On the outside, a home can look beautiful. The perfect front door, decorated with the holiday wreath. The landscaping immaculate (although not at my house, we’ll have to wait for spring/summer or later for that). The windows trimmed … Continue reading
I apologize for the vague posts that have happened over the last few weeks. For some this blog may still be somewhat vague. As I’m working through some things, I am not yet ready to share all. Last week Luke went down a very self destructive path. He did (sent) and said some things that can not ever be taken back. I woke up to a disturbing message from someone and I had honestly had enough. When he finally went to bed at 10:30AM after a night of drinking alone, I was waiting for him to sober up and show him the door. Instead, I received a call from him while I had stepped out for a few asking me to help him. He admitted he knew I would probably be divorcing him but asked that I help him. He wanted to kill himself. In the 20 years we have been together, I have never seen him in such a low point. After talking with a friend who could give me more “expert” advice, we decided to call Valle Vista in the morning and get him an appointment. Wednesday night I took him in and after a 3 hour wait, he talked with someone there. It was determined that he’d be able to do some intensive outpatient therapy. The problem with this is that he has a severe social anxiety problem that we have been working the last year to get treated, and this would be group therapy. The next step was going to our family doctor, who we’d been in contact with through all of this. He met with him and after a long visit (bless him for taking the time to do this, I am sure it threw his day off schedule), he changed up some medication, gave him a psych referral and an assignment to go to AA. Having said that, if you are out with him, or want to hang out, please don’t suggest having a beer, please don’t offer to buy him a beer, or a “here taste this”. He had been sober just over 90 days this past spring, and someone offered him a drink. It was absolutely devastating to me and the kids, I will never forget the look on Alex’s face, as he was there when it happened. During those sober months, we had fallen in love with the new Luke. He was a better dad, husband and all around person sober. Yes, its ultimately his decision, but for the kids sake, I truly hope they get that dad back. For now I ask for prayers for him, the kids and myself, as I navigate through my feelings and determine how exactly to handle everything.
Having gone through this process two times now, one for myself and now currently my husband is going through it, I thought it might be helpful to give those of you who are considering it an idea of what it will be like.
*First if you need a referral code to get your application fee waived, comment below with your email and I’ll send you one. NO reason to pay for it, when they’ll give you a code to do it for free, right?!
*Once you’ve filled out the application, you will be given a log in, this will be your log in as a student as well, and will end up being your @wgu.edu email address as well. I would recommend getting a notebook and making notes of all these passwords, phone numbers, ect as you go through the process.
* If you’ve attended college before get those transcripts sent ASAP. These can take a little while sometimes, so its best to get on it right away.
*Fill out your FASFA forms. Make sure you have your tax forms from last year ready, it will make things a lot simpler for you. At the end of this application it will give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of grants and/or loans.
*Assessments, for the most part everyone has to take these. You will take a basic math and language assessment. You should give yourself 45 minutes to an hour to complete these. Then you will write a short essay 200-800 words. They give you 4 hours to write it, but it really doesn’t take long. I have seen some examples of questions spread about the internet from time to time. I believe my husband’s had something to do with how workers skill sets have changed over the last 100 years. That’s not exactly what the question was, but something to that effect I believe. Finally there is an assestment to ensure that online classes are a good fit for you. It takes maybe 15 minutes to answer these questions. No big deal at all. You want to get all 4 of these done ASAP though. They take around 5 to 7 days to get the results back and the waiting can be painful! : (
*Contact your Enrollment specialist (by phone) and they will likely set up your entrance interview. Again this one is no big deal, you just have to answer questions to ensure you are a good fit.
Once you have completed everything and are accepted you will have an orientation class you will take. And be assigned a start date.
If you do everything efficiently and dont’ drag your feet, you could realistically be completely done with the process in a week or two.
One last tip…you do NOT have to start right away. Let’s say you have a vacation coming up next month, go ahead and get your enrollment stuff done and then request the following month as a start date. Everyone starts on the first day of the month, but it can be any month of the year. By getting everything in and completed, you can ensure you get the start date you’d like, versus finding out there is a wait (1 person told me there was a wait at one time, not sure how often that happens).
Good Luck and Welcome to the WGU family!
I have just begun my first full year as a computer teacher. Last year, getting started in the middle of the year, and trying to get acquainted with everything, I didn’t take the time to do much to the room. This year, I decided I needed something that would be bright and cheery. I have no windows in my room, so bright was definitely a requirement. After many searches on pinterest, I finally decided on a Candy Land theme. I wasn’t able to find a ton of ideas online, but I took what I could as inspiration and ran with it. I was able to complete this for under $30.
Here is my door I used construction paper and cut gumdrop shapes. We started at the top (by we, I should say, my 15-year-old son, because I couldn’t reach on the short ladder I had) and placed the straight edge against the ceiling. The second row we started out about a half gumdrop from the top row and staggered them. The straight edge of the second row is under the first row to achieve the “layered” look. We finished with a simple scalap edge for “icing” effect. I found red and white wasabi tape that I used to border the door. I wish I could have found something thicker for this. The letters are from United Arts and Education (on clearance). I would have LOVED to add more to this door, but I finished this at 10 pm the night before the first day of school. First lesson I learned….give myself a lot more time or become less of a perfectionist when doing this. : )
Next is my “candy” wall. The large colorful candies are made from dollar store paper plates and tissue paper. Super simple and very inexpensive. Above the computers I used another Candy Land cut out from United Arts and Education. I still need to add the name tags that are made to look like large candy land cards.
I have one wall with 3 big bulletin boards. The furthest one is my Lab rules, the middle is our school bible verse for the year and the last is my “Sweet Typing Success” board.
The lab rules is a black background with a gumball border. I cut out tiny “gummy” bears and randomly placed them all over the board, printed out my rules and threw it together. This one was one of the last things I did…I pretty much “threw” it together in a panic. 🙂
The “Sweet Typing Success” board is bordered with colorful cupcake holders folded in half and stapled around the board. Thank you to my 14 year old daughter for doing this for me. I have added numbers 10,20,30,40,50 under the heading. I will add students names as they achieve each level of typing success.
You can also see the candies hanging from the ceiling, these are balloons and clear cellophane(from the dollar store). The kids LOVE these! In the far corner you can see the tall suckers against the wall. These I used the empty tubes from the cellophane, covered them with white paper, drew red lines around them, added a balloon and covered with cellophane. Between the bulletin boards I used paper straws (blue and white stripped) that I got from the dollar store as well.
The word wall came from Elementary Techie Teacher and the letters were marked down at Walmart. I cut them apart to use for the word wall.
And finally, the front of my room. This photo isn’t the best, but the white board is bordered with Candy Land bulletin board boarder from United Arts and Education. I added two tissue “flowers” that I randomly got from the dollar store because they were “colorful”. They just so happened to be the perfect color and hid the corner edges quite well.
Although there are plenty of things I now realize I could have done quicker, easier or better in some way, it’s not half bad for my first attempt at decorating a classroom. Best of all were all the little eyes that lit up as they walked into the classroom and saw all the colorful decorations.
It was January 30, 1997, long before internet dating became popular. I sat there studying for an anatomy test, and decided to take a break to check out this “new internet thing”. My sister had said these chat rooms are cool. You can talk to people all over the place. Somehow I ended up in what was supposed to be a private chat room. I quickly got out but before I could “Socretes” sent a private message to “Icesmiles”. I didn’t want to be rude so I said hello. He seemed like a normal guy. We chatted for a bit, and to be honest I don’t know what happened. Back then you were limited on how many hours you could be online. So he asked for my number. Trying to be “smart” I said I’d call him instead. Obviously I was not that smart at my young age of 20. Caller ID…damn it….oh well…We talked for hours and hours. (which of course cost us a fortune, because it was long distance.) I couldn’t even tell you what we talked about….just literally everything. It scared the crap out of me, because somehow it felt like my drop in to this private chat room was meant to be. We chatted for another day and then somehow he convinced me to meet him in person. I decided to drive to Kokomo because I figured if he was psycho I’d notice he was following me for an hour and a half. I took reinforcements. My sister and my dad’s girlfriend. All I knew was he drove a black S10 with pink and white stripes on the side. We met up at the mall on a Sunday evening. I saw him pull up to the light as we were waiting to turn. My heart skipped a beat. I was so incredibly nervous. We parked and I watched him walk up to the door in his jeans, blue and white striped shirt and black leather jacket. He was tall and skinny, wore round metal framed glasses. I nervously walked past him to see if he’d notice me…then peaked my head out the door and said “are you luke?” we walked into the mall, which by now was closing. So we decided to head to toy store not far from there. Unfortunately it was also closed. Against my better judgement (I’m not thinking i had any good judgement back then at all), since it was also closed early on Sunday, I got in his truck and told my sister and dad’s girlfriend we’d meet them back there in an hour or so. And off I drove with this new guy, alone, in the country. He took me past his house, but his mom was studying and wouldn’t let him bring me back. We then went to the park where he played basketball. We sat in his truck and he kissed me. There’s something about a kiss from someone and just thinking….this could be the last “first” kiss I ever have with anyone. I remember the way it felt to kiss him. To touch his amazing abs, and somehow I was already falling for him. Not in lust, but in love, in complete and total safety that I felt in his arms.
We spent the next week talking and I desperately tried to avoid my feelings. I wasn’t ready for anything. I was in a weird place in my life, undecided with my major and just not sure what to do. But the long talks about everything from dogs, to kids, to everything under the son, I couldn’t help myself. The next week February 7, 1997 I went to his house. I spent around 12 hours there with him that day. It was an amazing day. I knew before I left that I had fallen in love with him. I wanted to tell him so bad, but I didn’t know how he felt. Turns out the next day he told me he loved me. I will never forget where I was at that moment. Sitting in my bedroom, laying on my bed staring at my dresser when he said those words. I stopped for a second wishing I could see his face to tell him, but since that wasn’t possible, I return the I love you too.
A week later he moved to Indianapolis to find a job and apartment and be closer to me. We’ve lived together ever since. We were engaged by July and planned an October wedding. Then fate took over and failed birth controlled produced a kink in our plan. Instead of getting married we began preparing for our first son. As luck would have it the laws on insurance changed and we were able to get married before he was born. So on February 7, 1998 exactly one year from the day I knew I was in love with this crazy man, we got married.
I wish I could say that we have had an unbelievable marriage full of love, laughter and happiness, but that hasn’t been the case. We have struggled many times, for many different reasons. We have both wanted to call it quits on several occasions. We have struggled through moves, financial hardships, untruthfulness, addictions, six children, job loses and new growth from one of us that caused the other to feel left behind. There are times we felt like strangers or room mates and it hurt terribly.
Today we stand in one of those very hard spots. The decision to fix things and move on together happily or go our separate ways. Over the last several weeks I have spent a lot of time in thought. I have tried hard to look at myself in the mirror and see what things I may be missing. It is NEVER one person’s fault that a marriage ends. No one can ever say that the other is to fully blame. I decided to go back to the basics. I started reading the love dare. I was super skeptical about this book and figured it really wouldn’t help. I decided after starting it that even if Luke decides to walk, I will have been able to grow myself and be a better person for all those around me. This book isn’t for someone who isn’t willing to give it 100%…its hard. It makes you think about yourself, how you react to others, how you show your love or push it away, it makes you look at whether or not you would even love yourself if you were in your partners shoes.
As of today I’m only on day 5 of 40. I am trying REALLY hard to work through all these issues and become a better friend, mother, and wife. I am trying to go back to the days when I knew I couldn’t possibly live without him, when no one had hurt anyone else, when looking in his eyes was the best place in the world. I desperately want that feeling back again.
I love this man so much it literally hurts. He completes me in a way I never knew anyone could. So for now, I will continue to read, put into practice the challenges, write in my journal and start counseling to better myself. In the end I hope he can see how much I truly adore him. How incredibly proud I am of him and to be his wife. For 7058 days you have been the love of my life, and I hope that I can one day say that we made it through this tough time and are stronger, happier and more in love than ever before.
Everyone says it from time to time. “I NEED A BREAK”. Ever wonder what that really means? To me it doesn’t mean I need to run off for a weekend away from my “life” (even though a vacation would be incredible), or I need everyone to step up and do my work for me. All it really means is this ONE time I need to be FIRST. I need to be able to go run (or in today’s case walk because my stupid ankle is still bothering me), I need an hour to study without feeling guilty because someone else needs my help with math, spelling, is hungry, wants to do a, b or c, or whatever else I have been dying to do for myself but have put off for months because everyone has needs that get met first. I don’t mean it to be selfish or a witch. I just need my tank filled so that I have enough left to keep pouring into everyone else. There is nothing worse then running on empty. I guess what I’m hoping everyone would get from this would be to take a look around you. Stop thinking about yourself for five seconds and think. Did I give back even a small percentage of what I was given by others, or did I spend my day taking and only filling my own tank. Smile at others, sit down and talk with them for 5 minutes (let them talk and YOU listen, actively listen), give them whatever kind of “break” they might need from time to time. Whether a friend, parent, child, significant other or stranger, you’d be amazed at the impact giving back to someone else can do. If you don’t know what “I need a break” means to others in your life, find out, be a tank filler not a siphon hose.
I remember the early days of my IEP meetings. I’ve endured at least 25 so far in the years of having my babies in school, and there still many more to come. I remember needing to be reminded how amazing they are, because in that moment, in the beginning, it just seems like you as a parent have failed. Somehow it seems like its your fault they are struggling. I’ll admit, in some cases over the years it was my short comings that have caused some extra “issues”. But this is a perfect way to start every meeting, every year.
It is all those meetings, all the nights of struggling with homework, all the cheers when they accelerate through something that had been a road block, all the tears and high fives, those are the reasons I want to be a special education teacher. I want to be there to help not only the students learn, grow and jump over their hurdles, but also the parents….because I KNOW it’s a tough road, but I also know it is SO worth it to see them achieving more than they ever dreamed possible. It’s so worth it to see your little amazing person shine!
Everyone knows but many forget that I am hard of hearing. That is until I have to make you stop talking while looking away from me, or ask you to repeat yourself. Sometimes I just nod in agreement just to avoid the annoyed look you give when I ask “what”. But did you ever stop to think what it might be like to live in my world for just a week or even a day. Trying to piece together what you are saying to me. Imagine the game of telephone…only the words from the first person to me are like there were ten people in between us sometimes.
I don’t often run into others who are hard of hearing or deaf, but when I do I get very defensive. Not toward them but for them. Tonight I was playing volleyball and a very nice young man who was deaf came to play toward the end of the night. Attitudes tend to run a little hotter than anyway, as the lower end players show up and game play goes down a level or ten at times. He was on the other team and no one really was speaking to him or giving much help, probably because rather than try to figure out “how” to communicate with them, it’s easier to just ignore him and be frustrated.
After a few games had been played and he made a few mistakes, I noticed that 1) people talked LOUDER to him and 2) they just ignored him and tried to keep him out of the play versus trying to talk to him. I got REALLY mad. It took just a few extra seconds to talk slower so he could read your lips and explain what you were calling rather than just making a call and him feeling like he was in some alternate universe isolated but surrounded by people. And each time I would take a second to explain what the call was, he would do better and not repeat the mistake.
After the games were over I went over and tried to explain one of the calls that no one had explained but happened a couple of times. Since I can’t sign (which I really wish I could, it would be such a valuable tool), we got a piece of paper and wrote out what I was explaining. Literally took less than 5 minutes to make another human being feel like he wasn’t alone in a gym full of people. As it turns out he does know how to play but because he had played other places with slightly different rules, he wasn’t aware what he was doing was incorrect.
I walked out to the car almost in tears. No one quite understands what its like to be in a room full of people and feel like your all alone. Loud restaurants, crowded shopping malls, sporting events with people cheering and whistles blowing, sitting around a fire with little light to see everyone’s lips… it’s isolating at times. I’m fortunate to have about 40% of my hearing, grew up speaking so people can understand me, and hearing aids do make things easier but not the same. I can not imagine what it must be like, the courage it takes for someone with no hearing to put themselves out there in these situations.
So the next time you get irritated because someone is different, or its harder to communicate with them then everyone else, try to use some empathy. They don’t need pity, but they could use some extra consideration and two seconds to be kind enough to communicate with them. And news flash, speaking LOUDER does not equal suddenly they are able to hear you. Even I don’t need you to speak louder, just look at me, make sure I can read your lips and try not to mumble.
So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise. live wisely.
I mean that you should use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times.
Everyone has the same 24 hours (1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds) each day, but some seem to use them so much better then others. I have been working the last year on using my time wisely. Trying to make less trips to the store. Plan meals and use different communication methods to make sure my family also knows these plans. There are times I am right on top of things, and then there are times I’m falling apart at the seams but trying to “look” like I”m holding it together.
Today I read this verse in “Jesus Calling 365 Devotions for Kids” (Sarah Young). It is was as usual a very timely verse for me. Over the last two months I have gone through some pretty tough personal blows. I was laid off from my job in June. In July, I found what I thought was a perfect position. A promotion, great pay, wonderful benefits, and surprised myself by getting an offer. I started and learned fast and a week later was let go. I wasn’t the right fit. Why? Speculations are that my six children made management uncomfortable (this of course is being denied). I was devastated. However the reality of it was, I was so set on making a good wage in order to provide things for my family and being able to more freely give to those in need, that I was trying to hold back the thought of the time I would lose with them. Ultimately this was the perfect example of a door God opened for me and then closed to show me something. My father said to me, you may not understand it but sometimes God opens a door to show you your potential, make you realize you are good enough, smart enough, experienced enough to strive for these promotions. I believe not only that was true, but also the fact that I was able to realize just how much I wanted to teach. How important that goal of finishing my degree really is to me.
So I may not be able to easily give my kids everything they want right now, but I can provide for their needs. I also realized that though I have always wanted to have more money to give, my time is just as important and valuable.
So with the new school year beginning for my children, this is my goal. Use my time wisely, teach my children to use their time wisely, and by doing so be able to achieve my goals and give more to those around me. Most importantly teaching them by example that doing this can bring happiness and peace to your own heart and others around you.
For those who are considering going back to school and attending WGU, I would highly recommend it. After finishing my first term, I thought I would share what I learned about the process and a review of the classes I took, maybe it will help others.
First, if its been awhile since you were in school, it’s not exactly like riding a bicycle. Though I was very excited to get started, I was nervous and awkward at times. I had certain study habits and quirks even when I was in school 20 years ago, those things aren’t possible with 6 kids, a husband and a job. Finding that time did not follow my original plan when I started. I hope that what I learned my first term will help me accelerate through the rest of the degree more efficiently.
I first tackled Heath Fitness and Wellness (BCC1). Don’t try to make sense of their course numbers…they just don’t make sense! This is an easy beginner…let’s ease you into online learning class. If you are active at all, have been a dieter or pay attention to calories and nutrition, you’ll breeze through this. First things first…take the pre assesetment. This will tell you what you actually dont’ know and need to study. Then JUST STUDY THOSE SECTIONS! Ironically the only section I struggled on was drugs. Sorry no experience there…at all…so I had to read that section before taking the test.
Since I was nervous about the actual test, and the camera watching me, I moved on to the second course before taking the test. STOP DO NOT DO THIS!!! Once you get that first test done you will feel so much better! Once I was taking the test I barely noticed the camera was on. The proctors are friendly and I’m sure they know you are nervous about the camera and the test. And be forewarned, you have to show the entire room 360 with the camera. So pretty much showing total strangers my bedroom, pile of laundry and all.
US Government and Constitution (CNC1) – I’m not going to lie to you, until they make changes to this course you will probably want to jump off a bridge! DO NOT PRINT THE STUDY GUIDE!!! Take the pre assestment and see where you are. Again unless you’ve lived under a rock all your life, you probably will know most of these things anyway. I was much closer to passing the assessment then I expected. I spent 8 weeks agonizing over this course. Reading and reading and reading, and hating every minute of it. When it came down to it, after one of Nicole’s famous talk me off the ledge speeches, I took the test and realized I’d wasted 8 weeks studying. I probably would have passed it 6 weeks earlier.
Next I moved onto Fundamentals of Foundational Perspectives of Education (MYC1). This one is total common sense. I expected it to be much harder for me, since it was my first “education” class, but it was mostly just common sense on ethics and such. 4 weeks later I took the test for this and passed it easily. Oh and remember BCC1…I took that one the same day, because I had just left it hanging there all this time.
My 4th and final class of the term was English Comp 2 (TCP1). This is another potential bridge jumper. It’s a 10-15 page paper on the topic of your choice. You must have 10 sources and do an annotated bibliography. I changed my topic at least 4 times while trying to do this class. This one took me longer, because now I was coaching on top of everything else. This one I spent 3 months “working” on. Reality my final paper took me about 4 or 5 days to write. Ok that’s a lie…I spent about 12 hours doing research over a couple of days and then wrote it in about 8 hours if that. There are actually two tasks to this course. The bib and the paper. I did both and turned them both in together. I also didn’t send my thesis in to be approved (shhh…don’t tell Nicole). Oh and I researched another topic just before this final one for a day and then tossed it when I decided I couldn’t’ develop it the way I really wanted to. Soooooooooo….lesssons I learned here. Pick a darn topic! (And save yourself 3 months of waste research on various topics you are just going to toss anyway) You can even google a list of topics based on your major if you are struggling with it. Choose something you have at least some idea about, it will make things go faster, and just do it! The quicker you get it done the better. I turned mine in on the last day I could submit. ALSO…READ THE RUBIC!!!! The only reason I had a revision was because I forgot to go back and read a rubic. I needed to actually use 7 sources in the paper. I had only used 5 (they thought I had 6 but I used one twice), so my revision was pretty easy to just insert a couple of quotes I hadn’t used originally. I would have saved myself the headache and time waiting on the 2nd evaluation if I’d read the rubic!
Another thought on this class. It’s suppose to be 10-15 pages but mine was 9 pages, 1 title page, 2 reference pages and the rest was actual paper. Don’t stress over it too much. The annotated bibliography was 7 pages. In my opinion it was harder then the paper itself. Why? I had never done one before so I stressed about whether I did it correctly or not. If you go through the course material there is a sample in it that you can model yours off of. Once I did that It was a snap. I did this as I worked on my resources. It made things go much faster as well.
What I learned overall from this last term is that I am capable of doing this. I need to have faith in myself. That final paper probably proved more to me then anything I had done so far. It was truly the first time all term that I felt like I was in college. It prepared me for the classes to come and now I’m more confident about tackling them. I found that if a class is 3 credits, the study guide will say 6 weeks…it will probably take me 2 if I just get down and push through. I’m sure that won’t be the case for every class or for everyone, but so far that seems to be the pattern for me. And as I get into classes that I don’t have experience in, those will take me longer. I beat myself up a little after looking back at how much time a class really took me and having only finished 4 this term, I know that if I had applied myself a little more I would have finished 2 or 3 times that many. So on to term 2. Let’s see where the next 6 months takes me!!!