* Sharing my world, one nut at a time

I love Cee’s weekly challenges and enjoy reading her responses, too!  Did you know she’s been trained by her cats?  Check out her post to see how clever those rascals are.  Another special treat on her blog: Cee has posted “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” because they’ve had a drought for TWO months but it just rained!  Whoa.  I think we got all their rain and someone else’s too.  So here we go:

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts?  I am a nutty person.  Nuts used to upset my tummy but now I enjoy them all the time.  Even as a “milk.”  As I have dropped dairy and gluten, nuts have moved up my food chain.  In fact, it seems that nuts are everywhere.  On the road, at work, in stores- and yeah, in the mirror.

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?  Anyone who has had nightmares about monsters or nutty stuff knows you must keep the closet doors shut.  If I wake up, I don’t want to see a shadow over there.  I’d go nuttier if I didn’t secure those closet doors.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time?  Yikes.  I am going to be late for school because I am blogging!  I am often late because I haven’t planned my exit carefully enough, so I’m running up and down looking for my phone or car keys or sweater or lunch or something!  I do plan my exits somewhat but nutty things happen.  Must be my diet.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  I appreciate my dearest teaching widower for putting up with me at my worst, like when I lost it after my car blew up, our house keys were stolen, our kitchen floor was wrecked, a hole remained where a dishwasher should go, our insurance company sent a letter denying our claim, and the stacks of laminate in the hallway almost reach the ceiling.  So glad we went to the beach!

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* Faith and phobias

I’ve posted a four-part series on overcoming phobias through Reid Wilson’s program, which uses current brain research to change the way you respond to fear.  As a Christ-follower, I had prayed in desperation for 12 years that God would heal me.  I tried to worship my way through panic attacks.  I tried biofeedback and meditation on God’s word.

I felt in my heart that God was going to heal me, but how long would it take?  And what if I “lost” the healing when I was on the freeway?  At its worst, I immediately fainted when I tried to drive on any road with more than two lanes.  All my fears seemed valid.  After all, I would crash and kill someone if I fainted.  How could possibly God help me?  When would he help me?

Several years ago, God began my healing by showing me how much fear runs through my brain all the time, not just on the road.  If you watch the video below, you’ll understand why.  Desperately, I contacted a psychiatrist, who referred me to a weekend workshop offered by Reid Wilson (offered that very weekend and I was able to get in!).  I hoped for a miracle but nearly ran out of the building as I realized that this was something I had to do.  But thankfully, I was not alone in this.  God was with me.  His Spirit encouraged me that I was made for freedom.

The wonderful aspect of this freedom to drive is that I don’t have to be phobia- or fear-free to be FREE!  I recognize that my brain is simply doing what it was made for, that my amygdala is trying to protect me.  I love the intricacies of God’s creation in my brain.  He has made a new way for me to enjoy his splendor.  He has given me a new way to glorify his hand on my life.

Am I weak in faith if I am afraid?  I am like the man who cried out to Jesus, “I believe!  Help me in my unbelief!”  I don’t have to “keep” my faith; my Savior does it all for me.  From beginning to end, I am safe in His arms.

Part of my story is shared below. Of course, my name is misspelled.  There may be 24 different ways to spell Katharine but Jesus knows who I am!

* Noise in your head, part 4

Step four of overcoming anxieties and phobias, as taught by Reid Wilson, is to transform fear into something more helpful.  This makes powerful use of current brain research that changed my life forever.  In this step, you are activating the fear neural circuitry so that you can generate a new fear-free circuitry!  (Click here for previous posts.)

In my case, a driving phobia was crippling me.  Sure, I needed a chauffeur (usually my dearest teaching widower) but it was much worse than that.  It was torture, no matter who was driving.  My clever amaydala translated the fear of jumping out of the car while driving to a fear of jumping out of a car no matter what.

What happens in step four?  You practice kicking butt.  I told my amygdala that NOTHING was more important than freedom.  Freedom from fear and freedom to drive with joy.  Freedom to drive to work.  Freedom to pick up my widower from the airport.  Freedom to drive any time, in any vehicle, on any road.  Even the highest bridges or most lanes.  Freedom is more important than the feelings of fear that still pop up.  Scary feelings?  Beh.  I like the feeling of freedom!

Be sure to check out Reid’s online course when it becomes available this fall!  You can do this!

* Noise in your head, part 3

Okay, this third step in Reid Wilson’s program to shed worries and phobias was not what I wanted to hear.

I had attended his small group workshop with a few other folks, desperate to overcome my fear of driving.  Over 12 years, my world had shrunk to two-lane roads and occasionally, the driveway.  I knew I was losing this battle, so I went to the workshop praying there was something AMAZING that he could do to change my life.

Step three involves what you or I can do.  It’s a determination to listen to a different voice in your head.  The other scary noise will be there, but the voice you listen to is different.  My amygdala did not like it at all.  It still doesn’t.  I was uncertain that I could tell my brain the truth about driving, that I could practice making that truth the strongest voice.  But I did and it was the most AMAZING experience!

See, I was imagining this workshop and wondering how Reid was going to get in the car with me and make this work.  What if the other folks had driving phobias, too?  How would he help all of us?  The great news is that I didn’t need him with me.  I headed right out for the freeway, in a downpour of rain, and shouted in a new voice.  I’m kinda glad no one else was in the car.

Was I still scared?  Yes.  But was I training my brain in a new and exciting way?  Yes!

* Noise in your head, part 2

Previously, I wrote about a wonderful cognitive behavioral therapy approach to anxiety and phobias developed by Reid WilsonThe first step is understanding how our brain works to protect us and in that process, may not be helpful at all.

The second step in dealing with these issues is to step away from the noise and false signals.  In my case, my brain was very eager to tell me all the “dangers” associated with driving.  I might kill my family.  I might crash into other cars and kill those folks.  I might drive myself off the road.  I might even throw myself out of the car.  My brain had gotten so good at “protecting” me that I would faint if I drove on anything but a two-lane road.  How’s that for safety?  This second step also focuses on your motivation to stop the noise, the crazy thoughts that pass for reality.  In truth, when Reid told me to simply tighten my chest instead of relaxing, the fear of fainting (vasovagal syncope) had no way to hold me back from freedom.

This fall, check out Reid WIlson’s online course (not yet available).  Learn how to be free of noise in your head!

* TeacherVision’s Ultimate Back-to-School Guide

If you are looking for a perfect summary of how to teach all year, but also want to fire up your jets for the start of things, TeacherVision’s Ultimate Back-to-School Guide is for you.  It lists nine areas to consider, including self-awareness, persistence, and real world effectiveness.  But this guide is much more than a list.  It’s inspirational and has multiple links to apps, books, and online resources for each area that will support your teaching experience- and make you more effective.

The first area reviewed is one of the most important to me: self-awareness.  Did you know there’s an app for that?  Well, actually, much more than that.  One inspirational quote in this section comes from Daniel Goleman, who has been at the center of the emotional intelligence field for years.  “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”  

As a teacher, our job is to not only improve our self-awareness but also that of our students.  As I noted in an earlier blog, Marianne Hardiman says that “setting the emotional climate for learning may be the most important task a teacher embarks on each day.”

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Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

 

* On our vacay

My dearest teaching widower and I are actually spending quality time together!  So nice to leave the ruined kitchen floor, piles of laminate for upstairs, boxes, missing car, and general debris.  We are also both “working” and loving it.  I mean, if you have a passion for something, it’s pure joy to do it.  The first day of school is next Monday and I can’t wait!

In the meantime, we’re together all day, which is awesome.  I’ve been sending daily videos to a student of mine and asked my widower to join is.  He has now become the star, the celeb of the beach.  He is clever and funny!  Just one of the many reasons I love him so.  We go out when the sun is setting, the crowds have disappeared, and the temp is perfect. beach 2 2018

* R.I.P. Silver

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The kiddos made a prophetic movie of Silver using the ActionMovie FX app.

Silver‘s engine blew up two days ago.  That Subaru meant a lot to me, mostly because of how I got it.  I was at a back-to-school event and of course, still there long after it was over.  My dearest teaching widower called to ask when I was coming home.  He also asked if I had expected a package from UPS.  I said a DVD was on the way and he said the package didn’t look like that.  I drove home immediately and there was a huge brown package in the driveway.

I was puzzled but saw the UPS markings, etc. and my dearest widower said since it was addressed to me, I should open it up.  As I pulled on the “box,” I realized it was heavy brown paper, not cardboard.  I started unrolling it and saw the bottom edges of tires! I was totally flummoxed (obviously my blood sugar was low!) and the next-door neighbors, who were hanging out of their upstairs window, yelled at me, “Open it up!  Keep going!”

I kept unraveling the wrapping paper and realized it truly was a vehicle!  “Did you wrap a car from the state pool?” I asked my widower, who was looking less thrilled by the moment.  (Since he traveled for the state, he often used a state car when driving a long distance. )

“No!  This is not a state car!” he exclaimed.

“Did you steal a car?”  (I am still not sure why that was in question….)

The neighbors laughed and my dearest widower, ever patient, said calmly, “No, I didn’t steal it.”  I actually repeated that question numerous times as I ripped off the final shreds of wrapping paper.

The silver Forester sparkled, brand new with with shiny black hooves tires.  I thought of the old TV show, The Lone Ranger, and immediately named it Silver.  Sadly, I was still asking my husband if he stole the car as we went in the house.  Poor guy.  Seriously, we never bought something that big without doing it together.  And no, my dearest teaching widower has never stolen ANYTHING, except my heart.

* YDCD: Cool site on dyslexia

It’s no surprise that Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz have founded one of the best sites around for info on dyslexia.  The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity (YCDC) provides terrific resources for educators, families, and kids.  As the author of “Overcoming Dyslexia” and a leading figure in ongoing research on dyslexia, Sally Shaywitz focuses on both the strengths and challenges experienced by folks with dyslexia.

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This wonderful site features:

  • Research on dyslexia, including the rationale for calling dyslexia an “unexpected difficulty” in reading by individuals who have the intelligence and motivation to read.
  • A powerful section of resources for kids, parents, educators, and policy makers.  You’ll find terrific student tips and poignant stories featuring young people from a wide range of backgrounds- and all of it is printable!
  • Success stories of folks who have used used their unique learning style for good (and no, they are not all actors!).
  • Advocacy tools for parents and educators, including helpful strategies for raising awareness of dyslexia, social media suggestions, and more.
  • A news and press section with summaries of current news articles on dyslexia and newsletters from YDCD.

I highly recommend this site as a starting point for learning more about dyslexia.  YDCD is also a place where educators and families can find support in their dyslexia journey, which can be tough but oh, so rewarding!

 

 

* Siri and me

Siri and I have a complicated relationship.  Sometimes she helps me call my dearest teaching widower and other times she has no idea who that is.  It drives me nuts when she calmly tells me, “You’ll need to unlock your iPhone first.”  What??  My dearest widower has not changed his name or number!

Recently I was stuck in a snarled traffic mess for what seemed like forever, so I forgave her (that’s good) and chatted with her (that’s bad in a car, I know).  But I was not moving!  Not an inch!  For a long time!  OK, I was impatient (also bad).

I started with some important questions but the conversation went downhill from there.