When Taylor Swift Lyrics speak to me…

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When Taylor Swift Lyrics speak to me…
Christmas in January

LoverTaylor Swift

We could leave the Christmas lights up ’til January
This is our place, we make the rules

Not very often I can say that Taylor Swift wrote the perfect lyrics for my relationship, but here I am saying it is true. I heard this over the weekend and immediately thought “Yes…she gets it!” My husband and I have always been delayed about taking down Christmas. We just love the house all red and green so much that is hard to let go. I usually don’t feel bad about it, but this year it almost felt like I was being lazy or letting go of my life and needing redirection.

Then I heard this song.

It finally all made sense again. It is my house! If I get joy from Christmas until late January then so be it. It kinda made something seemingly small special between my husband and I….Almost naughty, but we like it. I spent all of today slowly putting up the year round decor, but the tree still remains…it will come down tonight or this week so no worries, but we do the make the rules because like TS says “This is our place!”

That woman gets it!

Vanity over Sanity

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It is officially 2020 and it seems that everywhere you look it is about weight lifting or weight loss…getting thin or getting bigger…going to the gym or going to the grave….everyone has an opinion. Something I have learned from being married to a man that seems to also be married to the gym is that the better they look…the more insecurity there seems to be. I am not saying everybody, but surprisingly more people than I thought struggle with this idea of getting older, getting fat or getting behind. Some go to shortcuts to create an edge through shots or surgery or pills etc. All of that leads to a quick fix for the moment, but if the mind is not right the self doubts will always come back. In short, it seems some choose vanity over sanity and the issue does not seem to be disappearing anytime soon.

My husband and I argue about this a lot because with Lupus, I need to work out, but I always feel so tired. I always feel like if I had an extra hour in my day it would be for anything else than the gym. However, what I am finding is I actually do feel better whenever I get in there. I am not like my husband with the discipline to go at whatever cost, but I have found myself trying to make it more than I ever had previously. Something about the pre-workout, the right music, the right protein shake and being by myself in the gym excites me. There are all kinds of workouts, but I am still a good old fashion gym rat through and through. (Just do not check my attendance please!) Here lately my go to has been nutrition shakes that cost half my salary, but make me feel like I am putting forth effort to have that beach body by July.

If you saw me you would likely roll your eyes that I am even writing about weight loss as I am a small girl, but my issue is to turn fat into muscle and not look like the wind could kick my a@#. It is true…my arms are weak, but my mind makes up for it. I pray at some point that we can all get to a place of appreciation, of self check when we need to get it together rather than others opinions deciding for us, a place where vanity and sanity can coexist and aging will be just as sexy as Carrie Underwood’s legs. But until then my plan of action is to tell myself and others they are beautiful and worthy and enough. To stay healthy for life, to stay emotionally and mentally grounded for the good of your well being and be okay with the person God created whatever phase of life you are in. 2020 will be the best year yet!

The Truth about ADHD

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This is the face of ADHD. As a teacher, I have often seen it as a setback. It keeps the student from working and keeps the student from sitting, but overall not a huge deal in the world of health problems. Then I became the parent of a child with ADHD. To be fair he is more ADD then anything else, but the new trend is to say it is all ADHD and that is fair since distracted decisions can be hyper ones too.

The truth is my son is the most amazing kid! He sees things outside the box for what they could be and not what they are right now. He is full of life, joy, curiosity and wonder. To be honest, entering school has beat a lot of that out of him as testing and being on grade level has overtaken his beautiful mind. He is a challenge to teach and parent, but no other kid will change you like he will…he just makes you see life differently.

As a parent, I can now see why it is considered a disability under Other Health Impairment and is under the umbrella of special education. His ADHD keeps him from learning, being organized, making transitions, keeping friendships, taking tests (and we know school has become one giant test), and socially keeps him acting at a grade level below his which really influences his behavior. As a parent, it is scary to think about him driving and working and even keeping a family…it really does make life as we know it hard, but he hardly notices it. As his parents, we have to teach him to manage it, overcome it and make adjustments to the way his brain works.

As his mom, we have to call in his prescription month by month as it is not refillable and we have to see the doctor quarterly to update progress. Getting medicines is not as easy as some may believe and is very expensive for all those teachers like myself that just said “medicate”. You have to be diligent in getting medical attention and be willing to pay for it. We tried everything before medication including CBD oils since we know all the risks and did not want to lose the personality of our son…but in the end we knew he needed them to function and to learn. It was best for him and we would never say no to medicating his epilepsy, so why say no to medicating this.

I write all this to say if you are like my brother and say ADHD does not exist…you are wrong-this is real. It is more than being a boy or just a kid if you truly have it…it may be over diagnosed…but it is real. If you are a teacher and say that discipline at home can fix it, wrong again. Discipline sometimes beats the kid down as my son was always in trouble. We said all too often, “try harder”, “pay attention”, “listen”…truth is he couldn’t and was trying harder than most. If you are a parent saying that medication seems wrong, maybe try other things first, but at the end of the day if it affects learning and day to day living then ask yourself “Would I not give him cough medicine if he was coughing?” I truly believe this is an illness of the brain and needs and the child needs extra help to do what others can do on their own.

Obviously, a true diagnosis takes lots of time, discernment and doctor approval, but I write this to speak up for the kids that need you to know the truth. The image above is my son 100%. I see now how much he endures to do very common things and how we need to support, encourage, but also teach him to manage his symptoms. I want to be sure I am not always beating him down with my misunderstanding. I also want to be sure I treat my students with this disability with respect as well. I need to create the classroom environment where these kids can thrive! The truth is we can all do better to understand this and support those that have it or the families navigating these murky waters.

New Year Resolutions: Hype or Happiness?

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My Facebook feed is full of Resolutions, Vision Boards, Goal setting and so much more to welcome in the New Year.  I love a good goal setting party and I especially love having a plan, but reading these exhaust me each year and I have been trying to understand why.

Here are some ideas:

I am a quitter so I quit even before I start? (Enneagram 9 problems)

It exhausts me to plan for all that work.

Jealousy for that kind of vision.

I think for me it hypes up the I will, the I want, and the Someday leaving behind the right now. (This is also why I cannot do Pinterest.)  I know we all need vision and goals for many jobs, projects and ideas, but I want to live my life in the present.  I refuse to miss out on the many moments of now.  All of this writing will be frowned upon by many successful people including the great Rachel Hollis that has built her empire on goals, visions and more.  I cannot wrong them as they are sitting in private jets while I am behind this outdated computer, but I want contentment.  I want to be a visionary while appreciating the magic of today.  I choose to celebrate the new year with a new word and a new saying to live by.

Previous words and years:

Do it afraid.  Do not let your fear be greater than your faith.  Change is an opportunity to do something amazing. Wherever you are, be all there.

The words that went with these sayings were balance, faith, fearlessness, presence and selfless.

This year my big word is VULNERABLE with the saying “What you know matters, who you are MATTERS MORE.

I want my year, my experiences, my adventures to be full of connectedness, whole-heart and all-in kinda-live-in-the-moment opportunities. Vulnerable is hard for me since it can be seen as weakness, but I see it as courage to put myself out there and really feel.  No holding back. I always say that I do not choose the word-it chooses me.  God plants a seed and then I wait and listen until he speaks up to confirm.  I thought at one time it was journey, but then the V word just kept popping back up until I finally surrendered.

So good for you if you can handle the resolutions and goals of tomorrow.  Not knocking the idea, but just saying it does not work for me.  I do have all the supplies for a vision board that may someday come to life, but for now I am excited about what being vulnerable in my relationships and moments of now might bring.  For my first vulnerable step of 2020, I upgraded this blog to a premium site!  It may not bring me any more traffic, likes or comments, but I feel it validates (another v word) that I want this to be more than just for myself. So I am putting my words out there to see what might happen.

Happy 2020!

Surreal Parenting

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This is my workspace 30 minutes after my son gets out of school

Every once in a while, I will have one of those parenting moments that are hard to put into words. Those moments that you cannot believe you are here. I have had a few lately as we cross the path into medicine for my son.

My son was diagnosed with seizures at 3 1/2 and has been on meds ever since. We have always known we live in a world of EEGs and MRIs, but we thought that was the bulk of it. We knew he had a bit of a wild side, but many boys do and then he started school…we learned his wild is wilder than normal and it is affecting his learning

So now we are on new uncharted territory. Riding the rapids of ADHD medication and testing for learning disabilities for all the time that focus might have kept him from learning. Hard to be sitting here having these conversations of side effects and dosage but here we are. In the middle of the chaos, God spoke to me at a worship night.

“You were made to be his mom. You were created for this.” 

No one will advocate, fight, champion, and dig my heels in the dirt more than me. No one is more stubborn and will do all things possible to ensure he learns. God chose me to parent him…I was born to love this child. This may be new territory, but we will conquer it together.

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!!