When thoughts and prayers are not enough!

This morning I woke up, again, to the news that more people had been killed. More people had to suffer at the hands of a man, who should have never been sold a gun in the first place.

50 people dead, over 400 injured! And that is jus the initial report. . . read that again, 50 people DEAD! Because one man, had the desire to do harm. Now that man is dead, and we will never know the true reasons for that desire, but he is not the point here, he is not important, and if I had anything to say about it, he would never be remembered, forgotten in history because he does not deserve to be remembered.

Now every time I wake up to one of these tragedies my facebook feed is flooded with the same words, “my prayers are with the families.” Or “Pray for London, Pray for Miami, Pray for Denver, Pray for Las Vegas!” Now I am praying, I am praying for peace for the victims, I am praying for their families to find peace and justice, I am praying for the injured and the family of the shooter.

But I have one much larger prayer, a pray that this would be stopped, that we can start to view other people with love, respect and care. That we can find a way to remove the guns from the hands of the violent, that we can find a way to live together and stand up for one another.

I believe in God, and I believe that prays can do miraculous things, they can bring people peace, they can heal you, but they cannot bring people back from the dead.

And I believe that God placed us on this earth to care for one another, to be brothers and sisters, if we are his children how can we justify killing one another? I believe he wants us to step up to the plate, and put things into practice that show that we care for one another. He made us people with the free will to fight for what we believe and fight for one another, so it is time, it is time to step up and put our thoughts and prayers into action, it is time to take the initiative we were given and use it for good!

I cannot allow myself to believe that if we took the time, worked together, we could find the answer to our prayers, to end the senseless violence that has surrounded us.  To make it so no more families wake up to the call the a loved one has been killed in a mass shooting. I cannot believe that in America we are doomed to repeat this grieving over and over again.

We need more love, and we have been told a million times that actions speak louder than words, that love is a verb! It is time to put that verb to work, we need more love, more action!

-Rae

 

 

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Women Don’t Lift!

Women don’t lift, women run and do yoga or pilates, women take fun Zumba classes and do Soul Cycle classes, right?

While all of these other exercise classes are fun and I have done at least one of all of them in my lifetime, they come along with the assumption that … Women Don’t lift!

Now I bought into this myth that “women don’t lift because they don’t want to bulk” for years, I was scared of the bench press (okay lets be real it still scares me a little) I was scared to pick up weights that were heavier than 10 pounds and weren’t pink or purple. I was scared that I would do just what I was avoiding, bulk up!

But then when running wasn’t accomplishing anything for me in the weight department, I was the same size and I was bored out of my mind while running,  I have never been a very good runner and running distances just made me bored. I started researching weight lifting, Mr. was made for weightlifting his body was clearly designed to lift heavy things, so he has always been good at this at the gym. I found Adrianna Osuna on Instagram and started researching powerlifting, and looking at body shape instead of only focusing on the shape.

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She inspired me to pick up not only her book about her nutrition and weight lifting programs but to also pick up the darn weights! And let me tell you, lifting weights that weren’t pink or purple and weighed more than 10 pounds was scary at first, but it feels damn good! I feel strong and my body looks and feels good!

I am officially under 200 pounds!!! Which has been my goal for over a year I started out at 230, the heaviest that I ever was and have been trying everything from the Whole30 to be vegetarian and nothing made me feel or look as good. I am sitting at 195 pounds and I feel great, I am getting my hourglass shape back and feeling good!

So enter the next problem … since you know women don’t lift right, there are NO good weightlifting apps designed for women, I found one that says designed for women and if you are anything more than a beginner you have to pay over 100 dollars for . the year! Now my husband has his pick of 10 FREE weightlifting apps that will identified his body type and help him find his one rep max and work through how much he should lift each time and how many reps he should do, progressively getting heavier working the correct muscle groups each day, but for me I get to use 1 . app that was actually designed for males but has some women’s fitness, it doesn’t help calculate how many pounds I should be lifting each time or when to increase weight, I am on my own. So then I downloaded the nike training app, more of the same for the women I got body weight exercises  and yoga, . .. I DON’T WANT TO DO YOGA!

So again I turned to Adrienne’s, surely there has to . be a powerlifting program for women out there, I can’t go to a class or crossfit, and seriously I shouldn’t have to because women can lift things okay. And sure enough she had her own program, that helps me increase weight find my one rep max and speaks to me like WOMEN ARE STRONG AS HELL! Because we are, so stay tuned for lifting progress pictures updates and PR’s because!

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FEMALES ARE STRONG AS HELL!

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Here is me, reminding myself that “I am enough!” and feeling super great in my clothes last Fri-yay! 

-Rae

 

Amazing Things!

I have tried to explain what it is like to work with people with autism many times. I have tried to explain the beauty and the struggle, the different way that they see the world and the ways that it makes me a better person to have them in my life.

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Here was my post for Autism Awareness Month Last Year.

I have tried to make people love them and care for them like I have and every time I seem to come up short. I do not have autism and how can I expect to explain what the world is like for them when I don’t truly know.

Explaining differences in learning styles to children is something that can be done really well or really poorly, children are fairly flexible and welcoming if they are just sat down and explained things if they get the chance to live life with someone that is different then them they will come to understand the differences in people aren’t bad or scary, but can be beautiful and help to teach us so many new things about the world.

But often times as adults we are scared to talk about the differences, we have grown or been taught to fear the things that make us different, to look at the kids that learn differently then our own and to put them in a box as “abnormal” we pick out differences to make us more comfortable, to find our place. But that leaves us to afraid to talk to our children about the beauty in the world, the beauty in uniqueness and how to be a friend through it all.

In comes Amazing Things Happen, a beautiful video made to show kid things from a kid perspective to help understand students with Autism. I would love to show this to inclusion classes at the beginning of the year and have a discussion about all of our differences.

It shows the ways to be a friend and the way that you can grow together!

Take the time, watch it ,spread the word because when we work together,

Amazing Things Happen!

Here it is!

-Rae

Bye Bye Locs! (I combed out my locs)

I combed out my dreads! Well most of them anyway, I am still working on about 10-12 of them in the back but my hands are tired and those ones are going to have to stay for a few weeks probably until I am ready to try again.

I started researching this processes way back in January and even combed out two locks in January but I just wasn’t ready to make the commitment to working through all of them! So about a month ago I started really looking into the process again, I knew I wasn’t going to cut them out because retaining my length was very important to me, I was either going to leave my locs in and have the length or comb them out to keep the length but shaving my head was not a choice, this time. I have done it before.

So when I finally made the decision I got to work,  I bought a 12 pack of rat tail combs off amazon, some VO5 condition from the dollar store and set to work. Following the process from LocCrush’s video found here ( here) from when she took down her daughters locs. I started just doing one a night throughout the week and I was SLOOW! It took me over an hour to do each loc. But then Friday night came and I got to work! I got into a groove and disovered that this set of steps worked best for my hair.

  1. Spray the entire loc with water/apple cider vinegar mix, really drench the hair so that it is soaking wet.
  2. Apply a generous amount of conditor to the loc
  3. Start working from the bottom up with the rattail end of the comb.
  4. Keep on working with that end of the rat tail comb,
  5. Try not to break the comb
  6. Apply more water
  7. Apply more conditioner
  8. Keep working your way up.

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I was worried that my hair would all break off and be very short, but as I worked my way up I retained length and my hair felt soft, there were definitely parts that had build up and gunk, I began to regret some of the decisions I made when I started my locks, like interlocking and using hold gel because that hold gel was still in there just holding on, and let me tell you it was GROSS!

I worked from the time I got off work on Friday will about 10pm, then got up Saturday and worked from 9 am till 5 pm. I got through about 80% of my head done, and I was rocking the messy head look, but I was getting more and more excited to see the end result.

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Messy poofy unlocked hair! Making progress

After I got through as many as I could in two days my hands were cramping and my neck was so sore that I decided to stop there for now, I will continue to work through the rest as I go.

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Washed!

 Then I blow dried and straightened what I had done. And my hair has never in my life been this long. I definitely grew up believing the “black hair doesn’t grow” myth and now I just cant stop staring at my hair, taking a million selfies!

I had to cut off some of the bottom and I probably should cut off more but for now I will just enjoy the length and remember what it is like to have unlocked hair. IMG_3879.JPG

-Rae

Fortitude!

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Fortitude:

Noun

1. mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously 

What does it look like to have Fortitude when you are not truly facing any adversity, or danger but you are just not content with where your life is at the moment? What does it look like to have the fortitude to stick with your commitments in order to see personal and professional growth?

Almost a year ago my husband and I made the decision to move across the country to a very small town that happened to offer career growth opportunities for both of us. He would be working on developing a marketing department and I would be starting a job in a school where they essentially had no special education program. I would get to design and implement the new program .

We have been here about 9 months and as is always the case, that hasn’t gone exactly to plan. We are both still doing those things for our career, I am just discovering that I don’t want to be the person to design and implement a new special education department, I don’t want to be the person that has to change an entire downs mind about special education. I don’t want to be the only person in the entire town that understands why we need to have a special education program or deal with the teachers and parents that just want to fight me. I have been finding myself dreaming of other places, dreaming of my students back in CO that made my life so much more rich. Dreaming of a place where I felt involved and needed, a place that isn’t this place.

So what does Fortitude have to do with any of this?

Well this may not be the worst thing that has ever happened to me, but it is the thing I am having to push through the most. I have always had an end game in mind, something I was working towards and when things got hard I just thought of my goal. But here, this has no goal. Maybe to set up a successful program, that may or may not fall apart once I leave. Maybe, to experience something new, but mostly my end goal as I see it right now is to leave.

So Mr. told me the other day to have fortitude, to stick with the commitment we made and see it through at least this school year. So here I am, finding fortitude.

My point here is, fortitude doesn’t have to mean that you are facing the hardest challenge of your life, or even that you have been forced to face adversity in any one else’s mind. It may be the most basic problem and yet it can really affect our lives. So what would happen if we all made Fortitude our mantra and gained the stick-with-itness that I try so hard to instill in my students everyday.

What if we all used Fortitude throughout our everyday life and had the strength to follow through, work hard, fight the battles that no one even knows we are fighting. What would happen then?

I guess I’m about to see. . .

-Rae!

 

Love Does!

This weekend magic happened!

For the past six years two of my best friends have been in love, and in that time the rest of our group has met someone, dated, got engaged and married and they are still in love, not married, not engaged just together. They have moved across the country together, have 3 animals together and so what is the hold up on marriage you ask?

Well they also happen to be two girls and one of their parents hasn’t known about the love at all. So we have all waited, encouraged, had the only major fight in our friendship about when her parents would know and when they could move forward. And about one year ago we just stopped asking all together, trusting that it would happen when it could.

But this weekend, they got engaged! Now do her parents know yet. .. no! Will they know soon . . .yes! But you know this really isn’t about them! It is about what love does . . .

Love does bring magic to life !

Love does wait six years to move forward because there is no one else they could imagine being with!

Love does leave their own house when parents come to visit!

Love does trust in their partner through it all!

Love does last!

Now if anyone of our group wasn’t going to last these last six years you would think it would have been them, the strain of simply waiting and the unknown, no posting on Facebook or “meeting the family” in any official capacity.

But we have watched them only get stronger over the past few years, to grow to . be one team that will stand against the odds together. That when one family may be lost they have formed their own to brace the storm, and that is what love does.

They choose each other every single day, and will continue to do so, and that is what love does!

Love is a choice, and action it is a tangible experience not some abstract feeling, love is decided each and every day. When someone does something to annoy you, to disappoint you, that goes against your values, love is the choice to work through it and not walk away.

As my friends move into this new stage of life, a stage we have all anxiously awaited I pray that they are greeted only with the choice of love, and if the day comes that they are not I pray that they remember to turn to their chosen, family.

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Here is a picture from the secret garden we made for them for their proposal!

-Rae

Bye Bye Boring Hair!

The other day a coworker who I have worked with for about 8 months  asked my what my hair was like when I interviewed at my current position. See I interviewed in November and didn’t start till January because it was a cross country move, so she did not see my during my interview, when I explained that I had straight hair over my locs, and then proceeded to explain the whole crochet braids process because she had no idea how that was possible, she went . . .

” I cannot picture you with straight hair AT ALL!”

And in that moment I knew one thing. . . my hair had gotten BORING!

Before I moved here I had a new hairstyle every month or so, even when I locked my hair I would install twists and crochet braids I Would get bored and change it up regularly. After I moved here I stopped, now I don’t know if that was because I was just more content with my hair style, or because I live in a REALLY small town now and don’t feel the need to impress anyone, or because of the same small town that I don’t want to have to go through the process of explaining my hair changes to people, or maybe because I would now have to order my hair online. . .

Well anyway I don’t know the reason but for the past 8 months, my hair has been pretty much the same, I had loc extensions and then I took them out but either way my hair was locked, and it just looked like I cut my hair. Nothing crazy there. When she said that it was like I snapped to attention, wait, why am I not changing my hair more often?

So I did.

I bought FreeTress 3x from Amazon, I bought two packs just to be safe and I ended up using about 1 and 1/3 pack if that.Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 3.36.50 PM.png

Now my locs are quite thick now and that was the only problem I have found so far with this install is that the top does not look as natural as it has in the past. the braid is just too bulky to blend in well. Now I think the solution next time will just be to do smaller braids, I only did 5 braids this time, since that is what I would do with my unlocked hair and be fine. Learning the difference in unlocked and locked hair I think I will need to split my top two braids into 4 next time. And I am working on reducing some of the bulkiness around the top but my fear of thinning my own hair is making it so I only do a little at a time!

But over all I am happy with the results and plan to keep them in for a couple of weeks at least, and the coworker ran up to me saying how much they loved it. So there it is, I still got it, the hair envy queen can still change my hair up at my own whim!

All pictures taken in my classroom in front of my lovely filing cabinet.

-Rae

In the third year of marriage

In the first year of marriage my marriage gave to me sweet good morning kisses, and someone to share in HGTV

In the second year of marriage my marriage gave to me comfort, stability, sweet good morning kisses and someone to share in HGTV

In the third year of marriage my marriage gave to me, really hairy legs, ugly underwear, comfort, stability, sweet good morning kisses and someone to share in HGTV

Here I am in the third year of marriage, marriage is still a place I fee like I entered yesterday, I can still feel the butterflies of walking down the aisle, and the warmth of the sun on our honeymoon. I look back and can’t believe enough time has passed from that day to be over 2 years away from it.

But then I look at the way things are now and I realize that a lot has changed over the past two years and some change. This weekend we discovered I was deeply in need of some new underwear, all my mine were getting holes in them or didn’t fit right anymore or were a style I wouldn’t wear everyday .. . not teacher underwear if you will. So when we stopped at the store I went straight to the underwear section,  I looked through all the “cute” read expensive underwear and then went over to the underwear I would have groaned at 3 years ago, the kind that comes 6 to a box, the plain colors, ugly read cheap underwear. I grabbed a box of those and went right back to my husband. He said, do you want one pair of the cute underwear, when I said no he was not upset and went right about his shopping.

Now a few other things have changed over the past two years, I no longer worry about having perfectly shaved legs around him, I also fart and discuss my stomach aches, underarm smells and sores, and essentially just tell him what is on my mind.  So all this to say you could say we are out of the “honeymoon” stage. . .if you must say that. But my marriage is full of laughter, love and I wouldn’t say that the relations department is any worse than in year one. . . I would say it is better because I am willing to just tell him whats on my mind.

Now I still get the sweet good morning kisses, now they may just be filled with morning breath as well, I still have someone to share in HGTV, and now he even understands what I mean when I whisper “Johanna would be proud” when we entered someones house, I get to forget about the annoyance of shaving my legs until I feel like it, and I get to spend way less on underwear. The best part is in my ugly underwear, with my hairy legs an stinky breath, while I am watching my 16th episode of Fixer Upper he still tells me that I am the most beautiful girl in the world.

-Rae

 

 

 

What’s the big deal with the Circut?

So I have seen them around, at Micheal’s, Hobby Lobby, Amazon. Pretty much any craft store ever. Mr. H at one point was even receiving a commission from his job to sell more of them. But up until this year I never really thought twice about them, or really understood what they were. I thought they were just a fancy laminating machine, and my 20 dollar laminator from Amazon does just fine, so I thought, why would I need that?

But then I wanted to make words to put on my new classroom door, and I started researching the best ways to do it and I came across a million Circut articles, videos, blogs so I started looking into it and thought. 400 dollars, yeah no thank you!

And then a magical thing happened I was looking in my school store room for something and looked up to the back corner where no one ever goes . .. and there it was, a Circut expression 2 waiting for me! So I took it down to the secretary and asked about it. Her response was

“Oh yeah someone donated that and I don’t know how to use it, take it home and figure it out if you want.”

So that’s how I ended up with a borrowed Ciruct to play with and see, what’s the big deal with them anyway?

Now let me just tell you the first night after I got my mat and vinyl in the mail, there were mistakes, angry faces, cussing and eventually giving up after completely ruining one piece of vinyl and thinking to myself. This thing is not worth the trouble. I could just cut it out my damn self.

But after a good nights sleep, round two went much better than round one and we came out with some beautiful words to adorn the front of my classroom as the students enter.

Be Kind
Work Hard

 

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Because they are simple enough high school students can’t make too much fun of them and they still hold meaning for all my K-12 students.

Will this experience lead me to invest 300 dollars in my very own Circut. . . I think not.
At least not as long as I have one from the school to use!

 

 

How Do I do this again? The Scheduling Nightmare that is Sped Life!

I did this last year, right?

I made a schedule for myself, the students, paras, it had inclusion time, academic service minutes, and everything else you could ever need. .. like you know lunch breaks. On it right?

How did I do it again? How did I make a schedule that fit all the grades schedules, so I am not pulling from any non-negotiable times so that students still feel like a part of their class? But are also getting the academic and speech, and behavior, and OT times they need in order to be successful? Did I give my para’s meaningful work to do not just busy work right?

How? How did I do this? Did it really get done or did a magical scheduling fairy appear and do it for me and then wiped my memory clean so I felt like I did it myself?

I would take a magical scheduling fairy right about now because I am on draft four of my schedule for the year and I just feel like crying! How in the world is it all going to get done in the time allotted? How?

Other people in the sped world, do your in-service days get destroyed by the beast that is scheduling as well?

How do you do it? What makes your schedule run well? Or do we all wipe our memories clean after this every Spring so that we are crazy enough to do it again every Fall?

If you have a formula that works and doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out or your eyes go crossed from staring at your spreadsheet all day. .. PLEASE let me know!!!

-Rae