July ? 3 things – it is summer and I’m a teacher…

I am grateful that my trip abroad with students and parents finally happened and we had a successful educational experience.

A hilltop in Belgium where the American Memorial stands to honor the soldiers that liberated Belgium in WWII.
The precision of the American cemetery. Chilling.

I am grateful for the roof over my head and the home I have built for myself, but I have really been missing my house and my outdoor space. I pray real estate prices come down so this teacher can afford to buy a house. I am grateful I have enough – because I do…I have enough. I don’t need a house – I want a house, and I am grateful to know the difference.

I am grateful for the two little angels I spent the weekend with. They surely have my heart…just when I didn’t think I’d give it away ever again – God tricked me and sent me grandchildren. The sweetness, the innocence, the joy and laughter are all so uplifting and life-affirming.

I decided to put this photo of me as a child on my phone to remind myself who I really am. I, too, am a precious gift from God. This photo was kept in my daddy’s wallet until the day he died. ❤️

#3things #gratitude #choosejoy #bertramtravels

My Three Things from Berlin on July 4th, 2022

Berlin, Germany

I am grateful for all that I have and for all that this life has to offer me in 2022; I am grateful for this WWII History tour and all that I have learned and experienced so far – so sad, yet so proud to be American; I am grateful that my student found her passport back at the restaurant 3 hours after she unknowingly dropped her wallet under the table. #choosejoy #3things #gratitude

Bastogne, Belgium and my 3 things

July 2, 2022

Today I am grateful to be an American – and so proud. I know we are not a perfect nation, and I know our nation doesn’t always do the right thing. But the soldiers that liberated this city in WWII, and the soldiers that died trying to do so are incredibly celebrated here. The memorials and dedications to them abound. Even the church bells – every day – on every half hour – begins ringing with the first five notes of the American National anthem. This town could teach some Americans a thing or two about patriotism and gratitude toward our veterans; I am grateful to have met Henry. He was a small boy when the Germans occupied his town and his home. He shared his experiences with us today and he led us from one memorial to the next. Thank you Henry; I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and have these experiences- and those soldiers made it possible. I am humbled.

This is Henry. This is the Sherman tank that stands in the center of Bastogne. That is one of two bullet holes that “knocked it out in December 44. It recalls the sacrifices of all the fighters for the liberation of Bastogne and Belgium”. (Plaque) 🇺🇸

I was especially moved today by the German cemetery. 6 men buried together under one cross. We were told this was German military tradition as in – leave no soldier alone. So many were just boys. So many unknown. So much death. I wondered why they were still here. 7000 in just that cemetery. The Germans just left the bodies. The Geneva Convention requires they be buried, handled with respect. They never went home because families could not afford to have them brought home. And again – so many unknown soldiers. So. Many. “Now, they’ll just be here forever” Henry said.

Freedom certainly is not free.

#choosejoy #gratitude #3things #usa #letfreedomring

Paris in July-3things

July 1, 2022

The weather has been so mild for us on this trip, and the people of Paris have been very kind. I am grateful for cabs when I am tired of walking – 7 miles today on a broken right foot and and left busted knee – I am so grateful I did not fall again; I am grateful for the river cruise tonight and for having been given the opportunity to see Notre Dame before it burned down. I hope to come again once it is rebuilt; I am grateful to be traveling with such kind and wonderful people. Tomorrow we head to Belgium – birthplace of my grandmother. #gratitude #3 things #choosejoy

A glimpse of Notre Dame from the Seine.

May 19, 2022 – 12 days ’till closing.

3 things – I am grateful to have Baby Bird in the nest for a few days, even if she is too busy to hang out.

I am grateful that, by the grace of God, in 12 days I will close on the sale of my home and I am assured my final order for divorce will also finally be signed by the judge – Praise God. It’s been over 2.5 years and I think the stress has aged me 10 – but I have never been more at peace.

I am grateful for my dear friend who celebrated her birthday today. She means the world to me and I would be lost without her.

#choosejoy #gratitude #3things

On Wednesdays we wear pink…

Tuesday, May 10 2022 – 3 things

I am so grateful for fun memories with my kids. My daughter and I dressed as Regina George and her mother one year for Halloween. Our costumes were totally lost on the crowd we were with but we loved it.

I am grateful for frozen peas because they are the best way to ice my back.

I am grateful for the beautiful day we had today. I so love the spring.

#choosejoy #gratitude #3things

Mother’s Day Eve – 3 things

May 7, 2022

I am grateful, oh so grateful, for the 3 greatest loves of my life. Alexis, Michael, and Rachel. My children. They do their best every day, as we all do … I am so proud of each of them and will forever be blessed by their love.

Happy Mother’s Day.

#choosejoy #3things #gratitude

May I Return to my 3 things.

May 1, 2022

This weekend I watched my friend of 23 years say goodby to her husband within 10 days of a cancer diagnosis. Total shock.

Experience, strength, and hope – these are the 3 things I am grateful for tonight as I put my head on my pillow, because they are what my friends, what my people, offer me to hold me up. And it’s usually provided with a bucket of faith. I am grateful for my health and my healing so that I can, in turn, hold up others.

#choosejoy #gratitude #3things

3 thing April 12 – 2nd day of spring break – I’d rather be at the beach!!

I was a wreck – so nervous.

So, day 1 I got sinus surgery and it’s a 3-5 day recovery with 2 weeks of no strenuous activity. I did this over spring break so as not to miss more time in my classroom since the repeated sinus infections that knocked me out so bad doc gave me a Covid test every time, kept me from my job on multiple occasions. Then I got Covid!!! So it’s been a very rough school year.

So here is my list of gratitude I am grateful for the surgeon and health care professionals that did an amazing job of calming my nerves, healing my pain, and giving me tender and full attention. Special shout-out to Chris, the recovery nurse that was generous with the pain meds but more importantly, started singing I am woman…how did she know?

I am grateful to have people to surround me with their love and care as I recover at home.

I am grateful that I call tell the pressure behind my eyes – the one that made them feel like they would just explode out of my face – well, it’s gone. Praise God.

On another note…

I was called selfish and a bad teacher this week by another teacher. I was told I lacked commitment to my students and criticized how much school I had missed, my lessons and instruction. Although she has never been in my room. Nonetheless, it really hurt my feelings. She is a friend. No conversation, no asking me if I’m ok or why my absences have been so many. (See sinus story above).

Hmmmm chronic illness… Choosing to take care of my physical, or mental health for that matter, is not selfish. It’s called self-care.

I have accepted that she was having a bad day, is overwhelmed by her job, and chose to lash out at me. Perhaps even something personal going on as well. Teaching is hard and very demanding and we tend to ignore our own needs ALL THE TIME. So I repeat, self care is not selfish.

Basically? We had a misscommunication as I failed to receive information about a student. That prompted the unprofessional email. Anyway – I’m disappointed she was not made to apologize or did not do it on her own accord – as she also sent this to 2 administrators. I was told it was handled and now it’s a personnel issue and they can’t tell me anything. They printed my email of concern and put it in the file of this incident Total cop out.

I don’t want to reply to her attack in kind. I thought about bringing her flowers and just saying – something is clearly upsetting your life and I hope whatever it is gets better for you .. and give her the flowers. Be the bigger person and give her. Chance to apologize. She’s a teacher – she’s under too much stress – she snapped and had a target that morning and unfortunately it was me. I can empathize. But I can’t accept the personal attack. Standing up for yourself is a part of self care. I cannot let it go unnoticed. She is my friend. This could be just what SHE needs.

I am grateful that I have grown is gratitude, grace, and peace and I hope to continue to help others grow as well. You are never alone. Ask for help. Reach out – someone will reach back.

Have a great day everyone. And be kind to one another. You never know what their struggles are.

#gratitude #3things #choosejoy #selfcare #bekind