We needed that…

And to keep moving with my 100 pins goal here I am embarking on some new territory. A few things are going to happen around here to help it and to help me. I feel like I am in a food rut. I am so tired of making the same things and then my usual meals took a beating with my guy’s TN. Meaning I mushed up the foods and now he cannot even think about them.

I have concocted a plan to help with that. Actually a few different plans that I hope to simultaneously play out. The girls and I are going to do a summer cooking camp. Or at least that is what we called it. But basically, it is a mode for me to teach them how to cook and for them to take more responsibility in the kitchen. Thankfully, I started all of them young and had them in the kitchen with me as soon as they could be. So all of them pretty much get the basics. But I am talking I want to full on step out of the way and advise.

I got to do this the other day with # 2 because I was rocking a seriously horrible migraine and I ended up needing a double dose of my migraineslaw meds which actually means I was out of it. I was struggling to mind focus and we were having company that night. Therefore, I needed to get stuff done. I told # 2 where to find the recipes and she cooked away. # 1 did the more “dangerous” tasks like grating cheese, cutting and opening stuff. Or the sharps job as I like to call it.

Pin39) Baby girl # 2 made this cole slaw. It isn’t a huge favorite around here, but sometimes I get a hankering for it. It was the fourth. We had to have it. And I mean it when I say she made the whole thing. They only thing I did help with was reaching the ingredients or utensils that were high. She is just 4 foot. And yes it turned out great. Those that ate it liked it. # 2 and I did determine it needed to up the sweet a little and down the liquid. By the 2nd day it was just swimming in its own liquid and I realize that that happens naturally. However, I feel like if we downed the overall liquids or made it more creamy than liquidy it would have helped. So more mayo and less apple cider vinegar.

And Pin40) Yesterday we had worked so hard on the food for the fourth that we deemed it use our leftovers and make snacky type foods day. I made pulled pork for the 4th and we made options of tacos, sammies or nachos with the pulled pork. We had no meat left, but we had nacho chips, cole slaw and cheese left. I looked around pinterest a little and decided to make our main dinner be a round of pretzels made from scratch. We have done this many times and even have our recipe. But # 2 and I decided we would try this one for something different.

I will tell you that it requires quite a few hands and steps so it better carried out in a group. It took my guy, myself and # 2 all working on different steps. Admittedly though I made taco meat for nachos during the chaos so maybe that is why. But it wasn’t hard. Just takes planning and time. I always make my dough in my bread machine. My poor bread machine is 17 years old at this point, but this baby still runs. And word to the wise I always activate my yeast as in put it in warm water, give it your sugar (depending on your recipe brown or white) and let it sit till it is all foamy. This usually takes about five. We call it waking it up and letting it party. But this creates an airy and fluffy dough.

We decided to top ours with salt and then a second round with cinnamon sugar. They were all so yummy and this recipe is a for sure keeper. If you like the crunch of a soft pretzel try this because it really creates a crunchier outside and soft pillowy inside. I did leave out the egg wash mostly because I don’t necessarily look for the shiny outside of a pretzels. That is all the egg wash provides. It kinda happens naturally from the soda water you boil it in. Great pin!

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And to hopefully help my food rut I am going to challenge myself to a cooking thing with my family.  We get into such ruts that we eat pizza or go out to dinner too much. I am going to start a challenge once school is out to 90 days of eating at home and healthy. As in clean. Thankfully, we eat fairly clean already. So most of the challenge is just eating at home and not going the easy route. I think it will pair quite nicely with the cooking camp I am doing with my girls where they learn to cook more and cook different things. I have got them being pinning fools.

It will never be just that.

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”
― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

bsu2As my gps mumbles out at me, ‘Turn right in half a mile and then you will be nearing your destination.” I feel it bubbling up to the surface. I mentally try and tell myself “stop”. This is normal. People do this all the time. But I can’t. I don’t do this all the time. I feel little like Mario when he hops for the flag pole. A dream, hope and want realized.

The tears flow. I don’t care. Maybe other people have done this and maybe to them it was just. But to me it won’t ever be just. It is a belief and hope for better things for me and my family. Not financial gains, but spiritual, emotional and physical ones. It is the dreams, hopes and gains that my family and my family’s family often dreamed of. The ones from other suppressed countries or even suppressed mindsets in a society that says you are this or that. It is deciding I will never be this or that, but instead I choose what I am.

I would love to say as I explored each building and place in my new habitat that it was just a building or just place. But each and every single place was a tiny bit of symbolism for this new life, new endeavor and challenge I am placed on. The people are all new faces with new names. They know my name, but I don’t know theirs. I will though and I imagine some will be my gatekeepers and assets to this new role.

In high school, I always felt awkward and I followed what other kids were doing.  They didn’t really care about school, so I didn’t.  I did the things they did and I felt like a follower. It always felt off some way. Finally, when I finally went to college at 22, I realized who I am meant to be and I am finally her. I am finally okay with being more than just and being vocal bsu3with being more than just. And following no one.

People wonder how or why and I often wonder that myself. But I found out back then I liked the challenge. I liked the challenge to my thoughts, principles and shaping my beliefs. When I was 18, I went to college down in Indy. I stepped into my first few classes and was so overwhelmed. The campus was so big and scary. All the unknowns. All the strangeness of a new place, new smells and a new community that I did not feel a part of.

I quit. I quit so I could work a little over minimum wage job. I worked really hard to get a better job and worked even harder for a promotion or two and I really liked what I did. But there was something about that decision to quit that stuck with me and that decision made in fear and the failure I felt from it. That fear has fueled this passion and drive for more and more.

I do hope that it is enough that once I reach that goal, that threshold, that I know I crushed that girl who made a decision based in fear back then. And that I finally allowed my fears to drive me. And I can tell you this first official visit to campus as a PhD student I conquered that. I had been there before, but never as this.

bsu4I walked on a big scary campus, with all the different people, places and vocabulary and yes I was afraid just like I was back then. But instead I pushed it back and realized that it was that fear that drives me. That fear that says none of this experience will just be that. And more importantly I will not let it. I am not just getting my PhD. I am doing something. I am pushing passed the hard stuff that tells me I can’t. I am ignoring the voices that say, “It is just school” even if it is my own voice.

I realized during my visit I am driving this ship and I am the captain. That has never been the case most of the life. I mean sure I got to make decisions in my personal life. But I am talking professional and academic. You go to school and they tell you what to study and for how long. They even make up sheets of paper on it. At my previous campus your “bingo sheet” is your map.

And yea my PhD program has that, but it is so different. I decide. Does it benefit the end result? Does it accentuate what it needs to, will you cover the territory you hope? I make that ultimate decision. I make the decision. And yea I have an advisor, but I am the captain. And for the first time in my short three years since deciding my professional path I didn’t quietly own my job or goals in this field.

I owned my job as a high school teacher loud and proud. I owned wanting to tell the narrative of the non-traditional student. I owned wanting to talk more about early college writers and the transition from high school to college. And I never kept quiet because I was ashamed, but more because I didn’t feel like engaging in a fight where they wouldn’t change my mind anyway. In many college settings my school is seen as the enemy or as taking students, which lets just be honest is money. I have been afraid to tell other academics I choose to work in k12 and the early college concept because when I do all the sudden I am the enemy.

And I am not. The true enemy is a college system that has student loan debt at an all time high. Students cannot leave school without massive amounts of debt weighing them down. When you compare the cost of college and amount of support students get to other countries academic make ups for college ours is kind of skewed and dare I say antiquated or even inflated. Therefore, if I can be a part of the process that lets students afford college and students who likely never considered college then yes please sign me up. But that is another fight for another time.

Yes, I am nearing my destination and this travel will be long and hard and fraught with many moments of doubt I am sure. But as long as I always see it for what it is I know the finish line is around the corner. It is my dream. It is my goal. It is my love. It is my passion. It is my word. It is my conquering a fear. And it will never be just that.

 

I don’t care…Saturday Sharing Edition

This AM I woke up to my Ipad acting “off” and so I quick looked at it decided I didn’t have the werewithall to deal with it yet and went back to bed. I got back up and hour and half later to see the weird screen was still there. A quick google revealed my Ipad had gone into recovery mode. Okay great! More great I don’t know how to fix it. I was less worried about the stuff I lost. I have it for work, so back up is a huge part of my daily life. But crap, how do I fix it. Thankfully, google took care of that too. But I had to go back to factory resets and all. Poop.

Oh and yesterday what we thought were the girls spilling water all over our carpet turned out to be a leak in our plumbing in the wall. A leak in the wall between out two bathrooms. Thankfully, the plumber and the water restoration company we are working with did their thing with minimal damage. But if you count jet sized plane fans in my house meant to make my carpet “float” so as to dry. We aren’t exactly sure of the actual leak because everything has got to dry first to identify it. So yea that weird buzzing sound you hear in my town….the fans. The fans that make the carpet float. Ha!

And you would think with all of that I would be an old sour puss on this Saturday. But nope….I am still happy. Ain’t nobody breaking my stride!

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Day 38

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My Wreck It Journal

Day 39

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My Mother In Law’s 70th Birthday! We are lucky she gets to be such a big part of my girls lives

Day 40

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I had some great news to share with my co-worker so why not share it at one of my favorite restaurants. JK’s

Day 41

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So I had a super cool thing to go to on Thursday. And now it is official I am a Ball State Cardinal –  Chirp! Chirp!

Day 42

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Had the bestie over for the 4th. I wanted to take a picture of her # 2 and his momma wanted to take a selfie of him and her. So this ensued along with my giggles. Of course this made me happy. And that salsa you see there…This recipe! Her # 2 LOVED it!

Day 43

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I finally gave my HTC Rhyme the quick and painful death it deserved. I hated the thing from the word go! That phone was the worst piece of crap thing I have ever owned in my life. The thing is when people would see it and all it’s “sleek” features they would think it was so great. Me….NOT SO MUCH! Sleekness was all it had. The rest was repeated deaths. Repeated missed messages that just disappeared into oblivion. Lost apps, no rhyme or reason why it did the things it did. So I waited for years to get rid of it. It didn’t take me long to decide what to get. After the ease of my ipad I knew I would get an iphone. I got a 5C in yellow. If purple were an option I would have gotten that. But yellow is my 2nd fav color. So yellow it is.

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Saturday Sharing Again….100 Days of Happy

Just Write: Not sure I am even feeling it.

All day long I have sat down at this wanted to write my profound Tuesday just write post. Usually my best writing comes from this idea of a free write. Write quick, write at all will and let the writing lead you.

But honestly that is what my blog is and why I have it and more than anything why I cannot give it up. I have a voice here I have no where else. But my mind as of late is all over. I am horribly worried about my guy. The oozing continues. His headaches are rough. Tomorrow is the day he is supposed to call if it continued. He is stubborn. Which means I am gonna have probably strong arm him to do it. We don’t do strong arming in my our marriage.

I have two weeks left of summer school which leaves me with four weeks to prepare for all new junior level classes. My first round of students are going to be juniors and this creates a whole new level of sentiment. Juniors. I cry at the end of every year. How will I handle graduation and moving on. But I am ready. I am predicting this as my sweet spot in teaching. I just feel it.

And while I am talking about what is on my mind the next three days are probably some of the most important this summer for my family. Some for reasons I cannot say yet and others because I get to go to Ball State (wahoo). Then Friday I get to hang out with Kpuff and her family.

And because random seems to be the name of the game around here can I share a picture with you that has had me beyond tickled the last week or so? So tickled I have share it with everyone I know and cackled out loud just thinking about it. My question to you is how? Why? Whose legs? Two peoples legs? A male a female? What? Why? I am not gonna link it…you can find this gem on pinterest.

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Me and a PhD

I don’t think I will ever adjust to this idea of myself being an academic. I mean I live, work and breath as an academic. But I feel like I will always struggle as to how my voice is valid and holds any agency. I hear other academics talk and I feel like they have the “it” I do not have. And clearly as I stare down the barrel of beginning my PhD program I gotta get over this and myself.

But it is hard. It is time I suppose to put my money where my mouth is. PhD or bust. I asked a good friend who’s sister just got an PhD in Science how long it took her. She responds, “6 years” and then adds, “But that was going full time.” And then I think crap. Crap. Crappity. Crap. And I wonder what it was that I was actually thinking.

I have to do this while working full time. So I guess if I am committed for 6 years or more than that is it. I get that baby when I am fifty so be it. I have said time and time again that I want to be a voice that isn’t being heard. I want to tell a new narrative and fill a void in my field. But then I still feel like that small town girl who got told she wouldn’t do much because she wasn’t “smart” like the other girls and boys. The one who they had to work a weird academic program out to get me to pass math.

Most of the time it is those idiots that said I would never that fuel my fire, but then we are talking PhD which is a whole other playing field. In fact, it isn’t even on the playing field. It is the suite up above the fancy seats in the stadium and I am struggling to put myself there. Yes, I know debaa112443daf283bf36741a2c30c77I can work my way there and I know I will. But I see and know many who have worked on or are working on their PhD’s and I pray and hope I have what it takes.

And eventually I talk myself into it and realize it is mind over matter and take it each a step at a time and it clicks. Then I get a three way email or phone call from some important peeps at my new university and they say all the smart things. And I don’t feel at all confident or even smart. And I suppose I am supposed to feel that way because at the beginning of my MA I felt like that. I felt Topsy Turvy and like someone pulled a rug out from me and I do now too.

And then they say things like, “We can’t wait to work with you” and “eager to see what you are going to do” and I feel the pressure. I feel an identity crisis of sorts. Like they called the wrong number or the switched my papers with others. Or I convince myself that they say that to everyone because God they could not be saying it to me.

So yea I have a meeting Thursday on campus. A meeting that I am pukey thinking about it. I am so nervous that I am dragging my whole crew with me so they can all wait patiently in the hallway. And I am just kidding on that (well maybe), but I want them there and I want to know they are there to support me and my whole guiding principle on this. Away we go to Muncie on Thursday.

Can I tell you sweet blog that last time I felt out of my element in this type of setting? It has been awhile. I don’t say that to brag. But I am passionate for this field and my purpose in it. Therefore I wear my confidence sometimes, not necessarily as a sign of being conceited, but as a sign of hard work and study.

A month or so ago, I was at a party and having a great conversation with someone who I consider very important to my academic self. I see much of myself in her and her path. She knows I look up to her and respect her. I was lamenting on how I felt about leaving my Alma Mater and how sad it was making me. And I am. I have been there for 12 years studying. I worked there and honestly at times felt like I lived there.

She looks up and says, “Yea, but it is time. You need that challenge.” And I suppose the way I feel is what she meant. I need to feel challenged and tested. I need to become more firm in my passion, research and career. I need to develop my academic identity. Sometimes familiarity doesn’t let you out of that. It is comfortable. And I know she is right.

Now if someone could tell me how I will manage with 40+ hours in my job, 3 kiddos and many other responsibilities that I cannot even list because how do you? However, I so remember during my MA feeling like working full time and doing it that it was impossible, but I survived. I didn’t just survive. I thrived. They were some of my best grades yet.

Someone once told me I cannot do it all. And while I agree to extent. I would argue in that in this case I can and I will.  It is onward for me and a Phd.

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In the Pursuit of….

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” 
― Guillaume Apollinaire

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Day 26 – Old 27 Ice Cream and an old time ice cream shop. Their best thing….Hot Fudge Milkshake

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Day 27 – My puppy wuppy….Roxie Doxie and one of her favorite toys

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Day 28 – We had a girls night out with Kpuff and her beautiful daughter. We saw Malifcent. I didn’t think I would like it, but I did. Go see it!

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Day 29 – And the following day I had the two most beautiful girls in my town for a date. Their favorite place, El Camino, which is amazing and if you ever make it to Decatur go there. It isn’t your average Mexican restaurant. NOMS!

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Day 30 – Baby girl # 1 after a whole lotta games. She had a huge tournament that weekend. As in played 8 games all together. I decided to snap her picture because I have never ever seen her sunburned in her almost 13 years of life. EVER. The girl normally just tans and get dark. Nope she got red even with 50 sunscreen.

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Day 31 – I love this place and it almost feels like a second home. You know that feeling you get when you come home after a long vacation. Yea, I get that when I head in on Mondays. Ahhh!

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Day 32 – Baby Booties. Baby girl # 3′s baby booties knitted by Kpuff. I found them in a garage sale pile and in no way shape or form are they garage sale worthy. I have two knitted pieces that Kpuff did for my Banana girl and they are in my special place beside my heart (my closet).

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Day 33 – Baby girl # 2′s 10th birthday. She wanted a vintage type writer. She has got it! :)

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Day 34 – Baby girl # 3′s birthmark on her leg. Early on in her life Kpuff pointed out it was the shape of a heart. I have loved it since. Well I loved it before, but how cute. A heart!

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Day 35 – The girls bracelet/lemonade stand for trigemenial neuralgia. They raised 9 dollars in $ and we are giving half our garage sale funds so a little over $50 dollars to TNA Facial Pain Association. It wasn’t a huge money making garage sale, but I was so proud of them.

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Day 36 – Puppy and my guy (can you see him back there…those are his fingers toward the top). As soon as we cleaned up the garage sale both all three of us needed a little nap. I woke up smooshed up against my guy and with a furry dog smooshed in between us. I love afternoon naps.

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Day 37 – Yesterday was the first time I have seen # 1 play softball in nine games. It sounds like a lot but it was really just a travel tournament. It was so ridiculously hot that we tag teamed parented and I stayed back with girls and my guy and # 1 stayed in a hotel where the tournament was. So I was super stoked to see a game yesterday. I just the anticipation before a game. Everyone excited and warming up. It always takes me back to my travel ball days. Those are definitely some of my best memories of my childhood.

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Wanna see my other #100daysofhappy follow me on twitter @mommyrhetoric or read here.

Ten Things I am grateful for…

So today is Sunday and for that me that is usually a reflective day where I try and sit down and think about what I am grateful for this past week. I am really trying hard to see the positive in every day. And that isn’t necessarily because I see it so negative. It is just because I don’t even want the give the negative a chance to sit down roots. We have been through too much that I need to be be grateful for every single beautiful moment that we have because it was a gift given.

1. #3′s letter game. She always starts out, “Momma, tell me all the words that start with the letter B like biscuit.” And yes we play it at least 10 times a day, but I don’t care. As a studier of the learning of literacy I find it so cool. We go through word after word and some she gets wrong based on sound and some she gets right and blows my mind. She isn’t even in kindergarten yet and I know after this game she knows words like magnificent, beautiful and many, many more.

bdayabs2. # 2′s birthday yet again. She wanted two things that were very special to her. The first was a typewriter, but not just any type writer. She wanted an old fashioned looks super cool type. The second was her very first cell phone ever. I initially told her there was no way I would be able to locate a type writer. Then through the amazingness that is one of my students I got one. I have had it since May and have been over the moon since. And her cell phone. She got one of those too. Nothing fancy, but one that made her feel just as special as her older sis and one that keeps her connected when she needs it. We love that we gave her that. And she is 10. Double digits.

3. A moment in my classroom. So I have been with my school going on three years now. All of my students I have had a lot. This summer I am teaching a course and most of the students are having me for their 5th or 6th class. This is unique I know for a traditional high school. But it is not at all unique for my school. Anyway, we were on a break from our class and two of the kids were standing next to me talking. We were having a normal everyday conversation and all the sudden I became so overwhelmed with sentimentality and emotion. When I met them they were barely out of eight grade and so much smaller and less mature (I don’t mean immature, I just mean young). Now they are juniors and they tower over me. I had to excuse myself because wow. I am blessed to be a teacher. I am blessed to have the opportunity to witness this amazing thing happening. Being a teacher truly is my calling.

4. So many talks with my guy. Can I just start this by saying TN sucks? But can I also say I am grateful that it came into my life. Some amazing things have happened since. I got to see what really matters, I got to see proof of how strong we all are, it has brought us all much closer and I know my husband in an entirely different way. I didn’t often ever get to see him vulnerable. In fact, it was so few I could count them on one hand. 1) our wedding day 2) the birth of # 1, 2 and 3 3) our sad loss and 3) the loss of his grandparents. But this year he has had to lean on me, give up some and deal with some of the ugliness that life can provide. But this week in particular we are doing lots of talking. Not just talking, but deep and meaningful talking. He does NOT talk. That is not his thing. But it has meant so much to me that he has opened up and tried to articulate a lot of stuff. And it all needs to be said. So for that I am grateful.

5. Very much time with my beloved Kpuff. Kpuff and I had a garage sale together. When we have been going through things Kpuff was also in her own private misery. It took a toll on our friendship. Not that we became less of friends, but it was tested. We struggled to stay in contact, we struggled to keep it together and honestly we struggled talking the real talk. Sometimes I believe it was because it was all that was around us. We were each others bright spots, but when you are going through difficult things sometimes bright spots are hard to bear. But this week we had a garage sale and we laughed a ton. We caught up like we never had. And we sweat together. How can you not be reunited after that? I am so grateful for those four days of seeing her every single day. I am so grateful our kiddos got to hang out again like they had so many times before her struggles and Kyle’s. It was good, good, good.

6. Movie Date and following conversation with my # 1. She is getting so big. When I am with her lately I have some of those moments where I wonder how it all  happened so fast. She is right at my height. She wears my shoe size. She smiles the prettiest smile and she has the most fun loving personality. I knew all of this but hanging out with her I get that quick reminder to pay attention because before I know it she will be driving, picking out colleges and moving on without me. And I was even more grateful because she seemed so big and grown up, but chewed my ear off non-stop about all things Disney. The amount of Disney fact this girl has is crazy stuff.

7. Time with my neighbors. I cannot tell you what my neighbors have done for me this past year. They have kept my family afloat with the every day parts of life that sometimes don’t get done. They have supported and loved my girls and what children could not use more of that kind of positive in their lives? They have shared their own lives with us and let us be a part of theirs. You have a garage sale and it gives your neighborhood a chance to reconnect. I don’t know what it is about looking through others stuff, but it always does this. So many times Kyle and I have discussed moving because honestly we could probably use something a little bit bigger. But it is always the neighborhood that keeps us. 728f06d47a82c4a4d4304e10cfe290a2We have lived here for 13 years and we have loved every single minute of it. I never believed that hub bub they show you on TV about neighbors and neighborhoods. But it is true. I am a lucky gal.

8. My love of my job. And yes I kind of said it before but this is different. I have been developing my curriculum for this year. I am teaching four new classes in our building and three are dual credit courses. This is ultimately the reason I was hired and what I have been waiting for for the last two years. I needed the last two years to transition from teaching college to teaching high school college students. But I am so over the moon excited to teach these courses that I allow myself to develop the curriculum as a reward for work that I need to do around the house or for my summer course. How dorky is that? I reward myself by developing curriculum? Oh well. I love my job, no secret about that.

9. Social Networking. Twitter has connected me to so many great educators, innovators and writers. Facebook allows me to stay connected with friends and family. I am tired of being cheapened by others. People lessen its value and sometimes equate it with tabloids. And I say okay, but it depends how you use it. If you use it to share positivism, love, innovation and passion there is greatness in that. And I do. Think #100days of happy where I am purposefully trying to seek out happiness in my life. That is God working in my life even through social networking.

10. My PhD stuff. I call it that because that is what it is. It is still very much taking shape, but it is taking shape. I am scared right now. In fact, scared and overwhelmed. But then when I break it down and look at it piece by piece I am not so much. I am excited to see and know knew things and people and places. I am excited to become a part of the Ball State Community. I am excited to add my voice out there. I am excited to work with my advisor. I am excited what it all means. This week I am dabbling again talking with my department and I am reminded why I chose this profession, this course of study and this program. Good people. Good thing.

And just a tiny reminder here…. #lovealwayswins

Okay Okay

Yesterday I took my almost 13 year old to see the Fault in our Stars. Which is probably one of the best books that I have read in a really long time. My first year teaching high school students I noticed that many of the girls and boys were all reading this book. During Christmas break I decided to see what all the fuss was about and oh my gosh. I knew exactly what attracted them.

First of all, John Green is an amazing author. He is very much in tune with kids of today. He is able to capture their thinking and feeling in a way that I think is hard for most adults. Therefore, it does not surprise me at all that he is a popular young adult author for that reason at all. But what I probably love most about this movie is the way love is portrayed.

Now I know there are many out there who won’t take their children to this movie or let their kids read the book. And for awhile I was in that camp too. But the more I thought about it the more I wondered why. I teach reading. I would encourage my students to read this brilliantly told story. I realized the reason I didn’t want her to see it or read it was mostly for me.

The conversation it could start might embarrass me or worse her having to talk to me about it. Then to sit in a theatre and see it with her. Then I again remembered in my classroom the things that go on and are said and I run a usually pretty conservative classroom. Kids are curious. I realized I could address all of it head on with her or I could let someone else (possibly a peer) address it with her. And these are topics that happen every day in curriculum that I am required to teach. We do talk a lot about things like death, being afraid, and life choices.

But more than anything the love story that is in TFIOS is a realistic, though fatally flawed, encouraging version of love. I want my daughter to know those kinds of love exist. I know sometimes that the love lines they feed us in contemporary and traditional literature is unrealistic. It there to teach us something. It is there to create the conversation of what real love looks like.

And is talking to my almost 13 year old about what love should look like that bad? I think not. My whole marriage I have tried to portray what love looks like. The respect, the kindness, the loyalty and even sometimes the anger. This movie had all of that. It was not some idealized version frought with unattainable and unrealistic possibilities.

As I read TFIOS, I was reminded of the movie and by far better book, A Walk to Remember, which oddly enough has a very similar story line. But the young couple goes on to get married. But the marriage was created because of the religious tension in the movie that was trying to suggest that a relationship cannot be complete without marriage. And I am neither here nor there on that front. But I do feel like it was for the purposes of sex that the marriage happened in that movie. And that was one part that just always sat wrong with me. Marriage is about so much more than that.

So yea, not that I needed to defend my choices, because I do not. But I took my daughter because the conversation that ensued after gave me a great opportunity to have an awesome conversation with her about love, life and relationships. Love can be everything that was portrayed in the novel and movie.

“Sometimes people don’t understand
the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said.
Isaac shot me a look. “Right, of course.
But you keep the promise anyway. That’s
what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway. Don’t you believe in true love?” 
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

Ready for the fight.

I think I have made no qualms about our lives and how they have changed since TN struck. I do at times feel like a broken record and wonder if the world (or at least my reading world) wishes I would just get over it. And I know realistically two things. They don’t want that and I won’t. I can’t. How could I? The physicality of the disease and surgery and living with it knocked my husband over. For me it has been very different c8a61f54b064ed3b647d326116dffec4because I am dealing with all of that and having seen my husband at his absolute worst on the brink of something I can’t even utter. I have tried to rationalize that and put it into words here and I can’t.

But I do know it is one of those moments you can’t take back and you are in completely alone and isolated. And I know I am not alone. But it isn’t a conversation I can have with my friends. It isn’t a conversation I can have with my closest confidant (my husband). I think back to the other spouses in ICU and ICU patient waiting area. They were in their 70′s and 80′s. There were a few parents and even they were older than me.

I make no secrets, I have struggled with that fact and as much as I want to get over it I cannot. So instead of feeling bad for feeling the way I do I just need to embrace it as much as I can as our new story. Our path changed. Our priorities changed. And we all need time to adjust to that. To accept this reality as our new one. I can fight it and be angry. I can fight others and be angry at them for having a normal life. Or I can choose love and thank God for the new reality.

And I do and honestly always have. I love the perspective and clarity it has placed in my life and on my heart. I love the new sense of what matters that is in my life. I love the sheer strength and love that it has created in my family. I love the faith it has created and grace it has endured. I learned to fight for what is important and do everything in life with love and passion or it isn’t worth doing. But the lessons I learned had/have a rough edge. They come with a whole new set of tough realities.

My guy and I have some very rough decisions to make in the next year. Decisions that will honestly set us into the next portion of our lives. Decisions that can completely altar where we have been heading. But they have to be made with complete and utter faith and clarity of our new reality. I am not really in the business of being vague to draw readers in. Especially where trigemenial neuralgia is concerned. I want our story out there and heard. Unfortunately, I have to here. For the protection of his story. For the protection of my family.

But I can and will say that love and fight seem like complete and exact opposites. But they are not. I would have never ever adopted the phrase Love always wins if I even thought that Love wasn’t a fight. The word wins is defined by Websters as to gain the victory or to overcome an adversary. Every single part of TN has been that since the very beginning. It won’t stop till the day I die. But if you fight with Love. The love of a human, the love of your God, the love of your family,the love of your children, the love of a profession or just the sheer love of life I can guarantee you one thing….Love will win. It will win because it has too.

So even though my narrative has changed and I am changing with it. I fight as a warrior for my love. And my Love. My love for all of the above will move mountains, create awareness, change the worlds my girls live in because I choose it. I deem it. And I am ready to fight.

________

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a neurological brain disease that  is estimated that 1 in every 15,000 people suffer from, a condition characterized by intense, electrocution-type facial pain. There is currently no test for definitively diagnosing TN, nor is there a cure. There is also a shortage of research into treatments and medications to help sufferers of TN pain. If you feel so moved to fund research do so here. (All info taken from TNA)