The connection that I have had to Jewel, the singer, has always been so strong. I have loved and followed many singers. But each and everyone of her songs have touched me at different parts of my life connecting in only ways that make me feel entertwined with this human whom I have never met and only heard in my years. 

I found her one day on the radio as I nursed my first real and terribly tragic heartbreak. I was 18 and I walked away from an adult life that I managed to get myself into way too young. I didn’t want the relationship to end, but something in me made me drive that car away. 

I kinda like it in my brand new place

I wipe the spots off the mirror 

Don’t leave the keys in the door 

I never put wet towels on the floor anymore, cause 

Dreams last so long even after your gone 

My heart was shattered. Two years and what I thought would be a marriage was gone in a flash and I found myself in my own apartment alone and clinging to something. Finally a song on the radio, a voice unique and bold speaking words that burned. 

Or later when I learned what true love was, that it didn’t hurt and that you could know what it was like to feel the sunshine on your face daily even when there was no sun. Her happiness some how cascaded into my own happiness. 

Let the phone ring, let’s go back to sleep, let the world spin outside our door you are the only one I want to see

Tell your boss you are sick, hurry, get back here I am getting cold, boy it is you my hands love to hold

My second apartment ever and first time I ever lived with a boy. A boy whom I would marry 17 months later. A boy whom became the father to my children and who listened to Jewel’s Christmas and baby songs CDs with. Always playing in the background to my life was this blonde haired beauty yodeling her way into my life.

Her words and lyrics always struck me and made me own the way I felt. Her new book has me feeling the exact same. I am not saying we have lived the same lives. My experiences are not the same. But my experiences can echo hers and the way I feel when I read them….I can only think DAMN it….she said it first. I was thinking it. 

And maybe that is what I have always loved about her. She is brave and says it. She says it ways I can’t find the words. Or I am too afraid too. What if someone thought differently of me? What if they don’t understand what I mean? What if I say it wrong? What if they see the real me? And no one can answer that. 

“Not having access to my senses could lead to disaster, and so instead of turning away from my feelings, I turned toward them. I studied them. I turned to writing rather than drugs to take the edge off. I vowed to try to tell the truth about myself when I wrote-not the version of myself I had to be” 

Jewel…you are my soul sister. My heart beats by you. Beside you and because of you. Your words give my own breath. I breath deep and write because I know the only way to the other side of pain is through it and the only one to save my soul is me.

And the moment I lose that I lose me. In my word there is truth and I must speak it to honor it. 


If you are vulnerable they will see it.

I start every school year talking about our emotional road blocks we have as readers and writers and the truth is that reading and writing connects us all in a way that feels vulnerable. I say, “It is basically the equivalent of putting out guts out there and letting everyone look.” In my experience, teenagers struggle with that. Heck in my experience, adults do as well. My sixth year of teaching and it never gets easier.

But can I tell you the value of allowing your vulnerability to show to them? It seems a little less scary when they see an adult that is asking them do it doing it. I did that yesterday. I didn’t even expect it. I teach dual credit speech. I love it, but I do have those moments where I wonder if I can teach them. I speak amazing to teens. To my peers, to my students parents and to people I don’t know….the task is never easy. But I do every single speech my students have to do to show them. Sometimes it feels robotic and too easy. They compare their ability with mine. I try and explain my audience is my sweet spot. I do this daily. It is where I do well.

But knock me off that kilter and it isn’t as easy. I had the idea this week to switch it up. I decided to highlight the mistakes that we make as speakers. I decided to add them all into one speech that was extremely emotionally charged. I talked about my guy and his TN. My kids are working on advocating for a cause they really care about. This was something I really care about. Except I had to not take it serious. I had to “mess” it up.

What I didn’t intend on was the emotional side of doing a speech about something like this. I saw pictures, I talked about memories and I felt the urge to cry. When it happened I audibly laughed and I looked out at their faces and their confusion. Eventually they realized what was happening and that I was purposefully showing my vulnerability so we could talk about they can over come their own vulnerabilities. I wanted their criticisms so it felt a little more safe for them.

Everyday I teach how to read, how to write and how to understand. Those are all very valuable lessons and honestly at this point I feel like I could teach them on automatic pilot. It is the human lessons that are the hard ones. They are the ones that keep me on my toes because I have to reach them. I want them to own their voices and their 8699717b182382e8eaa7804096378b94identities so that being vulnerable is a little less scary.

On my walk this AM, I was listening to Brene Brown talking about fear and shame and she said, “Your worst fear has already happened.” The lump climbed into my throat and my tears slowly began to fall. And I thought, “Yes, It has.” And how true is that. No way will I ever feel as vulnerable as I did when I sat in that ICU room with my guy and I take the power away from that fear every single time I talk about it and own it and show it that it doesn’t own me. It was that wife in the ICU room. It was the mom that lost her child in a miscarriage. It was the woman who looked at herself in the mirror and was absolutely disgusted by what she saw. It was the woman who got help with her contamination OCD, and it was the woman who let go of the people that cause her pain purposefully.

All of those moments are great leaps of vulnerability and facing the fear and most of them are no longer fears because they already happened. So purposefully making mistakes in the knowledge that they not only witnessed but weren’t afraid to call me on them hopefully gave them a little ounce of encouragement to be vulnerable because there is great power in those moments.

Off in the ditch somewhere.

We have this metaphor in my classroom. I use metaphors with my freshman because they understand the world a little better in metaphor form. But I describe us all as driving down the road together and sometimes we get distracted by a friend, a thought,  something going on on the side of the road and there are consequences to that and we gotta find our way back to road. And every year at the beginning of the year I find myself off in the ditch.

I don’t know what it is about the start of the school year and me off in ditches, but every year it happens without fail. I look around and wonder if I can find my way back and every year I do in due time. But this year it is bad. I feel the looming pressures of standardized testing, the complete pressure of a completely new family schedule and lifestyle. I am trying to maneuver it all and still have time and a place for myself. It is markedly better because the last two years were filled with a consistent and constant worry about my guy and don’t get me wrong those fears are still there. They are just way more managed.

But what I am realizing is the letting of others who stand on the side of the road and try and convince me their way is my way is getting in my way. I am getting caught up in the other instead of getting caught up in the what truly matters and that is being true to myself and my purpose. I looking off at the side of the road wondering if there is a better way for me. And I am suffering the consequences to that as I warn my students.

My car is in the ditch and I am trying to find my way back onto the road and the only way to do that is to stay true to ME and let love win. You know how I realized that? Yesterday, I went for a quick lunch and went to my beloved Subway. As I went to pay for my lunch the cashier told me it was 1 dollar and twenty some odd cents. I felt confused and said, “No, I ordered a turkey sandwich and drink. She smiles and she said, “Someone wanted you to have a blessing today and wants you to pay that blessing forward.” My heart response was, “Wow, that is so awesome and I WILL!”

I repaid the blessing and paid it forward and am ever grateful for the reminder from the universe that the world is good and that this is my usual season for the beginning of the year and I am grateful for the blessings I have.

STATurday Saturday – It needed to happen.

I am slowly but steadily sliding into a routine over here. Which means for my blogging world that I can get back to blogging my usual stuff and times. I knew I owed my readers and myself time to sit down and crunch my numbers and what not. But I will NOT lie that hardest part of this journey remains and I have a feeling will remain the mental battle. The quick 1 second decisions of good choices. Thankfully, they are getting easier to make, but that doesn’t mean I am not weak or that I am perfect.

It mostly means I am committed to a healthier me and until I get where I want to be that has to be consistent. The hard part is the closer I get the easier it feels to say, “Ah…it is okay to…” Fill in the blank with eat bad food or skip said workout. I am not there and I honestly would like to never be there. I don’t want to give up on this and I committed for the lifestyle change, not the way I look in the mirror or the size I fit or to say I have lost 60lbs and so many inches. Those things are nice, but they are material. I need to battle the things that say, “You don’t deserve this and you aren’t worth it.”


  • 47.5 Inches lost since January 2015
  • 58lbs lost since January 2015
  • 210 to 152lbs
  • Size XL to Size S
  • Size 20 to a Size 6 (and they are getting loose)





Sorry if they are all blurry. I thought it was a mirror thing, but after taking it at gym I realized my phone maybe dirty. I will work on that. Regardless the photos on right are from February and photos on left are from today. The last was just a straight on shot after weights and a run on the treadmill.

My skin is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. My guy and I have talked a lot about it, but I am no where near ready to make permanent decisions about it. I am just trying to feel less self conscious about it. I do wonder sometimes what my body would actually look like without it all and I wonder what my weight would actually be. I can physically lift off and push it to the side. Underneath I have rock hard abs, beautiful biceps and thigh muscles you could bounce a quarter off of. With it I jiggle, I feel a little like I am drowning in a sea I have no hope of getting out of and weighs me down mentally.  I am extremely weird about that kind of stuff though with my beliefs. So again the mental battle begins.

I have been so good this week and loving all the food I have been eating. It is all so healthy and fresh and I feel good. That is probably the biggest thing I notice is the moment I eat crap, I feel like crap. So I just don’t.  Someone asked me what happens after the 21 days….and I giggled and said it just keeps going considering I started it in March. That is the thing with 21 days…it is NOT a diet. It is a way to eat. It is no different than any other thing out there. The biggest reason I continue to use it is for the portion size. But I can go without the containers. I don’t need them to know what my body needs. I use them because I can and it makes life easier.

I always hold the ultimate decision of what goes into my body. I just try and always be sure it is worthy of the work and effort I have made for the last 9 months. When I celebrate my year anniversary I want to feel like and proclaim I didn’t falter because I made a bad decision. Yes sometimes I eat bad for me things, but it is always very calculated and it isn’t a cheat. It is being human.

And with that…Love keeps winning. It always does!

A thunderstorm and lightening and a lot of it’s okay. 

Parenting babies is easy. I mean it isn’t and heck when you are in it it feels like the hardest thing you will ever do. Then you get to the next stage and it feels harder still. But the reality of it all is that it is all hard. And just when it gets easier and you take a breath it changes. 

The older my ladies get the less I like to share on my blog of their business and it really is just their business and not mine to share. I never want to corrupt that fragile relationship and make it harder than it already can be in the teen years. 

Some may call the way I raise my ladies as unorthodox or not normal. And actually I am completely okay with that. I never want to be normal and I try and raise my girls to understand if they want normal it is their choice not because they aren’t proud of who they uniquely are. 

That type of parenting has created girls who aren’t always afraid to question why or want to color their hair blue. But the other side to that is a I raised them to respect their education, treat others with the utmost kindness even when they don’t always deserve it. And sometimes they are different than their peers. 

In fact, I remember my #1 coming home during kindergarten and telling me about a little boy who made fun of her. I told her to go back to school the next day and play with that little boy. She looked confused and said okay. She went to the school next day and she played with him. I asked her about it and she said, “Momma, he was nice to me today.” The lesson I was trying to teach her is that sometimes the meanest kids need the most love. 

And truthfully I am so proud of the girls they are becoming. We are tough parents with high expectations and expectations they never seem to fail. But they are also kind, softhearted, intelligent and understand right from wrong. 

I allow my girls on certain Social media sites with the stipulation that I am always connected to it with passwords and as their “friend”. I noticed it was getting increasingly more and more negative and I also noticed it was creating more and more stress. If there is ever a unneeded stress I can limit or take away you better believe I will. It kept building and building. Then one day I saw my daughter sitting at a table across from me crying. 

That was when my guy and I made a decision to cut off the social media. It wasn’t even a hard decision. It was one of the easiest. Why let it continue if it hurts? She didn’t resist and has since been so grateful. She needed us to set the limit. And I began to wonder if I shouldn’t do it across the board. All girls and all their social media. And we haven’t decided yet but the longer we go with the separation the more I see the importance of maintaining that innocence. They know the world is cruel. 

Kids are cruel. Period. My own children can be cruel. But why would I add another stress into their life they don’t need? I know my decision was not necessarily a popular one. But thankfully I don’t care. The stress of a tough curriculum at school, a dad who struggles with TN, a momma who brings work home way too much and just being a teenager and those are all things I cannot necessarily control. But social media and access to it…I can and will and do. 

Now if we were talking about Netflix or Hulu I imagine there would be a lot more resistance. But Netflix and Hulu are make believe, characters and story lines. They are easier to explain and control. 

Kicking my own butt.

I needed a win in my column this week. I noticed something that I stopped doing and that I hadn’t been doing for awhile, but now I am doing again and I am really mad at myself. I avoid seeing myself in the mirror or body and when I do I am disgusted. I even talk so crappy to myself in my head. I am not talking about when I am curling my hair or Photo (17)putting on make up.

I learned a long time ago the value of self talk from my therapy with my OCD. I know how important it can be to talk yourself up or down. And boy howdy have I been on the down. Yesterday, I took my ladies shopping and I needed jeans. I haven’t purchased any since the weight loss and I know eventually it will be colder. I wanted GAP jeans because I haven’t worn GAP jeans since I was in high school. I tried them on and didn’t even look at myself in the mirror and you know why? Because when I tried them on I looked down and I felt shame for the way I looked and I immediately felt disgust.

My question is why? Why do I deserve to do that to myself? I have worked so hard and lost so much weight.  I still shock someone daily. My students compare me to a pencil and somehow I still disgust myself because my skin in my stomach sags? Or because I hate, hate, hate the ugly stretch marks that on my arms, legs and thighs? I don’t get it. I know logically that isn’t fair, but I still do it. And what in the world would I tell my girls if they did that to themselves?

And honestly I didn’t feel like that two weeks ago or a month ago? Is it because the last month has been super stressful at work? I still work out daily. I haven’t slacked. I have had a few butterfingers or maybe I couldn’t run as hard. And somehow I have equated that in my head to giving in and took to mentally beating the crap out of myself. Photo (19)

And that makes me so angry. Why am I the first one to be so darn hard on myself? I deserve better. I need to be a better role model for my daughters. The biggest thing I believe that has changed is my attitude and that is because I am tired. I get up so early and I am struggling with going to bed so early to accommodate that.

So I did what I knew would hopefully be kind to me and give me the “umpf” I need to kick my own butt and I literally did it. First off, I bought new work out clothes. Not a lot, but all smalls. This alone is a huge boost. But I didn’t try them on and I somehow convinced myself by the time I got home they wouldn’t fit. But guess what…THEY DID!

Then yesterday on the treadmill I was killing it with a 8 something mile. Me an 8 mile and twice!!! What? I thought it was a fluke and then today I did sprint intervals and did it again. This time they were outside which is markedly harder than a treadmill. My one minute interval miles were kicking my summer normal 1 mile run times butt. This to me suggests I am getting better and better and I need to focus on that.

I don’t know where Negative Mommy Rhetoric came from, but I keep reminding her she needs to go! And then I move. The last three days I have put so many miles on my new running shoes to shut her up because in my experience that is the only way I have ever been able to shut her up. To love myself up and to be sure I have time to kick my own butt.

Lost my weight I gained and lost one more and I lost four inches this week. My eating is on point. I am hanging around 1200-1400 calories. I cut back on carbs just a smidge because I wondered if that didn’t contribute a little to gain. I was still in a good range, but I think I was having more than I was this summer.

I didn’t fall off the wagon, but it did try and bump me off!

I am all about truth here. I haven’t been perfect. I have faltered or I do falter. Last week was incredibly emotional and the last two weeks I have felt very much under the gun at work. Last week I needed to give myself time to throw a fit. I needed a woe is me and time to do the opposite of all the Facebook memes tell you not to do. I glorified the busy. My busy is my own creation though and I recognize that. The emotional stuff was at work and at home. But in that time I gave into comfort foods by way of evil awful baby Ruth bars that I bought for my girls. In the last nine months staying away from those kinds of candies hasn’t been hard. But then bad stress hit, a busy life, an even busier job, a few bad days and changes to my schedule and it was a recipe for excuses. I didn’t go crazy, but I did give in. I gave in three days in a row. Then Saturday came and I joined the gym so I can do different exercises from different machines on my off days or run on treadmill as the temps change for running days. I kicked butt. They also have weights so I can work on getting leaner. And I haven’t had any junk since. 

And I will be totally honest I felt like crap cause I ate crap. I quit on myself for three tiny snack candy bars. It wasn’t the same as not depriving myself. I don’t and won’t ever deprive myself. But I won’t use eating to comfort and that is what I did. This idea that I deserve it because it was hard. It being life. That is the mistake I make. Food cannot equal a reward like that for me. It just cannot. I eat crap because I choose not to, not because I deserve it. I deserve to take the best care of myself as humanly possible. That I do deserve. But that is also a decision. 

Now I will say that I have gained two pounds since last week. I am not really sure why because I know logically three nights of a few small snack candy bars won’t make you gain weight like that. I suspect it water gain or hormones or even the added weight training. Or even just giving into my mental stress for a bit. Who knows? Every time I add more than normal weights to my workout my body holds on to weight a little bit. I expect on Staturday I will be back down to normal cause I have been killing it. My plan is back in full effect not that it ever wasn’t. I worked out once daily with one rest day. In addition to that I walk or run or now do a machine at least three or four times a week. Twice a week I lift weights. 

My eating remains in tact and no candy bars this week. So stress won the battle but I will win this war. I already feel it. My goal every day this week is to be sore the next day!! I have done it every single day!