Thursday, July 27, 2017

Health and Happiness....

They go together like.... peaches and cream, burgers and fries, boys and girls. Possibly more entangled and intertwined than this even. The last couple days I haven't felt well. I was stricken with Vertigo again. Debilitating. And joy sucking. Today I sit here feeling drained and exhausted. I think it's a residual effect. For the last 36 hours I have been dogged by feelings of defeat, depression, exhaustion, and lethargy (not to mention that spinning feeling you get when you've had too much alcohol and you just might throw up). Happy, joyous and free were not in the cards. I realized that the many things that are RIGHT in my life, were minimized and I was swallowed by my lack of ability to move. I was overwhelmed and I gave in to the feelings of defeat and depression that lurk in the shadows of my life waiting to make their presence known at any given moment. But today I have a choice. I can let my unhealthy self take over and keep me down and perpetuate a plethora of problematic health symptoms already present. Or I can choose healthy behaviors that I know will contribute to more feelings of groundedness, peace, and dare I even say it.... happiness. Happy was hard to find when my health failed me. Which in turn made it hard to seek healthier behaviors/foods because I was enveloped in darkness and depression. So which came first doesn't matter. But what I can do today will matter and will make a difference on both my health and my happiness. I am choosing to behave in ways that are healthy for me today. Which may be difficult, but I believe it will also increase my ability to choose happiness. And who doesn't want that?!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Gratitude Lately....

Michelle's post at BTL yesterday was gratitude lately. It was fabulous. Because it helps me keep focused. On all I have to be grateful for. Which is a lot. And so much more productive to focus on than the little that I am not extremely grateful for right now.

  • to learn new ways to live and new attitudes to take with me. 
  • to rethink my health and movement routines (or the lack thereof).
  • to make new friends and cherish the old
  • to learn to engage in self-care: it's a real thing, not just a concept, out there. somewhere.
  • for summer times of renewal
  • for trips of a lifetime.
Shall I expound on this? Hmmmm....
Here's a glimpse at the trip of a lifetime with my llbff.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon


Winslow, AZ

Our home away from home at the Garden of the Goddess Retreat Center, NM

Madrid, NM, where part of Wild Hogs was filmed

New Mexico hiking

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A firm foundation

What everybody/everything needs is a firm foundation. This week I've had opportunity to reflect on my foundation as a teacher. Many thoughts flood my mind as I look at my journey as a teacher. My direction and passion continue to evolve. I am not the same. But as I look back at that first year-- we were a good team. I had great teachers holding me up and keeping me sane. I've been chasing that ever since. Let me backtrack a little farther.... student teaching set the bar HIGH. I was part of an amazing Kindergarten team. We did things together, we planned lessons together. We encouraged, shared tiny teaching tips. We built each other up. My mentor was a great example. And as a teacher, she was the best. I may have referred to her as the student whisperer. When Mrs. H spoke, everyone listened. Random, yet remotely related, thought number two of this post: first year teaching is hard. HARD. And so it goes. I often felt alone, overwhelmed, and under-supported. I have come to the conclusion that this is fairly normal. Because I also know I had great support. I reiterate: first teaching is hard.

Yesterday I had the honor of going through my first year teaching town: Guymon, OK. I met up with my partner, who retired this year. I got to reflect on the team we were, how staunchly she supported me and all the help she gave me. I missed the chance yesterday to meet up with other teachers and my principal, and I'm saddened by this. These are my friends. I love them. We were a TEAM. And everyone did achieve more because of this.

So this year, I face a new building and new grade level. My challenge is to be a great team member, not a lone wolf. I want to have a team again!

Every teacher needs a firm foundation. Who am I kidding? That is a fill-in-the-blank sentence right there. Every (____________) needs a firm foundation. I need it. And bet someone I need know does too. I don't have to be entire foundation, just one stone; part of a team, holding each other up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My morning view

I sit here this morning soaking up a beautiful mountain morning view. I have birds everywhere around me. I just had a hummingbird not even 5' from me.

I have never been more acutely aware that I am white. never. What I mean by that is... NEVER. Yesterday we drove through the nation that our country graciously afforded to the people who were here before us. The people we put down and make fun of and say things like.... "it's not my fault they don't want to work" or "it's not my fault that they are drunks...." or (one of my favorites)... "I refuse to feel guilty because I was born white" or even better.... "It was a long time ago, what does this have to do with me?!"

My first instinct is the thank God (the god of the white man apparently) that I am white. Because there's no way to know what kind of oppression and hell these people are (are, not were) born into. And then, yes, this epiphany is followed by guilt. And compassion. And anger at what we-- as a nation (and THAT my friends is not something over and done with and in the past)--are still doing to these people who we duped and asked for help and pushed and pushed and then graciously gave them some of their own land that grows nothing, and sustains nothing.

I will not let my guilt and grief and overcome my awe or ruin my vacation. But it is a shadow and it makes me both grateful and grief-filled.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Here we go....

Today began a monumental adventure. My llbff (life long bff) and I set out to see the world, or at least the Grand Canyon. We are taking a road trip. Hitting the scenic spots. Tonight, night one, we are in Pueblo, Colorado. We are using airBnB to book our accommodations. Tonight's accommodations are fabulous.
I found a little sticker for my coffee mug that says.... Adventure awaits. Yes it does.

On the road!
We had to stop and take a pic at the border!

Here's the sky at the KS/CO border
 Our home away from home for the night! Amazing!!! So pumped!

What is next? Time will tell....

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The River Denial

I have been dying my heart out. Something I love. But it has morphed into something that steals my time and my life and my freedom that I obsessively must do. I become oblivious to everything else in life. I *should* (I HATE that word, but I'll use it for lack of a better term) have read ahead on Masters classes. I am not only WEEKS behind in one class, but now I'm behind in both classes. I know I have a project due in the one class and I have a teleclass one day this next week. I will do that from my vacay home.

Today I woke with a pit in my stomach of all the things I have neglected in my life and home. Denial is a great thing when it works, but when it stops working, it's a special kind of misery.

Aren't they pretty though?! No wonder I love them so.

Friday, July 14, 2017


Dear SW Philly,
You are such a long time in the past, but every time I smell fresh asphalt in 100 degree weather, I am transported back to the summer of 1987, and living in that big ole building working for the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education. I completely understand when people say that smells trigger memories/emotions.
the naive country girl who was way of out her element

Dear Masters Classes,
If you could just give me a couple weeks of ACTUAL summer break, that would be great.
the burnt out student

Dear Tie Dye,
If you could just create yourself and give me some rest that would be fabulous. Thanks.

Dear Carrie,
You are not as young as you once were. Please stop pushing yourself once you get tired.
Your decrepit self

Dear school,
Stop peeking around the corning and sticking your tongue out at me.
This teacher in summer

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thankful Thursday

When I look up the meaning of thankful and grateful, the definitions are extremely similar. Grateful, according to google's definition, is: "feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful." And Thankful, according the same google page, is: "expressing gratitude and relief." To me, gratitude is bigger. It is about an attitude. Maybe it is fair to say an attitude of thanksgiving. But when I think about practicing gratitude, I think about a lifestyle, attitude, practice. I picture thanksgiving as an act. When I think of being Thankful or giving thanks for something, I think of a singular act and my reaction to it. But for today's blog, Thankful Thursday is adequate for a title because I can't find a day of the week that starts with G. Grateful Gursday? Or Griday? You get the picture. I am choosing to be thankful TODAY and that is part of something bigger, a life filled with gratitude.

I am working with diligence to build a healthier lifestyle. Less refined sugar, no soda (and there's always exceptions to this, especially since I have a deep love for Coca~Cola), more movement, and fewer processed and heavy foods. So far I feel wildly successful. I will just need to figure out a way to keep it convenient when school starts and keep going. But with this journey comes the need for accountability. So I inquired on the infamous facebook about who want to help me with accountability. And the response was fantastic!! I realized that I could not have 6+ accountability partners! So I formed a group on fb. And we have been sharing our lives there. Sharing about foods we eat, water intake, exercise, when we eat in ways that are unhealthy, and so on. Within the group, we have formed some accountability partnerships. We started on a Wednesday. Which makes Wednesday accountability day. That is the day we make ourselves vulnerable to the few and share the good, the bad, and the ugly. And we share one good in the group. This group has fueled me. I can't wait to share SOMETHING with these ladies every day! And almost everyday I post asking my friends if someone wants to get in their daily movement with me. Walking mostly. That is my "thing". But last night we went to pool and walked the lazy river. An option from 7-8 pretty much every day. I do not know for sure how many times we walked it. And one of my friends said it's 11 laps to make a mile. So we maybe didn't even make a mile. But that is OKAY. Because it was work and fun at the same time.

Thankful Thursday. I am thankful that this group of ladies has entered my life in a new way. Some of them have been among my friends for a long time, some of them are new friends. Some live close and some live far away. But we are encouraging each other along our journeys today.

Today, on Thankful Thursday I am GRATEFUL for:
  • My Health and Accountability Group
  • The ability to learn and further my education
  • My sobriety/clean time
  • My checkered past
  • My children
  • My dogs
  • My home
  • A great "job" (being a teacher is not a job, it's an identity and a calling)
  • Life
  • Art:  crafting, tiedye!, painting, blogging (writing in any form), and.... (drumroll) gardening
The list goes on. A teacher in summer. I am getting my craft on. Which mostly translates into a lot of tiedying. But I also painted a metal wall hanging and made it look artsy. I will take a picture of that today.  My garden is art. For so many reasons. It does the same thing for my spirit that drawing, crafting and tiedye do. But in it's messy glory, I carefully chose where each plant would go and what colors would be together. And to you it may look disorganized, to me it is a little piece of joy.

So much to be thankful for. Living a life of gratitude.

Go to Big Time Literacy to read about what others are doing this month to keep writing alive in their soul. Blogging is soul food. btbc#17

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 2017 Currently.....

Big Time Blogging Challenge is underway this month and I love reading what my friend Michelle posts! She posted a super-cool "Currently" theme. I am not ambitious enough to fill ALL of those out so I "borrowed" an old template from Farley at Oh Boy! It's Farley. I don't know if that is legit or not. If I was ambitious and had some free time, I'd create a new template because I would love to change some of the prompts. But my ambitions don't lie with learning PowerPoint, sad but true. And time.... well, I feel like I've already gone past my allotted time for this morning and this post. Also sad, but since I'm a teacher in summer, probably not all that true.

So the last prompt was 4th of July and that ship has sailed, so I changed it in my not so savvy way.

Listening to the dogs in the yard is about as close to listening to the sounds of silence as it gets. So I am soaking it up. And there is also the sound of heavy equipment being unloaded and rumbling by and that is exciting too because my friend and her family are the recipients of the 2017 McPherson Area Habitat for Humanity house being built right around the corner. We could call this area H4H housing! There are now 4 of them within a block of each other and the new one is going up in the lot next to the house they built last summer! My house (of course), and my friend Rebecca's house is just a stone's throw out my back door, and the other two are in the block behind me on the street that I used to refer to as "crack row." Now it is H4H row!

Loving all things summer! I am doing very little teachering (it's a legit verb, trust me). Partially because I don't know what lies ahead in a new building and new grade level. And partially because I really needed a summer! I cleaning (okay, not so much), tie-dying, crafting, connecting with friends, and doing my best to get on track with my health.

Thinking about this upcoming trip! We leave the state on Sunday! So for me, this thing starts on Sunday. But really, for my bestie, it starts on Saturday because she is coming to stay over so we can head out bright and early. "Did I tell the mechanic everything he needs to know?" "Don't forget to call your insurance agent!" "Did I do everything I need to do to prepare my kids?" "What about...." And then there are these thoughts.... "We have to remember to take a picture here (fill in the word here with about 255 places)" and "I am so stoked about all things New Mexico (okay not totally true, some things about New Mexico.... not-so-much-- insert puke face emoji here)." But there is car cleaning and washing and packing and making arrangements for kids and, and, and....

Wanting to be obligation free.... and tie-dying. I have stuff to do, so there's a part of me that wants tie-dye time to be OVER. But there are some upcoming birthdays that I haven't finished the gifts for and those are soaking in soda ash already. So I am committed. (p.s. the mailman just knocked on my door which means my dyes and chemicals are here.... Christmas in July is a real thing people!)

Needing to adult again and "take care of business" as my friend says. Blech. And there's some homework involved here that I don't know how to even articulate about.

Wondering.... what lies ahead. So many things!! I don't even know where to start! The world of tie dye is growing into this entity that is taking on a life form of its own! I am so super excited! Teaching and learning are also super awesome and I can't wait to see where they take me. This school thing.... it opens the doors to the future for me. And I am good at what I do.

Not on the template.... but on my mind and on Michelle's list....
Drinking.... what I'm not drinking is coke. Which is deserving of both the sad-face emoji and the happy (?) (is there a proud?) emoji. In 3 weeks I have had approximately 1/2 of a 20 oz coke. I have seriously gone through the drive thru and ordered coke for my kids and not gotten one! I do miss it. I will not write an Ode to Coca-cola though because it is not the same elixir of life as coffee. Don't be surprised if you see an Ode to Coffee post one of these mornings. But Coke is a very close second! Last year when people would ask about those little gifty things at school to help encourage other teachers, I also replied, "Coke. coke. coke." "Coke is my love language." So this is not easy. But today is weigh and measure day and if I make gains, er, I mean losses, it will be in part to cutting out Coca-Cola. I might be re-thinking the whole no-ode-to-Coca-Cola thing. I feel a tribute coming on.

Read about everyone's summer! And join the challenge! It doesn't have to be big! or Long. Just write! Big Time Literacy Blogging Challenge '17! #btbc17

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tie Die For.... get it? har har

Tie Dye is my spirit animal. My fun, my release. It is time consuming and occupies my mind with both something and nothing all at the same time. When my dog died, I tie-dyed. It's a fairly effective grief counselor. So if I come to your funeral with discolored hands and feet, you will know that you were truly loved.
I made these last week, and the two on the left are bestie shirts for our upcoming trip!
Tie Dye is also an obsession. And more than slightly addictive. Lunch? sorry kid, I will be outside today. What do you mean you want quality time? Come outside and talk to me while I tie-dye. What do you mean you don't want to sit outside in 100 degree heat? I don't understand.... Homework? sorry prof, I was tie-dying. I mean, something came up and I was really, really busy.... I'll do better I promise. I can stop any time I want to! I just don't want to. Kind of. I kind of want to stop. I want to become a responsible adult again. kind of. But then again... tie-dye.

So I have trying to decide what I want to do about this obsession. Someone suggested I do classes. I have had two public classes now and a private one. Success. And I have a group for it and now I have started a page. So that I can grow this thing. Yay. I can't wait! I have plans! Big plans! And so I have started. Launched. I can't wait to see what the future holds.Why? Because.... magic. Tie-Dye. Magic. They are sort of the same thing. I can plan what I think something "should" look like, but I cannot control the actual results.

Yesterday I helped a friend create some love for herself, her hubby and their grandkids. It was amazing and awesome.

Big Time Blogging Challenge 2017. Check it out! #btbc17 or visit Michelle at Big Time Literacy.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Try. try again. Or is it.... try. fail. try again. repeat. ???

The answer is yes on so many levels.

I thought this today because there's sort of a never-give-up vibe behind it. And the last couple days I wouldn't have told you that I had given up, and yet... the list of things I did not follow through with is long-ish. I didn't water the garden for two days. In Kansas. In July. And it wasn't raining. Thankfully almost all of it came through without getting burned! I didn't do ANY homework. Summertime, yay. Two classes simultaneously.... seriously?! When do I get to, you know, summer? It's kind of the opposite of adulting. I didn't journal my food. Nor did I practice restraint. I did not keep my water intake high. And last but certainly not least, I did not blog. Boo. I was on a streak too. Six days in a row. *sigh*

So the momentum is building to just let the pendulum swing and stay on this crazy avoidance ride. Because once it starts to swing, it is not that easy to stop. In fact, talking myself into.... blogging, garden-tending (at least the basics), healthy eating, drinking water, and adulting (ugh, responsibility~ parenting, providing, cleaning, homework)... is hard. Real hard. Damn hard. blah.

I was hit hard this morning with the realization that much, most, or possibly even all of this behavior could easily be coming from forgetting to take meds on a regular basis. So get started Care! Take those meds! Water that garden! Etcetera.

Yeah, well, I may or I may not. Because depression, somewhat like alcoholism, tells me lies. Alcoholism tells me I'm not really sick and that I can drink AND I can stop drinking any. time. I. want. Depression doesn't tell me that I am not really sick, but it tells me a laundry list of other lies. Like that being proactive about taking meds FAITHFULLY will not actually help. It tells me no one cares, so why bother. It tells me that if I wasn't lazy, slothful, awkward, (I can keep going, but you get the picture), then I would just do those things that "normal" productive people do.

So today I feel like I have failed. Fallen off the wagon. The healthy lifestyle wagon. The responsible adult wagon. The proactive, functional, find your inner peace through gardening wagon.

Today I will start again. Again.

I will drink more water. I will stop beating myself up. I will start doing the homework. I will climb back up on that wagon. Again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I Can't Even....

That is what my brain says this morning. It is everywhere. And nowhere. Probably because I stayed up waaaaaayyyyyyy past my bedtime. Like 3 a.m. So the ADHD symptoms are strong this morning. Blog. But no, first facebook. No, blog. But first, process this deep thought. Oh. I could blog about it! But first tie-dye. Research it. Next.... stop. It's time to blog. But I am thinking about.... wait. What was I thinking about? Maybe gardening. Let's garden this morning! No. First blog, then walk. Then everything else. *sigh* Where are the dogs. Maybe I'll walk my dog. After I blog? Or before. That is the question. Only one. of many. I can't even. I can't even sort out my thoughts. I can't even slow down my obsessions. I can't even focus. I can't even. And it's summer. Do I have to? Argh! Today I am only going to commit to adulting in regard to necessities. Like getting us to appointments. Because staying up until 3 am finishing up birthday cards makes adulting darn near impossible. I just really can't even....
This is what kept me up. Moving from one obsessive artsy behavior to another. But, you know, tie dye. It will be back. Gotta get this posted so I can go rinse....

Big Time Blogging Challenge 2017 is underway! #btbc17

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Transformation? It's a process, not an event

Today I am celebrating my 2 weeks of eating better, walking more, and drinking lots of water! And do I dare say..... almost (almost) no coke. Only a half of a 20 oz. bottle one time.

Today there are no picrues of the journey per se. Because although I'm PUMPED about the losses and they are significant to me, they will not show in a photo. And because my starting measurements are not for sharing. Just the progress.

Enough of the nots. Drumroll please.....

In two weeks time I have.....

  • Lost 5 pounds! 
  • lost an inch in my chest!
  • lost about 4 1/2 or 5 inches in my waist
Today is another busy day in the summertime life of a teacher renewing her spirit after a grueling year and after losing touch with so many of my friends. I will drive to a neighboring town and connect with a life-long friend and we'll talk, laugh, hug and catch up. We will celebrate each other and the chances we've taken and the changes we've made. I will probably eat more fat than I *should* but then again, life is for the living. I will still consume LOTS of water, concentrate on movement, and on developing patterns of exercise in my life. And plan a healthier supper.

I might celebrate my victory by using up the rest of the dye I have mixed up already. I mean, I need those squirt bottles empty for my upcoming class. Right? heh heh....

Big Time Blogging Challenge '17 is underway! So far, so good! Five days of blogging in the books! Check it out at Big Time Literacy! #btbc17

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Born on the 4th of July

Blogging every day in the month of July. I can do this! Whatever I focus on, increases. So today I will focus on the good. Go to Big Time Literacy to read everyone's #btbc17 (Big Time Blogging Challenge '17) posts.

Today I am not striving for Healthy eating or 10,000 steps. Just striving to be happy, joyous and free. Enjoying friends and family and my family of friends.

Adventure numero uno today: Breakfast in the hometown with the folks. I have great memories of many birthday breakfasts with my parents. Today was no different.

Many more adventures are planned today. I plan to keep loving myself. This has not always been the consensus, but today I am worth it.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Power of my Mind

Today I am having a hard time finding the "right" thing to write about. Kids? Naw. Gardens? Naw. Tie-Dye? What is there to say? Health? *sigh* no. Dogs? Does anyone really want to know about my crazy dog life? LulaRoe? I'm not a dealer (idk what their title is, but their product is highly addictive, so I'll go with dealer), but I do love their stuff. Master of education classes? Naw. I don't even want to know about that. Okay, well, actually, there's some super interesting stuff in these Leadership Coaching Classes. Ha. I think I found something. The power of positive intent.

I am working on learning the language. Because maybe it will help me cross the chasm to Teenage-land so my child can HEAR me when I speak and not just hear "blah, blah, blah.... judgment. Blah, blah, blah, yelling." Because have a teen is exhausting. And I am super tired of being told that I am yelling when I am speaking in even tones and not raising my voice.

There's an entire way to train your brain to think, speak, act differently.... and positive intent is one of the precepts of coaching. Sometimes it still comes out sounding sarcastic. I'm working on it. But my favorite thing I've read so far says that I can create new neuropathways in my brain simply by not using the tried and true ones. That even though they run deep, by consciously choosing new ways of framing thoughts, words, reactions, actions. I can create new pathways. And if you use it, you don't lose it. So the more I use it, the more my brain will automatically go to those pathways. Going through the painful process of thinking through every word every time will eventually lead to automaticity.

Not only does this help my relationships, but it helps me! Because who wants to be a Negative Nelly all the time? If you look up Negative Nelly on Wikepedia, you will see my picture. So that is what comes natural to me after a lifetime of practicing negativity. And thinking that I know what other people are thinking. And its always negative. So... if I banish this, and assume that other people are positive with positive intent, well....

So in spite of the fact that Masters Classes interfere with my lazy summer fantasies, I am learning some really good stuff! Things that will change my life! You know why? Because you attract what you project! That is the reason I am pursuing today. Whatever I project, I attract. And whatever I look for, I find.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Six on Sunday

Day two of the #btbc17. Go to Big Time Literacy to read more!

One goal I have for blogging this summer is to keep it short and sweet. So today I have decided to post six things I am grateful for, and I am calling it 6 on Sunday.

1. I am grateful that sometimes God sees fit to restore broken relationships. I break things. Sometimes those "things" are relationships. And by trying so hard to control them, I sometimes behave in ways that I shouldn't. But today I have hope.
My oldest daughter and I

I am grateful for social media (i.e. facebook). I have connected with old friends and made new and become FRIENDS with people I never would have thought I would connect with. And blogging. I have made some awesome friends through blogs.
Meeting my blogging buddy and knowing that we are now irl friends! Priceless.

I am grateful for aging. Because as my body ages (not so fun), so does my mind and my heart. I like the person I am today so much more than any other time in life before this. I am someone I love today.

I am grateful that I can learn. I am going back to school to get another degree. And it challenges my mind. Which I can only believe strengthens me as a person.
This is how I feel most of the time. Buried under a mountain of books and homework.

I am grateful for July, the month of the birthdays. I love celebrating birthdays.
Truth. All these ladies have July birthdays.

I am grateful for tie-dye. Seriously. It is my happy place. I don't know why and I don't have any need to know why. 😏