It starts with me.

That didn’t take long for me to cry. I am kinda known for it and I can’t help it, so oh well.

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I posted a new youtube where I faced my own struggles head on. If I am honest I am kinda tired of no one talking about mental illness. I have talked about it for years here, but why is that we talk about it and we feel shame like it makes us less than? And every single time it takes me days, hours sometimes of letting the post just sit till I feel brave enough. Today’s youtube sat on my computer waiting to be published for five hours.

I even had someone tell me once my posting about my struggle on my blog was to create drama and to be dramatic. I understand that perspective I suppose. But then I think about those who suffer in silence and are afraid to speak up. They don’t have an amazing support network, or the teenager at home wanting help, but not knowing how to ask for help. That isn’t dramatic.

I didn’t struggle for attention and I found ways to cope and have been living healthily with my OCD for almost 10 years now. I think I have something I can provide to the conversation. A strength, a fighting spirit and a will to stand for those who can’t stand for themselves.

So if that is what you think I am doing or if you believe a teenager should hide in public and feel shame for being depressed, and we shouldn’t talk about suicide rates and how they are a health crisis then maybe you came to wrong place.

Thankfully, my mind never got clouded enough to contemplate suicide, but what did happen were the thoughts that life could be a whole less complicated and had I not had my own children I am not sure where that thought could have progressed too. If me putting my story out there helps one person to know there is a positive other side then doing the scary thing of sharing my story was worth it.

Yes I am scared. Yes I feel some shame. Yes I worry what others think, but I am doing it anyway for those that can’t and for my own daughters to know it is okay.

More than anything this is my why:

  1. Suicide is the 10 h leading cause of death in the US
  2. Each year 44,193 Americans die by suicide
  3. For every suicide 25 attempts
  4. Suicide costs the US $ 51 Billion annually

Additional Facts About Suicide in the US

  • The annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 13.26 per 100,000 individuals.
  • Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 121 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2015.

All info from –> American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

 

We all gotta live this life…why not live it the best way you can? Healthy minds make healthy hearts. That is love winning – MR

 

Can I finally unpack?

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This school year was unreal on so many levels and I am not sure I entirely realized it until I watched our class of 2017 walk across the stage. Our principal did a run down of all of the accomplishments of the school and as he did a run down I suddenly felt like you do if you are sitting in a church hearing a sermon and like they are talking directly to you. I shook my head, I began to cry and I wiped my eyes as I smiled ear to ear.

I have not talked a lot about what I have been through professionally this year because I was worried it would come across as bragging or hurt my fellow teachers who work just as hard and furiously as I do. Teaching isn’t a single player sport. It requires collaboration, team work and the support and sometimes flat out job carrying of others to get through.

More than anything…nothing about my job is about me. I don’t teach for me. Sure I get a paycheck, but when I walk into that room or I support a student outside of my classroom it is never about me. I had the blessing to find a job that helps bring out my best attributes and fulfills a passion I never knew I held so deeply. As well, I am not even sure I can correctly articulate the wonderful things that happen at my school or in my classroom and there are many times I scratch my head and wonder if this is how every teacher feels.

But to get to the point of what I want to unpack is that a professional high that happened for me this year and it so hard to even put into words and even now months later I cannot even explain it. A local public radio interviewer came to do piece on my student population and I was picked to have them in my classroom and had the pleasure of recommending students for the piece to be interviewed. I was also interviewed. The feature ended up being picked up statewide and then nationally in an NPR piece.

And while I appreciated all that, I wish I could bottle the way I felt hearing and watching my students interact with Claire. The pride and excitement of what my students have had to overcome to change their worlds and just how they do that. I stand in awe on a regular basis.

Well the hub bub died down and then we got a call that our state’s former first lady (Judy O’Bannon) wanted to come and visit with our kids after hearing about the NPR piece. The former first lady who takes up educational issues. She also has a documentary type show where she features foreign lands and tries to make connections, so that the world seems a little less big. She has always traveled abroad for the show.

Then she heard our story and realized there is a story that fulfills her criteria right here in Indiana. She interviewed our local community, our mayor and then ended up again in my makeshift classroom and with my students. Again, I got to beam with pride. But there wasn’t much better than the moment she sat down alone to interview me and asked about the conflict that is brought to my classroom based on the diversity in my school.

Something I hadn’t really thought about since my first year at my school. A question that I tackled and went back to my own mentor to seek guidance and support. Amazingly, I responded with my 5 years of wisdom I didn’t have back then and that is that, “Most of the time it is us adults with the conflict.” I followed up with there is a lot they could teach us. She said that was the perfect way to end and hugged me and thanked me with tears in her eyes for all I do for my students.

This isn’t just about a group of students to me. It isn’t just about a school or even my classroom. I am not getting attention because I am doing something so different then the teachers who teach beside me are doing. I am just giving a face/name/classroom to what is already happening.

This is what teaching is doing. It is working more hours than you are paid for, spending more in your classroom than you probably should, sitting back and realizing students can teach us things sometimes more than we can teach them and more than anything for me it is my passion. I do it because I have found my calling and talent and I can get paid.

If you pay any attention to this post don’t pay it to me. Pay it to a teacher. Maybe a teacher that meant a lot to you or changed your life. Say thank you. Hug them and tell them because it isn’t always easy. It is exhausting quite frankly and many times I have driven home and updated my resume and decided to get out altogether. But then there is that one student….the one who shouts your name as you are leaving graduation from across the room and mouths thank you and places their hand on their heart. Yea, I cried.

So to unpack….yea it was a year…but every one is. – MR

My love and my best wishes: Class of 2017.

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This one has been ruminating for awhile now because saying goodbye is always so hard for me. It is probably the 2nd hardest part about being a teacher for me. You know you are sending them off to bigger and better things, but it hurts. I remember when my # 1 was just learning to crawl and I had an epiphany on the painfulness of raising children. We are literally giving birth to them to constantly watch them move away from us.

And because my own motherhood is woven into my teaching it feels exactly the same. I wrote something to share with my class a few weeks back about how I truly feel as their teacher. I am giddy, afraid, hopeful and apprehensive all at once. This is very much like motherhood. We hope we teach them well to do amazing things in the world. A world that can sometimes beat the hell of out them. But we have to trust them, we have to trust ourselves that what we taught them had an impact, and we have to watch them walk away and try it on their own.

My first group of kids was special because they were first and I love them dearly. This 2nd group of kids served a very unique and personal role that I am not sure many of them even know they did. I had them all a lot the year my guy had his brain surgery. They gave me the ability to get lost in my work. Their emails when I was down in Indy with him were uplifting and thoughtful. The daily hugs, and words of encouragement. Their love and prayers were felt on levels that they likely don’t even understand or know. When they made their way back around to me their junior year our bond became even stronger. They were and continue to bless me every day.

But on top of that they were the 2nd children in a very unique school where a big deal was made of our first group. They always kinda felt like they stood in the shadows and truthfully they did. Even though they changed the face of our school in their own unique and amazing aways. But still the shadows. But one of my best human qualities is my ability to pull people out of the shadows. This isn’t a brag, it is just my personality.

Over the last few days I have been thinking of each of them and feel nothing but immense pride at their hard work and ability and my little tiny role in that of making sure they all shined in their own ways while in my classroom and sometimes out of it. I make it a goal to have at least one connection with each student in my classroom every year.

Of course, you connect with some students more than others but there are so many in this group. In just a few days, I will watch them walk across the stage many already with their associates degree and I know that I will be that proud teacher that is all those mixed bag of emotions and trying to figure out how to say good bye. For some, I will likely never see again and others they will be shipping off.

I just can’t. I don’t want to. But I have to because it is part of the job. It is trusting you have made an impact, no matter how small, in their future so that they know they CAN and WILL be a success in where ever this life takes them.

So to my precious class of 2017 I bid you farewell. I have said it 100x to you that remember if you need reminders of your greatness you know where to find me and yes I will always awkwardly reply to your proclamations of affection because that is me. But remember that doesn’t mean I love ya’ll any less. Life gets really hard sometimes, but if you follow your heart and lead with love it won’t ever steer you wrong. Now go do great things and make us proud!

My love to you always.

Love Always Wins -MR

I am a youtuber!!

So yea if you follow me on my social media you know I have been toying with doing more vlog type blogging. It suits itself with my life and I have been a blogger forever. I threw out the idea to my kiddos who loved the idea and we went through a process to figure out what that actually looks like and gathered the equipment. It happened.

We posted our first one last night. It is going to be very MOMMY RHETORIC which means me being real. I have tried the fake perfect life thing. I have tried the posting only as one thing. I have tried just being a cook, a teacher, a momma and one thing always was so obvious. I am much more engaging when I am just me which is basically a little bit of everything.

When I started blogging I never made it about readers or amounts of views and this venture will be no different. If this ends up as no more than just a chronicle for me to look back on and smile then so be it. I don’t “perform” for others. I say that to my children, I say that to my students and I live that life. I am me. If you wanna view it I invite you in. If you don’t that is okay. I am not for everyone.

But can I say this idea has already meant so much to me. I am a sap. I am so damn sentimental. The process of getting equipment and collaborating on ideas and then making my first video has been one of my happiest memories with my children. Each of them contributed to the video in a certain way. Even my guy’s “don’t tape me attitude” has made me giddy.

So if you watched, do watch I want to thank you for the time and know that we are definitely sharing some of the crazy shananigans that are what I have dubbed Eichenauer Party of Five.

Year End Wrap Up – Mommy Rhetoric – 2017

Professionally as I finish up my 7th year of teaching I find that each year gives me what I need out of most whether it is professionally or personally. This year was no different. Two amazing things happened that all were preceded by a blah feeling. It was becoming an ‘old hat’. I like challenges and to be challenged by them, my thinking, my colleagues and my teaching. I find that my teaching fulfills my creative necessity in life. So ‘old hat’ poses problems.

img-thingThus enter the group of juniors I had this year. A group that my traditional teaching methods did not work on. My traditional methods I would call pathos filled, life has a purpose and what is yours lessons and that isn’t what they needed from me. Instead, I needed to find ways to reach them that were more effective and yet still meaningful to my own authenticity because the biggest and best part of my teaching is my being myself. When you teach teenagers that need that reassurance that being who they are is okay. I found it. I stumbled…but I found it. I reached them. Of course, as the year ends you look at yourself and your classroom and you see things that you could change or could have gone better. But I didn’t give up and I thought about it.

The second and likely most impactful to me as a professional and personally was feeling my own calling and purpose shift and change. The world has been trying to tell me in awhile, but I ignored it or just wasn’t picking up on it. I am not even sure I have entirely figured it out. But I am getting there slowly. It isn’t a story I am ready to tell or even have put all together. But I have found a voice I didn’t know I had. Now I just need to articulate it. My dream is bigger than I could ever imagine and it scares me. But I trust that signs I am seeing are God, or the wider universe nudging me or maybe even kicking me in that direction.

Contemplatively Yours – MR

17 Years-I promise forever.

We are nearing another year. This would be putting year 17 to bed and heading into year 18. This year didn’t teach me much that I did not already know. It did show me that someone always has my back. Especially he has my back when I am confused, indecisive and scared of my own shadow. Thank you love for being the love of my life and the love that I never even realized I needed until I did.

To many, many, many more!

Mommy Rhetoric

As we stand together
I promise forever
‘Til the day that I die
You are the love of my life

Wedding Song – Sammy Kershaw

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may 22, 1999

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may 22, 2016

Oh I suppose this may be another post waxing poetic about my marriage, but it isn’t some lame attempt at my social media life looking more exciting than the real deal. In fact, exciting and all of it’s connotations are exactly what makes my marriage worth having and where this post was generated from.

While on vacation I was perusing pinterest and I came across a pin about a man who had been married for 17 years and had written an extremely popular post about how to maintain a marriage for that long. I was struck very quickly with imposter syndrome. How in the world can a 17 year long marriage shed any sort of light on the keys…

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Oh hi!

I know I should really come here more, but Spring 2017…is BUSY! Our play. A kiddo in high school softball, piano lessons, a comedy show at school, hubby assisting with golf. A round of E gang colds (maybe working on a second), a thumb sprang and pre-surgery appointments. There are two problems and they are that there just isn’t enough time or enough of me. Both of which I cannot solve…so my blog you have gotten quite dusty.

But yea I am the same. I am a vicious cycle of losing and gaining the same freaking 10lbs over and over and over. I honestly hate the way I look in the mirror. I feel very similarly to how I felt before I lost the weight. But I am trying to do the reverse thinking of I remember I time when I would have died to weigh what I do now. Instead, I keep lusting after my new goal weight and then I feel defeated and blah. So I gave myself a focus almost three weeks ago.

I realized that my major surgery was going to be in about 60 days. I also realized right before that I was going on our family vacation. So I gave myself a focus. A 60 day challenge of just plugging forward with taking care of myself and yet another campaign of self love and hopefully exploring why I have to keep doing it over and over. I am on day 20 today. And yet again I fall in love with the process. My eating is and isn’t the problem. I know how to eat well and clean. I do really well with it, but there is always a day that is tough. My emotions are high and boom! I overeat. Or eat something that is counterproductive to my exercise portion of this.

I am not into shame or the idea of cheating, so I am trying to get better at just moving on from those moments. That is how I dealt with them previously and I have to get better at doing it now. I just need to not REWARD or COMFORT with food. I love food and for me when I do those two things is when I find trouble.

I made it a full 16 days without a rest day. Finally, I took one. I had a tough day and a lot of hurt/stress and aggravation around me that was weighing me down. Instead of eating my way through it. I took care of myself via my diet and binged instead on amazon prime and watched four episodes of Homeland (current show of choice) in one evening. I was ready and pumped to get back to it the next day. This for me is a true definition of a rest day.

So yea want some proof of what I am up to? There are a couple of ways to do this. Follow me on my main instagram account @mommyrhetoric (You can follow that twitter too). I also have a fitness account for instagram that talks way more about my fitness @mommyrhetoric_fit . And as a unique accountability tool for me I vlog almost every single day at my Mommy Rhetoric facebook page. I usually have fitness tips there, but sometimes I am just real with you. So come see me….Like my page and see what I am up to.

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I just posted this as a reminder of where I started to where I am. I have to REMIND myself.

I was 210 lbs and now I am hoover in that 140-150 range. (My 10lb yo-yo) GRR! But I am not giving up. Here are snippets of my last 20 days.

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Accountability through FITBIT Challenges. Whether with friends, with myself and my goals. A lot goes down here including my calorie counts which are right around 1200 per day.

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My kiddos. They keep me accountable to as well by coming with me. Trying to keep up with them helps. Or just showing cool places I found. Like my hill….

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Yea I have walked up and down this hill quite a bit this spring. I doubted I could do running sprints on it. That was until I proved myself wrong. I did it. I did 10 of them. Yup I sure did. Sometimes you have to challenge yourself.

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But you gotta show up for yourself every single DAMN day!!! It doesn’t matter if  you have the cutest shirt, or your clothes don’t match. Sometimes it really sucks and sometimes you feel like Shaun T. But you show up. You don’t need all the space or your gym is out in the sun. But you do it! You do it over and over and over until you do it like you brush your teeth and brush your hair.

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Some days you eat super healthy and you love it. But some days you eat Qdoba and you even add a little gauc because it SHOULD NOT be a punishment. You aren’t bad. You are a beautiful human being who needs to take care of yourself inside and out.

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Just always remember your why because then love wins and even dandelions look like sunflowers.

-MR

This is why I write.

Sometimes you have moments so moving and intense that the thought of not sharing them seems impossible. It feels almost like you are not acknowledging their existence. That is my life lately.

Most of the intense moments aren’t mine to share. I am a witness to them. They are big. Some are scary. Most are heartfelt and some of the hardest and most defining moments in others lives. But all the same not my own to share.

But those moments are why I write to show the world. It isn’t that I think the world cares about my world. It is to capture what I feel in a single solitary moment as a human being willing to share her story.

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I walked into my house with my mind going its usual 500mph of what I have left to accomplish for the evening. I was happy and feeling light. It was show week which means somehow we made it through and the show is what it is. A load lifted off my shoulders and wishes to the world that it will turn out good.

I open the door to my kitchen and I walk in looking down and my house is quiet which causes a small alarm, so I give a quick glance up and my guy is standing up looking out the back window. I see his back and a profile of his face and if I could just bottle the feeling I had in that moment I would.

My heart wanted to burst. The last three months of each of us coming and going and quick kisses in the hall or before one of us falls asleep for the night. The boring, routine married life I dreamed of as a child. The mundane of my happiness in my heart swells my heart. I am grateful for him, for that moment because this is my life. I have dreamed of this life my whole life.

So many times we think love looks like the movies and the breathless meetings and protests of undying love that we would die for. I never wanted or needed that. I needed that stoic, strong man who showed up. The one who loves unconditionally, who stands watch over the world and me. Someone to protect me and my world and in that moment that is what I saw.

And go ahead and call me one of those ugh bloggers who blogs about her spouse and marriage. And you would be right, but it wouldn’t be for show because what I plan to tell you is that the last few months we have had to be a whole lot more parent/teacher/adult than a wife and her guy. Sometimes I even fall asleep for multiple days in a row without even an utterance of a good night.

No good night kiss? No grand gesture at bedtime of I am grateful I end each day with you. I imagine that is what good wives do. But if I am honest, some days I climb into bed and I hope he doesn’t even talk cause I am beat. I give a lot to everyone else and most days there is barely any left for me. So yea I wake up at 3AM and I wonder if he knows I still get warm fuzzies when I walk into a room and see him. I usually snuggle close and rub his almost bald head and I thank him for our life silently while he snores away. He is clueless that these thanks are given. But I love him and I love our boring, routine married life that I dreamed of.

That is why I write because of that feeling. That guy. That moment. That is the story that needs told.

To all the boring, routine marriages that still have those moments. Hang onto them. 

-MR

Wish I had the answers. 

I have been a stress mess this week and had a whole lot of I don’t care anymore attitude. It was so bad that for the first time in over two years I binged. I sat down in the span of twenty minutes consumed probably somewhere close to 600-700 calories. It was completely aware of what was happening, but I also was not. My head was saying walk away and look at why but it continued on. 

It isn’t that I am such a crappy place or I am depressed. It is just proof that old methods of dealing with stress die hard. It is probably the most stressful time for teachers right now. The weeks leading up to the spring break. There is a lot of work to be done; we are also looking at all that is left to do before the year is over. Plus our musical is in two weeks. All of that is the stress from work. At home I have my stressors too. 

I coped horribly this week and in the way binge eating works for me and my brain somehow it convinces me that the screw up already happened so I may as well enjoy it while I am down. I hit Friday and shame. For the first time in two years I was ashamed of myself and my choices. I was ashamed at how easily it all was. I have said it a million times that the losing weight and getting healthy has been a constant mental battle. And sometimes it feels like a war in my head. 

I know ultimately what is happening here is I have to demand and be darn stubborn about taking time for myself. I am not doing barely anything for myself other than surviving. Survival mode is not a way to live a healthy and mindful life. So I know where the breakdown occurs, but I have to climb out. And right now there are a whole lot of I can’ts. Or even I don’t want too. 

Whether it cuddling with my family and watching a movie instead of working out or going out to dinner with my guy. I have to choose what is best for me and right now the comforts of my family, the comforts of tacos or the comforts of a cuddly blanket and my pup are winning. The biggest problem is the lack of a plan. I am a plan person. I am also a lot more forgiving of myself when I can’t follow my plan. 

For me aimlessly going into a work week without a food plan, workout plan and goals I am a mess. I know this and I set myself up this week because it was easier. Easier to not put myself first and not have a plan. So my promise to myself and my family is that that won’t repeat this week….to help others I have to first help myself. 

Challenge Over

Trainer Lindsey’s 14 day challenge. 

I finished up the challenge today. Overall, I enjoyed this challenge and didn’t feel too put out by it as far as the eating goes. It doesn’t always follow clean eating which I am inclined to follow out of habit at this point. But all I did was clean up the recipes I didn’t like and that wasn’t too hard. The primary issue I had was with the protein shakes. I am not a huge fan of protein shakes and not as many as Lindsey required, so I followed the alternative. The Alternative of 1 cup of egg whites which I am not a fan of. I kind of just choked them down or added cinnamon to fool my brain. 

The workouts were good, but my calorie burn wasn’t as high as I like to get. I would burn about 150-200 calories. I suppose I could have pushed myself a little harder, but I just added in weights (heavier or after), or cardio additional. I really liked the workouts though and the variations and emails from Lindsey are so nice and I felt supported and educated. The faceboook group she has for this challenge is useful, not really because I talked much on it. It was nice mostly to stalk and answer questions I had. I liked it. 

Food was really good. Most days I couldn’t eat all I was allowed but I tried really hard to stick to it as close as I could. I did have a few lapses that were chosen that way. Dinner with my guy. Recipes are good and plan was super easy to follow. 

So what you really want….I lost 5lbs and lost 7 inches. Most of the inches were in my hip and waist area. Overall, I loved the ease with which this program was to follow. The low carb days didn’t kill me and I honestly felt the best I felt on them even compared with 21 day fix. Bloating was non-existent and digestion was perfect. My energy the whole two weeks was really high. 

I am thinking I may try the 6 week challenge now and I am almost certain she has a free 12 week challenge. Please let me know if you plan to do this program. I would love to support you however I can. I do miss my Beachbody workouts.