Invisible until it is Visible

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Invisible until it is Visible

 

May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day- It is important to me because I have fibromyalgia.

I’d venture to say not everyone I know, knows I suffer with Fibro. And if they do it is because they have caught one of my rare awareness posts, or they have seen me on a rough day where I actually responded with my fibromyalgia is flaring up. Very rarely is it visible to others.

On a normal day my body aches similarly to how most people feel when the flu hits them, or maybe after the have had a crash of some kind,  or after a long day of yard work or an extreme workout. This is my every day. There are other things that affect me too, fatigue, brain fog,  sensitivity to extreme temperatures among other issues.

If I am exhausted just going to bed earlier or catching few more ZZZ’s won’t  help. The bed hurts, the sheets hurt and my pillow doesn’t always hold my head just right, other days it can be a comfy place to be but if my fibro is acting up, it only hurts more.

People want to give a friendly hug, somedays this is fine, other days I know I just have to grin and bear it as it is the polite thing to do and frankly I don’t have the time or energy to explain my pain.

I’d like to remember everyone’s name or events in great detail, yet I know that my brain operates in a state of fog. My family says I take way too many pictures, I do love pictures but if I were honest I think I love them because I can go back and look at them to re-jog my memory if I was a bit too foggy that day.

Today, I am trying to make the invisible visible.  I don’t have a shirt to wear telling people I have fibromyalgia. I don’t have an awareness sticker on my car. But I do have countless stories of me trying to live as  “normal” person but I can’t. I have moments missed with my children because I just couldn’t any more. I have missed work because I had to stop and had nothing left to give. I have left my husband to do way more than his fair share of the household work. I have replied on my parents cover for me in ways I can’t count.  I have felt very alone, because I haven’t always been able to do my part. I have felt alone, because it is hard to explain something that can’t be seen.

I want others just to know that not all medical needs are visible and be understanding.

I hope to encourage those who have Fibromyalgia and other invisible medical needs- You are not alone!

I want to encourage those who do life with someone who has one of the many invisible medical  needs, It can be frustrating to not understand or know when or even how things end up this way but we are so thank you for your grace.

I want those who have helped me when I couldn’t to know I am thankful!

 

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It Is Bigger Than Teacher Salery

As I went into work today I was able to reflect on what’s going on in education today. I appreciate that educators are standing up for the future of our children. I also want to be clear about my point of view on things. This to me is way bigger than my paycheck. Sure I’d love to get paid more ( who wouldn’t) sure I have taken a pay cut and freeze in recent years ( others have or even worse lost their job) sure my retirement is in question ( others have similar questions or even might outlive their retirement)

To me this funding issue is way bigger- our children our future need more from us and this happens to take money.

Let me tell you a story about what I experienced just this week

One of our teachers and I are working on upping our game in teaching reading. Working to keep the expectations high and better to understanding exactly what our readers need based off their reading behaviors. We looked at each students needs deeply, we analyzed structures and ways to best support their learning and growth. We did great work! Then we went to match their needs to our resources. And that’s where we came up short, we didn’t have the right books to meet our readers needs.
This teacher says to me Apryl this is great and all but I’ve got nothing to meet their needs. We don’t have the books to support this. I don’t know what to do and this frustrates me

I feel heartbroken for our kids and our teachers when this is what it’s come to.

We have highly trained and dedicated teachers working with our children but we have limited funds to get the right materials.

Our world is changing at a rapid rate and we are doing our children a disservice by not keeping up with the times.

Our buildings aren’t great. Often it’s too hot or too cold.

I’ve seen buildings with trash cans down the middle of the hallways to catch drips from the ceiling.

And we haven’t even talked about upping the security to keep our children safe. If you know me and our family this is high importance to us as I am sure many of you would agree.

Oh and this phase of life we must consider the social and emotional needs our children due to the world we live in. ( it wouldn’t be a bad idea if we help our adults – parents and staff too)

I am sure I could go on and on.

This doesn’t just happen. We need to be a community that rallies around our education system! Our children deserve our best. If you are reading this you are part of the OUR.

Yes money is needed but as we wait for that to happen I ask for your support for our children and our education system.

This funding is way bigger than teacher salary.
#REDforED #supporteducation

You can find my original post of Facebook here!https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fapryl.yeagerthompson%2Fposts%2F10155963393216072&width=500
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Encouragement in Chaos

I love listening to music. It has a way of speaking to me, in the exact way I need it at the exact moment I need it.

I wanted to share this song. This song hit me one evening as I was walking on the treadmill. Things might be chaotic especially with kids, yet we need to slow down, open our eye and recognize the gift from God that might be causing the chaos.

We say it, time please slow down. We know time won’t slow down but we can control how we look at it.

I needed this- a reminder it might be chaotic but take the time to praise God and see all the beauty God is doing for me and my family!

Enjoy!

7eventh Time Down Lyrics
“Beautiful Life”

Monday’s off to a rough start
Just locked the keys in my car
Cell phone sitting in the front seat
Is this week out to get me?
Kids screaming in the background
I take a breath
Thank God
For all He’s done

It’s a beautiful life
Gotta open my eyes
Take it day at a time
Don’t let a moment pass by
It goes so fast
I’m realizing
Each day is a gift that’s given
Slow it all down
So I don’t miss a thing
God’s got something for me
In this beautiful life

I know we all have days
When heaven feels so far away
Right now would You help me see
One glimpse of what You’re doing?
In the middle of the chaos
I take a breath
Thank God
For all He’s done for me

It’s a beautiful life
Gotta open my eyes
Take it day at a time
Don’t let a moment pass by
It goes so fast
I’m realizing
Each day is a gift that’s given
Slow it all down
So I don’t miss a thing
God’s got something for me
In this beautiful life

In everything I will praise You
I find the beauty in all I’m going through

It’s a beautiful life
Gotta open my eyes
Take it day at a time
Don’t let a moment pass by
It goes so fast
I’m realizing
Each day is a gift that’s given
Slow it all down
So I don’t miss a thing
God’s got something for me
In this beautiful life

Parenting with Endurance

As I am going along in this parenting journey I see that my prayer is really to parent with endurance.

This has come to me time and time again but yesterday I had a moment.

I was sitting on the couch having a silent moment. I was exhausted! We had just gotten home from lunch with my parents. You see I get my Make Memories gene, my Go Go Go gene and my Global Family gene from my Mother. So this wasn’t just lunch. We dyed Easter Eggs and had lunch. It wasn’t just me and my kids my niece and nephew were included too. If all of them had had a few Easter Egg Dying years under their belts maybe this would have been a different memory making experience, but I have a 7 year old, and an 18 month old. My niece is exactly a year older than my 18 month old daughter which makes her 2 ½ and my nephew has never even seen Easter at a whopping 9 weeks old. I am not sure either of the girls had actually dyed eggs before. I can speak for my daughter, last year we gave her one egg in a box of colored rice to shake while my husband, son and I dyed the rest of the eggs. So naturally when dying eggs with my parents, she threw the egg into the cups splashing the color liquid everywhere, used the spoon that was to gently lay the egg into said cup for shoveling the colored dye into her mouth as if it were soup and then grabbing the egg with her bare hand to “permanently” dye her hand to match her beautiful egg. Not to mention the fact that at this age no one really understands turn taking and sharing so if someone has an egg is the color you want that boilings up some loud screaming emotions. I don’t know how my mother does this day in and day out, taking care of our kids daily as we work or on some days I see it as my parent “get-a-way”. We cleaned up before getting all eggs colored which was a wise decision. Carried on to have lunch with a varied menu to please us all. Then we had to make sure we all got a turn feeding the littlest one. Again not old enough to understand turn taking and sharing yet no time like the present to learn.

This was all after our 18 month doctors appointment and running errands.

We quickly pulled into the garage scurried my daughter to nap, told my son to go to the basement and quietly watch a movie. I found myself in a moment of silence sitting alone on the couch. I was battling spend time with your kids and get time for yourself (relax and rejuvenation). I could sit there and do nothing or I could make some popcorn and join my son. I know it is important to take care of ourselves and find the perfect balance with it, all while making memories with our kids. To be honest I really just wanted to sit there scroll facebook and twitter, but I know these children don’t stay young forever. I am only going to have Spring Break 2018 once. So I got some popcorn and joined my son. I am not sure if he knew the difference but we cuddled at length until my daughter woke up.

I am reminded of the verses in Hebrews chapter 12 that talks about endurance. It says let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. In that parenting section of my life I need this. God has given these children to me now to love, grow and parent. They will grow quickly, this I know, therefore I need to endurance to be present with them every moment I can get!

Fruitful- We don’t know what we don’t know!

Since my blog is titled The Fruitful Journey from time to time I’d like to reflect on being Fruitful. In my first blog I defined it as Fruitful: “producing good or helpful results; productive”

I have three areas of my life that are most important to me Faith, Family and my Profession. Recently, in one meeting those at the table were reviewing norms for the group and we added one, If you don’t understand -ask. I can appreciate asking for clarity. But since I was a first year teacher these words actually become like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. How can one ask when they don’t know?

I remember my first year teaching, and I had these wonderful posters around writing traits, the famous 6+1. As I remember it, it was towards the end of the school year and a colleague brought it to my attention that this school doesn’t use them and told me I should have asked. And that has always stuck with me; not to ask but to make sure I check in with new and younger colleagues and don’t assume anything. You see, I didn’t ask because I didn’t know there was any other way of teaching writing. All my experience was using THESE writing traits. Which led me to you can’t ask questions you don’t know.

So I want to ask us to reflect on how we are helping each other out. There are many areas in our life we tell people “things” and we just expect them to be in our brains to know what to do. And then when they don’t execute it in the way we visioned then we often react in a way the makes them feel small, unvalued and wrong. I see this in many areas

In teaching:
Those kids need number sense be sure to include that.
He or she needs fluency work.
That kid needs structure.
Teach word work to that group.
That comes with classroom management.
Well, that is a core issue.

In family:
Love them
Discipline them
Know who your spouse is when the kids are grown
Have balance between being active and down time
Include Family- (who the heck do we include- Grandparents, Aunt and Uncles or just those in this household?)

In Faith-
Read your Bible
Go to Church
Pray about it
Have a relationship with Jesus
Disciple Others
Preach the Gospel

This was elevated to me when I sat with a younger teacher and we needed to get the same understanding of teacher words like fluency or retell vs comprehension. I am thankful she was persistent to ask what do I mean by ____. Because some of these words have just become part of our everyday vocabulary as educators yet not all of us have the same visual when we mention said words. Different strategies come to mind.

My hope is that we can reflect on this, and try to paint a picture for others of how we do these and many other things. Check in with each other. Watch how we speak to others. Know we all have something to offer and something to learn.

To me this is one way of being Fruitful- talk with others, share your story and take the time to understand each other.

Knowing or Relationship ~ That Is The Question

As a church we are studying the book of Acts so naturally we were discussing it in our community group this past week. One person handed out a paper encouraging us to think about our one minute testimony. It goes through 5 steps to prepare yourself to share your testimony in one minute. Simple and profound. The second steps is describe your life before Christ. I have thought about this over the last few days and I have struggled. My story isn’t of this overnight dramatic change. You see I grew up in a family that knows Christ. My Mother took us to church on Sundays, Wednesday night youth group and occasionally VBS. (Often my Daddy worked) We’d say prayers before bed and strive to be good people. As I grew up other things took priority, jobs, extra curricular activities, basically life was happening. Then I began to grow into a young professional. Life was good, yet I felt something missing. I searched for this missing thing in many places ( insert wide eyed face here) I even went and got a Masters Degree at a Christian College thinking maybe it was my faith that was missing. During my degree program I didn’t have to take any religious classes so although this stint was great for my career it still didn’t feed my missing need. At this point I knew I needed more faith in my life but wasn’t sure how to get it, so I just carried on. Eventually I met this guy, we fell in love, and were getting married. ( incase you were wondering I am speaking of my husband) When one gets married, you need someone to marry you. We both knew the right person was a pastor but neither of us had one. We found one and this is where my journey back to knowing Christ begins. And ultimately I realize there is a difference between knowing Christ and having a relationship with Him. This is where my before and after story actually takes place- before having a relationship with Christ I was just going with the flow of life searching for larger meaning and purpose. Yet I knew there was one God and He had a plan for my life. Often I was stress and trying to impress others with my actions and things. My after is a daily commitment to being with God and continual thirst to know Him on a deeper level. I can tell you my daily life is different on the days I spend time with Him vs. the days I rush around and ignore Him. I know tough things will come either way but when I have a ongoing relationship with Christ I know who to turn to when tough things do come up, my view isn’t as negative.

So my encouragement is for those who know Christ but don’t have a relationship with Him. What are you doing to call Him your friend? Are you going to Church regularly? Are you reading the Bible? Are you seeking to understand Him? Are you surrounding yourself with other Christians and talking about Christ in your life? To me these were the things that moved me from knowing Christ to having a relationship with Christ.

Maybe think of it this way… there is probably someone you know and see often even. Maybe it is a neighbor, a co-worker or even your boss. When you know this person, you’ll say hi, ask how it’s going and maybe even note a change in them (physically or emotionally). But when you have a relationship with someone you walk side by side with them when these changes happen or even better when things happen to you they can walk side by side with you. Or even better they know these deep things and you don’t even have to say much and they are there. You can trust and rely on them! They are part of who you are. To me that is a picture of the difference between knowing Christ and having a relationship with Him.

My prayer is that people start to move from knowing Christ to having a relationship with Him! Go to Church weekly. Begin to read your Bible ( they even have apps for this but personally I love my paper Bible). Start talking about Christ to others. Share your journey!

My Day, The Rolodex

My Day, The Rolodex

This may be my first blog really dedicated to my profession. I have a passion for many things but I believe my top three are my faith, family but also for my profession as an educator. Often these three bleed as one.

Tonight I am reflecting on this time of year in education. Yes, we are student focused but I want to talk about adults.

This time of year is always something that I can’t really describe in one word. I find myself in the trenches of the work right before me, the students sitting at my table and fighting to get them exactly what instruction they need at this very moment. I look back at all the ups and downs we have had, all the learning and the “new” we had that is now the work we do daily. I reflect on what was rolled out as new that didn’t go as smooth as dreamt. I see “new” that came unexpectedly. I celebrate the growth and stress over not growing fast enough. I look at the calendar and see time has flown by, yet the year end is quickly approaching. I see us planning for the rest of the year yet making plans for the upcoming year. In a school setting I see this planning for next year brings some kind of stress or anxiety with it. Who is staying, who is leaving and what changes are to come. Budget talks. Vision of future. Behaviors spike ( both adults and children). There are days I sit in my car for a moment before I walk in, gaining the strength and positivity needed for whatever may come my way that day. There are days that is enough, but there are days it seems like by the time I open the door to my classroom I’m not the same positive person I was just a moment ago in my car.

Not sure if I am alone in this, but my guess is if we are honest many of us set out our days wanting them to be positive, stress free, impactful days yet something quickly changes us.

I am writing to encourage myself (and maybe at least one other person) to keep our heads up, keep fighting the good fight. For tomorrow, I am going to try and look at my day as a rolodex, handling each event as it comes up to the best of my ability and then move to the next. No need to stress about the previous situation, over analyze the situation at hand or play the what if game of the future. All we have is the here and now, let us live in the exact moment in time and be present. Be present for our students and each other!