Category Archives: Difficulties

Beginning of Firsts

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Saturday our family had a wedding shower for my cousin. Typically, the girls of the family all go together, but we were one less today. Just a few of my thoughts about the day.

Today a day filled with happiness has a bit of sadness overshadowing.
Today is the beginning of the firsts where your beautiful eyes, friendly smile, loving heart, and busy hands won’t be here.
But I pull myself up, wipe the tears from my face, and head out the door to celebrate.
Why?
Because although my heart is aching with a void, you taught me many lessons and the two I need today are: 1. Family is important…spend as much time as possible with them. 2. Life is short…LIVE!

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A Reminder

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January 14th, my aunt had to Bayflighted to the hospital where her transplant team is located because her O2 level was not able to be sustained in a safe range.  As I shared the news with the many who have been praying, one of my friends shared the following video with me: http://faithtap.com/402/how-great-thou-art/#t/402/.

Looking over the past year and my precious aunt there have been many low points, but listening to this video reminded me of how much God has done for us.

God brought together a family who put aside things that in the long run didn’t matter so that we could be there to do whatever was necessary.

God gave her the strength to attend the dedication of my cousin’s baby girl.

God guided the surgeon’s hand to safely insert the trachea tube.

God has provided many safe trips to all of us as we travel back and forth.

God is great all the time and in complete control.

Thank you God for all you have done: blessing my life with a wonderful Godly aunt, giving me many wonderful memories of the time we have spent together, for her unconditional love and support, and for each and every day you give us.

God, How Great Thou Art!

PS My aunt loves her country music!

World Turned Upside Down

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One year ago at this time I was setting up camp with my family in the ICU waiting room of the Florida Hospital in Zephyrhills filled with two conflicting emotions-fear and joy.  The morning of January 9, 2013 my cousin and his wife gave birth to their first born…a baby girl named Ruth.  So happy for them and thrilled for my family to have a new little bundle to love and spoil.  I never imagined a few short hours later by lunchtime my world would be turned upside down and has yet to be righted.

While teaching I received a text that my aunt was at the hospital with pneumonia.  I told my mom, who at the time worked with me, so we could rearrange our schedules and she could go up after school.  Just 15 minutes later, I received another text that stated that they were putting my aunt on life support. I was in told shock.  My mind filled with so many thoughts…tell my mom, make sure she gets to Zephyrhills safely, get my daughter taken care of so I could go up after school, get a hold of my aunt who was in a meeting, and this CAN’T be happening…I NEED my aunt.

Days passed as she was in a coma with her lungs bleeding and filling with fluids.  I would work and go up and sit in her room holding her, talking to her and trying to be so strong. A few times we got some positive news but it quickly would vanish as more despairing news would come.

Then came the time I had to let my little  6-year-old girl know her Nana was “really sick” and may be going to live with God.  This was not a new concept to her as she dealt with the death of her Papa Richard, the man who took care of her since she was a year old, when she was in kindergarten.  She of course wanted to see her Nana.  I was unsure…do I take her to see Nana filled with tubes and wires…do I not so she can remember Nana camping, playing, swimming, loving her, etc.

Finally progress was made and the ventilator was able to be removed, she was moved to rehab, and even made it home.  She even was well enough to attend the baby dedication of Ruth.

Cile and Ruth

Although so thrilled that she was able to be there, a sense of peace never came to me that her illness was resolved and she would continue to improve until she was back to where she was previously.  I have never really been a glass half full girl.

My greatest fears came true this past summer when we received the news that there was no cure for what had happened for her lungs and her only chance for a bilateral lung transplant.

My heart broke. Yes her title maybe aunt, but to me she is another mother.  I was so blessed that while growing up she and her family lived only 15 minutes from us.  Our families did EVERYTHING together.  God had blessed her with a son but not a daughter so I got to fill that spot.  In fact back then and even now if we are together other often think we are mother and daughter because even though she came into my family by marriage we look sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much alike.

And then it broke again as I talked with my little girl letting her know that Nana needed a new pair of lungs but I know I had to…I believe in being honest.

As of now we are still waiting for a set a lungs, we have had one close chance…but that is for another post.

As a family we have been there to support each other and we all have are ups and downs as we travel this path…but one thing we all know for sure it is in God’s hand and we can rest in whatever he does as his perfect will.

I love you my precious aunt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Perspective

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WormI took this picture a few weekends ago and although it seems strange it made me think of perspective. Some may look at the picture and think, WOW! Look at those tiny ants all working together.  While another may think, How horrible that while one is injured others take advantage. How vastly different those perspectives are.

This week while helping my daughter memorize her verse for Sunday School, Romans 12:18, If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

I promise, I think I can get all these thoughts to tie together, bare with me.

I have had a job since I was 15 years old. In all my years working, I have NEVER had a work year as horrible as last year.

There were lots of things that contributed to it be so bad.  And although I shared some of those things with those who I considered to be friends at work, I told no one everything that was taking place due to not being able to wrap my head around some of the things that were happening. Yes, I am mature enough to realize that no matter what was going on I am still responsible for my actions. Unfortunately I did allow it to alter some of my behaviors and I made some wrong choices with my friends. With the beginning of summer and putting some distance I saw the mistakes I made and apologized to what I considered to be 4 very, dear friends. I apologized for the things I knew I had done wrong and for anything that I was unaware that I had done.  I asked for their forgiveness and said if they wanted to talk they knew where to find me.  I thanked them for the friendship they had give and wished them and their families all the best.  From 3 of the 4 I get absolute silence and these are people that I was friends with for 11 years, 6 years and 5 years. From the 4 I get the occasional message usually after I have contacted them and attempt to be friendly but in a much different manner than we ever had. I am smart enough to know that their perspective of the situation maybe different (see I told you the crazy thoughts would all tie in).

The bottom line for me I guess is this question, “Do I continue to try and work on the friendships by sending text like: Hope things are going well.  Thinking of you.  Happy Holidays, etc.? Or do I let go, be thankful for the time we had and move on? And if I move on and am later contacted do I rekindle the friendship or just be cordial and continue about living. What are your thoughts/advice?

Rock bottom

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Rock bottom…can it get any lower? Why write this post now? I have put it off for the past month can’t I put it off longer? NO it is time to face reality! So drawing on the strength of a friend from middle school and fellow blogger, here. is goes…I weigh 205 lbs. Now you maybe thinking not such a big deal. But to me it has become the anchor around my neck, keeping me at the bottom of this rocky pit. A little over a year ago I weighed 228 lbs. I started jogging/walking everyday and diligently tracking everything that went into mouth and was ecstatic about the progress I made getting down to 182 lbs. Those around me are telling me not to be hard on myself given everything that has happened in my life the last 3 months but the reality is those are excuses and it is time I rise above. So the goal for the rest of April is at least a pound a week, at least 3 days of 30 minutes on the elliptical, and writing what I eat down. The anchor has been untied it is time to start making my way out of the pit. It maybe slow at first but I am hopeful the momentum will pick up.

Remembering…

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Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty ’cause you’re a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watchin’
And turn on “I Love Lucy” reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?

 

By Alan Jackson

September 11, 2001 8:46 am  I was student teaching at Rodgers Middle School.  I had just delivered my homeroom to the basketball court for intramurals and walked back to the classroom where the teacher had turned on the TV and told me that an airplane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.  I was shocked and remember asking, “Is the weather bad?” and hearing “No.” I was so confused.  Then as I saw a second plane crash into the second tower fear begin to mix with the confusion.  My niece attended Rodgers at the time my instinct was to find her, sing her and take her home and keep her safe.  But I had a bigger responsibility at that time, I needed to turn of the TV, pull myself  together and make the day as normal as possible.

 

As soon as 4:05pm came, I was in my car headed home.  I curled up on the couch with my eyes fixated on the television soaking in the horror of what had happened as tears poured down my face.  For days, every free moment I spent scouring the newspaper, searching the internet, and watching the television trying to soak in all the information I could about this horrible tragedy.  After about a week,  the time came that I could cry no more and I could no longer watch or read more about it.  I began to pull out movies instead to watch on TV.

 

As a teacher one of the new mandates that has been passed down to us is that we teach about Patriot Day in remembrance of September 11, 2001.  As a teacher and a parent I realize this is a sensitive topic, so I try to share the basic facts of what happened that day and how emotional it was.  I feel it is important to let the student know what happened that day as well as how so many people worked together and the importance of working together.

 

Daily Progress 1.5 miles at 3.8 mph.
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When Plan A, B, or C don’t work…

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So what do you do when plan a, b or c don’t work out? Create a new plan a!

One of the thing that has kept me very busy and from blogging consistently this past month is I have been actively pursuing a position as an assistant principal in the district. I have been certified for the position for over 7 years but just recently started to apply for positions. Deciding to wait until my daughter had completed her kindergarten year.

This first school I applied for was just 5 minutes from my house. I had worked at the school for summer reading camp. I interviewed with the principal and felt things went okay. I didn’t get that position and I was okay with that.

Then a positioned open this summer that was ideal. It was at a school where the principal was good friends with the principal who mentored me during my Educational Leadership master’s program. It was close to my house. The minute I met with the principal it seemed we instantly connected. I left the interview feeling very good and that the chance of being called for a school committee interview were good. I was wrong and didn’t get that position either.

I began to question whether I was doing the right thing and maybe I should just stay in the classroom At the encouragement of a good friend, when the next round of assistant principal openings came I applied to those not only those close to me but 4 schools throughout the county.

I heard back from one school for an interview with the principal. Just a few days before returning to work I interviewed at a school 20 minutes from my house. I was the first interview that this new principal had done. We worked through it together well and enjoyed ourself while we did. I was a bit upset when I found out that the position wouldn’t start until September 11th. That was one of the biggest things I didn’t want when I took an assistant principal position…to leave a group of students that I had established a relationship with. I figured with my luck this would be the job I landed. On the day before the student’s returned I received a phone call asking me to come in that Thursday for a 2nd interview with the school committee. The staff was welcoming and it seemed like a place where I would enjoy working. I did hear back from the principal and was thrilled to know I was one of her top 2 picks for the position. Unfortunately neither of her top 2 picks were picked by the school committee.

Although extremely disappointed, I completely understood and would not have wanted the position without having the backing of the staff.

The next morning back at work it was if a light bulb appear above my head. I haven’t obtained an assistant principal position yet because I haven’t found the right school yet. I need a school where the students need me. The school where I teach is hard but I have stayed for 11 years because it is where I belong. It is where the students need me. It is where my heart is.

One day soon an elementary school assistant principal position will open at a school where the students are similar to the ones I have now and they will need me and that is where my heart will go. Until then my plan is teaching at the same school where I have been and loving it and loving every one of the 859 little kiddos that cross my path.

Today’s journey – 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Masking the Darkness

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As a mom to a 6-year-old girl, I have become a listener of Radio Disney. Growing up myself, I couldn’t list a single pop artist or one of their songs. Now not only can I name the artist and the song title but can sing along with the lyrics. In fact, I find myself sometimes I find myself listening to “her” station even when she isn’t in the car. The following song is of course very popular on Radio Disney right now. The tune is very catchy but the lyrics ring so true.

“Dark Side”
by Kelly Clarkson

There’s a place that I know
It’s not pretty there and few have ever gone
If I show it to you now
Will it make you run away

Or will you stay
Even if it hurts
Even if I try to push you out
Will you return?
And remind me who I really am
Please remind me who I really am

Everybody’s got a dark side
Do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody’s a picture perfect
But we’re worth it
You know that we’re worth it
Will you love me?
Even with my dark side?

Like a diamond
From black dust
It’s hard to know
What can become
If you give up
So don’t give up on me
Please remind me who I really am

Don’t run away
Don’t run away
Just tell me that you will stay
Promise me you will stay
Don’t run away
Don’t run away
Just promise me you will stay
Promise me you will stay

Will you love me? ohh

Don’t run away
Don’t run away

Don’t run away
Promise you’ll stay

Throughout out our lives we all at sometime or another have a dark side that we try to mask in order to maintain our desire to appear perfect Why do you put such pressure on ourselves and in turn on others. Wouldn’t it be better to be able to throw away the mask knowing that those around will care and shine light on your dark side because they too will need the same done for them at some point along the road of life.

Today’s journey 30 minutes at 3.7mph.

Fallen off the face of the Earth?

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No, I haven’t fallen off the face the Earth life has just been full of lots of crazy unexpected turns! I don’t want to make this a super long post so hope to over the next couple of day fill you in on all the unexpected turns.

First update has to do with my jogging progress. When I push myself, I can complete a mile in 11 minutes and 30 seconds. Without pushing it takes my about 12 minutes and 30 seconds. With the heat of the summer, I have not been doing the intervals of 1 minute walking and 1 minute jogging for the entire 3 miles. Instead I have been doing speed walking of 3.5 to 4.0 mph and throwing in a 1 mile interval a couple of times a week just to make sure I am maintaining a 11:30-12:30 mile. With the start of school, I have also added 20-30 minutes of elliptical each morning.

I met my first short-term goal – to get to 200 pounds! I meet that goal and exceed and maintain that goal for one month now. My last weigh in on August 1st I weigh 198 lbs. So I rewarded myself with a day at the spa with a facial and a full body massage. I haven’t been back to weigh in on the doctor scale but think I may be down to 196.

Thank you to all for their support and encouragement…46 more pounds to go!

Today’s journey 30 minutes at 3.0 mph.