Sunday, January 8, 2017

If it weren't for Teddy..

So in the last three weeks, I drove close to 4,000 miles. I will be okay with not driving anywhere but work and home for quite some time. One thing that happened in today's drive is something that hasn't happened in quite some time: inspiration to write a blog. Maybe its because I've had to write so many papers for school, but I only wrote two blogs in 2016. I've written plenty on facebook, so its not like anyone reading this doesn't know what's going on in my life. This blog is a little different. So first some background for those of you that are just tuning in. I officially became known as Teddy in the early part of June in 2001. The day that I got that name/identity I was a shy sixteen year old who had a few close friends at school, but I wasn't really sure who I was. I would pretty much agree to do or say a lot of things just to keep things calm and I very rarely had any ideas of my own or initiated any sort of projects. I was a typical worker bee, give me a list of things to do or say and I would complete my task and stay out of the way. Over the next 15 summers, this new identity would allow me some freedoms to figure out who I wanted to be and discover some of my talents as a leader bee. As a counselor/leader, I could come up with ideas that were fantastic one day and terrible the next, but as long as they were delivered with enthusiasm, no one really cared how good they were. Obviously working at camp over fifteen years, I would see several "generations" of girl scouts grow in their own way. I spent this weekend with several of these ladies, campers who would become coworkers and eventually friends. At one point, one of them said, "Everything I know about table manners I learned from you.." I haven't officially been Teddy in close to 18 months, but I can be in a room with people who know me as Teddy and it is nearly impossible for me not to feel like this "alternate" identity that I got to assume for so many years. At the end of each summer, we would celebrate with a staff party and everyone would make a point to call everyone by their "real name." However, for some reason, that never happened for me. One of my best friends I met at camp and her whole family knows me as Teddy; now, that is also true of everyone I met this weekend, haha. But that comment about table manners had me thinking about all the things that I had learned from Teddy. So whether you met me as Teddy, Elizabeth, Lizzy or Miss Pace, here are a few things that wouldn't be true if it weren't for Teddy.

  • I don't think my sense of humor would be the same if it weren't for Teddy. Teddy never had to think about what she was saying and it turned out that she was pretty funny, even when she wasn't trying, or maybe ESPECIALLY when she wasn't trying. 
  • I know with 100% certainty that I would not be as schedule oriented if it weren't for Teddy. In the early years, Teddy could schedule a week of activities for about 40 girls divided into about 4 or 5 groups and coordinate 2-3 staff and supervision with an ease that I didn't know possible. Later, Teddy could schedule a week of activities for 90+ girls divided into 10-12 groups and coordinate 20+ staff, not always with ease, but always with Teddy's sense of humor.
  • I would not be as courageous if it weren't for Teddy. This one took awhile, those of you who knew Teddy in the early years, probably remember a girl who froze in a canoe when a girl needed help or took her life jacket off in the middle of a lake. Later, Teddy, while still not a fantastic swimmer, would be canoe instructor, archery instructor, and many other things. This courage that Teddy earned helped get me where I am today. If you could ask the 18 year old in the canoe if she thought she would move to a place where she knew no one, she probably would have laughed and maybe cried a little bit at the thought. I also conquered my fear of getting on those horses too, which by the way, was more of a fear of falling off the horse than the horse itself. 
  • I would not have the fabulous network of friends that I have now if it weren't for Teddy. The best part of camp friends is that no matter the time or the distance apart we could all be put in a room together and share endless stories from those summers together like they happened yesterday. I can be sitting across the dinner table with my friend Betsy and her mom and suddenly we are Oscar and Teddy again, with a table full of girls around us, hoping not to get caught throwing ice at each other. I can be sitting at a table with a bunch of my friends at Lindsay's wedding and suddenly we are sitting around at Pre-camp laughing about the new staff, the ones who are still wearing make up, or the old staff that didn't make it, like the kitchen aides that packed their cars up during a thunderstorm and we never heard from them again. 

So, to Socks, Neon, Poptart, Oscar, Malibu, Delta, Disco, Simba, Zippy, Fig, Cupcake, Speed-o, Tiger Lily, Rambo, Sniper, Tweety, Rocky, Sunny, Sarge, Fritz, Rue, Ron, Blu, Bunnie, Turtle, Swoosh, and the many, many others, thanks for helping Teddy figure out who she was, so that I could figure out who I am today. (By the way, don't be hurt if I didn't list your name. Fifteen summers plus about 30 staff each summer is about 450 STAFF members that I worked with, plus the 1000s of campers. My brain just couldn't possibly remember them all. )

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Springtime Hobbies

So, I naturally have more work that I could be doing and my very comfortable bed is just patiently waiting for me in the other room. However, it is a very rare moment that I get inspired to write a blog while I'm actually sitting at my computer. So I here I am, sitting in my new "office space" in the front of my little house in Alabama. Earlier this evening, I was listening to the airplanes flying around not too far from here. Right now I'm enjoying the aftermath of an unexpected storm, well, it was unexpected to me because I don't watch TV, aka the weather report. The air is very refreshing and just smells fabulous! Rain might be my favorite natural scent; there's your fun fact of the day. Tomorrow is Thursday, which is my long day thanks to Drama Club and Bowling. In other words, never fear- this won't be too long! :) This week has been very interesting for me- well, really the last few months. But we will stick with this week! So for those of you who have just joined us on our program, I'll give you a little recap of some things. First, I still remember the day that I volunteered to be in charge of PSIA at Holy Cross Catholic Academy in great detail! I also remember the day that I "volunteered" to be in charge of TAPPS Academic in even greater detail! These two events have played important roles in quite a few peoples lives I think. Oh, PSIA stands for Private Schools Interscholastic Association, it is the organization in Texas that coordinates Elementary and Middle School Academic and Art events for private schools, and TAPPS stands for Texas Association for Private and Parochial Schools, the organization that does all kinds of things for the high schools, sports, academics, music...etc. Over the next five years, I would take close to 25 trips with students to Lubbock, Fort Worth Area, Austin and Waco area, with last year's Waco trip extending from Sunday to Saturday! There are many moments from those trips that I remember better than any of my other times in the classroom. That first year, I took over TAPPS at the last minute and barely got signed up for things the week before District. We ended up having five boys qualify for Academics and Speech and came in like 11th place in the state or something. Yesterday, the school left with a Championship Trophy for OVERALL Champion and Overall Speech Champion. The coolest part about the growth that happened over the years was about a lot more than studying for a test or something. Honestly, looking back on it, I realize how much I grew over those years. Who knew I could motivate so many kids into missing school to drive 7 hours in a car to take a test, give a speech or draw a picture. Or coordinate all the madness of the trips, hotel reservations, meals, supplies, registrations and fees, managing students away from home. My trip planning skills and car convoy driving skills are pretty on point right now. I even coordinated 3 District Tournaments in that time!! I had a former parent send me a message that said "I wish you could be here to see the seeds you've planted" and while a part of me does too, honestly, I feel even greater success as an educator knowing that the success continued in my absence. Does part of me wish that I had been in that crazy room waiting with the kids all day to find out their results or walking them to their tests to wish them luck ONE LAST TIME? Or drive around the parking lot a few extra times because Ed Sheeran is playing and we have to sing along to this song one more time today? ABSOLUTELY! But I feel just as much joy and pride in this week's win from 700 miles away as I would from 10 feet. It is an odd feeling! A feeling that I think I've only really started to discover as I continue on this new path of life! Alright, well the second round of rain is here now, so I guess that's my cue. I better get to sleep so that I can stay awake while bowling tomorrow night! :) Until next time!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Little T

Seven years of blogging and five of those years have had a New Years blog. So even though one of the biggest things I've learned this year is that things can change and the world will still move, that doesn't mean they have to. :) 2015 was a BIG YEAR for me. Started grad school, quit my job, got a new job, moved to Alabama, started a new grad school, lost a beautiful friend, gained new coworkers and friends, joined a book club and a bowling league, went to my first music festival and my first Blue Angels Show and I've spent more time in my car than I care to count. In past years, I've counted and totaled miles I've traveled in the previous year, but considering I'm starting this year with a long drive, that'll have to happen another day. I'm very grateful for all of you reading this post. I was thinking earlier about some things and the past 2-3 years, I spent so much time reflecting and wondering and dreaming. I think I filled three journals and spent every Saturday in adoration with most of my time feeling like something wasn't right. I loved my job, I mostly loved my family (just kidding) and I had fabulous friends. Saying something was missing isn't the right phrase, it didn't feel that way. It was almost like when you have to force a puzzle piece in and you're not really sure if it actually fits or you just made it fit. Don't read anything else into that cause it just popped in my head and I think it's right. Like maybe, I'm the puzzle with a piece out of place. Before I say this next part, please know Amarilloans, that I love and miss you all dearly. No matter where live takes me, Amarillo will always be my hometown and you will always be family. I'm incredibly happy in this new path. I know with great certainty that this is the path for me, even with all the fears and changes that I thought would hold me back. As a teenager, I used to wonder how famous people moved and traveled away from their family. I know that's a random thing to wonder about, but I did. Now I'm not saying I'm famous, but I get it. When you're doing something you love, you can do anything, no matter the place or people. Now, in a year or two, I could read this and just want to tell myself that's not true, I've just gotten really lucky in Alabama. But for now, even if it is just luck, it's good enough ending for 2015. Now it's time for a NEW YEAR! I love making resolutions! 
My New Years resolution is to write and send more snail mail. I'm not assigning a number to that because then I'll just be discouraged and quit by February. But I have two pages of Charlie Brown Christmas stamps, tons of stationery and a little extra time. Now all I need is your address. So kindly send those to me, I'm even thinking of buying an actual address book. I'm also going to start running again. Last year saw very little running for me and I think I miss it. Luckily Alabama winters won't make it difficult to start now. I found this challenge to run/walk 2,016 miles in 2016. It's 40 or so miles a week, unless you have a partner or a team. So if anyone wants to join me, or try to complete the same challenge, let me know. We can motivate each other! 
I really want to find a song to finish off this blog, but I can't choose one. Maybe you all should share a song with me. 
May your 2016 be filled with laughter, happiness, fellowship and whatever else you would like to see!! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hitherto, prior to, so far, thus far-yet

So I haven't written a blog in a while, I don't feel like going back and looking because I'm typing this on my phone because we had to cancel our suddenlink service yesterday, because they suck, and we have no internet. I want to say the last one was me announcing that I would not be returning to Holy Cross or camp. I stated many reasons in that blog for making that decision, all of which were true. However, I omitted a few, well one big one to big exact. Anyone who knows me knows that I love teaching math and I love to travel. My students would say that I love three things: math, baseball and winning. But in the last four years, travel has worked its way onto the top of the list. I had a conversation last fall with a fellow teacher about traveling and teaching and he suggested the Department of Defense Education Activity. I wasn't sure what that was, so I started looking it up. Basically, the government hires teachers to go to their military bases around the world to teach the children of the military men and women who are stationed there. I probably looked at the website for a week before I started filling out the application. I only told one person the next day that I had done it, mostly because I didn't think my chances were that good and I just felt like being excited about a new opportunity for a while. As I filled out the application, I needed references so I contacted a few teachers from "my past" and talked to my two current administrators. I started to get into, so I decided to tell my parents, then my roommate, because this would surely have an effect on her. Then I just waited. I would check back into the website every now and then, but it said most of the hiring would take place in July or Auguat. Which made me nervous about a few things. If I were to get this job I didn't want a technicality to hold me back, as that's happened before. So I decided to give Holy Cross enough time to find someone to take my place. So I quit. Then I heard nothing from the DODEA. So I started making back up plans. The prospect of me getting a job with them faded into the background. Until one day when I got an email from someone at the school on Maxwell Air Force Base. I'll never forget that day. I was shocked. I was flabbergasted. I was excited, a few people who saw me that day got to hear about the opportunity because at that point I didn't care who knew. I scheduled a phone interview during the family vacation to Colorado and started preparing for the types of questions they would ask. After the shock wore off, I didn't want anyone new to know, I was worried that if too many people knew about it, I wouldn't get it. I would have to tell a bunch of people, again, that I didn't get the job. I didn't want that. So I had the interview and was certain that I bombed it. So I went back to my back up plans, especially after over two weeks of not hearing anything. Before I say anything, let me just say that everyone needs someone like Darla Mueller in their lives.Someone who is eternally optimistic and encouraging. I started hearing back from the school again after over two weeks, and the roller coaster began. I told a few more people about the opportunity and started making plans for when the time came that I needed to make a decision. I knew that if I was offered the job, I would accept it. I needed to, I had to. It wouldn't be easy, but I just felt, and still feel, that this is what I'm being called to do. It isn't going to be easy to leave the life I have in Amarillo but there are things waiting for me outside of Amarillo. Once I accepted it, I started to think of the things that I would miss doing just on a regular basis here. Lunch runs with Tim, wine nights with Baylie, Friday lunches with the lunch crew, Sunday dinners with the family, movie dates with the niece and nephews, random cookouts at Teresa and Matt's, weekend trips to Albuquerque and so many other little things. But then I just think about all the cool places I could have the opportunity to see, the people I will meet. This gives me the opportunity to possibly share my love of math with children around the world. How could I not share my gifts, especially when it meant I got to travel the world at the same time. Logistically, it has not been easy to move somewhere that I have never been but things have been falling into place in a way that help me know for certain that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. For example, my roommate Baylie is moving back to Kansas about a week after I am. So, if you were at my party at Holy Cross at the end of the school year, I made a speech and left a subtle hint at this possibility. I said something like "I'm not leaving the country YET." And I'm not..not yet anyways. :) 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Late night Post

The last week has been very bizarre, but maybe only because I expected it to be normal. Except for today, I knew today would be difficult. Although, it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Today I made an announcement at school, that I'm not conflicted about because I know that it is the right decision. I know that it is the right decision because I've spent a lot of time praying, reflecting, and discussing it, as many of you can attest to. So what is this announcement? Well, my first period had to take a guess before I said it, "You're getting married!?" HA!! NO....that's not it! I have decided not to return to Holy Cross Catholic Academy as a full time teacher next school year. Since I've taken serious steps to pursue my Master's degree, I have felt very torn and split in many directions. I have felt like none of my commitments have gotten the attention that I deserve, and if I'm not giving 100%, then I have to take a look at what I can do differently. My students today all had very different reactions to the news. I am impressed that I only cried three times today. Two of those times were during 1st period. My sophomore geometry class is one that I always favor for many reasons, for one it is tons of fun to teach. The last few years I have also taught the sophomores two years in a row, 9th Algebra 2 and 10th geometry. There's a very unique bond that happens when you have a class back to back like that. One that I can't describe, but I know that it is one lasts for a long time. Anyways, sorry for the distraction. I have to share a few of the reactions that I got from students and teachers today. One of those sophomores asked "But, you'll be back to teach when we are seniors right?" I told her that I am only taking it one day at a time. One of the 7th graders asked "So, when you finish getting your Master's, you'll be back to teach here full time again, right?" The choir teacher I've had the honor of traveling with several places and I've watched her become a phenomenal music teacher in just two short years, honestly, I can't wait to see her as a teacher in the future. But she said, "I understand where you're coming from, but that doesn't mean I have to like it." But the teacher across the hallway, who I've only taught with for one year, really blew me away with her reaction. She came across the hall and said something to this effect, "I understand the struggle, but I can tell you that we're going to miss you around here. I think you are Holy Cross and you represent the school so well. I know you'll be missed greatly." Gosh, I'm tearing up again, just typing that. But I guess if I've done my job right, my students will continue to be successful no matter who their new teacher is! So, Elizabeth, why the blog? I wanted to take a minute to address the people who weren't sitting in my classroom today. To my former students, you are amazing! I would not be on this journey if it weren't for each and every one of you. I have been inspired to be a better educator because of you! To my coworkers, past present, whatever, thanks you guys. You are all such fabulous professionals that I wouldn't have considered taking this path if it weren't for all of you. I mean, I've watched a hippie English major become a really fabulous English Teacher. I just can't tell all of you reading this, how much I appreciate all that you've done for me to get here. Quick shout out to my dad for helping me pay for this semester and several other things as they've come up. This is a very scary journey that I'm starting come June. For one, I'm not returning to the staff of Camp Kiwanis for the first time in almost 15 years. Then next year, I'm looking at the possibility of not even working as a teacher. I have several options that I'm working on at the moment. If you know of something with flexible hours, decent pay and benefits, let me know. :) This blog is shorter than I feel like it deserves partly because I just spent all evening at Starbuck's working on homework. So I'm a little tired tonight. Well....that's all for now! Thanks for reading. Thanks for being you. Until next time.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Not that kind

Hello! I have been wanting to share some thoughts with the blogosphere for a few weeks, but this is the first time I've found a spare moment to actually sit down and do it. So I hope my words come out like I want them to. Sometimes I get an idea and the thought passes after a while, but I feel like this one is kind of a big deal. Haha. Like me. ;) 
Before I jump right into things, let me first say that I'm sorry if I haven't responded to you as quickly as I usually do when it comes to any type of communication. I'm glad I've eased into school by taking just one class the last two semesters. Taking two along with my "semi usual" Spring activities is already a little mad. I say semi usual because for the first time in two years, I'm not hosting any kind of tournament. I am taking my middle school kids down to Lubbock next weekend for their district tournament and then the high school gets to spend a week in Waco after Spring Break basically for all of their stuff. So "work" wise things aren't as busy for me, but I can not say the same for pretty much every other area of my life. Luckily tonight was the end of basketball, so some time will get added to my evenings for homework. :) Now onto the rest of the story. :) 
So, first of all let me say that while at times I thought that being such an over thinker was detrimental to some areas of my life, getting older I no longer believe that. I'm able to reflect and think about how I got where I am in life, what I could be learning from where I am and too many other things to list. My weekly adoration visits the last two years has certainly encouraged this tradition of thinking. So I've written a few times about the idea of love and marriage and "finding someone" and I realized something, well actually I don't really know when I realized it, one day the thought was just sort of in my head. But I realized that I don't want to get married. I used to always get frustrated talking with my friends growing up as they fantasized about their wedding day, that's not something I've ever even thought of doing. There's no secret board on Pinterest full of ideas for my "someday wedding."  I've also never, ever been the dating girl. I've always wanted to help kids, but i don't have to have the kids in order to help them right? Anyways, this was inspired when someone made the following comment about me during a random conversation, "Yeah, she's definitely not a mom, she doesn't even have a cat." And I just got irritated, I feel like there are some people out there, many of whom are reading this, that feel like the things I'm doing are simply to pass time until I find a husband. That my life isn't starting yet because I'm not married. And to these people I say, have you not noticed that it is not the 1850s?? As a person, I'm able to make decisions and choices about my life basically on my own. Why is it necessary to get married for your life to start? Here's an analogy I came up with, you know how I love those! I sometimes feel like people are constantly telling me to buy a car and telling me which kind of car I should get. Even if I'm not looking to get a new car, even if there is nothing wrong with my car. Why do other people care what kind of car I drive? Hell, why do they care if I'm even driving any car in the first place? (In case you got lost, in this analogy, the car is just my life, not something in particular. Just a series of choices I've made that make me who I am) I don't know why it is engraved in us that we are supposed to grow up, get married, get a job, have kids and get old and die. Haha. I mean, why do our lives have to look the same? The grow up and die part happens no matter who you are, why not make the rest of it your own? So I guess all I'm saying is be who you are and be happy with who that is, no matter how you choose to go places, bike, car or hot air balloon! Don't let other people's opinion on what they think your life should be affect your opinion of your own life. Think before you judge some ones "car" remember we can't all drive a Cadillac!  It's taken me a long time to learn all of this. Lots of tears, a few bad dates, lots of great conversations with fabulous friends, tons of big dreams and plans for how I want my life to be. I mean, for the first time, maybe in a long time- if not first time ever- I am making plans and looking at multiple options for my future. It's exciting and wonderful and crazy hard, but I'm really glad you're a part of it! Happy Valentine's Day! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Four in four

I don't know if it was just me, but it certainly feels like the past year has flown by. LOTS of things to reflect on, learn from and laugh/cry about. I don't really have a plan for this blog, which is the opposite of what I would say the summary of 2014 is. I'd have to say that 2014 was the year with goals and plans, both short and long term and then just lots of fun in between. 
January started with me being very motivated to run lots of 5Ks. Some great friends and I ran a 5K in our pajamas over Martin Luther king weekend to start the year. Although I didn't so that great thanks to the altitude and I didn't really run again until the summer time, I haven't lost my desire to run. I signed up for a run in October several months before it happened and was not prepared for it, but I did it anyway. Then ran the Veteran's Day run for the third year in a row, improving my time. Continued a tradition from the year before by running a turkey trot in Keller with my brother. I trained for that one and it was awesome! I really enjoyed training for the turkey trot and I'm looking forward to spring to get back outside and start training again....might even go to the gym, so I don't have to start all over! AGAIN!! 
Last year I also made a huge first step in a goal that I've been discussing for many years. I went back to school to take some leveling coursework towards my masters in math. I took Calculus 2 in the spring semester and Calculus 3 this fall. I was quite nervous about how I would handle school after a long break, but not to brag, well actually it is bragging, but it totally rocked it. Got an A in both courses, I even maintained a 103 average in Calc 3, until the final exam, which brought it down to 101. Needless to say, I am quite proud of my efforts in the class. I have one more leveling course to take, which unfortunately is not offered at night next week. So in preparation for the next step on the road to my masters, I've been studying for the GRE this semester and took the test last week. Still waiting in official scores, but I think I did well. I get really excited about the opportunities that the journey and the completion of this journey will bring into my life!!! Can't wait to see what 2015 brings in my education!! 
This year was also the year of the road trip!! Because I tend to ramble here is a list of my road trips and the people that were there!! 

-Jan 10-12: Seguin/San Marcos/Austin/Waco/Keller: workshops, Rachel, Betsy and lots of family! 
-Jan 17-20: Albuquerque: Pajama run: Baylie, David, Teresa, Matt
-March 12-16: Keller/Fort Worth: Dad, Bobby, Jake, Aubrey, LOTS OF FAMILY
-March 21-23: Waco: State debate tournament for school
-March 27-29: Kileen/Belton: State Music for school
-April 6-9: Waco: state Academic/art tournament for school
-May 2-4: Fort Worth: State Tournament for school
-May 25-26: Albuquerque: Wine festival: Baylie and David
-June 7-8: St. Lawrence/Midland: Leslie's wedding with Baylie and  Elizabeth
-July 18-20: Oklahoma City: Cory and Samantha's wedding with Lots of people! 
-July 28-Aug 3: Fort Worth/Dallas: Vacation, Yankees games and good food with Baylie and the Gallegos family 
-August 15-17: Fredericksburg: Elizabeth's bachelorette weekend with Elizabeth, Baylie and more!
-October 31-November 2nd: Albuquerque: Wine tours with Baylie and David
-November 26-30: Keller/Fort Worth: Thanksgiving with the Pace/Richardson's

Dang....that was a lot of trips....I don't think I missed anything...I have to say that I had a pretty fabulous time on all of those trips, although many of them were different from each other!!

This year, I also turned 30. Which was a big deal and a non big deal at the same time. Haha. This year has definitely brought more to clarity to lots of things in my life, which isn't just a result of being 30, but all the things I've done up til now. I am unconcerned with things that five years ago seemed like a HUGE WORRY! My roommate of two years got married in September, which meant the start of a new chapter as my friend Baylie and I found a new place to live. One of my best friends from college got married yesterday. The day she called me to tell me about the engagement, I was quite emotional. Even though they've been dating since last September, the news of the engagement meant a final step. Teresa has been my best friend for a very long time. There are stories that she's not a part of that I always think she is. Hahaha. There was a good chunk of time a few years ago, that we apparently spent a lot of time together. I remember going to events with our friends when Teresa was out of town or sick or had other plans and people would always ask "Where's Teresa?" There are many things that I admire and respect about Teresa and my sadness for the ending of a stage of our friendship has now been replaced with the excitement as we start a new one. 

This has also been a big year for health! My mom started the year still working in her recovery from the year before and her breast cancer journey. I was basically sick the whole month of February and half of March. I even had strep throat and the flu on Valentines day weekend and bronchitis showed up a few weeks later. During one of my many trips to FW, I was expressing my disgust of my constant state of illness, especially with my constant addition of a new medicine. In March, I had an inhaler, two allergy medicines and two nasal sprays and was still spending most days waiting for an ear ache, sore throat or some other illness. So they suggested that I look into my diet to see if that helped. So I did some research and tried out a gluten free diet for a few weeks at the first of the summer. With the help of the cook staff at camp and a fellow gluten free staff, I stuck with it for most of the summer! Didn't do as well on my vacations after camp, but when school started, I recommitted to the diet and for the first time probably ever, I went a whole semester with no sick days! This diet has presented many challenges, there are lots of places that I don't consider eating at anymore because of limited options. I have also received many mixed reviews from friends and family. I'm so thankful for my friends and family that have been so accommodating, especially when I am just a guest in their house for dinner. I have also had a few who have argued with the validity of my claim that taking gluten out of my diet is a solution. My frustration comes with understanding partly because until July, I also questioned the validity of a "gluten free diet." I don't think that being gluten free is necessary a solution for everyone. But let me just tell you some of the things that I have noticed: 
My energy level has increased significantly. I am still not a morning person, but I don't feel like a hateful morning person anymore. I don't feel "stuffed" all the time, or hardly ever actually. Gluten free does not mean taste free. My allergies have significantly improved and have gone back to a "seasonal" state rather than year round. 
So, if I can ask you one thing it would be this. Gluten free is not a cult. We are not trying to "bring you to the dark side" nor is it a disease, like there is something wrong with me. Also, please don't say "I could never do give that up." I used to feel the same, but now if I occasionally cheat and eat some bread or something, it definitely does not taste as good as the memory makes it taste. 
We also had cataract surgeries, knee surgeries, Emergency room visits, and other health problems. 

Well, I think we see what happens when I don't have a plan. Thanks for being a part of 2014 in some way! I am blessed beyond measure!! 

Happy New Year!!