2020 Takes a Virus to Journal

As most of us are aware by now, the Coronavirus spread has become a national issue, as most of us are hunkering down for a while. We are learning quickly that our luxuries aren’t going to help keep us safe if we do not practice due diligence. We need to confirm our “social distancing” to protect ourselves, and our loved ones. With this said, many families are forced to resort to continued education and homeschooling.

Speaking from experience, keeping a journal or journaling is a personally rewarding experience for dealing with crisis. My entire Master’s Project was grounded on this notion. Blogging and journaling is therapeutic. Does everyone agree? I doubt it! Most people wouldn’t understand the premise or complexities of how our minds process trauma. However, the idea of putting pen to paper for some can be scary. I’ve been told it can be “crippling” for those that aren’t familiar or comfortable with it.

It never felt unfamiliar to me. As a young student, I wrote often and read voraciously. The library was my refuge. It was quiet and safe. It was usually clean, and everything I needed to read in peace was readily available to me. It was also a place I could go that no one would question me about, and most of my friends didn’t care to join. I had learned early on to associate the nature of peace and quiet with reading and writing. It never occurred to me that I was using writing as my tool out of poverty and hopelessness.

I find myself faced with the reality that our students are dealing with making adjustments to a lifestyle they are unfamiliar with, and it will take a toll on them. As a member of the infamous Generation X, those of us unaffected or unimpressed by external factors, we were raised on using phones connected to the wall. We had the convenience of connecting with our outside cohorts, and the vehicle being America’s technological innovations. Still, we knew home was where this innovation was taking place. The information generation has that feeling of “home” but it has almost been replaced by Facebook profiles, ‘The Gram’, and Snapping. So, I say, let’s meet our students where they are, and help them find their trajectory.

I am including a link here for a neat activity to get our students out of their funk. It serves a few purposes. The activity provides students with self-awareness, as they will be creating this journal according to their likes and/or dislikes. They will also employ forethought and organization skills. They will structure their journal while developing a better sense of author ownership, and this will allow them an opportunity to view their writing through a new lens. The activity helps students become comfortable with utilizing writing as a way to contain feelings of fear or anxiety due to lack of control.

A journal helps our students find some control in an environment where their perceived perspective of losing it overwhelms them. Happy journaling all!



Student-Centered Pedagogy

I have recently starting working for a non-profit agency as a teacher/facilitator. I work at two separate sites; one located in Lincoln Park and the other in Dearborn. It has been a great experience so far, as I am not bogged down by the weight of administrative bureaucracy. The beauty of this experience is that I can focus on the students, as opposed to end of semester test scoring.

Clearly, we are attentive to these scores, and use them in order to assess where our students are, in order to meet them. However, our philosophy allows us to put students front and center. I have always been an advocate of student-centered learning, and for the first time in my teaching career, I found an organization that does exactly this.

I am still learning students names, and it does get somewhat complicated as our students sign up for our program at will. So, some students come often, and some do not, which makes it a bit difficult to remember names. Still, it has only been a few weeks, so eventually I will iron this out. The gist of our program is holistic. Our approach encompasses the idea that students learn best when they are exposed to a variety of learning styles. We apply a “reading, speaking, listening, and tactile response for kinesthetic learners” and this approach helps us meet students where they are, academically and facilitate their development.

Students are also fortunate in that we provide a small snack, and dinner. Once they sign in, they receive their snack, and they chat with their peers, and with us about their day. First order of events is that we check to make sure students get assistance with their current assignments. If they need help with anything, this is what we take care of initially. Then, we may begin an activity or learning objective that has been developed by myself or my site Supervisor. We pay close attention to the current scholarship being studied in their classrooms, and work to further those skills by creating lesson plans with this foundation in mind. Once we complete these activities, we then incorporate physical activity, craft projects, and/or learning strategies. This is the precise concept that title this post. I really appreciate having this creative freedom as an instructor, because it puts the student front and center. After all, they are the reason I do this!

The World We Leave Behind

Never before have I been more concerned about the world we are creating for future generations than I am now. I have only graced this earth for forty six years, but our current political climate and state of democracy seems ever so convoluted, and disappointing. I don’t just mean the coming elections and the like, I am referring to what our humanity has suffered in the last several years.

It seems to me we have abandoned our core values. As a nation, we have some painful historical reminders of how we’ve mistakenly taken the wrong path in order to preserve “domestic tranquility” I don’t want to leave a world behind for my grandchildren that I cannot be proud of. I don’t want to abdicate the laws of this land, nor do I think anyone is above them, but where is our concern for doing the right thing? Have we gone so far out on the ledge that we cannot see where we traveled from?

It is disheartening when I look into my little grandson’s eyes, because I fear for his own pursuit of happiness. He deserves a chance to find his way, and grow as any young American does. He doesn’t deserve to pay the price for the ridiculous choices others have made. None of the innocent children being born into our current time frame deserve to pay the price for decisions we’ve made. They most assuredly don’t deserve to suffer the consequences, and there are sure to be consequences.

The older I get, the more I realize my 401K doesn’t mean much to me, if my family suffers in order to negotiate it. I love what I do, so it is not really “work” but nonetheless, I do it with energy and fervor, and that doesn’t always come easy. I cannot take any of this with me, so why would I care how much I hoard while I’m alive? I don’t think we as a civilized people think beyond our own vitality. Many of us live our lives as though we will be here for centuries. We accumulate more crap than any country in free the world, and we have the audacity to just throw it away when it runs out of purpose.

We even do this with human beings. I remember when my grandmother was in a nursing home. We visited her often, and she was mostly in good spirits. However, the poor souls that sat, catatonically waiting for someone to come by and offer a kind word or a home cooked meal tugged at my heart. They were packed up, transported, and forgotten, very much like our nation’s soul at present. How can we sit by, and just toss our values and moral compass into the abyss this way?

When I look back on all this, I will remember what I was and was not willing to negotiate, and I will rest easy.



This Little Light of Mine

This picture inspires so many different feelings, specifically the drive I have in continuing this new adventure I’m on. This is my grandson Jason. He is 3 years old, very observant, super loving, and he makes everyone around him happy. He gives me the type of joy that heals any heart! He is so full of life and love, his refreshing eyes helps me be a better human being. He sees all the beautiful things in this world for the first time, and it renews my spirit.

I began thinking about this concept; seeing the world with fresh eyes. I imagine it helps push all the cobwebs out of those far recesses of the mind, hiding from the light that pushes its way through. The light always pushes its way through, but sometimes we’re not ready to let it into our world. We have to be ready for this light in order to see it. Life has the capability of offering up some nasty obstacles, and it is up to us to respond accordingly. During my dark days, I didn’t want to respond. I just wanted the dark to go away, but it doesn’t work this way. It works very much like a storm, which is why people use this metaphor so often.

We cannot avoid the dark days or wish them away, we must root ourselves deep, and hold on tight while the shadow of the storms hover over head. I didn’t want to face those shadows, so I ran. I made sure I was preoccupied with anything I could focus on, so I didn’t give my attention to the emotional transition that was happening. This was a mistake. It’s okay. We have the luxury of free will, so we make decisions where some are bad ones and some are good ones. How can we learn if we always make the right ones? I weathered that dark storm, made some mistakes, fell on my face a few times, but when the clouds moved along and passed me up, the sun popped through brighter than it had in a long time. The pain I survived cleared my head out, and gave me a new set of peepers.

This brings me back to this adorable face below. The new insight and perspective I now have helps me appreciate the most important parts of life, even more so. Loss, and surviving it forced me to absorb ALL things life-related with grace and patience. What was important 5 years ago isn’t important anymore. The simple beauties of life aren’t beautiful for any other reason than they are simple. Jason has been a perfect vehicle to teach me details about myself I needed to learn, like the pain I felt during the storms. There are characteristics about myself I never knew existed, and some I am working to smooth out. This sweet little face has brought an endless joy, and a new-found wisdom I did not realize I could have.

The dark times will always be there, they are a part of everyone’s experience at some time or another. You can either let them decide what type of life you want, or you can decide that for yourself. It is an exhausting decision, but must be made nonetheless. It’s easy to let an experience or an obstacle decide for you. It’s the lazy way out! We all like to be lazy once in a while, including myself. But, I get bored easy. I cannot sit still for 20 minutes without feeling the impetus to “do” something.

So, this picture represents what I intend on doing. I intend on moving forward with a smile. I intend on taking on heart-ache and disappointment and exasperation with a smile. I want to continue a journey in my professional life with a smile. I want to do all things with love…..and with a smile. It might not brighten the world the way this one does, but it will spark just enough light.

After all, in the dark, even a spark lights the way!


Timing is Everything

It’s been far too long since I’ve been here. I took an unintentional hiatus from the professional life I have been working on for years. There are times in life when one realizes the necessity of the soul. Mine required feeding, in many more ways than one. I have reached the point where I recognize this nurturing has helped develop my state of mind. I have learned to let go of those things I could not change, and I’m now more accepting of the things I cannot.

I believe it is in these moments when we learn the most about ourselves. I’ve learned that even though I experienced moments of weakness, I am strong. I’ve learned that even though I have made numerous mistakes as a mother, I’m a good parent. I’ve learned that even if I have to cry from sadness, I can smile through it.

I think it is quite a brave endeavor to smile through the tears. I had to get to the bottom to really see myself behind facade that insecurity builds around us. I had to allow my self image to completely deconstruct in order for me to start at ground level, again. I needed that! It is virtually impossible to rebuild a solid structure over an impaired or broken one. I painted a smile over the most wounded face I have ever had, and my soul knew it was bunk.

I now see the world as it is, and not as I would like it to be. I see my world as it is, and I am working to create a better one. As minute as my results may be, I am still producing results. I am still here carving my place, and although it is different than it used to be, it is still beautiful and mine.

I am here to tell you, only you have this power. Stop whatever you’re doing at this moment and take a good look at yourself in the mirror. The person you see staring back at you has so much more tenacity than you could ever imagine. Your soul will thank you for it, later.

I promise!


My 8-Day Cleanse

So, today, May 8, 2017, was the first day of my 8 day cleanse with Xyngular. I took some time yesterday to log my food schedule into my phone, which has been very convenient. So far, I haven’t really felt all that hungry. Only now, I feel hungry, but I think it’s because the last meal I had was at 1 pm, and it’s 6:12pm now.

The directions seem fairly simple enough, but I stopped and grabbed a weekly pill organizer, I knew I’d need one.  The only issue I had today was that I didn’t have my dinner ready before I started cooking for the family, so I allowed myself to get hungry, but I’m going to give myself today to get familiar with this new routine.


  1. I woke up at 6:30 AM and drank my 8 oz. of lemon water (this is prescribed, but I do this anyway so it’s not unfamiliar to me)
  2. By about 9 AM, I had my breakfast smoothie, and my capful of Global Blend. I included a tablespoon of cocoa powder in my smoothie. It taste pretty good, but the smoothie mix is super thick. I’m glad it’s not gritty though. I was surprised to find it was fairly filling.
  3. I took my morning “Cheat” supplement and then I had 2 hard boiled eggs with one half green pepper, one half red pepper, one small spring onion, seasoned with Mrs. Dash, and sauteed in coconut oil. (I am also staying on top of my water in-take. My ideal amount is 100 oz. A day)
  4. I made another smoothie, but this time I used a capful of Global Blend in the smoothie to give it a fruity taste. I then took my 2 Accelerate supplements.
  5. I’m now finally getting my dinner off of the grill. (I had errands to run today, and I got back late) I made chicken kabobs, baked potatoes (for the family), grilled broccoli in olive oil, and spaghetti squash in the oven. I’m also having a large glass of iced green tea, plain no sweetener at all. The squash is for meal prep for the week.
  6. My dinner will be another smoothie, probably chocolate again. (I was still so full from my PM meal that I didn’t even make my shake, which is not advised. Lol!)
  7. Then I’ll likely settle down with some tea, and my 2 Flush supplements. 

The only issue I’m finding is that preparing my meals ahead of time makes my schedule run much smoother. I have prepared some, like yesterday I made my brown rice for the week, and today I made the squash that goes with that. However, if I didn’t prep well, I could never get this organized properly. If you don’t prepare ahead, you’ll find that you’re starving while you’re preparing everyone else’s dinner, and you’re likely to sabotage yourself. If I was working fulltime this would be maddening! I also didn’t take my cheat 30 minutes prior to my PM snack, I took it and ate about 15 minutes after, but I couldn’t wait any longer. I needed to get this PM snack eaten.

I’m invested into this program, time and money wise, so I want to succeed and in order to do that, one must prepare well.

May 9, 2017 day 2:

I made some necessary adjustments to my meal reminders; I had to space them apart more, because I wasn’t hungry when the next meal alert sounded. I did follow the plan accordingly, though. My coach reminded me that I may want to decrease my protein intake at meal time which helped. I also had to set a reminder for my Accelerate tablets. I had to set it 30 minutes prior to the actual meal reminder because I was forgetting to take them 30 minutes ahead of time.

I gave coffee up 5 days before I started the cleanse, so that I would be already detoxed some. Yesterday’s PM snack was pretty good. I made baked mostaccioli in the oven for the family, and a ground turkey version of spaghetti for me. I browned ground turkey with olive oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, and shallots. Then, I peeled zucchini and made noodles. It was honestly very good! I had a good 2nd day, but I did inadvertently cheat though, because I was buying lunch meat for the boys lunches, and there was a plate of samples for Eckrich pineapple ham, and before I even knew what I was doing I grabbed a toothpick with one bite on it. I don’t think my work is sabotaged, thank goodness but I need to be more attentive. Some eats are out of habit, so changing habits are necessary for success. It was a pretty good chunk of ham though! 🙂

May 10th, day 3:

I feel pretty good this morning but I do have a slight headache and I feel a little lethargic. I know that’s from the carb restriction. I’m pretty sure it will pass soon.

  1. I’ve had my first shake of the day, and today I can include whole grains in my program for my first AM snack. I will check back in soon.
  2. I took my 2 Cheat and then had 2 hard boiled eggs and a spinach salad with olive oil & white whine vinegar, and finished with my 1 Xyng.
  3. For my lunch I had some some roasted chicken with herb & garlic, paired with brown rice and red bell peppers. I used low sodium vegetable stock to season the rice, and it came out great! I ended with my 2 Accelerate.
  4. I skipped the afternoon snack of 1/4 cup of almonds, peanuts, or sunflower seeds. I just wasn’t hungry.
  5. I had dinner after my 2 Cheat 30 minutes prior. I made salmon fajitas and everyone in the house loved them! Pretty soon, everyone in my house will be clean eating 😀
  6. I ended the day with some vanilla, chamomile tea, and my 2 Flush tabs.

All in all, so far so good! I feel good, was a little tired today, but no worse for the wear.

May 11th, day 4:

I woke up with a headache this morning. My body is reacting to the lack of carbohydrates so I’m just taking it slow. I dropped Jason at school and came back home to lay down for a bit. I kind of sabotaged my schedule because I slept longer than I thought, but I can make it up later today.

  1. I had my water early this morning as soon as I woke up.
  2.  Then when I woke after my nap, I had my smoothie, GB, and 2 Accelerate.
  3. I set my phone to remind me to take my 2 Cheat supplements 30 minutes prior to my meal. I tend to lose track of time, even when I’m not consumed with errands or activities.
  4. I made 2 hard boiled eggs, and a green spinach salad again. I do love spinach so this isn’t difficult.
  5. Next meal was my Lean smoothie and 2 Accelerate.
  6. I took my cheat on time because my phone reminder is helpful with that. I grilled chicken breast with zucchini and yellow squash, drizzled with olive oil & garlic.
  7. I really enjoy the hot drink at night. I made peppermint tea. I like having tea before bed, so it’s a perfect step, and of course I took my 2 Flush.

May 12, Day 5:

I didn’t feel as sluggish yesterday when I woke up but I was up late, so I did make decaf, and I used powdered creamer minus fat and sugar.

1)  I had my GB, 2 Accelerate and my smoothie, but I ran out of coconut milk. I managed to have 4 oz. so I combined 4 oz. of water with it. It served the purpose for the time being.

2) For my protein meal I had a fabulous tuna and spinach salad, and 2 Cheat prior to the meal followed with one Xyng.

3) It’s day 5 so I follow up with protein and grains. I had herb & garlic chicken with red bell peppers and brown rice already prepared.

4) I’m supposed to have a handful of  plain walnuts or almonds, but I wasn’t hungry. This seems to be a reoccurring thing, and I think it’s because I’m not working out through this cleanse. I’ve walked 3 times so far, but that’s all.

5) For dinner, I had grilled chicken and sliced yellow squash, zucchini, and green onions leftover. (with 2 Cheat 30 minutes before)

6) I ended with with my Flush supplements and lemon ginger tea. It was girls night in at my friend’s and there was food 😒 but I managed to find some clean eating goodies. My friend brought a huge bag of quinoa & chia seed chips. They were really good and have a corn chip consistency. She also put together a Spanish salad called “Nopales ensalada” it’s chopped cactus, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapenos, and lemon juice. It was FABULOUS! I had at least 2 large handfuls of chips and the salad. I don’t think it counts as cheating but I’m sure the sodium doesn’t help so I’m amping the water from 105 oz. to 125 oz.

May 13, day 6:

  1. Started with my 8 oz. of lemon water
  2. Smoothie, GB, and 2 Axion
  3. 2 Cheat 30 minutes before meal, and I had a chicken breast salad. Took my 1 Xyng afterwards
  4. Lunch smoothie and 2 Accelerate. (I’m starting to notice the bloating is gone. This is a big problem with eating crap. It’s less about fat and more about bloating)
  5. 2 Cheat prior to meal, I made Chicken breast and squash.
  6. Smoothie
  7. Took 2 Flush and had my tea.

I can see muscles on my belly, that were hidden by fat, again. I also can tell my waist is tapering some. Nice!

May 14, day 7:

Okay so first and foremost, it is VERY difficult to properly organize clean eating on holidays, and not just because of potential sabotages, but mostly due to scheduling. Days like this are so difficult to stay on schedule, because we are so busy being preoccupied with other commitments. Frankly, plan REALLY well, and it will not be as hectic, but if you do not plan properly (logging meal times, making sure you even HAVE your supplements on hand, and organizing your meal) it can be very difficult to maintain discipline.

  1. It’s Mother’s day, so I slept in, and was already behind, as I usually make my shake, GB & Axion at 9am, but didn’t get to it until almost 11am, so I had to make conscious adjustments to later meal times (I did get my water though).
  2. I had my 2 Cheat and my one Xyng, but I neglected to get the protein prepared for my salad, but I made a bigger salad.
  3. I found another storage container with chicken and brown rice so that’s good since I didn’t get it earlier (Along with my 2 Accelerate)
  4. Days 3, 5, and 7 call for walnuts or almonds for a snack, but I still haven’t felt hungry enough to need them.
  5. I had my 2 cheat but I took them and didn’t eat for about 45 minutes. I had to wait for my brother in law to pull off some food on the grill so my salmon and brussel sprouts would fit. There’s that organization logistic failure I mentioned.
  6. I had my flush and tea pretty late, like 11pm, but I did get them.

May 15 Monday, day 8:

It was pretty easy to stick to my routine, as knowing the next day provided me a decent cheat meal, I was excited! Lol! I have noticed that I may need to back up off the 2 Flush supplements I take. We shall see!


Now…..ON TO days 9-30 🙂 🙂 🙂


Petrie Dish or Pen

After meeting with my advisor regarding the end of this Masters project of mine, something had occurred to me that I didn’t consider prior to beginning this project. As I began to ponder this subject, I realized how pervasive the idea truly is, and how it may have impacted my perception of education. I have conducted an artifact analysis as part of my project, and in doing so, I knew recording my findings would require an organized graph or table of what these findings were, and how they influenced my conclusion. I emphasized to my advisor that I have struggled with this document, feeling unsure of the hows and whys of producing this table of information. He then said to me, “Why are you fixed on a spreadsheet? What makes a document detailing your findings less valid than a spreadsheet?”


Well…shit! I don’t have an answer for that? Why do I feel a spreadsheet is more representative of dispelling knowledge as valid? What makes knowledge valid, the way we convey and share it or the knowledge itself? In my quest for higher education, I have often been faced with inconsistencies embedded into my thinking patterns, having been exposed to them throughout my primary education. It’s an unsaid truth throughout the education community that testable, verifiable knowledge is the “pièce de résistance”, but rarely does the scientific community respond to text the same way. Maybe I’m oversimplifying, or maybe I’m stereotyping education as a whole. Still, I can’t deny that this narrative has been set, and those of us that are a part of the composition community know it all too well.


When my advisor asked me why I was set on using a spreadsheet, I wanted to respond in loud bursts of laughter, followed by tears of joy….”I DON’T KNOW!! I don’t know Professor! I don’t know why I felt compelled to use a spreadsheet, other than to say, I’ve been programmed to believe it’s an efficient way to share empirical information”


Thus, this experience has propelled me to ask this question: how many other students feel this pressure? How many students have attempted to avoid certain projects or subjects merely due to this stifling? Is the idea that information is useless unless it’s quantified prevalent? Does it in fact stifle learning? I feel as though I’m digging my fingers into a whole new study or project? Could be.


I’m interested in gathering the views of other students and professionals regarding this question. If you have anything to add, please do. As most of us life-time geeks know, it is this kind of inquiry that inspires a lifetime of learning, and Lord knows I’m no where near finished with this journey. I’m convinced I very likely never will be, as simple questions like the one I posit here seem to feed my starved brain, regularly.