Parenting 101: Be Involved

This is a continuation of my post from yesterday: Parenting 101: Don’t Give Up

You are your child’s best defender. Now, don’t be naive and think that your child will do no wrong, but you have to always know that you must fight for your children. Be vigilant. Be an advocate and be involved.

Teachers make mistake. They are human. This is not to bash teachers. I believe in the educational system and I believe there are many wonderful teachers out there. Heck, I actually like all my son’s teachers (including the one who gave him a zero).

I think the disconnect comes in when we aren’t being transparent with one another. As a parent that constantly communicates with a teacher why wouldn’t you send a zero home to me immediately or scan and send it to me that day? There has been no answer to this question. Only a lot of head nodding, I suppose in agreement, but we will never know.

So, we met with the principal when spring break ended on April 5th about the bullying issue (which I will post separately) and the graded zero paper that no one can find or made a copy of.  The Principal agreed to exempt the grade. This means that it won’t count for or against him. Since the paperwork can’t be produced.  Hopefully his 3rd quarter grade will increase since classwork is 35%.  We’ll see.

The teacher who gave him the zero was not present at the meeting. The Principal didn’t really respond when I mentioned how I felt that she should not have tried to analyze my child’s handwriting site unseen and I found that to be inappropriate. Do you normally do that? I asked. How is his handwriting so different from his peers? I’ve seen their handwriting and it is just as worse. His main teacher was present and said that my son’s handwriting is on par with the other students and that he sometimes writes at an angle or on the line instead of above it but he takes his time to read it. He indicated that my son has no problem spelling or writing words phonetically.

I told the Principal that I expect that all teachers are following the same guidelines or that she is putting forth written expectations so that I know what rules we are working on. I can’t be expected to follow something that doesn’t exist in writing and how are we helping my son by an imaginary set of rules. Crickets. She agreed to exempt the grade so I guess she felt like that was enough. As of today, she has not done so. I sent her an email late Sunday night as to when this will be done.

I’m frustrated by the lack of rush and concern for things that matter to me as a parent. The zero, the missing paperwork, the ability to define a child’s learning without having seen a paperwork and then put the responsibility back on me. I’m not giving up on my son and I will keep on their a** until they are doing what they’re supposed to. Heck, I keep on Munch’s back when he’s not doing what he’s supposed to. I would be less than a woman if I didn’t hold them accountable.

It is imperative as parents that we are involved in our child’s education.  All the time. Check the grades. Meet with all the teachers frequently throughout the year. Munch is in his last quarter of second grade. I am making sure that he finishes the school year successfully.

We have to partner with our children’s teachers so that we are ensuring our child’s success each school year. Be involved. Go up to the school and do drop-ins. Ask questions. Email your child’s teacher. Follow-up on missing grades, assignments and/or classwork. Your child needs to know that you care and the school needs to know that you will not go quietly into the night. We’re all a part of the village trying to ensure the success of ALL children. Not just our own.

Broken And Wounded

I have to tell you that sometimes I don’t pray. Not that I don’t know how to pray. It’s not that. It’s that I am embarrassed because I hadn’t done it in so long. I hadn’t just had a conversation with God and meditated on His word. I was so busy being me and living life that I put God in the corner. I put the almighty in a box. – Journal entry

Sigh.

As I started writing my #wednesdaywisdom message, I re-read my journal post and realized that I was fumbling with my faith. That I was not praying like I should. Actually, I hadn’t prayed in almost a month when I wrote that journal entry. I was trying to handle my own stuff.

I bet I’m also not alone on this. I think we all get in the mindset that we can handle it on our own and that things are going well we don’t need to check-in with God because He can see us right? I became a fair weather Christian. Calling on Him only in my time of need. Making decisions without seeking God’s counsel.

You know what happened next right? Tragedy. I found myself in the worse pain of my life. My marriage had ended and I was brokenhearted and distraught at the pain I was going through. It was brutal. It was like a never-ending cycle of hell. I was so wounded by the words that were thrown around, the sides people I loved were taking and the inability to stop the noise in my head.

I was on my knees praying and crying for a peace that I felt like would never come. How could it? How could I get the peace I was praying for when I couldn’t stop the noise?

By submitting. I needed to submit. I needed to submit to the will of the situation and allow God to come in and do His will.

He did.

It was done.

I want to encourage you on this #wisdomwednesday with this message:

Psalm 147:3 (NRSV)

He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

No matter what you’re going through know that God heals the brokenhearted and will bind your wounds. Give it to God! Pray. Sometimes it will seem that you can’t hear God’s word because of the noise in your head and here’s how you can clear the noise:

Write a list of three things you’re thankful for on that day!

That’s it. It’s that simple. Make it a part of your daily prayer and meditation process. This writing your blessings and acknowledging His gratitude and grace over your life will help clear the noise out of your life. It will start to diminish the chaos in your mind and spirit. You are then able to see visually all that you have in spite of what you have going on in your spirit.

It is easy. It won’t happen overnight though. You have to keep with it. You know you “have to go through it to get to it” right? Peace will come. Your spirit will heal and your wounds will be bound. You will have a testimony once you’ve gone through the test. Just be patient my love.

Be blessed!

Gearing Up for Spring Cleaning

As you know spring is here!  Although the temperatures here are spring-like today (70 will be the high), I had to start my list and spring clean. What kind of cleaning do I need to do? Cleaning both my personal and professional lives.

Some of the things that I want to do personally:

  • Pack away my winter clothes in an organized fashion and get those totes in some closets. They are just collecting space in the corners.
  • Repaint my dining room wall that was damaged last year due to multiple pipe bursts. I think I was too emotionally drained to repaint. I need to do this.
  • Change my bathroom colors. I need something warm and brighter. I need to feel energized and excited.
  • Organize and donate excess clothes and toys in munch’s room. It’s overflowing and I’m getting tired of tripping over it all.
  • Finish my book.

Some of the things that I want to do professionally:

  • Attend this conference locally on April 25th. I need the credits for my re- certification for a professional license I hold.
  • Get re-certified.
  • Get another certification.
  • Find a mentor.

That’s it. I know it seems like a lot, but I really have to focus and get my mind right. Clear out the winter fog and get busy. I hate lists, but I know if I don’t right it down I can’t remember anything. What about you? What kind of spring cleaning are you planning to do?

Order My Steps

One of my favorite songs is this old gospel song called “Order My Steps”. Every time I hear it, my eyes well with tears because it reminds me that I need God to order my steps. My tongue can sometimes be used to do harm instead of good. So, I’m constantly asking for Him to lead me.  I want to walk worthy. Don’t you?

Here are the lyrics:

Order my steps in Your word dear Lord,
lead me, guide me everyday,
send Your anointing, Father I pray;
order my steps in Your word,
please, order my steps in Your word.

Humbly, I ask Thee to teach me Your will,
while You are working, help me be still,
Satan is busy, God is real;
order my steps in Your word,
please, order my steps in Your word.

Bridle my tongue let my words edify,
let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Thy sight,
take charge of my thoughts both day and night;
order my steps in Your word,
please order my steps in Your word.

I want to walk worthy,
my calling to fulfill.
Please order my steps Lord,
and I’ll do Your blessed will.
The world is ever changing,
but You are still the same;
if You order my steps, I’ll praise Your name.

Order my steps in Your word.
Order my tongue in Your word.
Guide my feet in Your word.
Wash my heart in Your word.
Show me how to walk in Your word.
Show me how to talk in Your word.
When I need a brand new song to sing,
show me how to let Your praises ring,
in your word (2x),

Please order my steps in Your word,
Please order my steps in Your word.

I want to walk worthy,
my calling to fulfill.
Please order my steps Lord,
and I’ll do Your blessed will.
The world is ever changing,
but You are still the same;
if You order my steps, I’ll praise Your name.

Please order my steps in Your word,
Please order my steps in Your word.

Let’s ask God to order our steps in our decisions. No matter how inconsequential they may seem. Let’s ask for His will to be done.

Be blessed loves!

Don’t Let Go

For those of you who may be going through it, I wanted to encourage you today. I have to tell you that I feel your pain. As I was listening to Pandora earlier this week, Kurt Carr’s “I Almost Let Go” came on and I started to cry. I was having a come to Jesus, full on testimony experience. I’ve been going through some things and I tell you when God is working on me and through me HE gets inside of my spirit and I am transformed and renewed knowing that HE knows what is going on with me. How wonderful is that?

I Almost let go
I felt like I just couldn’t take life any more
My problems had me bound
Depression weighed me down
But God held me close
So I wouldn’t let go
God’s mercy kept me
So I wouldn’t let go

– Kurt Carr “I Almost Let Go”

Kurt’s words above are simple yet poignant. Depression weighs you down. I’ve been there. Heck, sometimes I feel like I’m still there, but you know what? This too shall pass. God’s mercy will keep you when you feel that there is no way out. When your back is against the wall and you feel like everything you touch is crumbling and you can’t see through pain, trust me that God’s got you.

I have to remind myself of this and I want to remind you to be encouraged because it could be worse. WE WILL OVERCOME. There is strength in numbers and you need to remember that we serve a faithful God. Always.

Proverbs 4:25 (MSG)

23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
    that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
    avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
    ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
    and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
    leave evil in the dust.

Be blessed loves!

Emailing that Dang Death to Love Man

Okay, so here’s the deal…

You can’t treat me like I’ve stolen your puppy or run over your foot in my car. Why are you acting like I destroyed you? I told you how I felt when we last spoke and my world forever changed. Without any thought to how I feel or what I’m going through, you act like you’re hurt. Are you really going to say that you are the victim here? Do you know or even care how I feel? I told you that I needed space and time because I knew the rules of this situationship when we met. I knew. But, somehow I couldn’t stay within my lane and I caught feelings. I wasn’t trying too. I was trying to take it for what it was. Casual dating.

I told you last week that my spirit was in turmoil and that I wasn’t sleeping or eating because I knew it was time I got off this merry go round. I was a wreck this weekend and I kept breathing and saying, “I need to take this one day at a time”. One second becomes one minute which becomes one hour until I can make it through the day. I told my friends that I did the impossible and ended it with you. I told them that it hurts. They replied, “I know, but I love you and it will get easier.”

I told my family that I had fallen in love with someone who I wasn’t ready to introduce to them but we broke up. I said, “He doesn’t love me and I can’t breathe because it hurts like hell.” My sister replied for me to repeat after her “We don’t love them ho*s”. I laughed with tears in my eyes and sighed, “But, I do.” My mother told me, “Baby, I’m sorry, but I never thought I would survive your break up at 15 when you overdosed on pills and slit your wrists. Hell, I never thought you would survive it. But, you did. If you could survive that you can survive anything.” I told her, “I know I will survive. It just hurts like hell.”

Again, I wallowed in my pain and bathed in my heartache praying for peace. My plea to you to stop calling me wasn’t because I don’t want to be your friend or be in your life. It was because I don’t have the strength to stop talking to you. Because I’m weak. I want to know how you’re doing. I want to hear your voice and know that you are okay. I want to laugh about stupid stuff or whatever. It’s my problem. I know. I’m not blaming you. I just need time to get my head on straight and be able to truly be your friend without having these feelings for you. I owe it to myself to choose me first.

So, I will do what I do best and journal my pain. I wish only the best for you and know that you are in my prayers and thoughts always. Only time can heal this chasm of pain.

A Brutally Honest Lesson

As someone who has had their fair share of heartbreaks and love gone wrong I wanted to share this piece that I read on The Huffington Post  by author, Michelle Horton, “8 Brutally Honest Lessons I Learned About Love From My Therapist”. I read this list and breathed a sigh of relief. There are so many lessons that I could relate too and some that were new. I wanted to scream “Preach girl!” I love this list and I think number 7 is my favorite.

So, here are Ms. Horton’s 8 Lessons that she learned from her therapist:

1. Love is about reciprocity.

On the surface, one might scoff at such a statement. Love isn’t contingent on what we get back, right? Love doesn’t keep score, doesn’t need anything in return, isn’t needy. Yet the very basic definition of love — caring about the health, happiness, and well-being of someone over ourselves — should be reciprocal. If you’re in a relationship where you’re always giving, giving, giving to the point of depletion, and if you aren’t feeling important, cared for, even considered, then there’s something else going on besides love. Even though the scales won’t always be balanced, the love in a marriage should be reciprocal. It’s such a basic concept but really helped to put things into perspective as to what I’m giving vs. what I’m receiving.

2. “This is an abusive relationship.”

A blunt statement that changed my life. I spent over 5 years in a marriage that was abusive and I had absolutely no idea. He never hit me, never yelled, never called me hurtful names — and yet the abuse was there, hidden beneath my excuses and justifications for his behavior. Sometimes it takes an objective, outside perspective to shine a light on a truth you didn’t want to see.

3. You can’t be the supporter and the enforcer at the same time.

This was in the context of my husband’s addiction and my enabler tendencies, but it applies to my marriage and parenting, too. Enforcing boundaries and rules isn’t easy (especially for someone like me, who wants to perpetually support and love everyone in my life), but it’s important. And, no, it’s impossible to be the enforcer and the support system at the same time.

4. Not all relationships are meant to last.

Here’s a hard truth that transcends every “’til death do us part” vow. My therapist has a rolodex of examples, some personal, some professional, of relationships that needed to end. Some relationships are toxic and damaging and sometimes a relationship reaches a point where there’s nothing left to learn from, no way left to grow together, and has to be let go. That doesn’t make the relationship a failure — we learned something from it — it simply makes the relationship over.

5. Sexual attraction isn’t everything.

Just because I’ve historically been most attracted to damaged, baggage-carrying men doesn’t mean I’m meant to be with them; it just means I might not be as healthy as I assumed. When my therapist told me that his healthiest relationship is the one that started with little to no “spark,” I initially felt sad. How could you be in a relationship where there’s no heat, no fireworks? But from a wiser perspective, a “spark” isn’t always a green light. In fact, in many cases, it can be a red flag. In future relationships, I’ll ask myself why I’m attracted to a certain man before trusting my sex organs.

6. You can never love anyone until you love yourself.

This was phrased more like, “Have you reached the realization that you really can’t love anyone until you love yourself first?” As if loving myself was a marker on the way to true healthy thinking, a marker I’d eventually pass. Of course I nodded, given the very familiar cliché that everyone thinks they understand. I’ll be honest, it took a good six months of consciously practicing self-love before I realized the depths of that statement. After finding a more tender, compassionate attitude toward myself, I was able to understand how other people need to be loved. Beyond romantic love, contractual love, tough love, I-love-you-but-I-don’t-like-you love, there’s the true essence of pure LOVE — in all its warmth and softness, a love that can only be understood through experiencing it from ourselves to ourselves.

7. “He might not be capable of loving you.”

“Is he capable of loving you?” my therapist asked one day. It was a question I’d wondered many times, as I mulled over his damaged past, his abusive tendencies, his disease that makes him self-centered and manipulative. Maybe he’s loving me the best way he can, but is it enough? After asking myself this question in the quiet stillness, the answer was something I always knew, deep down. Maybe we should stop asking our partners, “Do you love me?” and start questioning if they can love us the way that we define love. Just because he understands love differently, and just because he has certain walls in place that prevent real love from seeping through, doesn’t make him a bad person. It’s not personal, but it’s also not my problem to fix.

8. The best thing you can do for your family is to be healthy.

My therapist doesn’t define “healthy” with a BMI number or a specific diet. Healthiness, rather, is having a clear mind, strong boundaries, and a pulled-back perspective on life. And being healthy, from that definition, gives us the ability to offer our best selves to our partner and children.

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