My Bliss.

“Your bliss is what your supposed to be doing- the thing you’re meant to be do, the thing that nourishes you the most, the thing that harmonizes your inside truth with your outside life, the bringing together of who you are with what you love doing.” ~ Nancy Slonim Aronie 

It is so funny…this was a quote that I read as I was working on my bachelor’s degree from the book, “Writing from the Heart”. My guy and I were broker than broke, but I finished up what would be several classes with a writing professor and she recommended the book to me.

I took everything she said at heart and knew I needed to save for the book, so I did just that and I purchased it. I have dog earred pages and underlines and markers and talking back in the margins from myself.

But when I saw this particular quote that I circled, underlined and highlighted I knew it meant something. It was funny too as I read it because I remember the precise feeling I had when I read it the first time. Specifically, when I read this line….

the thing that harmonizes your inside truth with your outside life”

Gosh, don’t we all need that in our lives? That moment was the moment I decided I would be a writing teacher in a high school setting on my circumstances…not a state dictate, not a university dictate and not in a traditional manner. I had no idea how I would end up there, but I decided then it would happen on my terms. My terms were working on a BA and MA in writing.


This fall I have been trying to place a finger on what is missing. I didn’t know what what missing or even if something was wrong. I just knew life was not feeling entirely right. I chalked it up to new students whom I have never really had. Then I chalked it up to losing my motivation with my fitness & nutrition. Then I thought maybe this is just my fall mood adjusting back to my teacher mode.

Guess what…it was never really all of these, but it was each and everyone. But for me writing is as important to me as my fitness and nutrition, my family, and my students. Balance has always got to be in play.

But my harmonizing my inside truth with my outside life sounds about perfect right now. I haven’t written other than a few measly blog posts and most felt a little whiny to me. I have been working on a novel for years, so I could easily dive back into that. Then my guy and his TN ignited a wish to create awareness via the written word and that worked for awhile. Then my weight loss and fitness journey. That all kept my writing soul nurtured.

But now I sit wordless often at a blank screen wondering where I go. What do I say? I want to write and say things I feel need to be said, but there is fear there. Fear of what that truth out there looks like and I am not ready. I could work on my novel and get lost in those characters. I could just blog more.

Honestly, at this point I am not entirely sure what I am even ready for. It will happen. I know I need to write. I have something to say….I just need to find the words.

Finding my words, MR 


Inspire it. Live it. Give it. Reblog: Grace

Here again I find myself seeking out Grace. Capital Grace because always closely behind Grace is Love. 

Reblog from 1.24.2012: 

As a parent there are funny teaching moments that happen as your children grow up. The weird awkward ones that for me usually stem from well versed social norms that my children had not yet embraced or even understood. For example, teachable moments like where we don’t blatantly call someone fat. Yes, I believe, all of my children have done this. The intentions are never full of malice or harm. But still what person likes to hear a tiny toddler say of them, “Momma, that person is fat.” Or worse yet when they point the finger back at you and say, “Momma, why is your skin jiggly?” (I speak not from experience…yeah right).

How many present days (aka birthdays, Christmas and the like) did you watch in horror as your child opened a gift they either did not like or had already received? It is as if you were watching it in slow motion and praying to everything holy that what is on their face is not being read or worst yet….SAID. But it does get said and you sit back shielding yourself from the judgmental light that is now being bestowed upon your head.

These moments provide great parental passage into the teaching of grace but grace, the word, to define and to talk about and make more tactile is hard. What exactly is grace? Is it how we deal with things? Is it how we speak? Is it a thing? Is it how we act? A verb…grace? Or a noun…Grace? I imagine each person has to define grace by how they believe and use it’s powers. For me, it certainly has it roots in religion and spirituality but it is also much more. It is a verb. It is an action that one chooses to impart into their daily dealings. And more than anything in my daily life it is my filter. It is the way by which I try and think before I speak. That certainly does not mean that I do so all the time. Most of the time when I react without thinking I found I have left my grace at home.

But teaching children to have grace seems a much easier task and really the audience is more forgiving right? What happens when we are an adult and we say something, maybe even unintentionally, that comes out and leaves those in it’s path hurt or worse mad? My biggest struggle is having grace when that happens to me. When people say intentionally cruel things or speak without thinking but I then become required to apply some sort of grace to the situation I find myself irritated. Why can I not just revert back to those toddler ways pretend like I didn’t know it was not okay to be an jerk back to them the way they were an jerk to me?

I guess that is the funny thing about grace. You have to practice it to have it. So one could surmise that in order to have grace it requires at least a meager amount of forgiveness or forgetfulness. Both of which I am terrible at. I don’t forgive easily and really when it comes to hurt I don’t forget either. Somehow grace wins in the end for me. But mostly because I don’t like confrontation. I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe to be right and true but would I argue that I am graceful? Not at all but I think the word graceful and full of grace are very different. When I can flip on that ‘grace filter’ I think that makes me more forgiving because it gives me time that normally a reaction in the moment without grace will not.

Therefore, as I try and decipher grace’s illusive meaning and apply it’s practicality to myself I can see that while I might not inhabit Grace, I certainly have sustained it in action. Maybe not always in beauty but certainly in kindness. The idea that grace is equated with beauty I believe lies in the principles of forgiveness and fortitude. Both actions of beauty and kindness at work.

As you contemplate why this post? Why today? As with most moments in anyone’s life that garner attention, people say things without thinking. Think of that portly woman being asked, “How far along are you?” Or “at least it is not cancer” to the woman who just had surgery or the girl who has been dealing with cancer and cancer threats for four years and someone sentimentally tells her, “Feel better soon” as if chicken noodle soup and a days rest will put cancer fears back to bed. All comments meant with what I hope to be masked in kindness just come across as jerky. I had a few. I have heard a few my friends have received them. It got me thinking how great this “Grace filter” is sometimes. (Click on pictures for credits)


Just Write: In the fight!

1 year ago

My husband had tmj and he was seeing an orthodontic specialist who was fixing a bite. His bite wasn’t getting better. His family doc thought maybe a neurologist should be consulted. I was applying to grad school for my PhD.

10 Months ago

My husband was in the middle of the worst pain I had ever seen any human in in their life time. I remember him dropping to his knees and wrapping his arms around my waist and begging me to help. I remember that was moment I realized this was so much more serious then what I believed. There was a horrendous snow storm going on outside, but I called my in laws and said I need you to come get the girls and I took him to the emergency room. Hours there and many pain killers, muscle relaxants and steroid shots later and he was still writhing pain. The ER doc mentioned the condition of trigeminal neuralgia and I was confused. My guy seemed to have heard of it before and had recently had it mentioned to him. They gave him enough meds to sleep. He barely did.

11 months + 1 day ago

The pain was unbearable and my husband was on 48 hours of 10+ pain scale and barely any sleep. We were on an emergency phone call with a neurologist who admitted him to the hospital and tried multiple drugs. They tried to get him to eat. He couldn’t. Two day hospital stay with a neurologist whose wise words were, “Well I could keep you here, but that isn’t going to change anything. You are going to just have to learn to live with the pain.” I went from thinking my husband had a common jaw disorder to a neurological disorder in 48 hours and I was NOT going to accept this as his new life or mine.

11 Months + A week or so ago

Multiple calls to doctors and tons and tons of research and a few connections with other TN sufferers and a week or so of my husband in the worst pain known to man and my children sitting watching it and I was fired up. Finally lined him up with a neurosurgeon and they adjusted a few meds and wanted us to hang out. We tried. It was probably the hardest 6 weeks of my guys life. He couldn’t talk, eat or even breathe without it hurting.

10 months Ago

A half an hour work up withe neurosurgeon and he knew he was in over his head and his head nurse was on the phone with two neurosurgeons for my guy tobattle have an micro-vascular decompression aka brain surgery. A surgery that is not a guaranteed fix or promises nothing. A surgery performed by only a few and his doctor one of the leading ns to deal with trigeminal neuralgia.

10 months and two weeks ago 

My husband was in the ICU with machines attached to him everywhere. I saw him in the most vulnerable state any human could be seen in. I got to tell him the news at least 6 times that two compression on his trigeminal nerve were found because he was so out of it. I sat vigil by his bed and hung out with other spouses who were also sitting vigil. I felt powerless, helpless and vulnerable myself. We all identified with one another.

Life slows way down ago

The following months were filled with trying to regain some normalcy in our lives. Only to see that TN was not going down without a fight.

5 months ago

Began recognizing that it was going to be one thing after another. Another call and another call to amazing ground breaking surgeon.

1 month ago

The temperature started to change and as it changed more and more I began to see familiar things. Facial contortions, rubbing of his face, worried eyes, anxiety. Add in the side effect of the surgery that we were not expecting: bad horrible headaches. I again get fired up and a call to ground breaking surgeon and a plan of action. A plan of action that at first was slow and steady but soon followed with needs to happen sooner.


So yea we wake up every single day and go to work, take care of our girls and our lives. But we do it in constant fear of how TN is chipping away slowly at our normal life. And I am not naive enough to think that I deserve anything normal or that normal even exists. But a world where TN didn’t drop in and blow up my life. Nothing about this life resembles anything I thought it would a year ago. And I suppose the same could be said for my life being completely different a year from now.

I also wake up every morning wondering how today will go. I hope his meds work and his pain stays at a minimum. And that is all centered around him. I worry we will be where we were a little less than a year go. I fear seeing my spouse that way again. I fear him having to feel that way or even having to worry about feeling that way.

That doesn’t even cover how I feel about my girls in all of this. He saves his best for them.

I could list all the things that TN has taken away from my husband, but that is his list to make. I know my list is long and I don’t even suffer. I suffer as the spouse of a TN sufferer. All I can say is it has changed me to the core. It has changed how I deal with life, people and my husband. I cannot unsee the things I have seen. It has only widened and deepened my love for him. But it has also made me bristly. I am insanely protective of us, our story and our struggle. But I also see the strength.

I have total and utter faith that love always wins. But this is the hard part….Love winning suggests fighting and we are in the fight.

Just Write: I worry.

I worry my voice isn’t loud enough.

I worry it is too loud.

I worry I don’t say the right things.

I worry what I say is right too much.

I worry people will forget.

I worry I remind them too much.

I worry you believe no one knows.

I worry you don’t realize how much I know.

I worry they will see too much.

I worry somehow some way I can make it better.

I worry that by making it better I make it worse.

I worry that some day I won’t have the worry.

I worry that the worries will never go away.


It is just one of those days. (just write)

Wanna know a secret? Sometimes the brave face gets a little hard.  I don’t always want to be happy. Everyday I have to get up and wonder if today will be a good day. I roll over and look at the love of my life who a year ago didn’t have a hole in his skull. He looked a lot younger, had a lot fewer wrinkles and smiled a lot more. But he gets up every morning and carries on. He wants to move on and he tries.

But I can tell when a day has taken its toll. He face sags a little bit more and he runs his hand across his face as if wiping away the anxiety and fear will forever wipe away the scars that tn monster has left behind.

We all got a new life. But not one we sought out and even wanted. A life where we live day to day and minute to minute some days. And I am grateful they are better than they were, but those easy days are gone.

I get angry sometimes that my girls have to see and know this life. And usually in the moments I think I can’t take anymore I see their strength and I find it carries me.  But who carries him? I suppose it is me. But I don’t feel like I carry much. I carry regret. I carry guilt. I feel like sometimes I caused this.

And I often wonder how I contribute to it in a positive way. Do I even? I know my role. I am the mouth, the pusher and the one who reads the silent symptoms and recognizes it is time. The time time to call, to get help to get him to realize it is time.

And why did this choose us? Did we do something to deserve it? Did we not live right or good? Some days I wake up and I want to rewind. I want take backs. Some days I wonder if I should just move on. Forget already.

But I can’t. I don’t know how. Should I even? Yes our storm is maybe not tornadiac right now. We are in a light rain where everything is limbo. A limbo that goes no where.

Just Write. July 2014.

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.


Just Write: Dear Banana Girl

It hit me yesterday. You are my last baby. My last baby girl and you are starting kindergarten in roughly 7 weeks. 7 weeks is all that stands between you and your continual steps away from me. I never really realized how much I wanted and needed you until you were there. Once you were there I could feel you completing our puzzle. The calmness and my ability to sit down relish the moments came over me quick and fast. I knew the time would go fast but still as we prepare for these last few weeks I begin to worry if I shouldn’t have slowed down more.

At first I worried that your sisters would be jealous that I sat down and took more time. I worried they would be upset that I realized the moments fleet. The diapers they go. The baby food eventually stops being thrown. So I waited. I took our time. With nursing. With sleeping. With the stroller. With it all.

The ferociousness with which you live life in is a beautiful thing. I am witness to it everyday. I don’t know if it is because you are the last or if it just because I am tired. But you are determined to show us all that you talk like us and act like us. To show us that no matter how short you are or short tempered that you are our equal.

You have the sass that only your momma could be proud of. You have the determination (read: stubborness) of your father. You fight with every ounce of your being for what you believe to be right. Only to see that the fight you had hurt someone and you begin to cry. You follow it up with , “I still love you” in hopes of lessening the hurt.

Your caring soul is a beautiful testament to your passion for life and people. You are the proof that if you love a child unconditionally with no expectations of who they need to be in this world they will find their way. I have no doubt when you walk into that kindergarten classroom your eyes will sparkle for the new people and places that you will see. Your brightness with steal away your teachers heart. And your kindness will make you a multitudes of friends.

But don’t you ever forget that I am here. Your momma always. I am your safe place and you are mine.

Just Write: Half of Me

Half of me is sick. He doesn’t feel good.

But it isn’t an illness you see with your eyes. And to most that makes him okay.

When he wakes up in the morning a kiss is replaced by, “How do you feel today?”

And most days he does okay. But in the last year I have become so in tune with my other half.

He wants to be strong. He doesn’t want sympathy, pity or attention.

He wants his life before this all started.

And if I am honest. I do, too.

ea64c4a180c9622ef530d8a70e61d5baWe had friends that actually cared, called and checked on us.

We had conversations that did revolve around the latest round of whatevers.

It is the whatevers that are getting us.

A new development every day. A new hurdle. A new catastrophe. But is it?

The catastrophe is the emotional toll on my family.

My girls have to have daily conversations about their fears and the what ifs.

Those are conversations that children shouldn’t have to have.

Even more those are conversations that they need people in their life for.

And they aren’t. They have me. They have him.

We look in the mirror and there is just us.

People don’t want to hear it anymore.

I suppose we represent something in them they don’t want to see.

The rough and tumble of life. The unnamed whatevers.

But I can’t always talk about the pretty flowers outside.

There are two worlds here….

At home the real one

Or the one where we “trod” on

I suck at both right now.

Maybe there will come a day when I won’t.

When I will be less bitter at the realization that real friends

are your friends that stand beside you. Then there are

your friends who are friends when it is easy.

Or bitter that I can’t control or predict the outcome of my own life.

Yes I choose to be happy. But it is a choice.

I want to be angry, sad and desolate.

But what does that accomplish?

Bad stuff does happen to good people.

It happens every day.

I know it could be worse.

It could always be worse.

But I am scared. Half of me is scared.

The what ifs. The possibilities. The discrimination.

The big ugly elephant that no one wants to talk about. But everyone sees.

Well we live with him.

~ MR

Just Write: Value

I wonder what it will take? Will it be then, or that moment you dreamed of? Or that moment when you finally feel like your voice is heard? Is it a piece of paper or is it a paycheck? Is it your Facebook likes? Or the success of your children? 30000 views on your blog and the instant you are considered a you tube sensation? Is it your job title or is it the kindness you give to others?

What is it actually gonna take for you to be okay? A question that exists day. A value 20140609-230638-83198227.jpgthat one finds in themselves or a value that someone assigns us. You tell yourself you know the answer, but in reality you know the true answer. There is no answer. Usually.

The same brown eyed, brown haired girl who grew up on Jefferson. The one who got out of her neighborhood and changed the cycle. The one who never, ever took the easy path. You talk too much, but you don’t say enough. Your story, their story. But no one wants to hear it. You know, the heart knows. So speak it.

You fight the battle of that girl every day. You are enough, you will always be enough but you have to see it. You saw early your ticket out and you have worked hard to get that thing signed.

So so sign it. Don’t look back. Don’t say no because it is easy. Say yes because it is hard. You are your story….now go write it.

Wanna see more Just Write? Read here.

Just Write: Notice the Changes?

I made an executive decision yesterday about my blogging my husbands health. I really know there is a story there to tell as a caregiver and wife and I need to create awareness. I need to expose this disease and get people to listen. I can do this because it is kind of what I do. However, until I figure out how to do that in a manner I am comfortable with. And in a way I  don't second guess the whole time by saying, "How much is too much?" I won't be blogging about it much. 


Some of my reasons are really personal and I have no desire to publically air them. And some of the other reasons are that it leaves us both very vunerable. I feel the strongest urge to protect him. To protect his story and to protect my heart from reactions of others and from reliving what we are going through. Simply put, my plate is full, my focus is very much centered on this right now. I need a place where I can come and talk about something else.

As a public writer you air your business publically. With that comes the good and bad and usually I am willing to accept it considering I have blogged in some form or another for 13 years of my 17 years with my guy. Most of the time the cost was one I was willing to pay. But for some reason I am not with this. Not yet.

I know I will write his story and my own. I am just not sure of the medium or even what I want to say. The medium may only ever be for me. That doesn't mean it will be the one big part of my life that I never talk about here. I can't deny my reality. And this is most certainly it for now. But I can choose to talk about what I know I am comfortable with.  

The support I have gotten has been so amazing and brought me to my knees in tears many times. And from the most unlikely places. But there are also the down sides to publically writing and it is the comments people make intentionally or unintentionally that hurt. This isn't about calling them out; it is about saying my heart can't handle it. My heart is so full with love and worry right now I don't have time. I need peace. You wanna critcize me on my parenting, teaching, blogging I say, "Come at me bro, I can handle it!" But not on this. 

I just want to say thank you to you all for your concern and know I will keep you updated as best I can through facebook or Twitter @mommyrhetoric. I will share. I am honestly way more open about all of it on Twitter than Facebook. Mostly because my baby girls are not there. But warning now, sometimes it ain't pretty! And I will never ever lose that sense of just sharing my truth. That is the biggest lesson I feel like I am meant to teach in this world. To inspire, teach and create truth.