Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dear 2014-15 School Year:

GOOD-BYE!

What a year it has been!!

I've no doubt I was exactly where God wanted me to be these past 10 months but I am so grateful that the time has come and gone.

Loved, loved, loved my students.
Met some fantastic families.
Worked with some fabulous teachers and beyond-dedicated support staff/faculty.
The blessings have far outweighed the  negative ending.

I was reminded of some important truths this year:

* I am professionally capable of far more than I thought possible. Having 4 students with special needs was challenging even on the best of days but more rewarding than words could describe.

* I can't control what others choose to believe even if their belief is profoundly untrue.

* Some in authority positions are not deserving of such.

* Choosing to be upfront and honest is incredibly empowering even when things don't go as planned.

* Allowing people to see your weaknesses isn't as terrifying as I have feared.

* One of my greatest strengths can also be my greatest weakness.

* Having a clear conscience and full reliance on God offers more peace than I ever imagined was attainable.

* I can't change the unfortunate circumstances in some of my students' lives but I can create a safe, loving place for them during the time that they are in my care.

* Relying on others isn't always a let-down.

* I need to let adults work out their own issues with other adults rather than trying to keep peace and attempt to make all happy. "Don't put myself out on a limb for others and chop it off behind me."

It's been a rocky year---professionally and personally but the world continues to rotate and life goes on.

Excited to see what the next chapter of life has on store.

Daily Gratitudes

Sunday, May 24th
1. Momma helping me in my classroom
2. Kind words posted on Facebook
3. Rhyder's successful potty event. lol!

Monday, May 25th
1. The sacrifice and service of so many men & women (and their families) in the armed services.
2. An enjoyable day off of work.
3. Safety of friends and family who have been in the direct line of danger of severe storms, tornados and flash flooding.
4. Yummy hot dogs and hamburgers with my mom and sister
5. Momma coming over to help connect washer and dryer.
6. Helpfulness of neighbor with connecting the dryer(!!)
7. Kaeden's sweet good-night hug

Tuesday, May 26th
1. Safety of those caught in San Marcos flooding
2. Great behavior of kiddos on a "toy day"
3. Mrs. Stuart's kind 'good morning' hug

Wednesday, May 27th
1. Rhyder's sweet little high-fives
2. Walking and talking with Kaeden
3. My momma's perception at knowing just what to say and when
4. Diane's and Sheryl's understanding at an unexpected start to the day.
5. Only 1 1/2 more days!!!

Thursday, May 28th
1. Last load of classroom moving!! Yay!!
2. Nice visit with Mrs. Asebedo, Ms. Baugh and Mrs. Blake.
3. Sheryl's help in moving furniture.
4. Beautiful lightning storm.

Friday, May 29th
1. Surviving the last day of school.
2. Thoughtful gifts from Deidra, Diane and Elva
3. Enjoyable lunch with my family
4. Potential job opportunities

Saturday, May 30th
1. Being completely through with the "leadership" at WH.
2. All items successfully fitting in my garage
3. Kindness of next door neighbors
4. Momma's chicken spaghetti
5. Afternoon of air hockey and games with Kaeden and Rhyder



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Daily Gratitudes (compiled)

Monday, May 18th
1. The ability to go to work despite such a miserable yesterday. I've never experienced the side effects of a RX being worse than what the medicine was for to begin with. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
2. Ms. S being there as Diane's sub and stepping up to help with having a good day.
3. The wondrous effects of Dramamine.

Tuesday, May 19th
1. Availability of capable substitute.
2. Kind neighbors getting needed things for me.
3. Feeling much better

Wednesday, May 20th
1. Ms. S' continued assistance.
2. Kindness and support from Mrs. Deever
3. Dinner at Sheryl's

Thursday, May 21st
1. Laughter shared with ladies in the cafeteria
2. Ability to get much of classroom packed up
3. Diane returning to work

Friday, May 22nd
1. Successful "Field Day" despite rainy day adaptations.
2. Kynleigh being able to return to class
3. Momma getting dinner for us at Golden Chick
4. Fun evening at Kaed's baseball game

Saturday, May 23rd
1. Restful day at home
2. Continuing the clean and packing of classroom
3. Momma getting me dinner at Taco Casa
4. Friendship w/ Adrian S.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Each day is an adventure

Today was an adventure. After having such an adverse reaction to the newly prescribed medicine, the day began in a sense of physical weakness and mental fog.
Thankfully, I was able to stop medicine immediately and hopefully by tomorrow, all negative side effects will be gone.

The day, for the most part, is a blur. I am so thankful that Ms. S was able to sub for Diane because her help today was immeasurable. Sweet students also graciously helped me along. I was beyond embarrassed to fall to the floor for whatever reason while Deidra was in the room(!!) I remember standing up, feeling a lil clammy, leaning forward to the cabinet then BAM! My butt hit the floor. I was able to immediately get back up but felt "off" for the remainder of the afternoon. Ugh!

The day began with the surprise appearance of "Ironman" and ended with our music teacher getting a pie in his face due to a fundraiser. Crazee but fun for the kids.

It's not even 4:30 and I'm home in my pajamas wondering if I'm even go to try to make it until the sun goes down.

Tomorrow will be a better day. :)


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fell a bit behind...

I didn't do very well at keeping up with a list of daily gratitude this past week so I'll hit the highlights.

Continued support and encouragement from school families and personnel. Even though my situation is a done deal, there is much comfort in knowing that I truly didn't do anything "wrong". A clear conscience is far more important to me than one woman's screwed up thinking and fragile ego. Though I am concerned about whatever the next step will be, I am beyond ready to leave that campus and never look back. It's sad that there are so many wonderful teachers there under such screwy campus "leadership".

After a 7 month wait, I was able to see Dr. Fowler this past week. I really liked her. She was kind-hearted, generous with her time and the nurses were fabulous. Now to find a dentist.

I had an enjoyable evening at the baseball fields with my mom, Sheryl, and the boys.

Amber and I went to a spur of the moment late night movie which was fun.

Good appointment with my lawyer. Praying that a legal ending point will be in the immediate future.

Aiden's family generously gave me their washer and dryer before they left for Ohio. Maranda and Chad graciously transported. So very blessed by kind people in my life.

I made a huge dent in the classroom moving process which is relieving.

Continued blessings of much needed rain.

Allen and Elizabeth were able to get their driving permits.

A night of giggles and a silly movie over at Sheryl's.

Kynleigh's successful surgical treatment for her broken elbow.

Meeting all financial obligations without borrowing.

A good beginning point for Trim Healthy Mama.

The opportunity to leave nothing left unsaid.

ISD payroll accomadations for the remaining paychecks.

8 1/2 more days!!



Friday, May 8, 2015

Stubbornness isn't always bad ;)

A fairly new realization sank in a bit deeper this week. For emotional support, I rely mostly, if not completely, upon the trustworthy adults that cared for me when I was a young girl---Becky & Wayne, Keith & Vickie, Randy, and David until his death.

I questioned KT about the peculiarity of that and he assured me that it wasn't strange because that's why God gives us one another.  I was forced to live in a state of alienation as a child and thought it necessary to do so for years to come. I began to step out of that mode but unwittingly began to live another phase of life in isolation because of the crippling effects of an environment shrouded by addiction. I no longer want to live that way and I won't live in a shadow of assumed shame or the darkness of secrecy any longer.

But it's harder than I imagined to rely on people without feeling like a burden or in fear that I may not be seeing the whole picture as I didn't for quite a while in my marriage.

This past year has been difficult. Blessings far outweigh the strife even though the past few weeks have been incredibly hard with the tension at work.

I often wish that I would toughen up a bit but apparently, my seemingly over-tender heart is here to stay. ALL but one individual have been so kind, encouraging and supportive. I know that this ONE individual is not being truthful. I know that the positives are bigger than the one negative view yet I've been so hurt. Frustrates me how I have allowed one person to 'rock my world'.  I've allowed her words to pierce my soul like a knife and take me down the path of recalling every negative thought I've ever had towards myself.

God tells us to "capture each thought" so that's exactly what I am doing. I am responsible for choosing what & whom to believe and I will no longer allow this feeling of weariness to take its toll. I am soft-hearted and sensitive but I am not fragile and I won't waste one more moment of this ridiculous internal battle.

So there...God-willing, the sun will come out again tomorrow and I will enjoy its beauty. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Only thing on my mind...

16 1/2 more work days. 16 1/2 more work days...
I will NOT lose my mind.
C'mon Summer 2015
Farewell to the longest.school.year.EVER!!
:) ;) :) ;)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Place that Built Me

"The House that Built Me"
(Miranda Lambert)

I know they say you can't go home again.
I just had to come back one last time.
Ma'am I know you don't know me from Adam.
But these handprints on the front steps are mine.
And up those stairs, in that little back bedroom
is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar.
And I bet you didn't know under that live oak
my favorite dog is buried in the yard.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here its like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could just come in I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory
from the house that built me...

...

You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can.
I got lost in this whole world and forgot who I am.
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here its like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could walk around I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory
from the house that built me.

For the past several years, I've had a compelling desire to return to 3 different places.

One place would be: my Grandfather's house in Emory.  My Granddaddy (my momma's daddy) is the only person that I ever witnessed my dad respect.  When he died, I was 13, and a huge part of my heart and my hope died.  He was the man I thought would always be there.  His death changed who I was and totally changed the dynamic of my family. I was beyond devastated and the hardest part was that even though others saw the depth of my grief, I couldn't explain why without feeling as if I were placing them in harm's way.  I refused to attend his funeral.  I couldn't stand the thought of going and having to role-play in the behavior that my dad would expect.  Wayne A. and Keith T. tried so hard to get me to open up but I just couldn't.  I remember the day that Keith took me the cemetery that he thought was the burial place so I could "face the reality".  The reality was that I would have given anything to show my respect to my Granddad but I couldn't on the day of the funeral.  I so wanted someone to take me to the gravesite but that would require asking something from someone and I just couldn't be what I felt like would be a burden.  Traveling to the cemetery in Emory was the 1st "independent drive" I made after getting my licence.  A nice man at the local grocery store showed me how to get there.  That would be the place during my high school years that would become a place of refuge and prayer.  Granddaddy built me, through his life and death, in more ways than I could adequately express.

The 2nd place is David's grave.  I am so drawn to there that it scares me.  I doubt that I will ever go back.  I have this irrational fear of simply laying on the ground and disintegrating---if not physically, may be emotionally.  As I stood under that awning that day and later went back as the men shoveled the dirt, my soul felt crushed and I knew that I would never be the same.  On the day of his burial was the day I realized how much I was longing for death in what I now know is termed "survivor's guilt"----seeing the families of Elaine, Gena, Robert, Scott, Randy, Kyle and the memories of Kelly were simply too much.  Something deep inside me broke that day.  I think the brokenness was necessary but it's not a place that I ever want to be again. The year following David's life no seems so surreal and I THANK GOD that my attempt to end my life was unsuccessful.  I no longer want to die. I want to live and I want to live well.  Brokenness will always be a part of who I am but God is healing me every day and turning those broken parts into blessings.

The 3rd place is Searcy.  That was home.  That was the place where I could freely be me.  I knew that my dad did not the arms to reach into the haven of Harding---the biggest reason I chose there rather than ACU, ETSU or A&M.  I eventually discovered that he did have some "holds" within the community and nearby Memphis but on campus, I was safer than I had ever been.  That is the place that "built me".  Searcy is where I:

  • ...learned that all people are infallible even those with the purest hearts and best intentions.
  • ...realized that I was way too quick to judge others and also my own worst critic and enemy.
  • ...learned that God is watching over me and not in the dictator-style leadership that I had always imagined.
  • ...worship was real and not just meeting an expectation.
  • ...learned that some people could be trusted while also learning that those who "should have been trustworthy due to their job/societal position weren't necessarily trustworthy"
  • ...learned that I could simply be me and be accepted.  Both Kara and Tommy knew me like no one ever had before and few have since.
  • ...I learned how capable my dad was of hurtful and damaging acts.  I wouldn't fully realize the extent of his poison until the year 2000.  I am so very thankful that God did allow me the instinctual knowledge to steer clear of him as much as possible even when I was a very young child.  The amount of lives that he had a hand in destroying still breaks my heart.
  • ...fell in love.  Sadly and regrettably, I destroyed that love with the intention of protection but regardless of intention, damage was done and the damage appears to be irreparable.
  • ...discovered that I was capable of taking care of myself and that my stubbornness could be both an incredible strength and weakness.
  • ...I learned how to 'handle finances'.
  • ...is where I truly learned how to enjoy myself and the people that were a part of my life
  • ...knew, without question, that some men could be trusted.  Thank you Tom M., Hugh G., a coach that I can see so clearly in my mind but his name escapes me(!!) ?Corbin?, and Bill L.  The wisdom of those men allowed me to see the goodness in other men, such as Randy, Keith, and David, that I allowed "in" only just so far.
  • ...thought would be my forever home but it eventually became a place too painful to stay.
  • ...have so many treasured memories that I will never regret though it is also the place of some of my biggest regrets.
I will go back to Searcy this summer.  I'm not sure when or for how long but I know, in my heart, that it will be incredibly therapeutic (though not necessarily easy) to go back and 'find myself' after having truly become so lost.  I can't wait to walk on the campus grass...see the dorm...smell the hay at the camp's horse stables...visit Riverside Park...see a small country church...B-Rock along with walking some trails at both Wyldewood and Harding's camp...going to the city park...the mall in Little Rock...the elementary schools that fired up the passion that had always been a part of my dreams...the movie theater...Walmart...stand inside some of the educational buildings...sit in a swing...chocolate-covered cherry blizzard at DQ...Shoney's hot fudge sundaes...the milkshake place...the truck stop with that good greasy gravy(!!)...the list of "things" is endless.  

I've been pricing cabins in Heber Springs along with hotels and I'm leaning more towards staying in Cabot. It's midway between Searcy and Little Rock.  I'm definitely taking my dog so that has to be considered.  Staying right in Searcy would be great so to have a place to go back to between whatever activities but staying a bit out of the area may be necessary so not to feel so incredibly awkward. Only 4 more weeks of school and prayerfully, all legal matters will be completed.   It is nice to have a trip to look forward to.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

Broken but Blessed

Yesterday was especially hard.
Waking up feeling cruddy for yet another day of missed work pushed every emotional button I had.

A post on Stephanie's blog today was a much needed to reminder of things I KNOW TO BE TRUE.

http://stephanieclayton.org/this-will-not-break-you-not-now-not-ever/


Last night was filled with tears of anguish along with my questioning of God about the simple plans that I've always wanted in my life resulting in seemingly unattainable dreams.

The dreams/plans I had in childhood in regards to unconditional love and safety within my family home didn't happen though I am so grateful that as an adult, my momma and my siblings are my dearest friends. I am also so thankful for God allowing David to become such an integral part of my life. From my 6th grade year until his death in 2008, he was the safe home I always longed for and hold tight to those precious memories.

My plans to graduate and immediately move from my family did become a reality though my time in Searcy didn't go as I hoped or as I planned. The day I left Searcy after college graduation remains as one of the most difficult days of my life. My return to Greenville for a year is little more than blurred memories of my broken heart.

My 1st few months of living independently in Tyler were fabulous followed by a few months of despair then "life happened" and here I sit almost 20 years later wondering what in the hell happened and why?

I may never know why but I am committed to further discovering how so to not ever duplicate the situations, scenarios and circumstances that have led to the 2nd most miserable year of my life.

In the midst of my tears and prayerful pleas last night, I felt God's tug on my heart in reminding me that my thoughts, ideas, plans are limited and steeped in a sinful world but that HIS PLANS are beyond my comprehension and are for the sake of this life and life eternal. He never promised anything would be easy.

After a fitful night of sickness and further unrest, today has been low-key and quiet. Nothing but uplifting music, silly TV shows and time spent in Scripture and prayer.

I was looking for a particular song on YouTube and came across a song sung by Miranda Lambert called "The House that Built Me".

In my next post, I will share why these lyrics touched my heart in such a way that led to a deeper understanding and a commitment for the summer time travel.


Daily Gratitudes (weekly)

Saturday, April 25th
1. A day to simply rest
2. Enjoyable time with Sheryl and Momma
3. Ease of communication with treasured friends thru texts, Facebook and email.

Sunday, April 26th
1. Safe traveling for friends and family throughout the severe weather today.
2. 100% fever-free for the first time in 6 days
3. Much-needed rain

Monday, April 27th
1. Fun evening with family at Kaed's baseball game
2. Opportunity to meet Carolyn L.
3. Pleasant conversation with Nety
4. Seeing Andrea, Kaylee, Deidra and Heather at baseball fields

Tuesday, April 28th
1. Time with Kaeden after school
2. Playing fetch with Jacks
3. Classroom filled with giggles

Wednesday, April 29th
1. Encouragement and kindness from classroom families
2. Support and prayers from Adrian S.
3. Watching the kids perform at AWANAS and receiving awards.

Thursday, April 30th
1. Graciousness of Diane and Deidra as I have yet another sick day. Beyond aggravated.
2. Jessica 'going-to-bat' for me and having my appt with the new doctor moved up a week.
3. The fact that we do have Memorial Day off of work and the last day is an early release day. I NEED this school year to be over.

Friday, May 1st
1. Gorgeous day filled with sunshine and rest
2. Completion of another work week
3. Landlords approval to improve backyard.