Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thinking & Sleeping

For some, thinking and sleeping are opposites.  They are tightly wound for me.  I love to do them both. 

I enjoy staring into the distance and thinking deep thoughts.  I want to think big and work towards solving big problems.  I'm proud to have good ideas. I love when my ideas connect with people. 

the fish blanket 
I love to sleep.  I love my bed and my sheets.  I always have.  I think back on my time in the Kappa Delta house at East Texas State University and remember with longing my bed there.  It was perfectly comfortable.  I had a bottom bunk and I painted the underneath a deep purple.  I had a fish comforter.  Actually, I still have that fish comforter.  The boys and I fight regularly about it.  Zac is the current user.  Generally, when I wake up in the morning I'm thinking "what has to be accomplished before I get back in this bed".   It is currently 9:14 pm and I'm a little stressed that I'm not close enough to bed. 

Of course, when I don't sleep enough my thoughts suffer.  When my eyes get heavy so does my mind.  I'm not able to power through.  I must sleep.  I can not function on too little sleep for several days in a row. There's not enough coffee to get me through. 

And yet...

I sometimes use sleep to avoid my thoughts.  When things are rough, I escape into a nap.  I'm definitely a turtle - pull into myself. 

I'll be honest, September has not been kind.  My thoughts are not always happy or easy.  I haven't slept enough.  I'm spent and I know because I'm struggling with ideas. 

I'm so looking forward to this weekend.  Yes, we have things that need to be done.  But it's a 3 day weekend.  The boys and I have Monday off for the Texas State Fair.  I'm looking forward to sleeping in and then getting my thoughts back. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Yesterday I wrote about my father in law's passing and I shared a status from one of my best friends about being present.  A theme of my father in law's celebration was that he worked hard to be present.  He'd go to work early, leave in time to make the kids' games then work well into the night to make up for the missed time.  But when he was with his kids he was really with his kids.

I'm also listening to Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequest.  I have some thoughts about the book that I'll share when I finish it.  But my point is that being present keeps coming up.

I struggled with this some last fall.  For the first time in 17 years I felt guilty about working last year.  I felt like I wasn't present enough for the boys.  I was running myself raged doing stuff for them but not spending time with them.

My mind is noisy all the time.  Ideas. Stories. Songs. To do lists.  All these things are bouncing around in there all the time. I'm a list maker.  I find ridiculous pleasure in marking things off a list.  All these things make it difficult to be present.  To really focus on what's happening right now and not thinking about the rest of the things on the list or what I need to do next.

This week I've tried hard to be present with the Lord. I get up, get my coffee and just sit and talk to him.  No Bible reading. No writing.  Just prayer.  It's soooo hard.  My mind drifts to my list.  My eyes flutter shut.  My hand reaches for my phone.  But I'm going to keep trying.

Thanks Kaycey for posting this! 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Hello friends.  I'm sorry I didn't write last week.  It was a rough week. I didn't form many coherent thoughts.  I'm not sure these thoughts will be that coherent.

Ryan's daddy passed away a week ago Friday.  It wasn't a surprise but it was a shock.  He'd been sick a while and we knew his body was beginning to shut down.  But more than that, we knew he was tired.

A few years back, Pops fell and broke his hip.  He got a little down in the dumps at rehab.  I went to him and told him he had to fight for my boys.  He's the only grand daddy my boys have known.  I told him he needed to fight to get better so they had a grand daddy.

Oh, how he fought.  But every fight has to end.  And Pop's fight is over.  He's restored. He's healed. He's at rest.

It's the rest of us suffering.  I wouldn't sugar coat it.  This has been so hard.  It was hard when my daddy died but I didn't have to look into 3 precious faces and tell them he was gone.  I could focus on myself.  With Pops gone, I needed to be able to focus on all of us, not just myself.

I'm a do-er.  There is just almost nothing to do in this situation. I can't do anything to relieve the pain we are all in.  I'm so helpless.

All I can do is love my people - Ryan, the boys, my mother in law, my sisters and brothers in law, my nieces and nephews.  I can accept the love and help of others.  And we have had that in abundance.  Our friends showed up to love us.  They fed us well. They checked on us.  They hugged.  They sent funny memes.  I love my people.

Pops loved his people.  He was the perfect picture of the protective daddy.  Instead of a traditional funeral, we did a true celebration of Pops.  My nieces led worship.  We all spoke about Pops.  It was both easy and hard.  There were so many stories to tell but it hurt to think of Pops in the past tense.  But he's not.  He's gone, he's resting but he's always with us - in the funny stories and lessons we learned from him, and continue to learn.

One of my best friends summed it up beautifully in this facebook post.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Near or Far

When do you feel closest to Jesus?  In times of trials or in the good times?

If I'm being honest, I'd say in times of trials

In the good times, I still do my Bible study and quiet time.  But, I don't cling to Him as I do in times of trials.  When things are going wrong, I depend on Jesus.  I look to him for every decision.  I beg him to show me the way, what to do next.  I'm in constant contact.

I long to be this way during the good times as well.  But it's more of a struggle.  I find my mind wandering more during my prayer time.  It's harder to stay still and listen.  I turn to friends for reassurance instead of to Him.

I don't understand it.  It's frankly frustrating.  I don't want to have to be in constant crisis mode to feel near to God.

I remember the verse in James

I know God hasn't gone anywhere.  He's still there longing for a relationship with me.  I'm the one who has moved.

So, I do what I can.  I pray for focus.  I pray for closeness.  I keep reading my Bible.  I keep studying.  I refocus when my mind wanders.  I and a pray...

And because I love y'all, here's my favs - Shane & Shane - singing Psalm 51

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Monday afternoon I ran into a friend whom I love but don't see often enough.  We visited a bit, she told me some funny stories and really encouraged me about my writing.  When I got home Monday, I had a sweet gift and note from another friend.  Last week, I received some very encouraging comments about my writing as well. Today I visited my mailbox at school to find another gift and note from a sweet friend.

These things always lift my spirits.  Especially during the crazy times of getting school started and trying to get back on a schedule.

And it reminds me that I should encourage people more.  Life gets in the way, doesn't it? What's the expression...the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.  I personally have 2 note cards on my desk waiting to be written.  

I think lots of encouraging thoughts but I don't take the time to write them or even tell people.   Encouragement is definitely a gift.  God intended us to encourage one another.  I'd like to do better in this area.

What's your favorite way to be encouraged?  A text, a note, a small gift?  How do you like to be recognized for your hard work?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Real or Not Real

What's your definition of real?

Here's what says:

I'd say something that I know to be true.

For a lot of people, they need to see something to believe it.

B-man has a very loose definition of real.  There are things that he thinks are real that aren't.  It's sometimes hard to help him understand the difference.

In August I wrote about his dog spell and super power experiments.  Lately, there's a new one.  A grown man has a YouTube channel teaching you to make potions.  B, of course, thinks these are real.

It's so frustrating.  To this dude, it's all fun and games.  I'm the one trying to explain that the ingredients are not real things, that you can't really grow a minion.  That's not really a fruit called black fruit.  None of that matters to B, he will ask the produce people at Kroger about it (my momma got to handle this one).

Mostly, I just try to ride it out.  He usually moves on to something else in a few days.  But if I ever meet the potions dude, he and I will be having words.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


I am a big ol' Jen Hatmaker fan girl.  I love that her message is love.  Guess who else talked about love?

Anywhoo....Jen has a new podcast called For the Love.  The first series was about friendship - For the Love of Girlfriends.  Jen talked to her girlfriends about having girlfriends.

The second series is called For the Love of Moxie (Jen's new book is Of Mess and Moxie).  Episode 2 features Jen's conversation with Brene Brown.  Brene Brown is a shame researcher and author.  Her books are gold.  Gold, I tell ya!! So the two of them together is priceless.

The thing that really stuck with me was a portion of the conversation about oversharing.  Brene says this:  "I never share a story, that when my healing from that story, depends on an audience reaction."

She also says: "I will not take my children's stories from them, or leave such a defining mark on them that they will never be able to get out from underneath them."

Well then there now...

I have worried about this. Am I sharing too much of B's life here? And what's my point for sharing?

I will tell you this, I don't tell you everything.  And I don't show you everything.  Somethings I outright sugar coat.  When I say meltdown that can mean anything from screaming to slapping me.  But I don't want B to grow up and read about his most intimate moments on his momma's website.  I don't post mid-meltdown pictures for the same reason.  Would you want your worst day broadcast for the world to see? 

My point for sharing usually falls into 1 of 2 categories: make you laugh or teach you something.  Or both.  Having an autistic kid isn't always fun and games but it's not all darkness and mourning.  I love my life and I want to share it with you without doing damage to my family.  

Here's the transcript of Jen's Brene Brown episode.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

First Weeks

Wow! We're a week and a half into the new school year.  I'm that beginning of the year tired that teachers know so well.  It's been a better start to the year than I've had a long while.

Last week, students came to the library for the first time.  I read to them.  They loved it and so did I!  I don't know who decided that middle schoolers didn't like to be read to but they are wrong.  Thankfully, I chose to read each grade level a different book.  By the end of each day, I was ready to be done with that book.  What I really loved was hearing from parents at Meet the Raider that their kiddo said "Mrs. Bartis is the librarian now and she read to us today!"

I could not have read to all these classes without our new library aide. We got so, so, so lucky when we hired an aide for the library at the dead last minute.  She is amazing! She's so helpful and relieves so much stress.  She's taken over video announcements.  I loved doing announcements but it was time consuming.  She's stepped in and rocked it.

In years past, the first days of school were dominated with a program that I ran at school called Tech Camp.  This year we changed it a bit and the result was much less stressful.

The boys also had a great week.  B's new behavior therapist told me towards the end of the week, "Your kid is killing it!"  I did not receive any phone calls or emails about B's behavior. Woowhoo!! Killing it, indeed!

Zac kept up with his summer reading project for the first week and a half.  That's quite an accomplishment for an 8th grade boy! The rest of his first week and a half was "good" and "fine".

Sambo seems to be perfectly at home in his second year of high school.  I shouldn't be but I was amazed that he decided on the second day that he needed to get into honors Chemistry (he'd been in honors Biology last year but we let him drop to regular Chemistry).  And then proceed to take care of everything to make that happen: talk to the teacher about honors and his dyslexia accommodations and fill out the counselor's form to get switched.

I'm feeling good about this year.  We learn and grow every year.  It's just that some years the growing pains seem to be more painful.  This year feels like it the growing pains might be less painful and more fun!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Ryan waited all day Saturday for DirecTV to show up and reconnect our service.  Around 11:30 am they left an automated voice mail saying they were running late but that we would still get service on Saturday.  I started calling around 5:30 pm.  What ensued was such horrific customer service that my rage was in full force.  My sarcasm was also at an all time high.  I did not get, and still have not gotten, satisfaction from DirecTV.  Hell that no fury like Aimee Bartis receiving bad service so stay tuned for this continuing saga.


This got me thinking about the things that make my ragey.  Here's a short list...

1. school drop-off and pick up.
2. people who think they don't have to follow the rules (see #1)
3. people who don't take care of kids
4. poor customer service
5. meanness

Meanness is one that causes me problems though.  I don't want people to be mean to me or the people I love.  However, what I get into rage-mode, I can be pretty mean.  I was not that nice to the DirecTV people Saturday.  At times I was out right rude "I need to speak to your supervisor.  No! Do not say another word to me.  Transfer me to your supervisor."  Other times I my sarcasm was mean "You have the best job ever! You can do what you want and you aren't accountable to anyone!"

This does not match up well with the gospel of Jesus.  Love one another. Turn the other cheek.  No where does Jesus tell us it's ok to be mean to people who are jerks or who don't do what we want done.  Which is what I want to do.  As my boys love to say, "Boom! Roasted!" 

Sometimes I justify my meanness with things like "Sometimes you have to be mean.  People don't respond to kindness."  That makes me feel better for a minute but then I'm reminded of Jesus.  That's not something he taught.  

Thankfully, Jesus is patient with me.  He forgives me and helps me grow.  I can't promise that I'll be nice to the DirecTV people.  But I will try.