Thursday, September 27, 2018


I love to color. It's a creative outlet but most of the creativity has already been carried by someone else - the artist.  I get to make their creation come to life.  Also, it supports my habit of office supply buying so there's that...

I like to describe my problem solving method as percolating.  I take in all the information then I let my brain 'drip' like an old percolating coffee maker.  For this to work properly, I need to disengage from the original problem.  Lots of time, I can move on to another project.  But sometimes I need to find a solution sooner.  This is when you can find me coloring at my desk at work. 

I'm not a big fan of the adult coloring books.  Generally speaking, the designs are too intricate.  Take this Harry Potter picture for example.  All that foliage was a beast to color.  But it turned out beautiful.

My Nick Splat coloring book is a nice mix.  There are some intricate pictures but there are some easier than others.  I love this one of Arnold and Gerald.

Lately, I've been loving a website called Rad & Happy.  The artist, Tara, creates awesome coloring pages that are so cute and easy to color.  I've printed some of her pages but I haven't colored any yet but I'm looking forward to it. 

What do you do to relax or think?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


My hardback original run copy
Harriet the Spy is my favorite book, hands down. The Harry Potter series is second but Harriet grabbed me as a little girl and held on tight. I wore out the first paperback I had of Harriet. I have other paperback copies plus an original run hardback book and an electronic copy. I read it about once a year. 
Harriet's spy outfit

Harriet is eleven years old and wants to be a writer. So she has decided that she needs to see everything and write everything down. Every afternoon she goes on her spy route. She looks in on her neighbors and takes notes. Harriet always has a notebook with her. She also makes notes on her friends. Basically, Harriet writes down whatever she thinks. 

Harriet also has a nanny with an odd name - Ole Golly. Ole Golly can be harsh and a bit sever but she loves Harriet and Harriet loves her. Ole Golly is Harriet’s voice of reason as her parents are very busy and hands off. 

Harriet’s world crashes down when Ole Golly is fired unexpectedly after a misunderstanding. Ole Golly, of course, leaves with dignity assuring Harriet that everything will be ok. Not long after, Harriet’s friends read her notebook. 

This horrified me as a little girl and an adult. Basically everyone knows Harriet’s every thought. The good and the bad. Life is downhill from there for our friend Harriet. During this time, Harriet receives a letter from Ole Golly. The letter is so good that I’ve included it here. 

Harriet stuck in a dumb waiter
Dear Harriet,

I have been thinking about you and I have decided that if you are ever going to be a writer it is time you got cracking. You are eleven years old and haven’t written a thing but notes. Make a story out of some of those notes and send it to me.

 “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” John Keats. And don’t you ever forget it.

Now in case you ever run into the following problem, I want to tell you about it.  Naturally, you put down the truth in your notebooks. What would be the point if you didn’t? And naturally those notebooks should not be read by anyone else, but if they are, then, Harriet, you are going to have to do two things, and you don’t like either one of them:

1) You have to apologize.
2) You have to lie.

Otherwise you are going to lose a friend. Little lies that make people feel better are not bad, like thanking someone for a meal they made even if you hated it, or telling a sick person they look better when they don’t, or someone with a hideous new hat that it’s lovely. Remember that writing is to put love in the world, not to use against your friends. But to yourself you must always tell the truth.

Another thing. If you’re missing me I want you to know I’m not missing you. Gone is gone. I never miss anything or anyone because it all becomes a lovely memory. I guard my memories and love them, but I don’t get in them and lie down. You can even make stories from yours, but remember, they don’t come back. Just think how awful it would be if they did. You don’t need me now. You’re eleven years old which is old enough to get busy at growing up to be the person you want   to be.  No more nonsense.

Ole Golly Waldenstein

I’ve always loved the part about writing putting love into the world. I hope my writing puts love into your world. 

As an adult, the last paragraph haunts me. I treasure my memories of my Daddy. I love to talk about him and hear other people’s stories of him. Sometimes I do want to lay down in my memories. Dream of 'what ifs'.  Think about it would be like for him to be here with us.  But, I can't go back.  I wouldn't want him back. I wouldn't want him to have to be sick all over again.  And I for sure couldn't go through losing him again.  

That's why I love Harriet.  She helped me a little girl.  I wanted to be a writer but I learned to keep somethings to myself. I learned to be careful not to hurt people with my words - spoken or written.  As an adult, Harriet teaches me how to let go and how to recover.  I love Harriet! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

My Man

Today is Ryan Bartis' birthday.  I thought about writing a post of X reasons I love him where X is how many years old he is today.  But, I rethought that for a couple of reasons.  I didn't want to embarrass him by telling his age and it would have been a pretty long post. 

I wrote last week about one of the reasons I love Ryan, he leaves me alone/lets me recharge.  I mentioned in that post that I hope he's setting a good example for my boys by encouraging me to rest and recharge.  That brings to mind another reason I love Ryan Bartis - he's a good daddy.

As I type this, he's at the high school watching football practice. He's already watched game film on this week's opponent.  He does all this so he can share his love of football with the boys but also connect with them over it.  Same reason he does fantasy football with the Bigs.  They connect over it.

Sports is a big part of our family life.  Ryan loves to share that with the Bigs.  He loves to watch them play, talk about how they played, watch other people play, talk about how those people played and what they can learn from them.  He's been pretty open to my momma input of how to talk to the boys after a game.  Start with positives.  You (him or the boys) can only be mad for the ride home.  After we get home it's about growth and getting better. 

When I figured out that B was autistic, Ryan was not quite there yet.  It was like staring into a dark cave, we didn't know what would come next.  At that point, it didn't really matter to me what was next, I just wanted help with whatever would come.  There is a definite grieving period when you discover your kid is different. For us, we didn't grieve because B is autistic, we grieved the loss of who we expected B would be.  I didn't go through it right away, but Ryan did. He had to terms with the idea that B might not play sports.  This means that he bonds with B differently than he does the Bigs.  But he still does it. 

B struggled at before school care. I need to be at school at 7:20, B's school doesn't start until 8:20.  Yep, a full hour to wait before going to school.  It made for a long day.  So, Ryan rearranged his schedule so he can take B to school.  Everyone's life has improved.  B gets to sleep more and gets one on one time with his daddy.  It's greatness.

When B decided he wanted to be on a team, Ryan was right there to coach him.  And when B decided he didn't want to be on that very team, Ryan stuck around and coached the team without him. 

My man is a keeper. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Me Time

Ryan Bartis is a good man for lots of reasons - there may or may not a post detailing his goodness next week.  One of the things that he's excellent at leaving me alone.  HAHAHA - that sounds awful. Let me try again. 

Ryan knows that I'm an introverted extrovert and that I need downtime. He knows that I love a good nap.  He knows how important my friends are to me.  There are not many times when I ask for time, or take it, that he complains.

Last week I had a little procedure at the doctor.  It didn't go the way I thought it would. I didn't feel good Monday night, I came home early Tuesday, felt ok for a few days then felt lousy again Friday night.  Each time, he sent me to bed.  I got up Tuesday evening and he sent me right back to bed.  I woke up briefly Saturday morning and told him I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.  He pulls the covers over me and tip toes out of the room. 

Saturday afternoon we spent time with his momma.  It was the one year anniversary of his father's death.  We cooked and hung out. I fell asleep on her couch.  We came home and went to bed at 8:30 - only sweetness from Ry.

Yesterday after school, I went to get my nails done.  I try to go about once a month when I have the time and money.  I usually just get a pedicure. The summer I tried out gel nails and really like them.  That adds about another hour to the trip but I like it so Ryan goes along.  It's so nice to sit there, listening to podcasts and not doing one thing for anyone else.  I almost feel asleep today.

One time I was at the nail salon and the tech asked about my family.  She was impressed that they weren't bugging me to come home. She said lots of her clients spend half their time answer texts from their families instead of relaxing. 

I'm blessed that Ryan understands me and sees the benefit of giving me space and time to renew. I think it makes me a better wife and mom.  I hope that the boys notice and are learning how to treat their future wives.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


There's something I struggle with.  I know what you're thinking "Girl, you got more issues that People".  True but underlying most of them is something called Imposter Syndrome.  Self-diagnosed, of course.  My very non-technical definition of Imposter Syndrome is never feeling like you deserve what you have, not feeling good enough and the feeling of dread that you're going to be found out at any minute.

As a result, I feel like I'm always auditioning. I always feel like I have to keep convincing you that I'm doing a good job or that you can trust me to keep doing a good job.  I have to constantly prove that I'm smart enough.  I'm sure it's super annoying to other people.  I try to be aware of it and temper it but sometimes I don't realize I'm doing it until afterwards. Part of this is that I replay almost every conversation I have through out the day.  I worry that I said something stupid or offensive.  I used to circle back to people to clarify or apologize.  I've mostly stopped doing that because it's super annoying.  I generally trust that the people who love me will let me know if I've screwed up. 

Yesterday morning, Romans 12:9-12 was a part of my Bible study.
Of course, the section title caught my eye - marks of a True Christian.  I want to be the best Christian I can be.  Not in a legalistic, check all the right boxes way.  I want to be a true Christian that shows God's love to everyone she encounters.  I want to live in light of the love and grace Christ has shown me.  I can't do that if I'm worried about being the smartest person in the room or trying to prove to you that I'm worthy of my job or position.  My worth is in Christ alone. I know that but I have to believe it and live it.  

It must have been the last part of verse 16 that caught me - Never be wise in your own sight.  Wisdom comes from God alone.  I'm not in control of it.  Perhaps if I stop trying to display or control my wisdom, hold it more loosely, God can shine through me more.  And that's what I want to be used by God, to influence people for His kingdom and glory. 

Monday, September 17, 2018


I love to laugh, I love to make people laugh.  When I was younger, I thought I might be a comedian.  My daddy asked me why and I replied "Because I'm funny."  He replied "Well, looks aren't everything". Took me a long time to figure one out.

Live from New York, it's Saturday Night

I'm not certain when my obsession with Saturday Night Live started but it goes way back! I used to dream of being a cast member.  This lasted a hot minute until I realized that as an actor you get told no a lot and I don't like being told no.  I had VCR tapes of SNL episodes - those I recorded myself and a few that I purchased.  The Tom Hanks/Aerosmith episode is the first I remember buying.   I watched it over and over and have some of it committed to memory.  Hanks is talking to Wayne and Garth about being a roadie for Aerosmith "I have to make sure the scarves are always in the right place."

The show has been through ups and downs but generally, Weekend Update is a bright spot.  Of course, Tina and Amy are my favorites.  I want to be Tina Fey when I grow up.  Amy and Seth and Seth alone are also favorites.  I'm enjoying Michael Che and Colin Jost right now.  One of the best gifts I ever received was a Tina & Amy Weekend Update set complete with action figures (thank you Rae!)!

Much to Ryan's chagrin, DVR has really upped my SNL game.  I now have a my favorites recorded and I rewatch them often.  Right now, I can't stop watching the Donald Glove/Childish Gambino episode.

What I really love is when SNL lands an unexpected host, like Peyton Manning.  I didn't know much about Peyton before his SNL episode but I loved him after. I'm goofy and I'm a fan of others being goofy.  Peyton is for sure goofy in his episode.

No delightful insight today. I just wanted to share somethings that make me laugh and hopefully put a smile on your face.  Have a great day!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Lamp Light

I've recently finished Beth Moore's Bible Study - Quest.  The aim of the study is to bring you deeper into God's Word and further intimacy with God.  It was a great study, as all of Moore's are but one thought has really stuck with me. 

Psalm 119:105 ESV
After reading this verse, Beth started talking about walking with a hand-held lantern.  If you hold the lamp out you only get an arm's length of light.  Just a few steps worth.  That's why you have to stay in The Word daily. You only get enough wisdom for today. 

We all want to know the plan.  We want to know what's going to happen next.  Beth addressed this want with this truth: if we knew the plan, we'd be working on the end, not being present right now.  We wouldn't learn the lessons we needed to learn to be successful in that future. So we might not be successful there. 

When I was little there was a commercial for milk with a mirror. Kids would look into the mirror and see their future selves.  Of course they were strong and healthy because they'd drank milk as a kid.  Man o man, did I want that mirror! I wanted to look into it and see the future.  Honestly, I still do.  I still want to know what to be when I grow up.  I want to know what God has in store for me so I can start moving in that direction, if I'm not already.  Actually, that's what I really want to know - am I doing it right?

That makes me giggle because as a teacher, I don't like it when kids want me to grade their work before they're done.  "Is this right?" they ask.  "I'll let you know when I grade it."  When they have a specific question, I am happy to answer.  What I'm trying to do is to build their confidence.  Ask questions when you don't know but otherwise be confident that you're doing it right. 

My longing for the mirror is doing that same thing to God.  He wants me to have confidence in Him.  The way I build that confidence is to know Him more.  And the way to know Him more is His word. To walk by His lamp light.  Mercy, He has such an awesome sense of humor!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Depression & Anxiety

I'm pretty open with my battles with depression and anxiety.  The depression has been with me since high school.  Anxiety is a relatively new development, it stuck around after B-man's initial illnesses at 6 months old.

Anyway, I struggle.  I function pretty well most of the time.  I'm a good faker.  Or maybe I'm not, I don't see what you all see.  But there are days when it definitely feels like a battle. I get up, go to work and live life but I don't have the luxury of staying in my bed.  It can be a battle.  When we're at battle it's important to know who the enemy is and what his tactics are. 

This past Sunday, one of our co-pastors, Randy Wade preached on anxiety, fear and depression.  His sermon was wonderful.  As Randy says at the beginning, I felt like he's been reading my mail.  My brain is hardly ever quiet.  Most of the time that's a good thing, it's a creative thing.  It's where I work out my words. But sometimes it's destructive.  I let my thoughts and emotions distract me from the truth. 

I'd like to share Randy's sermon with  you. If you, or someone you care about, struggles with anxiety, fear or depression, it is well worth your time.  I pray that you are helped by it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

7 on 7

I'm going to brag on my big boys ("The Bigs") today! Y'all know we are football crazy around here.  But in the spring we were deep in throws of baseball mania.  I was kinda thankful for a weekend break from baseball for 7 on 7 football. 

In case you aren't familiar with 7 on 7...

It's a strange set up in that the boys play for their high school team but their high school coaches can't coach them.  Ryan and his brother in law coached them.  They are a dynamic coaching duo (in my opinion), Ryan coaches the defensive and his brother in law coaches the offense.  When the boys have played in the past, the center didn't actually hike the ball, he just tossed it to the quarterback.  So, Sam didn't play at first.  Zac, my nephew and another one of his friends did get to play with the high school boys - they had just finished 8th grade.  

They played a tournament in May and won it! This qualified them for the State 7 on 7 Tournament in College Station in June.  Sam got to join the team because they were actually hiking the ball.  I was working at pre-teen camp so I missed it. But Ryan and the Bigs had a great time.  

Ryan & Zac

The tournament is sponsored by Adidas so the boys got some big time swag.  They were so excited about that! As you can see by Sam's jersey, the Adidas people obviously didn't expect many lineman.  

The team won 3 games on day 1 and lost their first game on day 2.  They were the first team in our school's history to make it to the state tournament.  I hate that I missed it but my uncle got to come watch and that meant a lot.  I can't wait to see them in action again next Spring. 

The Bigs and Da

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Summer Travels

We took a big trip as a family this summer to Alabama.  We also took 2 other trips.  Ryan and the Bigs went from Alabama to South Carolina.  Then Ryan and I took the Bigs to NYC and West Point. Here's the highlights..

Zac's baseball team, that Ryan coaches, played a tournament in Gulf Shores so we made it our big family trip.  I'll be honest with you, I am not a great baseball mom.  I'm a much better football mom.  At football, I'm further away from the players and coaches, I can't hear what they're saying.  Also, football is more of a team sport. If you mess up in football your teammate might be able to cover for you.  If you mess up in baseball, it's pretty much you in the spotlight.  Especially when your kid pitches. 

Thinking back on our trip, I remember crappy things - the heat, the jellyfish on the beach, the gnats.  But it really was a good time.  It was fun to be with the families of Zac's teammates. It was fun to be together with only baseball games to worry about!

photo cred: Hannah Laird

so sweaty

B mediating at a water park

South Carolina
Ryan and the Bigs left Alabama and drove to South Carolina.  Ryan's family is from South Carolina and they met up in Myrtle Beach to spread his Daddy's ashes at some important places.  We had been in Alabama 7 days when they left.  Mom, B and I left to come home. I wish we could have gone but we decided that it would be too much for B.  I didn't want him upset and putting a damper on things. 

We are big Clemson fans so Ryan and the Bigs went from Alabama to Clemson to stay the night. They poked around campus and the town and did some shopping. We are totally set for Clemson football! The next day they met Ryan's mom, his sister and her family and his brother and his family in Myrtle Beach.  

The Bigs were able to see a lot of places that are important to Ryan and were important to his Daddy.  They got to see Pops' college and where he proposed to GG.  They got to spend time with Ryan's uncle and family.  They really enjoyed it.  I missed them and I was a bit jealous, but I'm so glad they got to go. 

on the dock at Ryan's grandma's house

New York/West Point
Wow! This was an awesome, whirlwind trip! I love New York. I am generally quite anxious in crowds but, somehow, I was totally relaxed walking around New York and in the mass of people in Times Square.  We went with 3 other families and it was so fun!  

We went to the 9 11 memorial and I cried straight through it.  It was my birthday and they place roses on the memorial on the victims' birthdays.  I bawled.  There are ladies listed on the memorial with their unborn children.  I bawled.  There was a special sports exhibit about how sports reacted and rebounded after 9 11.  I bawled.  

We had a very through and committed tour guide at the Statue of Liberty.  We became Uber experts. Ryan and the Bigs went to a Yankees game and I saw Frozen. Everybody wins!

On Saturday we rented car and drove to West Point for the boys to attend football camp.  My brother in law played at West Point.  It was really cool for the boys to see the exhibits about him.  Personally, I was super happy to watch the boys play football! 

Times Square!

The original torch at the Statue of Liberty

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


B-man was old enough to go to church camp this summer.  Two years ago he went to mini-camp and had a good time.  Last year mini-camp was super mini and a bit more rough. He went back and forth on going to pre-teen camp but in the end, decided he wanted to go.

Ryan and I thought it would be best to ease into camp.  So we decided that B would go with the group on the first day, spend the first night in the cabins then go home after worship the second day.

To prep B, I made a schedule of what would happen while he was at camp.

Before we leave for camp, we are at church quite a while to get everyone checked in and ready to go.  We decided that Ryan would bring B towards the end of that time so he wouldn't get overwhelmed by all the noise and chaos.

When he arrived at church, B met up with his community group and started having fun right away.  I, on the other hand, was a mess.  I had been nervous all day.  When I took B to his group, I walked off and could not stop crying for some reason.  I eventually was able to get myself together and get on with my job.  =)

B rode the bus to camp with his CG and generally went about his business like the rest of the kids.  I tried to steer clear as much as possible.

The first night of camp we have a carnival.  B was no thrilled with the carnival.  He and I ended up sitting on the sidewalk, drawing.
He did hit a snag at Rec Time the next day. It was hot and he wasn't liking it. I happen to be at the rec fields at the same time. I tried to give him some space, I wanted to let his counselor handle it.  I did end of talking to him for a bit. He wanted to go home right then.  I told him what time Dad was coming and said he'd have to wait with his group until then.  Then I passed him back to his very able counselor and left.  He ended up being fine until Ryan got there!

As usual, the things I worried about didn't happen. He did a great job in worship (with headphones) and in the cabins.  Apparently he was quite anxious to get to turn off the lights! He woke up once in the night and cried out but his counselor was able to talk to him and he went right back to sleep.
When it was time to leave, he was ready and exhausted but excited to give camp a try again next year.  Our plan is to add another night next year and keep building!
I snuck this picture of B praying with his Community Group.  This is what it's all about!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hello there!

Hi friends! Can you believe it's September already? I personally can not. I find I say that every month though..."Oh, it's May. I can't believe it's already May" Then I take a nap and it's September.

Thank you for indulging me my break.  I don't mind telling you that when last we spoke, I was completely exhausted.  I slept a lot in June.  I'd go to work, come home, sleep, cook dinner and go back to bed.  I think a lot of it was the usual end of the school year exhaustion.  I usually hibernate for a couple of days when school gets out.  I wasn't able to do that this year since my new job didn't end when school got out.

My break was a good lesson for me.  To step back, rest and recalibrate.  I'm not a good quitter so it was hard to not write for y'all for 3 months.  But it was renewing and good for my soul to rest. 

I'm semi-rested now and ready to tackle the fall! New students, new teachers, new schedules and FOOTBALL! Football is my favorite! I love football!

It's still 112 degrees here in Texas but it's Fall y'all and I'm excited!

I do have some summer stories to share with you before we dive into the fall leaves.

Let's get back into our routine Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday posting routine. I'll see you tomorrow with a B-man summer story!