teach. pray. - The Anxiety of Success

The word success and I have always had a complicated relationship. For as far back as I can remember, my family drilled in my head that success equated money. Success most likely equated money because my family was poor, although, my family crossed the line to middle-class when my mom went from a textile factory worker to a graphic designer for that textile factory. Lucky for us, my mom had some mad art skills. But, even then, we were bottom end middle-class, one paycheck away from poor, because, from the time I was seven, until pretty much all of my young life, my mom was a single parent, or she was the primary financial provider. Therefore, conversations about money, budgeting, and the cost of living were always being had. To this day, I cringe hearing any phrase relatively close to, "Oh, that cost some money." On a more positive note, I'm a queen at budgeting and at maintaining minimal debt.   Success , in turn, has always meant credentials, job security, and money,

teach. run. pray. - Cyclone of Tears

Tis the day before Thanksgiving and all around are families baking and cooking for a day full of feasting-except moi. I haven't even showered or gotten out of my pajamas, and though that may sound nice to some, it really isn't as nice as it sounds. I've spent an entire day doing homework for my graduate class. Yesterday, I spent the evening cleaning because there just hasn't been time for that. No Thanksgiving prep going on over here. Here's the thing, I'm kind of sad about the lack of festive activity, yet at the same time, I'm grateful because it has allowed me time to do some homework which I desperately needed. And, now that I've gotten myself at a good stopping point, I can do something I've desperately missed-writing to the world. The past six months have been nothing short of an emotionally charged cyclone. A cyclone only God alone could create. A cyclone only God could pull me out of. This moment of stillness I'm sitting in is one of

teach. pray. - Why, God?

Why was it me to never say goodbye to my mother. Why was it me for her to go to a better place Why was it me to never say goodbye -By one of my fifth-grade students Sometimes life ain't right. And, you say Why God? Sometimes you do bad stuff. And, you say Why God? Sometimes your loved ones die. And, you say Why God? Sometimes war happens. And, you say Why God? Sometimes you get in a wreck. And, you say  Why God? -Excerpt from a poem by one of my fifth-grade students Today, my students were given an opportunity to share emotions and feelings through poetry. They were given a chance for their voice to be heard. With this chance, every single one of them chose courage and vulnerability. Every single one of them chose a little piece of their heart to share. Some shared surface layer facts about themselves. Many shared really personal, heartwrenching facts about themselves. Two common themes kept recurring:  These kids are

pray. - "Between A Rock and A Hard Place"

A few days ago someone posted this to Facebook. I looked at it. I read it. And, the first thought that came to my  mind was, "But, what if you have nothing left to give?" On that day and in that moment, all I could think was, "I have given it all, and I have nothing left to give." It was a day of great exhaustion. It was a day I broke down in tears and told my husband I felt empty. I'm sensitive to other people's hurt. I'm a helper, a fixer. I'm a perfectionist in many ways. I want to feed every starving body, mend every broken heart, and love every lost soul. I want to save the world. I know I can't. I know it isn't my job. I understand the reality of the world, but the problem is the reality of the world is like a 100-ton anchor tied to my ankle and another 100-ton weight on my shoulders. The reality currently surrounding me makes it hard to breathe sometimes. It makes getting out of bed feel like a month's worth of work. Everywhere

pray. - Inadequate

Inadequate courage Defeats my dreams of success Here I stand deflated I feel so much more burning deep inside and begging to be known. This is not all I am. This is not my potential. I was born to be more - to make a bigger change - to be a catalyst for revolution. But, the darkness slowly creeps and steals my light. For weeks, maybe even months, I've allowed the night to take control of my glow. Constantly comparing myself to others. "I'm not fit enough." "I'm not pretty enough." "I'm so plain and simple." "I'm not smart enough." "I don't work hard enough." "I don't sacrifice enough." "I'm not feminine enough." "I'm not motherly enough." "I'm not enough." For a while now, I've continuously fed myself the line, "I'm not enough." And, maybe this comes with fear of new territory. I'm working on - Unlikely Acts of Love

Oh boy. It has been quite some time since I've had an opportunity to just sit and write. A busy schedule and daily stress are not conducive to the creative flow, and though, stress typically induces a lot of serious thoughts usually of rage, I have been too exhausted from it all to even rage. Lucky for you, all my time has been occupied by other things. But, today, right now, I'm slam in the middle of spring break and just really wanted to sit and get back into the groove of sharing my thoughts; I have a lot of thoughts, but tonight, I choose to stick with loving thoughts. Time off from stress tends to do that. Let me start with a story about my husband. Early last week, we were busy, had no groceries, and had no time to go grocery shopping. So, we ordered from one of our favorite spots, Mekong, which is a Vietnamese restaurant, and we love their pho. I also love their tofu summer rolls with peanut sauce, so I ordered those too. Matt called in our order and went to pick

teach. pray. - Fractured Bridges: Part 1

Dear South Carolina Representatives,             We’d like to start by expressing our gratitude. Thank you for taking the time to read our thoughts and to consider our concerns as South Carolina educators, professionals, and residents. We would also like to start by admitting our shortcomings. We are classroom teachers not politicians, therefore, our understanding of the inner workings of legislation is limited. That being said, we can assume your understanding of the inner workings of an elementary and middle school classroom are also limited. The bridge connecting education legislation to the actual classroom is a fractured one and fractured bridges are less than effective. We write in hope that our concerns and daily experiences as educators will be the first step in repairing the fractured bridge. What do you remember about a typical school day as a student? What is your vision, as a parent, of a typical school day for your child? Is your vision as a parent similar to th