A Promise to Me in 2019

Early in life, i set my eyes on goals that others had for me.

Achieving success on a path not mine caused great struggle and deep grief.

Days of trying to find my way when I felt so out of place.

Not seeing that what was missing was the beauty of God’s grace.

Too much time spent striving for approval when I needed my own love.

I realize now that what I sought could only be felt from the Lord above.

My heart completely shattered when others left me feeling abandoned.

Not realizing then what a precious gift lied in the freedom I’d been handed.

As time passed by, I started making choices that were my own.

And a path I could’ve never fathomed, God’s plan for me was shown.

The gifts I’d held so deep within were finally being exposed.

And when I felt most afraid, it was then that my inner strength arose.

I do not hold resentments for pain nor shame for past regrets.

For now I can see that all of my past was preparing me for a great test.

To be a loving, patient Mom who gives it all she has.

And share my vulnerabilities with the true love I’ve found, at last.

No matter what life throws our way, we all hold each other’s hearts.

And find a way to make it through even the toughest parts.

This kind of joy and peace cannot be sought or forced to appear.

It took the detours in our journeys to ultimately lead us here.

Enormous gratitude abounds, I thank God every day.

For giving me the pieces of my soul that were missing along the way.

If I could tell my younger self a secret to finding peace,

I’d tell her to be cautious with her catch and free with her release.

Those who belong in your circle somehow always find a way.

And being unconditionally loved beats an artificial circle any day.

In this new year, I vow to remain focused on hope and to have faith.

Remembering the gifts that I’ve received when patiently I’d wait.

The greatest challenge we often face is honoring the truth of our hearts.

While sharing our gifts with others, and giving our all, doing our part.

I’m learning that to guard my spirit is a necessary part of being alive,

Doing so doesn’t make me selfish…it’s something for which we should all strive.

Forgive me if my goals sound harsh, I’ve learned so much from pain.

I realize now it’s up to me to focus, and peace I must regain.

Giving is a blessing, a help to those who are in need.

But we must make sure first that our soul’s hunger we daily feed.

Moving forward, I will strive to love me more and preserve my energy.

Because at the end of the day, it’s my loved ones who deserve the best of me.

Hope in A Future That’s Peaceful Ahead

I am beyond grateful for the clarity and peace in my spirit that have only been made possible through many obstacles and instances of falling and getting back up. While I may continue to fall at times, I am less afraid to do so, because I’m dedicated to living my God-given truth. My spirit is full of hope for the future, knowing that whatever comes my way, life will continue to be peaceful ahead.  Please feel free to contact me using the form below regarding any of my posts or if you’re interested in collaborating on future posts. Thanks so much for visiting!

 

 

Facing My Fear of Joy

Fear is a common challenge many of us face throughout life…fear of pain, fear of heights, fear of loss. However, there’s a fear that I’ve only recently uncovered that seems so, well…taboo.

I’m afraid of experiencing too much joy. There, I said it. Yes, you read that right…I have a fear of feeling JOY, of all things there are to be afraid of in this world.

Six years ago, my world was turning beautifully. I had a precious daughter who was my everything. I was feeling the warmth of a new and very real love like I’d never experience before. My career as a teacher had hit a comfortable phase, and I was finding new ways to challenge myself professionally. I was even quite happy with how I looked, able to see my own true beauty for the first time in many years.

Then, it felt as though the ground I was standing firmly on started to crumble as breast cancer threatened to take away all of the blessings in my life. The many surgeries, chemo, radiation, medications, and hormonal therapies seemed to slowly rip out each page of my life’s plan book and tear them to shreds before my eyes.

I found myself lacking many qualities that I’d once been able to take for granted. My brain didn’t operate the same way it once did. My nerves were so raw that the basic daily routines of life caused me to become overwhelmed, and many times, paralyzed. The exhaustion I felt by just going through the motions of life hindered my ability to keep up relationships that I’d once cherished. Life became a daily dance that started when my eyes opened each morning and discovered which intro music would be playing. Some days, it was the kind you’d hear at the end of a tear-jerking movie; others, I’d wake to hear the soundtrack that accompanies a fantastic fight scene. Never knowing how long the energy for that day would last, I was reluctant to get too comfortable in an energetic place, fearing that I would be too disappointed when it would inevitably pass.

Now, I’m past all of the treatments, surgeries, and physical healing for the most part, and I actually feel good on most days. (Minus the end of the week as a high school teacher kind of tired that my colleagues are quick to remind me is NORMAL). But this year, I found myself feeling anxious as the holidays approached. I was unable to put my finger on exactly why until now.

The anxiety I’ve felt can only be attributed to a fear of truly feeling joy. You know, the kind that can only be felt through loving connections with others…friends, family, loved ones. It seems I’ve been subconsciously avoiding that type of interaction due to the fear of losing it. There is no heart-break like the one experienced when life deals you a hand that takes you out of the game. When life goes on for those all around you, but you lack the strength and energy to be a part of it, a hole is created that can only be filled by clinging to the daily promise of God’s never ending grace.

My instinctive response to this isolation was to separate myself even further, preventing any additional suffering. However, I know now that it is my deepest responsibility to acknowledge this fear, so that it might release some of its impact on my life.

I will begin again, exposing my vulnerabilities, pursuing peace, and allowing myself to feel the joy that I’ve missed for so long. Fear will not win, and whatever the cost or the pain of future loss, the blessings of allowing life’s beauty to unfold will be the greatest gift of all.

Confessions of an Empath Teacher in the Days of Social Media Overdoses

I feel the pain of others.

As a teacher of at-risk students, this quality has always served me well…until recently.

Once, I was able to see the pain in the eyes of my students, and find the right words to convince them to let me in. The toughest of kids did not phase me as I knew that I had what it took to keep pushing until they realized that I was truly on their life team.

Recently, however, I seem to have hit a wall with many of those in my classroom. I’m quite certain it’s a lack of connection due to technology addiction and social media overdoses. What I once thought I was intended to share…a witty sense of humor and hard-earned wisdom from life’s lessons, are now missed and dismissed on a daily basis.

I want to connect. I try to connect. I only know how to teach through connection. But it seems that many young people are completely uninterested in allowing those connections to exist. In fact, some seem dead-set on NOT connecting to anyone personally, only technologically.

As much as I can see what I believe are societal and external causes for the disconnect, I can’t deny the huge responsibility I carry for the loss of what I once felt was a professional gift. I don’t want to believe that the possibility of regaining the spark and ability to inspire is truly gone.

I’m searching. Praying for the moment when I see the light in a student’s eye that says we’ve made a breakthrough…the time when a struggling soul thanks me for listening…the time when a broken young person believes me when I tell them that they CAN overcome their environment.

If you are a teacher and you can relate, I’d love to hear from you. This is spiritual warfare. My spirit is solidly set on the goal of encouragement and empowerment of young people. I am completely aware that “they know not what they do”. But, we MUST reach them to ensure the promise of a bright future for all.

So Proud of My Girl…She’s My Hero!💙💪🏻🤓🙏🏻

We just got home from our family vacation to Yellowstone. It was beyond beautiful, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share the wondrous scenery of that place with my parents, husband, daughter, and niece. My Girl is 13 now, and going through many changes and growing pains. We’ve navigated them pretty well so far, including a few middle school lessons in dealing with disappointment. I’ve taught teenagers for ten years now, and I’ve long anticipated (sometimes excitedly and others anxiously) my daughter’s arrival to this stage. She is intelligent and kind, strong-willed, and has a confidence that it took me decades to gain.

I don’t write about her much because she’s her own person, a lover of reading and writing, and her story belongs to her. However, today we received notification that the scores for this year’s standardized tests were available; she was so excited to see the results because, well…school is her “thing”.

(And books…part of her prized collection👆🏻📚✔️)

I must interject here and say that as a teacher, I’m not a huge advocate of standardized tests, nor am I a fan of the stress placed on students with challenges who struggle to answer enough questions correctly to go on to the next grade or graduate. But that’s another can of worms I won’t open right now.

While I’ve been busy and many times ridiculously preoccupied with all things breast cancer related for the past 5 years, she has immersed herself in books, allowing stories to whisk her away from a reality that was at times just too much for her to process or understand. Her friends and many of the kids around her have spent the past several years developing a passion for sports or other activities, and she’s been reading and enjoying meeting with her church’s youth group. Sports are given a huge amount of attention where we live, so I have seen the struggle she’s faced of not necessarily fitting “the mold”. Next year, her horizons will expand at school to include Theatre Production, Student Council, and Leadership duties with her church Youth group.

So, today, when my girl looked at her scores and beamed with pride when she saw that she scored in the 98th percentile in Writing, and ONE-HUNDREDTH percentile in Reading, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. Her Lexile score is 1600; equivalent to what is required for Grad Students in college. Remember, she’s only starting 8th grade next year. She wishes to be a journalist, and is already researching the best colleges for her area of interest, and plans to become a Foreign-exchange student during her senior year in high school. Although she’s grown up in a rural community in a Southern state, she longs for a life in a bustling urban area on the East Coast, with plans for extensive travel.

While I know that life is not always easy, and she’s sure to have her share of challenges along the way, today I am beyond proud of her determination and dedication to living God’s intended purpose for her life. What a beautiful thing to witness her strengths and hard work aligning with her goals. I believe in her more than anything, and I cannot wait to see her journey continue to unfold.

What a blessing it is to be a Momma to My Girl. Wishing all parents the blessing of seeing your kids achieve all of their dreams. Prayers for all of our children to have the faith, strength, and confidence to pursue whatever they desire that is good. 🙏🏻💙

Here’s to a life that’s peaceful ahead for us andthem.