Posted in Random Thoughts, relationships, Teaching, Uncategorized

Another Year Come and Gone

It’s been a while since I sat down to write about things. This year has been a roller coaster for me emotionally, and it has been rather hard for me to think of it all and put it all down on digital paper, as it were.

I don’t know that there weill be any rhyme or reason to the blog I am going to post. I’m not sure if it will make any sense, other than to me, and I think I’m okay with that. I don’t believe that I will ever be a famous blogger. I won’t make a ton of money pouring my heart out to strangers about the things that matter to me most. And I am okay with that.

Anywho.

We had graduation yesterday evening. It was the second class of students that I have seen all the way from their freshman year to their senior year. Chances are it will be the last class of students that I will have that will do that. That in and of itself is enough to cause me emotional distress. If there is one thing that I have loved in my life more than being a mother, it is knowing that I have been trusted with the care of other people’s children. Even for a few months out of the year, I am blessed to be a part of these kids’ lives, and I get to watch them grow and transform.  And nothing has been as satisfying as watching my kids grow from lanky, awkard freshemen, to more awkward seniors.

One of my students burst into tears as we waited for graduation to start. I pulled him close and gave him a hug, reminding him that this was not the end for any of us. In some way, I think that those were the words that I most needed to hear, and so I shared them with him.

He had much to overcome this year. He battled with some internal demons only to come out of them on the other side, hopefully happier and healthier for it.  I like to think that I have done the same.

It doesn’t really matter what I teach next year. It doesn’t matter if I don’t get to call these kiddos my own. It doesn’t matter if I gain the ire of an administrator or a parent for a few moments. Because I know, that deep down, I have made a difference.

Each year, I have my senior kids write a letter, talking about where they think that they have grown and changed. Inevitably, it becomes a letter to me about what they have learned in my class and how much they are going to miss me.

The words they left me with this year brought me to tears. And yet, they are happy ones. They will serve as a reminder in the days, weeks, months, and years to come that I was here and I made a difference.

And so, Class of 2017, I want to thank you. Thank you for going on this journey with me. Thank you for letting me inch a small part of myself into your lives. Thank you for touching my life in ways that I never thought possible. I am so very proud of each and every one of you. I know that you will go far and do great things.

Maybe one day you’ll actually help me open my bookstore. How cool would that be?

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Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, relationships, Uncategorized

Oh great, another fat girl post.

Yeah, I know. You’re sick of hearing about the body positivity movement. Because really, body positivity? You mean Obesity Apologists. Or Obesity Glorification. Am I right? How dare fat people, especially fat women, think that it is okay to flaunt their fat all over town? Don’t they know that it’s unhealthy? Not only that, but it offends my eyes! How dare they make me look at them!

Okay, please don’t take that seriously. And I know, you probably are sick about hearing about body positivity. But it’s still a problem. Here’s why.

This exact picture popped up in my news feed on Facebook. And sure, I agree that neither of these extremes are healthy. But what really bothered me were the comments on it. People blaming fat people. People talking about how disgusting those people are. Comments on how lazy fat people are, and how they just need to put the sandwich down.

Sure, some people have these problems because they can’t stop eating. But I find it hard to believe that it is simply that easy. If it was, why would so many Americans be considered overweight? I know all sorts of people who are overweight, and none of them sit there and stuff their faces all day.

Instead, the people who I know, and the person I am, seem to think that there is no way to fix the problem. Because it is a problem. We know it’s a problem. But there are often too many things to do in the day and not enough time to take care of ourselves.

And why would we take care of ourselves? We are told that we are less than. We are told that even though we may be “beautiful on the inside,” we are trapped within these bodies that will make sure that no one cares about our personalities. Why would you fix something you hate? You’d much rather tear it down or let it rot.

And even if people don’t constantly tell us that we’re not worthy of being considered human, they don’t have to. When was the last time that you saw a girl bigger than a size 8 on a TV show playing the romantic lead? When was the last time that she was anything mroe than the comic relief, or the good friend? Maybe she’s the drunk girl. But skinny girls? Even if they’re underweight, we see them as salvagable, as worthy of love.

So yeah, I don’t think that this picture is an accurate representation. Neither of those things is a good thing, but one of them is always seen as better. But you know what’s best? Loving who you are regardless of the outer trappings. Put work into the house that you love. Know that it is worthy of working on. Don’t let other people tear you down. Remember, you are more than just your body. You are a whole person who has feelings, desires, dreams, and goals.

I may not always love myself, but I know that I am worth fighting for. I have a son and a husband that I want to be around for. I want to feel strong and beautiful. And when I make those changes, it won’t be because other people have made me feel ugly and fat. It will be because I love me, and I want to be around for as long as possible. Body positivity means believing that you have the strength to do anything, including rebuilding the foundations of your “fixer-upper.”

 

Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Random Thoughts, relationships, Teaching, Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ah yes. It is that time of year. The one where everyone gathers together and discusses what it is that they have to be grateful for. And while this year may not have been the best for most of us for one reason or another, I can honestly say that I think that there are at least a few things that we can be thankful for. And here is where I will post my list.

  1. I am thankful to have a wonderful family that loves and supports me even when I’m a pain in the butt. That includes my family and my husband’s family, who have really become one in the same since we got married.
  2. I am SO very thankful to have given birth to an amazing baby boy on the 21st of 2015. He has made this the most amazing year ever, even in the face of some of those other things that made the year not so great.  He is just the best little boy ever, and I love him more than anything in the entire world. ♥♥
  3. I am thankful for my students. They are my first children, and even though they are not children of my blood, they are children of my heart. Every day they amaze me with new things, and they encourage me to be a better person, whether they know it or not.
  4. I am thankful to have an amazing group of friends who I can call family. Even though we don’t all live close, I know that I can pick up the phone whenever and still be greeted by a cheerful hello.
  5. I am thankful that I have a home and a roof over my head, heat to keep me warm, and animals who love it when I come home.
  6. I am thankful that those that I love have the same things.
  7. I am thankful for the blessings of my nephews, the one that is blood related, and the one that isn’t. They’re both adorable, and I can’t wait to watch them grow up to be outstanding young men…hopefully along side my own little man.

I’m sure I could come up with more. But today, on this last day of work before I go on holiday break, I have to say, I feel more blessed and thankful than I have in a long time. I know that no matter what happens in the future, I come from a place of love, light, and warmth…and that I will give that same back to those around me.

May you all have a wonderful thanksgiving, filled with the people, places, and foods that you love. May the next year be as joyous as this one was, and may you all continue to be shining examples of what a good person is. Enjoy your turkey day!

Posted in Teaching, Uncategorized

And So It Goes

Normally I try to keep my posts about work upbeat and happy. I’m afraid this isn’t one of those posts.

Let me preface this story by saying that I absolutely love what I do. I may not have always thought it was the best, and there are days that I’d much rather be at home with my son than with a raving mad bunch of teenagers. But, all in all, it is a worthwhile job. One that I find rather fulfilling.

That being said, I think it may be time for a change. Maybe it wasn’t the time I was ready for, but perhaps it is the time that a higher power thinks I need. Time will tell.

I began teaching the fall after I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in English. I actually had no idea what I wanted to do with my degree until I ran into my high school French teacher. She told me of a program that the local school system had that would send you to some classes over the summer, put you in the classroom in the fall, and eventually give you a free Master’s degree. I didn’t have anything else to do, and kismet lead me down this path. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So I applied, and was accepted. Looking back, part of me feels that it was probably a little bit because of my own teachers. My former French teacher was one of the mentors. My former calculus teacher, she was the lady in charge. If I had been someone else, I may not have gotten in at all. But they knew me, and I ended up joining the program, a bit more on track with a plan for my future.

I can’t say that my first year of teaching was anything but difficult. Not having any student teaching made the work even more complicated, but I persevered. Sure, my evaluations weren’t the greatest, but I was still learning, and I had a strong desire to learn. I wanted to get my whole body wet, not just my feet, and I ended up probably taking on more than I should have. I taught 9th grade English, both average and honors classes. One of my average classes was a collaborative class, which means that I had a large number of students with Individualized Education Plans, or IEPs, and that didn’t make the job any easier.

I remember having two kids almost get into a fight in my room that year. I remember being scared as the boy instead attacked one of my filing cabinets with his fist. The dents in that cabinet are still there, as is my memory of that student. There was much to learn about his situation in later years, and it still amazes me to this day that he was able to accomplish so much with his life. He’s currently in the military, and I keep up with him from time to time on facebook.

The next three years, I worked on my Master’s degree curriculum at night, and finished that degree work. My salary went up, and my responsibilities at work changed. I moved from 9th grade to 10th, and with the new curriculum came new challenges. But each year was more rewarding than the last. My students sometimes “hated” me, I always loved them, and we more or less ended the school years on a positive note. I had a few elective classes thrown in there as well, which helped to break up the monotony.

But then, in the 2011-2012 school year, I was thrown for a loop. I remember getting a phone call the Monday before I needed to be back at work…basically two full weeks before students were to show up. I wasn’t going to be teaching 9th grade, nor was I going to be teaching my 10th grade classes, or my electives. Instead, I was going to be teaching Creative Writing. Four sections of it. Each one different. The woman who had taught those classes the year before retired, and it was now my duty to take the program over from her.

I was scared. I scrambled that entire time I was back at work. I wondered what I was going to do. I had no idea how to teach Creative Writing. In fact, during my degree work, I had never even taken a class on Creative Writing. I had no idea what I was doing. On top of it all, the woman who retired left next to nothing to help me, and when I reached out, I got the minimum help back.

My classes that year were a struggle. I had three classes which had only known the other woman as their teacher. One class was completely new, but a vast majority of them had no interest in writing whatsoever. There were plenty of days that I went home crying that first year. I struggled to make it work, I worried that my teaching career was going to be over so soon. But struggle through I did, and I made it out the other side.

Years passed, and I finally got the hang of it all. I love my program more than anything else that I have ever done as an educator. I feel as if I finally make a difference. My students come back and tell me about the impact I have had on their lives. I see my same students every year…it’s no longer an “unknown” filled with fear. My classes are my home away from home, and they are my little school family. Before I had my own son, these kids were my children, my babies. It’s so much more than I ever thought it could be.

And that’s where it goes, itsn’t it? You get comfortable. You feel that you are finally doing the thing you are supposed to be doing, and then things get shaken up.

Last week, I was told that the classe that I had grown to love, were no longer going to be mine. I hadn’t done a good enough job with recruiting new students to the program, so a new teacher would be taking it over in my stead. Someone who has ideas. Someone who is good with PR.

And I broke down.

I knew that it wasn’t going to be a good meeting as soon as I got the email. I was a bundle of nerves, planning for the worst. And the worst wasn’t far from what happened.

No, I still get to teach, but I will be back to my old classes, teaching English once again. The students that I’ve grown to know and love won’t be my babies anymore. They’ll be with someone else while I watch from the sidelines.

And it hurts so much. And it scares me.

Because I believe, in some part, about fate. Perhaps I got too comfortable. Perhaps I loved something a little too much. And now, it is being torn from my arms.

Whither shall I go from here? I don’t know. Will I stay? Will I teach somewhere else, do something new? Perhaps I will find something else to take the burden of this memory from me.

Whatever I do, I will carry my love for this program with me every day. I will continue to seek out my former students. Continue to make the connections that were ever so important to me. And I will remember what it was like to once love what you do with ever fibre of your being.

I will miss all of my babies. I will mourn over my loss. But I will remember that it is never the end. The road keeps going ever onward. And I will keep on trudging along.

Posted in Marriage, Random Thoughts, relationships, Uncategorized

The Communication Conundrum

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with anyone else, you know that sometimes communicating is the most difficult thing to do. We all have our own way of communicating, whether we’re more verbal or more physical, more emotional or more logical, more deal with it right now or deal with it later.

But what happens when your communication styles don’t mesh? How do you discuss things that bother you? Do you? How does anything ever get solved? And who ends up being the one to compromise, or do you both?

This is a problem that I have had numerous times. I can fully say that I’m an emotional communicator. I need to talk through my feelings, and sometimes, I don’t even want a solution. Most of the time, I just need to be heard. Look at me, listen to me, let me know that you’re understanding even a fraction of what I’m trying to say. And I can’t sit on something. The longer I wait to discuss something that bothers me, the more upset I get.

My husband, he’s quite the opposite. He likes to find solutions to things. He doesn’t want to hear about emotions, because emotions mean that you’re trying to manipulate. It’s illogical. If it doesn’t make sense, he can’t deal with it. And you’d better not try to talk about something for too long or too soon after the fact. He needs time and space.

As a couple, it’s one of the biggest issues that we’ve faced. None of the little spats that we have are really important in the long run. But the way that we handle them becomes the bigger problem. One of us has to give in. One of us has to compromise. And how to do that is still something that we struggle with to this day.

So how do you do it on your own? When do you decide that enough is enough, and we have to do things my way. Or his way? When do you find that middle ground and decide to settle things “our” way? If you’ve figured it out, please let me know. We’ve been married almost 8 years, and we’re still trying to figure it out.

However, there are a few things that I have learned over these 8 years. We’re not perfect people. We don’t always handle things the way that we should. And that’s okay. We’ve got the rest of our lives to figure it all out. But at least these first few things are a start.

  1. Don’t go to bed angry: Everyone says this, and you know what? There’s truth to it. I know if I go to bed feeling distressed, I wake up feeling distressed. The rest of my day is stressful. I can’t shake thinking about the events of the night before. I’m not as productive. I’m not as kind. I mentally check out and focus on the problem. And that is a problem. At least try to come to some conclusion before sleep. You’ll both feel better the next day because of it.
  2. Don’t blame, explain: I do a lot of reading, and it all says when you’re having an argument, to take responsibility for your own feelings. Don’t make your feelings your partner’s responsibility. You feel this way because of something. No one made you feel that way. There may be circumstances surrounding it, but no one made you feel that. It’s less of a pointing of fingers and more of a way to open up dialogue.
  3. Don’t insult: This is one of the things I hate the most when I fight with my husband. I take things out on myself with my emotions. I cry. I think I’m stupid. And when I try to explain the feelings I’m having, it makes my husband feel bad and he gets defensive. Sometimes, that means he brings up things or says things with the intention of hurting. If you think you’re going in that direction, stop and breathe. Take a moment to yourself. But hurting the other person never gets you anywhere.
  4. Remember that talking about these things now will save you pain in the future: Have you ever stored up something that was making you angry only to unleash it in an argument in which it had no place? It builds up and sits there, and then becomes ammo for your latest tirade. And that’s not good for anyone. While you may remember the incident crystal clear, chances are that it has faded for the other person in question. If you are irritated, bring it up when you’re irritated. Don’t wait for it to become a bigger problem than it is.
  5. Remember that this too shall pass: Nine times out of ten, the arguments that committed couples have are mild irritations. Feelings get hurt, people get defensive, and tempers flare. But that’s all it is. No one was ever married or committed and had a perfect relationship. People get on each other’s nerves, even when we’re in love. But know that it will fade into the background and that you’ll get back on the right path. Things will get better.

I know that there are probably more things, but I can’t think of them off of the top of my head. So help me out, will you? Are there any things that you’ve learned in being in relationships? How do you compromise? And how do you keep number 5 front in your mind when you’re feeling hurt? If you have any suggestions, write them in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you all!

Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

An Open Letter to My Seniors

Dear Seniors,

You will probably never read this, I know, unless you someday stumble upon this small corner of the internet. By the time you do read this, you will probably wonder if this was about you at all. You’ll have to count back the years, try to see if this was the year that you graduated. Try to remember my name. Who I was. What that class was like…

That crazy Creative Writing teacher…the one who left to have a baby in your senior year. The one that knew all of your crazy secrets and never told a soul. Or maybe that stuck up Creative Writing teacher who didn’t teach you a whole heck of a lot of anything. I don’t know. History has a way of changing the way we remember things, doesn’t it.

Either way, I figure I’ll write this now while you’re still here, fresh in my mind. While I can still look across the room to you all (okay, really five of you out of a class of 15…not that I’m counting) typing away on your computers, trying to finish up the last project that I gave you. That you’re finishing last minute, but hey, that’s okay. I’m ready to be checked out too.

I remember when you all came into my room that first day, some four years ago. Normally, freshmen are scared and meek, but not you guys. I think I was more awkward that day than you were. Though I tend to be awkward a lot, to be serious. We played the name game and I heard your names for the first time. Pronounced some of them wrong, of course. I always do. But you didn’t yell at me…no, that didn’t come for another few weeks at least, when you got a bit more comfortable.

I was learning along with you. Learning how to be a better teacher. Learning how to show you where to go and what to do here. You were learning how to feel each other’s personalities out. Sometimes you were fantastic. Other times…well, I can remember many a fight that first year. Ka threatening to hit everyone. An trying to fight Ka. Ky encouraging An. Dy laughing at everyone from the corner. And mostly everyone not doing the work. Wanting me to come up with “Creative Talking” ideas, so you wouldn’t have to write.

That first year was HARD. I remember dreading having to come back to you all in the fall. You probably knew that though.  You didn’t hold it against me though. We did lose some people from the program that year. Some chose to go elsewhere. But we moved on. You all grew up quite a bit over that summer. And you grew up a lot over the past 4 years in general. I suppose high school students always do.

But you all were the first class I took from freshmen to seniors. You were the first kids that I called “my kids.” Because you were. I didn’t have any babies then, and you guys were it. Whether you know it or not, I gave a piece of myself to you, and I will be sad to see each of you go.

Now we’re in the last two weeks together. I’m sitting at my desk, looking at those of you that are here, and I’m trying not to cry. Thank goodness Dy isn’t here to tease me about it again. I’ll try to hold it together on exam day. But you know how I am.

I will miss you all so much, even though I never would have thought it possible in the beginning. You have each left an indelible mark on my heart. I have been so proud of each of you for so many different ways. Here’s a short list of remarks I have for each of you.

L.G.- You have overcome so much since we have been together. Coming from another country, overcoming a language barrier, dealing with loss, learning about yourself, and becoming friends with others. It has been a joy to watch you grow and look at your writing progress. Even if it’s not always technically perfect, your words come from your heart and move whoever reads it. Remember when you read that poem. Remember how everyone reacted. It was beautiful and true, and so very you. Don’t let anyone try to take that away from you.

V.F.- Girl, you are a powerhouse. For someone who has been quiet for so long, I have seen your words come to life. You have so much to say and show the world. Please don’t stop writing. Even if it’s just for yourself. Continue to be an example of what people should be like (hey, we’ll forget what happened with Mrs. Q, okay?). You are an amazing young woman, and I can’t wait to see where the future will take you.

S.M.- I’ve seen you more than most, because I got to have you as a student every day this year instead of just every other day. If anyone in this class could make it as a writer, I think it could be you. And no one is more deserving. You have a drive that I haven’t seen in many of my students, and the amazing thing is that even though you’re going through senioritis, you are still pretty driven. I’ve dealt with a lot worse. But not only are you a great writer, you have to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. You are selfless and friendly to everyone. It will go a long way for you in the future. I will miss you…don’t forget about me, and try to mention me in at least one of your dedications, hm?

D.B.- I don’t think that anyone knows what you have been through as much as I know. I know you don’t like to talk about it, and you don’t like to use it as a crutch. But knowing what i know and knowing you, it just shows how strong you really are. Heck, I don’t think I would have held up as well as you have. Especially with your knee, and your elbow, and all of the concussions…Yep. You are one piece of work, that’s for sure. When you focus, you are amazing. And when you don’t…well, you know what happens. Pretend like life is a baseball field and you are the star player. Keep that in mind and you will do just fine. Don’t let anyone take you for granted. And don’t fall into the traps that people set you up for. Be yourself. Be unabashedly yourself. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or says…do that, and I’m sure you’ll be fine.

C.M.- One of these days, I’ll see you again, and you’ll be getting married. And I’ll just shake my head, laughing, because that’s one of the only things we talk about. Boys. And your family. Which is good, because you know what’s important in life. Family. And love. Just don’t get lost in other people. Don’t let some guy take advantage of that great big heart you have. Stand up for yourself, and don’t become the arm candy for some guy who doesn’t appreciate all you have to offer. Because you have a lot to offer. You’re amazing and fantastic. You can hold your own. So remember to do that sometimes. You’re worth so much more than you think!

C.W.- You’re another one who goes through a lot and doesn’t tell anyone. You don’t want to be seen for those things and instead want to be seen for who you are and what you accomplish. I commend you for that, because you are so much more than the obstacles you overcome. That is a part of who you are, but it is not all there is to you. You are bright, beautiful, and just one of the nicest people around. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone speak an awful word about you (Unless you count D, and he doesn’t count, because he says mean things about everyone. lol). Keep being the helpful, humble, sweet woman you are!

A.H.- The makeup world isn’t ready for your brand of fierce. And the world may not be ready for your brand of crazy. But that’s okay, because you’ve already learned that it doesn’t matter whether people are ready. They can take you or leave you as you are. Continue to refuse to compromise on your beliefs simply to make other people comfortable. You do you. Continue to do you. And you will make the world better for it.

K.H.- You weren’t even originally my baby, but you sure as heck made your mark when you came to me, didn’t you? And we didn’t hit it off at first. We bumped heads, quite a few times. And then a few times more. It didn’t make me hate you. You’re willful, sure, but you have a lot that you’re fighting against. Sometimes, it came out in fighting against me. I understand. You don’t let your circumstances be an excuse. You don’t try to use it as a crutch. But sometimes it’s okay to admit that you’re in a place where you need some extra sympathy. Because I’m all too happy to give it. You are amazingly talented in many ways. Don’t let other people try to make you feel as if you’re not worth it. You continue to amaze me with your accomplishments, and I hope to hear about many more in the future.

M.D.-You too have overcome so much, but I think that you don’t see it that way. We may not have always been on the best of terms, but I think that we have a mutual respect either way. You have matured and grown into a wonderful woman, one that I am proud to have accompanied on her journey. I hope that what you have learned at NH has prepared you to go into a career where you can spread your light to others. Teach other people to see the joy in dark situations. Help bring smiles to the people who need it most. Keep loving the things that you do, and remember that when you focus, girl, you can accomplish anything…and you’ll do it all while looking fabulous.

K.S.- I already wrote most of this in your yearbook, but I’ll place it here anyway. You have become SUCH a different person than when you were a freshman. Not in personality, per se. You’ve always been the dark, death-obsessed, fan-fiction loving, emo/goth girl. But you’ve lost some of that immature edge that made you want to punch everyone…or at least you’ve settled down enough to not announce it to the world. That’s a good thing. Punching people as an adult lands you in jail. You can think it all you want. Write stories about it. It’s a good outlet, no? Keep fighting the good fight, even if it’s in your head. Pick good people to hang out with. Remember that people aren’t always horrible, even when you think they are. I think going to school will help you see that some.

E.F.- I remember when you tried to convince me that your name was Leslie. See how well that worked? Instead, I’ve called you by your given name for the past four years. When other people called you by your middle name…nope. Why? Not out of spite, but because I want you to be proud of who you are and where you come from. Your name is your mother’s name, and it is a powerful one. It is unique, and it is so you. Whether you’re watching videos on the computer, or laying on the floor, or announcing to everyone that you have gone commando even when no one needed to hear it…that is the one thing that I can say. You have always been nothing but you. Continue to follow that inner voice and dance to the beat of your own drum. Sure, some people will look at you as if you’re crazy, but being crazy isn’t always a bad thing. It worked out well for me, I think. 😉

S.D.- As a freshman, you were quiet and meek. Slowly, you’ve grown into your own person, and if you told me that freshman you and senior you were the same person, I wouldn’t believe it. Every day is something different from you, even if it’s just your hair or your clothes. You are a chameleon, flowing with your whims and fancies, becoming one person one day, someone else the next. And it reflects in your words, and in the way people relate to you. You continue to surprise everyone with your candor and grace. I am so glad that I got to bear witness to your transformation over these four years. Some people say “Don’t ever change.” To you, I say, “Keep on changing. Be the best possible you you can be.”

M.K.- Another one I’ve written for in person, but here are some more words for you, my dear. Your smile and laughter are infectious. Keep living life as if it’s some fabulous game to play. Don’t lose that sense of wonder and joy. So many adults walk around the world as if they’re waiting to die. Keep living as if you remember what it was like to be a kid. Play. Have fun. But don’t forget to take time out and do the tough stuff, even when you don’t want to. Then you can go back to being a kid again. Think of work as the respite from all that fun. Sometimes you just have to take a break and relax, right?

K.W.- My hippy dippy flower child. We may not have always seen eye to eye on everything, especially when it comes to more political discussions. But that’s part of what makes you beautiful. You don’t take any crap from anyone, and you stand up for what you believe in. I think that that is awesome. You remember exactly who you are at all points in time, you don’t compromise if you don’t have to, and you really embody the “treat others as you want to be treated” motto. The world needs more people like you in it, but I think you recognize that, and that’s part of what makes you so passionate. Keep spreading love, light, and joy to others.

A.K.- You’ve always had that special sort of voice when it comes to your writing. Whether you choose to be a writer in the future or not, I know that your words will have meaning. Publish a book of poetry. Write for the screen. Become a teacher. A doctor. Whatever. And whatever you do, don’t hold back. Speak the truth because you know how to say it. Write the truth because you know how to write it…in the most personal, painful, and beautiful way possible. Help others to see the truth. If you do this in life, there is no way that you will not be successful. I have faith in that.

To all of you, thank you for taking a chance with me as a teacher. Thanks for not being too hard on me as I was learning to be the best possible teacher I could be. I may not have gotten it all right, but what parent ever does? I hope that I have at least taught you one thing that you can carry on with you in the future. Don’t let anyone stifle who you are. Remember that when things look bleak, there is at least one person out there who loves you exactly the way you are. I may not always like you, but I love you.

Always and Forever Yours,

Momma A.

 

Posted in Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

MLMs And Why I Avoid Them

Hey everyone! I’m back again, after a bit of a hiatus. The baby has been teething and just been generally adorable, so I haven’t had much time to sit down and think of what I wanted to write about.

Now, however, I think I’ve come up with a topic that I have something to say about…and that is the subject of Multi-Level Marketing. Yep. MLMs.  First off, I want you to take a minute and think…When was the last time that someone asked you to come to a party, or think about joining their business venture? Was it in the last week? The last month? The last day?

Woo. Let's party!
This is just two of the events that I have on my Facebook calendar this week. Just. This. Week.

Now, I love my friends, and I love being able to connect with people that I haven’t talked to in a really long time. But every week, I feel like I’m being invited to another one of these “parties.” And this is where MLM drives me crazy.

It’s these companies that promise that you can stay at home and earn extra money in your spare time. You can be the mother you always wanted…have time with your kids and make money on the side. You don’t have to have a career…this will give you enough to buy that nice present for your child. You’ll be free from the chains of Corporate America. You’ll make back that initial investment cost in no time!

But no one tells you how you have to make that money. Sell the product to your friends and family. Constantly harass them to buy your product. And hey, if they like it so much, they can join up under you and run their own business. And then they can get more people to sign up, and they can inundate their friends and family to do the same. It’s a never ending cycle.

But what are the benefits of actually joining up with one of these companies? Sure, you can make a little extra income here and there, but it’s not nearly as much as they want you to believe. And if you don’t get in early, your chances of making a good chunk of change are slim to none. Plus, you have to spend more money on all of the training and conferences and feel-good hype that the company is putting out.

I don’t hope that those of you involved in these marketing campaigns fail. Quite the opposite. But when you feel the need to pray on people who don’t know any better, I want to step in and correct you. Over the past three days, I have seen at least 4 posts trying to recruit people to sign up for MLMs on Facebook. But they never tell you up front. You always have to “ask for more information.”

MLM2
An example of one of the many posts I see on Facebook every day.

On the post above, I mentioned a post about Pyramid schemes in case people didn’t know what this woman was offering. I was told then, ” I will never understand why some people think Network Marketing is a scam!! I’d rather myself and my friends and family make all the $ than Walmart and all of the other big stores!! Why not support your friends and their business? Or, better yet, take the time to see what they’re offering. How will you know what your missing if you just put it down??”

How do I know what I’m missing? Because I’ve seen every post over and over again. I’ve been invited to every party, and do you know what I find? Overpriced merchandise that I can get for better quality cheaper someplace else. And I might be more inclined to support my fellow man/woman’s entrepreneurial ventures if I felt that they were actually selling something worth buying and not guilting me into it.

That’s not to say I don’t ever buy from MLM. I find that Pampered Chef often has a lot of good stuff…but I do it on my own time and if I want it, I know where to find a consultant. I don’t need to be harassed for those products.

Please, please, please don’t fall victim to these companies. You can do better. And maybe you’ll even keep your friends in the process.

Do you know of people who participate in these companies? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Motherhood, Product Review, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Joys of Good Customer Service

Recently, I’ve gotten into the Amazon reviewing game, and I find that it’s a fun little side hobby where I get to try products out for less cost in exchange for honest Amazon reviews. Now, I don’t expect much when I apply for products to review. As a matter of fact, a lot of my time is spent weeding out sellers who try to scam the systems that are set in place. I’ve applied for numerous products, and when confronted with a problem with a code that I’m given, often times, I’m ignored. Which is fine. I don’t mind. I know that this is something that people take advantage of, and so I don’t expect much.

Which is why my latest encounter was such a pleasant surprise.

I applied on one of my various websites to review a teething necklace at a pretty steep discount. Surprisingly, I was approved, and I was super excited to use the code I was given and purchase the product. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the code when I input it into Amazon…the discount wasn’t what the website stated it should be. I emailed the client, and let them know that there was a problem, fully expecting to get the brush off one more time.

Yet, almost within five minutes, I had a response from the fantastic rep. She apologized for the mixup and went in to fix the code on Amazon’s end. She then told me that there would be an approximate four hour waiting period for the code to work, and that I should try again sometime after that. This entire exchange was super pleasant.

More than four hours later, I tried again, still to no avail. I wrote her back, telling her of the same issue, and offered to apply for a different necklace or get another code. I was floored by her response.

Awe, you are so sweet, thank you!!  You and one other person had the exact same problem.  I think it’s on Amazon’s end not being able to input the new code.   What I did for her was just sent her one directly to her house (I keep some on hand exactly for this reason :).
I’ll send you whichever one you prefer at no cost.  I’m truly sorry that this turned into such a pain.
If you send me your address, I can get it into the mail for you  in the morning.
This woman, who didn’t owe me anything, apologized to ME and offered me the necklace at no charge. She was so kind didn’t have to do anything for me, someone who is just trying to test out some things in exchange for reviews.
She didn’t ask me to, but I’m going to tell all of you, that Snuggle Bunny Beads TM is one of the most amazing companies I have ever had the pleasure of doing business with. Once I get my necklaces (because I went ahead and bought the other one anyway), I will definitely post a review here.
So thank you again! If you’re in the market for a good new mom gift, these necklaces are awesome, and I highly recommend them!
Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

You Are Worth It

How often do we think about the lives of people who walk past us on a day to day basis How many of us think about the consequences of our words and how they affect other people? How do we deal with loss when it happens?

The school I work at was hit hard this weekend. On Saturday, one of our freshman students committed suicide. She had apparently been bullied by some girls and decided to end her life. Yesterday, for me, was spent talking with other teachers to try and find out who knew this young woman and lend my support to those people. Today, back at work, I see the consequences of the actions of a few. Never in my eleven years of teaching have I ever seen such solidarity from the students at my school.

We are a school of over 2000 people. This morning, about fifteen minutes after I arrived at work, there was a large gathering of students out in the hallway outside of my classroom door. At least 100 students. And they were all holding hands and praying together, those who knew her, and those who didn’t. I didn’t know this young girl, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel something. Life is precious and no one should ever feel that they are alone or worthless. No one should ever feel as if killing themselves is their last option.

Some of my students came by the room today, tears in their eyes. Although I have been a teacher for eleven years, I am not equipped to handle their grief. So I did what I could. I hugged them tight. I told them that they are loved. I let them know that I was there for them. The school has offered extra counseling services today, so I let them know of that. And I tried to let them know that even if they were feeling sad, there was someone out there who cares for them.

I remember being in middle and high school. I remember being bullied…no, tormented…by people all throughout those years. I wouldn’t wish that kind of a hell on anyone. But I had people who reminded me that I was worth it. I had a mother and father who tried to talk to me about what was happening in my life. I had people around me who listened when I talked. It may not have been much, but it was enough, for me. I only hope that people remember that sometimes that’s all that it takes.

No one should ever have to bury a child. I feel extremely sad for this young woman’s family. They now have to go on without her, and instead of seeing her bright face, they have to see her as a cause. She has become a rallying cry against bullying. She has become the poster child for what happens when people ignore an epidemic of words. It is not what her legacy should have been, but it is what it has become.

I pray that her family and friends find peace. I pray that people see this and see it as a dire reminder of what our words mean and how they can affect others. I hope that those people who bullied her feel a change of heart. I have heard that students in this building are looking for the people “responsible.” I pray that they look inside of themselves and find that the anger they feel would be better channeled into something else.

To those of you out there who may be feeling the same way, remember this. You are more than just a name or a cause or a face. You are a person who is loved, who has loved, and has affected more people in your lifetime than you will ever know. Talk to someone. Don’t take that last step off of the precipice.

If you or someone you know and love is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255.  And if you are passionate about helping people who have hit this place, consider sending a donation to To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit that seeks to bring help and attention to people who self-harm, are addicts, are depressed, and are considering suicide.

Posted in Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

Stressing Out

Ah, another musing brought on by a conversation with a student. If ever there was a career that made you think more about life and how we live it, teaching would be it. I never ceased to be amazed by how much I end up learning from my students.

Anywho, today’s musing comes from my conversation with a student about stress. And it made me think, how much stress do we put on ourselves that is unwarranted? How much stress do we try to take off of the backs of other people and place it on ourselves? How much worldly burden can we take on before it breaks our own backs?

I know I’ve done it before. I’ve sat down and worried myself over things that were needless. “What if I didn’t do this correctly?” “What if my principal didn’t like my lesson?” “What if I forgot my lunch?” All of these simple worries, scattered throughout my mind, each one a feather on their own, but together, a pile of worry that slowly takes a toll.

And it starts with the mental. You start losing concentration on everyday tasks. You try to calm yourself but can’t seem to think about anything else. Then it moves onto the physical. Your heart beats at ten million beats per minute. You get that sinking feeling in your stomach. You try to distract yourself with menial tasks, but keep coming back to the problems that burden you. They may not even be your burdens. Maybe you’re worried on behalf of someone else.

And what does that bring us, all of this worry? Are we better for it, in the end? I don’t think so.

Instead of enjoying the simple things that lay in front of us in abundance, we get mired in the quicksand of our worries. We can’t enjoy things for we are blinded. It hurts, it brings us down, and it affects those we love as well.

I’m not saying that all anxieties and worries can be put off easily, but we have to have something that we can do to save ourselves. Maybe it’s those coloring books that are all the rage. Maybe you get up from your desk and take a walk to get a cup of coffee. Maybe you write about it. Maybe you listen to music. Talk to someone. Something has to help free you of the burden and make you feel better.

For me, it’s a mix of things. Sometimes I’ll watch video of my son. Sometimes I’ll read. I do like to color. And it doesn’t always work, but for a moment, at least, I can clear my head and try to see the light through the clouds.

I hope that those of you who are suffering from some sort of worry today find a way to move past it. I hope that you find something that makes you feel even a tiny bit better. I hope that you make this day a positive one, and move forward with whatever it is that you’re doing.

If any of you have any tried and true methods of stress relief that work for you, let me know in the comments. And let me know of a time in which this has happened to you. I look forward to reading it.

 

~Aly aka The Mommy Gamer