To My Dearest Senior

My Heart Grew Three Sizes | Compassionate San Antonio

PLEASE, be patient with me. I’m not myself this year, and may not ever be again. This year of your life is one that I’ve looked forward to, and dreaded for your entire life. THIS is what we’ve been working for!

Let me start from the beginning. When I was your age I thought my parents were the most boring, old, outdated, didn’t know anything about my world people there could ever be. They were my parents and I loved them with all my heart, because they loved me. But, I’ll be honest, they weren’t the center of my life. My friends were, and that’s OK because that’s how life works.

Then your father and I met and became best friends and we fell in love and I thought that my heart would burst because of how desperately I loved him. My heart felt like a balloon stretched to the point of nearly bursting, but not quite. You know, where you can flick it and it makes that really great echo-y boing sound. Yeah, that’s where it was. We got married and it was out of that very heart-bursting love that you were created. When I held you in my arms for the first time, that heart that was already stretched so tight full of love for your father, stretched even further – very similar to the Grinch at Christmas, it grew three sizes that day! I never, in my entire life, knew of the kind love that I had for you. My firstborn child, created in love, PART of my ever-growing heart. It was a completely different love than I had for your father or my parents. It was the love of a mother for her child. Fierce … yet very vulnerable.

As you grew, I loved you more and more with each passing day. I changed your diapers, I washed your captivatingly precious pudding covered face after you ate. I did EVERYTHING for you.




the day you came into this world and sucked in air for the first time. I became a completely different person when I met you. I became a mother. The giver of your life, your protector, your confidante, your guardian. I was your everything. The first time you smiled at recognizing my face I thought my heart would stop. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my entire life. Yes, YOU.

I took you to playdates and helped you learn how to socialize, and how to be the good friend that you are today to those people you choose over me every time. My entire goal in life was to help you learn the skills necessary to be a functioning independent adult. And whether you realize it or not, that is still the main goal in my life, even though it’s breaking my heart to see it happen.

I am your mother. I will always BE your mother. I will always be the one who washed your face, and clothed your body and taught you how to be a person that people love. I will always be here loving you. No matter how many times you roll your eyes at me because you think I just don’t understand what you’re going through or how things “really are” out there in the “real world.” I wish you knew just how much I really DO know about it. It would make your head spin, but I don’t tell you that. I just let you keep thinking I’m an old fogey.

I will always be here loving you, no matter how many times you leave me behind to go hang out with your friends. I’m glad you don’t know how much it breaks my heart that you choose them over me. This is the person I raised you to be. Even though it hurts me in the process, it’s what we’ve been working toward. Independence.

I will always be here supporting you, no matter how many underdeveloped prefrontal lobe decisions you make that risk your future. Again, I’m glad you don’t know how much it hurts me to see you fall, but the only way you’re going to learn to get up on your own is if I let you fall so you can pick yourself up. It hurts because you ARE a part of me. You’re my DNA, my heart, my life, my child. You’re the one that I gave everything up for the day you were born and that hasn’t changed. It looks different, but it hasn’t changed.

I will always be here wondering what you’re up to when you leave for college and become the independent adult I spent so much time training you to be. I wish you knew just how PROUD I am of you. But, there’s no way for you to know what that feels like until you do all this yourself and become the father of a senior. You will ALWAYS be my baby. No matter how big, and grown-up, and smart, and successful (or not) you become, I will always be your mother. I will always be proud of you. I will always love you. I will always be here for you, whether you need me to be or not.

It’s been quite the process getting here, but we’re here nonetheless. Senior year. I’m not ready for this. And while I know you think you are, you’re not. BUT we’re here nonetheless! We have one semester left of living in the same house together and sucking the same air. You’re moving away to become that independent man I raised you to be. I am



of you and the person, you’ve become. You’re going to do a great job as an independent adult. But so much of me wishes you didn’t have to go. That we weren’t here yet. That we weren’t at the part of the story where you take that three size bigger heart and tear it away when you leave and take the part that you represent with you.

It’s often said that having children is like allowing a part of your heart to walk around and bump into things and get hurt. They’re right, it DOES feel like that and we’re on the verge of this piece of my heart being farther away from me for longer than it has even been in my entire life. My heart feels like it’s being torn apart like roasted chicken for a meal. (Hey I’m a mom that cooks, it’s the best analogy I could come up with!) It’s like the piece of chicken is my heart and someone is taking a fork and tearing it apart bit by bit. While it hurts like the Dickens, it’s OK because this is all part of the process of growing up that we’re both going through. The day you came into my life changed my world forever. And the day that you leave my house (but never my life) will change us both forever. I will be so happy and proud for you as you embark on this most excellent journey we call life. But I will be devastated for me, simply because I will MISS YOU.

You have filled my life with excitement and laughter and joy. Your simple presence in your chair with your phone brings light to my life. I love watching you watch a funny video and laugh out loud at it. I love the smile your father and I exchange when it happens. You’ve made our hearts happy because you are happy. We will miss that – being able to see you laugh over something funny. But more than that, we’re happy that you’ve made it this far. That WE’VE made it this far. We did it! We made it to your senior year! And while it’s been like shredding chicken this whole year, I could not be more proud of the man you have become. You’re going to be just fine out there in this big ole world of ours!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to knock you on your butt every chance it gets! That’s what it does. But you’re my child, you’ll survive it and you’ll learn from the fall and you’ll get back up again and face things head on like the independent man we raised you to be.

You’ve got this!

We believe in you.


Your mom

Categories: Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Diary of an Online Educator – May 22nd 2020

So, I showed this to a fellow teacher this morning who said that I should share this with my principal… after she called me a teacher angel. And I figured if I’m going to share it with people, I should share with ALL the people right?  Bitmoji ImageLOL!

Anyway. I had a student contact me on WEDNESDAY (our last day of regular classes), with 20 points to his name, having never been to class asking if there was ANY way that he could pass ENG 9. Bitmoji Image

But, I’m not one to give up on ANY student,


let alone one that comes WILLINGLY and apologetically for help! So, after struggling momentarily with the ethics of giving a student a BUNCH of shortcuts for the course, I realized that really what I would be doing is giving him a credit recovery version of the course!!! A Pathway to Passing!

Aaaannnnd now I’m sharing it, or pieces of it, with all my students who are still failing. Along with taking out the ETs from their course load it seems to really be helping them. I mean, they’re not getting A’s by ANY means. But they ARE passing! And to them THAT’S what matters. I had one student yesterday in my help session that was using this and he got to passing during the session. I texted his LC that he just passed ENG 9 and he told me in the chat a minute later, “My grandma is screaming! LOL!”

Talk about making your heart happy!


I’m loving this pathway so much and the way that it’s forcing me to look at my curriculum. It’s making me decide what’s THE most important thing that we did in every unit? Why? Which modules are the most critical to learning the content? And do the points that I assigned to it line up with it’s importance to the course as a whole? When I get my hands on my course for next semester, THIS is what I am doing!!!!! BEFORE everything starts! BEFORE they’re failing. I’m going to call them the “Essential Assignments” – as in it is ESSENTIAL to your grade that you do this assignment… you know, if you want to pass the class.


I don’t know. Maybe this is seriously basic stuff and I’m just behind in the game, but I’m feeling fairly earth shattered, mind blown, happy about this right now. LOL. Thanks for listening to me rant about myself. LOL!!! I’m excited.

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Diary of an Online Educator – April 24th 2020

So, this just happened today!!! It’s probably hard to see because I was sneaking a picture DURING our department meeting but that’s a slide all about ME! My principal surprised me by recognizing me in front of all the English teachers in our high school! I had to WORK at holding back the waterworks. I didn’t want to bawl in front of my peers!

This school year has been a particularly difficult one for me. I started this 19-20 school year teaching 4th grade in a brick and mortar (B&M) school and it just wasn’t the right fit for me. Even though I had dreamed of teaching 4th grade since I was IN 4th grade, it just wasn’t working out. That’s putting it mildly.

So, in December I took my secondary English exam and started working at Indiana Digital Learning School (INDLS) as a 9th grade English teacher. From the moment I “stepped through the door” it just felt right. Do you know what I mean? Like when you snuggle down into bed at the end of a long hard day kinda “right.” But, because of my previous experiences I really just didn’t want to get attached. It didn’t work. The longer I’ve been here, the more I love it. Every day brings new joys and I’m forced to love INDLS even more than I did the day before. From the fact that I can go to MY fridge and get a drink any time I want. To the way that the students light up my day with their jokes and laughter at my silliness.

When COVID closed the schools my heart BROKE for all my B&M teacher friends I’ve made through the years! I feel SO BAD for the terrible conditions they’re being forced to deal with. All while I sit here with my primo online experience. I’ve felt GUILTY for enjoying my job during this time. But that wasn’t the only thing I’ve felt. As some of you may have noticed, there’s been a bit of anger that’s gone through me as well. I had to back WAY off on my social media intake because I just couldn’t handle all the negative posts about online education. Here was this thing that saved my sanity this year and all I was reading about it was how awful everyone thought it was. It was killing my spirit to see so much negativity surrounding something I love so much.

And yet, even with all that love for this platform, I was still holding out for next year. Was INDLS really the place for me? Should I consider a B&M position next year if one comes up?

I was pretty convinced that yes, INDLS really was the place for me, but today solidified it. This parent, was especially appreciative of my efforts with her daughter and went so far as to write an email to our principal about how she feels about me.

In short, this parent wrote that her daughter had been attending INDLS for 2 years now and up until this semester was seriously considering taking her daughter back to B&M because she just wasn’t being successful for a couple of reasons. Then she wrote this:

“While the changes [made by other teachers at INDLS last semester] were beginning to make a difference for [my daughter], she still was feeling very dejected and like she wasn’t smart enough for school. [She] has always wanted to be a nurse and by the end of first semester this year, and by her grades, she had lost all confidence and hope of making this dream come true. So much so, that we had her spend a day at a local high school and were ready to change her back to a brick and mortar school for next year. Then came the WONDERFUL Mrs. Knochel!! She had been really paying attention to [my daughter] and talking and listening to her. She then reached out to me and really asked what I thought helped [my daughter] learn best and what motivated [my daughter]. I was able to explain our concern with [my daughter’s] diminishing self esteem and confidence and Mrs. Knochel took this information and poured into our [daughter]. She encouraged, inspired, and cheered [her] on. She convinced our daughter that she was capable, she could do this, she did have what it takes to be what she wants to be! She cared so much about our daughter and her success that now [she] has an A in English! Her other classes have also been effected by the effort of this wonderful teacher. [My daughter’s] grades are A’s and B’s. This is an amazing change! We are so grateful for Mrs. Knochel….and because of her, [my daughter] is excited to be staying with INDLS next year. 1 teacher can truly make a difference in a child’s life and Mrs. Knochel did this for our child. I just wanted you to know what an amazing group of educators you have in these 3 ladies. We are forever grateful that they made a difference in our daughters education.”

Can I just say, WOW! Talk about a blessing of confirmation! I am definitely right where I am supposed to be! But that’s not why I’m sharing this with you all today.

I want to encourage all you teachers out there who are STRUGGLING to wrap your brain around online education. You’re NOT alone!!! Did you notice in that letter that there is ZERO reference to my amazing and captivating lessons? She doesn’t mention that I make the most beautiful slides or that I am a whiz with this technology platform. None of those things mattered to her! What mattered to her was how I connected with her daughter. Her baby girl who was STRUGGLING to wrap her brain around education in general started flourishing when I started pouring into her as a PERSON.

Now I know that for most of you this is basic teaching 101. But I think maybe you need reminded of it today that education is SO MUCH MORE than our standards. You might be feeling like a mega failure with this platform. BUT, that doesn’t mean that you ARE one! The line in this mom’s email that struck me the hardest and MADE me share it with you was,

1 teacher can truly make a difference in a child’s life”

YOU might be just “1 teacher” struggling to keep your head above water right now.


that DOESN’T mean you’re not making a difference in your student’s lives right now! Honestly, if you’re still showing up and plugging away at this school year, then you’re WINNING in my book! Most days we, as teachers, have NO IDEA how far our reach is going! We have no way of seeing that far ahead into the future. But that’s just it! No matter what your lesson plans are for today, or next week, or the rest of the school year. That’s not what your students are going to remember about you! They’re not going to remember your slides, or if your makeup was perfect for your Zoom shot, they’re going to remember that you were THERE for them when they needed you. They’re going to remember that you walked them through this tough time. They’re going to remember how you made them FEEL. Respected.




You name it because that’s what REALLY matters right now.


Categories: teaching | 2 Comments

New Horizons in My Career

Today I am SO GRATEFUL for a job where I can work from home! I’m having a Hashimoto’s flare up, everything hurts and I just feel crummy and exhausted from being at a conference for the past two days.
The conference was great, my team is great, and my new school is great. While before, teaching at a brick & mortar school, I would’ve just powered through, gone to school anyway, and made my condition worse. Today, because I teach online, I can wear my comfy clothes while I work at home, perhaps on the couch with ice/heat packs instead of at my desk.
My most impactful moment of the conference was when we read letter after letter after letter, by student after student after student detailing why going to Indiana Digital Learning School (INDLS) was good for them. The prevailing message from all of them was the feeling like they just didn’t belong in traditional public school. Some of them were escaping bullies, some were escaping school violence, some had been kicked out for behavior, others needed the option due to medical conditions. The prevailing message from ALL of the letters was their gratitude for this place where they finally feel like they belong. I am right there with them today! I am feeling so very blessed to get to be part of this amazing (and huge) team of educators who make these kids feel accepted and welcome and loved every day in a true judgement free zone.
In digital school kids don’t see each other’s faces, or clothes, or expensive name brand vs ratty handed down shoes. They, instead, see each other’s hearts and minds. Those that are here escaping the bully, are here with the bullies that got kicked out! They haven’t escaped them at all. HOWEVER, because of the digital interface they both come together not realizing that in traditional public school they never would’ve gotten along because of their physical differences, or idiosyncratic differences. But here, they get along and actually like each other because the focus isn’t on those things, it’s on the text on the screen, the voice in their ear. All the things that separated them before have been stripped away and all that’s left is the truth that they’re not so different after all!
#onlineschool #K12rocks #INDLS #roomforeveryone #noteveryonefitsinthesamebox #allmadeequal #hashimotossucks

Categories: Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Even if it’s Just One

Yesterday was one of the most difficult days I’ve ever had in my career. I walked away from a job I’ve wanted my entire life. When I was in Kindergarten I knew I wanted to be a teacher. When I got to 4th grade I knew I wanted to be a 4th grade teacher. When I was student teaching, 2nd grade it was an utter disaster, but when I switched to 5th grade it was amazing! Since then I have taught preschool (so successfully that they promoted me to director within a month of being there.) A few months later (late August) we moved to Chicago land and I got a job working in a middle school in Oakbrook as a special ed instructional assistant and LOVED every minute of it. Then over the summer I got a job at the preschool where Gabe went while I was at work and again loved it! I flourished and they loved me. When school started again I didn’t even try to get an elementary job, I stuck with preschool and my 1 year old son. For the next 5 years I taught preschool though yet another move and other schools. Each time very successfully and happily. When our daughter came along Sean & I felt that it was time for me to step aside from teaching for awhile and be a stay at home mom. That lasted all of about 6 months before I HAD to teach someone about something and started writing, which led to authoring, which led to speaking and a whole different way of teaching. I loved it and was successful… but not profitable enough to continue doing it. So after 6 years of nap time writing/teaching I moved back out of our home & into the world of public education. The world I had trained for at Purdue but never really entered fully. I became a middle school special education instructional assistant yet again and yet again loved it and flourished immediately. I did that for the next year and a half while I renewed my teaching license that I had let lapse over the years of non use. All the while thinking about finally getting into elementary. It had been 12 years since I graduated from Purdue with a bachelors in elementary education and I had yet to step foot in an elementary classroom! I had thoroughly enjoyed my career thus far, been fairly successful and spent time with my children – working in the schools they attended.

That summer I put out what felt like a million applications and nothing NOTHING came back, not a single phone call. Talk about disappointment!

Wait, that’s not true, I WAS offered a high school position to teach the high school JAG careers class. But I turned it down because I was hoping for something, anything, in middle school or elementary. Then, three days before school started I got a call. One of the special ed teachers in my building had quit. While I didn’t have a sped license, I DID have a freshly renewed teaching license and a solid relationship with all the students. The next two years of teaching and going back to school to get my masters in special ed were some of the hardest of my life, but I again flourished and crushed the challenge life had thrown at me. But it exhausted me and at the end of the 2nd year I was looking to take a break from special ed and try something I had actually chosen on my own – elementary.

After MUCH prayer and guidance seeking, I applied to several schools in the area but only heard back from one district, Frankfort. Within 48 hours of applying I was standing in Green Meadows Intermediate school interviewing for the position I had waited my entire life for, 4th grade. Three hours later the principal was standing on my front porch with a sticky note salary offer in his hand bouncing on his toes trying to get me to accept their offer before even going to my interview with the middle school on Monday. While I didn’t accept the offer until Monday, I also didn’t go to the other interview either. I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up from the first moment. I was supposed to be a 4th grade teacher at Green Meadows in Frankfort.

I spent the rest of the summer holed up in my classroom making decorations, collecting books for my library, organizing and planning for something I’d waited for my entire life. I practically lived at the school, something my family did not appreciate very much. But I was playing school and in seventh heaven. Then school started for real and the pretending and waiting was over. I had real live 4th grader’s sitting in front of me fresh faced and ready to learn. From very early on I could tell something was off. The school was what I had always wanted. The kids were what I had always wanted. The position was what I had always wanted. But it wasn’t the same as before. I didn’t flourish. I mean, I was doing everything I had done before, working my ever-loving tail off, but it wasn’t producing the same results it had every other time before. My results were lackluster at best. They sent me to a training and I came back with fire in my belly. It helped, a LOT! Within a week things were working again and I was chugging along. Then a music stand fell down the bleachers and everything fell apart again. For the next 11 months I did everything I could to make things work, but they just didn’t. It just wasn’t right. It wasn’t WRONG by any means, but it wasn’t RIGHT either. Does that make sense?

It didn’t to me for a long time.

But through prayer I’ve come to understand it like this:

You know how it feels when you stand in the sun on a cold day? It’s cold outside, but you’re in the sun and it’s keeping you warm. But then a cloud comes along and suddenly your freezing! That’s what was happening. All those years of teaching preschool, adults and middle school I had been standing outside in the cold (because let’s face it, teaching is freaking HARD) but I was in the sun because I was doing what God had made me to do. But when I stepped foot into that elementary school I stepped under a cloud too. It was what *I* had wanted. It’s what *I* had chosen for myself. While it wasn’t wrong, it wasn’t right either. It was student teaching 2nd grade all over again! It wasn’t absolute failure, but it wasn’t complete and total success either. It certainly wasn’t my usual awesomeness, that’s for sure! So, after about 2 months into this school year I finally recognized my folly and started looking for other options that were in the sun. I’m praying that 9th grade English online is in the sun. We’ll see!

Last night, as I turned the lights off on what very well may be the last elementary classroom I ever teach in, the tears I’d been holding back welled, then spilled, then the dam burst and by then time I got to my lonely car in the parking lot I could hardly breathe I was sobbing so hard. I was saying goodbye to so much more than a school, or teachers, or students (all of which I loved!) I was saying goodbye to a childhood dream, lived out, but not anything like what I’d hoped it would be. It wasn’t anything like what I thought it would be for me. I sobbed, and prayed, and asked “WHY!?!” Why allow me to go through this? Why send me here only to have me leave? I wasn’t expecting an answer, but I got one instantly.

A single student’s name leaped into my heart and I knew he was right. While I had dozens of students crying over me, clinging to me, asking me to adopt them or stay, bringing me gifts, telling me I was their favorite teacher, asking for pictures with me. There was one, quietly sitting in the corner on his phone waiting for my attention. The attention he knew would be directed his way if he waited long enough. The only student who was confident enough in my love for him not to clamor for my attention. The only student whose life (I have faith) is forever changed by my presence in that school.

I wanted so desperately to save all the beached starfish in that school, but to that one single starfish, it meant the world to have a successful 4th grade year. And he did last year too. He changed me… and you know, in hindsight, that probably is what it was all about. I wasn’t there because I would change him. Maybe I was there because he would change ME. Change me into the teacher I needed to be moving forward from here.

Teaching is an amazing calling. It’s NOT for the faint of heart by any means. And I’m sorry, but for those who can’t, please don’t try to teach. Leave it to those who can. If you’re feeling like you’re in a place that’s not wrong, but it’s not right either, vacate the position to someone for whom it will be right. YOUR life, your light, your mental health, deserve to be heard. You deserve to be in your happy place in the sun. You’re hurting yourself & you’re students by staying somewhere that isn’t in God’s favor. It’s just not worth it for anyone involved. Leaving certainly isn’t easy, but perhaps it is the best thing for everyone. Pray about it and trust God to lead you where he wants you. His will, His way, His plans, are perfect including his timing! Follow Him and you will never be wrong.

Categories: Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Hashimoto’s & Me

So it’s been a whole year Since I’ve posted anything on here! It’s been crazy busy & honestly, I haven’t really felt led to write anything. Until today.

It’s been a rough Summer. Well, it’s really been a rough year. Last May I switched schools so that I could cross 4th grade teacher off my lifelong wishlist. Only things went south pretty quickly. I was working my TAIL OFF just trying to keep my head above water. I could hear God telling me to slow down, but I didn’t want to listen. I wanted to be a shining star at this new school. By the end of September, I. was. EXHAUSTED! But I kept on pushing!

On September 28th, I was sitting in the bleachers @ a home football game, listening to the pep band play when a huge wind came along and knocked a music stand over. It fell 5 rows down and hit me in the back of the head giving me a concussion. Now for most people, that concussion would’ve only lasted a week or two. Mine lasted 10 weeks! Did I let that stop me? Of course NOT! I had THE worst headache of my life for the next two days, but come Monday morning I was back at work, My head pounding like crazy but hey! I’m a teacher and no one can replace me right?!? WRONG!

An hour in I couldn’t see straight, I could hardly walk, and I was having trouble remembering kids’ names. One of the other teachers called the school nurse to come down and check on me. So right there in front of my students She checked my pupils & my blood pressure and told me to go see a doctor. I did. That’s when they diagnosed the concussion. I took the rest of the week off, but the first day back I worked 13 hours. then 12 hours the next day. It was parent teacher conferences, how could I miss that?

I kept pushing, and pushing, and seeing no improvement. Until finally my brain had had enough and just shut down. I couldn’t do simple 4th grade math calculations in my head anymore. But the day I knew it was really bad, was when l ate lunch in a dark interior room alone & I saw strobe lights flashing around my food. If that wasn’t bad enough, when I got up to go pick up my students from the cafeteria, I couldn’t walk straight and when I got to the cafeteria I had to hold on to the door jamb to keep from falling over. I told the other teachers I was going have to go home, but wasn’t sure how I was going to get there. Because I certainly couldn’t drive that way! I ended up having my husband and son come pick me up, and my son drove my car home for me.

I ended up being away from work for 9 weeks total from the day I got hit in the head and then after I went on medical leave. My doctor and my physical therapist neither one could figure out why it was taking me so long to recover. I was struggling with severe anxiety any time I left the house especially if it was bright outside or loud. I mentioned this to her so she prescribed some antidepressants that ended up giving me severe vomiting, and hallucinations! Yup hallucinations, a regular old medicine that most people can take without any side effects at all caused me to see a river in the middle of my living room! Not to mention maniacal laughing in my head all night! I kept pointing her to my thyroid as the culprit to my struggles but she refused to listen or even check it. Even though I’ve had hypothyroidism for YEARS. After a month of arguing with her I finally decided to seek a second opinion. I managed to start back to work in January and felt a lot better, but not completely recovered. So I called an endocrinologist and had to wait 3 months before I could get in to see her. However, when I did finally get in to see her at the end of May, she listened intently and said that she would do a full panel of tests to see what was going on. When my tests came back everything was normal, except of course, for my thyroid DUH! I had been saying that all along! However that wasn’t the only news that she gave me that day. She also told me that I have Hashimoto’s disease.

Hashimotos disease is an auto immune disease that affects the thyroid. Basically, my body will keep attacking my thyroid until it is completely gone. That 1st day she told me, I was a little too shocked to really react. I felt numb. I wasn’t happy, and I wasn’t sad, I was just numb. But through this summer As I’ve been able to process this news and learn more about the condition, it has been a roller coaster of emotion. Mostly not positive emotions either. Right now I’m just extremely angry at the fact that my body is broken and not currently functioning the way that it was designed to function. I’m frustrated with the fact that I can’t do what I want to do and I can’t keep the promises that I’ve made to those around me simply because I need more rest. It sucks! To put it bluntly, it sucks a LOT! I spent 9 weeks in bed nursing a brain injury only to get better and spend more time in bed trying to recover from a condition that I will never recover from. I believe in a God of Miracles. But right now I really don’t feel like he has one planned For me. I don’t feel worthy, although I have no real reason why I wouldn’t be worthy, I just don’t feel like it.

In addition to being diagnosed with Hashimotos disease this summer, my last grandparent died suddenly. According to him, he was my favorite and most handsome grandpa.

Around that same time it started getting hot outside. In the heat, my Hashimoto’s was causing heart palpitations that were absolutely wearing me OUT. So the endocrinologist prescribed me some beta blockers to help with the symptoms as needed. If I took one in a day it wasn’t too bad. It would kind of stop the palpitations, but not completely. So I called her and asked if I could up at the dose since we had started with a very low one since I am very sensitive to medicines, as is evidenced by having hallucinations earlier in the year! When I doubled the dose to only 20 mg, the next day I had such severe depression that I could hardly get out of bed, I didn’t want to do anything, I couldn’t think straight, and I was upset about things that had been resolved for years. So much for that medicine!

Shortly after that, Sean quit his job (his working conditions were horrible) and was out of work for 2 weeks. So finances have been extraordinarily tight.

So here I am, with a thyroid out of balance causing all kinds of wacky things to happen in my body, and no doctor to help me fix it all. When I went to go talk to the endocrinologist She basically said there wasn’t anything she was willing to do for me. She refused to up my dose of thyroid medicine because she thinks that will make my heart palpitations worse, I do not agree. And she refused to lower my dose of thyroid medicine because then my TSH levels will be too high, to which I do agree! So here I sit, with a body completely out of whack, a simple solution in front of us, but just out of my reach. You know, because I’m not a doctor!

So I say all that to say this, It has always been really hard for me to tell people no. However this summer has been even harder because I’ve been having to tell people no because I’ve been sick. So please know that if I am telling you that I can’t do something, or go somewhere, it is not because I don’t want to do those things with you. Rather it’s because my body isn’t letting me. I would really appreciate as many prayers as you would send up for me for healing! I know God hears, I know God cares, and I know that if it is His will He can fix this in whatever way He chooses to do so. Today in church He reminded me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and that includes this disease that creates in me an imperfection through which His perfection can shine. So I pray that it does! Although I seriously have no idea how in the world that is going to work! But I trust in His plan, and I trust His hand, and Jesus name.

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Darkness falls

Have you ever noticed how we never say that darkness rose? Darkness doesn’t rise, it falls. And it falls because the LIGHT is what rises.

Today, may THE Light rise in your hearts and your lives!

(Thank you to Ahmad Luthfi , Okezone for this perfect photo! Click the photo to visit website.)

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*I* am fearfully and wonderfully made

Ok. I know it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted on here, but I feel like I absolutely positively cannot finish this day without sharing this story with you!

I was lucky enough to wake up this morning and find out that school was cancelled! Yay bonus day at home with my kids! So as I am avoiding my housework I logged on to Facebook and started patrolling. I saw that a friend is wanting to buy some glitter paint for her daughter’s walls when she redoes her room, and I smiled. I watched a video of a parody of the song Hello, making fun of how difficult it is to exercise and avoid pizza and donuts, and I laughed. I saw a post about the school shooting in Kentucky and thought of my students and how much I love them and worry about them. And then I saw a post that changed my thinking – hopefully forever! And that’s why I HAVE to share it with you:

This is a true story from my past.

The first piece of new furniture my husband bought for me was a rocking chair, a simple, neither ornate nor fancy, rocking chair. I cherished it and it became the spot where I sang, prayed, read, sewed, rocked my children and filled it with love.
Through the years that chair heard thousands of prayers but one must have embedded in the grain of the wood. We were going through a tough time and in order to survive we sold almost all that we had at auction. The night before the auction I sat in the rocker and sang my babies to sleep just as I did every night. Before getting up from that chair for the last time, I prayed with tears streaming down my face,
“Dear Lord, thank you for this rocking chair. It has been a blessing to me and to my children. Please let the people that buy it feel Your love. Let them hold their babies and rock them to sleep. Let them sing. Let them laugh. Let them enjoy all that you have to bring to them. Amen.”
I stayed inside the house while that chair sold, unable to watch it go. Of all our sold possessions, that was the most precious. Unbeknownst to me, the couple that purchased that chair desperately wanted children but, as yet, had none. But God heard our prayers and the couple was soon blessed with a lovely girl. This was a special blessing for me because it was my brother and his wife that purchased the rocker so I got a beautiful niece, and later a handsome nephew from God.
Years rolled by and the chair was returned to me for my eldest daughter’s first two children. The chair fell apart and I decided to sell it at a garage sale. This time, the rocker was in pieces in a little open box and very well worn. Most people simply walked by. One older couple and their daughter were drawn to the chair parts. They spent a long time just looking so I walked over and told them the story of the rocker. Their eyes lighted as they told me that the daughter and her husband had been trying, unsuccessfully, to bear children. The dad enjoyed rebuilding old furniture and they would give it a good home.
I do not know where the rocker is now but I believe that God blessed every family that has owned it. I am thankful for each soul that found comfort while sitting in that simple wooden chair.

Here is what I commented on my aunt’s post:

I seriously can’t stop crying! I’M THAT BABY! And while I knew that story, I haven’t heard it in YEARS (probably around the time that Mary got it). And yet today this story falls on a heart that far too often beats its self up for not being enough, not skinny enough, not smart enough, not good enough, not strong enough, the list goes on and on. And yet here I am, on Facebook because school is canceled today and I have plenty of other things I can and should do around the house but I’m on Facebook and end up reading about ME and that my conception and birth story is being passed on and giving others hope for a future filled with family and love and hugs and baby snuggles! And it’s inspiring ME and helping me realize that all those slings and arrows I fire at myself, I’m firing them at her too (that baby in the miracle rocker). That baby whose story has brought hope to a family. That baby was (and still is) more than enough because she is fearfully and wonderfully made and she needs to recognize it more often! She (I) was prayed for, wanted, loved, cherished (even when I was naughty). Yes, I’m an adult now with two miracle babies of my own, who were also prayed for, loved & cherished, and while I would never sling those arrows at them either, I shoot them at myself.
Well no longer! New new years resolution: be nice to MYSELF because I’m all God made me to be – ME!

Friends, go be YOU today! Because YOU are enough! YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made – know it to the bottom of your toes! You are beautiful!

Click the pic above for a printable version!

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He is God! 

I don’t know about you all, but it’s been a really rough year so far and I really really needed this verse tonight! (Isaiah 46:9-13 in case you can’t see the picture very well.)


HIS plan WILL take place!

He will do ALL His will! 

Yes! HE has spoken; so also 

HE will bring it about! 

HE has planned it; 

HE also will do it! 
We Thank You God that YOU! ARE! GOD!!!! It seems so silly to be saying this Lord. 

You are God. 


This isn’t news, we know this. Yet all too often we forget it. We get so used to You being Daddy and friend, confidant and soul mate that sometimes we forget the God part. We forget the Almighty-on-our-side-don’t-need-our-help-but-deeply-enjoys-our-company part. We forget that YOU are God. God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and everything in between. Maker of that mountain-I’m-having-trouble-climbing. King of ALL creation, Lord of ALL the living. God I praise You for being, well, YOU! I praise You for caring enough to hear our prayers, to lean in and listen to the softly spoken prayer that our hearts cry, but our mouths are too afraid to speak. You not only hear those prayers you listen to those heart-cries and You answer them in unimaginable ways! Ways that we can never understand, yet appreciate deeply! You know what we need and You provide those things in amounts that are proper and good for us. Never so much it makes us sick or too little so as for us not to notice their presence.  You give us rest when we need it, even if we don’t want it. You give us work when we need it, even if we don’t want it. There is a time for everything and everything IS beautiful in its time. God I thank You that You know those times and bring them about in Your timing, not ours. 

I know there are a lot of things that we want and we want them NOW. But we pray in Your will for Your time. Thank You God for being GOD in my life time and time and time again! It never gets old! Hallelujah! Amen! 

Categories: Writing Through the Bible in a Year | 4 Comments

Classroom Makeover!

I just went to write a new post and found this one from FALL BREAK! Enjoy! 

It’s Fall Break here! And what better to do than spend half of it… AT SCHOOL! For most people that wouldn’t be a break from school, but there is nowhere more peaceful than a school building during a break! Plus, it’s my happy place right now. Especially since it’s been my lifelong dream to be a public school teacher and I didn’t get the job until two days before school started so I had basically zero time to do anything with it other than throw things in and say, “Voila! It’ll have to do.” So when the grandparents requested my kiddos for the week I, reluctantly, agreed. And when I say reluctantly, I mean I let my kids go with them, kicking and screaming the whole time because *I* wanted them all to myself this week. I also wanted all summer to prepare for my school year but that didn’t happen now did it. So I took my lemons and made lemonade. Sean has had to work all week so I would’ve been home alone anyway. Might as well drive the two minutes to school and play, I mean work, in my room right? I have always loved being crafty and this week has been no different! I’m so excited to share my room makeover with you all! AND as an added bonus, I have made a few of the items from my room available through my new Teacher’s Pay Teachers store! Yay!

So here’s what my room looked like at the beginning of the school year: 

The left side of  the room from the door. And although the painted ceiling tiles are awesome I don’t get to keep them, they’re going back to the former tenant. But I’m going to decorate my own. 

I had a LOT of issues with the desks being smack up against the wall. Many of the 6th graders would exploit that fact to do things on their Chromebooks they weren’t supposed to because I couldn’t see their screens unless I was RIGHT next to them. Which always gave them time to exit out by the time I got there. 

Right side of the room from the door:

The board, I’m actually still really happy with this part of my room. I 💙 the border around the board! This is the focal point of the room and the banner above the board is where I got the colors for the room. 

 I love this shelf full of class sets of books! It just makes me so very happy! 

 These are my independent work stations.

 I did a growth mindset lesson on this quote at the beginning of the year. This is our, “I did it!” wall. Any time the students have something they’re really proud to have accomplished we put it on this wall. By the end of this first 9 weeks the wall was a MESS! A happy one full of A & B’s tests but still, they were everywhere and it was driving me bonkers! 

And with only 2 days before the start of school they certainly didn’t have time to make a name plate for me so I turned this little sign I had into one! 

Not bad for only having 1 day to prepare it! BUT I knew I could do better. Here’s what it looks like now! 

I originally had my turn in folders over by my desk, for better traffic flow I moved them next to the board. I also added a tissue/extra paper station under it. I’m not sure you if you can see it but right above the outlet there is a Rock, Paper Scissors kit I found at Meijer. It’s one of the favorite items in my room. It’s a rock shaped  eraser, post it notes & a pair of kid scissors. 

“The Reading Corner” has transformed into, “The Book Nook.” I pushed the smaller shelf over to the bigger shelf to create a more intimate space. The original configuration with the pillows strewn across a third of the room facilitated pillow fights and jumping into them like a pile of leaves. This doesn’t. Plus the rules are clearly posted and will continue to be discussed throughout the year. The adorable twine banner I’m completely in love with is available as a PDF printable here in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

The fridge got hoisted by yours truly onto the counter behind my independent work desk. This is where all my children’s after school snacks found a home so it just made sense to make it a little kitchenette. I’m not sure that you can see very well in the pictures but I decorated the small pails as well with a white ribbon with black polka dots. 

The pails were a Target Dollar spot find and the ribbon was a Michaels Dollar spot find! Next to that is my coat hook and a mirror, always handy. 

And above the independent work station, 

 This space may get a Keurig coffee maker added to it because Sean just gave me one for my birthday this morning before he left! 

Sam our amazing janitor hung this K for me that I found at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. I had been wanting one of their metal K’s for months but never wanted to pay that much for them, but 50% off was impossible for me to resist. And this one has a wood frame even! Thanks again Sam! 

In this pic, that I know Sam would hate, you can see the I did it wall redesigned. I used twine again to carry the theme through the room. Over the summer I had found 5 $1 packages of 6 neon colored flower clips each that were perfect for this spot! Now each of my students has their very own clip on the wall. When I introduced it to them yesterday they were so excited! Several of them immediately started digging through their folders for a paper to put on the wall. It was really kind of awesome. 

Here’s another of my 50% off Hobby Lobby indulgences. These kiddos have been through a LOT! At a young age life has handed them not one, but a bowl full of lemons. Their brains don’t process information quite like every one else’s do and that has made public school learning very difficult for them. Life, for them, has been tough so the instant I saw this sign I knew I had to have it! My goal is to take pictures of each student being “tough” and then surround the sign with their pictures. I want them to KNOW that when they leave that room and go back into the world that they are tougher than anything they will face out there. 

I also have these two desks facing the wall. It makes them look like time out desks, they’re not. Iwanted to have a space where a group of two could work together nicely and that was the only way the desks would fit in the space. I made site to emphasize that to the kids yesterday. 

This window cling is one of the first things I bought for my room waaaaaaaaaaay before I had a room. It’s one of my many subtle nods to the Bible and anyone who’s been to Sunday school can relate it to “This Little Light of Mine.”

Here I have a group of 3 desks for those who prefer a window seat decorated with some more inspiration from Sheridan’s own Market on Main.

I’ll be working this saying into a lesson in the next few weeks. And I’ve downloaded some cute arrows to decorate with! 

The Brownie Points board was birthed last year when I got my first Guided Study class. The main purpose of the class is to reinforce what is being taught in the General Education classes and helping them get their homework finished. Well, I knew from experience that the number one problem for my students was getting their homework done AND turned in on time. So I needed an incentive program to help them do this because obviously the intrinsic reward of finished work wasn’t enough for them. I am a total believer in food dye allergies especially in kids with ADHD, a large majority of the kids in the Special Ed program. I have SEEN kids before and after food dye and is not always pretty! So naturally I avoid them at all cost in my student rewards. Chocolate has food dyes. And usually little to no preservatives even, depending on the product. So when I saw this idea on Pinterest I knew it was for me! I check the students Powerschool accounts every Friday, if they have zero zeros  (no missing work) they get a Hershey kiss and a brownie point for the board. Any time they get an A or B on a test, they get a Hershey Kiss and a Brownie Point. Once the board fills up we have a brownie party. I bring in the ingredients to make a glass pie plate of microwave brownies and I make them FRESH during class. 

And here is the user names and passwords banner you can find here in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

Ok ya’ll, I’ve been working in this post for a WEEK, it’s time to declare it done whether it is or not. I just had a dream that is waking me up! I’ve been, as God put it, “Running with the ball”. He gave me this gift of this room and I’ve been running around clutching it hoping everyone would see how pretty it is in the hopes that I would get to keep it. But that’s not how God works. And it’s not the important thing either. I spent all of fall break making my room look pretty. And then last night had to stay up until midnight in order to finish an IEP for a case conference first thing this morning. Were my priorities in the right place? No. Obviously they weren’t! While it’s fun and so nice to have a nice clean pretty room now. That’s not the most important thing. The most important thing, in football terms, is that the goal gets made. Not that I have to be the one to make the goal. Sometimes, instead of running around with the ball trying to get everyone’s attention on the field, it’s better to pass the ball to the one who is guaranteed to be able to make the touchdown. I may not be the one to make the touch down myself, but at least I can be the one who made the touchdown pass. In spiritual terms, God is the only one who can truly make the touchdown goal. And if I’m not passing the ball to him in order to get the touchdown, there’s a very good chance that the touchdown won’t get made. However if I pass the ball back to him, it’s guaranteed to get made! So while I can run around clutching things to my chest I might get the attention that I want from others, but I’m not getting the attention for the right things. I’m not getting any attention for making a touchdown pass, I’m just getting attention. Sometimes we just have to pass the ball to the one who can make the touchdown. God blesses us in order for us to be a blessing to others. That requires that we take the things that God has given us and give them to others, not hold on to them for our own selfish reasons. Is there something that you are holding on to? Is there something that God has been asking you to let go of, and you’re not? Pass it to him! I have been floundering a lot lately. I have been trying to swim in a race, while carrying heavy burdens that I don’t need to be carrying. And if I would only give them to God and let him take care of them, that would free up my hands so that I can swim fully!

Lord I give you my world, I give you my doubt. Father I give you back the blessings that you have graciously bestowed upon me! I give them back not because I don’t want them, or because I don’t appreciate them, but because I do! I now understand that I have been clutching things to my chest and running away from you with them in the hopes that I would get to keep them. Not understanding, that you gave them to me because you wanted me to have them and that you won’t take them away. I now realize that you gave them to me to keep and to cherish and to use appropriately. Lord I know that I have been acting as if the things that you’ve been giving me we’re only temporary and wouldn’t last. But that’s not the kind of gifts that you give. All good gifts come from above! And if you ask us to give something away, it’s only because you have something better in mind to give us in exchange! Please help me to let go of the things that I don’t need to be holding on to you! Help me to let go of the things that are pulling me down in the water keeping me from swimming this race well! I want to swim this race well for you! 

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