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Showing posts from 2013

A journey of the heart...

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My dear friends. who lost their son this fall, are on a journey this winter break...a journey of the heart. They have chosen to take supplies and equipment to other families in need, other families who have children affected by MTM. Although I have not spoken to them...I feel that I am on this journey with them...my heart that was shattered alongside theirs leaving pieces in each and every stop. These gifts are a small reflection of their son that will shine throughout the United States. Each time another child uses the equipment, his memory is refreshed.

Their journey has taken them over 7000 miles. Seven thousand miles of gorgeous sunrises, colorful sunsets, mountains and deserts. Sights where their son's spirit shines through. This journey, their journey of the heart, has been a way to honor him, honor their union as a family, and mourn his loss.

Sometimes you meet people in your life...people who are good, kind, special. They are these kind of people...real, genuine. They not …

Straight up...

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So, today The Cutest Boys had his appointment at Shriner's Hospital for the Neuromuscular Clinic. We go every six months for a check-up and a plan for the future...

Today we were given the news...it is time to schedule back surgery. This has been both something to fear as well as look forward to. The opportunity for him to sit up straight, breathe freely.

So, we are now on the path...Spring Break is the magical time. We will be crossing our fingers for an amazing outcome!

I have a positive attitude that all will work out fine...although I will feel better when it's done and over with!

Mid-Life Crisis

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Who determines whether or not you are having a mid-life crisis? Who determines whether or not it is your mid-life? Since we don't know when our "mid-life" is...couldn't any crisis potentially be a mid-life crisis?

I was driving along today, thinking about this whole idea. Maybe it is this place I am in...some might think morbid curiosity...but ultimately the idea of mid-life is one that is up for conversation.

I have been thinking about the idea of mid-life for awhile. My son is twelve and has a life-threatening disease...is it possible that he is at mid-life? What would parenting be like if we knew...I mean, really knew exactly when our mid-life was and those of our children, significant others, would things be different? Would we make different choices? Would we choose to be with different people?

Life can be precarious...we really don't know anything about anything and yet we have to make decisions, move forward, cross our fingers and hope.

Shouldn't every…

Christmas Angels

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It has been over a week since I last posted. This is the longest in over a year since I have written. It has been a dry time, a time that I have been looking. I have taken a trip to Illinois and back and survived the most dreadful Christmas, but I have also been reminded that each of these days are precious and must be cherished.

This year I feel surrounded...I feel knee deep in sorrow, anger, and wishful thinking. I am rising up and not allowing there to be days, precious times away from the cutest boy. He is twelve and, although he has been relatively healthy, I recognize that twelve is a long time. I am not trying to be morbid, but, for some reason, this year has been the most difficult, hitting me at the deepest depths. There are so many feelings...frustration and inadequacy in my job, frustrations in my personal life, and then deep grief over the loss of children so dear to my heart. It is a deep sorrow I can't seem to shake. My heart is walking side-by-side with others, hurti…

Time to be a unicorn...

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There are times in life when you must be the parent...the one with the credit card, the one that comes to the rescue when things have run amok...

It is one of those times....times that lend for joyous connections, laughter along the road, traveling on unchartered freeways, eating too much fast food...

Sometimes it is just meant to be...sometimes the right thing is a hard thing...sometimes you watch your children hurt. This is when it is difficult, as a parent, but sometimes these difficult times lead to better times, wider paths...joy.

This is one of those times...Time to be a Unicorn.

Tiny Buddha...

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I have flown to Illinois to drive home with my daughter. We have four days of driving, fun, laughter, sleeplessness, and joy together. I am sure we will laugh, hopefully not fight, sing, and enjoy being together. I was not planned for me to come, but it is a gift. After all...how often does one get to spend four solid days with a child they love?
While driving, my Tiny Buddha will be keeping us safe...watching over us. He is small, but powerful...enough to get us home.

Making people feel...

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As a teacher there are many things to remember....

1. Most students really do want to learn. 2. Students want to learn in a distraction-free environment. 3. Everyone is human...we all make mistakes. 4. If we work together great things can happen.
5. One or two students can alter the direction of a group of students (either positively or negatively)
6. Students, given the opportunity to be honest, will tell the truth about what's holding them back from being successful (friends) and why they come to school each day (they have to).
7. Building a learning community for children can be difficult, but is worth it!
8. I love my kids every day.
9. Even when I'm not feeling like it...I am making a difference!
10. Finding "your people" to support your dreams for your students is essential!

Where the Wild Things Are...

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When I was a little girl, my mom would read me "Where the Wild Things Are." It is one of those memories of my mother that brings a smile to my heart. When my daughter was born, she took my old wooden high chair, stripped it of it's lead laden paint and refinished it, complete with a tray donning a scene from the book. It was her way of passing the torch to the next generation.

I feel a bit like I am living among the Wild Things....I am not sure if I am Max or one of the beasts. I am struggling to balance emotions...trying to find the place where I fit. I am looking at young learners...some not eager at all to make a positive contribution to those around them.

Many of them sit with their imagined crowns upon their head, holding the scepter.  I am not sure if they puff out their chest due to fear or indignation. Either way...it is there.

Today I lost my shit with my kids...used some flowery language that I usually  reserve for friends...Maybe I should have just said...&quo…

A time of thanks?

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I know I should be thankful...I have so many things, a wonderful family, a house, beautiful children, friends, a job. I have so many things that others may not have, yet I feel empty...not ungrateful, just empty.

This fall has been a struggle...although I am grateful for my friends, I hardly see them. We are like ships in the night. I have a job as a teacher, and although most of my students are grateful, the amount of pressure that is coming down the pipe is, at times, overwhelming. Last night I wrote out almost 70 accommodation papers so that I can read questions aloud to students taking the standardized test. If I haven't filled out paperwork, that is not an accommodation that student gets. It is crazy. We make things more difficult, school isn't about just learning...it is a bureaucratic nightmare. The paperwork is like a wave that is all consuming. The joy of teaching is being sucked out...I feel like my joy is being sucked out.

I am a being that requires community, yet …

Connected by a thread

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Sometimes when I write I am absorbed in things going on in my own life, while other times, I am also painfully aware of happenings in the lives of others. This can create a strange dichotomy in my writing...should I avoid topics? Gloss over others? Sometimes it's a struggle to know the right direction. We are all connected by a gossamer thread, floating in the wind. As one of us moves, another is pulled, heart strings lightly attached.

Each turn and twist, pulling at others, sometimes lightly, other times with force. Pain sometimes caused, other time inspiration. One never knows.

We are all connected and piece by piece we speak to one another. Our pain speaking to the pain of others...our journey paralleling theirs. Sometimes we don't know where we are, where we stand, who we impact...all we know is that we are here...and we are not alone because the threads that bind us together will always be there...connecting us

The road from Pain to Joy

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Sometimes in life there is pain. We have to go through this pain to find something better. When we are stuck there, that's when we have issues. Some people enjoy being stuck in the pain place...maybe enjoy isn't the right word, but they stay there...in the place of pain. Yesterday I had a strange type of experience...I went to see my massage therapist who has been treating me for my injured hip.

This last week I have been having strange migraines, so I mentioned it to her. She went to work on my shoulder..I had no idea that it was even tense or sore. Needless to say, she unleashed something into my body that took me out of commission for more 24 hours.

Sometimes that's the way life is...a part of you is touched, a part you didn't even know was in pain and feelings overwhelm you. It's what you do next that is important...do you live in that space? Do you go forward? Sometimes you have to reach deep, take your emotional ibuprofen and push forward...only then will you…

The Island of Misfit toys...

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When writing this blog, I have always felt that I need to wrap it up into a nice tidy box...a little life lesson learned.

Instead, today, as I am focusing on the future, I realize that I need to be comfortable where I am...on the Island of the Misfit toys.

I know my strengths...with the cutest boy and our life together, the craziness that sometimes ensues, as an educator...

I also know my weaknesses, I overfill my plate and, often, take on too much.

But for now...I won't be wrapping this up in a box. I am not sure where I fit. I am forging forward, refocusing, breathing...

Being Uncomfortable...

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Learning to change one's habits are difficult...managing chaos, keeping perspective. Today I had two really good pieces of advice...1) "I'm worried that you are taking on too much...delegate." and "You don't always have to end your blog on a happy note." Both of these are true. I have done a lot of looking inward and, the best I have heard is that I "plu holes." I try to fix things, keep it afloat, make it succeed and I think it is time for it all to stop...it's ok to say no...
Since this is the year of finding balance, I have to learn to be comfortable with saying no or "I can't do that right now"...I need to be willing to be uncomfortable, with leaving things undone...I don't have to plug all the holes...I am starting to realize that if the ship is sinking, I don't have to fix it, but I do know, if I don't fix myself then there will be nothing to say.

Smarter than you think...

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Tonight was the second night of conferences. Although it was, at times, a bit crazy, overall things went well. I had beat myself up a bit about my total lack of preparation, but ultimately things went well. I had some wonderful opportunities to talk with parents about their child's skills, how I was going to push them to greater heights, how to give them opportunities to move to a higher level of achievement.  Students that I wasn't expecting came with their parents and we were able to have good discussions about the future an how this year is building a positive foundation. Most of all I was able to discuss with students that they are smarter than they think. Many of my students are afraid of success, worried about failure and paralyzed by the area in between. More than once, I heard a parent say, "I like this teacher," which built me up and allowed me to build them up as well. One step-mother cried as she said, "I just now realized that I am putting too much p…

A Life of Purpose

"Your life has purpose, your story is important, Your dreams count, Your voice matters...You were born to have an impact."

A life of purpose...that is what I strive for. Each day, as I go to work, I want to remember why I do what I do. I am realigning my brain, making sure that I am moving in the right direction.

I have a love for my students...I teach for them. I want them to realize that their life has purpose...their dreams are real.

Each has a story to tell, a voice to be heard...they matter.

As I am looking forward, creating my own life, creating my own future...I realize more and more that I need to fully find my purpose, make my way. I want to look back on this life and have no regrets, feel that I have not only lived fully, but have left my mark in a way that not only I can be proud of, but know most of all that I have had an impact...

The Blog is back

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These last few weeks have been a struggle...a sense of sadness has covered me like a blanket. I have been unable to get to the core of the issue, but it has been there. Waves of sadness covering me...tears shed.

I keep telling myself I need to let things go, let the sadness and disappointment fade...move forward. I need to look for the things that bring joy, not focus on the pieces of my life that remind me of what is gone...

Friends are coming tonight...I am looking forward to a spiritual renewal. Friends are critical..they are the ones that hold you up in the rough times and celebrate with you in the good.

I am the only one that can make things happen...I must be the one to create my future...I need to find my own joy...

I cannot continue to mourn what is lost, mourn the unmet expectations I had of others, mourn the loss of what I thought was. It is time...time to recreate, time to dig deep, time to look forward...

Great things are coming!

Birthday blessings...

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Today we began celebrating the birth of the cutest boy...Twelve years...

It has been an incredible, scary, joyous, frightening, amazing twelve years. It seems like it was a lifetime ago when he was born...those first years of craziness, living in and out of the hospital. I go into his room and can't believe that this is where we are...home and healthy.

Life with the cutest boy has been a journey. I feel like I have learned so much by having this sweet boy in my life...the greatest being that the small things are the important things. Sometimes I ask myself how it is possible to love this boy so much. Every day when I wake up, I fall in love again...more each day! It is an amazing feeling.

Today I celebrate...we have had twelve amazing years and I am looking forward to many, many more...

Thank you sweet boy, for choosing me to be your mother! I love you!

True test of Character...

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Tonight I had one of those moments...you know, the ones where you have stood high judging others about their behaviors when, all of the sudden, you realize that you have exhibited something in this behavior realm too...

I have been feeling very frustrated in an attempt to make my world right...make it balanced...feel like myself and nothing is working. There are areas where I am making excellent progress...with my students, in their knowledge, with some people in my life, but there are others where I am feeling aimless and unfocused. Ironically, I have always felt that I am pretty capable of dealing with other adults in my life although, these last few months, I feel like an utter failure in that area. I don't trust my judgement, where I used to see trust, I have become a cynic. I feel like I am floating about, helpless. It is disconcerting and, frankly, scary...

There are areas where I have become a cynic or passive-aggressive, even if I am not speaking my cynicism or anger out l…

Appreciating what happened...

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Events happen in your life...this we have no control over. What we do control is our response to these events...we can either hide or appreciate what has happened.

I find myself thoughtful about life. I guess that as time passes, it is easy to get reflective. Knowing that we actually have no control over events in our lives, is a humbling thing for control freaks like me. One begins to wonder...what should our responses be.

Finding the space to appreciate what has happened rather than mourn that something is over is a difficult thing. After all, we are human...it is sometimes difficult to see the rainbow through the clouds.

So celebrate, appreciate, smile...it is better to have been part of the experience than to not have had it at all...

Soul Mates...

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I have loved three men in my life...At some time in each of these relationships, there has been passionate love...love that fit the times, love that was all encompassing.

I feel that I have been lucky. I have enjoyed the love of my youth, love that spoke deep to my soul, and a love that is comfortable and safe. The idea of a "soul mate" has often made me wonder...what does that truly mean...

Is a soul mate one who makes your heart sing with the laughter of youth? Is it one you cannot live without, each beat of your heart deep and shattering? Is is one who makes you feel warm, like sitting in front of a crackling fire? Each of these responses is true...I have loved in each of these ways. This makes me ponder the idea of having more than one soul mate.

I will not lie...only one man in my life has shook the ground I stand on...does that mean he was my soul mate? Is the "soul mate" requirement that the love involved be earth shattering or can love feel like a level of …

I am a Teacher...

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I am a Teacher...

I bring a vast amount of knowledge to my job
I care about the success of my students
I want them to learn

I am a Teacher
I try not to worry about Politics
I remember that this isn't for everyone
I want my students to be observant

I am a Teacher
I watch as we struggle
Fighting against Common Core
Wondering how to keep students motivated
and wondeing how to keep them egaged...

I am a Teacher...
Caring about my students
Wanting them to be successful
I am a Teacher...

Hear me Roar!

Strength...

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These last few weeks have been ones of self examination and starting over..Not starting over in the grand scheme, but really looking deep within. Some things are not as they seem, while others are exactly as they seem. People show their true nature when under stress and pressure and how we treat one another during these times is the truest sense of character. Taking responsibility for one's action and finding common ground is the goal of truth and trust.

I am trying to be one that others can count on...one that can be considered reliable and true. I want to be strong. I am struggling to find my center. I am, at times, being overrun with anxiety. Deep breathing, counting, finding my place of peace. I have been seeking out the comfort of others, friends that are seeking the same peace..

Laying a foundation of trust and acceptance...rebuilding the house that is broken in my heart...finding the strength to start over...with the ones I love...

Champions...

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Today I had one of those teaching moments that you can't make up, nor can you believe when it's happening. Let me lay the foundation a bit...

I currently teach two 8th grade Advanced Math classes and they are pretty full, but recently a student moved into my class and has been successful, although he has only been in the US for about five weeks. Yesterday I made the decision that he should be moved to the Advanced Class, even with his very limited English skills. He is literate in Vietnamese and is eager to learn, two things that make this move more possible. This brings many things to mind...complex curriculum, wordy vocabulary, limited English skills, yet a student who clearly has the skills to be there. Let me also mention that in the last few days I have had two sixth graders move into my class as well as another new student who comes from Africa, although has excellent English skills.

I had to do some moving around of students, primarily due to my new student. He needed t…

Superheroes...

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"When you think of a hero, you think of someone better than yourself. If you are your own hero, you can live in the image of yourself." ~Alex Banks, Student

Yesterday, I went to the second day of the Teaching with Purpose Conference and during lunch there was a conversation regarding Hip Hop and music as a form of self-expression. They played the song, "Superheroes" by Mic Crenshaw and then had a student reflect on what they learned from the song. The song is amazing (look it up on YouTube), but the young man, Alex, had a response far more profound. (see above)

Many of my students have heroes, some who do not deserve the adulation that they receive at the hands of the youth. These heroes might be athletes or music artists. Many of the athletes of today are powered by money and fueled by their popularity. Their desire to be a good example to young people is often not on their minds. Being famous and having a name that brings traffic to a stop. The music that is bein…

If all else fails, hold the baby...

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Today I spent my Statewide Inservice Day at a Teaching with Purpose Conference. There is a need to have more culturally inclusive curriculum and teaching happening in the Portland-Metro area. The dynamics of the school district where I teach has changed dramatically over the last 20 years and we are trying to respond in an appropriate and culturally aware fashion.

One of the guest speakers told a story of a trip she took to an African village. She was with the Chieftess and on a walk outside of her hut had taken a picture of a group of men babysitting.

Upon taking the picture, one of the men walked over to her, wordlessly, handed her a baby, then walked away. She held the baby for hours, not sure what to do. The baby fell asleep and was eventually retrieved by a teenaged young woman. The lesson here is that the man was not worried about the baby...he had seen the house she came from, he knew that the baby was well cared for. At that moment, she was part of the village and being part o…

Connections...

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The feeling of being connected is something that is often underestimated. This last few weeks have been a blur of both feeling and not feeling connected. For me, connection is a crucial piece of my sanity. As a child who struggled to make real connection with my mother, making deep and true connections with others has been difficult. When I think about my life, I often wonder if I have a swiss cheese brain, giant gaps where I don't remember events or people. This type of memory has made it difficult to maintain long and lasting relationships with others. I have had to learn to make connections with others and work hard to maintain them.

So, what happens when the chords of connection are broken? The tethers that hold one from floating away are severed. There are many areas of my life where deep connections occur; family, friends, and within my MTM family. Each of these areas bring a deep richness and a sense of belonging. When one area is murky, others provide clarity.

This is a ti…

The power of healing...

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I have struggled to blog this week...it has been an extremely difficult week. A week of loss and a week of gifts. My dear friends lost their son and, yet, during this most difficult time, they wrote the most beautiful updates on Facebook and shared what was happening during this time. It was a window into their life as they were losing their son. Each song, bath time, and tear was documented. It was a gift to those of us who knew this family, knew their son, was mourning with them. It gave us an opportunity to be there and support them...it was their gift to us. During those last days, they discovered that they were able to donate their precious son's organs to help others...in their unselfishness, they gave this gift to others.

In the last ten years, we have lost over one hundred children...none have been easy, but some have struck in the depth of my heart...this boy was one of those. My heart was shattered. Sometimes a child speaks to your heart in a deep and personal way. This …

No words...

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I am a verbal processor...I talk sometimes when I shouldn't but there are times when there are no words to describe a situation.

How people react to heartache is very different...some draw close to others, some "hibernate." Difficult times bring out our deepest fears and concerns. When you have to say goodbye to someone you love, there are no words.

No amount of time will make the pain go away. The hole left in your heart will remain. The lines will blur and there will be times of aching, but then there will be others when the pain is almost unbearable.

Although we all know that we are only given one life, it seems unfair when a child is taken. Somehow we see that they weren't given their full shot, their chance to make their mark.

Ironically, these children are often the most powerful, halting a crown, prompting tears, warming heart.

Their tiny footprints walk across your heart, but, unfortunately, our mouths still have no words...



Living life fully...

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"He didn't get to live a full life, but he did live life fully...," said my friend today as we cried on the phone together over the unfairness of another beautiful life lost. It was the most beautiful statement that has been said to me in two days. I am in a deep state of mourning...I want a miracle, I want life to be fair...but, sadly, it isn't.  I need to look at this from another perspective, another view to put a salve over my broken heart...I need to move away and look at the fullness of the life rather than whether it was a full life.
So many of the children who have gone to the Playground were not given the luxury of a full life, but each of them have lived life fully. Each has reached out and grasped the life ahead of them, enjoying experiences as they are placed before them Some have traveled across the country, taking in the sights, others created non-profits touching others they have met. For some of the tiniest angels, making the trip home is the greatest…

A thousand angel wings...

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Have you ever seen a thousand paper cranes? Imagine what a thousand angel wings would look like, fluttering through the breeze, glittering in the sun. I am not a religious person and I'm not entirely sure what I feel about God, but I am confident that there is a higher power and I believe there is a heaven. My heaven may not be the one filled with  golden streets, but rather a playground filled with the over one hundred children and young people that have passed away in the last ten years since my cutest boy was diagnosed with Myotubular Myopathy.

I think having my littlest have this disease is actually what made me question...trying to align the ultimate love and a higher power into my place of being. I have faith, I believe, I just don't name it. Thinking of all the children and families that are affected by MTM, I like to think of a beautiful park where they are all reunited, each child welcomed by others, taught how to use their new and freely moving bodies. Their strong l…

You see the seeds...

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My life is made up of two main parts...being a mother and being a teacher. To each of these I bring a different set of skills, but the one thing that I do have is the ability to see. I teach in an area that is predominantly low income...students whose families struggle to make ends meet. Most of them don't come from backgrounds that expect a college education, many come from a place where completing high school is considered a victory. These students, and families, only see the seeds...I want to teach them to see the trees.

As a mother, I have raised three children, all in their own struggles, before being given the cutest boy with all of his. Each child had to be mothered differently, each helped to find their own path, using their strengths which are so different from the others. The cutest boy brought so many new experiences, both positive and negative, struggles where we weren't sure he would survive. Doctors that only saw the seeds, and me, who always saw the trees.

I'…

Fight for a life...

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Tonight my heart is heavy...so many are sick, fighting. Having a child with a life threatening disease and being in contact with others often puts one in emotional peril. My heart is connected with other mothers, fathers, children, who are fighting for survival.

Sometimes the burden is so heavy, my heart feels as if it will be crushed. Sometimes when you hear of things from a distance, you are able to keep a perspective, but these children and their families are burrowed into my heart...I have held their sweet hands, kissed their sweet faces, and professed my love for them.

Each of these children, sweet, special boys, smiles and laughs and warms my heart with every move. Their parents are my family, ones who know the journey that we all walk, sometimes together, sometimes apart. 

Tonight my heart is heavy...cold and flu season has yet to begin...there are no words to describe the worry that it is in my heart...

Tonight I am wishing for the ocean of healing to lap over the fighting bo…

Dearest Daughter...

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Dearest
Daughter...

It is at times like this that I think of you, when it is dark and I know that you are far away. If you should ever doubt that you are in my heart, don't. In so many ways, I look at you and marvel about the woman that you have become. I marvel that I was able to be a part of your journey. I know that I have not been a perfect mother, there are many things that I look back on and would readily change, but I have done my best and you are so much more amazing that I could have ever dreamed.

I remember when you were born with a shock of black hair. I was dumbfounded that I had created such a beautiful being. You laughter brought me so much joy. Watching you grow, run, play continued to be incredible.

Even during those hard years, I knew that you would come out better on the other side (okay, to be honest, I hoped that you would come out better on the other side) and watching you struggle to find your identity was painful and hurt my heart. I wanted to be able to swee…

(Don't) Stay Calm and Carry On...

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"Stay Calm and Carry On" has become a famous British saying most heard (and seen) during the London Summer Olympics. In light of recent news from The "Happiest Place on Earth," I think it's time to neither Stay Calm or Carry On...rather it is time Raise Hell and Change the World!

Raising a child with any kind of disability is a challenge only known by those who experience it. You child is a joy, but no one would choose this life. Watching your child lose out on experiences that other children take for granted is painful. As parents, we want our children to live their life to the fullest. As a parent of a special needs child, what this full life looks like may be different from child to child.

Recently, the "Happiest Place on Earth," Disney has released that they will no longer be having their Guest Assistance Program, which allowed us to being our cutest boy to the exit so he can ride the few rides that are totally available to him. Since his stamina …

Surviving the storm...

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Sometimes a storm comes in many different forms...sometimes it's an actual, literal storm or, in my case, it is a storm of negative events that have come through my world in the last week.

It seemed that things started out so smoothly, as a matter of fact it started out great. New people in my world, ones that brought stability, peace, and a future. There are also those who have held my hand throughout the last year, hugged and held me, braved the rocky shores and rode the waves with me...these people are my foundation, my rock. Then came the storm in two gigantic waves. The first blew me over, sweeping my feet from underneath, sucking the air from my lungs, making it hard to breathe. Everywhere around seemed gloomy and fractured, confusing and unsteady. Grasping for those around me, grappling with information that makes no sense, has no rhyme or reason. After sleepless nights and a sense of helplessness fading, the second storm hits, this one coming from the side, totally unexpe…

Already there...

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When traveling through life, we often wonder (and agonize) as to when we will get "there." Many times throughout my own life, I have wondered this very thing and, yet, now I am wondering where "there" is? I mean...really if we think about it, there is no "there" just as there is no "here" There is no real today, tomorrow, or yesterday. When tomorrow arrives, it will be today and then today will be yesterday. Truly it is the desire for things to be named that runs our reality and "there" is just one more name.

We are "there" just as we are "here." There is not a linear path that gets us from one to the other but rather the experiences that we are experiencing. We, ourselves, are not moving. Here is there and vice versa. Some may say that this kind of circular conversation is what is most confusing, when in actuality, it is the most clear.

We are...we are here, we are there. Our being takes up space in this place and …

What you allow...

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This has been quite the week...although school with the kids has been good, there has been some other drama that has been a bit rough to absorb. It is interesting when you have to do self-reflection about how you see the world. It is a difficult time for one when your world is shaken to its core, when what you thought, isn't.

So, that brings us to a new space. What now? What will be the new sense of grounding?

Building a foundation in one's life can be long and laborious...a journey of many years, but when one's belief about the way one's world is skewed, it shakes the foundation that has been built over the course of the years.

So, here we go...it is time to examine what the foundation should be. Building a life that has peace, being in control of what you want to be, not letting the unexpected things throw you for a loop.

It's time to decide what you will allow...because that's it...what you will allow, will continue. And that's a pretty great place to st…

Who you travel with...

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Yesterday was one of those kinds of days and by one of those days, I mean a weird one. Don't get me wrong...I love my classes, I love my students, I love my schedule...what I don't love is that I don't get to really spend time with my peeps. I didn't realize until the other afternoon how important these people are here...

I am now creating my schedule to spend time with those I really care about...It's for my own sanity...sometimes it's the small things! It's about being with those who lift your spirits, who let you blabber on about something exciting or hug you because you are sad. It is about finding those who walk a similar path and joining onto a path together. It's about those you travel with.

This week has been one of lessons, one of side swipes, profound relief and happiness, and profound sadness as well. It has been one where watching another's loss is almost unbearable and looking at others with new eyes breaks your heart. Students that are…

Letting your light shine...

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Now that we are in the second week of school, I continue to think about the environment and culture  that I want to create in my room. One of the most important that I want to focus on is respect and persistence. I want students to have respect for themselves and for others...I want them to feel that I have respect for them and their ideas. This is about letting my light shine. A small crack in the exterior can release something so beautiful that it can create a path shining before them. Letting my light shine can create a safe place for them to let theirs shine as well.

This is about growth. It's about moving forward in a new and exciting direction, creating a space where beauty can become apparent. Creating a place where all voices are heard and respected. Each of these voices a light that offers something to the picture. I want the smallest voices, then students unheard to feel that they have a place to open their mouths and let their beautiful song be shared into the world. A…

Today I want to...

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Almost every night, I write. I write for myself...I write for others. I write to still my mind, calm my heart. I write to remind myself that I have words worth speaking, hearing, reading.

As a teacher, I want my students to recognize that they have much to offer. Their words matter, their actions speak volumes, they are significant.

Life can, at times, seem tedious, like a vacuum where we don't make an impact, but that is where we are wrong. Each of our movements change the breeze, which impacts others.

We are but one ripple in the pool of the world. These ripples can join together forming a wave, which can alter paths.

We have value. We make impacts. With every breath, movement, sigh, tear. With each action we take, no matter how big or small, can change the world. We must embrace our own power, be someone worth knowing.

Memories...

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Today was one of those days when I had a flashback to the cutest boy's early life. My husband brought him up to lay next to me on the bed. We snuggled, kissed, snuggled more, kissed more. Then, the sweetest thing happened...he fell asleep. Having him next to me felt so right and brought up so many memories of when he was younger.

Sometimes there are reminders that our cutest boy is not like other boys. I mean, I know he is not the same...he is on a vent, has a feeding tube, but it is the little things that are reminders...things like snuggling together on a cool Saturday...

I got a message from a woman that we had met in the NICU...they have moved forward from that scary time. Sometimes, I feel like we have stopped...or at least slowed down!

Memories are a funny thing...long compressed and hidden, surprised when they appear. A glimmer of our pat yet an exciting hint into your future.


Fight in the dog...

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Tonight I am fighting again. Fighting for my son's rights and our rights to have him cared for at home. This feels like it has been a twelve year fight and it never seems to get old. Our current insurance, Moda, has recently paid $40 million to have our local basketball stadium after them. Ugh.

They want to increase their brand name, improve PR, and this is the method that they have used, renaming a stadium. Really??? What about funding healthcare for those who cannot afford it, funding health clinics, remodeling Boy's and Girl's Clubs to make them not only a place to exercise, but a place where kids can learn about health and wellness..

So much could be done for our community, for my students, for their families...medical care, youth "care through clubs, food baskets"...it never ends.


Having one big team versus the other is helpful!! Here's to continuing to fight the good fight and being grateful for all we have!

Making changes...

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I can already tell I'm going to like this group of kids. I love that I can tell them stories (and they laugh) and that they are interested in what comes next. Today was one of those times when kids really make your heart sing...At the end of the class period (well, three minutes were left), I told the students that they could talk with their neighbor. Immediately one of them said, "No" and then someone else said, "Please tell us a story about Javad." My heart melted and I decided right then that my heart was theirs! Nice feeling...

Making Progress...

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So the year has officially started. This means that although things are good, I am totally and completely exhausted...Each day I have come home, after a wonderful day, and fallen asleep while doing work...Hmmmm...it's the beginning of the year.

I look at my students and recognize that for some, this is a year in the balance...which direction will they go. We are starting the year different...building community, building a place that it is safe for students to listen, learn, make mistakes. It is an interesting way to begin, consciously constructing a place where they can be amazing.

It could be a process that is slow, but I will be working with them constantly that giving up is not an option...Everyone does everything...there is No Opting Out of class and the activities involved. This is a full participation classroom. It's about making progress even if it is slow and steady. One step at a time, one question at a time, one answer at a time.

This is a year of hard work, a year…

The Phoenix...

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The story of the Phoenix is one that has been around for thousands of years. As the end of a thousand years, the Phoenix builds a funeral spire, throws itself on the fire and throws itself on the fire, only to be reborn. The Phoenix is the story of rebirth, changing the way that you might respond to another.

Tomorrow is the first "real" day of school. The rebirth will begin. As I walk into the ashes, knowing that there was a fire that was ravenous...destroying all in its way...I will see the Phoenix rising.   slowly making its way into the sky. Reborn whole and new. A new beginning, a new story to be written.

Blog-nation...

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This is my 237th night blogging. I started January 8, 2013 as a way to find my center, still my mind, communicate my thoughts for both myself and others. My type of blogging is a bit of an ironic thing...you are speaking from the heart, writing for yourself and yet love the fact that others are reading and commenting. It is a strange twist...checking the number of hits on the site and wondering if another topic would have sparked an increase in readership.

Frankly, I have written about everything...life, experiences with having a son with a disability, experiences with a daughter moving away, travels, love, and occasionally math. A variety of topics to cover a variety of readers.

Ultimately, I know that I am not writing for others, but knowing that I am reaching others make me feel good. I have spilled my heart, fears, concern, and joy...it is indeed the therapy that is good for me. I love to write...to form my thoughts and put them down in a place that I can re-read again and again i…

Champions...

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Tomorrow is the beginning of my twenty-first year of teaching. It is strange because I remember the first day of teaching like it was yesterday and yet, it was a lifetime ago. My daughter was eighteen months old and I was fresh from college, ready to take on the world. I was naive, wide eyed and idealistic. In many ways, nothing has changed. I am still wide-eyed and idealistic, strongly holding the belief that we can make a strong impact on students' lives...that we have the ability to support and encourage their dreams, help them to make those dreams come true...fly them into their universe giving them wings.

Each of these students are champions in my heart. They work hard, crafting their vision. Their will to succeed may reach beyond what anyone they know has previously completed, their desires pushing them to greater heights. All that's required is an avenue, someone to lead them along the way, someone to open the doors and show the light that is ready to flow in.

Their wil…

A Creative Life...

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Fear is an amazing feeling and by amazing, I don't mean a great feeling, I just mean that it has amazing power. Fear can be both constructive and destructive. Fear can be a driving force in decision making and how one lives their life. Fear can also be a roadblock to the creative process or drive one into a frenzy, spinning towards nowhere.

Each of us, as humans, often stand in places where we don't want to admit that we have fear. So many view it as a weakness, somehow lessening us. In many ways, admitting that we have fear actually strengthens us, shows our deep and true character. Having (and admitting) to being afraid shows that we are willing to take risks and be open.

One of our greatest fears is the fear of being wrong. We think that somehow being "wrong" means that we have lessened our status...when in actuality, the concept of wrong versus right is another discussion to be agreed upon. Having this type of courageous ad deep discussion does not lessen our st…

Where Hope Lives...

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Students arrive Thursday...this is the time of year when teachers begin to really feel panicky and wonder if they will be finished before that first foot steps over the thresh hold. Meetings and more meetings fill our days while we worry about whether or not we have an adequate beginning to this new and shiny year.

Being a teacher is a unique career...your prime directive is to fill empty students with rich knowledge that not only makes them better students, but better people. It is a job that weighs heavy on most...the enormity of it all. One day they walk into your classroom and when they leave they should be full of information, but lower on attitude.

The student transformation is one that takes place over time. When students enter school, they are wide eyed with wonder. School has no negative connotations, just joy and excitement. Every day is filled with the new and exciting. Learning to read is mind blowing and finding out that 11 isn't two as one would think, but rather on…

FInding one's center...

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One of the most important things that I have learned, and most likely need to continue to learn, is the importance of finding one's center. When this blog began, I was hoping that it would give me a stillness of mind. Giving me a place to spill out my thoughts that make my mind race well into the night is something that is beyond needed. You never want to admit that you are some kind of crazy, but I am pretty sure that I am some kind of crazy. Sometimes my world seems to just be on the edge of spinning out of control, which can be pretty unnerving for someone who has a deep desire to be in control.

I am trying to re-find my center...it was inextricably lost over the last year. A year that crept up in the dark of the winter and led to crushing personal results. Although healing has begun, getting so far from the center threatened my ability to see when things are off kilter.

How does one re-find their center once it has been clouded and difficult to see? This is the path that I am …