Flash Back Wednesday: You've Come a Long Way, Baby

In an effort to get back to writing regularly (whether or not you read this - but I'm happy if you do!), I figured I would re-publish a few older posts that seemed to really engage my readers.

I will start with a series I wrote several years ago about how far The Man Beast and I had come as a couple and a family.

Without further ado:

One Christmas, we were homeless.

It was eighteen years ago. The Boy had just turned two. My world as I knew it had just fallen apart. My folks had divorced after six years. My mom moved away and there wasn't much going for us in VA. The Man Beast and I had been together for two years and while we were deeply in love, we were still babies trying to live in a grown-up world.

It all started out innocently enough. A shut-off notice here. A burned engine there. Eviction notices bounced us from apartment to apartment. Eventually, we lived in extended stay hotels. We learned that the Salvation Army had a program for families. They provided a furnished apartment for down-on-their-luck families. The Man Beast was working at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (now Busch Gardens Europe). He was informed that he could transfer down to FL and get a job at Busch Gardens Africa (formerly The Dark Continent). We figured things were a total bust in VA, so it was worth a shot.

So, while The Boy and I were living in the Salvation Army sponsored housing, The Man Beast went down to FL to get established. The plan was he would work and get us a place to live and we'd head down there in a month.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans, right? They went south - quickly.
The Man Beast got down to FL only to find that the paperwork had failed to go through, so he was down there without a job and without a place to live.

One night, The Man Beast had decided to stay at a cheap motel. He woke up the next day to find the car broken into. All of our belongings (except for The Boy's and my clothes, which were still with us up in VA) were gone. Forever. After what little money Man Beast had run out, he lived out of the car.
He hopped from rest stop to rest stop until the cops finally told him to stop. He still did it; he just stayed out of the cops' radar.

The Man Beast eventually did get a job at Disney. He saved a bit of money to buy The Boy and I plane tickets. In the process, he became desperately sick.

Because he needed to work to make money, he muddled through working. He stopped eating because he was so sick and because he didn't have enough cash on him on a daily basis. Eventually, he saved enough money to buy two plane tickets for The Boy and myself.

A month later, The Boy and I flew down. We couldn't stay any longer in the Salvation Army sponsored apartment because I had already given notice that we were leaving. Besides, with it being the holiday season, there was a waiting list for our apartment.

I remember the afternoon we got off the plane well. We flew into Orlando on a little plane that was very crowded. I had The Boy's car seat because he was still so young. There were six other passengers on the plane. I remember trying to carry the baby, my purse, a diaper bag, and a car seat. I also remember bumping into a business lady on the plane as I was trying to exit and her giving me a dirty look.

I just wanted to cry.

It had been a month since I saw The Man Beast - the longest we'd ever been apart since we had been married. I missed him terribly and I couldn't wait to see him. When I finally did see him, I hardly recognized him. He had lost so much weight and looked very, very bad. He asked if I had any money on me and when I told him yes he said, "Let's go eat."

We had Denny's that day. It was wonderful to have the family back together again. But the feeling was short lived.

The question remained - where would our family live? The Man Beast was still living out of the car.  We obviously could not all sleep in the car (although now that everything was stolen, there was a bit more room in our two-door Dodge Shadow).

The answer was very, very bleak.

To be continued...

Until next time,

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You've Come Along Way, Baby was originally published December 2008.

If you give advice, you better be able to take it


God has an amazing sense of humor.

How do I know this? Well, I'm created in His image and I have an amazing sense of humor. (Okay, a goofy one at best). But you can't look around at all He has made and not see humor in the every day.

Today, as I was sitting in the doctor's office lobby waiting to be called for an appointment The Man Beast made for me, I had to chuckle at the irony.

Sunday, I was waxing poetic about how important it was to rest and take time for yourself and here I was, stuck in a doctor's office instead of in the classroom where I belong.

And why was I at the doctor's office you might ask? Even if you didn't ask, I'm going to tell you anyway (I'm in a bit of a salty mood today - can you tell?)

I was in the doctor's office because I. Don't. Take. Care. Of. Myself.

Oh, how ironic that sentence is!

To exactly explain why I was at the doctor's office on a Tuesday morning, I perhaps have to go back a  month.

We were at an away high school football game. It was the first half-time show Baby Girl would be performing in as a member of color guard and The Man Beast and I were very excited to watch her perform.

Right after the show, The Man Beast couldn't take the hard stadium seats any longer and had to go rest in the van. This was fine. I saved a seat for Baby Girl as she grabbed her dinner and sat by me and hungrily wolfed down her meal while we watched the third quarter of the game.

She had to go back to join her pack, so I sat watching the game, hunched over, because my back hurt, too.

All of the sudden, I had a huge sharp pain in my gut that wouldn't quit! I tried to sit up straight and it still hurt. I tried to stand and I couldn't stand up all the way! I decided to make my way to the van with TMB and had one heck of a time walking around the stadium to where our van was parked.

(TMB had pulled the van to the back so he could pick up BG at the high school band trailer.)

Y'all, I was in so much pain, I was hunched over in tears. We got home (2 hour drive) and as soon as I got into the house, I put on my PJ's and crawled into bed. I spent the rest of the weekend on the couch, wiped out.

Fast forward to this past weekend and while I didn't travel out of town, I experienced the same pain. I spent the weekend in pain but suffered. After all, if it went away the first time, it would go away again, right?

No.

I was in so much pain last night that I logged in to request a sub. I was working from home this morning before the doctor's office visit and it was then that I found the humor in my situation.

No, not that I was in pain (that kind of pain is no laughing matter!) But just the fact that I was taking a day off work to go a doctor that I probably should have seen a month ago. Me being me, I didn't. While I did initiate the visit by requesting a sub, it wasn't until TMB physically made my appointment that I went. Last time I needed to go to the doctor and wouldn't go, I had shingles. And yes, TMB made that appointment as well.

Are you seeing a trend? (Hint: If it weren't for The Man Beast, I probably wouldn't take care of myself.

And ya know what? I gotta change that. My advice yesterday was sound. It was good. And if was good yesterday and good for you, it's good for me, too.

So today, I said, "Yes!" to myself. After I came home from my doctor's appointment, I contemplated going into work. However, the sub was already there and my sick day was already used up, so I decided to work from home on paperwork. Yes, technically, I wasn't staying home and resting, but I was staying on my couch where I was comfortable. And I did have to go in this afternoon for a meeting, but I chose to leave (with permission) and not stay for a back to school night for parents.

And because I said, "Yes":  I was able to take my medicine so that it could begin healing me. I was able to spend time with The Man Beast for awhile. And bonus! I got to visit with my wonderful mother-in-law (yes, really!)

As I wind down this blog post, it is nearing 9 o'clock. I will publish this and share it and then I will shut down the laptop. I will go and wash my face (a step I often forget - or choose not to do), crawl into bed and read before turning out the light and falling asleep before 10 o'clock.

Tonight, I will say, "Yes" to myself so that I can set myself up for a better tomorrow.

Until next time,
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What are Mondays to you?

I frequent Facebook (a lot more than I should) and I'm often entertained by the fodder I find. (I totally just Googled "fodder" because I wanted to make sure I was using the word correctly). Don't get me wrong...there is tons of great material on Facebook: good news, pictures, proposals, new babies, recipes, praises, and yes - even prayer requests.

But you have to admit: Facebook can be a huge timesuck and very little value comes from it. This subject is a different post entirely, so I'll stick with the subject at hand: Mondays.

What is a better depiction for Mondays for you:



Sunday night, you are guaranteed to see more images like the first graphic. When Sunday starts feeling like Monday. Monday Eve. In short, miserable.

But on occasion, I will see graphics like the second one. I like seeing those.

Don't get me wrong. I don't like Mondays (and I don't love them, either). Mondays for me mean getting up early after sleeping in late(er) on the weekends. It means dressing in work clothes instead of lounging in PJs on a Sunday. It means facing any number of challenges that I have no way to prepare.

But...

I like the idea of turning Monday on its ear and thinking about it in a different way. Monday is a chance at a new week. Many diets start on Monday. Many do-overs start on Monday, too. It's a chance to tackle that next project or set some new goals. And how many paper planner people (say that three times super fast!) love when the first day of the month begins on a Monday?

Mondays have their merit. Perhaps Monday gets a super bad rap? Friday is definitely the favorite child of the week. Monday is "meh".

I challenge you - I'm challenging me - to think about Mondays differently from now on. Think of one thing positive about Monday. Hey, to get you started - how many more Mondays until Christmas Eve? Or Fall Break?

Hey...I'm all about starting with the little things.

Until next time,
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A Day of Rest

Once again, it's been a good, long while since I've posted. I'm going to say I'm going to try to get better, but as the wise Yoda says: "Do or do not. There is no try." So, I guess if the Great Master Jedi is to be believed, I'll just do it; or I won't. Let's hope for the former, shall we?

School has been in session for 6 weeks (7 for teachers). The start of this year has been...interesting. I had hoped that in Year 6, things would get to be routine and things would just naturally "flow". What I've discovered, however, is that in education - nothing is routine and nothing has a natural flow to it (unless you count the unexpected as the natural - perhaps this is only true for special education educators?)

Baby Girl (I really must think of a different moniker for her since she turned 17 last month) has begun her senior year of school and has already experienced many, many firsts (and lasts). After two years of prodding, she has tried out for and made the cut for auxiliaries. She is in color guard and really enjoys it. Parents and other supporters have yet to see the full show, but it promises to be quite spectacular.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on my personal Facebook page that Baby Girl's boyfriend asked her to the Homecoming Dance! She accepted, so we're gearing up for that big day (this Saturday!) She and I went out last weekend, looking for a dress. In less than four hours and just three stores, we found it. Furthermore, it was on sale, I had a mystery coupon for 50% off and I had a $10 rewards. When we left the store, we paid a grand total of $8.08 for a $90 dress!

After we left the department store, we headed over to the shoe store and got some red suede heels for $15. I can't show pictures yet because The Boyfriend hasn't seen her dressed up yet. It's got to be a surprise to get the full impact.

I was gone to a conference up in Decatur all this week. I was able to connect with a lot of fellow Georgia educators and I learned a lot. Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence cut our trip short since so many participants were flying in from out of state. Luckily, Florence made a last minute turn and my area of Georgia wasn't impacted. Unfortunately, areas of North Carolina were heavily impacted with flooding and even a few casualties.

Sundays are usually lazy days for me. This weekend, Saturday and Sunday were lazy days for me. But I'm not going to apologize for resting.

I posted this in response to the above graphic I posted on my personal Facebook page:
Speaking to my educator colleagues, especially: we are very much Type A perfectionists. We love our kids and want to do what is best for them. Maybe as women, we are all like this - nurterers to a fault. Or perhaps we feell less than worthy so we have something to prove? But the oxygen mask theory is correct: you have to put your own on before you help others (kids, students, husband's, coworkers, friends...)
Why is this such a hard concept for us to not only believe but adopt?

Luke: I don't believe it.
Yoda: This is why you fail.
(Don't ask me why I'm on such a Star Wars geek kick! It fits my message, alright?!?!😆)

Do men have this issue? My husband, who happens to be a perfectionist, doesn't seem to have this problem. He rests when he needs to rest. My animals don't have a problem. If they are tired, they sleep. Of course, I'm not comparing us (or my husband) to animals, but nature in general. All of God's creation rests when they need to rest. They listen to their bodies and they just do it. (Uh oh, Nike reference...)

My SIL, who has gone through several surgeries and rapid weight loss posted pictures on Facebook today about her scars and loose skin. All of her friends were naturally supportive of her body and all commended her on how far she'd come. (And the fact that she was alive when she shouldn't even be here is a big deal!) But I had to chime in. I don't always chime in on her posts, but I read them. This issue was deep in my heart this morning - partly because I posted the above graphic and partly because I just got finished reviewing a pre-ordered copy of a book by CA Maljavac.

Celebrating who we are. Celebrating how far we've come. Resting when we need to rest. These are all ideas that have been on my mind and I shared them with my SIL. I told her that her scars weren't as bad as she thought they were and they shared a story of what she'd gone through and how far she'd come. They were to be celebrated. Her body as a whole should be celebrated. I told her that I was speaking to myself as much as I was speaking to her.

And now I'm speaking to you. Please take this Sunday to reflect and rest. Reflect on where you are and how far you've come. I don't know what you've been through but I know you've been through something. Everybody goes through something and it's that something that makes us stronger. Recognize that. If you're a Christ follower and you're reading this, God has brought you through it. Whether you're a Christ follower, a Christ shadow-er or you don't know Christ at all, He is always with you. Always. Have you ever wondered how in the world you survived (emotionally or physically) some of the stuff you've been through? It's Him.

Yes, I totally use current pop culture to get my point across - don't you?


Rest. Were you in the path of the storm? If you were and you have flooding, I pray that you're able to get semblance back to your "normal" soon. I pray no one was hurt and whatever was lost can be rebuilt.

If you weren't in the path of the storm, rest today. Who knows what the week will bring. And for any of my educator friends or moms or women out there (and maybe a few men): if you're tired, please take time for yourself. Even if you aren't tired, rest anyway. Rejuvenate.  I don't know a lot but I know that no one is going to look after you and tell you to rest. No human form. Oh, wait. I just did.

What I mean is that no one is following you around to give you advice. "You look tired. You should rest." "Did you sleep well last night?" "Make sure you get to bed on time tonight so you can get enough sleep for tomorrow." "You're a little snappy at [fill in the blank]. Maybe you should [fill in the blank]."

No one is going to do that for you. So you need to do that for you. Your body will thank you. And the world will not cease spinning if you take some time for yourself. In fact, I can almost guarantee if you make self-care a practice, you will find yourself being better. A better educator. A better mom. A better woman. A better wife. A better friend. A better human.

Rest does a body good. So go do it!
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