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Sometimes something happens that shakes you to the core. This week has been one of those weeks. We started the week on a hopeful note. B had eighth grade night for wrestling on Monday night and won his match. I can’t believe we are wrapping up middle school for him. We all went out and got dinner and things were great. The team was pumped for the team championships the next night. Things were lovely.

Tuesday went pretty well throughout the day, too. I even got to be the fun Mom and haul a bunch of the wrestlers to the team championship tournament right after school. The kids were having fun, I was excited to watch them. I had a Zoom meeting that I had to do at 5, so I went out to the car to do that with the full expectation that it would take an hour and then I would head back in and watch the rest of the tournament. Little did I know what would happen next.

About 5:30, our assistant coach and one of the other moms came running out to the car to get me. I rolled the window down and muted the Zoom as the asst. coach kept saying we need you inside. I asked him why twice and then he told me B was hurt and they had called an ambulance. At that point, I unmuted the meeting, explained that my son was hurt and abruptly left. When I got inside, David was with B (along with coaches, an athletic trainer, and the SRO for that school) and just looked at me and said “Don’t look.” Now, if you know me well, you know that there are only two reasons David would tell me don’t look. The first is if something is so bad that it is going to cause me to panic (not just because it’s bloody, but because I know too much from listening to him all these years). In other words, if CPR is going on. The other reason would be something to do with eyes. I am one of those people that can hold other parts of your body that are falling apart, but I don’t do eyes. About the time I looked up, they moved the icepack/shirt that was covering B’s face. It was his eye. I think the words that I used to describe it when I called mom were to thin of Quasimodo from the Disney version of Hunchback of Notre Dame and then think worse.


B had taken a knee directly to the eye (what I would later find out was twice) and managed to keep wrestling. Then the ref saw his eye and called the match. An ambulance had been called (ask me sometime for that story) and we helped B out to my truck to wait on the ambulance. At that point he was pretty unstable and everyone thought we were really looking at concussion issues, but his eye looked like someone took a blue almost baseball sized something and put it on there.

His first ambulance ride got us to our local hospital, but David had already said that we would probably end up transferred to a trauma center (still all of us thinking we were dealing with concussion and maybe a possible fracture of the eye socket). We met him at the hospital (David and I were in separate vehicles). And when I walked into the ER, this is what greeted me. ****THIS IS YOUR WARNING THAT THESE PICTURES ARE GROSS****

Did I mention that I don’t like eye stuff? The hospital send him for a CT Scan, but the doctor seemed pretty hopeful on the front end because when he moved the eyelid, B could move his eye. What happened next is when this went to super scary for me. I am sure David has his own version of feelings as things went on, but when the doctor got the CT results, I started to get really worried. He said the good news is there is no orbital fracture. The bad news is that there is “significant” swelling behind the eye. Then he said we want to transfer you to the trauma center and we want to do it via ambulance. He tried to get a reading on the pressure behind the eye, and while he never told us what the reading was I would find out later it was written down as over 60. My understanding is that normal is 12-22. We began to wait on an ambulance to get to the trauma center, and btw everyone in our county needed an ambulance that night. They told us they were transferring us a little before 9:00. At 11:10 we got on an ambulance from a neighboring county and proceeded lights and sirens to the trauma center. One thing you should know about our trauma center is that it is amazing and always busy. Going in on ambulance doesn’t guarantee that there still won’t be a wait. When the ambulance got there and was getting ready to leave to take us, they asked what priority we needed to get down the road going. The doc basically said ASAP because they need to get the fluid off his eye. Now, as someone who has dealt with multiple swollen joints throughout her life, that means that there is about to be a big needle used to drain the fluid. Slightly terrifying, right? The medic and EMT were great going down there, and we even had a conversation about that the trauma center was packed and we may still be waiting a while.

We didn’t wait. We got there and they directed us to a room. Before they could get him in the room, the doc came and took him to the “eye room.” I rode on the ambulance to the trauma center, and David followed, so they had taken B before David even got back there with us. What very quickly transpired was lots of taking pressure of his eye, then bringing him back and explaining to us that the pressure was extremely high and they were going to do some more readings and call a surgeon to try to save his vision. The surgeon would take another reading and make a final decision. At this point it is 12:35 am, the injury happened at 5:30 pm the night before. B heard everything and starts to panic about losing his vision. He also had not had anything for pain or to eat (remember this happened during a wrestling match). David got them to bring him something to calm the panic and for pain and we waited on the surgeon.

Once the surgeon got there, he did some more readings, then explained everything to us. The number we needed to be under was 40. He was close. Since we had now gotten him calmed down, the surgeon wanted us to ice it and see if we could get it to go under 40 to avoid having to go in and cut the tendon to relieve the pressure. We got the ice on and waited what seemed like the longest 20 minutes of our entire lives.

Finally, and I mean that facetiously because they were so good about checking on him the whole time, the surgeon came back to do the reading. B had done it. He got the pressure down below 40. We were not going to have to have surgery. By now we have made it to about 2:15. We talk to the surgeon a little longer and he says we can go home one the ER doc discharges us, but we have to ice the eye every 2 hours and ibuprofen every 4 hours to try to help the inflammation go down. B also has to sleep in a reclined position instead of flat and if his vision changes or he starts getting a headache or nausea to immediately call the surgeon’s office and go back to the trauma center. The good news was that in addition to no surgery, B could finally sleep because of all the meds.

Resting, and just glad to not be headed into surgery

We were finally discharged about 4:30, and got home around 5:00 am. So where are we now? We are a little less than 48 hours after the incident. His eye looks awful still (pics below). We are still icing every 2 hours, and he can’t go back to school until he can hold the eye open for long stretches of time. We did take him by to see his teammates yesterday (briefly) and I think that was maybe overdoing it physically, but much needed mentally and emotionally. We know that our wrestling family, our families, our gym family, our work families, and our friends are the greatest people on the planet. We have felt love and prayers throughout all of this. It has been the most terrifying thing we have ever dealt with, and will continue to deal with, but the messages and prayers are keeping us going. We are also exhausted and trying to determine if our 13 year old is telling us truly how he feels or trying to be strong and not worry everyone. Also trying to get him out a little bit because the weather is gorgeous and we don’t want him to just sit in the dark, but weighing that with how much do we need to have him out because his body needs to heal. I’m sure that by next week we will be in the clear, but we will go back to the surgeon just to check. I’m also sure that a visit to the eye doctor is in our future.

I wanted to let everyone know what was going on, but this was definitely too much to put into a social media post, so the blog just happened to be the best way to accomplish this. Know that we are so thankful for the prayers, food, offers to help, and everything else. We love all of you. I’ll keep posting updates as things change, but we are thinking we are in the clear at this point.

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Trust or Faith

It’s Sunday morning, it’s quiet, I have come to the gym to do my normal Sunday stuff of paying bills. For some reason I just got this urge to go and do some stuff in my YouVersion app on my phone. Admittedly, I am the queen of finding Bible studies or devotionals on that app and starting them to make it a day or two and forget about it, so I am in and out on YouVersion a lot. This morning, I tried this new guided prayer thing that is in there. I decided to try it, I mean why not ya know? And as I worked through it, I actually wrote the prayer I wanted to pray for today. That may seem like nothing to some, but for me it is a big deal. I have never been someone that could just pray. I send short prayers to God throughout the day, but to just sit and think through a prayer is something I have always struggled with. So this morning’s prayer was a different thing for me. As I wrote it I realized that there is a difference between trust and faith.

A Prayer for Trust - Help me to learn to trust myself again.  Support me as I try to trust the motives of the people around me.  Help me move past the insecurities that manifest in my head so I can be the person that you designed me to be.
My prayer for trust

I was always one of those people at church when others would talk about faith that God would provide or faith that was shown by giving away everything you own and following God that just kind of shut down. As I thought about it this morning, I realized that when I heard those stories faith and trust were used interchangeably. I also realized that I am still the person that when people say give away everything you own and follow God that wants a plan before we start. For years, I have felt bad because I didn’t feel like I had the faith that everyone else had. This morning I realize it isn’t the faith, it’s the trust.

You see, to me, faith is a belief. I can believe something all day long. Trust actually requires me to let go of control. To find myself in those uncomfortable situations and not try to move myself out of them. To allow the things to happen, even when I don’t have control over them. Faith is saying I will do this thing if it presents itself at the right time. Trust is saying this isn’t the right time, but it is presenting itself so I will do it now. That whole concept may not make sense in anyone’s head but mine, but it made sense to me today.

I’m not really sure why I decided to write all this down and share it with the world. It takes me to places I don’t like to admit that I question myself. I guess for me, this is my version of trust. Trusting myself enough to feel like I am not the only one that ever has these thoughts or feelings or questions, trusting those around me enough to not be scared that I’m going to lose face by voicing these things, maybe even trusting God enough to protect me when I put this out there for the whole world to see. I don’t really know what the purpose is, but I know I felt like this was what I was supposed to do before I could start working. For today, I guess I am just going to trust that it is right. I’m taking action on the faith that I have.

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Trust. It seems like such an easy concept. And it’s one of those things that involves more than one person… Right? Well, kind of. Except when it isn’t.

I have chosen a word of the year for the past 4 years. I learned a long time ago that resolutions were not my thing. I love to set goals, but I can’t set year long goals. It just doesn’t work for me. In a quest to “be a better human” I found the concept of One Word and that just resonated with me. Figure out a word, find things that remind you of that word, focus on that word, etc. This I could do. It gave me an opportunity to continue to design things (something I loved doing, but had kind of let go). When I decided to try this word for the year, the words came easy.

2018 was Peace – This one came to me easy after a rough year with lots of transitions. It was hard to find, but easy to focus on for a year. I was in a new job with lots of new responsibilities and changing the ways that I thought about things. It was also the year I was rebuilt by some amazing friends/bosses and regained some confidence in my abilities as a teacher.

2019 was Pause – That new job came with lots of changes and when I look back I can see that while I did find some peace in 2018, I also ran as hard as I could everywhere I was going. Pause just seemed to fit for 2019. It made sense. It was what I needed to do. I created backgrounds for my computer, my watch, my phone, etc. I saw pause everywhere, but I was not very successful in learning to pause unless I was ill.

2020 was Intentional – The year that no one expected. I had chosen intentional because I wanted to revamp the way I did things and make sure that I wasn’t half-doing things. I wanted to be intentional about how I spent my time. I had no clue exactly how important that word would become as we went through the craziness that was 2020.

2021 was Rhythm, then it was Gratitude – I started the year wanting desperately to get my life back into a rhythm that had been torn apart by 2020. It didn’t take long into 2021 to determine that rhythm was just going to frustrate me. There were so many things outside of my control that were affecting my ability to get into a rhythm. As a self-professed control freak, I found that trying to cling desperately to rhythm was almost becoming harmful to my mental health. So, I switched my word around March to gratitude. I focused on making a list of things I was grateful for every day (at least I tried to make sure I got that done) and really found that to be helpful to my mentality at a point when the world seemed to be falling apart and my own little world was crazy.

That brings us to 2022 and Trust. A few weeks ago someone used the word trust (granted it seemed in anger) but it got me to thinking. That person was using it in the realm of learning to trust each other, but it seemed more than that to me. And I really didn’t want that to be my word. It made me uncomfortable and I couldn’t figure out why. In general, I tend to trust people. Then I realized, I trust people, but sometimes question the intentions. So I started to think maybe this is my word. So I thought some more and realized the person that I really don’t trust is me. I trust my mind, but I don’t trust my body due to weirdo injuries and things that just don’t work. I trust my logic, but I am super insecure about things and always second guessing myself. It was then that I realized that yes, trust is my word, but it isn’t about trusting others. My issue with trust is trusting myself. The reason I question intentions of people is because I stay rooted in my own insecurities. So my word is trust. It isn’t about trusting others. It’s all about learning to trust myself. It is going to force me to be intentional with my thoughts. It’s going to force me to do hard things. It’s probably going to hit some nerves that are really raw. My hope is that by the time I get to the end of the year I am trusting myself and moving beyond my insecurities. I want to be the person that believes it when people say nice things or tell me I have done something good.

Trust - Don't let insecure thoughts ruin something amazing
Learning to Trust myself in 2022

So trust it is. What does that look like? I am not really sure. Today, it looks like putting it out there in writing. It looks like not being insecure about admitting that there are issues that I need to figure out how to deal with. It looks like trying to not feel a need to “prove myself” and just relaxing into the things that I do. I don’t know what it will look like tomorrow, but I do know that it will be a journey to learn to trust myself. It will be a journey to overcome the insecurities that creep in and try to steer me off course.

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Changing the Monday Mindset

I was watching Instagram stories this morning, and I came across this graphic shared by someone I follow:

Monday Mindset

As I sit here today, working from home because of a migraine and some wintry weather, this graphic spoke to me about the way that we normally think about Mondays. I am as guilty as anyone of starting to dread Monday on Sunday afternoon. In fact, I have seen several memes about how Sunday just can’t be enjoyable because it is Monday Eve.

This has really gotten me thinking about how much of the bad feelings about Monday are made worse by our mindset? It is interesting that I talk about mindset to my students, and even to my kids at home, but I still can’t manage to make it past those Monday blues. When I saw that graphic this morning, it really stuck with me that this would be a great way to try to change my mindset about Mondays. These are things we can do every day, but it seems like it is even more important on Mondays.

I also think it is very important to keep in mind the A from this graphic. It seems like most of us spend way too much time down on ourselves instead of acknowledging what we have actually accomplished. It has been far too easy in my life to look at the to-do list and see how many things I didn’t get accomplished during the day instead of acknowledging how much progress I actually made during the day. We so often try to give others the benefit of the doubt or try to make up the difference ourselves, when we have already taken on more than what we should have. Once we have taken on all the things, we beat ourselves down for not getting everything accomplished. Perhaps it is wanting to check everything off the list or maybe it is a quest for perfection. Either way, the tendency that we have to keep adding to the list and then beating ourselves up for not getting the list finished is extremely harmful to the way we think about ourselves overall. In other words, we really need to be giving ourselves a break instead of constantly striving for perfection. Don’t let your Monday Mindset be a negative start to your week.

Life is too hard for us to be continuously hard on ourselves. There are enough people waiting to knock us down or criticize us without us leading that charge. This week, I am issuing a challenge. Start your week with a better Monday Mindset and live the week being intentional about not beating yourself up over everything that doesn’t go wonderfully.

Posted in Perfect Chaos, This is me, Uncategorized


For roughly 2 months, I have been talking about redoing our home office. I’ve been dreaming about redoing it for years. We actually took the big step and ordered countertops to create a desk over a month ago. I bought the paint a month and a half ago. Today, it finally happened. When we decided what we were going to do, David started cleaning out the old office. That turned things slightly upside down. Little did we know how long it would remain turned upside down. I even left Christmas decorations out to put in there when we put up all the decorations everywhere else in the house. As a reminder, here are a few pics from the beginning of this craziness (September 27th was when I took these pictures).

Chaos definitely describes it, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. In fact, I couldn’t even work in here because it was so chaotic. It wasn’t always like this, but it quickly became like this when David and I, and the kids, all got sent home to do work and school in March. As fall semester rolled along, I kept having this really bad feeling that we would end up being sent home again. Luckily, that did not happen, but it made me want to get the office in shape to where we could function if we were all sent home. This particular room has served as an office, the first bedroom for both kids, and then back to an office. It is a long, skinny room, and it is hard to use as a bedroom because of that. Luckily, my husband is pretty much a saint and goes along with my crazy ideas of doing stuff with the house. Here are some pictures of the office as it looks right now, and some pictures of the process.

If I said I am loving the new office, it would be an understatement. We finally have a space that works for both of us. We will be able to work in here together, record our podcast in here (, have a nice place to meet with people if we need to do that (hence the blue chair), and make plans together. I am absolutely over the moon with our new setup. I know there are some things we still need to get or do, and it will get changed a little as we start using it more, but I am actually motivated to do some work again. Here’s hoping that it will provide a great place for us to work when we need to work from home.

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What does it matter?

So, I spent some time this weekend (and last weekend if I’m being honest) putting up Christmas stuff. As I was reading through social media this week, I saw multiple posts where people were fussing about others putting Christmas stuff up “too early” or people were putting their stuff up and posting pictures with the comment of “Don’t come at me for this.”

I have always wondered why it mattered to so many people when other people put the Christmas tree up, but I wonder that even more this year. You see, it seems to me like this year has been full of hard times, worries, unease, discontent, and general unkindness. I am one of those people that typically puts the Christmas decorations up early. I have done this for years. It isn’t because I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. It is because I love the twinkling lights and happy faces of Christmas. I love the magic of Christmas. They make me happy. They make my kids happy.

Quite honestly, one of the best Christmases we ever had was the year that I had absolutely everything (including buying and wrapping) finished by Thanksgiving. We spent the next month after Thanksgiving that year doing the fun things of Christmas. We watched movies, baked cookies, read stories, made crafts, and had time to do some of the things that just mean a little more at Christmas, too. We all 4 did Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and we got 2 names off the Angel Tree that we got to shop for that year. We got to go see all the parades, cook special meals, have friends over, and truly relax and enjoy the Christmas season. It was the calmest and happiest Christmas season we have ever had. This was all while I had surgery, Alyssa played middle school basketball and had games and tournaments, B played Upward basketball, and we were all doing things at church.

For us, it just works to put the decorations up early. I have friends that wait until after Thanksgiving, some that wait until the 1st of December, a couple that wait until the 12 days before Christmas, and 1 that puts it all up on Christmas Eve and has it all back down on the 26th. I think that is all wonderful. Every bit of it. It isn’t what I do, but what does that matter?

Why has this become such a big deal to people? I finally got an answer from a post someone else put up that said it makes it harder for people who don’t enjoy Christmas. I totally understand that, and I am truly sorry that it has that affect on someone. I personally need it to help me get through the changing of the season. I love fall, but I hate to see the leaves go away and I don’t like the barren trees and brown grass of winter. It helps when I miss people who can’t be here because of location because I remember the fun things we have done together when I get those decorations out. It helps me feel close to my Nana who has been gone since August of 2017 because most of my decorations came from her store and I can remember her always liking the way I decorated.

This year, I have seen more people struggle with emotional baggage due to the pandemic, the election, hurricanes, fires, murder hornets, school closures, etc. I have also seen more people saying they were putting up their Christmas stuff earlier than they ever have because it makes them happy. I guess my question in all of it is simply, “Why does it matter to someone else if I put my tree up early?” There are so many thing going on in this world. So many big things that we need to work together on. So many things we can fight over that actually make a difference. So why is it the Christmas decorations that are the sticking point? What’s the real deal?

I guess, for me, it doesn’t matter if you put them up early or late, if the baby Jesus is already in your nativity or not, if the Magi are wandering around your house or have already found the crèche on the mantle, if you love the Christmas Shoes song or hate it, if you choose to celebrate Christmas or another holiday, if you do a ton of gifts or none. In my mind, do what makes you happy. None of these things are hurtful to another person. Do something that makes you smile. If that means you have pumpkins on the porch and elves in the windows, go for it. Find something that will bring a little more light to your world this year. There is definitely no reason to choose now to dull your sparkle. Yes, my tree is up and lit. The ornaments and angel will happen later this week. I have snowmen all over my kitchen. The Polar Express table is almost finished, and the mantle is done (including the nativity with the baby Jesus and magi all in attendance). I have Christmas pillows out, the tree in my bedroom is up, and there are more trees on the way. I plan on Black Friday shopping, and then wrapping everything on the next day. Then I plan on sitting back and relaxing with my family and enjoying the Christmas season. I hope you will enjoy this season, too.

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Thoughts about apologies and a little bit of the world

Does anyone else feel like you need to start every conversation with an apology? I mean, we all know that everyone is stretched beyond the limits we previously thought we had established as the most we could do, yet I still find myself starting conversations with a disclaimer or a pre-apology if I offend anyone. You know the kind. When we start off with things like, “Today sure has been a long week,” or, “I may be a little extra crabby today, so I’m sorry if I come across as mean.”

This is an interesting phenomenon, and it is one that has fascinated me forever. I have always been one of those people that says, “I’m sorry,” for every little thing yet has a hard time when it is a big thing. This concept of apologizing when it isn’t needed is strange, but fits in with the phenomenon of the pre-apology. So today I am asking the question. I truly want an answer, because I have some theories and I would love to see if any of them resonate with anyone else.

I was raised a good southern girl. I was taught manners by my mother, had them reinforced by my grandmother, and was ultimately sent to Charm School in high school. I know how to throw a party, set a table, carry on a conversation, present myself in public, etc. Along with that came a good amount of watching the people around me be hospitable to the point of walking on themselves before others could. I have seen people say sorry for the smallest things that they truly have no control over. I am absolutely guilty of doing this same thing, and have been guilty of it my whole life. I’m pretty sure it drives David nuts because I apologize for things like tonight when I discovered the power strip for the sound bar was turned off. I apologized for it, but he is the one that turned it off. What in the world am I actually saying sorry for when I didn’t have anything to do with the event? My theory on this one is that I am not apologizing for an actually occurrence, but instead I am apologizing that someone was inconvenienced or upset. It is an apology for feelings, not actions.

The pre-apology seems to be gaining ground lately, and I am watching it happen more and more around me. We are all stretched well beyond anything we are able to deal with, and tensions seem to be running at an all time high. I have also noticed that there seem to be 2 different things that happen with the pre-apology. 1 thing that I have seen happen is the person that gives the pre-apology really is over-tired or over-stressed and that person seems to be truly trying to be cordial and not snippy, but may or may not be succeeding. This type of pre-apologist I look at in much the same way as the apology for a feeling instead of an action. I don’t necessarily have a problem with what is happening, but am a little disturbed that we feel we have to start with a pre-apology. The other thing that I am seeing happen more and more often is when someone starts with a pre-apology, then continues on with words or actions that are deliberately harmful and hurtful to others under the premise of being stressed or tired. This type of pre-apology is one that I have a huge problem with and it seems to be happening more and more often as we get further into 2020.

Do you ever just wonder what happened to being kind to one another? When did it become more acceptable to give what I consider an empty pre-apology and then put people on blast? There are many arguments about what is contributing to this, and I’ll save those for another day. What I won’t save for another day is that I am tired of hateful. I am over spiteful. What happened to simple kindness? When did we forget that ALL of us are human, regardless of our different opinions?

Then there is the problem that I notice more and more in that we are able to do these small apologies all over the place for nothing, and we are also able to do the pre-apology. What we seem to have a hard time with is an actual meaningful apology for a serious wrong that has been committed either in word or action. Friendships are breaking up all over the place because words have been said and no one will come forward and acknowledge the wrong with an apology. I am not saying that everything can be fixed or even should be fixed with a simple apology, but I sure do see a ton of things that need apologies from multiple sides. When did we become people that will just pack our stuff and go home so we don’t have to see differing opinions? When did the common decency in disagreement turn into a battlefield?

I have watched friendships dissolve this week over an election. The latest thing I am seeing is an event on facebook to leave facebook for some other platform that promises to be uncensored freedom of speech. I don’t know about you, but after reading the things that have been written the past 6 months about politics, pandemics, education, and so many other things I don’t want to see what uncensored looks like.

So I have an idea. How about we stop apologizing when it isn’t really necessary and start apologizing when it is hard? What if we stopped apologizing because someone was mildly inconvenienced by something we had no control over and started apologizing for hurtful words that we said? What would happen if instead of dividing ourselves yet again so that we are surrounded by people that we agree with we decided to recognize humanity in those we don’t agree with and find common ground?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the world doesn’t feel like people are just mean to everyone else. I don’t know how we got here, or if I am the only person watching and feeling like a lost sheep in a pack of wolves. I compared the world the other day to middle school. That time during adolescence when children/tweenagers/teenagers/young adults are cruel in the ways that they treat each other and talk to each other. I want out of middle school. I want to have discussions where I don’t have to agree with the other person and we are still friends.

As someone who is a 2 on the Enneagram, an empathetic soul, and wants nothing more than peace, this world is giving me a headache. Even worse, it is breaking my heart. To those who I have hurt in the past, whether it was intentional or not, I am truly sorry. To those who feel they have no place to turn, come find me. We may not agree, but at the end of the day we can still be friends and have great conversations. And to those who just want to fight, argue, and speak nastiness to those who don’t agree with you, I’m truly sorry that you are so unhappy.

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Great Expectations

Picture this…

It’s the beginning of a new semester. You have set new goals for the semester, gone into your classroom or your office and gotten organized, and determined how this semester will be even better than the last one. Or maybe you went into work and realized that this season would be harder than ever before, but decided to be positive and look at all the amazing things you were anticipating learning because of the unique situation we are all finding ourselves in this year. Perhaps you simply have great expectations for a new relationship or even when you wake up in the morning and have great expectations for the day.

We are a society of expectations. We set them high, and hope to get there. I spend my days teaching students how to set high expectations and get their students to rise to meet those expectations. We call our expectations all sorts of different things:

You can search the internet and scour the library and you will find all sorts of information about setting expectations. Everyone and their brother has an opinion about it. How high should you set them? Should you write them down? How will you achieve them? You should set them higher. You should set them lower. You will never reach that goal. Don’t push so hard to achieve so much, you will never be able to top what you just accomplished.

But what do these expectations actually mean to us? Are we setting small goals that can be accomplished or are we setting huge goals that are going to take a while to finish? Are we setting expectations for ourselves or for others? Have we set an expectation for ourselves that will push us to success or push us to frustration?

There are a few things that we need to remember when we are setting expectations that will help us avoid excess frustration that could have been avoided. Make no mistake, I am not saying to set low expectations or to accept mediocrity, just that there are sometimes other things to think about when we are setting expectations. Remember, the piece that never changes, but can confound everything we try to do, is our our humanity.

So what can you do to help yourself set realistic expectations, regardless of if you are setting an expectation for the day or for a lifetime?

Think logically about the circumstances surrounding the expectation
We all have desires and wants to improve ourselves in some way. Sometimes, our want is so large that the expectation that we set is not something that can logically happen. How many of us have decided we are going to start going to the gym only to be looking in the mirror and frustrated after only a few days because we don’t see a difference yet?

I have a friend who I am constantly telling to look at the entire situation and not just the momentary issue. If you are setting expectations based purely on your desires without looking at your life circumstances, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. For instance, if your expectation is for weight loss or toning, it is setting yourself up for disappointment if you are expecting results as quickly as they used to get them on that show The Biggest Loser. Logically, we know it doesn’t happen that fast. If you are setting expectations for your semester, you have to take into account what else is going on in your life. As a student, don’t set the expectation that you are going to study for 4 hours a day when you are also an athlete and working outside of school. There aren’t enough hours in the day. If you are setting expectations for a date, don’t expect to fall in love and to have that movie moment within the first hour of the first date. I’m not saying it never happens (one day I’ll blog about how David and I met), but I am saying it isn’t a healthy expectation to have. If you are a student, think about the whole of your life before you get upset about a grade. Perfection cannot be your expectation or you will always be disappointed.

Remember the Humanity Aspect of Your Expectation
Most of the time when we set expectations, we are setting them surrounding something that involves humanity. The interesting thing about this is that it is one of those things that we absolutely cannot control, especially if our expectations involve someone other than ourselves. Humans, by their very nature, are not exactly predictable in every situation. If our expectations involve humanity, which most of them do, then we have to keep that in mind when setting them. Perhaps that looks like setting different levels of expectations based on outcomes. Perhaps it looks like doing a lot of self-reflection to determine if we are expecting our own qualities to show up in other people. We have to remember the qualities of the other people when we include them in our expectations or we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. So, what does that mean? If you are setting expectations for a date night with your significant other, remember who that person is at their core. If your SO is not romantic by nature, then having the expectation of flowers and a hugely romantic evening is probably setting yourself up for disappointment and will potentially lead to feelings of resentment.

Your expectations are your expectations, not someone else’s
One of those things that has happened as social media has become more prevalent is an increase in comparing our lives to the lives of others. When you set expectations, they cannot be based upon someone else’s situation. It is okay to set your expectations and goals based on things that are inspired by others, it is not okay to set expectations to become another person. Remember that your expectation has to go back to what is able to be accomplished in your situation, not someone else’s. This is a great graphic that I found on that speaks very well to this thought process and how to avoid making expectations based on comparisons between your life and someone else’s life.

So, why is it so important to keep these things in mind when we are setting expectations? Am I telling you that if you follow these three things you will always meet or exceed your expectations? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I simply want to encourage you in this time of craziness when almost all of us are having to reevaluate the ways in which we do things to set realistic expectations that have the greatest chance of being accomplished. The downward spiral that we can find ourselves in based on not meeting expectations is just one more thing that most of us don’t need to be feeling right now as the world spins around us. Setting those realistic expectations can help us gain control in a life that sometimes feels as if we are a pinball subject to someone else’s control of the pinball machine. Setting clear expectations can give us direction when we are floundering to find our way. Setting logical expectations can help us realize when something really is disastrous and when it is just something that is not the way we wanted it at the moment.

So give yourself some grace, create some expectations, and meet those goals. You’ve got this!

Posted in Uncategorized

Exhausted, but in a different way

I let a couple weeks go by without a new post, but nothing felt right when I wrote it. You see, for all of my posts about taking care of yourself, I wasn’t taking care of me. I was just as weary and exhausted as ever, but still pushing to keep moving as fast as I could. In my mind, I needed to pick up all the pieces that I felt like were falling. I just happen to be one of those people that has great advice that I never listen to myself.

The truth is, I am still exhausted. In fact, I slept 13 hours last night because I had let myself get so tired. So if I’m exhausted, why do I feel better? I did some self-care this week, but maybe not in the way that is typically expected. This week, I was able to help with the competition at our gym (Mossy Creek Fitness) to benefit Tyler’s Voice. You can find more information about Tyler’s Voice here. It is a joke between the owners of the gym and myself that I am “scary organized” and since I have that quality, I love to offer my help when we have events. The competition was originally supposed to happen in May, but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. So my self-care this week just happened to have me busier than ever.

For me, the opportunity to spend some time organizing, creating to-do lists, making (and re-making) scoring sheets, and crunching numbers on a spreadsheet system with some of the most lovely people around. I even got the opportunity to figure out how to run a silent auction using Google forms. I know, this doesn’t sound like rest. In fact, I agree, it wasn’t rest. It was super hard work put in by a ton of people to have an amazing event.

I also got the opportunity to workout twice this week for the first time in months. I have been in PT working on some stuff in my back and hip, and super busy, so getting in 2 workouts this week was wonderful, although also hard mentally, but I’ll talk about that in my next blog post.

All of the activity this week has left me exhausted, but exhilarated. Tired, but energized. Sad, but excited. I finally realized that maybe my self-care can sometimes not be about sitting still, but instead be about the motivating factor behind my movement. I still think we all need to take a break.

I still think I need to take a break. I’m still dreaming about a long weekend away from everyone and everything with a fireplace, a hot tub, and a great view. But those forms of self-care may not necessarily fix it all. They would give me rest and help me heal physically. They would give me peace and quiet to work on my mental health. They would give me free time to work on my stress levels. The opportunity that I was given this week was the opportunity to work on who I am as a person. The opportunity to toss all the cynical feelings about all the things going on in the world went out the window when I got to see Tyler do such amazing things in the CrossFit Total. This week, amidst the chaos and hard work, I got to do some self-care to heal emotionally. The toll that none of us like to think about. The toll that happens when you are a natural caregiver. When you will gladly work yourself to death if it will make other people happy or take away a burden.

This week, I got to see our gym (with a ton of help from others) do Tyler’s Voice competition. I got to see people of all types working together on something. I got to work with people that I am so lucky to call friends, and have amazing conversations with people that inspire me. I also got to be affirmed by someone that I didn’t expect to be the person to give me affirmation.

So, you see, I am absolutely exhausted. I slept 13 hours and could quite honestly go back to bed. I’m on the couch in pajamas and pretty much planning to stay there for the day. But, I feel better than I did because I was able to give my talents to something bigger than myself for no reason other than wanting to help. Lots of people talk about filling the bucket and taking care of yourself. Getting enough rest, finding time alone, disconnecting from the world for a few minutes or longer, eating healthier, working out more, communing with nature, enjoying a good meal, etc. are all great ways to do self-care, and are all things we should try to do every once in a while. Don’t be afraid to do something that maybe makes you busier, and even a little more stressed for a moment, if it will also give you the opportunity to give of your talents and gifts freely. The work this weekend was something I took on freely, just wanting things to be organized (I may be a slight control freak), but the repayment I got from this weekend is something that will help me get through the next few weeks.

Yes, I am exhausted, but it is a different form of tired. It is one that is like being wrapped in a warm blanket. It’s a happy tired. I hope you can find a way this week to find your happy tired.

Posted in Inspiration, This is me, Uncategorized

Take a Break!!

Stop working so hard! Have I gotten your attention yet? Before anyone comments that I am promoting laziness, please know that I am definitely not doing that. I am just telling you to make sure you are taking a break every now and then. With the movement of so many people to working from home due to the pandemic, a lot of the lines between work and home got blurred, if not erased all together. If you are leaving work every single day and you are feeling like your gas tank is permanently running on fumes, there is something wrong.

Ronda is running on empty

We are all guilty of it. We work just a little longer to finish up the day’s tasks. I hate having things on my to do list that don’t get checked off by the end of the day. I have a need for there to be no notifications on my phone or iPad because that signifies that something needs my attention. I will repeat: Quit working so hard!! I have to say it to myself (and I’m a horrible listener when I tell myself something). I am writing tonight, from my office, because I just finished teaching and wanted to finish up a couple of things. Writing a blog post has been on there for several days, so I decided to mark it off the list tonight.

Why are some of us so driven? I know the reasons for motivation and drive. I get intrinsic and extrinsic value. But what makes us push beyond normal limits? Is it a fight against perception? Sometimes I really think it is. Maybe it is that we don’t want to be perceived as lazy or expendable. Maybe it is because we like to feel important and needed. If we just work a few more minutes, or maybe another hour, we prove how helpful we can be. When we prove ourselves, people need us more. Or at least that’s a theory.

I have another theory for the push to keep moving. I think sometimes we are afraid of what will happen if we stop. I do realize that could go with what I just wrote as well, and there is some fear of being not needed if we don’t keep proving our worth. Think about it though, how many times have you heard the saying, “I will rest when I’m dead,” and how do you relate that to your life? Is the motivation to keep going synonymous with a fear of what happens when we stop?

How does that fall in with this pandemic? Does that add another layer of if I keep moving, it means I am healthy? Are we turning our homes into this?

It's OK to Miss the Office During the Coronavirus Lockdown - WSJ
Where is the work/life balance?

Who suffers the most when we lose the boundaries between our work time and our home time? The argument could be made that it is our children, and it is a very good argument. The argument could be made that it is our relationships with our family members or the ways in which we deal with stress when stress is present in every aspect of our life. I think it is changing us in ways we don’t even think about. For instance, have you emailed someone over the weekend and gotten irritated that they didn’t respond? Does everything seem like an urgent situation to you? I have heard the term surge capacity several times over the past couple of weeks. At first I thought it was a crazy term being used to make excuses. I’ve done a little more research (just a little, don’t have time to do much), and I am a believer. I think most of us have hit or exceeded our surge capacity limits. The world feels upside down and topsy turvy, and it seems to be getting crazier by the day.

Our Brains Struggle to Process This Much Stress | Elemental
Somebody put us back to right side up.

I don’t know how to solve the problems, and I’m really not even certain I know what all the problems are at this point. I do know this, we have got to take a break and get off the merry go round every now and then. We have got to start reestablishing the lines between work and home life.

50 Ways to Take a Break from:

There are some great resources out there to help you re-establish those boundaries. I found the graphic above, along with some really great ideas for both work and home, at There are a ton of things that I don’t understand, and what is going on in the world is right up there near the top. I do know one thing for certain; if we all keep working this hard, we are all going to end up broken.

Take your foot off the gas and don't push yourself too hard. If you need to  rest, then take a break. The… | Inspirational words, Be gentle with  yourself, Cool words

So give yourself some grace, set some boundaries, and look up from your work. These things can only help you feel better.