Posted in menu plan monday, Menu planning, Recipes

Menu plan: May 24, 2021

Yesterday I went to see my dietician. We came up with a b rough plan for me eating. I’m dealing with disordered eating, trying to lose weight, and change of diet in the past month. I have moved back to eating a gluten free mostly vegetarian diet. My exception is seafood.

After meeting with her, I went home and wrote out a meal plan with items needed at the grocery store. Crossed out items are items I already have at home. Highlighted items were bought.

Well, the Kodiak cakes were a bust. I will change that to smoothies.

Posted in Random, Randomness

Be Present (How to Build Rapport Part 1)

I just ended my 21st year of teaching special education. One of my skill sets is the ability to build rapport with my students. Over the years I have realized that rapport cannot be forced or bought. Some students will be receptive towards creating a bond with their teacher while others are more reserved. I have many students who I have had rapport with while others I have taught and then they moved on without us truly developing any sort of rapport. Instead of seeing me as an ally who has their back, they saw me as a hindrance.

I’m going to begin a series where I’m going to talk about how to build rapport with students. I don’t know how many parts will be to this series because I keep coming up with more ways.

Be Present

Honestly I think this is one of the best ways to build rapport with students. Sometimes you need to put the computers, manipulatives, assignments, and even phones down and just show the students that you really care. If you are worrying about the next thing, the students won’t have your full attention. In this fast paced world of ours, we often don’t get the human connections that we crave. Being present and in moment with the students allows them to know you really care about them, their dreams, their worries, and/or their preferences. You learn who they are as a person and how they learn.

During virtual teaching, it was so hard to be present with students. Many times they were just black boxes with names on the screen. You could call their name a billion times with no response. Some of my best moments with students were the times we finished the work for the day and just talked to each other. I learned about their dog and their favorite dog who had died. During the year, I watched them blossom over the year. The young man went from wanting to get off the computer to play Fortnite to wanting to draw.

Join me next time for another strategy to help you develop rapport with students.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in photograph, photographs, Photography, spring

Spring Walk

In February, we got a new puppy, Gaston. He is still learning how to walk on a leash. I took him for a walk to get exercise and to also capture photos of the spring beauty around my neighborhood. Gaston was super happy when we saw his friends, Cooper and Brownie, on the walk. He got to walk/ bounce all the way home with them.

Enjoy photos from our walk.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in photograph, photographs, Photography, spring

Spring Snow

Last Tuesday into Wednesday, we had an April snow. It seems that every year we have one snow in April. This year it was in late April rather then at the beginning of the month. We got about 1.5 to 2 inches in my area. It took me 5 minutes to unearth my car from the snow because the branches of my maple tree hindered me being able to clean it off completely.

This is me that morning after my drive to work. I had seen the beauty of the sprig snow and was ready for it to melt.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in menu plan monday, Menu planning

Mom, What’s For Dinner? Week of April 25, 2021 (Mainly vegetarian)

Jump to menu:

My dear children, you are not going to like what I have planned for dinner. (I’m talking about my 2 children, not all of y’all. Oh, and I’m not southern. I just like the word y’all.)

Let me pick up from where I left y’all. My health is not the best right now. We are still trying to figure out what is causing the pain. I sorta have an idea, but nothing is solid just yet. So, yesterday I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy to see what is going on with both my upper and lower GI. They found and removed a polyp from my colon/ large intestine. It’s now being biopsied. They also saw the gastric sac (not the real name) in my stomach. That is also being biopsied. Now it is a waiting game.

So Traci, who enjoys Googling stuff, found out that polyps are more than likely not cancerous. However, they are caused by eating red meat and greasy food. Three years ago, I went vegetarian for over a year. So, I know I can do it. This is a week 1 of back to eating vegetarian. Oldest told me that he’s glad that he is not going to eat vegetarian because he couldn’t handle not having red meat.

Sunday – Cheesy bread and sausage (boys) – Veggie cauliflower crust pizza (Me)

Monday – Italian salad (Me) – Boys are on their own.

Tuesday – Veggie Chili (Me) – Short rib pappardelle (Boys)

Wednesday – Nachos with leftover chili – Boys are on their own.

Thursday – Sloppy Joe’s (Vegetarian & Meat)

Friday – Loaded fries with leftover sloppy Joe’s

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Random, Randomness

Health Update

Four years ago, I went gluten-free because I was having headaches. I ate that way for over a year before adding back gluten in my diet.

The day after Easter, I had a bad attack after eating my lunch. All of the sudden, I was cramping and in a lot of pain. I went home and feel asleep for an hour and half. My abdomen was hurting. I took off the next day and was still having issues. Youngest knew I was in pain, because I was crying before he left for school.

I laid down for a nap around noon. When I woke up, I was still in pain, so we went to Urgent Care. The doctor at the Urgent Care immediately sent me to the Emergency Room because he thought it might have been appendicitis. I SAT and WALKED in the ER’s waiting room for 4.5 hours before I was sent back to a room. During the 3.5 hours I was in the back, I was got a CT with contrast. There was some troubling results but none of them were conclusive to why I was having pain. There was no appendicitis. My course of treatment was to go to a Primary Care Physician and to take pain relievers.

Since that day in the ER, I have seen a Primary Care Physician and a GI doctor. There is a possible issue with my upper GI and lower GI. Next week I’m having an endoscopy and colonoscopy to see if we can pinpoint the problem. They are going to look to see if I have Celiac’s Disease. If not, I’m probably have a gluten intolerance. There is no test for gluten intolerance. I just need to change up my diet.

I was also given some acid reflux medicine that I have to take every day.

I’m back to being gluten free. Today is day 5. It’s so much easier than it was in 2017, because it has become more mainstream. Today I got myself some bread – Portuguese and cinnamon swirl, a cookie for dessert tomorrow, cinnamon rolls, and English muffins – all of which are gluten free. YUM!

Join me on this journey as I begin to figure out what is causing my health issues and then trying to learn to live with them.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in faith

Plant a Seed

I’m going to interrupt the Holy Week narrative for this very important announcement. But before that, I should tell or remind you what happened on Holy Monday. Jesus removed and freed the animals and cleansed the temple of all the people who were using it to make money.

““Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”
‭‭John‬ ‭12:24-25‬ ‭MSG‬‬
https://www.bible.com/97/jhn.12.24-25.msg

So who is that grain of wheat? Jesus was talking about us as Christians. We need to take the Word of God and plant it in our souls. Unless we water it with his Word & prayer, it’ll be just that a seed. We need to have a relationship with you.

We need to love others just as Jesus did. Be reckless. Let you serve others with the gifts you were given by God in order to be glorify God. You are to be the hands and feet of God.

He’s after your joy and eternity. Just remember that.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for reminding me that we need to love others recklessly. I’m so glad you are after my eternity and joy. All I need to do is have a relationship with you.

In Jesus name, Amen

Posted in faith

Our Sacrificial Lamb

“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!””
‭‭John‬ ‭12:12-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/111/jhn.12.12-19.niv

Everyone was cheering for Jesus as he rode on that donkey through Israel. It was almost Passover, a time to remember God saving his people in Egypt. The people of Israel spread lamb’s blood over their doorways to let the angel of death know he should move on.

Five days later, our beloved Jesus would be sacrificed just like those lambs in Egypt. He sacrificed himself not only to protect us from death but also to give us eternal life.

Right now in the Holy Week narrative, people are cheering for him. He’s a “rock star” in their eyes. Soon it’s all about to change. . .

Dear Lord,

Thank you for sending us your one and only son. He sacrificed his life for us, so we can have eternal life. Remind us to not only praise him at church, but always.

In Jesus name, Amen

Posted in Recipes

Out of the River, Onto the Raft – My Faith Journey (Revised)

I have been working on revising and editing my book. Which has been a slow process. I hadn’t worked on it for the last 2 months. Today I began revising it. I had stopped at my faith journey. This is the revised version of my story.

I had shared the original version earlier. Here is the updated version.


When I originally wrote about my faith in God, I wrote in a linear fashion because that is how life is – minutes, days, weeks, months, and then years. But is that how our faith is, does it go in a straight line one moment after another or are there rapids we must overcome? Those rapids might cause our faith to go off course.

I can tell you that I always went to church as a child. Or at least from what I remember. My paternal grandpa was a United Methodist Church pastor and baptized me within a week of my birth. My mom would talk about the different churches we attended while in Pennsylvania but honestly, I can’t remember any one of them. I was either too young or traumatized.

It wasn’t until we moved to Ohio that I can remember the whole going to church and the expectation that I attend on a regular basis even after staying out all night at prom. We first attended church at my mom’s childhood church. I remember the experiences I had at that church: music “tour” trips and being in plays. Even though it felt like home, it wasn’t really my church home.

Then in 1987, we moved across town away from that church. We could have still attended the church I had attended for my first two years in Ohio, but God had other plans. In the new area where I lived was a church and as soon as I saw it, I announced to my mom, “I want to attend a service here.”

She obliged and quickly I was in the confirmation class. Within 6 months of attending the church, I was standing up in front of the church becoming a member. I had just broken my leg a couple months prior and was expected to help with the communion on confirmation Sunday. With the help of God, I did not drop the communion tray. At that moment, my faith journey really began.

You see within a year or so of attending the church, I met a person who would truly help me with my faith. He didn’t realize it at that time, but his constant loving of me as though as a daughter really helped me grow as a person and as did my faith. He saw through my human fallacies and shakable faith to see me as someone that had a purpose in life.

For the next seven years, I faithfully attended that church and was active in youth group, clowns for Christ, and attended several mission trips helping those who were misfortunate and needed our help.

Then life happened. Just like there is a bend in a river where you can quickly change course, my life did that. In 1995, I was accepted to be part of the Disney College Program. While on the program, my relationship with God was not priority. It was not going to be that way until I met my husband 2 years later. However, God never forgot me. HE had my back even though I was flapping around like a fish out of the water trying to discover who I was as a person.

Then I met my husband and well I started going back to church on a more regular basis. God was bringing me back to his fold. As I mentioned before, he will find the one lost sheep. HE was searching for me and found me.

During the Christmas break after my husband and I had started dating, I was given the opportunity to talk about my teenage church.

I was handed an envelope.

“Who is this from?” I asked myself as I looked at the card with signature.

Instead, there was $500. No one confessed to who had given me the money because they wanted to remain anonymous.

The fall quarter 1997 was a difficult time in my life. I was a struggling college student with limited income. I had been working myself to the bone with both a full class load and working almost full time. I was given the envelope after I had talked about my dreams of completing my college degree and eventually becoming a teacher. Not one word came out of my mouth about my worries about not being able to pay for college. Even though I had limped away from a relationship with God, He saw my struggle and saw to it that I was given grace. However, there was still doubt that God really loved me a broken young adult.

My grandparents and I were estranged for almost 5 months during the summer into fall of 1997. We didn’t agree about many things which caused a divide. My life was rapidly changing. God knew I needed them in my life, so he used my future husband to help with us reunite.

In my early 20s, I didn’t seek God with my problems. He placed me on a long rope and allowed me to wander away from him. What I didn’t know was he was planting seeds in my life. When I became a Christian, he gave me the spiritual gift of a strong faith. He knew I was going to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in education and be the only one in my house that had a bachelor’s degree. He knew that I was going to become an Intervention Specialist and not the classroom teacher.

“. . . if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20

Even though my faith in God and lack of a real relationship with him, I became a member of my future husband’s church. Soon afterwards, I stood up at the front of that church and married him. Thus, began the tradition of going to church almost every Sunday. This was his childhood church and my church for the next twelve years. Our sons began their spiritual journeys in that church.

To be honest, I was complacent with my relationship with God. Going to church became ritualistic and not built on building a relationship with HIM.

A political issue caused our church to crack. People we had called family turned their backs on us, because we weren’t on the same side of the political issue. Eleven years later, they still won’t talk to us if they see us in public.

On a nippy March evening in a clubhouse of a golf course, we became part of a group of people gathering to form a new church. A leap of faith as we change courses with our church. Those people on that night had the faith of a mustard seed. Almost eleven years later, my family still attends the church.

My grandparents died in 2003 and 2008. My faith was not shaken during that time. However, the last ten years have seen some challenges that have rocked my faith. My faith that had been complacent for so many years. I have stumbled over the rocks and thorny plants that have taken over my road of life. No matter what, God was by my side picking me up whenever I stumbled or fell. He never forsaken or forgotten me.

The two biggest rocks in my path were the deaths of my sister in 2016 and then my mom in 2019. I could have gotten off course when I began to doubt God and why he would take away an almost 39-year-old. She still had so much life to live and now she was gone. It has been something I’ve struggled with for the last 4.5 years. The only positive part of her death was the relationship I was able to develop with my mom during her last 3 years of life. I brought her back to Christ. She enjoyed helping others and was able to do that at the church.

Right before she died, we took a class about spiritual gifts. I discovered I have 2 gifts. Unwavering faith and exhortation or spiritual encouragement. As I doubt my purpose in life and why I was able to survive my childhood and outlive my father, mom, and sister, I have to remember God has never forsaken me. He wants me to use my story to encourage others.

The foundations of my faith began in the church I attended as a teenager. However, it was not until the Coronavirus pandemic that my faith began to flourish. God picked up the broken pieces of my faith and began to rebuild it much stronger. I had 20 plus years of self-discovery before I could fully embrace how God sees me. He started to pull the rope, so I could come back to him.

On a Thursday morning in late February 2021, God took that moment to say look towards me. Tears were flowing down my face as I listened to a worship song “Graves to Gardens.” God had finally broken through my heart and whispered, “Now, let’s build this relationship.”

When you have a relationship with God, the church is meant for you to worship and praise the Lord for all he has done in your life. However, you need to begin a real relationship with him. Church helps you get there, but it needs to be a personal journey.