I could at least be grateful. 

Warning: Personal Post. 

I am grateful for a lot of things this year. Home life has been fairly calm as of late. My guy’s TN has been pretty well managed or I don’t freak out as easily. Maybe a mixture of the two. 

Work has been a bit more difficult because of the political climate. Somedays I feel stressed about testing and what not. But then I remember much like parenting I can control what I can control and let go of the rest. 

Therefore, I am grateful for finding passion in my job. It doesn’t feel like work and the students who I work with keep me motivated and I love it when they tell me I am unlike any teacher they have had. I try and challenge their thinking consistently of an English classroom. 

But mostly what I am grateful for combines my loves. A job that allows me the family time I have. I work hard for it, but this career choice was very intentional with the extended breaks. The ones that causes the public to make the claim teachers are lazy. I am anything but. I usually spend the time prepping and grading, but I get to do it with them. 

My baby girls who are growing up to be amazing human beings who care for others and are the sunshine I see in my life daily. They are smart, well rounded and caring. I am so very proud of them. I don’t share as much about them now because they are old enough to to tell their own stories. 

#1 is a freshman and wants to go to Rose Hulman. She wants to be either a orthopedic surgeon or a Nurse Practioner. She took a year off of softball, but will be playing this spring. 

#2 is a 7th grader. She wants to be a DJ. She loves music and mixing music and has a pulse on what is happening in music more than I have ever seen. It is kinda cool. She lives in her room and I pretty much have to force her to be social. She loves her friends fiercely. 

#3 is a 2nd grader and wants to be an elementary teacher. She is so smart, but is literally my only child not obsessed with her grades. I love it that she is that carefree. I do get a note from teachers she daydreams. But that is okay. She is obsessed with shopkins and kids YouTube. 

And my guy whose life has changed so drastically and very few know or understand that change more than myself and my girls. His life could be worse, but he has had to lose and change a lot of unfair things, but he does it and does the best he can. I am proud of him too. 

He is and has always been the guy for me. He is my home. It has never been a place, but a person. He is what I needed in this life. A center to my wild and deep introspective heart. 

I am grateful for my health. I know what it is to be unhealthy and have no desire or motivation. I know not being physical and athletic is a mess for me.

Here are some photos from our Thanksgiving holiday! Hope yours was as filled with love and good food as mine was. 


I am the face. 

Today is National pregnancy & infancy loss awareness loss day. I am the face of this sad and terrible loss. My guy and I lost a baby sadly between #1 and #2. We both were so eager for our second one that we tried for five months and nothing. Doc told us it was normal to and relax.

In a strange twist of a blood test I showed up pregnant when I thought I couldn’t be.  From the moment of the positive test I just had a feeling it wasn’t going to be okay. I shared that concern with the doctor so I had a follow up blood test that confirmed my fears.

I decided to go through the loss at home naturally with medicinal or medical intervention. We were both devastated. My innocence of the careless pregnancy I had with #1 would never happen again. You don’t get reasons why and no one wants to talk about it. The doctor told us to wait 6 weeks before trying again.

God had other plans though. I was pregnant four weeks later. My due date with our lost baby was June 3rd and my #2 was born June 25th. She was and is our rainbow baby. The term didn’t exist that I knew of back then, but she was our sign of hope. Her middle name Faith to commemorate the Faith we had in our future.

Pregnancy loss happens so much more than we acknowledge and it shouldn’t be treated with shame and silence. I had as many hopes, dreams and future plans for that small baby as I do my girls. We did name the baby with our A name and we bring the baby up on occasion. I won’t ever forget.

Time to stop saying, ” It will be okay.” 

In my experience of this world I know fear is a great motivator. It creates an adrenaline burst and motivates forward movement. But sometimes it is also meant for us to take a pause and make a change. 

The last two weeks of multiple global amber alerts, mothers taking their babies to the park and then taking their lives, clowns, violent recorded for social media shootings, politicial scandal. Good versus bad and bad versus good. Another school shooting, a call to a grandparent that he couldn’t take it anymore, so he killed his dad. Guns and violence. Sex scandal and lies. 

Then email after email in my inbox of my daughters Istep results. Her NWEA scores. Points in the grade book based on RIT scores. BOY. MOY. EOY. This score decides your future. Decide what you want to do with yourself at 7. The college you like, a goal for your PSAT. 

My goodness make it all stop. Why do we adults keep saying this is all okay? Am I the only adult left sitting in shock with each one of these earthly revelations? The emails to my daughter that include me talking to her about RIT scores? Are you kidding me? Hell yes I am jolted. Hell yes I am mad. And I know what these words mean. What a crappy assumption for a parent who is struggling just to get home in time from work to hug their kid. 

And why are we not up in arms when another child dies in a school shooting? For real, is our society so far gone at this point that a young elementary school boy is shot while on recess and dies and you barely even acknowledge it? And video after video after video after video after video after video and still it happens over and over? And over. 

The culture that makes me teach my daughters how to defend themselves and be aware of their surroundings. In a movie where we plan our escape. That same culture that attacks our first female presidential candidate about the way she looks and acts and in the same manner is disgusted that we have a candidate that thinks women are there for the taking. A reward for hard work or money supposedly earned.

None of this okay. We have to stop saying it is. I could put them in a bubble and protect them. Or I can teach them how to mauever this strange place responsibily. All the while hoping they never become so oblivious to the world around them that these things don’t shock them they dismiss them as okay. None of this okay. 

I can’t forget. 

I read a news article the other day that said we have reached the point in time where 9/11 is no longer something young people remember where they were. Instead it is a historical event they read about in a textbook or talk about with my generation. 

I knew this was coming. I have brought it up the last seven years of my teaching in my classroom and year by year the eyes get glossier and glossier and I quickly turn into that old person who tells stories of “Remember when”. 

I am a part of that story though. Still 16 years later this day can’t come without some tears shed by me and my heart feeling extremely heavy. My connection to that day is briefly random, but also I grieved in a way only a nation that has experienced a historical event has. 

I took my girls to dinner last night and #2 proclaims, “Thinking about 9/11 scares me.” I launch into the diatribe they probably hear every 9/11. The one where we were scared and the world stopped and the feeling of your country being at war. The one where the TV stopped and had a 24 news cycle and stations shared coverage to give us info. 

After that long story I said, “I didn’t know it at the time, but that was my world and the world of so many others changing forever. Of course it happens to all of us personally, but this was the kind of sadness and grief that you can’t explain or write. You just have to feel it. You feel it every time you think of it.” 

My #1 said, “Yea, I felt like that….” And goes on to list all the terrorist attacks that have happened. I was heart struck. This is the world I am raising my children in struck me. A world where these breathtaking moments happen regularly. 

Their 24 hour news cycle barely lasts that long anymore and life no longer stops in its tracks for long. I wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I wonder what it does to this generation we are raising? Do they realize the scope of massive causalities in the same way because it is their way of life? 

Or could we possibly be raising the next generation to stop the craziness of mass murders? I see hope in their eyes and hear it in their voices. I see acceptance of ideologies and diversity like I never have before in my generation and generations before mine. 

God, I have hope. -MR

Making it an act of criticism 

Yesterday as my students and I read our book the author made the proclaimation that to be effective communicators we must live our lives as an act of criticism. Think about that. Think about if you do that. Think about just how deep of a thought that is to an adult. Imagine it in a roomful of 16-17 year olds.

We began with simple definitions of the word criticism and started with examples. But it got me thinking…should we or can we even do this? Or better yet how have I lived my life in this way?

I would like to think this idea unintentionally and eventually intentionally has driven most of my successes because they started with the idea that something cannot or should not be done.

I thrive in a world of challenges where the word no resides. I could list all the times I didn’t like something about my world and I found a way to change it or at least add my voice to it. That to me is living as an act of criticism.

But ultimately that statement means to me is use your voice for something and not to just speak. I feel like I do this, but damn it made me think. It made me want to be sure I keep trying to live that life.

Putting myself out there using my voice for good. For love. For kindness. For truth. I hope I can always do that. Not perfection, but living life as an act of criticism.

Pretty Sure that is Living Outloud, -MR

I was one of those survivor reality people. 

My guy and I have watched survivor since the beginning. Well he has more than me, but one of the parts we bond over are the food rewards because we just know that all that glorious food and is going to come back and kill them. 

If you follow me on my social media stuff you know I have been down and out. Not an illness. Not an ailment. A punishment. I drastically changed my diet so much apparently while on vacation my body rebelled against me. 

On our way home I started feeling off. I couldn’t really say what was wrong. I just knew it wasn’t right. I exercised every other day and I still ate pretty good. But I definitely upped my carbs and likely lowered my greens. I opted for fries instead of broccoli. 

One night my stomach started hurting to the point I was doubled over in pain and couldn’t walk or move. Went to ER for two crappy visits where I was treated horribly. Tried seeing my OB/GYN who ran a bunch of tests and seemed pretty perplexed at where it was coming from. Recommended bland diet and rest but wanted me to seek further attention if pain worsened. Two hours later it reached a peak worse than it had. 

Attempted to go a third time but due to the previous ER treatment and super busy waiting rooms I opted to struggle through at home with lots of sleep and no food.  Finally, I made it into see a doctor in Fort Wayne on Saturday and had an X-ray. 

Found out due to the stupid surgery I had 6 years ago that has done nothing but cause me trouble has caused scar tissue adhesions all over my digestive tract. Therefore, my changing my eating habits has kept this potential problem at bay. Until vacation when things started getting infected and ulcerated and lodged because I drastically changed the way I ate again.

Thankfully, the doctor was extremely nice and didn’t push me away since I had “just” stomach pain and could not bear children. If you can’t have kids and have stomach pain you basically have to be bleeding out to get someone to listen. 

Basically, my digestive tract needs to heal now. I have been on a liquid and fruit diet. I am now on a fairly bland diet and I honestly will struggle to eat any sort of ridiculous not essential carb (think white potatoes, chips or limited grain breads). I never want to feel like that again. 

I would place the pain with child labor. I basically hulled up in my room and used Vicodin from my March surgery when I didn’t need it. I am just grateful for an amazing doctor that finally listened to me and didn’t think I needed to just suffer through. 

It will likely take me a while to recover and I am thinking about trying Whole 30 or the Ultimate Reset to give my body time to heal. I hate meds and now I am on three to heal and recover. I strongly believe food, rest and taking care of yourself spiritually, physically and mentally means more than any med you could take. Hoping between diet and oils I can turn this around. 

So even though I knew better I still struggled be caused fries. Fries will always be the bane of my existence. 

Some days it feels like too much. 

Actually lately most days seem like too much. Every attack…every news blurb…it is all too much. So many children, so many mothers and fathers…so much not just destroyed but forever changed. But for what? 

One day in the car with my kids the radio broke in and told of another attack. At this point who knows which one. Tears started streaming down my face and in the silence that followed because I didn’t know what to say or how to console I said,  “It feels like we are going into world war 3, but who are we at war with? There are no borders to fight over. Just ideas and love.” 

I could have turned the channel and maybe I should have. This is a parenting question I ask myself daily. What is too much and how honest should I be? The world feels scary. It feels unpredictable and chaotic. That is the world they are coming up in.

Last night at the game about every 30 minutes I checked my Facebook. Not because I gave up already on my digital “diet”, but because I had a friend in Instanbul. She checked in all smiles earlier in the day in Turkey. 

This girl is a world changer. She is doing things that need done. Spreading love and saying no to hate. I could tell you her story, but truthfully that isn’t the take away here. 

The takeaway for me is that I am raising three young ladies to hopefully be world changers. To not just seek out love, but share it. I have raised them to see beyond their own backyards and see the world is so much more than their zip code the flatlands they see here in Indiana. 

At times I felt like those lessons were too much because it set them apart in different ways. But when I see another notification of another act of hate I feel grateful that I have taught them that you can’t change the things people with hate do, but you can change your reaction to it. 

I just pray and hope that they always choose to respond with love and kindness in the face of hate and fear. The world is scary, but it is a little less scary when it is filled with hope and love. 

The hiatus took a hiatus

I went to the beach. We saved for a few years and took the kiddos on a beach vacation. We took a little extra time to explore areas as we traveled south. 

We booked a townhome with wifi but guess what. It didn’t work that well. In fact, it was one of those situations where it only worked if stood on one leg in a certain spot and flapped your arms. 

I could have been upset about the boasted wifi and made a stink. Or I could have used my phone constantly. Notice I said could have. Well I used my phone as a camera. I didn’t go to bed with it and my iPad stayed 100% charged all week long cause I never got it out of the bag. 

And you know what…it was nice. Weird but nice. It made me realize that we as a family probably need to work a little more diligently for our time together. For it to be our time and not time spent looking at screens. 

Now we aren’t talking going off the grid and throwing away all the phones and iPads. I believe in technology and its purpose so that won’t be happening. But more concentrated effort to put the electronics down. 

I realized four years from now my life is going to look completely different and I don’t want to regret the time we have spent together. 

So here’s to a less digital driven life on the important moments. The ones that social media and a camera can’t capture because it can’t capture feelings despite its best efforts to do so with cute emojis and fad phrases (think yolo). 

A dose of reality on hiatus. 

Summer Hiatus #21 

You know that part in the beginning of every movie when the tell you to be sure to locate the exits. Well I have been to more movies than I could count with my girls and I look for them, but never have I openly talked about it with my girls. 

Since the Colorado movie theater shooting and just my natural teacher instincts I always look for exits in public places. My reality was shattered and changed then. I chalked it upto part of the job to protect those in my surroundings. Teacher = equals protector to me.

Every school year my students and I devise a plan for escape or fighting back. I diligently review once a month. We are in fact so prepared that when issues come up students know their role and what we need to do. So why wouldn’t I work this out with my own children? 

So when the standard exit came up yesterday I stopped what they were doing and I asked, “Where is our nearest exit?” They all pointed toward the exit another story away. I had already mapped out the one 10 steps behind us, so I pointed in that direction. 

They looked surprised by my asking. I said, “We can’t live our lives afraid. But we always have to have a plan.” Then we finally in the space of the next five minutes talked about scary world things. 

I hate and despise that I am raising my girls in a world where I have to even think about these things let alone discuss them. But the reality is that I do. 

We raised them to remember love and kindness and lead with love even when others hurt you. We have raised them to talk to people who think differently than they do so they can understand why. I can’t guarantee that they always will do this. But God I pray and hope they do.