On Bravery

Here's a bit of a confession for the day: I am a worrier...a brooder...a dweller...a nervous Nelly.

I don't know where this stems from since my parents seem to be fearless and for as long as I can remember, I've been performing. Throughout elementary school I was a competitive gymnast and had no problems flipping and jumping and balancing in front of a crowd. I loved the thrill of performing. I remember watching my older cousin's volleyball games and doing back handsprings and cheers on the sidelines simply because I LOVED being watched by a crowd. In middle school I bravely donned my olive green cargo pants and crop-topped Calvin Klein baby doll shirt to sing "Hit Me Baby One More Time" in front of the entire student body (DON'T JUDGE). In high school, I performed in musicals and ran varsity track--getting a thrill at each round of applause and sound of a starter's gun. I even gave a speech at my high school graduation in front of nearly 300 of my peers and even more of their friends and family. Like most folks, I remember the proverbial butterflies before public performances, but I don't remember freak-outs prior.

Maybe time has just given me a set of rose colored glasses (has it really been twelve years since I graduated?!), but I feel like my sense of nervousness has increased post high school.


Go Ahead: Fill Your Proverbial Cup

About three weeks ago my work schedule changed a bit; I added a second campus and 11 extra hours to my work load. That doesn't read like a lot more work, but I went from working three days a week to five days a week. I'm still juggling my kids' various weekly appointments, and I've been swamped with student appointments as we approach that mid-term mark in the semester. But this week....this week it's SPRING BREAK, and my spring break just happens to fall two weeks after my husband and kids' spring break, so that means an entire week BY MYSELF. 


Favorite things #3

A podcaster I listen to--Tsh Oxenreider--ends each of her shows with a segment called "What's Making Me Happy." I dig hearing about what's making folks happy, and I always seem to learn about something new. Here's a list of the mostly minute things that are making me happy this month. I'd love to read about what's bringing you joy--either the material or abstract--so leave a comment below if you feel inclined.


Speaking back to the stereotypes of foster parents

I came across this video on the interwebs made by What Would You Do?, one of those hidden camera shows that stages scenarios in order to see what kind of reaction they receive from onlookers. This particular staged situation portrays foster parents as greedy people only in foster care for the money who treat their foster kids as second-class children. The video is a little over eight minutes long, but it took me about 20 minutes to watch; I had to walk away a few times because it made me so mad. Here are three reasons why I take issue with the video:


Self (Re)Discovery

"Who were you before becoming a mom? What sort of things did you like to do?" my therapist asked.

I explained that prior to becoming a mom, I willingly devoted most of my time to my job as a high school English teacher. I sponsored many school activities, coached cross country, and focused on establishing myself as a professional by attending graduate school and teaching conferences. I told her that I ran 25-35 miles a week and sang in a bluegrass band. Free time was spent with my husband or with my friends.

"Well...do you think you can still do these things now?" she inquired.


In pursuit of an integrated life

A little over one year ago, I quit my full-time teaching job to pursue part-time work. Teaching English to 180 students in an urban school was just too much for me to juggle with parenting two high needs kids adopted from foster care. Like many teachers who decide to leave the profession, I felt guilty for leaving. I felt like I was abandoning my current and future students while also letting down so many folks (administrators and colleagues) who had such high expectations for what I could or would go on to do as a teacher. It's taken me over a year to realize why leaving my full-time teaching job was best for my family.


Taking a leap

Taking a leap

In November of 2015, a friend and I held each other accountable for writing at least 750 words a day. Engaging in a daily habit of writing made me remember how much I love writing. It reminded me that writing is reflection; it's the only chance I get to slow down enough to think. And the deeper I get into this motherhood gig, the more I'm relying on writing to survive. So, in December I made a commitment to myself to write more.


3 Things my kids' tantrums have taught me

Here's a snippet of my latest post up today on Her View From Home:

"When my husband and I chose foster to adopt to expand our family, we were prepared to love and provide for our kids. We were even prepared to constantly have caseworkers and therapists in our home and for the required hoop jumping for foster care and adoption. What we were completely unprepared for was the tantrums--the raging, the kicking, the hitting, the destruction, the 90 minutes of screaming. We didn't know how to bounce back after one of these fits of rage. But, after two years in the trenches, our kids' tantrums have taught us three valuable lessons...."

To read the full text of this post, click here. Feel free to share it on social media or leave a comment!


My son and toy guns

Yesterday was my seven year-old son's "gotcha day"--a day we we celebrate his adoption, when he officially became ours. I took him to one of our local bookstores to let him pick something out; I had hopes that he would choose a new chapter book, a comic, or maybe even an atlas (he's really into maps right now), but the minute we stepped foot in the toy section of the bookstore, I saw him lock eyes on it. I tried to redirect him, "Hey! Look! An atlas of space!" I shouted and pointed to a shiny cover on the top row--but there was no turning back.

"I want this. Can I get it?" he asked without taking his eyes off the tiny, chintzy, plastic, orange toy gun that would surely break by the end of the week that nearly all kids from the 70s and 80s had.


Tips for church staff when working with traumatized children

Sunday morning is the ONLY morning my family gets to fake normal. It’s the lone day of the week we all look presentable. Since we’re there for a mere hour and fifteen minutes each week, there’s little time for my kids’ trauma to unfold in the form of questionable behaviors. There’s also the fact that we’re still relatively new to town and our church. While it’s clear by looking at our family that our kids could be adopted (one dark brown child, one light brown child, and two very white parents), most in our church aren’t aware of our kids’ stories and prior trauma. So you can imagine the pit of nausea that developed on Sunday morning when I heard my husband explain to our tantruming, pajama-clad son that we were leaving for church as a family of four in 20 minutes whether he was out of his footie-jammies or not.