basket that will make him smile and feel special. A basket from a “big kid” that he looks up to. I need to do better at being a good neighbor and loving others the way Christ loves me.

It may seem simple, but this is why Jesus Christ came to this Earth as a man. To teach us to love so we can love others and influence the world. We are Chosen. It is in us; our call is to share it.

Be the Church

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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.

It is everything right now.

Roots

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This is a pic I saw on our class field trip to the Wetlands. It was an illustration of how the roots of the plot are anchored in the soil and will not be moved. It was beautiful and a visual of who I am in Christ.

I am rooted and anchored in the soil of God. His nutrients grow me as I am firmly planted in him. My roots keep me from flying away in the wind or drowning in the rain. Lord willing I will produce fruit or flowers as I abide in Him. What a brilliant illustration of our journey with God.

Rooted in Him I am.

The Trauma I Never Knew I Had…

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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.