Yo.

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Hello!  I’m Christy.

In a nutshell, I am a:

  • Mama
  • Teacher
  • Soon-to-be published author (March 29, 2018!)
  • Grief survivor
  • Podcaster
  • Over-sharer

I think you’ll love it here if you have ever tripped up the stairs, if you love to read, if you love true crime, if you have any kind of emotional baggage, if lots of people stress you out (or don’t), or if you have at least one child who is obsessed with Halloween.  🙂

At any rate, I’m glad you’re here.

XOXO,

Christy

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Goin’ Off the Grid

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This weekend I went on my first ever writing retreat. I recently joined a group of women writer’s in my area, and we have meetings twice a month. They invited me along to this retreat right away, having only met me one time, which I thought was brave. What if I was a mouth breather? Or a one-upper? I mean, that’s not even thinking about possibilities like serial killer.

Anyway, I was thrilled to be invited, but nervous. What if one of THEM was a one-upper? Could I handle a weekend in a cabin in the woods with someone who was rude or obnoxious?

I packed my bag, cautiously, like you do when you’re going somewhere with new people. Will they judge me for drinking Diet Pepsi at 8:00 a.m.? Will they think it’s weird that my favorite pillow has Christmas trees on the pillow case?

I had signed up to bring cheese, sausage, and crackers. Suddenly, I panicked. Was boring old Colby cheese good enough? I searched until I found a pack of pre-sliced “European Cheese.” I also got the “fancy” box of crackers, i.e. anything that wasn’t Ritz.

I was joking with my friends all week that I was scared because we had rented a cabin in the middle of nowhere and it’s negative 50 bajillion degrees right now, and what if I had to walk somewhere outside of the cabin to find the bathroom? How many blankets should I bring? Should I go buy toe and hand warmers?

As it turned out, I had the BEST time, and it reminded me of a few things.

  1. Life can be better without wi-fi. I had no internet access. Not even my 3G worked. So, I could text my husband to check in on him and the kids, but otherwise, my time spent writing was actually spent…writing. Typically when I write, I write a paragraph, check Facebook. Write a paragraph, send a tweet. Write a paragraph, read an article on Yahoo about the secret vegetable that will make me skinny. It’s a terrible thing. It felt SO good to be off the grid.
  2. Sometimes, taking a risk pays off. The ladies I was with for the weekend were all phenomenal women. I wish they were also my real-life friends (in addition to all of you out there, not instead of!). We share a love for writing, but mostly it was amazing to spend quality time with a group of women who are caring, wicked smart, motivated, and hard-working. I LOVE hearing about other people’s lives, and this is twice as exciting when I meet new people. Wait a minute, you ELOPED? That is so rad! Tell me about it!
  3. I am, officially, a writer. There, I said it. I’ve been calling myself a “wanna-be” writer for a long time now. No longer. I declare, “Christy is a writer!” There were 3 copies of my book in this cabin. I kept myself busy for hours and hours with writing projects that I’m working on. I daydreamed about what it would be like to be a full-time writer. It’s for real, you guys.
  4. When you’re in a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin in the winter, don’t talk about true crime podcasts before bed. Enough said.

 

I’m not recommending that you need to go out in the woods in the middle of nowhere with almost strangers, Y’all, but I do want to urge you to take some risks in 2018. Even small ones. You just never know what’ll turn up!

 

 

 

To my teacher friends, at Christmas

About 16 times a day, I tell someone that I have THE BEST JOB in the whole world. At least 5 times I day, I decide I’m going to quit. Once every semester or so, I go on Monster Jobs and declare this is the year I’m going to find an “easy” job, one where I don’t take anything home with me and maybe I’ll even work in a cubicle where no one can talk to me (Also maybe I can pee in a grown-up bathroom and not have anyone wipe their boogers on me, but that’s asking for a lot).

Ooh, or maybe I’ll work at a bookstore. I’ll just walk around and recommend books to people and I could do story time! I used to, as a joke, say that I was going to work at a hardware store, except I really couldn’t actually help anyone find anything. I’m sure they would pay me just as much to work at Barnes and Noble, right?

The truth is, I think (I mean, I obviously can’t speak for everyone) that everyone feels this way about their job sometimes.

In reality, what I know is that my job is HIGH stress. But in return, it is SO unbelievably rewarding. Hardly a day goes by that I’m not reminded by students about how important it is for me to be the very best teacher that I can. It’s the little things-the GIANT hugs you get (even if they are booger wiping hugs), the little notes students leave you, how excited they are to see you, or when they accidentally call you mom. I can’t imagine there is anything better than a child telling you that you are their absolute favorite teacher or that they don’t want school to end.

There are certain times, though, when something extra special happens that just reminds you that you were absolutely made to do this job and spend your life with children. Two of these have happened to me in the last week, during one of THE most stressful weeks as an elementary school teacher (2nd only to the 1st and last week of school, and maybe state testing week…er…month).

Last week, I was at Target with my daughter, and we were in the chip aisle. I was maybe, kinda a little bit agitated because I was looking for those pretzels that only come out on holidays that are in the shape of a ring. I had checked two other stores and couldn’t find them and I was staring at all the pretzels while my kid tried to talk me into buying Cheetos.

I heard a whisper from the end of the aisle, “Oh, it’s Mrs. W!” I hear this a lot, you guys. It’s kinda like paparazzi. It happens at stores, restaurants, the movies, and when I’m out for a walk around the neighborhood. So, I look over, and it’s a Target employee who looks familiar to me. She came over and asked, “Are you Mrs. W?”

“Yep, hi! How are you? How are things?”

She told me she was good, and that I was still her favorite teacher, that she is 22 and I was her teaching in 6th and 7th grade. Then…she looked at me and asked, “I know this is so weird, but…can I take a selfie with you?”

I die, you guys. She wanted to snap chat her friends that she had seen me so she could brag about it. LOVE.

Then…yesterday.

Oh, you guys. I’m still…I just don’t even know. Perhaps this won’t be such a big deal to you, but my heart is SO FULL that I will be living on this for months.

It’s the time of year when kids start bringing in Christmas gifts for me. I’m always a little torn about this because I hate it for the kids that want to bring me one but their parents won’t or can’t purchase it. I don’t NEED anything, of course, and what I tell the kids is what I want the most is a hand-written note from them or a picture they draw.

It doesn’t matter, though, because the kids want to bring me something to show their love. Over the years I’ve gotten some heartbreaking beautiful gifts-used stuffed animals, half-done coloring books, McDonald’s toys-and I have loved and cherished EVERY. SINGLE.ONE.

This week I walked into my classroom to see an empty spaghetti sauce jar on my desk. I knew immediately who it was from. Inside there was:

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  • some leftover Halloween candy
  • a baggy of tortilla chips
  • a candy cane
  • a pen
  • a note

I need you to know that:

  • She picked only candy that I had talked about liking, almost as if she had saved it since Halloween.
  • She hardly ever has a snack at school for milk break, and this was probably planned for that.
  • A few weeks ago, I went up to her, snatched her pen and wrote a sentence with it, exclaiming, “Ooh, this is an awesome pen!  I totally want one like this!”  That pen is in this jar.
  • And the note…

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NO ONE has a better job than I do. You couldn’t convince me if you tried. I am so fortunate to spend my days with children who give me hope for our future.

Happy holidays, teacher friends. Keep remembering these moments-they’ll get us through to a much-deserved holiday break.

XOXO

 

A Balancing Act of Self-Love

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Balance. Moderation. Harmony.

These are not great strengths of mine. I see the imbalance, then I over-correct and tip the scale all the way toward the other side. I got into a car accident when I was 18 because my car started to off the road, I noticed, and then over-corrected and drove off the other side of the road.

I have the same balance problems that I’m quite sure a lot of you out there have, too. You’re a rockstar at work but suddenly feel like a terrible mom. You’re doing the mom thing and in a groove, and feeling good until you get a text from your friend, “Yo. Are you alive?”

I think my body must be SO confused about itself because I either eat like 1,500 calories a day or like 4,000. I watch no tv for a month, and then don’t get up off the couch for 3 nights in a row.

Of course, I wish it were different. I wish I just ate 2,000 calories all the time and drank just the right amount of water each day. I wish I spaced my social calendar out so I see all my friends every 2-3 months, maybe even on the same day each month to make it easy. That way I’d also know I’m gone enough to feel refreshed, but not gone TOO much so that my husband gets irritated or my kids say, “Are you leaving again?”

When it comes to self-love and confidence, however, this is where my balance is even more like a teeter-totter. I operate in two basic settings: 1. I am seriously so awesome. It’s no wonder everyone loves me. I’m good at my job, I’m a good wife, a pretty awesome friend, and a darn good mom. 2. Why does anyone in this world love me? I am totally worthless. I can’t even stand myself.

There is no in between here for me. And, truthfully, I think it must be hard to love me when I don’t love myself. Except I do love myself…sometimes. In general, I cannot take a compliment. I have to practice saying, “Thank you!” instead of, “Yeah, right. Not me.” I really don’t believe people when they tell me things like, “You look pretty today!” In my head, I say, “You’re just saying that so I don’t feel left out, but you don’t really mean it.”

I fish for compliments, you guys. I do. Sometimes my insecurities shine SO brightly it’s ridiculous. Every. Single. Day. I wonder if I am ruining my children. When they act out, I want to hide under a rock somewhere. I feel extra judged about my kids because I’m also a teacher and that must mean my kids are super-extra-well-behaved.

But then, sometimes, I’m convinced that I am totally awesome! There are days when I KNOW I’m doing good in this world, and I know my students love me, and I know that my friends want to be around me. I can make them laugh, and my husband knows I’m a constant support for him.

This kinda-sorta also reaches a little toward straight up cocky. I’ll start thinking, “Well, that’s because I’m the best at that.” Or, “Why didn’t I get picked to do that? I would do a MUCH better job.”
When I start thinking like that, I straight up disgust myself.

I’m searching for a place where I know I’m awesome, but I know there’s always work to do. I need to compare myself ONLY to myself and stop worrying about rating myself compared to my friends and coworkers. I’m not the worst, and I’m not the best. I’m just me!

Balance. Self-Love. I’m working towards it, slowly. Positive self-talk. Reminding myself not to compare. Reminding myself that we all have strengths and weaknesses, but I’m worth it no matter what. And so are you!

 

Not Your Tragedy

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Life is tragic.

It is tragic in so many different ways, on so many levels. You can flip on the TV and in 30 seconds see sadness stretched from one corner of the globe to another.

Sadness, tragedy, and grief–they get ranked. We sort and file through the mess, deciding who actually has a right to be sad about their experience. We maybe even think, “Ugh, I’ve had it way worse than that, what are they even sad about?”

Maybe you’ve said, “Look, death is a part of life. It’s probably time we just accept it. It’s not good to dwell.”

Maybe you’ve even told someone you loved that they need to “Buck up”. You may not have used those words, but…there are other ways people say this. They may just say something like, “It’s really important to have perspective here. At least you didn’t have [fill in anything here] happen.”

The thing I’d like to say about perspective is that, yes, it matters. Of course it matters. We need to put ourselves in check sometimes and be grateful for the things we have, for example, instead of lamenting about what we don’t. And, of course, we all know the person who moans and groans for 3 weeks because their cable was out for 2 hours and they missed their shows. That’s definitely not what I’m talking about.

But, you guys. You guys. Perspective is typically something we need to realize on our own. And, I know you don’t like to hear it, but sometimes the thing you need your loved one to realize is actually not accurate. You may not know because you’ve never lived through something similar. Or maybe it’s just a concept you can’t TOTALLY understand because of who you are (for example, understanding a woman when you are a man).

Back to tragedy. You don’t get to decide what someone else’s tragedy is (or isn’t). If someone you love is hurting, please support them. Please love them. Please tell them that you wish they weren’t hurting and that you’re here to listen.

Please don’t tell them:

*It could be worse

*You’ll forget about this later

*I had that happen, too, and I’m fine now

*I had a friend who had this happen and she said (even if it’s important-your person needs to come to this by his/herself!

Remember that your point of view doesn’t really matter when someone is hurting. If you roll your eyes and think, “Oh my gosh, it’s just a dog/cat/hamster, at least it’s not a person,” you won’t be any comfort to them. And really, if you want to be a supportive friend, it just doesn’t matter if you think losing a pet is no big deal because it wasn’t for YOU. Or you think it wouldn’t be. Because, in the end, what they need is LOVE, not to be told they shouldn’t be hurting.

Life is tragic.

It’s messy and what we need most is an outstretched hand, a comforting word, and love to lift us up.