Thursday, March 28, 2019


I've taught technology in one form or another my entire career.  I've taught technology applications to middle school kids. I've taught teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms.  I love a good gadget, I can learn new ones pretty easily. I really like my Apple watch and my iPhone.  They make things super convenient.  And yet...

I can't curb my dependence to paper. 

I love paper. 

I try to carry a notebook with me at all times in case I have a new idea.  When I'm embarking on a new project, I buy a new notebook.  I also have a paper planner that I love.  I make a to do list in each every day.  Nothing beats marking something off your to do list.

You all know that I'm a total book nerd.  I occasionally read digitally but I don't like it as much.  For non-fiction books, I want to highlight and make notes in the book.  When I borrow a book, either from a friend or library, I end up making notes in a notebook.  I recently went Half Priced Books, opened my Nook app and ordered hard copies of most the non-fiction books I'd already purchased digitally.  I know I can make notes in the Nook but they kinda die.  They're hard to find again. 

What I do love digitally are audio books.  I love my Audible subscription.  But I usually only get fiction from Audible.  The exception is if a non-fiction book I really love is on sale.  For example, I love all the Freakonomics books.  I own them all.  Recently one of the books was Audible's daily deal so I snagged it.  It's a great balance because I love to read non-fiction. Audible helps me branch out into some fiction. 

Most of my love for writing is that it helps me remember.  My mind is a hot mess most days.  Lots of ideas and thoughts bouncing around up there.  Writing something down some how makes it stick.  Plus I'm a big fan of pens so that makes writing fun. 

Many times my preference for paper means I do things twice.  I write an event in my planner then enter it into my digital calendar. I scribble ideas in my notebook then type those ides into an email or Google doc to share with others.  I don't mind it because I'm also a percolator.  I like to think on things.  I write it down, leave it a while then come back to the idea when I need to share with someone else.  While typing the idea, I get an AHA! moment and I can make the idea better.

What about you? Are you all paper or all digital?  Or an hybrid of both? 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


I'll admit it, I do too much for B-man.  He's the baby, I think it's common for mommas to baby their babies too long.  Especially when he wants to cook something.  I like to cook. I like to cook by myself. I like to cook by myself and serve others.  I don't share well in the kitchen. 

Last week, B wanted to cook eggs.  He started with cracking eggs with Ryan.  Another day, he asked me if he could scramble eggs.  I told him we could do it together.  He cracked the eggs and I scrambled them.

Saturday afternoon I heard the squeak of the egg carton.  I jump up and run into the kitchen.  B is shocked that I'm not willing to let him make scrambled eggs on his own.  I explained to him that, at the very least, he has to be supervised using the stove because it's hot.  He agrees to be supervised but he's going to do everything himself.

He's not awful at the egg cracking but he's not great either.  He doesn't get shells in the pan but he needs to wash his hands between eggs.  We had another negotiation on how many eggs he could cook as well.  I think he would have cooked them all just to do it.

We also worked on his scrambling technique.  He learns to scrape as well as stir.  He learns how to pour his eggs onto his plate.  He even garnishes with some celery leaves.  He was super proud of himself.  Personally, I'm proud of both of us - I supervised and didn't interfere too much.

Later in the afternoon, B asks to use the computer.  He needs to type out his recipe.  During this process, he's talking to himself. "I could impress Gordon Ramsey". Apparently, he's been watching some Hells Kitchen videos.  The boy never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Best for B

I love so many things about our school district! Our 3rd and 4th grades go on cool field trips each year. 3rd graders go to NASA and 4th graders to go Austin. The kids love these trips (some parents grumble but show up year after year).  We took B to NASA last year, it was mostly successful.  B did have a meltdown that meant we needed to go to the car for a bit.  

This year's Austin trip involved a tour of the capital and then a trip to the Inner Space Caverns. This is different from both of the Big's trips.  Sam's group went to the Alamo in San Antonio and Bob Bullock Museum in Austin in one day. It was tiring but interesting.  Zac's trip was straight up awful - Washington on the Brazos.  It was so hot and most of the day was to be outside.  Also, the workers were awful. One man told my group about how Anson Jones committed suicide.  Not exactly appropriate for 4th graders! 

We were committed to taking B on his trip. We want to experience the same things as his classmates. Then I went to the parent meeting.  There was some talk about how much walking would be involved.  It was during the meeting that I really started thinking about the trip.  As much as we want B to experience the same things as his classmates, we also don't want to set him up for failure.  As I thought about the Inner Space Caverns, I had a flash of B becoming very upset, not wanting to go underground, feeling claustrophobic.  I did not want this to happen to him in front of the entire 4th grade!

When I got home, Ryan and I talked to B about the field trip. We decided that we'd have a B day instead of going on the trip!

We actually got started a little early because of the Big's many spring activities. Thursday night B & I were going to be home alone. We started at Sonic to get dinner and ice cream.  It was so nice outside that I opened the sunroof.  B crawled up there and chilled out waiting for our food. 

Friday morning B wanted to go to Game Stop. He originally wanted some new figurines but had decided he wanted a new video game.  I needed to go to Target and I'd promised him lunch at McDonalds.  He was pretty anxious to get going.  Game Stop wasn't opened yet so we headed over to Target.  

I got what I needed and asked B if he wanted to check for his game here.  Wooowhoo it was! 

We had a great day hanging out at the house. B played his video game and loved it.  I loved that he was happy! 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Let Them Know Your Heart

The heart is a tricky thing.  Obviously, it's an actual organ but is also understood as the origins of emotions.  The ancient Greeks and Egyptians thought the heart was the body's control center, not the brain.  It's hard to explain to kids.  "How do I ask Jesus into my heart?" How does that work?  What I explained to B-man was that when you are saved, you are agreeing with God that you are a sinner and that Jesus died to pay the price for those sins.  It's a little easier to understand that explaining that Jesus is going to be sitting on your heart valves.

To say you know someone's heart is really to say that you know what they care about.  "I have a heart for the homeless" means that person is driven to help homeless people.  Do people know 'your heart'? Do they know what you care about?  How do they know?

I think it is so important that people know what you care about, especially at work.  If you're a leader and people know that you care about their wellbeing, that can cover a multitude of sins.  In my work as an educator, when I know that someone really cares for kids and wants the best for their students, I can forgive the occasional disagreement.  However, if I don't know that about you, I'm likely to be guarded and weary.

Knowing someone's heart helps you understand their motives.  Don't you want that courtesy extended to you as well? The only way to get that courtesy is for people to know your heart. 

How do you let people know your heart?  Your words and your actions.  It can't be just one or the other, it has to be both.  If your words and actions to line up, people become confused and questioning. 

My 'why' is service.  My why guides my heart but it's not the entirety of the story.  I love Jesus, that's my heart.  So I try to serve people the way Jesus did.  I dig autistic people.  So I try to serve them.  Make sense?

What do you think? Do you think it's important for people to know your heart?  How do you show it?


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Public Creativity

Monday evening I was sorting through B's backpack.  I found 6 comics he's written.  I was impressed.  They all followed the same format.  He even has a publisher name.  I couldn't really follow the actual stories because I can't read his writing. 

Later in the evening, I tell him I looked at them and liked them. He was so upset! "Those were my personal project!" He wouldn't talk to me for over an hour.  He took them out of his backpack and hide them in his room. (I asked him if I could take a picture of the covers for this post and he said "no that would be just too much for me?")

At bedtime, we had a little chat.  I apologized for looking at the comics.  I told him I hadn't meant to invade his privacy.  I told him I was so proud of him. Then I listed everything I liked about comics.

B started smiling after I apologized and it only grew after I told him what I liked. He started asking me if I liked certain things in the comics.  It was great because he started explaining the comics to me. 

I also told B that when I was younger, I'd written a series of stories about boy and girl twins, Fred and Rita.  He asked me all kinds of questions about them.  Then he asked me if I like to write. 

"Absolutely, I do! I write every day. I work on my blog.  I want to write a book.  I actually started writing a book once."

"What happened to it?"

"I got stuck. I couldn't figure out what the character should do next.  Can I tell you a secret?  I'm a little afraid of what people think of my writing. I think I'm too afraid to finish."

"Well, how far did you get? 1/2 way done? 1/4th done?"

"Probably, a fourth, maybe less. But I don't want you to ever feel this way.  I want you to feel confident to share your comics or any writing or drawing with people."

Our conversation really warmed my heart.  I felt good that B knew that I valued his creativity and his privacy.  But it also made me think about how I might be transferring my fears to him.

I want my boys to be more confident than I am. It took me a long time to feel confident about who I am.  When The Bigs were little, I was less secure than I had been in high school.  It was constantly nerve wracking trying to figure out what I needed to do to fit in. 

Overall, I feel pretty confident in most areas.  But, my writing...that's another story.  I put my stories out here for y'all three days a week but I haven't worked on a book in a loooooong time.  It's kinda 'break up with them before the break up with you' thing. If I don't finish it, or start it for that matter, it can't be rejected. 

The only solution is to keep on working.  Or start working in the case of the book.  I think I owe that to the boys and to myself. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Our B-man is a sensory seeker.  This means that he needs more input.  He doesn't actually feel everything.  I think it's why he throws up so often - he doesn't feel full until it's too late.  Then he's over full and has to give some back. It's way when he says he's sick, he's really sick.  When he was little we thought he was having allergy troubles until he spiked a fever - he had pneumonia (he actually got pneumonia 3 times between 6 months and 2 years old).  He never complained or whined.  It's the opposite of the sensory avoider. The avoiders are the kids who don't like tags in their clothes or scratchy clothes.  As a seeker, B loves compression.  A tight hug will calm him down.  On stressful days we dress him in compression shirts.  He sleeps with a weighted blanket.  He even has a weighted stuffed shark, he takes it to school on stressful days to to keep in his lap. 

His school used to have a sensory room.  It had a trampoline, a ball pit, a beam, crash pads and a hugging swing.  The hugging swing was B's favorite.  It was made out of a spandex-y material.  When he sat in it, the spandex enveloped him, giving him the input he craves. 

B's Aunt Yaura (Laura) is crazy about him and so very thoughtful! She bought him a swing for Christmas! It's designed just like the hugging swing except it's mesh instead of spandex. 

Last week over spring break, we finally got it installed in his room.  He's so excited! He needs help getting into it but he can get out on his own. 

We rigged it up so that it will hold his pillow behind him as well.  He gets in the sleeping bag, I hold down the swing and he wriggles in!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


I love to cook and bake.  I don't like to do it often but when I get in the mood, I'm all in.  The other night I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post for cinnamon sugar donuts.  I love me some donuts.  This recipe was for baked donuts. 

Monday I was a little bored and was still thinking about those donuts.  It probably didn't help that I'd been looking at baked donut recipes on Pinterest.  I created a board and everything. 

Off I went to Michael's to get a donut pan.  40% off coupon for the win! I also went to the grocery store to get the ingredients.  I had three recipes I wanted to try out - cinnamon sugar, Nutella filled and coffee cake. 

Monday night I started with the cinnamon sugar recipe.  I wouldn't say who, but someone hassled me for starting small ;).  They were so good!! A bonus to baking these was that they use buttermilk and Zac decided to try some.  I tried to tell him it was gross to drink but he tried it anyway.  I should have videoed it!

The Nutella filled donuts required making Nutella rings and freezing them overnight.  I made the Nutella ones Tuesday morning.  I did not like them much. The actual donut part was a different recipe and it was not as good as the cinnamon sugar ones.  They were better when they were warm but I don't think I'll make them again.  They were more work for less taste. 

I was really excited about the coffee cake donuts.  I like the crumble on coffee cakes and the recipe had crumble and vanilla glaze.  I made them after dinner Tuesday.  Oh. My. Goodness.  They were so good!! They are definitely my favorite of the three. 

I may have burned the boys out on my donuts.  I don't care that much! I'm gonna keep making them.  The cinnamon sugar ones are super easy, I just have to make sure I have buttermilk, all the other ingredients are usually here.  I do think I'll get another pan.  Six donuts will not cut it with these boys and I'm not a big fan of waiting.  I'd rather make all twelve at once. 

What do you think? Do you ever get obsessive about baking?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

To Do Lists

Yesterday was the first day of Spring Break. I slept in, as I had planned and as I plan to do each morning this week, drank coffee and got back to my Bible Study.  I'm still in Exodus, my favorite book in the Bible.  I'm in Chapter 25.  God is giving Moses the instructions for the Tabernacle. 

I'm sure lots of people find these instructions boring. I'm fascinated by the instructions.  They are so detailed.  So specific. 

As I reflected on them Monday morning, I found myself feeling jealous.  Again.  I'm often jealous of the Israelites.  They were God's chosen people. They received direct instruction from Him.  They knew He was present with them, Pillar of Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night.

This morning I was wishing I had a to do list from God like the Israelites had:

My next thought was, maybe it's ok that I don't get a daily to do list from God.  I'd probably screw it up anyway.  I'd probably ignore the most important things on the list and spend too much time on things that shouldn't take too long.  I'd for sure mess it up.

As I reflected on all these I realized, I do have a to do list from God.  It has exactly two items on it.  It's the same every day.  And I, for sure, mess it up more days than I get it right.  But, I try to get it right every day. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019


Fatigue.  I'm there.  I was sick most of February.  I got bronchitis at the beginning of the month and I've had a hard time shaking it.  I've tried to pull back and rest. I haven't been getting up early each morning.  I haven't been working out.  I haven't been going to the Bigs' baseball games because it's been so cold outside.  But I am tired. I'm exhausted. I'm fatigued.

The real problem is I'm not really sure what else to do about it.  Because I live in 2019, I Googled "overcoming fatigue".  I knew most of the advice: make sure there aren't other health issues, rest, eat right and exercise.  Got it, thanks.

Next week is Spring Break.  I'm looking forward to being home with the boys.  Of course, we have baseball but it will be nice to get to see them in action. I'm planning on resting but not spending the entire week in bed.  I want to get back to yoga and my Bible study. 

Jesus spent time alone in the Bible. There are many many verses about finding rest in Him.  In the Bible rest is also associated with peace.  That's what I'm clinging to, the promise of peace. 

I think it's a combo of the time of year and getting over bronchitis, really.  I think Spring Break will do me some good and I'll get back to normal. 

What do you do when you feel worn out? How do you get back to yourself?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Leadership Podcasts

I'm a junkie.  A podcast junkie. A leadership junkie.  When these two things collide, greatness happens! Today I want to tell you about 5 of my favorite leadership podcasts.

Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast - this podcast only comes out once a month and is generally short - 20 or 30 minutes.  But it usually has good stuff.  February & March were a two part discussion with Andy and his wife about parenting.  Very helpful! You can go to the site to get more information and the discussion guide for each episode.

Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast - this one comes out twice a month. You can listen or watch it on this site.  The site also offers a leadership guide for each episode. Every other episode is a Q & A with an author and since I'm also a book junkie, I love that! Episodes 47 & 49 were awesome - Six Steps to Your Best Year of Leadership, parts 1 and 2.  Excellent learning in those two podcasts alone!

Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast - Carey's podcast comes out every week.  All his podcasts are long form (an hour or more) interviews.  Carey covers secular and church leadership.  I don't end up listening to all his podcasts but when I do, I learn a lot! Learn more here.

Jon Gordon's Positive U Podcast - I love Jon Gordon's books and I definitely need to be more positive! Jon's podcast is also an interview based podcast. The length of the podcast varies between 30 and 45 minutes.  Jon works with a lot of sports teams so that bleeds over into his podcast.  But I think there's a lot to learn about leadership from the sports arena.  Learn more here.

Increase Your Impact with Justin Su'a - short and sweet! This podcast comes out every day is never more than 10 minutes.  Not a lot of heavy content but definitely things to get you thinking about leadership and help you focus on the day ahead!  Learn more here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

5 Take Aways from Atomic Habits

A few weeks ago, I wrote a bit about a book I was reading, Atomic Habits by James Clear. I finished reading it this weekend and I highly recommend it!

1. Identity wins - decide who you want to become then work backwards.  Instead of saying 'I want to lose 20 pounds' you'd say 'I'm the kind of person who eats well'.  Decisions and habits will flow naturally from your new identity. 

2. Perfect isn't important - every time you do something that helps cement your new identity, you're casting a vote for your new identity over the old one.  You don't have to have all the votes to win; majority rules.  When you eat an apple instead of a cookie, you're casting a vote for your new identity of 'I'm the kind of person who eats well'.  When you do eat a cookie, that doesn't destroy your new identity as long as start casting votes for your new identity.  Don't give up when you mess up.

3. Systems win - this is what I wrote about before so I wouldn't belabor the point.  Winners and losers have the same goals.  You have to have a better system.  

4. Different might be better - some of the habits we are in response to something else.  For example, when I drive long distances I drink very sugary gas station coffee and eat sour watermelons.  Not the healthiest choices.  Not the only choices either.  Clear says it this way: "Your current habits are not necessarily the best way to solve the problems you face; they are just the methods you learned to use." The key to getting rid bad habits might be to think about other ways to solve problems.  

5. Boredom happens - everyone gets to a point where they aren't motivated to continue.  Those who keep going despite the boredom and lack of motivation are more successful. 

You can learn more about Atomic Habits by listening to this podcast (speaking of podcasts, I'll be talking about leadership podcasts tomorrow).