Anxiety, Be Kind, Being Strong, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Emotions, Fear, Happiness, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Kindness, Loneliness, Love, Loyalty, Make a Difference, Misconceptions, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Thankfulness, Uncategorized, Understanding

You Don’t Always Have to Be Strong

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain lately.  It’s really heartbreaking for their families, and leaves so many unanswered questions, but it seems that only when something like this happens do we really understand how much pain (emotional or physical) someone may have.  Of course, it’s too late to help them at that point, but how do we help someone who is hiding their pain from those they love? How do we know?  Some people love playing “the victim,” and love getting the attention that goes along with that.  Others of us, however, don’t want to be a burden on those we love.

My daughter had a friend who committed suicide a few years ago.  They were very close in high school, and then this friend ended up pushing away my daughter, along with a lot of other people who had been her friends.  Of course, it makes sense why she pushed everyone away now, but at the time, how could anyone know that she was hurting so much?  She pushed people away with meanness and made them not want to be with her.  I guess in her way, she was trying to protect them from the pain she knew she may eventually put them through.  Even when it happened, my daughter was not mad at her.  She hurt for her.  She still loved her.  She understood then that her friend had needed help, and didn’t know how to ask for it.

We all need help from time to time.

Last summer, I found myself in a dark place.  I was not suicidal, but I was sad.  I was afraid.  I was hurting.  And I was feeling a lot of pressure from so many different places.  I had been diagnosed with a medical condition that will be with me for the rest of my life.  I was alone when I got this diagnosis because my husband was in New York with his family.  I had recently been terribly hurt by some people I really cared about. I had no idea how I was going to handle another year of teaching with this type of medical diagnosis.  I was bogged down with some very difficult, important paperwork that was pushing me to my limit.  I was overwhelmed, alone, confused, sad, and hurting a lot.  I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to disappear for awhile.  I laid down on the kitchen floor, and cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And finally a calmness came over me, and I got up and finished my paperwork that had been frustrating me so much.  I was still upset and alone, mad and frustrated, but I knew I had to pull myself together to keep going.  It didn’t matter what anyone else thought of me, or how anyone was trying to hurt me.  I had to keep at the paperwork, no matter how confusing and difficult it was.  Al would be home in a few days and we could begin exploring our medical options, and he would be home to comfort me.  It would all be okay.  I was entitled to a meltdown for all I was dealing with.  But I had to get up and face these obstacles.  I had to be strong for my husband and my children.  I couldn’t disappear.

Al and I had a discussion earlier tonight about how when either of us is hurting or sick, we try not to let the other one see how much we’re suffering.  We try to protect each other, even through our own pain.  I didn’t tell Al about my major meltdown last summer until recently.  I didn’t want to worry him, or put any added stress on him.  He worries enough about me….why cause him to worry more?  Why cause him added pain?  When he is sick, he tries to conceal how bad he feels so I won’t worry.  It hurts to see your partner hurt.  We are strong for each other, but we also know that sometimes we can’t handle everything alone, whether it’s a physical illness or a giant weight on our shoulders.  We need help from each other.  We don’t have to do it alone, and it has taken me awhile to learn this.  It isn’t something I’ve been used to.

Those people who are in so much pain that they take their own lives, aren’t trying to hurt anyone else.  So many times they have been protecting their loved ones for so long it becomes too heavy of a burden to carry.  They’ve had to be strong for everyone while they hurt.  They’re really quite selfless, even though some will argue just the opposite.  They’re funny, compassionate, and caring, but they have hidden their own feelings in order to protect those they love.  We know to take care of those who ask for help.  But let’s take care of those who seem strong too.  Let’s be there for the ones who always seem to be there for everyone else.  Let’s be there for the ones who start isolating themselves, even if they don’t want us.  Let’s be there for the ones who make us laugh when we want to cry.  Let’s be there for the ones who say, “I’m fine.”  They may be the ones who are suffering the most, and don’t know how to ask for help.  We are all human, and every human needs help at some point in their lives.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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Acceptance, Attention Whores, Be Kind, Bullying, Doing your best, Egos, Get Over Yourself, Kindness, Manipulation, Manners, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Uncategorized

Being the Bigger Person

Do you ever get tired of doing the right thing?  I know people who never do the right thing….ever….and they don’t care.  I don’t always do the right thing (no human does), but I try.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes!  I had parents who had a way of making me feel guilty if I were rude, mean, unkind, disrespectful, or ungrateful…..not being nice……not doing the right thing.  Still, from the grave, they have a way of “guilting” me into doing the right thing! You know, they were good parents, and gave me a conscience!

I know people who don’t give a damn if they don’t give someone the time of day.  In fact, they’re so selfish, spoiled, and narcissistic, that they don’t understand why everyone isn’t falling all over them.  They love being adored, and it doesn’t matter who they step on to get that adoration.  If I knew that I was hurting someone by being unfair or unkind, I would feel horrible!  I teach my little 1st graders to be nice, and I am notorious for saying, “Hey guys, we don’t treat each other that way.”  When I see adults being petty, selfish, jealous, judgmental, and hurtful, I’m taken back to my adolescent days with mean girls.  Even men can have those “mean girl” moments!  They become masters of manipulation to get others to fall into their games.  It’s a selfishness really, and a fear of not being the center of attention.  I guess I’m not like that because I’m secure enough that I don’t feel the need to be the center of attention!  So….is their meanness and selfishness really a sign of insecurity?  A fear of not being popular?  Or is it a fear of not having control over situations and other people?

I’ve worked with people who have passed me in the hallways as if I’m invisible.  It’s an odd feeling, and I always think to myself that they are so incredibly full of themselves that they are too good to even nod, smile, or say, “hello.”  This is America, and Americans pride themselves on being friendly and helpful, so why are they so rude?  Depending on my mood, I might smile and say loudly in their direction, “HI!  HOW ARE YOU?” This usually startles them, makes them feel a little embarrassed, and they’ll respond to me.  Other times, they’ll look at me like I’ve lost my mind, and ignore me anyway.  That’s actually kind of fun sometimes…….scaring them with friendliness!  But I guess that’s just my twisted sense of humor…….I just tell myself I did the right thing.  I made the effort to be friendly and nice.  Once, when I was at a new school, I had a teacher from a different grade level tell me she would have been nicer to me if she had realized I was a fellow teacher!  So….she didn’t have to be nice or respectful to me if I were a paraprofessional? A custodian?  Or a substitute?  Or a parent?  One thing I will not be accused of is being a snob!  I will treat everyone with the same respect.

Sometimes it just gets old.  Sometimes I don’t want to be the bigger person.  Sometimes no matter how kind or generous you are to someone, they will never like you or give you the time of day, or reciprocate your kindness.  Ever.  But don’t let their insecurities and selfishness overcome your kindness and spirit of generosity.  If you are rejected repeatedly, you don’t have to keep being the bigger person.  It’s exhausting, and can be detrimental to your self esteem and your heart (if it’s someone you care about).  There’s a saying that goes, “When people treat you like they don’t care, believe them.”  There are people who don’t deserve an ounce of kindness from you if they are cruel or mean to you.  You don’t have to always be the bigger person.  This is something I am getting better at.  I can be polite, but I don’t always have to be the one to risk the rejection of cold hearted people who don’t care about me anyway!  Although, it’s still sometimes fun to startle them, with friendliness when they aren’t expecting it!  Hehe.

Be Happy, Be Kind, Kindness, Love, Loyalty, Married to My Best Friend, Relationships, Togetherness, Uncategorized, Weddings

My Royal Wedding

Watching the wedding of Harry and Meghan this weekend really made me think about weddings and relationships.  I’ve never been a fan of big weddings because I feel like it takes away from what the true meaning should be. It shouldn’t be a production or a show, but sweet and personal.  Big weddings are usually beautiful and all, but it just isn’t my thing.

My own wedding to Al two and a half years ago was perfect…..for us.  We had both been through some pretty dark times with our health and other relationships.  The combination of the two of us going through so much separately, and then facing some rough times together, showed us that we are much stronger together, and that it really is a great thing to go through life with your best friend.  There we were in a park in New Orleans, with a minister, his wife, a few squirrels, and the beauty of nature all around us.  No, not in a church, but it felt pretty heavenly in that setting!  My emotions were in full swing!  Yes, I cried through the whole thing!  Happy tears!  Tears of joy!  I was so happy, and feeling every vow we spoke, coming straight from our hearts.  No choir, no family, no bridesmaids, groomsmen, no flower girls, no ring bearers, no friends, and no added stress.  It was all about us, and making our promises to each other…..no other fuss.  We even got a little laugh in when the minister asked if anyone had any objections….”speak now, or forever hold your peace,”……….no, not even the squirrels could deny us this happiness!  Neither of us were a bit nervous.  We knew we were doing the right thing, and the timing was finally right for us.

Big weddings, small weddings,  weddings in a church, on a cruise ship, a wheat field, a judge’s office, a forest, a castle……it doesn’t matter.  Whatever works for you, and how you want to handle it, is all that matters.  What happens afterwards is really where it counts!  My children have accepted Al, and love him for how happy he makes me.  He loves my children, and I love his too.  As long as we are happy, and are there for each other “in sickness and in health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer,” protecting and defending each other through anything and everything, then it can work, no matter what obstacles.  There are days when I actually think back about those vows, and how I meant every word of them.  My marriage and my loyalty and love for Al mean more every day.  I try to spoil him as much as I can because I always want him to know that he deserves the best I have to give.  And he’s pretty good about returning that, by spoiling me too.

We may not have a castle, or a lot of money, but we have each other, and we are blessed to have that. Love, laughter, selflessness, sincerity, and true friendship……that is what really matters…..til death do us part.

Anger, Back to School, Christianity, Don't Judge, Education, Fake Christians, Gun Control, Lies, Making Excuses, Respect, Respecting our Educators, School Shootings, Taking responsibility, Uncategorized

No, We Have NOT Taken God Out of Our Schools!

Well, I may make a few enemies with this post, but I’ve had enough.  Every now and then, I see a post on social media about how schools have “removed God.”  This is complete and utter nonsense!  I’ve also noticed that the people who post that garbage are the people who DON’T work in schools, and have no idea!  Oh, and the most recent statement I saw was in response to the latest school shooting…..give me a break!

First of all, there is no law saying you can’t pray in school, or mention God.  None.  The law states that you cannot force anyone else to pray the way you pray, and educators can’t inflict their beliefs on their students.  I’ve taught in public and private schools in several states, and have witnessed with my own eyes and ears how much God is present in our schools, through the people who work there, and the students they teach.  I see teachers bow their heads in prayer.  I hear teachers say, “God is good!” or “Praise God!” or “Thank you, Jesus!” on a daily basis.  Frankly, if someone were forcing me to pray like them, I would be very unhappy.  My relationship with God is MY business.  I’ll pray the way I choose, and when and where I choose, which is exactly the reason for the law.  Even Christians differ on how they worship.  No one should be forced to do anything when it comes to religion.  I have seen teachers hold hands and pray together, form Bible study groups, and offer prayers to co-workers, students, and families.  I’ve also witnessed prayers around the flag pole, music programs which featured hymns, and silent prayers for veterans, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and tragedies our country has dealt with.  How is that removing God from our schools?

I never remember people praying in school when I was growing up.  Maybe they were quieter about it, but I don’t remember seeing it or hearing about it.  So when did we exactly “remove” God from our schools?  I see and hear more about faith and religion in schools more now than I ever did as a child.  My children were members of FCA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes when they were in high school (actually, I think my daughter went for the free food, since she wasn’t exactly athletic).  That didn’t exist when I was in school.  I am familiar with at least one public high school that taught a Biblical history class in recent years.  How is that removing God from our schools?

Another famous falsehood that circulates throughout social media is that schools no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance.  We don’t???  Again, this infuriates me because it’s completely false, and comes from people who have no clue what they’re talking about.  Yes, we say, “One nation, under God….” EVERY day!  The only students I’ve ever taught who didn’t say it were the Jehovah’s Witness students.  They pledge allegiance to God, not the flag, and most of the ones I have taught have been instructed by their parents to be respectful, but are not required to say it…..and it has never been an issue, so why should it be an issue for anyone else now?  We’ve respected their rights, which is exactly what we should be doing for everyone.  “One nation, under God….” How is that removing God from our schools?

By claiming that we have removed God and prayer from the schools shows very little faith on the part of the idiots saying it.  I mean, if you are true Christians, does that mean you are able to just leave that part of yourself at the front door while you enter public buildings?  Isn’t Christianity a way of being?  A way of life?  A commitment everywhere you go, and how you love and treat others?  Aren’t you supposed to be a reflection of God’s love?  Then how do you just take off that hat and leave it at the door?  Statements like that make you appear very uninformed about not only what goes on in our schools, but also about what it is to be a Christian.  I don’t think it’s that easy to take Christianity out of someone who is a true believer, and lives their lives according to the Bible.  Actually, I know a few atheists and agnostics who are more in tune than some self proclaimed Christians!  Doesn’t make you look like you are very dedicated to your own faith, now does it?

Instead of placing blame for school shootings on the lack of prayer (even though you’re free to pray wherever you like!), why not look at the combination of so many other things?  Parents on drugs or in jail,  poverty, lack of parental involvement, the availability to mental health care, gun laws that need to be updated according to our current needs, etc.  To invent a reason such as no prayer in schools, is like saying the shooting happened because we started singing show tunes every day to start the day….it simply isn’t true, and is ridiculous!  And I’m sick of it!

Stop blaming the schools!  Stop spreading untruths on social media on this subject!  Before stating something you think is fact, why not ask someone who does know?  Better yet, how about YOU go volunteer in the schools, and see what actually goes on?  Then, you’ll be free to form an educated opinion!

 

 

Acceptance, Be Kind, Egos, Insensitivity, Karma, Kindness, Lies, Manipulation, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, That's life, Uncategorized

Here Comes the Karma Bus!

I’ve always been a believer in karma.  Some people don’t believe in it, and that’s okay for them, but I’ve seen it too many times to dispute it in my life.  If you do good things, good things will come back to you.  Just as, if you lie, cheat, and steal, it will come back to you. Sometimes we have to go through some very rough times before we feel the effects of karma, but it’s usually quite satisfying when we finally see it pan out!

I’ve known people who have had their hearts broken, and they claim they did all the right things.  They treated their former partner with respect, spoiled them, doted on them, etc.  Now usually, a breakup is a two way street, but occasionally, it is true that one person gives more, and gets taken advantage of.  They can’t understand why things didn’t work out when they were doing all the right things.  Well, of course, it’s a life lesson, but the “karma bus” will most definitely catch up to the one who did the hurting!  It may take time, but I believe it will happen.  And, the one who got hurt usually ends up with someone a lot more suited for their personality and needs….someone who treats them with respect and reciprocates the good care they have given.  Soooooo….karma has come back to them in a positive way.  It works both ways.

If someone has been a liar and cheat for most of their lives, it’s not usually an easily broken habit.  They get away with it for as long as they can, and when it catches up to them, they still don’t take responsibility for their dishonesty.  In their minds, it will always be someone else’s fault.  There are people in this world who make a living cheating others….their spouses, neighbors, family, customers, the government….  They’re greedy, arrogant, lying cheaters.  Instead of compromise, they tend to bully their way through life, using money to get their way.  And when called out and proven that they’re in the wrong, they still refuse to admit it…..didn’t happen….fake news……  They’re somehow above the rest of us who have tried to do the right things, and they continue their shady ways.  Don’t worry…..karma will catch up to them.

I try to always be nice and understanding to people.  I make mistakes, just like everyone else, but I try to remedy it in my actions every day.  I’ve always believed that if you are kind and nice, warm and friendly, generous and compassionate, you will get that in return.  Not everyone treats me the way I’ve treated them, and it really does hurt.  That’s when I tell myself that I have to step back and try not to care about their poor treatment.  Their karma will get them just as mine will reward me.  I’ve made a point to “be the bigger person” so many times.  It sometimes sucks (a lot!), and I admit, I get tired of it.  I have done things for people who I know will never treat me with the same kindness and respect.  Sometimes I have to protect myself and just walk away…..no hate or anger….just self preservation.  Karma can take care of that too!

Be good to people.  Be good to those who are good to you.  To the liars, cheaters, arrogant people and meanies….sit back, rev up the engine on the karma bus, and watch what happens.  Let karma take care of it.

Be Happy, Be Kind, Comfort, Family, Kindness, Mother, Mother's Day, Relationships, Uncategorized

Celebrating Our Mothers

Mother’s Day….that bittersweet day for those of us who no longer have a mother here on Earth.  It’s a beautiful thing to celebrate our mothers….even if they are no longer with us.  There are also mother figures we can celebrate.  No one can ever take the place of our mothers, but we should consider ourselves blessed to have female friends who are there to love, guide, and protect us.

I have several female friends who I know I can reach out to for advice, a good laugh, a cry, or just to vent, and I love them for that.  They’ve come into my life at different times, when I had different needs, but they’ve remained….as part of my circle of support. They live all over the country, but I know I can pick up the phone right now, and they would be there for me.  We may have sisters, aunts, or cousins who can also be mother figures to us.

What about the single fathers out there who have no partner to help?  They deserve to be recognized as well, for being both mother and father!

While I’ve never met my ex husband’s current wife, and I doubt we would be friends, I am grateful that she seems to love and care about my children.  I know that I am their mother, and no one will ever replace me.  But why would I deny my children the opportunity of receiving more love and friendship?  Just as my husband is a very loving, supportive friend to my children, we are secure enough to know we can’t be replaced.  The more love for them, the better! You can never have enough, and my children deserve that!  But I will always be the only mother they have.

So yes, this holiday is a little rough for me.  I do the best I can, even though there are always a few tears, while I miss my mama.  I will get through it, and I will enjoy hearing from my three “babies” that day.  It’s a day worth celebrating, and showing the women in our lives how much we appreciate them.  Let’s celebrate the women we love (and who love us) this Mother’s Day….our mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, step-mothers, friends…..whether they are still with us or not……whether they have children of their own or not.  The nurturing we do for one another is priceless.

To all of my female friends and family…..happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

Art, Be Happy, Crawfish Festival, Happiness, Life Happens.....Make the Best Of It!, Misconceptions, Pensacola, Pensacola Lighthouse Museum, Thankfulness, Togetherness, Uncategorized

Appreciating Your Surroundings

It sure was a beautiful weekend here last weekend!  Because I’ve been really stressed lately, I needed the weekend in a big way!  Al and I don’t get to see each other for more than a couple of hours each day during the week because of our work schedules, and sometimes he works on Saturdays, so it felt like we hadn’t really had a chance to talk about much lately.  We spent Saturday downtown, where it seemed that everyone and their dog  were also out and about (seriously…..there are dogs EVERYWHERE downtown, and I love it!)!  It was busy with graduations, the Crawfish Festival, Cinco de Mayo celebrations, farmers’ market, and  people out just enjoying the beautiful weather!  It was nice to see so many people enjoying the festivities.

We walked, and talked a lot, and of course, when we are together, there’s always a lot of laughter and affection.  We started by cruising through the farmers’ market, which is weekly, and we have a our favorite vendors we like.  We sat at the Crawfish Festival, listening to the music, watching the people, talking to new people, and enjoying the food.  There was an abundance of delicious items, besides the “mudbugs” (crawfish, for those of you who aren’t familiar with that term)….shrimp, alligator, oysters, shark, chicken, gumbo, etouffee, rice and beans, paella, etc.  Then we walked through downtown, and stopped off at a few places along the way, just enjoying each other’s company.

This part of Florida has a hillbilly reputation…..some of it earned, but some of that label is unfair.  Pensacola has rich history.  Did you know that it even predates Jamestown and St. Augustine?  We have historical museums, art museums, the Naval History Museum and Lighthouse, Fort Pickens (where Geronimo was held when our government was relocating/imprisoning Native Americans), GREAT food, dolphin cruises, fishing excursions, entertainment, and shopping…..oh, and don’t forget the beautiful beaches (some of the best in the world), and water sports.  Every weekend, all year long, it seems that there is some sort of festival going on (usually free) from Destin to Pensacola.  Whether it’s seafood, art, jazz, Gallery Night, or a cultural festival, there always seems to be something happening, and you can experience it on a budget.  We also have minor league baseball and hockey teams.

No, we aren’t Miami or New York, but that’s okay.  If we wanted that, we could go there.  Those places are fun to visit, and have great energy, but the pace of life here is a lot more agreeable to our lifestyle now.  We have what we need, and enjoy our peace and quiet as well.  We can relax on the beach, or stay busy in town.  We can appreciate our life here, and make the most of what it offers.  We love good weather, and we have over 300 days of sunshine a year…..as Al says, “You can’t beat that!” I’ve been fortunate to live in a lot of different places in my life, and I have appreciated each one for everything it offers.  Take the time to learn about your surroundings.  Appreciate the history, food, culture, and weather.  Even though I have to deal with the lizards, frogs, snakes, and bears, I do like it here, and I get to be here with my best friend.  Will we stay here forever? Who knows?  But for now, this works for us.