I recently had a coffee date with a good friend. She posed this question to me. I stumbled for an answer actually.
Every time I am asked the question I can’t quite express WHY I am compelled NOT to get the vaccine. I mean I have put a lot of CRAP into my body – trust me on that one.
We all remember when McDonald’s had Monopoly or the 30-second drive-through guarantee.
Let’s not bring up Sugar-Free Rock Star. (2 years free of that monkey – thanks Deanna!)
So I can not in good faith say: “I don’t know what they are putting in my body”, lol.
Every time I talk to my Dad he tells me to get the Vaccine. I ALWAYS, ALWAYS listen to my dad…. like always until THIS…. so after my coffee date, I REALLY HAD to think and pray and figure it OUT.
I was scrolling Facebook, enriching my life, and my dear friend in Indiana was using some rather sweeping generalizations about the unvaccinated. Goodness, I could not possibly be what he said.
I wanted my own word, the one he used was MUCH TO STRONG 🙂
After reading his thoughts and having a rather polite conversation in a very CARING adult way – I KNEW MY WHY:
It’s not about the vaccine. It’s about the right to choose.
I don’t know if I will be able to effectively communicate my reasons for not getting vaccinated. But I wish to document them.
I don’t want to die.
I don’t want to kill anyone.
I consider myself a good person, a good American even.
I don’t think there is a big conspiracy of government control here. But there *could* be.
I have no idea why God chose to send me to live in a place in which FREE CHOICE is actually free choice. I have clean water, food, clothing and enough money to own “things” I do not need!
No one will argue with me when I remark that there are people on Earth living in conditions I wouldn’t let my dog live. She eats better than they do daily. We both have put on quite a little “pandemic pudge” LOL
I grew up on the dreams I could be anything I wanted to be. I was, and I am ! ! ! Well, that professional baseball player gig didn’t work out exactly, but still… I’m living the DREAM.
When it came to educating my children, I had the CHOICE not to enroll them in a government run school. I had the choice not to enroll them into a religiously affiliated school. Instead, I was able to educate them as my husband and I saw fit.
It’s consumerism. If no one chooses to homeschool privately, that option will cease to exist. If everyone uses a charter (which is essentially a public school) The state will no longer offer the option for individuals to file privately. This may take YEARS…but it will evolve!
I’m not comfortable with mandatory vaccines. I’m not comfortable with mandatory healthcare. Will you FORCE me to undergo chemotherapy? I should always have a right to choose.
Indeed there are “fuckholes”, otherwise known as the rotten apples who spoil it for the whole bunch. When their rights and freedoms put lives at risk: “Houston we have a problem”.
You may even see my choice to not vaccinate as one of those problems vs the simple right to choose I am trying to explain. I stay home. I wear my mask. I sanitize.
I’m having a hard time participating in the vaccination process purely based on my right to choose, and HOPEFULLY protect our right to choose in the future.
That means you can be vaccinated and I’m thankful. I’m not going to judge your choice.
You can be unvaccinated and I’m thankful. I’m not going to judge your choice.
You can also be a fuckhole. In that case, I will rely on the law of Karma and still refrain from judgment.
Be well, my friends.
Many thanks to my dear friend @Shane Blinn for the term “Fuckhole” – my vocabulary will never be the same. Definitely a term Wolverine would use.
At the end of September in 2019, just 3 short months after I was released from my teaching contract, my deepest desire was to be “over it”. I was tired of crying every time I had to retell the story. I was tired of hurting when I laid down to go to sleep.
I struggled with SHAME over telling friends, family and even strangers that I wasn’t a teacher any longer.
I was simply selling curriculum online and working as a lunch lady. Not exactly the best use of my college degree and 19 years experience.
One of my closest friends basically told me to chill, it hadn’t been long enough. But I’m going to be brutally honest here… Time kept going and I kept crying.
The virus hit and I pretended it was funny but I lost my 2nd job in less than 1 year. Now what in the hell was I going to do?
With children who are 17, 18, and 19 the position of a stay-at-home mom isn’t really practical.
I really was faking that everything was okay. I was still crying as 2020 came to a close.
Finally, in January of 2021, I made a vow to myself that my curriculum business was going to be financially independent. I was not going to use ANY household funds to run the business. In February I joined a business coaching program specifically designed for teachers and it’s like a magic light switch was activated.
I’ve been meditating and taking time to get to know myself, truly and deeply. As the days turned to months, I realized July was just around the corner. Was July 1st going to be a trigger? That magic day I was released from my contract in 2019.
I tiptoed through the day, waiting to see how I would respond. Was there a migraine brewing? The Facebook Memories were days away…
I survived the day pretty unscathed, and quite emotionally in tact.
I attended a party on July 3rd, and was pleasantly chatting with a retired high school teacher. She asked me what I did. The Moment of truth…. I explained I had been an elementary teacher as well, but I was currently creating resources for homeschoolers and selling them online.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED. No tremble, nothing. It was as smooth as saying I had breakfast at Polly’s Pies last week!
A week later I ran into a dear friend I had not seen in well over 2.5 years. She was aware of the situation, but truly only from this blog, not the depth of the story. I shared in detail what occurred, including how the ball really was set in motion when the principal himself recommended me for the position of Vice Principal at the end of 2018 and was denied. That’s a detail I leave out quite a bit of the time.
Even after being recommended for a promotion by your BOSS, and NOT GETTING the position once, I performed all duties asked of me FOR FREE again another full year before advocating for myself.
Anyway – I made it through the story AGAIN – I may have quivered a bit but only because my DEAR FRIEND is so very special and cares so deeply for ME. I explained my business plan regarding curriculum sales, membership, and even online coaching and help for homeschool families and it felt NATURAL!
I do not believe the experience of being released from my contract is finished TEACHING me… Because I believe in being a lifelong learner, but I am done reacting to the experience!
I am indeed “over it” – and moving forward – true to the Gandara Family Motto: Keep Moving Forward.
God continues to provide and we are richly blessed beyond measure.
The Homeschool Holiday Mission Statement took me a long time to polish. It might not be perfect but it conveys what I hope each product brings into homes and classrooms. I can’t come do laundry for families to give them more time with their children, but I can save them time planning, prepping and searching for curriculum!
Happy Hive homeschooling recognizes the deep love you have for those in your home and classroom, yourself included. Our products are designed to foster that love and your commitment to a quality education built on strong relationships, accurate academic resources, and enriching experiences.
If you know anyone who homeschools, or works in education and you think they would like to include fun holiday of the day curriculum ideas into their day, please send them my way!
What a blessing it is to live in a country that was founded to give freedom.
The dictionary defines freedom as the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
The older I get the deeper the word freedom truly means to me.
It has been 2 years since God blessed me with MY FREEDOM from a job that was both the most important thing in my life and the thing slowly sucking the life out of me.
There is no Christy without Miss Serra, Mrs. Gandara & Mrs. Crabtree. We are one and the same. But suddenly I was only Christy and to be honest, it took some time to get to know her again. Those of you on the outside know her and love her, now I can honestly say I know her and love her too!
As I look within and see my soul, I know without a shadow of a doubt I see God and his amazing plan for my life.
I had the pleasure of attending a BBQ this weekend. It was great to visit and share stories. I met a woman who spent over 25 years as a high school teacher. Without even a tremble in my voice I was able to say I wasn’t teaching any longer – I was selling curriculum to help homeschool families and classroom teachers use unique holidays as academic activities.
Every day is filled with excitement as I create new products, write blog posts, learn marketing techniques and hear the cha-ching notification when I sell a resource to a wise educator! A membership to my website and all the amazing resources is just around the corner. I’m extremely excited about that!
I have learned to set and enjoy boundaries. I meditate daily and spend time in my backyard appreciating the gifts God has given me. I’m spending plenty of time with my dog Penny and the “kitten” Percy. They remind me how easy it is to love unconditionally and without judgment. Neither care about my pandemic pudge.
Laura Ingalls Wilder was 60 years old when she began writing her books. God is not done with me yet.
As I reflect on the journey God placed me on 2 years ago, I am grateful beyond words for the gift of freedom.
I hope you are taking time for yourself because what you are is God’s gift to you, but what you become is your gift to God. How we treat others matters, and you cannot truly treat anyone with kindness until you begin with yourself.
I’m not quite sure I can explain this…But I’m going to give it a shot.
I wrote a blog post for Homeschool Holiday today. It was my April Holiday Highlights. April 28th is National Superhero Day. I was recalling how my classroom was decorated and I even had superhero attire suitable for Mass. I have previously mentioned here on Gratitude, Little things, Contentment, moving away from identifying with my super hero self. In February of 2020 I cleaned out my closet and discussed how important it is to be Christy as part of my healing process.
I think I was going about it all wrong. I think I was trying to avoid triggers and reminders of that part of my life. I know I was. If I didn’t think about it it would go away.
But as I wrote that blog post, I realized, the memories are starting not to hurt. I haven’t cried in a long time, but I’m still hiding behind my “homeschool” talents. It’s time to come out and face the world, and stop hiding that very important part of my life. Hiding it isn’t going to make it go away. It’s holding my business back. I can’t let it do that anymore.
This week my friend Debbie, in Kansas, drew this diagram as we were discussing my business.
I felt like a cartoon anvil was dropped onto my head. I’m focusing deeply on homeschooling – but I have 3 arms. I’m not just a homeschool Mom. I’m a classroom teacher too. And my love of holidays is the glue! I’m trying so hard to push my homeschool agenda and my holiday agenda I’m creating an awkward gap that people can see, but not understand.
As I was writing that other post mentioning my classroom superhero theme, what made me smile was recalling how I bullied the photographer at school picture time. I made him put my name as Wonder Woman onto my ID Badge. I didn’t tell a soul – I just told that photographer to do it in my best “I run this place do what I say” voice.
I seriously thought the teacher that put the yearbook together was going to kill me! I’m so glad she didn’t and we remain friends through all this!
When my badge arrived I was SO HAPPY!! There for all to see, was my picture and the name: Wonder Woman in print. I wore that badge to big district meetings and everything.
My poor co-workers. I showed them that badge and reminded them of my awesomeness daily. They either loved me or hated me. In my grief, I wonder if they grieve too ? I am still in touch with a few who somehow penetrated my wall. But many who were like family are lost now in the shuffle of sorrow. I was far too wounded to reach out to them and for that I am sorry. I couldn’t face any of them and be reminded of the loss, it simply hurt too much. This is the collateral damage I am just waking up and realizing exists. I hope they can forgive me. I certainly forgive them for not reaching out to me. After all they were all stuck picking up the pieces and doing all the jobs I did for all those years, Ha ha ha!
I have been hiding the teacher part of me away because she is hurt, rejected and was cast aside. The thing of it is, you can’t separate her from me – she IS me.
My secret sauce for business IS the fact that I am both a homeschooler and a classroom teacher. I write Holiday Curriculum. It’s suitable for BOTH homeschoolers and Teachers. I’m not just “saying” that to get more business, it’s true because I’ve lived in both worlds and I know both worlds.
I need to market my business and my area of expertise the same way I walked all over that campus putting my badge in everyone’s face telling them I was Wonder Woman.
I need to run my business like I ran that school – and by golly (I had help, I recognize that no Wonder Woman is an island! ) I seriously ran that school!
Here is my anvil moment: I’m embarrassed to say I was fired in my business world – It’s clear I’m not in the classroom any longer, but the “why” is shaky. I didn’t really retire, and every time I say that I feel like a fraud.
I don’t want “being fired” to scar my business or put my reputation in a negative light, but you know what. I’m going to wear the fact I was fired like a freaking badge of honor. That’s the TRUTH.
BREAKING NEWS : I was fired – so I started Homeschool Holiday as a way to share my love of teaching and homeschooling using holiday themed resources. I can’t keep hiding behind the euphemism of retirement.
I refuse to let the fact I was fired define me – but it will be my defining moment.
They fired Wonder Woman. It says so right on the name badge I threw in the trash.
She now runs a business called Homeschool Holiday. Watch me Grow!
This weekend we celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day. Not only is this holiday close to my heart as far as my husband, children and friends go – this holiday was actually a career changer!
Those who know me know how I pride myself in being the teacher I am. But really, there were some key people behind me from day 1 and had things been different – so would I.
I was hired as a college graduate into a Catholic School without a California Teaching Credential. My experience consisted of volunteer teaching one day a week, for an hour for 2 or 3 years and 1 day stint as the substitute in the 6th Grade classroom after I was hired. (HA HA what a blog post that day makes!)
I recently wrote a blog post for my sister site: Homeschool Holiday about Valentine’s Day and ultimately about the resources homeschoolers and teachers can use in their educational settings to celebrate it.
I’d like to share that post with you, as well as my awakening after discussing the post with my daughter.
First, Here is the post:
Spoiler Alert: I’m pretty sure I became a teacher for Valentine’s Day. Opening each and every card and reading sweet messages of friendship and appreciation is the GREATEST, don’t you agree! ?!
Imagine my reaction when the principal told me that all parties ended in 3rd grade. (I was just hired as the 4th grade teacher.)
– I was BLOWN AWAY! What? No Valentine cards???
I’m not usually quick on my feet, but that day, God was with me for sure…. I explained that since it was SAINT Valentine’s Day and we were a CATHOLIC School if I designed activities based on solid lessons, could I then celebrate the holiday???
In 1994 I’m sure there were standards, but as an un-credentialed Catholic School Teacher, I didn’t use them, know they existed or care frankly.
The principal agreed to my plan and this spunky young teacher was about to design lessons for a room of 40 children and we WERE going to have a SAINT Valentine’s day party…..
I researched Saint Valentine (before there was internet in every home) in every saint book I could find. Saint Valentine of Rome was indeed known for spreading friendship, Christianity and marrying soldiers when it was deemed illegal to do so. The “legend” of him sending a letter signed: From your Valentine, was just that, a legend. But legends are rooted in historical fact, so we could write our own letters as part of our activities!
My lessons were well done and APPROVED by the principal. We could use our Religion time to learn about Saint Valentine and exchange Valentine Cards!
(Watch out Saint Patrick – here I come!!! )
From that point on I celebrated everything I could get away with – and, God bless my first principal! By allowing me that freedom to research and write my own lesson, I blossomed into a teacher who would write more and more curriculum herself over the years.
When I left the classroom in 2019, the only district approved textbook I was using was for math. Everything else was “homegrown” and developed over years of research and putting children above standards.
When I look back at how I was mentored by my first principal and the freedom to blossom I was given my heart fills with gratitude. She saw in me what I didn’t see in myself – The teacher I am today!
As my career continued in Catholic education I had 3 other principals who were destined to allow me “my own way. They each encouraged me to grow as an educator and to put children first. I have blog posts in my heart for them as well.
– Imagine if that Valentine’s day *wasn’t*…. Would I still have developed my own curriculum in those early days?
I don’t like to imagine it. Instead I rest easy in the comfort that God has been taking care of me all along! The perfect people were placed in my life to guide and inspire me to throw convention to the wind and forge my own path!
Thank you Mrs. Vesley for giving me the freedom I needed to become myself!
Have you ever felt like you were so far behind you would never catch up? When I was working full time I always joked I was so far behind I was actually in first!
This was my way of making myself feel better – it never did.
I recently had a conversation with a group of teachers in which I stated if I had it to do over I would absolutely NOT work nights or weekends grading papers, replying to parents, lesson planning and the other million tasks I did over my 19 year career as a classroom teacher. Those were boundaries I wish someone had helped me establish from day 1 as non-negotiable.
A Starbucks Barista or Mail Carrier do not bring work home. Why are teachers expected to work so much past their contracted hours? As long as teachers continue to work in this way, it will be expected.
(Stop saying it’s for the kids. That’s an excuse. You and I both know it. )
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret the effort I put into my students – I was one hell of a teacher. I put kids first before it was trendy to put kids first. I became a teacher before I held a credential, I didn’t know I was supposed to use standards – so I taught children, not standards. That was both my blessing and my curse.
I am now on a path of self employment in which I design resources for homeschoolers and classroom teachers. Being self employed it is easy to fall into the same “trap” of working extra long hours, including weekends. I can’t exactly go to Disneyland so I *could* work weekends.
I don’t. And I’m not behind either. I refuse to poison myself with those thoughts. I work a full 8, sometimes 10 hour day. Then I play. On the weekend I take care of the house, I scrapbook and I read or watch TV.
I did NOT get everything on my January to-do list done for my business. Because my products are holiday themed, they just didn’t get done. No guilt or shame and no being so far behind I’m in first!
Remember my 2013 word of the year – BALANCE? I may not have achieved BALANCE back then, but I’m working on it NOW!
Whatever your occupation I hope you take some time to reflect and see if you need some BALANCE. God doesn’t ask us to work ourselves to the bone . God loves you so much he wants you to be HAPPY! Are you happy? Truly happy?
Unload whatever burdens you can and give the rest to GOD!
Until next time, I wish you a joy filled, wonderful day!
My dear friend coined that term when I told her how my cooking was improving…
Being home for 11 months writing curriculum vs. earning Lunch Lady – or even still, a Teacher’s salary has had a major impact on our life. I refuse to see it as a negative thing.
Today is the 2 year “anniversary” of my rotator cuff surgery – the pivotal event that lead me to turn my life over to accepting God’s will. That event had me primed and ready for the pandemic and it’s perks!
Here are a few from my vantage point:
I cook 99% of the time. My family likes most of it!
Laundry and dishes are done promptly. It doesn’t seem like a “chore”.
House is neat – but not organized and clutter free. I can live with that. I started on the garage last week believe it or not!
I can discuss certain TV shows like a “normal” person. I didn’t watch TV much before 2019 honestly. I’m taking time for myself rather than having a work-only mindset. Dang – how did I miss Downton Abbey!
I spend time with God each day on purpose, and it has become a habit. This is HUGE. I get up at 4am to make this happen, and I like it! I have 3 different devotionals and I am listening to the Bible as part of a group God sent me!
I have a full pile of firewood (Thanks Douglas!) I use it.
Percy the Pandemic Purchased Cat – I’ve never “raised” a kitten before, I have always worked! I said I didn’t want any more animals and this darling little cat won my heart and soul in 3 seconds flat. I get up in the middle of the night to feed him his special kitten food. (I didn’t get up in the middle of the night for the 3 human children – seriously – bad dream? Just turn your pillow over and go back to sleep!)
I love watching the seasons out of my “office” window. I know California doesn’t really have seasons, but the plants and critter habits change. I get to see that. Today a squirrel ran with a peanut in his mouth. The cuteness meter was off the charts!
Friends and customers of my scrapbook business who need something still call ME for a custom order, or even adhesive, to keep my little business going. I have used my Creative Cutter for almost 17 years!
In January of 2020 my online curriculum store had 4 sales. To date, In January 2021 I have sold over 55 items across 3 different marketplaces and I have 3 days left for God to keep those sales coming in.
Yes, we have struggled – yes we have experienced loss and cliché or not – there is no going back to “normal” – all we can do is move forward and continue to let God be our guide. I am so okay with that. This pandemic was God’s plan all along, and I am proud of how I have used my time.
I got a job offer the other day. The fact I am sitting at home, almost 50 years old trying to make a living blogging and selling digital resources is insane to those outside looking in. But going from 4 sales to over 55 in one year? So not a millionaire blogger…but THAT IS MY CONFIRMATION – those are my Pandemic Perks!
Every item from the $1.00 paper plate craft to the $15.00 set of Reader’s Theater scripts that sell get the same reaction out of me – a joy filled squeal of delight and thanks to the Lord above for having my rotator cuff rip one night while I was rolling over!
The Doctor swears it’s unlikely that’s how it happened. I know it was, and I know it was God saving me.
I’m not scared, In fact I know if I have made the wrong decision – God is with me anyway. God’s love rescued me in 2019, and I trust his promises and know he will save me again!
I’m pretty confident there are other like minded homeschoolers out there who will think using quirky holidays is an awesome idea!
I’m pretty confident there are teachers out there who know that their students NEED quirky little holidays and educationally sound materials designed to build relationships that they can use during any administrative evaluation or even just a Fun Friday!
I’m pretty confident that at last I have made peace with who I am. That’s one heck of a Pandemic Perk!
Until next time I hope you will share your Pandemic Perks with me – feel free to comment!
I went out to feed the birds this morning and one of their bowls was gone… Completely gone. It’s the one that typically gets knocked down in late afternoon by the squirrel or the jay digging…but I always find it , refill it and put it back up on the top shelf of the stand I have so I can watch them.
Interesting…. I bet the possum carried it off. I noticed if I don’t go pick up the left over bird food the possum liked to come, eat the sunflower seeds and spit out the shells. I also noticed if more than one possum show up at night where I put fruit, they drag the bowl away. Is comical.
Percy has begun watching the birds in earnest this week. He sits with me for about an hour each day, glued to his spot.
Well the bird seed bowl isn’t the only thing gone this week. I’m mourning the loss of our Disney Passes as well.
I suppose with 2 in college and 1 about to enter college Disney passes were my way of hanging onto their childhood. Disneyland was what WE DID. Since Douglas was in the womb, lol.
I can’t count the years we held passes. They all mesh into one another. We also did the San Diego Zoo/ Wild Animal Park and Sea World for a bit. We did have a time we couldn’t afford passes, but as soon as I went back to teaching full time, that was my “reward”, or my stipulation – we get Disney Passes!
I wonder what I would have done differently if I had known our last trip as a family was “our last trip” . It’s for sure not our last trip ever…unless God Forbid something happens to one of us. But it will be awhile, and our family is only going to grow (not immediately, but my babies are not babies and the natural progression is to have significant others) .
Our very last trip as a family was in February for my Birthday. Ironically we had a reservation for the Friday before Disneyland was scheduled to close, in March, and chose not to use it. I mean Disneyland was CLOSING because of the virus – what did THAT say? It said something to us.
We went to Downtown Disney in March as a family- cousins and all and got this great picture at one of our favorite restaurants!
I have PLENTY of pictures to scrapbook and memories to cherish. New chapters are just waiting to be written! God must be bursting with excitement to show me all he has in store for us!
As you know, my all time favorite bible verse is Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
In the case of my backyard birds- God sent me to feed the birds …and in time I’m sure he will send me back to Disneyland! I will not worry how nor when!
I don’t even know how to feel. Foolish for not knowing how my daughter got the virus. Comforted she isn’t the only one who, after being “careful” actually caught it.
You see after being brave and posting my daughter got the virus – friends also said – oh we had it too at such and such time… I didn’t know because they hadn’t said on social media. So here I was thinking our family was the only one’s who had thought they were safe, but caught it anyway.
I still feel dumb because I don’t know how you get it. everyone who gets it has a completely different story. We are seriously in the twilight zone. My friend died. Who else is going to die? It could be anyone.
I know 6 people with current cases – today. I couldn’t get a test until Monday so for all I know I’m spreading it to the squirrels.
I have had a migraine this entire year. (ha ha – that is entirely true!) Today is day 8. Is is stress? weather, hormones, the virus? I keep watching my medicine go down every day – that causes stress. I hate running out. What if I get another one later in the month? I will just have to lay in bed and writhe in pain because there will be no medicine, and no trip to urgent care. I won’t go in alone, and I won’t risk getting sick.
There has been so much JOY this year as well. That damn cat Megan, Anthony and Douglas brought home is the funniest thing ever. He is like a pinball machine when he plays. He bounces all over the house with toy mice, balls, dust bunnies, whatever he finds. He still fits under the couch.
Douglas dropped a small potato while cooking a few days ago. Do not ask how it got from the kitchen to under the couch. Teenage boy should be enough. Needless to say Percy darted after it and rolled that potato out, with teeth marks, scratches – and I could hear the laughter of Megan and Douglas through my closed bedroom door!
No one will sleep with Percy except me. I didn’t lose this much sleep with all three kids combined! He puts his nose on my eyelids about 3 am because he is bored and wonders if the alarm is going to go off soon so he can have breakfast. You know the wives tale about cats stealing the breath of babies – that’s Percy. He gets so close to my face and mouth I can taste his breath. It’s unbelievable. There is no snooze button. Yet, like a mom, he stole my heart. I get up, put food in his dish and lift him up so he can eat. (We can’t put the cat food on the floor or Penny will eat it and Percy can’t jump onto the counter yet!)
The New Year isn’t this “Magical Solution” to problems. I still have the pandemic pudge. Damn. I went to bed on Thursday and woke up on Friday. December turned to January in the way any month changes from one to the next. The birds visit their feeders. The Squirrels too. (I do to haha ha ha ha)
I started a new devotional and started an online Bible Study. I paid my business taxes and polished my business plan. I vowed to live within my means and avoid using the household money for business expenses. I have cooked (or heated canned soup) every night except for one so far. The night I didn’t was not laziness, but a special occasion.
Everyone buys Chinese food to celebrate stuffed animals birthday’s right?
You are all in my prayers- I know God’s will is working in our lives and in the world.
I’m like the Supreme Court Justice always with the different opinion about 2020. Those that know me best of all know – I’m seriously living my best life.
I DO get dressed every day. That would be the ultimate If I wore my pajamas…but I digress……
My Adventure in Words began back in 2010 – the same year we started a Family Time Capsule!
Opening it as the New Year began was fun for all of us!
I see the bright side in everything and enjoy the first few months. None of us know what special adventures are to come. I would not have done anything differently even now that I know. (Except maybe go to Disneyland more, ha ha!)
When California became one of the first states to place public safety as a priority and issue the stay at home order… I was essentially out of a job (AGAIN). There were only 2.5 months left for the high school anyway (At that point) so it didn’t seem so bad. It wasn’t. Mrs. Bri is a go-getter and went out and secured herself a job in 2.5 seconds flat. She didn’t wait to see what was going to happen. I sat down and started writing curriculum like my life depended on it…
My biggest concern was running out of coffee. I casually mentioned it on social media. My dear friend and “Partner in Crime” Tammie drove by and delivered my restock the next morning. Crisis averted.
Coffee, writing curriculum, and I’m surrounded by my children. I am seriously living my best life. CHOOSING JOY IS NOT HARD.
I needed to make one small adjustment. You see my older brother is disabled and lives here with us. He’s been living “his best life” for quite some time. His routine involves playing online games with people all over the world. He uses headphones – but talks NON STOP about all sorts of stuff that can be distracting when one is trying to concentrate and design… My office was in the same room as his video game system. It never mattered before.
My office has been relocated! This is now my view as I work. If you look closely on the bottom you will see “Nutsy” munching his peanuts.
The girls adjusted right away to “homeschooling” – it’s a been there done that kind of situation for them. Douglas on the other hand feels like we invaded his space. It didn’t take him too long to adjust.
So many GREAT things have happened. Sure they may look DIFFERENT than they would have if they happened LAST year… But they are still GREAT things!
Here are a few of my favorite JOY FILLED moments from 2020:
I think The greatest source of JOY the stay at home opportunity has afforded me has been our family game night and dinner. Your family may be different than ours, and that’s ok. We were not in the habit of eating as a family. It stemmed from my working late and having very independent, children able to care for themselves. Very often when I was working they had already made themselves dinner. So now – in 2020 I get at least 1 – 2 dinners a week where we all sit down together and I make something everyone will eat!
2020 also brought be back to teaching. In September I began teaching for an alternative school whose focus is on educating the whole child in an environment of love and kindness. My High School friend Emily has been working on this dream for many years, and since 2019 I too have been assisting in helping bring her dream into reality.
In the best interest of the children served by the school it was decided to teach remotely, and I developed a program to help foster independent knowledge seeking as well as guided instruction.
Ultimately, I’m on a path set before me according to God’s will and after 3.5 months of teaching I know that I am a Homeschool Instructional Designer and Consultant with the skill set to help families educate their children. I can provide them with formal curriculum resources as well as the Holiday learning resources I develop. After much prayer and discernment I resigned my position as Lead Teacher with Love Source School.
This year has been hard for MANY. I’m not downplaying that. I do not have a money tree in my back yard. Thankfully my husband is employed, it won’t be enough for long. But I know God has a plan. I will continue to develop curriculum and advertise my consulting business.
I look forward to 2021 with HOPE… with God’s PROMISE that he knows what we need, and that he will care for us.
The rainbow I saw on Christmas Eve was my reminder from God of HOPE – hope isn’t cancelled!
One of the other things that has given me joy this year are all the memes. I could do a complete blog just on all I have collected. I plan to scrapbook them. I will leave you with a favorite – and wish you a Happy, Healthy HOPE-filled New Year! – Christy
There was a BIG part of me looking forward to my surgery. It WAS a gift from God. A time to reset and step back from responsibilities.
My word for the year was Happy Habits ( I know it’s 2 words meshed together like 2011s Little Things). The concept comes from the book: The Slight Edge.
The author describes things you should do each day, there are 5 of them. He recommended starting with just one, repeating it until it was a habit, and then adding another one. Performing his suggested tasks will help to rewire your brain and help you to be happier on a daily basis!
I wasn’t exactly unhappy, but I wasn’t exactly happy either. I was very frustrated and felt very taken advantage of at work, and I never felt that I had time with my family. I was constantly working until 5 and 6 pm and THEN bringing home papers to grade, answering messages about students in all grade levels, etc. Remember I had RESIGNED in JUNE… and nothing had really changed.
I needed to REST, and surgery was going to do just that. I could work on my HAPPY HABITS.
The year started out nothing short of miraculous. One of my former students was expecting her first child. There were complications with the baby’s heart to name one, and it was touch and go and very unknown what the outcome would be. I worked closely with the baby’s grandmother and again – if it had been my year for prayer, would have won awards in 2018 for my prayer efforts for the baby.
When I was awoken by the text message in the middle of the night with the news of my grand-students birth… I cried, I woke Anthony with my sobs, saying she’s alive, she was born alive! Our Little miracle blesses us to this day. I visit her, get videos and she even tells her mommy what to write in cards to me! Just last week she became a BIG SISTER!
A few days later, I went in for my repair work. Initially I had told work I would be off for 2 or 3 weeks. Well, there was more damage than the MRI showed, and they had to reattach my bicep. I would be off work longer.
Well, I had time off, I wasn’t bedridden, so by mid February I was itching for adventure. I’m pretty sure I had already watched all the Walton’s episodes. That was a FANTASTIC reset for the soul. Now I needed Mickey Mouse.
I obviously couldn’t ride rides, so the kids agreed to do Disneyland recovery style. We had a FANTASTIC day. We went to see all the things you don’t see because you are too busy riding rides! We saw Great Moments with President Lincoln, Explored the Main Street Cinema, and took our time in Starbucks. We enjoyed the show in the Tiki room and felt I could handle the Jungle Cruise as well as the train around the park. Things like that made the day one of our best ever. At the end I even got a balloon!
My days were relaxed, with just a few things to do here and there. I prayed and I really liked the slower pace. I realized, deep down I deserved to be respected at work. I went to a meeting at work even though I was on leave. That’s how dedicated I was to the school, to the students and families I served.
At that meeting, when the Principal introduced the 4 of us present, he just introduced us as “teachers”, not as members of his Leadership Team, nor I as his discipline coordinator. This was a spinning merry go round at the park moment. That’s all we were to him, just teachers. All the extra we did didn’t matter, or he would have let those NEW families know, together WE, those present that evening, were the LEADERS of the school.
I had the doctor extend my leave of absence so I would be off for 8 weeks instead of 4. I needed more time to get my focus. I am contemplating asking for the position of Vice Principal myself when the time comes.
I returned to work in March … the same week Lauren flew IN AN AIRPLANE to Arizona to visit Grand Canyon University. I died a thousand deaths. But honestly, She was one of the last to board. Because she was a minor I was allowed to go with her to the gate. As she boarded and my tears flowed, a woman noticed and spoke to me. I will never forget her kindness that day. She could easily have ignored me. She asked if it was the first time my daughter was flying, and I replied yes. She told me she would be okay. That’s it, that simple – like an Episode of Touched by an Angel – then she boarded the plane too and i knew she was right.
In April 2019 I turned my life over to God’s Will, and I can honestly say haven’t looked back. … When I turned in my letter of intent to return as the 4th grade teacher, requesting to be given the title of Vice Principal as well as a specific dollar amount in financial compensation I knew God would handle it. I knew with a sense of peace I’ve never felt before in my life.
I’ve got Prayer, yes I do! 2 years later, I can say that purposeful, daily prayer is 100% part of my life – it may even be – a HAPPY HABIT!
Mid month We lost Anthony’s Uncle. He was hospitalized with a serious case of the Flu. (hindsight – could this have been an early case of the current pandemic?) His death rattled our windows a bit… he was blessed with a daughter. Unfortunately they were estranged. I felt I needed to find, and inform her that her cousins loved her, and that her father had passed away. It was 4 days of searching as she was very stealth on social media!)
I didn’t get my dream cousin reunion, but I still pray it is in our future.
In May I received a wonderful surprise. At one of our morning assemblies, a parent had the honor of presenting me with an award called the Dandy Award. This award had my name written all over it, if you will pardon the pun. In all 13 years with the Diocese, I was never recognized as one of their “teacher of the year” recipients. That was fine by me when I became an “administrator” and found out how they were selected… but then it kinda still did sting… UNTIL THE DANDY AWARD!
The reason this award is so special is because of what it stands for – KIDS, all kids, regardless of ability. I was nominated, and chosen for that ward because I advocated and accepted all students despite their different abilities – I mean SUPERPOWERS! – Oh YES I DID!
I also received an offer of a contract – but it was not God’s will that I sign it. The contract was not for the position I requested (vice principal), nor did it contain the fair amount of compensation I requested. In fact, they tried to use the 2% raise I was already getting as part of the “look at this nice raise”, just keep doing the job offer. I did not sign that contract because it was not the salary of the 4th grade teacher. I was expected to continue as a member of the leadership team, but would not be the Vice Principal.
I left for the school year with no contract, as the business manager was out of town. I had no reason to believe I would not get an updated contract to sign, after all I was now asking for LESS money.
In June Lauren graduated from High School. I have no idea how that happened. I want a do-over. Her smile says it all.
I spent the remainder of June working on my lesson plans for the 2019-2020 school year. I wanted to get as much done a humanly possible so my school year would be streamlined. There were advantages to teaching the same grade for 7 years!
On July 1st I received a text message saying I needed to come in at 9am. You know what happened. Whoosh… they sugar coated it: “Your contract isn’t being renewed”. I was fired, after 7 years because I had the GUTS to stand up for myself.
My HAPPY HABITS were about to begin!
We had 2 major camping trips planned. We went, and I’m forever grateful.
In 2019 I said that reading the book A Mother’s Rule of Life, along with basically getting fired, had “awoken me from the dead.” – No truer words have been spoken. Getting fired was painful for sure. It still hurts to think I was disposable. But to GOD – I was WORTH EVERYTHING and he saved me – allowing me to dive deeper into the things that TRULY make me happy – being a wife and mother.
I was trapped thinking God wanted me to dedicate my life to Him in the classroom. I had my priorities all backwards. I was giving far too much of myself to other people and ignoring my own family. God freed me so that I can LOVE HIM. I was created so that I can LOVE HIM.
As a family we decided I did not have to find a teaching job – there were not many available in July – trust me. I went on 1 interview thanks to a DEAR friend. I nailed it – but with 19 years experience – they would have to pay me a king’s ransom…or I just wasn’t a good fit. I mean – I’d wonder why after 7 years someone’s contract wasn’t renewed. I told them WHY – but they don’t know me.
One of my best friends in the WORLD owns her own Food Service business – and low and behold she was in need of an assistant. It was part time and a fraction of my teaching salary – but absolutely PERFECT.
Working with Mrs. Bri healed me. I told her when we had to stop for the virus, and I meant it – she saved my life.
As a Family, also decided to renew our Disney Passes even though I would be making far less in my new position as a Lunch Lady. We needed something HAPPY and Disney magic is always it for us!
I slowly began to make my own way in the world, and in November of 2019 I purchased a domain name and a website package and launched a full blown business – Happy Hive Homeschooling. I write short pieces of curriculum for homeschoolers, teachers and parents who are looking to increase engagement and add celebration into their everyday curriculum. The activities focus on the quirky as well as the commercial holidays. I currently have over 100 products in 3 different marketplaces!
God gifted me with plenty of time with my family. I worked daily on developing my HAPPY HABITS… a practice I continue to polish into 2020 and hopefully beyond.
I’m ready to move past the pain and sorry of losing my brother and losing my job. I’m ready to greet 2020 – the fresh NEW YEAR that it is determined more than ever to live my life for God and CHOOSE JOY!
As 2020 actually comes to a close…so does my Adventure in words series. Tomorrow I will show you how Indeed I have, each day let God be my light and my words: CHOOSE JOY determine my mood in everything – even when – HA HA I loose another job!
Losing your younger brother because his heart just stops in in 40s is one of those moments that makes you survey your life. It really was time to make changes, grab the bull by the horns and PRIORITIZE. I absolutely had to put the things that matter most above all else.
The universe has a way of coming into alignment, and the volcano of my world was now at the “earthquake” stage. In 2018 I began to make decisions that would eventually lead me to being fired from my position as the 4th grade teacher and “highest ranking member” of the leadership team. I certainly didn’t know they would lead to THAT.
You see I can’t SAY I was the Vice Principal because I wasn’t the Vice Principal… however I was in charge whenever the principal was off campus. I attended all the meetings a Vice Principal was required to attend. I was in charge of school – wide discipline. Many staff members relied on me to problem solve for/with them, and when high ranking administrators call the school and ask to speak to the vice principal -the call transfers to MY classroom… What on earth was I???
I was indeed the Vice Principal, only I didn’t carry the title, nor the financial compensation to support the role I filled for the school. Oh, and I taught 4th grade full time on top of all that “other stuff”. I believed I was serving God. In many ways, I was. By the end of 2018, when It was confirmed I would need surgery and be off work, I realized it was the perfect opportunity to PRIORITIZE. Responsibility could (would have to) shift back to the principal and other members of the leadership team. When I returned from surgery I could choose what responsibilities to take on. It was all as if … what???- GOD HAD PLANNED IT. . .
2018 started like many years before it, although I was masking quite the blanket of grief. I wore my Wonder Woman t-shirts. No one could tell.
We took family pictures – including some great group shots of Anthony’s godparents and all the grandkids. Look for Douglas. It’s worth it.
I didn’t DO anything about my word. I was operating on automatic pilot.
At some point in March or April 2018 it became too painful to sleep on my left shoulder. I couldn’t reach or lift in a certain way without a jabbing pain. Something wasn’t right. I should probably have it checked out. I didn’t rush. I was very busy at work and would NEVER take a day off for something like that.
I think my biggest step in PRIORITIZING came in June of 2018 when I resigned from the leadership team and as the discipline coordinator for the school. I recognized the spiral and that I was overworked and not going anywhere. I turned in my keys, wrote a letter and EVERYTHING.
That’s when my boss dropped a bomb on me. He said I couldn’t resign because HE was recommending me for the position of Vice Principal. He has to go before the Parish Finance Council and would let me know.
At that time I did not receive the position due to “low enrollment” , so I agreed to stay on leadership for 1 year. (The 2018-2019 school year.)
Now that summer arrived, I could go to the doctor. He ordered X-rays that were taken in July. They were nice and clear, Not even Arthritis or bone spurs. So off to the orthopedic department I go.
The first step was a cortisone shot. I had to wait 3 months to see if it worked. Fast forward It didn’t. Next MRI. This should be good. I can handle that. Only I have now gained so much weight I can’t get my wedding ring off… great. I tried to lose weight to get it off. Are you laughing? Getting a ring off a fat finger is no joke.
On November 25, 2018 I experienced the scariest thing EVER. I was so ready. I was brave, I was going to do it. Everyone was going to be so proud of me… Nope. That MRI was HELL on earth. for some reason i opened my eyes the tiniest of little bits just at the last moment before going in and THAT WAS IT. F R E A K out city.
But I laid there as calm as could be holding still, PRAYING ( too bad this year wasn’t prayer, I think I broke records!) At least I thought I was holding still. After awhile when I think I’m under control, the technicians voice came on: “CHRISTY, YOU HAVE TO HOLD STILL”
(My PG blog is about to go Iron Man Language… actually more like Wolverine….)
My robot voice replied politely: Okay, sorry.
Inside my head I screamed: What the bloody fuck is he talking about, if I hold any stiller I will fucking shatter into bits?!!!
Besides negating any prayer points I was earning with that f- bomb rampage in my head, I then realized I WAS moving. I was so scared I was shaking violently!
As soon as the hatch opened and I was out I sat up as fast as I could to get the (That Wolverine word again) out of there and back to Anthony. The sweet technician saw may face and said, wow, were you sleeping? My eyes at that moment were closed so tightly and I was breathing so controlled because if I stayed in that room 1 moment longer I was going to burst into HYSTERICS that the likes of that young man had never seen. I politely told him no and to have a good day, using my BEST robot voice.
If I’m ever in need of an MRI again, I honestly don’t know what I will do. I’m going to have to humble myself and admit that there is no way I’m getting in there without serious drugs or something!
So… Turns out I had a torn Rotator cuff that needed surgery to repair it. 2019 was going to begin with a nice shake up in my world and the world of the school.
I already had my word for 2019 set and ready. I got it from a book I was reading as part of my “Vice Principal” leadership training put on by the Diocese. TRUST ME.. 2019 was going to be my year. This time, and with all my other words and experience under my belt – I knew what I was doing.
Until next time –
Every year since 2010 I pick a word to guide my outlook on life. Now I'm sharing that Outlook with the world.