* Mighty Slow Florence

We knew that Hurricane Florence was huge before she arrived, but her 5 mph speed is a nightmare for the coastal and sandhill regions of North Carolina.  Some areas have been drenched with two feet of water and the worst is yet to come, as rivers continue to surge over their banks.  We are so fortunate to be north of the hardest-hit areas (see blue dot below).  The current band of tropical rain has put us back in a flood advisory, but I’m more concerned about our pine trees with their shallow root systems in this saturated soil.

Florence 3

My dearest teaching widower just showed me a clip that urged safety for North Carolinians who have lost their power- because someone doesn’t want to go to a bunch of baby showers!  I think we are safe on that front, at least.

* Silver Resurrection

Silver Resurrection sounds like the name for Terminator movie, right?  I thought my Subaru was dead and gone, but a used engine was cheaper than buying a new car.  So I shed unnecessary tears and my precious wheels are back.  My daughter-in-law has told me you never name a tree (I shed tears over losing Baby), and perhaps that holds true for cars as well.

If only we could have a Floor Resurrection!  We’re digging out under yet another thick layer of sawdust but our subfloor in the kitchen has been covered with plywood!  Who knows?  Eventually we may have a new floor and new dishwasher.  Baby steps, baby steps.

On the other hand, I had just painted the kitchen this past weekend and now… yuck!

painting kitchen 2

Well, it’s only sawdust.  Better than what Hurricane Florence may drop on us!

 

* Waiting for Florence

As hurricane Florence slowly approaches the North Carolina coastline, most of us are constantly checking for updates, comparing previous hurricane experiences, and bemoaning all manner of things.  No water, bread, or milk in the stores, gas stations drained dry.  Schools closed as we look out a calm, gray sky.  We debate which spaghetti model best predicts Florence’s path.  Yeah, spaghetti.

Meteorologists are debating the merits of the American versus European computer models.  We have this centuries-old rumble with Europe, you know.  And while the rest of the world measures kilometers, we are talking about wind speeds of 140 miles per hour.  And degrees Fahrenheit.  And inches of barometric pressure.  A hurricane event could be a terrific way for us to segue into the metric system because we need immersion, not random lessons.  Opportunity lost.  I guess no one at the beach wants to hear about immersion.

Florence has been a wonder of nature, though.  Whether seen by infrared or from the ISS (below), she is a magnificent storm.  If only she could stay in the Atlantic!

 

Florence

Watch a video here

 

* 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!

beach 4

* 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.”

photo of woman teaching

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