Category Archives: Jesus; Faith

Pushing them to Grow Up

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This is a mixed feelings post. My son has always been delayed in life milestones. We never knew for sure if it was us not pushing him to be more independent because we love the process of parenting or does he just need more time. So when we looked at the first free weekend in forever (due to the shut downs across the state), we gave it a go at bike riding without training wheels. In the back of my head, I thought he would never do it or not yet. Autism, ADHD and little grit often speaks louder than pure determination, but we pressed on and prayed.

It did not happen right away. He lost balance and struggled and found himself ready to give up. We talked. We reasoned. We motivated. Then we gave him a break. The next day he saw the “big kids” riding motorcycles and he got the fire again. We told him bike first…mini motorcycle second. Out of nowhere he got a wild hair and got to work. Older boys around us gave him tips and modeled. He did it at his own pace in his own way…but 24 hours later…we were on our first bike ride….together.

We talked about life, racing each other, stopping to look at cool things. Surreal moment of “he is growing up”! Another milestone never to be repeated. No looking back. We moved on to big boy bikes. It feels good! Sad that it is a sign of maturity and another reminder he is getting older and closer to leaving home. It happens that fast. But exciting that he is learning, trying new things and showing us he can conquer fears. Blows my mind how last week this felt impossible and now look at him go! Of all the ugly memories that came from this time in history, God has given us a beautiful memory made possible with time.

Real Talk with Teaching Time in Quarantine

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One thing is for sure, I have never looked at my face so much as when I have been a virtual teacher in quarantine. Virtual conferences, my pic on a million teaching apps, recording my teaching, having to post pics of me to document I am working…I see me a lot and I am only looking quarantine cute.

My house looks like a hot mess!

I stare at this all day or constantly check my cell phone to respond in a timely manner.

I have heard the background noise of other people's houses more than I ever care to hear. There are some loud homes out there, America!

The codes, the codes, the codes. All the codes to get into all the things! Managing my class and my son’s classes just add to all the codes, new apps downloaded, new accounts created and all this technology makes me want to do my next topic…

Work out, walk, stand outside, put my headphones in and be by myself. I look forward to a workout every day now that there is time. Something about being still in nature and with God is special right now more than ever.

The hardest part is explaining it to a child that truly cannot get it. No words can explain it and it is hard to say no friends, no school, no going to parks. God is good and we will be stronger from this. Pastor Steven Furtick says it is not a matter of if this will end it is a matter of when it ends will you be better from it??

Virtual Learning Teacher and Home School Mom

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My campus was on Spring Break last week, so online learning started for us this week. Last week, I struggled to wrap my brain around what it looks like and this week I have been busy executing the plan. Crandall ISD has stepped up to give us a united vision of consistency and leadership. Today the first day of school at home begins!

It started with lots of online conference meetings which sound way more fun than they are. A great way to bridge the distance another tech tool that I can now use for the future.

Later came two days of connecting to the families, creating assignments for the Google Classrooms, creating videos to teach parents and forgetful students how to access those classrooms and lots of extra things to put the plan in place. I have a 7 year old that has really had to fill his time (un) wisely while I work 9+ hour days sorting it all out. Again, thankful the vision was already in place so I could execute my part.

Just when I thought I had had enough the Flipgrids started rolling in with their sweet faces and voices and then my first video call to try out the class. Breathe. This is worth it. The kids need the interactions as much as I do and it reminds me why I teach. Their faces remind me why I went back to the classroom after leaving it for leadership and more money. Their smiles are my why and their need for something normal is my motivation. For them the work is worth it.

God is doing something big in all this that I know will be missed when it is all over. Families are reconnecting, educators are innovating, kids are really learning for life not a test, and we are appreciating the roles we all serve and sometimes take for granted. God is moving in this stop and slow down moment in history. I believe in his promises!

Lupus and the Corona Virus

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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!

Blue Apron (like God) does not give me more than I can handle

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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.

When God speaks through your Word of the Year

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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.

Vulnerable.

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.

Kobe’s Death and the Picture of Ecclesiastes

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Dec 7, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) salutes the crowd reaction

Like the rest of the world, Kobe Bryant’s death was shocking. Almost unreal. One night, we are watching THE Lebron James break his record and filling our hearts and minds with all of his accomplishments and accolades and 12 hours later we are mourning his death.

Unreal.

Yet it is real. A 41 year old man with all the power, praise, success in his field, intelligence, artistry, family and promise can also be the same man that passes in helicopter crash on a random Sunday morning. A life, a legacy, a legend…gone. All I can think is that this is the meaning of life that King Solomon tried to warn us about.

It reminds me of the book Ecclesiastes where the wise author goes on about all he has accomplished and in the end it is meaningless when you compare it to eternity. We amass these great things, these great rewards and this great promise all to see it passed on to the next generation before we die.

Our time on Earth is that short.

It just gets me thinking about what it is all about when you have it all and still will someday die. It blows my mind. No jersey, no ring, no trophy to take with you yet you leave your legacy and torch for the next generation and next person to carry if you do it right. Lessons from Ecclesiastes:

  1. Life is beautiful, but mysterious and foggy. We cannot always see what is up ahead, but we know something is there.
  2. Our time on Earth is short compared to Eternity.
  3. We all die.
  4. Fear God and trust His creation to bring meaning to our time together on Earth.

Amazing how a basketball icon can be the perfect visual of a beautiful book of the Bible and a representation of our lives. I write this with the upmost respect for a man that did it well on and off the court. His legacy is so much more than basketball and can even get a girl like me thinking about day to day living and how I can make it better. How I can make my days count since they are numbered and take my eyes off of the unimportant and fleeting.

I will now have a clearer picture of my life in Jesus and how true the words of King Solomon are to all of us even today. I pray for those that are deeply struggling with this loss and what it means that maybe they can seek truth in the book Ecclesiastes as it is about a King seeking wisdom in a world that often seems confusing. It is a powerful thing to be reminded that when it does not make sense to seek the truth in God. I pray for his family and all the families affected in that crash…I know we all focus on one man and his daughter, but other important lives were lost too. I pray all those lives will be honored as we honor the one that was most public.

Take the Trips

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Not much I disagree with Dave Ramsey about, but I found something big a year ago. Three years ago, I started down the path of becoming debt free. Our family always took trips during the summer and one of the big ways to save money was cut those out. So we did. For two years. We were sad, but we had a goal. Flash forward and we found ourselves fighting to save our marriage.

We had been so busy balancing our budget we forgot to balance our marriage. Neither of us realized those trips rejuvenated our marriage and reconnected us to each other. The two thousand dollar trip was now small compared to splitting up a quarter of a million in assets and attorney fees. We committed to always take the trip and figure out how to save elsewhere or bring in more income.

This weekend we took another get away that on paper does not look all good, but in our hearts was so worth it. We laughed, cried, listened, sang, chair danced, told stories and enjoyed each other. Away from the house and the chores. Away from the kid. Away from our city and friends. Just.us.two.

My favorite part of the night might be eating at 11pm at a restaurant totally picked by me. Now if we fought about money then none of this would be a good idea…I dream of the day of not being a slave to the lender, but when that day comes I want to be celebrating with my first and only husband so some seasons you just need to take the trip.

5 Things I Learned from Lupus

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I feel like I am a success story with Lupus. One big reason is that the good Lord gave me mild symptoms and for that I am grateful, but another big reason is I have learned to live with it and know my place with this autoimmune disease. So here are the top five things I have learned after being in tune with my autoimmune:

1. What you eat matters!

This took me a while to accept but it is true. Certain foods (mostly processed) will send me into achy overdrive. It does not mean that I cannot or do not eat those delicious cheese fries, Cheetos or fried anything…but it does mean I know I will pay the price and honestly it is not always worth it.

2.Have less fear if the liquid is clear.

I had read somewhere that the darker the liquid, the more things added to it. No clue if it is true, but I have found the clear liquids do not send my body fighting as much as the dark. Coke, beer, sweet tea (why, God, why?) get me achy and fatigued, but if I stay with Vodka, Sprite or of course water then I can usually keep the party going.

3. Say yes to the mattress!

Who would say no to a good nap?? I immediately get sick when I live a lifestyle of less than 8 hours of sleep. Now life is busy so this is not always possible, but our bodies are made to need rest and we need to choose to listen.

4.Say NO to stress!!

As a teacher, stress is inevitable. A quote I read says “Teachers make more minute by minute decisions than a surgeon.” I believe this…so stress will happen, but I can choose to avoid stress whenever possible and I do. One way is I stopped watching reality shows or any show that is fighting just to fight…trust me this was hard…but Real Housewives or Mobwives just had to go. FB drama had to go too…I refuse to click on the video with the fight or add comments to the political posts going nowhere. In my marriage, when things get heated…I go to the word and prayer instead. Life in general is lived more peacefully when you know God is in control and has a purpose for you. Now, I am not quite at the place where yoga is more calming than painful, but I am sure I will get there.

5. FINALLY..Exercise helps.

This is tricky because overdoing it wears me out. Also, when I have already worked all day the last thing I have energy to do is go to the gym, but it helps. I will admit that. Probably helps with the stress and mind part of things, too. But I used to refuse to work out and now I make time for it. In the beginning, it is exhausting, but as you build stamina it gets better. 

Now I am sure you are all reading and thinking duh! Even people without Lupus know eat right, get exercise, and rest will help the body…but here is the question: do you do it? Likely, a little but not all the way. I have learned I have to do it or I have no energy, run a fever and experience joint pain. No fun, right? So everything is a choice but my choice is made loud and clear with my body. I have learned to (finally) listen to my Lupus for a happier life!

Power of a Teacher

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I never knew the value of a teacher until I put my son in a classroom. Up until this moment, there was no one human (beside his parents) influencing his life…now there is one person we call his teacher; it changed everything.

It started with her rules becoming our rules around the house. Like one day I said booty and he quickly chimed in “Ms. Monica says we do not say booty!” It later turned to the way she does things like pass out snacks or wash hands. I quickly learned Mrs. Monica is a powerful person and to get on the same page as her or be told I am doing it wrong.

Later it turned into more than that…more meaningful. When she picked up his early signs for seizures were starting again so we could call the doctor. When she could tell he was acting off and might have an ear infection. When we were worried about his development and she could honestly say what was normal or delayed or influenced by others. Her experience and input became very important and valued.

Finally, as he was in her class for over a year, she became like a second mom. I trusted her to call me if the symptoms got worse so I could come pick him up. She also would tell me good ideas for next birthday gifts based on things he enjoyed. Made me aware of good times and bad times with other kids since I would hear about it later anyway. Helped with the transition when he began to be over aggressive and allowed us time to correct it before labeling him the bad kid. When he fell she doctored it up and knew he loved band aids or helped me out when I forgot a blanket. She understood the vomiting was not sickness but a side effect of his meds so let him stay at school or the coughing was allergies and not a cold. She especially was a saint when he had diarrhea due to his meds and allergies and heroically changed him or kept him near the potty. Clearly going above and beyond, but did it anyway.

As a teacher myself, she understood that days off are hard so she helped out when she could or at least gave me time to get a lesson plan made and return. She gave patience, grace and mercy knowing that the teacher life gets complicated because you cannot just call in sick without creating a plan. I never expected this of her, but was grateful when she offered.

With all this talk about teacher this and that…it all changes when it is your kid and you really see their power and influence on your child. You want the best and I was fortunate to have that in Mrs. Monica. Today is his last day of Pre K. He will no longer go to this daycare as he starts Kinder with me in the fall. I am thankful he has had a great 2 years, but sad that it is over. It means he is growing up and moving on and the moving on means change which is hard for this mama. I will no longer have her as a partner in raising my child (and for those haters…teachers see the child awake more than the parent most days so yes they partner to raise them…the teacher should not do it all, though). 

So today I thank and salute the teacher that does way more than teach. I thank you for loving and praying and filling in the gaps that this working mom leaves. You are a gift from God and an answer to prayer. Your influence is endless and will be remembered for a lifetime as his first school teacher. Thank you!!