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Troubled Past

So many times we fail to see what makes a person tick. Sometimes we even fail to see what makes up our own being.

I am going to share some very intimate details of my life. Some things not even the closest people to me know. It is easy for me to share these things because I’ve already dealt with my past. It does not rain over me everyday like it used to. I do not allow it to determine how far I will go. I do not let my past own me.

At a young age, I was raped. I was raped for several years and to no fault of my own.  This does not make me different than the millions of people it has happened to. It does, however, make me one of the few that has made it passed this horrible time in my life. I don’t mean this to sound like it is something that goes away because it doesn’t. What I mean is that I have gotten past this time in my life and have now been open to love. I no longer hate myself for what happened to me.

My spouse has been very supportive in that she realizes the hurt it still causes and gives me time if I ever need it. This has been a crucial part of our lives.

When I was younger, I hated myself more than anything. I eventually got to a point where I wanted everything to end. It was around this same time that I got high for the first time. (Now, I want to clarify this with the fact that I have never tried anything worse than marijuana.) The reason that this event is so prominent in my life is because being high is the only time I felt like I never had to deal with what was happening. I didn’t have to think about all of the hurt I felt. I didn’t need to experience it over and over again. I didn’t blame myself anymore, I only felt joy. Needless to say, I spent several years just toking away, making bad decision, and hiding my real feelings from myself.

Through yet another series of unfortunate events, ones I will not go into right now, I ended up in a therapists office. Now this guy was not a conventional therapist. His main job was to actually re-teach me how to remember things and how to deal with my feeling, which were at the time somewhat uncontrollable. In his office, I again recalled the trauma of previous years, which then brought up the hurt once again. This time, I had no option but to deal with it. He let me scream, cry, punch, kick and break all the way down.

He walked me through every event, held my hand and helped me regain control. Many people see going to a therapist as some sort of weakness. I used to be one of these people. It wasn’t until I spent months with him, exercise after exercise, visit after visit peeling away all the wounds that I was completely raw, vulnerable and yes, weak. It was in this weakness that I once again found my faith and my strength.

I learned how to love myself. I learned rape is not the victims fault. I learned how to cope with my what-if thoughts. I learned that I am not alone. I learned that God is the first step to my recovery.

Sometimes, the old feelings creep back up on me. These times are few and far between thank God!

If you have been through this please know you are not alone. You are strong and you can make your own difference. Seek help. This does not make you weak it will make you so much stronger in the end.

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Fix your love

Relationships can be hard. I don’t think enough people know this.

I have had a lot of people tell me they know that I love my wife and that they’ve never seen someone so much in love after several years! First of all, Thank you!

We have been truly blessed to have an amazing relationship! This is the type of relationship a person can only dream. Now I don’t mean that it’s completely easy because I think we both put in the work so that everyday we feel loved.

There are no right ways to make a relationship 100% perfect but there are ways to come pretty close. For example, there are some ways that we can completely stop an argument right in the middle, sometimes with just a smile, a laugh, or a single word! If you want to know how click here.

Then there are certain ways that you can keep your relationship growing and growing and growing!  Like this!

Ultimately the key to any relationship is that you keep it growing . As long as you put in the work everything else will fall into place.  There is always something new to learn about your partner if you just ask! I’m constantly find new and invigorating information out about my wife! For the most part, these new things make me fall in more in love with her every time!

If you’re not sure how to learn something new about a person you’ve been with for years, well here’s where you can start.

We’ve been lucky enough to not have very many problems in our relationship. However, I know that some people have. If you’re looking for a quick fix to a broken marriage while, you won’t find one. But there are steps you can take to repair your marriage and get back on track!

 

 

They are the future

When I was in school, I remember waking up excited to get ready for the day. I looked forward to being in school, learning new things, visiting the library, being creative and going to special classes like P.E.

Everywhere I went in my school, there were life skills posted on the walls. I knew every single one of them and what I could do to maintain that lifeskill in my own life – even at 6 or 7 years old.

Responsibility, respect, perseverance, trustworthiness, cooperation – just to name a few- were skills not only taught in the classroom, but all around campus because not only was it an expectation of students, but teachers and staff led by example.

My teachers were great! I always felt loved and welcomed at school. Yes, I learned many things, but one thing I won’t ever forget is how comfortable I was at school, with my loving teachers.

I know testing has always been a big deal within schools, but now as an adult, I see and work with many talented and amazing students. Do I want them to succeed? OF COURSE! But I will be the first to tell you that each student excels in different ways. Scores on a test don’t show what the child knows but rather compares them to an expected standard. But how can we measure talent, knowledge and success of young children by a test?

Each child learns in his or her own way and own pace. If a child is moving forward, I believe they are successful and smart. There isn’t one specific way to be smart, so why do we try to measure intelligence with a standard test and why do we make teachers feel like they aren’t doing their job if students don’t do well on that test?

Aren’t teachers under enough pressure? I mean our students are on our mind about 99% of the time. Not to mention, teachers rarely get breaks, including bathroom breaks. What are we supposed to do all day? Not be humans? On top of that, we are constantly wondering if certain students remembered to take their medications, or if the fights at home stopped, or if they had enough to eat, enough sleep, it goes on and on. Students often share a lot of personal information with teachers and many times teachers make accommodations for those students depending on their individual needs. You can walk into a classroom and see a young student reading an extremely high level chapter book, and in the same setting, see a child asleep, another one acting like a chicken and clucking around the classroom, another one struggling to get work done and another one spinning a fidget spinner and looking like they’re doing nothing at all.

It can be easy to want to quickly judge that teacher’s ability to teach his or her students, but the reality may be that the teacher has a special connection with each student and is doing his or her best to ensure that the students are in a safe environment and getting what they need.

Its easy to look at the test scores and judge a teacher. But what those test scores won’t tell you is that Lucy loves to read and her teacher uses extra reading time as an incentive to get her to finish her math- because Lucy hates math. Johnny has been having nightmares every night for a week now, so bad that he cannot get himself back to sleep after them- and today for some reason, he felt comfortable, or maybe just exhausted enough to rest in class. Yes, right on top of his desk and no, his teacher and friends aren’t going to wake him, because they understand that he needs rest. Maggie- over there clucking like a chicken actually puts an extreme amount of effort into working hard in every subject in class every day. She even works with her parents after school on her homework but she  just isn’t learning graphing or reading as quickly as her peers and even though she practices every night, her handwriting is still difficult to read at times. But! her teacher understands and does see progress in Maggie, in fact, she has found that if Maggie practices her acting skills for 6 minutes before jumping in to seat work, she does much better. Lucas, struggling to get his work done, has a desk full of beautiful art that he has created. And Sammy, with the fidget spinner, well he snuck that by his teacher because lets be honest, being responsible for 25+ kids at one time isn’t the easiest job around.

In a perfect world,  we would go  back to the basics and focus on teaching students these life skills. In turn, students would be successful. We wouldn’t measure how “successful” teachers and students were by giving them all a test, but by walking in the classroom or watching them down the hall. Watching students looking out for one another, holding doors, saying please and thank you, working together towards a common goal and overall, just being good human beings.

They are our future, let’s teach them right.

Life is short~Wear the Lipstick!

Confidence is so attractive!

-this is something I personally love about my spouse.

I’ve always been the super shy, quiet kind of girl. My whole 31 years of life.

With that being said, I was never a popular girl in school. I didn’t really date or even do a lot of the things the “cool kids” did until I was older.

I didn’t even start wearing makeup until my 20’s and even that was just a little foundation, maybe some mascara.

I’m fine with this because I’m pretty sure I’d look like a clown if I tried all those fancy tricks people do with contouring, highlighting, and all that good stuff. Props to them! They do some amazing things!

So back to confidence… I’ve always loved lipstick but you know me being me, it ends up everywhere- my face, my teeth, my clothes, you name it. So of course I was never confident enough to wear it. I mean I don’t know anyone who’s comfortable wearing it on their teeth! Good job to the ladies who aren’t like me and can keep their lipstick on their lips only.

One day I came across a long wear lipstick (LipSense) that is smudge proof, waterproof and kiss proof! Imagine that!

Of course I was skeptical at first but I started seeing it everywhere and became very curious about it. I had decided to buy it, I just needed to figure out where to get it. Then a former co-worker of mine became a distributor and of course I became a customer! I bought one color to try and was ecstatic when I realized it really didn’t budge. And to make matters even better, it lasted over 9 hours and then I fell asleep with it.

I totally forgot I had it on, so in the morning, you can imagine my surprise when I walked passed the mirror and had to take a second look—

oh hey gorgeous!

This was like a dream come true! I was in love… so what did I do next? Order two more colors of course! hehe! AND THEN! Became a distributor myself.

Then back to reality! I had to go back to work and even though I loved my new lip colors, I felt almost embarrassed to wear them to work. What would people say or think? So guess what- I didn’t wear them to work. I wore them on the weekends and felt fabulous!

Why should I only feel fabulous on the weekends? I mean work is stressful, I should try my best to feel great all the time! And back to what would people say or think? Who cares! Most likely no one would even care what I was wearing. I was worried about something that was pretty ridiculous.

As women, and even just people – because not only women feel uncomfortable in their own skin- we are often our worst critics. And even when we’re not, and its some jerk who wants to put us down, why do we let them? Everyone is beautiful in their own way and I say wear whatever makeup you want. If it makes you feel good then do it! I even added a little blush to my makeup routine now haha! Who knows what I’ll do next!

Just remember that life is short- so wear the lipstick!

 

You ARE good enough

Since I’m home for the summer, I have lots of time to binge watch TV shows. One thing I’ve noticed a lot of is that there are many people who are insecure and even embarrassed about their appearance.

Sometimes self image issues grow from bullying or being mistreated from a young age.

Other times, these issues can come from relationships where one person is abused in a way that they begin to feel that these harsh and untrue words are true about themselves.

It is easy to begin to feel that the ugly words are true about yourself. I can personally attest to this as I allowed someone who was very toxic to almost rule my life. My relationships with family and friends drastically changed.

Being that I allowed someone to do this to me from a very young age, I never really knew what it meant to love someone that I was in a relationship with. I mean truly be in LOVE.

Yes, I thought I loved and was in love, but really you don’t know what love is until you actually find it. And in that quest, you could potentially think you’ve found it many times, but I promise, when its time, you will know.

Now I’m no supermodel. I have many insecurities that started from a young age. Being in a situation where someone tells you that you will never be loved if you leave can really make you start to question whether or not those words are actually true. And more often than not, you will begin to believe it after you’ve heard it so much.

The truth is that you are not the problem. Your abuser likely has many insecurities as well and although you did not prey on those insecurities, and maybe even feel like you love them, its important to know that you can love or care for someone and not put yourself through their hell.

It is not your responsibility to help someone who doesn’t want or deserve your help. It isn’t easy letting go but I promise it is so worth it!

I was in a situation where alcohol and drugs were involved along with physical and verbal abuse…. Remember that time I was told and almost thought that no one would ever love me….. Fast forward to the present, I am married and have an amazing spouse who loves me for all I am; including my imperfections. I don’t have to hide anything.  In fact, I’ve shared way more than I thought I’d ever share with anybody. And on that note of thinking you’re in love, I can honestly say I have NEVER been in love until now. Well, more like 5 years ago when I met my spouse.

I feel confident being myself around my spouse. I’m constantly told how much I am loved, but more importantly I am shown how much I am loved. Life isn’t easy, but we find a way to get through every obstacle that has been thrown our way. We are very involved with our families. Together we make time to visit all sides of the family when possible because we know how important it is to each of us.

Our life isn’t perfect and we don’t compare ourselves to other couples. We are content with what we have and how we handle our obstacles.

The most important fact I want to make clear is that there is light at the end of the tunnel and life can get better. You just need to realize that you are worth it and you are good enough.

Don’t stop looking until you find that person who makes you feel your worth every day.

A new forever home

We love our dogs. When I say that, I don’t mean it lightly. We literally love our dogs as though they were children. For some that may seem ridiculous but for us, it’s perfect. So when we made the decision to give one of ours to a new forever home, you can imagine how much it hurt (hurts).

So a little bit of back ground on us and our pups. We started with one perfect pup, Jeter. He behaves, listens, responds, loves and he is excellent with kids. The perfect dog. I cannot think of a dog better than him. He is more loyal than you will ever imagine!

Obviously, the natural thing to do when you have the perfect pet is get more right? Well that’s exactly what we did. Enter in Jazzy, the Princess. Oh, does she know it! Petite, beautiful, sassy, do not mess with her, princess. These two together, I can’t even find the words! There was so much love at the time that I decided why not one more?

That’s when we saved Jaxen. ( I know all J’s but when you have 3 it makes it easy to refer to them in a group). Rather, maybe he saved us. Sometimes, I think he’s a little more difficult than the other 2 but I swear he has such a big heart. All smiles all the time.

As I’m writing this, I now realize this is where I should have stopped.  Hindsight, of course being 20/20. I say “I” because my spouse was completely content with just Jeter. However, since she can’t tell me “no” she reluctantly, agreed to the others.

So here we are. Living life with the Big 3. These perfect, happy, loving, never hurt anyone in their whole lives pups.

Me, being me, decided let’s add one more. This will be the last one I swear. It will be good for them to have a bigger dog around.

Enter in Jemma. A pit bull pup.  I swear she is so loving, energetic, playful just this gorgeous little beast.

This is when things started to change for the others. The once playful Jaxen became afraid, Jeter was aggressive/protective of every toy, Jazzy was just not having it, she stayed as far away as possible.

But God do we love Jemma. We tried to make it work. Things just kept getting worse. To the point where Jaxen and Jemma were fighting, Jemma could not come near Jeter. He growled every single time. You could tell all she wanted was their love and to play with them. She meant absolutely no harm to them whatsoever. They didn’t care.

Some may think that this is just a phase, they’ll get over it. They’ll get used to her. We thought the same thing. They weren’t, They didn’t, and the phase didn’t end. This is when we decided it was best for Jemma to go to a new home. A decision that is not taken lightly.

Arguably, the hardest decision I’ve made thus far. When you have these 3 loving dogs and you see them turning into something you never could have fathomed. That’s when you know you have to make the hard decisions.

It’s not fair to Jemma to be a baby, a puppy, and just continuously be growled at. It’s not fair to Jaxen to be afraid to eat. Something has to change. So we did.

When you give all your love to something, letting go is not easy.

We were lucky enough to find a home in family friends! We could not have asked for better parents. We know she is going to do so well with them! So why can’t I be 100% happy?

It hasn’t even been 24 hours and Jaxen is playing like he used. Jeter seems more relaxed. Jazzy is still indifferent as always, but for the first time in months she is playing with Jaxen like they did before Jemma came along.

I know this is the best decision for her, I do. The selfish part of me just wants her here with us forever. I know this can’t be our reality, for her sake. It’s not fair to keep her among other pups who don’t want her around and as she gets bigger she will realize it and probably hurt them. These are all things I keep telling myself, I have to.

We will still get to see Jemma and I’m certain that when she sees us she will be equally excited. I’m excited for her new journey I know it will be a good one. I am also sad for that part of my heart to be gone.

Jemma

Why I chose College

College is probably one of the most important things you can do in life. Right?

This is one of the many ideas that  have been shared with me since kindergarten. This and “Don’t waste your mind, you’re smart and need to go to college”, “You need college to be successful”, “College is the only way you will be better in life” oh and my all time favorite, “If you don’t go to college you’ll be a bum”.

CollegeFirst of all, I’ve seen tons of “bums” that are whole-heartedly content with the life they live. Secondly, college is expensive!

Does nobody else realize this? Why don’t they tell you, “hey, want $100k in debt? Go to college!”. No, that would be way to honest, and while we’re being honest, nobody is honest anymore.

Well I’ll tell ya what, I am not a college graduate and I actually make more $$$ than my spouse (who is a graduate).  Surprised? You should be.  This is crazy! People are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on college just to find themselves in debt and trying to figure out how to pay student loans.

So why, oh why, am i going to college when there are so many negatives?

Easy. I want to. I’ve tried several times to restart college, then stop and then restart again.    I felt so frustrated each time. Why waste the time? I’m successful. I make good money. I’m happy. I just don’t think my life will be complete until I am able to show myself I can easily do this. I know it’s easy because well, I’ve done it so many times.

Life is not easy, and many times the world is telling us that we are not enough. We are enough though. Sometimes it’s just a bit harder to see through the bitterness of the world to realize that what we need is happiness, not money.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to save money on textbooks is by buying them used.

Love is not enough

All our lives we are pushed to find our “soul mates” or “the one”. I’ve been lucky enough to find my one but it pains me to see people who are still on their journey to this person.

I see so many people out there who are in relationships that are completely toxic and they are too blinded by “love” to even realize it. I suppose it’s easier for me to recognize the toxicity because I’ve been there before. Sometimes I wish I could just shake them as say “LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH!”.

If you find yourself consistently making excuses for your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend then you probably need to reanalyze your relationship.

For example, they cheated on you. You feel like your done, you break up, then they say everything you’ve ever wanted to hear (they love you, it will never happen again, it’s not what it looks like etc.). So you take them back. Then it happens again and the cycle starts all over again.

BUT YOU LOVE THEM! Right?

What about you? What about how you feel? How did they turn you into this person? The mistrust, the anger, the sadness that never really goes away… but you love them, so you stay.

When they hit you or make you feel as small as an ant. When they take everything you ever dreamed of and make you feel like it’s a mistake to think you could ever be better than you are now.  When you make excuse after excuse for them being a complete idiot. Oh, “he didn’t mean to hit me, he had a hard day at work” or “she isn’t always this way, it’s been stressful for her to adjust”.

Even worse than all of this abuse, is if you find yourself staying with them out of pity. Maybe it’s not them but it really is you.  You don’t believe in them, or your constantly breaking up with them because they can’t meet the standards you have set. What happens when you can’t get passed who they are or what they need? When their needs exceed what you can actually give them?

What happens when you can’t stand the thought of going home? When you find yourself hiding things? When you can’t have a civil conversation with your spouse without world war 3 breaking out? When you become the abuser?

All of these are signs that you need to run.

Love is not enough to cover your hurt.

Love is not enough to hide the lies.

Love is not enough to change them or you.

Love is not enough to fill the holes in your relationship.

Love is not enough to keep you fighting.

Love is not enough to make you stay.

Love is not enough alone.

To make your relationship work you must have trust, loyalty, honesty, dignity, respect, strength and endurance.  Without these, nothing will work or get better.

Love is a truly beautiful thing when it is right. It can move mountains. Love can make you better than you ever imagined being. Love can ignite passions we never knew existed. Love can make us whole but we must be careful to remember that alone love is not enough.

 

 

Things Teachers Say

Have you ever been working with kids and just stop to laugh at something you say? This happens to me all the time and I tell my coworkers, “Can you imagine if someone would create a book of all the crazy stuff we say?” I think that would be amazing!

Just about every day either I, another teacher, or students say something crazy/silly/funny – you name it!

Lately, my students have had a hard time keeping their hands to themselves. Well, we were nearing the end of the day – a long and tiring day, when I had my class line up from recess to go inside. As we are lining up — or so I thought, because really my line looked like a big blob of kids talking and NOT keeping their hands to themselves.

I said “Stop touching each other and get in line!” —- to which I had to laugh because of how silly I sounded.

Then I remembered when I was teaching Summer school and I heard my teammate shout to the kids (while having snack) “Stop touching her butt!”

The things we say can be so funny and I have to remind myself to try to be a little more serious when I realize how silly I sound.

I decided to make a list of some of the stuff I remember saying or hearing during the school day that just sound silly!

Here we go:

  • I hear voices
  • Keep your tongue to yourself
  • Please don’t eat that paper
  • Are you eating an eraser again?
  • Who’s humming?!
  • Please stop poking your friend
  • Stop tapping
  • We’re not in drumming class
  • Cute buns (hair buns, but sounded strange)
  • Do not sharpen your finger
  • Don’t flick your lunch
  • You shouldn’t put popcorn in your nose
  • Get your finger out of your friends nose (and ear)
  • He doesn’t like it when you look at him
  • She doesn’t like when you try to lick her
  • and most importantly lets not forget the day I didn’t say, but typed out our newsletter, made 80 copies and passed them out before realizing on a special shirt day I forgot the “r” in shirt!
  • Oh yeah, I almost forgot the time an eight year old told me that going to college was pointless because all people do is “party and waste their parent’s money.”

Of course when I sit down to think of the funny things I have heard, I don’t remember even half of them, but I’d like to invite other teachers to comment and share funny things you say in the classroom.

 

Too many dogs to have a baby?

Today was my day back to work after having a week off! I am definitely a “good morning” kind of person. I tell everyone I see good morning as I am walking down to my destination. Everything was normal and everyone seemed ready to start the day.

I like when people are happy- it makes me happy too. Which is why I like to spread good mornings and smiles as I’m walking in to work.

Anywho- my spouse and I have been (sort of) struggling with the idea of having a child. We will have to do IVF and actually started the process but something didn’t feel quite right and we stopped. Then we tried fostering and although we didn’t actually foster, we decided (in one of our many training classes) that fostering wasn’t for us.

So our plan is to hopefully continue the IVF process in the future because it has always been our dream to be parents.

We’ve had “baby fever” for almost 3 years now! We’re just waiting for the right time to begin our journey again. I honestly feel like the reason we stopped and something wasn’t feeling quite right is because of all the negativity of others around us. We try to be positive people, constantly looking for the good in all things. So the negativity (I won’t mention specifics) was really getting to us.

Here’s the thing – in my opinion if you’re wanting to, or have always wanted to be a parent, I think you should be able to make that decision without people being so negative. Especially when you have to go through thousands of dollars (literally) just to have your child.

So let me get to the part about my dogs. Because you’re probably wondering what the heck my title has to do with this post. Well, we have 4 dogs now. We just adopted our new fur-baby a couple of weeks ago. Of course I’m proud and excited to show her and my fur-family off so I share pictures on social media with family and friends. Everyone is supportive of the dogs by the way. And let me add in that my fur-babies are spoiled and we are pretty good dog parents. We don’t ask anyone for help (with anything), we both work full time and support ourselves and our fur-babies.

Back to this morning- so as I’m trying to spread good mornings today at work, one lady says to me “Oh I saw your pictures of your new dog.” I’m thinking yes, yes she’s gorgeous! LOL! So I smile and say “Yes, we got another one.” Then her response is “Four dogs! Well now you really can’t have a baby with four dogs.”

First of all- I don’t even know what having four dogs has to do with having a child. But, she also knew that we have been wanting a child and have looked into fostering and decided that fostering was not for us. So why would she even say something like that? Her opinion isn’t really important but it sucks (to be blunt) that people think their opinion is only what matters and their ways are the only way.

Like I said before, my spouse and I take care of ourselves. We have a nice home, full time jobs, and a loving relationship. I can tell you many people who have had children without any of these things, but the truth is its not my business to judge them. I just wanted to put it out there that I know we all make mistakes and sometimes things are said without the intent of being hurtful; but when you know about someone’s situation, be respectful. My spouse and I are in no way perfect – but we try our best in life and we love one another.

It’s hard when you want something so much and feel like its unreachable. I have had my ups and downs about this situation and I continue to stay strong for myself and my family so you can imagine I don’t appreciate everyone’s input on something that has nothing to do with them. I do appreciate information and advice when it comes from a good place.

What I’m trying to get across is that no matter what someone’s situation is, just be kind. You never know what they are going through.

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