The Um, You Guys Challenge!

Hey, y’all!

I was listening to a podcast yesterday (Up and Vanished-have you heard of it? If you liked Serial or S-Town, you’ll love this one). In it, the host was interviewing a woman whose son’s girlfriend had disappeared (presumably murdered). She went missing like 12 years ago, and the crime was never solved.

Her son was the ex-boyfriend of the missing girl, and a very likely suspect. His name was dragged through the mud. He had a hard time getting a job, finding a relationship, maintaining friendships.

However, he was never charged with anything, and he had an alibi. All of this took place in a tiny town in Georgia where everyone knew everyone. In a nutshell, so many lives were ruined by the murder of this schoolteacher, and then even more were ruined by gossip and speculation about the criminal.

In this particular episode, the host asked the woman to describe what message she’d like to spread to the people who had been following the case and possibly accusing her son.

Her reply: “I just wish that we could all learn never to speak ill of anyone, especially when we can just never know how our words might stick with someone.”

I have always known that I vent too much. That I too often say what’s on my mind, even if it’s unkind.

That my words flow easily and without enough regard for who I could be hurting. I usually rationalize this by saying I need a safe space to vent, or because I know I don’t have ill will toward the person, I’m just expressing my hurt or anger. Or because I often breath a sigh of relief when I realize someone else is thinking exactly what I’m thinking.

But, the truth is, my words can certainly pack a punch and I also know how awful it feels to find out things people are saying about you. I also know that sometimes I make snap judgments about adults and even the children at my school. I feel defensive about this, because sometimes there are just serious issues with parenting and neglect and it makes me want to lash out. But, if someone heard me…man. I would be so ashamed.

However, my lashing out and judging isn’t doing anything for anyone. And, let’s be real, I’m sure my parenting skills are also the topic of other’s conversations.

Along with words comes thoughts, however. The thoughts start first, right-so I’m scrolling Facebook and I think, “Ugh, she must never eat to be so skinny.”

“Must be nice to have all the money you want so you can give nice gifts to people.”

“Oh, well, ok, she can’t comment on any of my posts, but I see she’s on here commenting on everyone else’s!”

Seriously, Christy? Here I am whining lately about the “success” in my life has pushed people away from me, and I’m judging a Facebook picture because I think they have too much money. (Oh, and I use the term “success” lightly, but attention usually just makes people kinda bitter).


Anyway, I’d like to combat this, and if you feel so inclined, I’d love to have you join this challenge with me!  I need a goal and an action plan in oder to get started. Otherwise, for me, it ends at good intentions.


For 2 weeks:

*Make EVERY effort possible not to speak unkindly about ANYONE (no matter how mad they make you!). Tell the people close to you (consider this my announcement) to try and help keep each other accountable.

*Clean up your Facebook feed. Are there friends you need to hide? Unfriend? Are there feeds that are depressing you that you need a break from? Make a contact list of “close friends” so that you can post just certain things to your closest friends and not everyone on your list.

*Limit your Facebook time to only one hour per day. Schedule it in (work around your own schedule) and do everything you can to ONLY go on during that hour!

What do you say?  Are you in?

May 21-June 4th

I’ll check in with you on my Um, You Guys Facebook a few times between now and then.  Comment here if you’re in!

Good luck!

Step Inside



Care to step into my brain for a minute?

Here goes:

I feel so hurt because (such and such) has never even said congratulations to me for publishing a book, and it sucks. But today there was another school shooting.

I cannot believe some of my closest friends STILL haven’t put a review of my book on Amazon or Barnes. They just don’t even care about me. But, really, Christy, you know that’s not true.

Sometimes I feel like everyone at my work hates my guts, and every day I go there wondering how I got mixed up in all the drama. But, I am healthy.

I had a book signing this week that literally, no one (except my BFF who came to keep me company, bless her heart!) came to. It made my heart feel sort of empty. But, my kids are healthy.

I have racked up a credit card bill thanks to a broken water heater, some airline tickets, and a bunch of impulse purchases leading up to my book launch. I feel guilty, I feel sad because my favorite thing to do is buy little surprises for my friends, but I can’t because I’m on a spending diet. But, I have a beautiful house and everything I need.

I hate the way I look. I feel disgusting pretty much all the time. I wish that I didn’t care so much about my weight and thinning hair and whatever else I’m focused on at the time, but I do. Although, I totally pretend I don’t.  But, YOU GUYS. It doesn’t even matter. I have a wonderful husband and so many incredible friends.

I have a really difficult time balancing my thoughts and worries and feelings. I KNOW, rationally, that I worry about things I shouldn’t worry about.

I know I worry about things that I have absolutely no control over.

I know that I am so lucky in so many ways, yet I dwell on the negative things.

I know that I have been getting approximately 5 e-mails or FB messages a day thanking me for my book, for pouring out my emotions onto the pages. So WHY do I dwell on my Amazon rating taking a nosedive, or that I don’t think anyone is buying my books from the local Barnes and Noble?

A few weeks ago, I found out that I got accepted into a summer writer’s workshop that I totally NEVER expected to get into. I was seriously so shocked! I debated for 2 weeks about whether or not I should actually go (mostly because of the cost involved!). My brain flipped back and forth from, “This is an incredible opportunity, I’m going, credit card be damned!” and “Seriously. Who am I kidding?  I’m not a writer, I’m a teacher who wrote a book.”

I know that at least some of this stem from my relationship with my father growing up and the fact that (whether or not he intended to, I’m not trying to condemn anyone here) I always felt like I was not worth it. I was told, “You’re a stupid crybaby” or “Why would you think you could do that?” And no matter how hard I try, no matter what I accomplish, that thought is in there.

I’m not afraid of difficult. I’m not afraid of failing. I get SO EXCITED about every little thing that is good in my life. Breathing in fresh air, a beautiful note from a student, an e-mail from my husband during the workday. I just also get pulled down so quickly.

I know there will come a day when I will not require so much in order to feel valued and loved. There are days when I feel SO needy–I fish for compliments and then when I get them, I think, “Well, he only said that because I asked.”

I’m constantly working on myself, that’s for sure. I don’t want to be famous. I just feel like I’m never going to be successful enough for people to be proud of me.

In the meantime, I have to write 10 pages for my workshop in July and I have NO IDEA what it will be about!  AHHH!  EEEEEEK! Gonna go get started.

Hang in there, Y’all. Thanks, as usual, for reading.



To you, with love …

to Mrs. Zimmerman, the librarian at the public library who just kept feeding me books,

to Mrs. Higgins in 4th grade who let me cry in her room at lunch whenever my parents fought too much,

To Mrs. Homb in 8th grade who told me I would write a book someday,

to Mr. Johnson in middle school who found out I didn’t sign up for band in high school and called my mom, who persuaded me to join,

to Madama Reierson in high school who made learning unbelievably fun,

to Mrs. Addie, who let us come over to her house to eat pizza and talk about books,

to Mr. Krause, whose teaching and talent inspired me to do big things,

to Dr. Rottet in college who reminded me to stay the course,

to Peg, who inspired me, without whom I would definitely not still be teaching,

to Dr. Snyder, who taught me that no matter what, as long as you make the decision that you think is best and stick with it, you’ll be ok,

to Rachel, who taught me that even in the worst of times, you need to remember that whatever it is that you’re doing is for the kids, and that even when others don’t understand you, you must keep chugging on,

to my husband Brian, who is THE most hard-working, dedicated teacher I have ever met in my life,

and to so many more of you that I am lucky enough to work with every single day,


I appreciate you.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day.

If I ever win the lottery, I’ll totally send you something.