Thursday, July 5, 2018

Teaching My Brain to Have a Good July 5th!

The brain is a complex thing. I believe it has a lot more power than we realize. I believe if we suggest something to it long enough, we can eventually believe it to be true. Read some of the studies coming out about how a brain can be rewired from video games or pornography. If that is the case, shouldn't we be able to rewire it in a positive way?

I have been working on this in a variety of ways to become a more positive and happy person. July 5th is a day that two tragic things happened in my life. I don't want this day to constantly remind me of the sad and tragic. So I decided I need to rewire my brain for July 5th!

Ten years ago, July 5th we buried my husband. Funerals are days filled with a lot of emotions. So today I decided to focus on the good emotions, like the memories of all the people who loved and supported our family. Or the outburst of laughter when my mom stepped out in the hallway and announced to me she didn't know what to wear to the funeral. I simply told her not that and she looked down and announced in shock that she was naked!

Sixteen years ago July 5th, was when my husband fell asleep at the wheel and rolled the car four times starting me on the path to the total hip replacement surgery I just went through last month. So let me search for any good in this one!  Well there is a lot! I could have easily died that day. In fact, it is a miracle that my two children in the car and my husband walked away from the accident. After being trapped in water for 45 minutes with an angel holding my head out of the water and firefighters cutting me free, I have been given the gift of 16 more years to enjoy my life and my children.

In that time, I have traveled the world and met tons of new people. Life has been almost a bonus the last 16 years. After the car accident, I have often said, "I am alive for a reason. I need to live life to the fullest to fulfill the reason I lived."

So if we try and find the positive, even in hard and difficult things, are minds don't have to go back to the negative year after year after year.  I was able to do that today on an anniversary of things that were not good and you know what? I had a really good day today.

My motto!

Friday, June 2, 2017

When Your Job and Life Passion Merge Together For the Good of Others

I love substitute teaching and I love to travel. For the first time since working at JSD, I put the two together with an amazing outcome. Working at the high school level has been very fulfilling. Hopefully by the end of the month I should have my 1983 Utah Teaching License reinstated since moving away. That means the substitute pay will go up almost $12 a day! (sidenote: teachers and subs should be paid better)

I have had the opportunity to work a lot with one particular high school close to my home. The staff and the teachers have been amazing. I have been given the opportunity to do three long term jobs at the school lasting for 6 weeks each. This really helps to build report with the students and staff when you are more consistent.  I am trained in the student system so I can do attendance and grades online and that alone gives you a better standing with the students. . . I have access to their grades in long term jobs! That helps them listen better, lol.

This last longterm job was in the FCCLA department teaching sewing. I am so thankful my grandmother taught me to sew when I was in the third grade! It was one of the best jobs ever. I was able to teach and sew for myself during my prep time. The students were scheduled to make drawstring bags for Apparel One. I was heading to South Africa at the end of this job and these bags were perfect to take to the village we were going to be visiting.

My travel buddy Mardell and I, filled the bags with school supplies and made room in our luggage for the bags. About two weeks before the sub job ended, Lois Nielsen a sewing teacher at another local high school, heard I was going to Africa through another substitute. We worked it out for me to pick up their sewing projects "Little Dresses For Africa," a few days before we left.  With full suitcases, Mardell and I were off to South Africa.
It was a wonderful trip scheduled through Fun For Less Tours out of Draper, Utah. We traveled through five countries, learned a ton of history, went on several land and water safari's and fell in love with the children. Their smiles are beautiful and they are so happy even with so little.

This is a link to the districts story about the students who helped with the projects.

JSD Students Help Children in Africa with Homemade Gifts From the Heart

The following are pictures I took of the children in the Zambian Village who benefited from the generosity of these high school students.

The village guide was given the bags and dresses to hand out. This helps to get them to those in the most need and helped keep us from getting mobbed!

I LOVE her smile!

"I have a question?"

All Depression is Not the Same!

I have been going to a team of doctors for chiropractic and physical therapy work. I noticed that everyone in the treatment area has different symptoms and different treatment. No one is on the exact same care plan. This is good because our issues are different. The same should go for cancer treatment, thyroid treatment, or any other medical issue. They should be specialized to the patient.
So why is it that people think depression is all the same and should be treated the same? This drives me crazy. In a recent conversation my daughter had with someone, he tried to convince her that she could just choose to be happier. Because CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) worked for him it will work for her. Using CBT and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) can help many people and can be a great tool, but that doesn't mean it will work the same for all.
Take my late husband for example, on more than one occasion, I had walked in the room to find him staring down at his feet with no expression. He couldn't tell me the last time he ate or even if he needed to go the bathroom.
In that state of mind, no CBT or DBT was going to help him. So you say, practice when you are healthy so you can use it when you are not. That might work to a point, but when you have that deep type of depression that should be called a brain disease instead, that does not usually work.
I am no doctor. I am a widow that was a caregiver that spent everyday with my late spouse. I couldn't even get him to laugh at a joke when he was in a dark state of mind. He would stare at me blankly and try to comprehend what I was talking about.
The bottom line, one treatment does not fit all. Educate yourself. If you suffer from depression try everything you can to see what works including therapy, medications, sunlight, exercise, CBT, or DBT. Share what worked for you but do not assume it will be a fit for others. If you are a caregiver, make sure your loved one gets access to whatever is best for them. And then help educate others to get rid of the stigma with mental illness. No one asks for this disease. No one wants to spend days feeling like they are in a deep dark place. Love them, listen to them, and let them know you will be there for them. I love you Marie and all others who have to live with this awful brain disease.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Why, As A Woman, I Didn’t Need to March

            Marching with your fellow supporters might feel like a good thing to do and that is okay, but it is a one day event. Out of the millions of marchers, how many are doing something once a week to support their cause? It seems like it is mostly all talk and no action except for the one March that leaves thousands of dollars in waste to be picked up. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you shouldn’t march for a cause, I’m saying maybe we could do other things instead of or along with marching.

            I was raised to leave a place better than you found it. That alone would have made a huge difference on the way non-marchers viewed the Woman’s March.  It is like the “Occupy Wall Street” events. Nothing much was accomplished other than causing our tax dollar to be spent on clean up. Sure, the protesters had fun, they didn’t have to work or go to school, and they could sit and sing Kumbaya all day if they wanted.  But the least they should have done is clean up after themselves.  If you want your rights, you have to be willing to let others have theirs without making them feel less a person for their choice.

            If you want to see women’s rights taken care of then go do something like work in a woman's shelter or with the courts. Women caught in domestic violence situations often get re-victimized by police and courts, and it is not necessarily intentionally. Become an advocate for the abused woman and learn how to help them get out of those relationships. Help educate and teach job skills to lower income women who feel stuck and want out but don’t know how. Can you imagine if all those people who marched went home and made a difference by reaching out to help one woman instead of just marching? Thousands would truly be affected. Think of all that money spent in travel, posters, and hats that could have been donated to a local women's shelter. 

            I didn’t feel the need to march because I am trying to do something. It might not be much but it is something. My cousin and I run a Facebook page called “Healing For Women.” We try to make daily posts that can lift and educate women on abuse, narcissistic behavior, depression, suicide prevention, PTSD and other issues. I have watched my cousin Shareene use her personal experiences to get a woman to a safe house and away from her abuser.  I have cried with several of these women as they in confidence tell us how something we posted changed their lives.

The best way to empower women is to build each other up. Lets help each other feel validated by acknowledging our unique differences instead of tearing down our confidence with petty mean comments and cat fights. Value each woman and not just the ones that think the same as you. Teach the young girls within your influence to not compare themselves with others. Teach them to be kind and respectful. Teach them they look perfect just the way they are. Teach them to be inclusive. Teach them they can be happy right now and not when they reach some goal or they will always be chasing happiness.  And of course, teach them to smile. A smile can melt the angry heart, cheer the downtrodden, and help heal a broken heart.  Yelling in the streets that you are right and everyone else that believes differently is wrong doesn't do much to build and bring us unity as women. 

(I want to clarify that I had many good friends march, clean up, and not make others feel less of a woman for believing differently, unfortunately the media doesn't find them as news worthy)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Depression Helps part 2 of Opportunities to Teach

Let me start by saying I am not a professional doctor or therapist. I don't claim to have all the answers. I just know that no one had answers for me when I needed them most, so I want to share what I learned on my journey with my husband's depression.

Depression is so difficult for the person suffering from it, but it can also affect the people around them. If those of us that are healthy are prepared, we will be a better strength for them. Remember 1 in 4 will suffer at some point in their life from some type of depression. You will have this touch your life.

I had an interesting conversation with my son the other day. He was reading history about our forefathers and the early men of our country and he noticed something. They had meaningful relationships with each other. Man to man. They were affectionate with each other and could express their love to one another in a normal man to man way. Their interactions showed real caring and tenderness toward each other. That man bond seems to now be gone in most places of America. The comradery with a group of men that have to work closely together seems to give them strength. Maybe that is a missing link into why American men are having such a difficult time sharing their struggles with depression. The bonds between men are different now. They have been taught affection, crying, or hugging between men is a weakness or the sign of an alternative lifestyle. It is not.

Look at third world countries who have nothing. Their communities still rely heavily on each other. The men are not isolated as just the lead of their home, they stick together to make their community work. They also seem to have less issues with depression. It could also be the stress placed on men today in our world. I am sure most American men feel like they can't do enough for their family. The pressure on them is very high and the outlets for them have dwindled. Just an interesting observation that may be contributing to the problem for men. I know my late husband was happier the few times he was able to spend quality time with his male friends.

Here are some links to a few of the websites I have used to find information. These are some of my favorites.

Empowered Life Solutions   (Covers Anxiety, Depression, Healthy Living, and Happiness)

NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness

Nine Things You-Shouldn't Say to a Depressed Loved One And What to Say Instead

The Emily Effect     (Prenatal Mood Disorder)

Real Men Get Help

Mental Health (read the questions at the bottom)

Here are some descriptions I took from several websites, medical posts, and other information. I am sorry I can't give the original writers the credit they are due, but I have put this together over many years from different sources.  This shows 9 basic types of depression but each type can have sub types.
Remember: Depression is like a finger print, it is different for everyone.

Atypical Depression - Often considered a sub-type of Major Depression or Dysthymia and is the most common type of depression. Normally talk therapy works well. Symptoms: Two to three times more common in women than men. Oversleeping, overeating, weight gain, irritable, relationship issues, a sense of heaviness in the arms and legs - like a form of paralysis.

Situational Depression - About 3 times more common than major depression. Medication is rarely needed and it clears up over time, but it should not be ignored. Symptoms: Situational depression is triggered by a stressful or life-changing event, such as a job loss, death of a loved one, trauma, and even a bad break-up. Excessive sadness, worry, or nervousness. Diseases can cause this type of depression.

Postpartum Depression - Affects about 85% of new moms. May need a combination of talk and drug therapy. Symptoms: Some sadness after their baby is born, up to 16% of women the sadness is serious enough to be diagnosed.

Major Depression - Affects 7% of the US adult population. Usually antidepressant medications are needed. Symptoms: major depression, extreme sadness, hopelessness, lack of energy, irritability, trouble concentrating, changes in sleep or eating habits, feelings of guilt, physical pain, thoughts of death or suicide.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder - Affects 5% of women and is much more severe than PMS. Help for this may include a combination of talk therapy, drug therapy, and nutritional therapy. Affects women during the second half of their menstrual cycles. PMDD can be severe enough to affect he relationships. Depression, anxiety, mood swings more severe than PMS.

Seasonal Affective Disorder -  4 to 6% of US population is estimated to be affected by SAD. Light therapy or artificial light treatment is helpful. Anxiety, increased irritability, daytime fatigue, weight gain, occurs in winter climates of places with less sunshine.

Bipolar Disorder - 2 to 3% of the US population are affected. Usually treated with drugs called mood stabilizers. This is the highest risk group for suicide. Periods of extreme high to low to high (also called manic depressive disorder), high energy, excitement, racing thoughts, poor judgement. There are 4 basic subtypes: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic Disorder, and Specified Bipolar.

Dysthymia - Hits 2% of the US population. Usually responds better to talk therapy. Low mood over long period of time, chronic depression, people can function adequately, but not optimally.

Psychotic Depression - 20 % of the people with depression have episodes so severe that they see or hear things that are not really there. This type may require a combination of antidepressants and anti-psychotic medications. They lose touch with reality, false beliefs, delusions, hallucinations, catatonic, do not leave their bed.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Opportunities to Teach

I am amazed how opportunities still come my way to use our family's trials to teach and help others. In July, I was given the opportunity to teach a lesson to the women of our church congregation. The topic "Finding Joy in the Journey." Before talking about joy I talked about depression and how hard it is for some to find joy.

Of course I was prompted by the lessons learned through my experiences with my late husband Mike. I printed a list of places people can go for help and wonderful resources. I had a handout on the 9 basic types of depression and some of their sub types. Of course being the teacher, I learned the most. I wasn't quite ready for the positive responses I received over the three weeks after the lesson.

I have learned that sharing our personal hardships, help us to see each other as the humans we are. We tend to think everyone is perfect while we struggle and that is not the case. I am glad that I was guided to say the things that these women needed to hear. Even more surprising to me was being asked to share the lesson again but this time with the men of our congregation.

I feel strongly about keeping the men and women separate because they might open up more and ask questions with less hesitation. Eventually a mixed group would be the next step. I am so glad that our church is talking more about depression. My late husband said it would be a plague of the last days that would affect the righteous as well as the wicked. Eight years ago before his death it was still a secret killer that no one really liked to talk about.

So today I taught the men. I started by sharing the wonderful and normal things about Mike. Then I talked about his secret dark side that was sometimes even hard for me to deal with. One in four suffer from some type of mental illness. That meant that out of the 50+ men there at least 1/4 dealt with or will deal with depression themselves or within their family. This will touch all of us. Different types of depression need different things. Some just need talk therapy and some types need medications. Men, don't be afraid to ask for help and keep a loving eye out for your spouses too.

One of the men asked, "if your husband was always praying, serving, and reading his scriptures plus getting the medical help he needed, what else could you have done to save him?"  Good question. So here are some tools that might help:

  • Eat healthy and less sugar
  • Exercise daily and that means a good hard aerobic heart elevating exercise at least 5 times a week
  • Spend some time outdoors in the fresh air
  • Try and go to bed at normal times and get a good nights sleep
  • Deep breathing and meditation
  • Spend time with family, don't go into isolation
My oldest daughter who suffers from depression wrote this:

"Make a working list of little things that bring a smile to your face. Little things that warm your heart. I say working list because it will change over time. My list started with a hot cocoa and pumpkin scone from Starbucks. It also included specific songs and little interactions with my son. Over time I realized the most important thing to me in life, as well as the thing that brings me the most happiness and joy, is family. 
I encourage all of us to look inside ourselves and ask, what are some things that make me smile? What are some things that bring me joy? It doesn't matter how small or big they are. Write them down and the next time your're feeling down take that list out and try one or two of those things. One of my all-time favorite quotes from Gordon B. Hinckley says, "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."

Next post: a list of helpful articles and places to go to for help.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

World Hopecast Interview Link

I had the awesome opportunity to be one of the guests on the World Hope Cast back in March. It was an amazing experience. They broke the world record for the longest continuous podcast. All the speakers were fabulous and brought hope into the world. He you would like to hear my interview, it is at the link below.

World Hopecast - Speaker Grace-Chumley

Friday, March 11, 2016

My World Hopecast Interview

Many of you have possibly heard of motivational speaker Dr. Paul Jenkins, well I am being interviewed by him on the WORLD HOPECAST next week, so please sign up now to listen!

This is a record breaking internet podcast with interviews of experts from around the globe in a record attempt (certified by Guinness) for the longest live-streamed audio webcast, while providing powerful messages of hope to the world, from around the world.

Registration is Open! Please take a moment to register yourself, and then invite your friends to do the same. Once you register, you will receive a unique link and instructions that allow you to follow the live stream. I will be interviewed on Friday at 12am Mountain Standard Time. Tune in online, Thursday night just before midnight to hear my Friday 12am interview podcast live. Let me know if you can't listen to the even that night. I will have a direct link to my interview after the entire podcast for World Hopecast is over.

The link you receive will work for the entire event, not just my interview. You will also have access to the schedule and can share the event with others. This is the direct link to the registration page:

World Hopecast does not sell or share your e-mail information. Even if you can't listen to mine, register and listen to other podcasts or mine at a later date :)

Grace Marie Chumley

"Put on your natural make-up, SMILE"

Author of:
"Grace Under Pressure - Smiling Through Adversity"

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Intentional Teaching

As a teacher, I have been thinking a lot lately about what I taught my own children. Did I ever intentionally teach them something? Or did they learn from my actions which could have been good or bad? Did I assume they would just know something without ever giving them the information to learn? There are times I wish I could go back and do a better job at raising my children. They are wonderful, but I can’t take a lot of the credit for that.

When our children where from 3-5, I did a preschool program with them called Joy School. Joy School is a program started by Richard and Linda Eyre that gives you the information to teach lessons on the joy of service, the joy of creativity, the joy of spontaneous delight, the joy of trust, etc. There are a few things that I know I intentionally taught my children due to Joy School or because they were important enough in my mind to cover like my lesson on respecting personal property. (Ask me about that sometime. It was effective!)

There are also many things I did not teach well. Take the handling of money for example. It was common in our family to use phrases like ‘money burns a whole in your pocket’ or ‘we can’t afford that.’ Unfortunately we said those instead of teaching our children to make a plan of how to earn and save money so they could obtain something.  Another example of this would be gathering the family to make plans for a vacation and then shooting down the ideas because they cost too much. This teaches children a negative attitude toward money. I know for us as parents, we sometimes would have disagreements about money or have problems with the checkbook that were minor but appeared to be major to the listening child.

We may want our children to be reverent in church and expect it from them, but have we taught them what that looks like? Are we playing on our iPhone but expecting them to be quiet? I had a friend that taught her children by having reverent time at home. They would sit on a chair to see how long they could be quiet. The young ones started out with 10 seconds but got excited to try and go longer and do as well as their older siblings. When they went to church they knew what it felt like to sit reverently. If you give a child a car, to keep them 'quiet' at church, they will want to make varooom sounds, they are kids! 

Are we teaching values like kindness and sharing? Or do we wait until a fight breaks out? Are we teaching them how gossip hurts and lying just makes issues worse? Or do we wait until something happens then say ‘you are in trouble now for lying!’  Being a parent is hard work and not everything works with every child. Consistency is important.

It is also really important to look for teaching moments throughout the day, but it is also just as important to intentionally teach your children the things you feel will give them a great foundation. Don’t leave that to society, church, or schools or they may not turn out the way you planned. This applies to chores too. My mother would ask us to dust. I did what I thought was dusting and she would scold me and then do it herself. She was a great mom but never showed me how to dust. She never showed me how to cook either!  I was one of those kids that needed to be shown more than once, but she assumed I knew from watching her.  

Pick 10 concepts this year that you feel you want your children to really understand. Then take one a month and work on it with them. Find examples to point out, stories to read, and talk about the subject over dinner. Ask for examples your children saw during their day. Reinforce their behavior when they work on the concept.  

Intentionally teach; don’t just expect children to know something.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Earlier this year, my daughter wrote a beautiful post on Infertility and the difficulty it was to go through. It was an eye opener. So I took her format and wrote what it is like to be a widow. This Christmas season, take care of the widows in your life. It is a hard place to be and none of us asked for the title.

What does it mean to be a widow?
It is making decisions you thought you would never have to make
It is deciding if you want your name on a headstone yet
It is cooking for one
It is candle lite dinners alone
It is trying to figure out where you fit in
It is sitting home lonely because you don't want to be a burden to anyone
It is learning to live alone, for the first time in your life
It is holding yourself together for your children
It is learning to sing and smile again
It is filing paperwork to get what is rightfully yours
It is trying to make everyone happy with your decision
It is a ton of 'why me'
It is piling junk on the bed so the space next to you doesn't seem so empty
It is having the first year of difficult dates pass, when everyone else is over your loss in a week
It is not knowing what to do with your future
It is staying out late with your widow friends so you don't have to go home to an empty house
It is wishing couples wouldn't complain about being married
It is wanting to be surrounded by family during holidays so you won't feel so alone
It is wondering if your kids will call
It is being told not to talk to your friend's husband anymore because you are single
It is being forgotten when your church has a dance or party for couples
It is learning to kill the spiders, fix the electrical issues, and make your own home repairs
It is having a hole in your heart and life
It is not having someone to discuss politics rationally with anymore
It is not having someone's hand to hold when you need strength
It is holding your pet when there is no one to hold you
It is trying to feel love on Valentine's Day
It is hiding the pain of loneliness
It is not wanting to date because you can't ever replace your spouse
It is wanting to date so you don't have to live alone
It is not being invited out with your married friends anymore
It is going out to dinner alone
It is not having someone to kiss on New Year's Eve
It is wondering if you are a horrible person when you move on
It is deciding when to take off your wedding ring
It is depending on God for survival and to walk with you
It is finding out you have joined the Widows Club, a club you didn't want to join with a very high entry price paid

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Surviving the Risks and Hazards of the Work Place

With all jobs there are risks. Most of them are risk from injury but there are other risks and hazards. Back in the 90’s I was working for a school district that hired an independent company to run our alternative program. It was good for a while but then the company made some changes. I witnessed our lead teacher (we did not have a principal) yelling in the face of his secretary. I witnessed the district not backing the employee’s complaints. In fact, by the time the district fired the company and their lead teacher, all my office coworkers had quit. Of course we were still seen as complaining employees and not as employees needing help from an awful situation the district had put us in and then refused to acknowledge.
                The new principal couldn’t start until the beginning of the next school year so the district hired someone to come in and clean up the place for the last few months of school.  Her job was to get rid of the problem causers. She walked up to me one day and said, “I hope you have a good self-esteem because you are going to need it!” I looked at her and replied, “I do, and I don’t get any of it from my job.” She was a bit startled by my response and walked off. She did everything to try and get me to be miserable, but I continued to do my job.
                In the fall, when the new principal came she told me that the district wanted her to get rid of me. She asked me why and then allowed me to prove my worth. Within a month she was telling me she did not understand where the district was coming from and that I was one of the best secretaries’s she ever worked with.  I received some of my best job evaluations from her. They were so positive that the next district I moved to told me they had never received such rave reviews about someone.
                The risks were high to stay with that job and face the disrespect and constant scrutiny I faced.   I had nothing to hide. I was good at my job but I knew there was always room for improvement. I also had a solid knowledge that my self-worth was established by God. Nothing they said or did could affect my self-esteem. I would not allow that. My value and worth were established by God and if I believed anything else I was giving in to the power of Satan.  That is what I believed and how I survived.
                Most people don’t realize the risks in the job of a teacher but there are many.  It just takes one student who doesn’t like you to take you down. Hopefully they don’t realize they have that kind of power. Teachers also have a hard time protecting students who are there to actually learn from those that disrupt. Another problem is that parents will believe their student over a teacher. When I went to school, I would have been in so much trouble if I talked back to a teacher. My parents would have stood with the teacher and I would have been grounded.  In states that guns are not allowed on school campus, teachers who are licensed to carry have no way to defend themselves or their students. Times have definitely changed.
                Last week, I had one of the worst classes ever. The eighth grade class had 25 boys and 3 girls. The teacher had warned me about how bad they were for her. There where at least five boys who were constantly rude and disruptive. I was trying to read to the class and these boys were walking around the class talking. The numerous times I asked them to sit down and stop they point blank said no. I had never seen such rude defiant behavior. Since there was only 15 minutes left in the school day, I did not send any of them down to detention. Instead I gave them a short lecture on taking charge of their education.  In that lecture, I mentioned that they were responsible for their education.  It was up to them to learn and move ahead in life. No one wants to get stuck saying ‘do you want fries with that’ for the rest of their lives. Working at McDonald's might be a good jump off job but unless you are in management you don’t want to be stuck there. One of the students yelled out that it was the teachers fault if they didn’t learn. Then several of the boys rambled on about how I was accusing them of being low level McDonald’s workers. I corrected what they thought they heard. Lecture ended and so did the class.
                Part of a substitute’s job is to write up a report of all the classes. I gave great reviews for all of them but the last class. I wrote up exactly what happened and even mentioned two of the boys by name. Then I went to the office to check out, I told them exactly what had happened. I wanted to make sure they knew about it. Four days later I receive a ‘Sub Warning’ e-mail from the district. You get two warnings before being evaluated and then let go as a substitute. You don’t get to defend yourself to the school or the teacher. In fact you can receive a second violation if you do. The charge? Lecturing students and telling them they would only be able to get a job working at McDonald's. Apparently parents and students were offended that I said, “they would never have a good job and would have to say do you want fries with that for the rest of their lives.”  Obviously that is not what I said.
                I handled it well since I still believe I don’t get my self-worth from my job. I sent the district a letter explaining what I did and what actually happened and asked them to put it in my file. I didn’t argue the points or call anyone a liar. Instead I chalked it up to one of the risks of the work place.  But I was truly saddened. I am sad that students would go that far. They knew the truth and didn’t care. Sad that parents no longer hold their children accountable or take the time to listen to the teachers side of the story. I am sad that a person’s career and livelihood could end if a student wrongfully accuses a teacher.
                These hazards and risks in the teaching profession are part of the reason for the decline of good strong teachers. In a work place where the teacher is guilty until proven innocent, it is hard to keep good people around. Many subs have it worse because they don’t get the chance to establish a relationship with staff since they move around so much. This puts the risk of teaching much higher for the substitute.
                The world is a tough place. All jobs have their hazards and risks. If I could plea for one thing in my field, it would be for parents to support the schools and teachers. Hold your children accountable. Listen before jumping to conclusions and honor those that march into the classroom to help today’s youth come out better than the last generation. Support substitutes, they have a tough job moving around from class to class never getting the chance to build a relationship with the students or staff and far too many substitutes attach their self-worth to their success in the classroom.

                Fortunately I have spent the last few days at the local alternative school. These kids come because they want to even with all the struggles that they have in their current lives. They want to move on and get out of the place they are in. The staff here? Wonderful, they have included me and even given me a free school t-shirt. What a difference in schools and attitudes. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Please Stop Saying "Committed" Suicide by Kyle Freeman

This is something I had not really thought about. I like her thought process on this. It has a softer feel and not so harsh. I included her blog site and this entire post below. I will be walking in the 'SLC Out of the Darkness' walk on September 19. You can donate in Mike's memory at:

Donate in Memory of Michael Chumley

Kyle's Blog

Before my brother Jeff died by suicide, I never thought about the way I talked about suicide. Immediately following his death and for a long time after, I was so shocked that the terms used to describe how he died mattered little. But as time passes, and the shock subsides, I’ve discovered that I bristle each time I hear the expression “committed” suicide. Historically, in the United States and beyond, the act of suicide was deemed a crime. Until as recently as 1963, six states still considered attempted suicide a criminal act. This is so insanely absurd to me that I’m not going to expend any more energy on the history of the topic.

Thankfully laws have changed, but our language has not.   And the residue of shame associated with the committal of a genuine crime, remains attached to suicide.  My brother did NOT commit a crime. He resorted to suicide, which he perceived, in his unwell mind, to be the only possible solution to his tremendous suffering.  If I was telling you about a friend or loved one who actually did commit a crime, chances are that I’d feel at least a little embarrassment or shame on behalf of that person.  But I don’t feel even the tiniest bit of shame about how Jeff died.  Of course, I wish with every fiber of my being that we had been able to successfully help Jeff and that he was alive today.   But shame, nope, I don’t feel that about my brother.  I focus on how proud I am of who he was in his life – passionate, thoughtful beyond words, brilliant, determined, and braver than most people I know, for enduring his pain as long as he did. Yes, Jeff Freeman was a brave, brave man.   As is any person who grapples with deep emotional distress day after day, year after year.

So to say that someone “committed” suicide feels offensive to me and I’m not easily offended. The offense is in the inaccuracy. With that said, I don’t judge people for using this expression – until August 17, 2007, I did the same. But now I don’t. And I humbly ask that you consider the same.
When you have occasion to talk about suicide, please try to refer to someone dying by suicide. By shifting our language around suicide, we have the power to reduce some of the massive shame carried by survivors of suicide. If you feel scared or helpless about what to say to someone you know who’s lost someone to suicide, take comfort in knowing that, by changing your language about suicide, you’re offering a counter cultural act of kindness. It might seem small but the interpersonal and political impact is nothing but huge.

Monday, July 13, 2015


I found this to be a great article. I have been a widow now for 7 years and can feel totally alone in a crowded room. It is surreal.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Come Check Out My New Blog "The Happiness Choice"

I need followers on my new site! If you followed me here, check out the new site and follow it. I try and get a few posts up a month on learning to make healthy, happy choices in eating, exercise, and life. I will be sharing some of the new recipes I am trying and other fun things. Check it out:  (and yes it say chosing not choosing because that was all I could get.)

Also check out and share my daughter's blog on her journey with infertility and now having twins!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Check Out My New Blog!

I don't write on here much anymore because, well we are surviving well. I made the big move to Utah from Washington to be closer to my married kids and grandchildren. It was the best move I have made. I am working in the local school district now as a substitute and that has been a great blessing.

I get to see my two grandsons a lot! One is currently living with me. The other is 25 minutes away. To top it off, my youngest daughter announced she was having twins in November! You can read all about her journey on her blog about her battles with infertility. There is also a great video of how they told me. It has over 2000 hits on YouTube! Check out her site:

My new site is about learning to make healthy, happy choices in eating, exercise, and life. I will be sharing some of the new recipes I am trying and other fun things. Check it out:

Thanks for following me on my past journey and I hope to see you on my new one at "The Happiness Choice."