Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Y'all, sometimes my kids make my heart want to burst with pride and happiness. I received a picture as a gift from one of our Sped students. It's sweet- a rainbow that reads "to my Ms." I hung it on the board and its received a lot of attention.

Then, during my science Olympiad practice, we were discussing competition etiquette and the importance of being polite not just in the event rooms, but in the hallways, bathrooms, and all areas of the competition. I let my "veteran" 8th graders talk to my 6 and 7 graders about what a competition with people from all 50 states looks like, the cultural and social differences (not to mention that their southern accents will most certainly draw attention), sportsmanship, and other things. I have rarely been so proud. They discussed how to properly greet a judge, reviewed handshakes, eye contact, you name it.

For some of these kids, a trip to the northern US is a first. For some of them, even traveling more than 60 mile from home is a first. We live in an ocean-front state and many of my kids have never been to the beach. So this is a really, really big deal. It's exciting and terrifying.

Most special to me of all though were the lessons on how to treat people with compassion. Mental and physical disabilities and deformities were discussed with a sensitivity I couldn't have expected. After a long day, this heartwarming practice and sunshiny picture were just what a teacher needs.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Happy, Healthy, Safe

Very nearly a year ago, I was discovering that my childhood prayer ending wasn't working out so well for me.  My brothers and I had always added this tidbit to the end of our prayers,

"And God bless (insert names), our family names, and keep us happy, healthy, and safe. Amen."

I was safe, sure.  I was supported by some extremely wonderful friends.  I still don't know how my karma allowed me to have multiple people in my life that are there every. single. time. I was loved and encouraged by my family.  I still didn't have a church home.  I was definitely not happy.  And I'd gained something like 65 pounds in nearly two miserable years of teaching and eating my feelings.  So, er, not particularly healthy, though I did exercise regularly.

I felt like dirt, y'all.  I felt like dirt every single day, and my doctors had told me that I could expect to feel like dirt every single day for the rest of my life.  I'd come to accept it- that I'd be taking hardcore acid reflux medications 3x a day for eternity, that I'd have persistent headaches and migraines, that I'd still need to supplement with other meds to get me through, and that my immune system was and always would be unable to fight infection the way a normal person's would.

As I was surfing through Pinterest and the blog-o-sphere, I stumbled across this idea that what you eat could improve your reflux symptoms.  Well, duh! The doctors told me to avoid certain things (like anything with tomatoes, or soda).  I could pretty much guarantee that I'd either yak or be miserable for hours after eating something with marinara sauce...   But this was on a whole new level.  I hated my body, and I hated feeling sick all the time, so I took the gamble.  I did lots and lots .... and lots of research, and decided that it didn't look like anything that could hurt me long-term if I just tried it out for a little while.

I started making little changes.  I moved over the summer and joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) for myself, instead of just mooching Mom's veggies when I was home.  I tried to avoid eating frozen meals from the grocery store (like lunches and dinners).  That was about it for the first few months.  Over the summer, there weren't a lot of external changes to my body.

I started to get a little happier.  I tried cooking lots of new, different things, and found that I really enjoy cooking.  It doesn't stress me out, and I like the adventure and the challenge of a new recipe.  My hair got soo shiny.  I was able to wean off of one of my 3x/ day reflux doses, and I was no longer feeling like yakking.  These changes were enough to prompt me to continue my research, my studying, and my determination of what was best FOR ME.  I lost a few pounds, but not many, in those first months as I was learning.

And so began the CLEAN EATING CHRONICLES.  I want to share with y'all this 'diet' that I'm on, what I've done, how it's possible, practical, economical, time-savvy, and how I absolutely am not dieting, eat whatever I want whenever I want it, and have learned to keep my family happier and healthier.  As time goes on, I'd love to continue to share this with y'all, and I'd love for you to ask me questions and share your successes and failures with me.

Lord, please keep us happy and healthy and safe.  Amen.