Think About This Differently

So you don’t “do” politics. You shy away from the conversations that your relatives are having at the holiday dinner table. You ignore the headlines and avoid the friends who have signs on their lawns during an election cycle. All of this is indeed your prerogative and you feel that it makes your life easier. You can’t stand the “drama”. You get enough crazy nonsense from work. You just want to sit and watch Netflix in your pajamas and ignore what is happening in the world. Why get upset? You can’t control it, can you? According to you, there is nothing you can do about it anyway.

This train of thought is totally acceptable. This is how we have been conditioned to think. No one wants to fight at the holiday table. You just want to look at Facebook to see your neighbor’s grandchildren trick or treating. Who wants to add stress to their lives unnecessarily? Nothing will ever change, so you are just going to let it go. You may not even go vote.

However…let’s think about this differently. If you were the manager of a company, would you simply allow the workers to do whatever they chose to do or would you oversee what they were doing and hold them accountable if they did not perform at an acceptable level?

Would you hand your children over to a stranger and not check on how they were being treated or would you monitor the situation closely to be sure your children were safe and well cared for.?

Do you want to hand over all of your money to strangers and trust that they are spending it appropriately, or would you request a full statement of how your money was allocated?

If you are ignoring politics, this is exactly what you are doing and more.

Public servants are just that, public servants. They work for YOU. They work for WE THE PEOPLE. Thus” we the people” must pay attention to what they are doing. They are spending YOUR money. Why would believe that you do not have a say, or that your input does not matter? What is being funded? Does it benefit your community? Does it assist those in need? Will it help your family have a better life?

Politicians vote on school matters. In some cases, they run your child’s school. They vote on the curriculum and decide what is important for the children to learn. They fill your children’s school library with books, that they choose. They fund the supplies for your child’s classroom and at times even set the menu for the school lunches. They decide on vaccinations that your child might require to attend school. They send your child’s school administration funds to keep the school operating.

The government votes on taxes that you will pay. Taxes that are taken out of your paycheck. They charge you taxes to live in your home. Those meetings that they have all of the time, which you pay their salaries to have, are determining issues that will ultimately affect YOUR life and the lives of your family.

But YOU don’t do politics.

No one is asking you to start protesting in the streets. Not everyone is cut out for that.

No one is telling you to make politics the topic of every holiday meal. We need to enjoy our families.

But what we need to make ourselves a better country is for everyone to pay attention.

READ. Read a lot, and not just memes on social media. Some of them are accurate, but you cannot base all decision-making on posts you read on Facebook or from watching Tik Tok videos. Read both sides of the story. This is not about political parties. In fact, the parties are part of the problem. In many cases, neither is there for” we the people”. They are working for their own careers, which is precisely why we must keep them on their toes.

Do not just watch left-learning or right-leaning news programs, or listen to podcasts that express one opinion. Listen to all of it, then make an informed decision.

Do not dismiss ideas that are not what you are used to thinking. The media loves for us to think something is “misinformation”. This has nothing to do with informing us of the “truth”. It is simply to create more news thus more work and more income for them. They love drama and in most cases, they are reading a script prepared for them that has zero to do with what is actually going on. After all broadcasting companies are generally making money for the same entities, whether they report left or right.

You do not have to DO politics, but you do need to have some knowledge. Knowledge is power.

And please, exercise your right to vote. I know that many people believe that votes do not matter. They really do not matter if you stay home and give up your rights.

We are in a crucial time in our history. We are not being told many truths. We are walking around fearful, confused, and often uninformed. We need to take back our power. It is easy. Just pay attention. Stop allowing yourself to be distracted. That is what they want. The politicians are like children who are sneaking around while their parents are taking a nap they told them could take.

This is your business. You are the CEO. They work FOR you. They do not tell YOU what to do. You are in charge. They have forgotten that since YOU do not do politics.

It is time to remind them who they work for.

You MUST stand beside your fellow citizens. We are very divided and that makes us vulnerable, it makes us weak. Those in charge, prefer that we are arguing with each other because then we do not argue with them.

We are a part of our own history, it is downright dangerous to ignore what is happening.

We are distracted, we are not interested. We are kept busy staring at screens. While we are distracted, there is a lot going on. We need to pay attention.

We are the owners of our own fate. Do not give that ownership away because you don’t DO politics.

It is not that simple.

One ant is easily squashed. An army of ants is far more difficult to ignore and they will continue to grow until they receive attention.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Ryunosuke Satoro


Walking Up The Hill

I have a favorite park where I enjoy my daily walks. Each day as I make my way around the paths, I make sure I head up the very steep hill in the center of the park. At the top of this hill are a few more walking and running paths that I explored many years ago as a younger and fitter person. I have not been up that hill in quite some time.

Over the past few decades, I have genuinely struggled with being healthy. There are many reasons why, but the most prominent is that I did not prioritize myself. Not only did I not prioritize myself, but I let society tell my story, rather than tell it myself.

I have spent the majority of my life on a diet. There were many reasons for that, one of which is that I never felt like I was good enough. I never felt stylish, nor did I feel as though I was part of any particular crowd. Sadly, this is incredibly common for young girls and women. We devalue ourselves and due to this, often never live up to our full potential.

Most women will simply push through rather than make the changes that they know they should make. A high percentage of women find themselves unsatisfied with their lives upon reaching middle age. I am one of those women.

I have never been one to quit. I am far too stubborn to simply walk away from any battle. I was a shy, quiet child, often hiding behind my mother’s legs. Both of my parents were community leaders, my father running his own business and rising to the highest of positions in the Boy Scouts of America as an adult leader. He was responsible for helping quite a few young people find their futures, simply by giving them the tools they needed to move forward. My mother was PTA president for many years, as well as president of our local museum guild. My maternal grandmother was also a woman ahead of her time, graduating from high school in 1929 and receiving a full scholarship to attend college, an event that was rare in those days. My paternal grandmother went to work at age 13 and helped her family survive after her father’s untimely death and need to do the same with her own family when her husband passed away suddenly.

I lived amongst these incredibly strong leaders, yet I never felt that I was special or important. I felt I was lacking. I was never thin enough for myself. I was never pretty enough, I always looked in the mirror and found something wrong. I had one award in a house full of family with many surrounding me all over the walls. My brothers are both Eagle Scouts, therefore they had proof of all of their hard work to show, as it deserved to be.

I was the oldest granddaughter on one side of the family and the youngest on the other. I felt young and awkward around my older cousins, each more beautiful than the next. I was fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time with my younger cousins, but as we got older, I did not feel I fit in with them. My life was very different. I did not have as much money as they did, therefore did not have the same lifestyle.

Whenever I felt this way, I took the easy way out. I just pulled away.

I think I would have stayed quiet forever, had it not been for my son. My oldest son is on the autism spectrum. I found myself in a world of acronyms, specialists, therapists, and a huge list of regulations that left my head spinning.

I had to fight or be left behind. The Mama bear in me woke up and has not stopped to rest in almost 3 decades. The only solace I ever found was in the other mama bears I met along the way. They are my forever tribe. Even if we disagree on something, we will never desert each other, We will battle together. Our gang is strong.

Life got tough, as well as stressful. I have other children and they have always lived as special needs siblings which came with its own set of issues. when we are no longer here, they will be responsible for their brother. This is a lot to live with when you are a young person trying to plan your own life.

At times, I did not know how to stop fighting, to sit back on advocating. I am blessed that I did indeed have friends who let me know when I needed to relax. One friend, in particular, did not shut me out when I crossed the line. He stated that I had to fight so much that I no longer recognized when I did not have to. This stayed with me and helped me grow. This friend is now facing major challenges in his life, and I will not desert him, as he did not when he could have.

As my challenges grew and started to wear me out, I did not see myself disappearing. Since I had never thought much of myself, I did not know how to fix this.

I began to rapidly gain weight, which was odd since I had never lived as a woman who was not on a diet. I was forever skipping carbs and saying no to desserts. I had a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and was afraid to take the medications because I felt they would make me gain even more weight. My doctor suggested I go gluten-free. This way I would cut a lot of foods that were inflammatory. I took on this challenge and began to walk as much as I could, even doing” walk at home “videos when I could not go outside.

I lost some weight in the beginning, but then began to gain again. I was incredibly sad and bewildered. My doctor now suggested I find a nutritionist.

This is where my story truly began. I am 76 pounds down from the day I started working with my nutritionist and my wellness coach. Not only have a lost this weight, but I recognized why I lost myself and which direction to head next.

So, as I climb this hill, which I can now do without breathing heavily and stopping every few feet, I think about what to do with the rest of my life. I am proud of the wonderful adult children that I have raised. I look forward to watching them develop their own destinies. I am grateful that despite all the challenges we have faced, I am still walking the path of this life alongside my husband and partner for over 3 decades.

I am proud of myself for finally knowing that I am beautiful, intelligent, resilient, and brave.

Please watch for my E-book “Wearing the Red Shirt” ( currently in production) to learn more about my health and wellness journey

Change Your Lense

So I did something recently. I left a 33-year teaching career and decided it was time for me to be my own boss. I got to a point in my life where I was not dealing well with people that had less experience than me, telling me what to do all of the time. I also needed flexibility and more importantly, I needed to feel excited, happy, and that I had purpose again.

A friend of mine directed me to an Entrepreneur’s class for Women. I absolutely knew that I would need help understanding the ins and outs of starting and running my own business. The 10 weeks truly flew by. We worked very hard, but also had a lot of fun learning from amazing and established professionals, a few that had also gone through the program in the early days of their businesses. The best part of the program were the women I had the honor and privilege to meet and learn with. Each had their own inspiring story, and was filled with dreams and aspirations, just as I am.

After ten weeks of laughter mixed with uncertainty and hard work, we completed the course which also featured a “Shark Tank” pitch before judges who declared that each pitch was better than the next, we were done. A Graduation in person gave us the ability to finally able to meet in person, having zoomed for the course entirety.

I had done something else over those ten weeks. I had contacted a nutritionist who specialized in natural healing and wellness. I had lost 35 pounds in 44 days on a program that honestly is not that hard to follow if you do not mind eating well and very healthy. A commonsense program that sounds very hard, but in reality is that way we all should eat. I am far from complete with my weight loss and wellness journey, but I was feeling excited and happy to don a dress that I had never fit in before and walk in my entrepreneur class graduation.

My husband, has never once said a word to me about my appearance. I am often frazzled by this since I would like to know if he likes my hair or the outfit I am wearing. He tells me, I love you the same way I loved you when we married 30 years ago, it does not matter if you gain or lose weight, color your hair or grow it long or short, you are still you. I know I should be grateful since so many women are ridiculed by their spouses when they gain weight or age but, unfortunately I don’t have the same opinion of myself that he does. I did not feel like me. I felt trapped inside this person with poor mobility who looked nothing like the person I always remembered myself to be. I felt like my life would never be what I wanted it to be if I stayed like that.

I had tried diet after diet, exercised, drank water, guzzled weight loss drinks. Tried medications, took supplements, suffered through eating freeze-dried foods. Went to meetings, weighed in, got cheered for losing 4 ounces a week, and then cried when I no longer lost any weight. I felt like I was looked down on. That I was not attractive, that I was someone who people talked about behind her back. Like: ” could she fit in a seat, what size did she wear, she must eat a lot at home, a closet eater, she is slow because she is so big, she used to be thin”, among other things.

Yes, I was thin once. But sadly I never thought I was. I was beautiful, sexy and thin, yet I never thought that about myself. I always thought I needed to fix myself. I started officially dieting at age 15, with a program. After that I spent many years, depriving myself, even becoming mildly bulimic. I had three difficult pregnancies and my body was no longer a body I could control no matter what I ate or drank.

I was completely bewildered at what my next step should be My doctor suggested that it was time to call a nutritionist. I hunted online, read through reviews and checked out backgrounds of several nutritionist. I joined an interactive webinar and felt as if all the participants were just like me. The nutritionist had several ideas and suggestions. I decided to move forward and speak to her personally.

After a few weeks of debating with myself, and discussions with my husband and therapist, we all decided I had to do something. I am very grateful that I took that step. But I am far from finished. My husband who has never cared whether I was fat or thin, proudly took videos and photos of me walking in and participating in the graduation. He posted them on to Facebook and told everyone how hard I worked and what a great accomplishment this was for me.

Unfortunatly, later on when I looked at Facebook, and at the photos he took, all I could think of was how fat Iooked, even after losing 35 pounds. I worked very hard to stop myself from thinking that, but it is there. I am 57 years old, a poor body image that has been present for more than 45 years is not going to go away overnight. Looking at my photos with critical eyes, hiding in the back of photos so I could barely be seen. Wearing black even if I did not want to, cropping photos, so my body did not show. All things I am working on with the wellness coach and the nutritionist to change.

I looked at the photos again today and tried to change my lense. I read the wonderful comments from some dear friends. Telling me I looked great and that they were proud and excited for me. I looked at my classmates who had never seen me in person until yesterday, they did not care that I as not a tiny- sized woman either. A good friend texted me privately to tell me how nice my dress was and that it was very flattering. The only person that mattered who had anything negative to say or think, was me. Truth is that I am really the only one who can fix that.

I have taken step one. Found a program that is helping me lose weight, inflammation, gain health and mobility through healthy living. They are working towards getting me to understand my needs and purpose. I took a great course to help me towards my goal of running my own business doing something I enjoy. I also need to learn that I am okay. I am more than a body. Beauty is far more than a trim figure and a perfect face. I am loved, I am a presence, I am powerful. Getting healthy matters far more than a dress size. Healthy is not only physical health. It is all around wellness.

So I am going to smile at my celebration photos. I am going to rejoice in the fact that my spouse of almost 3 decades sees the 24- year old woman he fell in love with when he looks at me. I am going to stand in the front and not hide in the back.

Now is the time

Although I married a political science major, I have never really been super political. I have been too busy mothering and trying to make ends meet like many other women my age. I have voted faithfully and I have signed petitions and spoken out when necessary. I find that many of my friends when asked how they feel, will usually respond with ” I don’t really follow politics”, ” I don’t bother to vote, my vote does not matter” or “I would rather just be happy than fight over politics.” While all of the above are reasonable statements, NOW is time to pay attention.

” I don’t really follow politics”. Let’s think for a moment. Politicians are paid by taxpaying citizens. Therefore making that statement as a taxpaying citizen is completely misguided. If the owner of a company ignored what his/her employees were doing, how would that go? I think the answer is “not well.” This is what is happening now under our very eyes. Both of these parties are out of control, are existing for their own financial gain rather than the betterment of their country or community. Very few are following the will of their constituents and those that are listening, tend to be shut down and ignored by those with more powerful backing. WE the people (who are in charge) are being treated as afterthoughts and put on the pay no mind list.

“My vote does not count”. Sadly that is appearing to be true in some situations. We now have candidates who are being appointed rather than voted in. The “haves and have nots” are once again at war and the money is winning. If you have not recognized that every single thing that is happening is about money, I pray that you do, sooner than later.

” I just want to be happy and live my life”. We have every right as human beings to do exactly that. But we are slowly being denied that right and we are allowing it. We are all being conditioned to accept more rules and less freedom. Although we believed it was all for our safety in the beginning and maybe in some ways it was, it is not the case now. Re-writing science and history does not change what is clearly right in front of our faces.

WE must start to be stronger. We HAVE to stop allowing ourselves to be distracted. We are the most distracted creatures on the face of the earth. The animal world is far more intuitive and stronger than we are at this time. In fact, they probably always have been. They do what they need to do to survive without relying on anyone else to do the heavy work. They keep what they work for and use it to feed and shelter their families. We hand it over, at times with grumbling but we rarely do anything to change it.

We whine “there is nothing we can do about it.” Really? If our founding fathers said that, this country would not exist. If the civil rights warriors felt this way, we would have had zero progress in that area. They put themselves in harm’s way to fight for basic human rights. Generations before us were far stronger. We have allowed ourselves to become complacent, coddled, reliant, dependent, easily manipulated, and even lazy.

We need to open our eyes. The party of the people is no longer. In fact, neither party is what anyone thinks they are. There will be no savior coming to fix everything. We must fix ourselves.

The original American soldiers were poorly equipped men ranging from very young to at times very old. Called ragtag even by Washington. They were severe underdogs, but they were brave and stood strong against incredible pushback. Simple people fought hard and gave us freedom.

We need to remember why we are here. We are not placed upon this Earth to watch television, go to sporting events, theaters, shopping, and ignore anything unpleasant 100% of the time outside of going to work. We are here to feel all emotions. To leave a mark for the next generation. Destruction is not a good mark to leave.

We are allowing our God-given freedoms to slowly be stripped away. If you do not believe in God, then I will say, your basic human rights given by nature are in danger. If any animal were on the endangered list, we would care. It is time to see that we are on the endangered list.

There are of course theories that do not make sense, we all know that. But words that were spoken two years ago which we laughed at, are arriving one by one. Some of us see them, some are not ready and perhaps will never see them. We are dealing with unreasonable people who simply want to see how far they can go, and how much we will take before we say enough. They will continue to get us to focus on events that distract us while working to build up their own portfolios and hide evidence that might force us to see who they really are. It has been happening for years. We just have not been as broken as we are now. We are weak, frail, and broken. WE the people are better than this.

WE are strong. We are created in God’s image. We are marvels of nature. We can fix this. But not with division. We can fix this with unity and perseverance. But it is time to see that. No more fighting over politicians. They do not care about any of you. Please understand that. They are characters on the television or hand shakers at events. They are not real.

As we head to midterms, we must vote. Although we are all tired of choosing the “lesser of two evils” or we choose someone who promises the world and has yet to deliver. We must vote. Even if we believe it does not matter. It does. We must encourage everyone to vote. Vote for freedom, for policies that represent the people. DO not vote for the “person you like”. Trust me, you do not know that person.

Unless of course, you do. Some grassroots candidates have emerged. Real citizens, people who have actually been out there toeing the line, working. Instead of making money off our backs and through underhanded practices. I have taken the time to meet one of the young people who have the courage to try to primary one of the appointed ones in my community. If you want more information about him and live in my community I will be more than happy to share with you if you reach out. If you know real people coming out of their comfort zone to run please support them. Do not simply push this aside and say they will never win. Perhaps they won’t, but just maybe, maybe our voices will ring out loud and clear that we are here. We are this country. We are this world. We are stronger than the 1% that has decided that they know what is best for us. Those with loaded bank accounts are completely out of touch with what it takes to give our families what they need. It is time to stop staring at our phones or at computer screens and be present in what is happening in our lives. Please know that once you begin to learn, you will understand that all it takes is for us to stand up and be more involved. This is not only about us. What we do now will forever be a part of history.

If only

If only there was an off button for anxiety.

If only telling someone that everything will be okay worked.

If only listening to your favorite song worked forever.

If only getting a hug was a lasting cure.

If only it was easy to put on a coat and go out when anxiety has gripped you.

If only talking to a friend ended the feelings.

If only medication was the final answer.

If only it would never return.

If only the world would stop increasing the anxiety.

If only it would go away forever.

If only.

Please think, really think about this

Today we were essentially told that we were not welcome at the place we lovingly call our “happy place.” Although that is being emphatically denied and more than likely it was not said with the proper amount of thought, it is still what happened.

For my husband’s entire life, he has spent his summers at a lake in New England with family and friends that he calls family. He has been thrilled to bring his children there so that they can have the same wonderful memories that he has.

Last summer, even though things were difficult, we still were able to enjoy a safe vacation, distanced, outdoors and carefully with a smaller crowd than usual but still, it was the “happy place.”

This year those same people we were with last year, told that they agreed that they “only spend time with vaccinated people.” We are considered “un-vaccinated” even though we have tested positive for strong antibodies for the past 16 months. Every three months, we faithfully go to the lab and have our antibodies tested. Each time, the tests come back that we do still indeed have positive antibodies for the COVID-19 virus. We have read studies, namely the Cleveland Clinic study, that shows that people who have recovered from COVID 19 and retained long term antibodies and memory T cells have a similar, if not equal immunity as the vaccinated.

In fact, the vaccinated have not have antibodies as long as I have, unless they too have recovered and made the personal choice to get the vaccine instead of repeatedly getting tested to see how their immune system is holding up.

My husband and I have some medical issues and at this time getting the shot is far more risky than not getting it. As long as we retain immunity, we will continue to stay safe and build up our immune systems, as everyone should, vaccinated or not. We have both made these decisions while working with doctors.

This was a knife in our hearts. Last summer when we had antibodies and had recovered, the people at the lake were more of a risk to us than we were to them since we had recovered, and they had never been infected. We stayed outside and we distanced as we all should and had a very nice time.

What changed this year? Well the vaccine showed up. Let us first talk science. If you get a vaccine YOU are protecting YOU. PERIOD. Yes, I know about herd immunity. Herd immunity by definition is BOTH vaccinated immunity and naturally gained immunity through infection and recovery. BOTH. Until this virus. Miraculously, this is the only virus of it’s type in history where herd immunity is to be reached ONLY BY VACCINE. That has never been done.

So we are being told that the human immune system is inferior to a chemically made medication. And an experimental one at that. One that has not stood the test of time or true trial. The trials are now. Here in 2021. These are the trials.

As far as I can remember from my science classes in school, the human immune system has eradicated diseases long before we had the technology to assist it.

The other issue is, if YOU have the vaccine, aren’t YOU protected? So if I do not have the vaccine, then I will get sick and you will not. Is that not how it works?

When my children were young, they had friends who could not get the full round of proven vaccines that most children got. I was not the least bit worried. You know why? My children had their vaccines against the diseases their friends did not have. Therefore my children could play with those kids very safely.

This push to discriminate. To segregate. To ostracize is absolutely uncalled for and a disgrace.

In a world where “inclusion”, “diversity” and ” acceptance” has been tossed around so much, we are now looking to lock out people for not getting a shot that is not even proven yet. Why?

For a virus that has a 99% survival rate? I had this virus. I was incredibly sick with it. I am lucky I survived. I fought hard to live. I have immunity that I earned through by fighting for my life.

But now, some politicians who are not worrying about your safety, are pushing you to be divided with your neighbors. To hate them. To shun them. They seek to divide us. To protect you? You are protected. You got your shot. No they seek to weaken you, to weaken all of us so that they can keep you scared and alone. They look to deny education. To take away income, thus possibly creating yet more homelessness. Losing your job also means losing medical coverage during a global pandemic. But they do not care. They want full control of you, you body, your health, your information, your children, everything even your good moral judgment.

And you are letting them win.

You want to comply because you think that it will end, but the more you comply, the more it goes on.

My husband and I have had antibodies for over SIXTEEN months. SIXTEEN, A far cry from the 90 days or the 6 months you have been sold by the media and the television doctors. Perhaps try a real doctor, one that is not afraid to be censored and canceled. How long have those vaccine antibodies lasted? I hear there will booster shots soon. Israel already started administering them. Yet MY immunity is inferior.

This is a SARS virus. People that survived the SARS virus from 2003 have their immunity 18 years later. But yet you are believing that these go away. I am telling you that they do not. I am proof and I have met many others who have immunity as long as me or longer. We are being ignored. The real question you need to ask yourself is why? Antibodies do fade if they are not needed to fight another onset of the virus, but memory cells remain behind to spring into action if confronted with SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) again.

Please turn off the mainstream media. Turn off the politicians. Turn off the television doctors who have not treated one single COVID patient. Turn off talk shows that exist only to strengthen political views.

Breathe. Be still. You survived. You got here. Others did not. I survived. Hospitals know more now than in the past as to how to treat this virus. They now know that bringing patients in for treatment before they have trouble breathing is very important. They did not know that, nor did they have the ability to do that in early 2020 in most hospitals.

There will always be variants. Even if every single person is vaccinated, this is the coronavirus family and like influenza, there will always be variants. But they, with any luck will not be as strong as the original. With the number of recovered plus the number of vaccinated, the variants will have fewer hosts and die out quickly.

We spent a year and a half shunning our families and friends. We have forgotten how to be humans.

We have spent a year and a half being puppets for a media and for two different administrations to push around and rule through our fear.

This is wrong. Pushing away people that you were always with because of a shot, of a promise that you do not know will happen from a government that does not care if you live or die.

We bring no disease. We recovered already. You have the shot that you believed in enough to go and get, many of you through two injections and some of you with strong immune responses that made your sick. Why did you get that shot if you were to remain afraid?

Now you will allow, in fact encourage the carrying and the presenting of CARDS so you can live your life. You are ” allowed” to live your life now. Allowed by whom? Last I checked, I only answered to myself and to God.

You made this choice to regain freedoms you already had in the first place. So the least you should do is use them.

And think very hard before you turn away people you love because of something some wealthy strangers who are making billions of dollars on told you.

History does indeed repeat itself. We are on the path to repeating some of the worst events to happen to the human race, committed by the human race. Many have been told it never happened, but it did. They have been told that so that committing it again will be far easier this time.


The Line in the Sand.

I woke up this morning at 3:45 in the morning and proceeded to have an anxiety attack about an impending snow storm. I live in a very hilly neighborhood where traveling in the snow is often very difficult and dangerous at times. I am a teacher, yet my school has refused to allow us to work from home except during a COVID-19 emergency. They claim it is because they support in person learning over remote, but we know that is not the entire story because we have far more students continuing to choose remote rather than come to in person these days. Two out of four of our classrooms continue to offer only remote learning, so this is all a farce. In fact, when they are forced to close, they cancel all classes including the remote, so how are they supporting continuity in educational services? I have spent 32 years as an educator. I just reached the magical age of 55 and I have had enough. I cannot retire, nor do I wish to stop working, but I am done with being micromanaged and having my health and well being in the hands of those who honestly do not care.

A friend recently spoke to me about reaching that line that would separate her from what was wrong and what was right for her life. Reaching the line. For each and every person there is a moment where you do, indeed, reach that feeling of having enough. The realization of having not achieved all that you could be achieving. The end of being treated in a manner less than what you deserve. I have reached that place.

Last February, I was not feeling well, I went to urgent care and received medication for a respiratory infection. I was home resting and my employer was not happy that I was out of work for more than one day. I returned while still under the weather. This resulted in my getting sick again in March. I did not return to work quickly after that. I was sick from March 9 until the end of March. My doctor suggested that my husband and I get tested for COVID-19. At this time, our part of the country had limited tests and only gave the test if a person met a certain criteria. My part of the city only had 2 people who had tested positive. We were afraid, but we headed to the emergency room to be evaluated. We were treated and testing was not deemed necessary at this time. However, we had enough symptoms to quarantine. I proceeded to go home and spend much of the next three weeks in bed, with a fever and many other symptoms, which in March were not considered COVID 19 symptoms. I kept in contact with my doctor because he wanted me to return to the emergency room if I had trouble breathing. During this time, I was the mother and wife my family had never seen before. I really could not get out of bed easily. I was running fevers daily, I was shivering under several blankets, my body was a mass of pain, and inflammation. I have rheumatoid arthritis, therefore the pain in my joints was very intense. I could not eat and what I could eat, I did not keep much of it down. It was too taxing for me to raise my arm to get a bottle of water or Gatorade to drink, but my husband checked on me regularly to force me to drink something. I have a C-PAP machine, so my husband had me sit up, propped on pillows and using the machine all day to help my cough and regulate my breathing. In addition to that, he forced me to get out of bed and walk up and down the hallway and even the staircase, which I cried about because my joints ached so badly. I normally have a terrible time losing weight, but I dropped 15 pounds in two weeks. I was extremely pale, and my cheeks had a sunken look to them. Standing was difficult, I felt like at any time, my legs would just give out. My husband was recovering from illness as well, but he was a week ahead of me and had run a fever for only three days to my total of 17 days of fever before it finally broke. As someone with a 96-97 degree normal body temperature, and had run a fever so rarely that we could count it using two hands, this was a very difficult time for me. On the final day I ran a fever, I awoke at 5:00 in the morning to use the bathroom. I practically crawled to the bathroom because I felt so weak, and I looked at the face in the mirror and almost did not recognize myself. The world around me was cloudy, I could barely see. I dragged myself back to bed, looked at my pillow and somehow I knew that if I laid down, I was going to die. I just felt it. I felt like I was floating over myself, like in a dream. I reached for my C-PAP mask and it was a struggle for my hands to put it on. Somehow I got it on, I sat on the edge of my bed, I kept putting my head between my knees, breathing was difficult. I saw my husband sleeping on his side of the bed, I had no voice to call him, my arms would not work to reach out to him. I started to talk to God in my head. I said ‘God, my father is very sick, he said once that he could not survive losing a child.” His heart was broken for a friend who had lost his daughter and often said he did not know how this friend got through it. I continued to speak to God silently, ” it is your will to do with me what you want, but I know that I am needed here with my family. I know I have more to do in this world. I pray you give me more time.” I sat there for an hour. All of the sudden, I felt like a huge weight was lifted from me, I could move again. My arms worked again. I stood up and my legs did not crumble. I sat back down and woke up my husband. I told him what happened. I took my temperature and I had no fever. After more than two weeks of fever, it was finally gone. Some of my energy returned. I felt awake. I was grateful, I was happy.

That day, I went outside for the first time in weeks. I sat in a chair in my back yard with a mask on. My mother, who lives next door, looked out of her window and gasped. I was very pale and she was not expecting that. I felt better, but weak and beat up. I know that I am a survivor, that I was very close to not making it to the next day.

Two weeks later, my father took a turn for the worst. He suffered another stroke and passed away the next day. It has been a very sobering experience to lose someone during COVID-19. It was April 2020 in New York City. Therefore there was no funeral. A simple graveside service with just my family and my brother’s family, and two of my father’s caretakers. My oldest brother was not allowed to leave his state and come to us. My Aunt was not allowed to travel and say good bye to her brother. None of the members of our large extended family were permitted. The many people whose lives were touched by my father were not able to see us, or to pay tribute to a man who meant a great deal to them. He deserved so much more than a 15 minute speech and prayer at the cemetery. Afterwards, we were not permitted to be together, to eat together at a repast. It was a sad and lonely time. I do not feel recovered from that. It is a very hard way to say goodbye to a loved one.

In May, I took an antibodies test and it confirmed that I had indeed had COVID -19. I truly feel that I barely scraped through that illness.

That is why I now hate to waste time. I want to be happy. I want to do what I am supposed to do, to leave my mark on this world. Life is way too short and we are all here for a specific reason. I do not believe I am here to be sitting at a job where I feel as though every move I make is micromanaged. Every idea I have is shut down by someone who has a great need to be the one who controls all that happens in every aspect. I am too old to be where adults are punished for advocating for their rights and sharing their opinions.

The line has always been there, and the day arrives when you are finally standing with your toes right next to that line. You either cross that line and lose yourself or you walk away and do what makes you happy. We all deserve to be happy. Happiness is not what you have to hold in your hands. It is not expensive cars, clothes, jewelry or accessories. It is getting up each day motivated and energized to do what makes you feel alive. Life is not counting the days on a calendar until you get to the weekend or to a vacation. It is celebrating each moment, it is being so comfortable where you are, that a vacation is simply being happy in new surroundings, rather than an escape from your everyday world. Happiness is who you share your life with. Whether it is your spouse, your friends or your pets, or even if you are comfortable being alone, it is where you should be content, and calm.

One day, we wake up and realize that we do not live forever. That our family and friends will not always be there. At any given time, we can leave this earth. There is simply no time to waste being miserable. I have reached the line and I know that it is time to walk away and do what is best for me. I have worked hard raising my children, doing what is best for others. This is for me.

I have great plans to use the gifts I have been given to make other people’s lives better. What better way is there to live, than to make others happy?

Messages Come In Many Forms

The past few months I have been taking online certification classes in Meditation practice, Mindfulness Life Coaching, Life Purpose Life Coaching, CBT Cognitive Behavior Coaching, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, Emotional Intelligence Comprehension, Reiki, Advocacy training, Understanding Special Education Law and programs, plus I have more to complete. This is all to help me move forward to becoming someone who is making a difference every day to the world. To become someone who is happy to wake up each morning and go to work because it is doing something that I want to do and feel good about each day. Not crossing days off of the calendar until I have time off.

Life comes around one time. I do not want to dread Sunday nights and Monday mornings anymore. So I am working hard to fix that. So in my voyage of understanding human emotions, I, of course, am required to examine my own as part of the course of study. One cannot help others find their dreams and fight for their rights until they have a clear understanding of their own emotions. It has been a very good journey so far. I have made a lot of necessary and happy changes already. I have also come to peace with things I will not change because they are part of what makes me who I am. People do things and say things for many reasons. Emotions are tough to manage. But love has zero boundaries. Everyone is capable of feeling the love.

Early this morning I had a dream, that I feel was very important. I feel that my studies have given me more clarity about this situation in my life. There are people in my life, people who are part of my bloodline as well. There is a broken circle that I am more than willing to mend and have tried on many occasions. I do not expect past events to go away, they should not. Our history is who we are and how we become the people we should be. But in my dream, I said these words that I guess my heart is longing to say. I think a lot of people need to say these words:

” There are things that I know you do not like about me. I am often disorganized. I let things get messy because there are things I would rather do than clean out the closet sometimes, I do not always care about labels, I am not into fashion designers, I often am uncomfortable at social events, it is not against the person who invited me, I am just happier in a small situation. I do not like confrontation. I know that I am often criticized for what I say, do, post, like, how I dress, my weight, how I raise my children, the list can go on. I am different from you, you are different from me and from your neighbor, and so on. But guess what? I love you. I still love you. I care about you. I miss you. I have things to tell you and I want to know about your life. “

People do things and say things for many reasons. Emotions are tough to manage. But love has zero boundaries. Everyone is capable of feeling love.

If we believe that dreams are our sub-conscience telling us something, I certainly received a message. Hours later I am still feeling like this dream was real. Messages come in all forms.

I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason” and that God has a plan for everyone.

Overwhelmed…almost all of the time.

One of the obstacles of being a person with ADD is that you feel overwhelmed almost every minute of every day. The stimulation of everyday life is simply a huge spiral of thoughts, decisions and tasks waiting to be completed.

I spent many years in my car. Literally, in my car. I would take the kids to school, and they were always in three different schools. Even though my oldest and youngest attended two of the same schools, their age difference never had them in those buildings at the same time.

My oldest son has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Therefore, his day, and my day began with routines that would help him begin the school day on the “right foot” to insure that he would not have any meltdowns, or if nothing else, he would get into the building without getting upset. Each one of my children had some sort of need each morning. I tried desperately to have everything ready the night before, but of course with kids, that is almost impossible. As much as I tried to avoid chaos, we had those days when they were eating in the car as I drove, and sometimes completing homework they had forgotten to tell me about or I was signing permission slips at traffic lights.

That hectic ride would end and I would head off to work. In the beginning when they were younger, I worked full time, but, luckily, I was able to change that to part time for several years. This gave me some down time to go for a long walk, to collect myself, to refocus, as the running from place to place was very draining on me both physically and emotionally.

After school we would stay in our car as I drove my oldest to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. As time wore on, I was able to make changes to these routines, but not before we added the younger kids activities of : soccer, basketball, baseball (briefly), scouts, religion classes music and theater. My oldest became part of an agency that offered social classes for young people with autism, so my time in the car grew longer. At times, I would pack dinners and feed them in the car. There simply was no time and living on fast food was unhealthy and not in our budget.

When they were a little older and I did not have to stay with them at activities, I would try to go home in between, but often that was more trouble than it was worth. I put more mileage on my car driving locally than my husband did driving his car to another state to work each day.

The year that my middle child was graduating high school and my youngest was graduating eighth grade saw our family so busy, that we honestly felt like our heads were spinning. I kept lists because otherwise I would not have remembered to do anything I needed to do. My time at work became my respite because I really enjoyed it and it was something for me, not for anyone else. There was no time or money for manicures, or the gym. My “me” time was a walk on the boardwalk, which I did as often as I could.

During this time of running from place to place, my house began to suffer. I was so filled with what I had to do outside of the home, that I ran from room to room, getting distracted and leaving tasks half finished everywhere. It was not until my youngest went on to high school that I would learn what was happening with me. When she was diagnosed with ADD and anxiety, I was as well. I asked the doctor if I could take the tests too. As I listened to what was going on with her, I heard my life being described. My childhood, my adolescence, and now, adulthood.

We continued to run around until the pandemic this past year shut us down. For me, it was welcome relief. My brain started to rewire itself. I had and still have all of the anxiety that many others have through this worldwide ordeal, but I have worked to look inside my mind and take some time to breathe.

When too much is thrown at me at once. I stop. I step aside and try to make a mental and sometimes physical list of what needs to get accomplished first, then next. Whenever I get distracted, I force myself to be mindful and return to the original task. I say no when I feel overwhelmed by someone else’s request. I no longer offer explanations. I simply say, no, I’m sorry, I cannot do that. I do not allow myself to feel guilty.

I know my limitations. I do not let myself feel bad about them. I feel overwhelmed almost everyday. But I work through it the best that I can.

“At the end of the day, remind yourself that you did the best you could today, and that is good enough.”
― Lori Deschene

When Life Changes

We are living through historic times. Never before have we faced lock downs of services, of businesses, of schools, of entertainment and of normal life in general. The push to get back to “normal” has been a rough road for many people.

Prior to this pandemic, I was never at home. I would drop my daughter off to school, head to work and usually run errands, or head to my daughter’s sports or music events after work. I was President of the Parent Association of the high school my daughter was attending, I went with my husband to watch him coach soccer or basketball games. I would attend the events at my son’s programs. We went out every Friday night, I ran my kids around all day on Saturdays, leaving only Sunday to catch up on laundry, bills, sleep or any other work that needed to be done. Then it would start all over again.

In February, I got sick. I felt terrible. I had issues breathing and I was coughing. I ran a low grade temperature. I went to urgent care and was give prednisone and ordered to stay home from work for a few days. I was not tested for COVID 19 because I had not traveled anywhere and they felt my symptoms were not consistent with the virus and I should just be treated for a respiratory virus.

I stayed home a few days and my employer pushed me to come back. By early March I was not feeling well again. My throat was sore, I had a cough and a runny nose. I ran a fever the night of March 9 and stayed of work again. For the second time, I was denied a COVID 19 test because sore throat was not consistent with symptoms at this time. A few days went by, I was still running a fever so my doctor sent myself and my husband to a testing site at a local hospital. Only about three people had tested positive in my hometown, it was not “going around” yet in my area. For the third time, I was denied testing for inconsistent symptoms. My husband was as well.

We were sent home to quarantine and I continued to run a fever for two weeks. I was never so sick before. I was basically bedridden. I could not eat. I did not hold down what I managed to eat anyway. I was exhausted by everything. I needed to sleep sitting up or I would cough all night. My back hurt, my stomach hurt, my body was one mess of pain. I felt as though knives were stabbing me up and down my entire body. I sat with my CPAP mask on all day and all night to help stop the coughing and keep me breathing steadily. I was freezing, o matter what I did I could not stay warm. My temperature never went above 101.9, it was usually hovered between 100.4-100.7 but for someone like me with a normal body temperature of 97, that was high.

My husband made me get up and walk up and down the steps twice daily. He made me take showers no matter how awful and weak I felt. He got me Gatorade, and soups. He would not leave my side. I was very pale, almost milky white. I lost 15 pounds in less than two weeks. I do not lose weight easily on a normal basis. I kept my sickness to myself because in the early days of the discovery of the virus where I lived, it was treated as if you should be wearing a scarlet A. My doctor kept in touch with me and assured me that staying home, quarantining and doing whatever I needed to heal was the best for me and to call him immediately if things got to be too much.

During this time, my father was living next door to me, suffering from the affects of a stroke which left him unable to care for himself and showing many signs of dementia. I was unable to see him or my mother during this time of course, but I was grateful that his caregiver called me and let him speak to me. He told me to heat up red wine, add sugar and drink it down hot so that I was sweat out the fever. These were the last words he and I shared. When I was finally well enough to see him, the following month, he had suffered another stroke and could no longer speak.

My father passed away April 2, 2020 in his own home, quietly. It took several hours for the funeral home to be able to claim his body due to the COVID 19 situation. It was a sad, lonely funeral, with my oldest brother and my dad’s sister unable to attend due to COVID travel restrictions. My father was a person who had left his mark on the world. He was very active in his community, he changed the lives of many people through his active life in Boy Scouts, in community groups as well as in the business world. He deserved fanfare, but he got 12 of his family members, masks and asked to stand apart from one another instead of close and in comfort. His graveside service was short and quiet. I hated to leave him there. His casket sat alone, with only the flowers we had provided for the burial. We were not permitted to return to the cemetery for a few months. By the time we returned, the flowers were gone and it was a sunken patch of dirt with no marker.

These past months, I have felt change in my soul, in my heart. As a teacher of over 31 years, I see the challenges that are now part of my profession. I am not sure that I want to embrace them. I feel that this part of my life is past. I am in my mid fifties and want to do more than survive each week, masked and distanced from my students. Asking them to wash their hands all day. Yes, it is not such a big deal, but I am tired, I a past such changes mentally and emotionally.

In the final days of my illness, I felt so awful, that I truly feared that I would not make it. I have never felt so sick in my life. I have never experienced feeling as close to possibly dying as I did in those days. I felt as though I was slipping away. I feel that I have been given a chance to do more. I lost a few friend who were my age during the worst part of the COVID outbreak in my community, and I know that I am fortunate.

I was never tested for COVID 19, having been denied three times due to not having proper symptoms, but I know that I fought an intense battle within my body. My immune system, which is compromised due to having a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and having the same high blood pressure issues that plagued my father, won a battle for me. I take vitamin C and Zinc now, I try to do something sort of healthy activity daily and I am more conscious of what I put in my body now. I have a gift, I am still here.

I have struggled with leaving my house. I never spent as much time in my house as I have this year. I have grown to like it, I feel very safe and comfortable. However, this has resulted in me feeling uncomfortable leaving the house. I am working to change that, carefully and slowly.

I want to do something better. We all should strive to be our best selves. We should look to what makes us happy. What we are good at. What we can do for others that will leave a positive imprint on them as well as on us.

“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

John Lennon.

I do not feel that I should return to my former life. I am not sure anyone really should. Life has changed so much in this past year. We need to embrace the changes and make a new life that is better than the former. If we were happy prior to pandemic, that is wonderful, but there is always something we can improve on. Something we can increase, decrease or simply do differently. I hope many people explore their options. Life is shorter than we think. We do not always have more time. We need to make the best of the time we have been given.